Saturday, 30 July 2011

No Time Fishing Can Ever Be Time Wasted

The traveller fancies he has seen the country. So he has, the outside of it at least; but the angler only sees the inside. The angler only is brought close, face to face with the flower and bird and insect life of the rich river banks, the only part of the landscape where the hand of man has never interfered.
- Charles Kingsley, 1890

Friday, 29 July 2011

Field Sports In Scotland Pt 4

It's all change here, I've swapped ....

 Yo-Zuri, Shimano Bio Master, and Rapala fishing Pliers (2nd pair I've lost - cheap and good)

For this
Rod: Greys Missionary 8'3" #5/6. Reel: Orvis Battenkill #5/6. 
Line: Hardy WF5F line. Fly: Gold Bead Hares Ear

And This
The car park at Rock-A-Nore in Hastings. East Sussex
Andy's private mini-loch.

Grin caused by massive improvement in casting [thanks Andy].
We're going back to work tomorrow afternoon, it's hard life being a celebrity adventure guide!

More to come

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Belgian 20 Side-by-Side

Field Sports In Scotland Pt.3

After our detour to the home of golf arrived at Andy's place where LongSword who had been shooting pigeons over wheat and had a stack waiting to be cooked up. He's been plucking them outside and claimed that the blizzard of feathers had been caused when the dogs had got at them. This picture was taken AFTER he'd 'tidied up'.

We feasted on the day's bag. The recipe couldn't be simpler, Pigeon breasts wrapped in Parma Ham seared until the ham is crispy and then left to stand in the oven a 100c for about 20 mins, served with potato salad. And beers.
The next morning I was woken from a deep sleep on the couch to be told people from Andy's Facebook group were demanding I be roused by the cold water method. Fearing that Andy's Facebook pals would lead him into bad ways we packed some sarnies and headed out.
Note: Secondary use for Gear stick - Dog-Chew
Andy dropped Longsword and myself off and we set up on the edge of our second choice of field,
the first being occupied by an Italian shooter we named 'Perazzi'. He was either the most productive Pigeon shooter ever or was rivalling even me for fudged chances, we reckoned he had a semi-auto as we only heard him fire a single shot once in the whole afternoon, and sometimes letting loose strings of four and five shots.

 Longsword had bought a 'Pigeon Magnet' with him. 
Its a car windscreen whipper's motor attached to two arms which rotate.
 You put a pair of the Pigeons you shot the day before on them and from above they imitate the wheeling of two birds coming in to feed.
Longsword was kind enough to lend me this Belgian 20 gauge Side-by-side. 

We spent an excellent afternoon, shooting the breeze, telling tales, and shooting pigeons, well Longsword shot pigeons, I shot fresh air and distinguished myself with an all time low score of 24 for none, zero, zilch  nothing, Nada.

The Excusses: a litany

1. I've not fired a shotgun in about three years
2. The gun was a very poor fit
3. The Coyote god was playing tricks on me
4. It was Longswords birthday and I didn't want to show him up

That's my story and I'm sticking to it
More soon
Your pal

Field Sports In Scotland Pt. 2

After the mornings chores were dispatched, I crossed scotland to meet up with Andy from Safari In Scotland and our new friend the blogger LongSword

Ah Dr Richardson, I presume
A short detour: We drove across the 18th hole at St Andrews

I am not against golf, since I cannot but suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering trout.
- Paul O'Neil

More soon

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Field Sports In Scotland Pt.1

It's A Clue, Init

If yesterdays phone calls are to be believed this weeks posts will be from the highlands. I'm heading due north to Scotland on a secret mission which I'll tell you about later. The good news is there's not much to do, so I'm skiving off to meet Andy Richardson from Safari in Scotland for a Short Walk in the Highland Kush, some wild food, and if his nerves can take it, he's offered to give me a few pointers for my fly fishing.

Emergency services have been alerted, the Scottish parliament recalled from their summer break,  medical and legal professionals are standing by.

While we chat on the phone every so often we've never actually met. Andy's been a long time suporter and reader of the blog from back in the days when he used to blog for Sporting Shooter magazine's blog ring. As the name Safari in Scotland suggests he's Mr Fieldsports north of the border with access to over 1,000,000 acres of shooting land.  Andy is a a known killer with Gun, Rod and Rifle while I'm distinguished only by my ability to turn fly lines into birds nests, and as a known flincher with gun and rifle.

This is also a great chance to do some gear tests, make trout laugh, and catch a few breaths of the fresh stuff in the only really wild parts left on these islands.

Let the chaos commence adventure begin


Friday, 22 July 2011

Murdoch And My Daughter

We were watching the coverage on TV, my daughter [The Littlest Bushwacker - aged 5] realising it was something mum and dad were interested in, took an interest herself. After a couple of minutes she asked

TLB: What's a Murchoch?
SBW: He's a man who owns lots of newspapers
TLB: Ah! Does he really like reading?

If only it were that simple
More soon
Picture credit 

Monday, 18 July 2011

Kifaru LongHunter Review Pt.2 The Pack Frame

Transporting lazy offspring?

Apart from the greater load stability, the great thing about a proper external frame rucksack is you can separate the two parts and use the frame to haul awkward loads that wont easily fit into the pack (small offspring), or would puncture it (firewood) or cover it in, well blood, guts, and gore (fresh meat).

The Kifaru Pack Frame is the basis of the Multi Mission Ruck, the Extended Mission Ruck and the LongHunter and it's a fantastic piece of kit. Much of the strain of carrying heavy loads comes from their instability; a tightly packed load, held as close as possible to your centre of gravitmakes the weight more comfortable to carry.

The 'load side' of the frame is a High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) plate so the load keeps it's shape, with two aluminium stays that hang the weight from belt onto your hips.

The 'back side' (it goes against your back - or should that be 'person side'?) is strategically padded to reduce the contact area between back and pack whilst perching the pack on your sacrum where the belt and tabs pull the weight forward so it's 100% on your hips with the shoulder straps only keeping the pack from falling backwards. In the words of MCP 'it's basically a kind of truss'.

The Kifaru Cargo Chair is a very handy accessory; you can clip it on to either the pack or the frame. It comes with two stays making it very good for carrying things with a flat base or the afore mentioned lazy offspring.
Barrel pic courtesy of Jungle_re on the British Blades forum - the uber nerdy amongst you will have noticed that his Pack Frame is from an MMR (multi mission ruck) so has the quick release clips on the shoulder straps and the PALS belt for attaching pouches to. Tactical baby Tactic-cool.

More soon

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Steve's Kazakh Teleportation Device

Steve Bodio at the controls

Through reading a post Steve Bodio wrote about the commissioning agenda over at Atlantic magazine I found this piece he wrote for them years ago. I've always wanted to visit the Stepps and see the rugged beauty of a landscape that remains as it would have been in Gengis' time. Now I want to go more than ever.

Sovereigns of the Sky
In 1995 an old friend, the photographer David Edwards, went trekking in western Mongolia and returned with tales of people "from history, from legend, from myth." He spoke of Mongol sheep feasts, Tsataan who rode reindeer and lived in tepees, Kazakhs who wintered in adobe houses and hunted with eagles. Edwards said that the Kazakhs were hospitable and had eagles in every village. He knew a young Kazakh entrepreneur, Canat, who had learned English in the Soviet army and was willing to guide me. I was ready to go.
Some weeks later I stood blinking in a Mongolian courtyard in the blazing sun of a February morning. The night before, Canat and I had rattled into the village of Bayaan Nuur, in the northwestern province of Bayaan Olgii Aimag, in a Russian jeep. The village was near the home of Canat's mother-in-law, where we were staying, and Canat knew of a master eagler there. The eagler was a shepherd and potato farmer named Suleiman. His eagle, a two-year-old, dozed atop a tractor tire. She was nearly three feet from head to tail, thick and broad-shouldered, black-bodied and touched with gold on her neck. She wore a black-leather hood like those I had seen in the photos (eaglers generally keep their birds hooded except when they are flying, so that the birds will stay calm). Her bill was charcoal-colored and gracefully curved; her feet shone like yellow stone. Pale fluff fanned out over the white bases of her tail feathers. Braided leashes connected heavy sheepskin anklets on her legs to the hub of the wheel. In the bright desert light she glowed like a dark sun, as elegant as a living thing can be.
Suleiman ushered us inside to a brilliant-blue room. In it was another eagle, on a roughly carved tripod. A slender young man entered, carrying the first eagle on his right arm and a similar perch under his left. Canat explained that this was Suleiman's apprentice, Bakyt, who owned the second eagle, and that they were going to give the birds a drink. A child brought in a teapot and some lump sugar, decanting the tea into a drinking bowl and sweetening it while Canat translated. "Suleiman says that it is end of season. He has not flown eagles for two weeks. But tea and sugar give them energy, so they will be hungry and fly." Suleiman put one end of a length of rubber tubing into his mouth, like the end of a hookah, and made a joke ("He says it is the exhaust pipe"). He put the other end into the drinking bowl, sucked up some tea, and then emptied it into the first eagle's mouth. He repeated the process. The bird shook her head but otherwise remained still. "Now he will take the eagle's hood off," Canat said. "She will vomit fat if she has any." Indeed, after a moment the eagle gagged, brought up a little tea, shook her head again, and wiped her beak on the perch. She then "roused," shaking down all her feathers, and looked alertly about, as though a morning caffeine dose and purge were the most normal thing in the world. The other bird got a similar dosing, and we were ready to go.
Back out in the courtyard we found a bustling scene of organized chaos, with elements that spanned many centuries. A camel was signaled to kneel so that its rider could mount. Horses stood waiting as Suleiman gave brisk orders. Hunters slung rifles and shotguns over their shoulders, single-shot twelve-gauge Baikals. Siassi, our driver, fired up our jeep and popped in a cassette; wild Kazakh music with the rhythm of a galloping horse rang out loudly from the speakers. Suleiman motioned toward a ridge about a mile away: we would climb the rocks and sit on top while Suleiman's younger brothers beat the plain below for game. He, Bakyt, and the other riders set off. READ MORE

There's just time for a trip this year before the cold arrives.
Anyone need a bathroom building? A Kidney? Shine yer shoes guvner?

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Stop It! 50% Of Fish Are Thrown Away. WTF!

It is what it is. MADNESS.

Around half of the fish caught by fishermen in the North Sea are unnecessarily thrown back into the ocean dead. 

The problem is that in a mixed fishery where many different fish live together, fishermen cannot control the species that they catch.

Fishing for one species often means catching another, and if people don’t want them or fishermen are not allowed to land them, the only option is to throw them overboard. The vast majority of these discarded fish will die.
Because discards are not monitored, it is difficult to know exactly how many fish are being thrown away. The EU estimates that in the North Sea, discards are between 40% and 60% of the total catch. Many of these fish are species that have fallen out of fashion: we can help to prevent their discard just by rediscovering our taste for them.
Others are prime cod, haddock, plaice and other popular food species that are “over-quota”. The quota system is intended to protect fish stocks by setting limits on how many fish of a certain species should be caught.

Fishermen are not allowed to land any over-quota fish; if they accidentally catch them – which they can’t help but do - there is no choice but to throw them overboard before they reach the docks.

Do me, yourself, and your kids a favor and go to and sign the petition to stop this madness. Takes less than a minute, and frankly is very important.


Saturday, 9 July 2011

Eating Animals: Book Review

Jonathan Safran Foer's book runs the whole gamut of possibility, from A to B.

When you're ready to take a peek behind the label, behind the attractive pictures of happy-go-lucky animals living out their days on an idyllic farm, and see the horror of industrialised farming as it really is, Eating Animals is a fantastic place to start. Not too preachy, JSF's book is a thoroughly researched investigation of the madness of modern food culture, and a system so unsustainable and fundamentally cruel that no one who ever had a heart can look upon it's works without dispair. 

I imagine myself to be concerned about these issues and reasonably aware, in reading the book I found I was still hiding from the unpalatable truths of  mass meat and factory fish. If you're the kind of person who's happier not knowing, and who's conscience will permit it, this one is best left on the shelf. Of course you and your children will still be poisoned by the flesh of animals so far removed from their natural state that they can't breed, or live without regular doses of medication that weaken the imune system of first the animal and then everyone at your dinner table. Still, the animals of the packet look sweet don't they?

While I'm a massive fan of this book there is one area where it's scope is a little limited JSF is mainly vegetarian, and to him this is both the solution and the terrain the debate takes place over. A: Factory farmed or B: Not at all. Options C:, D: and E: are never mentioned

I recently spent six weeks eating Venison that I'd shot myself, I'd like to say 'only eating' but the sausages I made from it did have some traded-for pork in them. I was and will be again disconnected from the factory farming of meat.  Holly and Hank have gotten pretty close to 'game only', and The Envirocapitalist has also written about venison being the main source of meat his family eats. 

I've met quite a few families who, even living in the city, only eat eggs from their backyard chicken coops. Deus Ex Machina and Wendy eat Rabbits raised at the end of the garden. Hubert was living on agricultural pests shot within a mile of his home and there's another option, but we'll come to that later.

Clever, witty and wise; Eating Animals made me think again about many of the ideas that first inspired my journey and this blog. Good Work Fella. Well worth a read.

Update: Ankle still hurts, so I've not been out in a while, but the Fallow Buck season is only weeks away and I'll be hobbling to a tree stand in search of more nose-to-tail eating very soon. In the meantime lots more Kit-Tart-ism to come. Lots more.

More soon
Your pal

Friday, 8 July 2011

Alpaca Lotta Stories Into A Blog Post

Once upon at time in a galaxy far far away I used to work in an office where we sold the chance to have your CEO appear on 'business TV' talking about himself and his vision for the industry or 'market vertical', the vanity and avarice of these people would soon disabuse anyone of the notion that business is a meritocracy. A useful lesson in the skewed world that these clowns inhabit. There was another upside. On my second day in the job and very nice woman came over to my desk to tell me to prepare for the boss' annual shindig at his house. "you've got to come, he's got helicopters, and alpacas" not the kind of invitation I receive everyday so I signed up.
As the coach drove through the countryside towards his spread the trophy homes got bigger and bigger, until they seemed to run out. They hadn't, he just owned so much land that there was a HOOJ gap between his place and his neighbours. As we drove up the drive way he did indeed own both helicopters, and alpacas. Two helicopters, and a small heard of alpacas.
After stuffing our faces at the barbie, with a couple of lads from the team I worked on we wandered down to the helicopters to see if the rides were on. I don't know the name of that kind of helicopter but it was 2+4, pilot and co-pilot in the front and four salesmen in the back. The pilot really looked the part with his adventure wristwatch, epaulettes and aviator sunglasses. Next to him was a lad of about twelve.
From the way the pilot and lad were chatting it seemed like the twelve year old was doing the flying. Well you'd ask wouldn't you? Yes he was.
Nervous salesman: Been flying these things long?
Lad: Every weekend since I was eight
Pilot: He's really very good, and he's got more flying hours than most professional pilots
I'm still here writing this so I guess it was true.
As we came back in to land after our tour of the surrounding countryside, the full herd of Alpacas could be seen and above the cacophony of the rotter blades one of the others said " A man's gotta have a lot of money before he says 'got helicopters, what I need now is Alpacas and lots of 'em'"
It seems he wasn't the only person to think Alpaca herding was a viable pastime in the English countryside, about ten years earlier Phillippa Wills had started breeding them at Great House Farm and if you pop her an email you can go and visit them in sunny Oxfordshire. Or you can can watch the show online as part of a series of documentaries.
Honda are continuing their sponsorship of Channel 4 TV's W+K documentaries this season and to grow their reach into cyberspace have kindly commissioned a few Sponsored Post's which in turn are sponsoring my love of collecting outdoor kit. Result!
Now what should I buy next? Will Honda and C4 team up to make 'SBW the movie'? If you've got any of your marketing budget left and fancy your brand appearing here, Al-pac 'em in.
More soon

Viral video by ebuzzing

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Guest Video, Beaver And Forrest Gold

Got a request from a chap who's started a video blog the other day, and as I'm always keen to promote new voices in outdoor writing, and he has to be one of the most enthusiastic voices in outdoor broadcasting [or any other kind] I've heard in a while, so without further ado I bring you Stuart McGehee of and his Beaver hunting adventures. O-err-mrs.

I've been planning to do a little Beaver Hunting myself (that title has 'traffic spike' written all over it doesn't it) I'm going to do it with a bow though, and while I'd love to visit Stuart's  home town of Memphis 'the city with a soul' Tennessee.  I'm actually planning to explore a little of Finland (europe's Alaska) with another blogger, where we'll eat bow-hunted Beaver and hopefully pan for gold in what remains of the pristine Boreal wilderness.

Finland is is Europe's most heavily-forested country with 23 million hectares or 74.2% forestry which is over sixteen times more forest per capita than in other European countries or to put it another way nearly 2 Bilion cubic meters of timber or enough wood to build a 10m X 5m fence around the globe. Should you want to.

The streams of Northern Finland are protected from industrialised gold mining, but totally open to the amateur adventurer in search of a a few souvenir chips or the eternal optimist in search of a 380.9+ gram nugget to break the previous record (just over $19,000 today). Then again if you're not the kind of person who thinks squatting in iced water, while being eaten alive by flying beasties is a fun way to spend a week or so you can stay home and I'll go for you. Any misfortunes will be shared dear reader, but any gold will be kept [or more likely cashed in to buy more kit].

This post was sponsored by the lovely people at Wolfe who in their wisdom realised that all these gear reviews don't just happen and were kind enough to flash-up a donation to the Kit Tart Fund. They offer a neat coupon scheme where you can get money off at a few of the bigger outdoor gear stores in the US, here's a link to +REMOVED+ and they do a whole load more. Remember: a dollar saved is another dollar to spend!

More soon
your pal

Friday, 1 July 2011

Mini Mauser CZ527 Carbine

From yesterdays unusual and big ticket air rifle a here's something a little more commonplace an a lot more affordable. The CZ 527 carbine. I know a couple of Stalkers who have these chambered in 7.62 x 39mm (AK47 fodder) but uploaded to make 1700 foot pounds of muzzle energy with a 125 grain sierra game king soft points, making them deer legal in the UK. While yesterday's double barrled air rifle maybe almost one of a kind. This is a sweet little truck gun. Not too expensive to buy and cheap to keep, when you consider the price difference between this and the double air rifle it'd take a while to shoot your way through the price difference even at air rifle pellet prices.

True micro length action - the Kate Moss of rifles for shooting the Kate Moss of deer.
Controlled round feed - nice to have, this is hardly a dangerous game rifle though
Hammer forged barrel - so buy a better one when you've worn this one out, or re barrel it to a round in the 6.5mm class. Sweet!
Single set trigger - two settings; fine and scary very scary.
5.9 Lbs (without a scope) - so it's light enough to tote around.
Drop box - AKA detachable magazine.
Walnut stock - I'm not a massive fan of the stock, but at least it's not made of Beech

Sweeeeeeet Mini-Mauser Action, dude.

More Soon
Your pal