Saturday, February 11, 2012

Saturday Blog Rodeo 02/11/12

The Best of Outdoor Bloggers and Posts!
© 2012 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
Blog Rodeo for September 5th

Folks, here are my picks for this week's best posts. It's all old stuff that I think is always good to take a second look at! Now I may have missed a few here and there, and if that's the case don't forget to feel free to remind me to add it to the Rodeo!

By the way, if you have a post that you're particularly proud of, or it's an oldie but a goodie like these, then let me know and I'll link to it and put it on TROC.

First up is Deer Impacts: "In many places, deer and other large ungulates are reaching densities that damage ecosystems and create conflicts with people. This blog represents my attempt to monitor deer conflicts and impacts around the world. Tom Rooney: I am a biology professor at Wright State University, and have been studying the effects of deer on forests since 1995." Really interesting stuff and good information on what's going on with respect to the burgeoning deer population.

Operation Idaho 2009 "This blog has been created as an electronic journal of Brandon and Brad's quest to bowhunt Idaho's backcountry in September 2009. The challenge is that neither have done this before. This blog will serve as record of 6 months of planning and preparation: exercise, diet, archery practice, equipment research, purchase and review, as well as any other aspects backcountry bowhunting." Another really interesting blog. I think it's a great concept, and one that I would like to see more of.

Fred's Hunting Blog, "A Bow Hunter's Adventures in Montana I live in Montana and started bow hunting four seasons ago. The bow hunting bug has hit me hard and I spend way too much time hunting and thinking about hunting. I am not an expert and these are merely my experiences and opinions, take them for what you will." Just a regular guy doing what us guys do best. One of my new favorites.

Patrick Grotto on BowHunting. A fascinating read on bow hunting and taking deer. I'm not sure where to begin as it is all very, very good. The subject matter is varied, and I feel like I am being educated by a sage, who is trying to impart wisdom through the direct, and via metaphor. It's a must see.

Over at Rob's Hunting Journal, Rob has modified a deer cam with some awesome results. Here is the mods: Homebrew Trail Cam and here are the results: Moment of Truth. Rob does a great job of explaining what and how he does it, clearly and in a fashion that is easily followed. The results speak for themselves.

Slob Hunters covers an important topic that we all have to consider. Fair Chase gives some thought and consideration to the subject in a well written post.

NorCal Cazadora wrote several articles for her local regional newspaper and is asking us to support the newspaper by commenting on the paper's website. It is imperative that we support one and other, in addition to allies in the media.

PeTA Watch is a group that keeps an eye on the loons at PeTA. I get quite a bit of intell from these folks, and for those of you that keep tab on the animal rights extremists, this is a great resource.

Alright then, these are this week's highlights, I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

And don't forget, touch base with me if you would like me to link a story, drum up some interest in one of your posts, or just to shoot the bull. My e-mail is on my profile page.

Albert A Rasch
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Training for the Outdoors: Get Ready for Spring!

Easy way to get in shape for hunting season!
© 2012 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

Train Your Way to Better Hunting
Train for Endurance

Y'all remember this post of 2009? I was at 212 lbs, and dragging butt.

US Army Training Center & Fort JacksonImage via Wikipedia

After seeing the Bear at Fort Jackson, I was motivated by the lines of recruits scampered to and fro while being yelled at, their bodies being forged and hammered by their kind and conscientious drill sergeants, and finally drawn and tempered into finely honed fighting members of the United States Army. I'm telling you, it was as if I was reliving my youth as I watched the activities, washing down my slice of stuffed crust, extra cheese, Italian sausage pizza with a Super Big Gulp of Pepsi.

As I looked down at my extended midline, I was reminded of the fact that hunting wild game can be an athletic adventure, and I should plan on getting myself in shape before the season starts. Quite frankly I'm in decent shape, my blood pressure is low, cholesterol is low, and overall I'm pretty good. But my endurance is not what it once was. And endurance is what determines what physical demands you can place on your body.

Image: acetosa
I spend a lot of time behind the keyboard when I am at home, and I spend a considerable amount of time sitting while driving and while at work. I'm sure many of you do the same. I did a little research and decided it was high time I not only got back in shape, but make a change in the way I have been leading my life. No I am not going vegetarian, nor am I going to give up calzones, lasagna, chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, and big hunks of red meat. What I am going to do is get regular exercise, and moderate my intake of food.

The goal is to design a program that will reflect the needs of a hunting sportsman, build up endurance, and tone up the muscles. Remember we are not looking for gains in size and large increases in strength, we want endurance.

Repetition and time are the key ingredients of endurance. But how are we going to go about it?
Image: MoonJazz
Rules of the Game:
You have to have a modicum of discipline.
You must think before you act.
It helps if you have a partner that's willing to support you.
Write down your plan of action.
Then get started!

First things first. Decide you want to do this. If you can't make even a small commitment to the regimen then forget about it. You must decide you are going to make time every day to get yourself back in shape. Decide if anyone else is with you on this. The truth is it is easier if you have someone that will do it alongside you.

So where are you now? Don't even think of going out there and doing a Rocky in the Russian mountains or anything like that. Let's think before we act!

If you've been on your rear end for the last nine months, then a little walking might be the way to go. Get a decent set of hiking boots, if that is your proclivity, but wait a while before you lace them on. Let's start with sneakers or walking shoes. You will also need a watch that is easily read, or a stopwatch.

Find a place where you can walk undisturbed and proceed to take a brisk and invigorating walk. Go from point A to point B and time it. Use that as your initial marker. Now try to do a little more a little faster every day. Once you are motivating for thirty minutes at a good pace, switch to those hiking boots. Make sure you have good socks on and that the boots fit is correct. I recommend Darn Tough Vermont socks which are by the way the Official Socks of The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles.

Make sure you do some moderate stretching before you start, each and every time it really does help prevent injuries.

See if you can find a piece of 1.25 or 1.5 inch black iron pipe that's about 3 foot long. Nice to carry a bit of weight in your arms to simulate that rifle during season.
A great tip I picked up is the 5 repetition push-ups during those moments between TV shows, or between desk and door. It's not enough to make you sweat or get out of breath, but it is enough to help you gain strength. You can increase them little by little over the summer and into the fall. I'm up to 25 reps, and I do them 3 to 5 times per day. It takes less than 20 seconds, and considering I started at ten sloppy ones a few weeks ago, I'm pretty pleased.

The other exercise I recommend is the good old sit up. Abdominal strength is the key to core strength, and ultimately determines factors like back strength and alignment, and hip alignment. These factors help with your balance and help prevent and minimize back injuries.

Wedge those feet under a piece of furniture, keep your knees bent, and fold your arms across your chest. Don't pull your chin into your chest as you lift, just bend it modestly as you start to lift off. Suck that gut down to your spine as your shoulders leave the ground and continue the lift in a controlled manner. Go back down in the same controlled fashion. Do what you can with proper form, and add to it as your strength increases. Sit ups are my evening exercise and I try to do as many as I can the first time, and follow it up with a set or two more, doing as many as my abs will allow.

Back in my Army days we used to "slap our boots." Basically we would squat, back relatively straight, until we could swat the top of our boots. This is a great exercise that you can do at any moment, quickly, and with great effect. It works your quads well, and helps with balance. I do ten reps whenever I remember. You can do them slow, or pick up the pace when you're in a hurry.

I thought of this a little while ago. We tend to stick to things we like. Don't fall into the trap of only doing what you like or are good at. Try to work on every part equally! Legs, abs, upper-body, they are all equally important.

That's my current regimen; walking, push ups, sit-ups, and squats. I do other odd-ball things as the mood or opportunity strikes me like pull-ups, chair dips, arm raises, and jumping jacks. Anything at anytime that is convenient. The key is to be doing something constructive and healthy for your body.

Stop and think for a moment how much time you spend doing a good job for your employer, or how much time you spend keeping that car or boat in great shape, or blogging. Don't you think you deserve the same care and consideration?

Repetition is the key to endurance. Keep adding repetitions as you gain in strength and endurance and before you know it, even the Mrs will notice the improvements in your physique...


Epilouge: It helped that I have been in Afghanistan for some time now, but at home I stay at about 185 lbs. That's without watching what I eat, other than from the plate to my mouth. I do moderate the amount of ice cream i consume, and I pretty much avoid soda pop, but other than that I don't limit myself much. I walk everyday, bicycle as often as possible, and knock out a few push-ups, sit-ups, and the occasional motivated run up a couple of flights of stairs to keep the weight in check.

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Free Fishing Lures from Fish Creek Spinners

You have until the tenth of February, only two days, to enter into Fish Creek Spinners lure give-a way!

How It Works:

Leave a comment, any comment on the contest post, up to 5 entries per angler so enter as many times as you want - you cast more, you catch more fish.

Help promote the drawing, Twitter it, Facebook it, or feature it on your blog! Better participation = more and better prizes!

What's this mean to you?

More Comments = More Entries = Better Angler Odds

More Anglers = Better Prizes (more spinners) and more Winners

So if you're feeling lucky, spread the word. More anglers in drawing = more winners and more spinners for the winners.

After reaching 24 anglers, each time the number of 'anglers' in the drawing exceeds the next multiple of twelve, another winner and spinner is added to the drawing. The more anglers that enter, the more winners and spinners in each winning set - up to twelve spinners for 10 winning anglers.

OK then, let's double check we got it all correct!
How to Enter Drawing

To enter just click the blog title: Happy Birthday Noise on the Line and then enter a comment to the Comments section at the bottom of the post.

Each comment you enter (that includes unique identifying info) becomes an entry number in the 2/11/12 drawing.

Each comment increases your odds of choosing one of your numbered entries.

Some anglers choose identifying information when they comment, others use Anonymous. Just leave something, anything that we can track back to you! Hate for you to win, and we don't know who you are, where you are, or any of the other W's that might identify you!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Range Reviews: RedRam Merino Thermal Underwear

 RedRam Merino Wool Thermal Underwear Review!
© 2012 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
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Superlative Merino Wool Products for the Outdoorsman!

Wool, as you know, is an outdoorsman's best friend. Though it is capable of absorbing and holding one third its weight in water, its structure allows it to retain your body heat. I was invited to test a set of RedRam Merino Wool Thermal underwear, which I gladly took with me to Afghanistan for the winter.

But first, lets talk a little about RedRam, Icebreaker their parent company, and sustainability. RedRam is part of the Icebreaker family. It was in 1994, that Icebreaker pioneered the merino outdoor clothing category when its founder, Jeremy Moon, saw the opportunity to make natural performance garments when everything else around was made from synthetic fibers. Icebreaker designed and invented the world’s first merino layering system, and it was the first outdoor apparel company to source merino directly and ethically from the growers.

Sustainability has been a huge issue with me and something that I have been studying for some time. If we don't change our behavior, attitude, and our desire to desire, we will see an end to those things that we take for granted, but that are the most important things in our lives.

Luckily many companies, like Icebreaker, are taking these matters seriously and to heart.

My first impression of the RedRam Merino Wool Thermal Underwear was that it was really soft, not like my old Woolrich MacGregor tartan blanket that accompanies me everywhere. It is fine wool fiber with a softness that compares favorable to any nice fleece material.

Here is the information and specifications from their website.
  • Breathable: I want you to be perfectly warm, not hot and sweaty. That's where RedRam shines. Merino thermal underwear stays drier because it naturally absorbs perspiration from your skin and releases it into the air.
  • Natural Fibre: I like people warming, not global warming. So RedRam couldn't be more natural. The ingredients are grass, water and sunshine. I grow it and it's woven into your thermals. Unlike polyprop underwear which is made from petrochemicals.
  • Stinkiness: You can ski, hike, or fish all day, or run up and down the sideline, whatever the weather. No matter how active you get in your RedRam, it won't get smelly. Synthetic fibres stink to high heaven but Merino is far more efficient than other fibres at releasing sweat and moisture.
  • Comfort: Put on a silky smooth, super light merino garment and you'll enjoy the warmth of a heavy sweater. But you'll have none of the bulk. That's because of merino's finely crimped fibres, which create millions of air pockets to capture your body heat.
  • Sustainable: No use making men's and women's thermal underwear if there's not going to be a world left to wear it in. Fortunately RedRam merino wool is renewable and biodegradable. We merino are shorn each year, then we return to the mountains to grow more underwear. Merino is biodegradable and unlike cotton and synthetics it uses very low-energy production processes.
  • Pure Merino Wool: I am pure merino. And we merino spend our days roaming high in the spacious Southern Alps of New Zealand. Our coats are designed to naturally handle all extremes of weather. And that can mean -20 degrees Celcius in winter. 

Let me comment on the preceding. Breathability is an inherent characteristic of wool and is what makes wool such a wonderful insulator. Natural fibers, sustainable, and pure Merino wool, are all great aspects of the material and production ethics of Icebreaker and RedRam. Comfort is as comfort does, and these are comfortable. They run true to size, at least on me they did, and they are soft and warm. As to stinkiness, I didn't allow myself the privilege of testing that particular aspect of the RedRam Merino Thermals... having said that, the official socks of The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles, Darn Tough Vermont Boot Socks, are also made of Merino Wool, and are advertised as stink repellant.

Speaking of which, washing you wool garments require a bit of care if you want to make them last longer and retain their best characteristics. Use a soap product, not detergent. Use cold water. Wash them by hand or in a gentle cycle. Line dry them, do not use a drier! I of course broke every one of those rules while on base. Except the cold water rule. My socks and the RedRams have survived through it all.

Ok now for the nuts and bolts.

They are comfortable and they keep you warm. Temperatures varied between the high teens and low forties, with rain, sleet, snow, and bitingly cold clear days. My body and legs were comfortable; I never noticed the cold bothering me there. So that tells me they work, and work well. In the end, a tool that works well, is one you don't notice until its absence!

I rate the RedRam Marino Wool Thermal Underwear a definite buy.

RedRam Marino Wool Thermal Underwear
Retail prices:
Long sleeve shirt $57.99
Short sleeve $47.99
Long pants for $57.99
Boxers for $29.99.

Best Regards,
Albert A Rasch
Member:  Lakewood Ranch Tent Club
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles, Albert A Rasch, Hunting in Florida

Albert Rasch,HunterThough he spends most of his time writing and keeping the world safe for democracy, Albert was actually a student of biology. Really. But after a stint as a lab tech performing repetitious and mind-numbing processes that a trained Capuchin monkey could do better, he never returned to the field. Rather he became a bartender. As he once said, "Hell, I was feeding mice all sorts of concoctions. At the club I did the same thing; except I got paid a lot better, and the rats where bigger." He has followed the science of QDM for many years, and fancies himself an aficionado. If you have any questions, or just want to get more information, reach him via TheRaschOutdoorChronicles(at)MSN(dot)com.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Making Caviar with Hank Shaw and Hunter, Angler, Gardner, Cook

How to Make caviar with Hank Shaw of Honest Food Net!
© 2012 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

How to Make Caviar!

"Caviar, the delicacy of Kings, Princes and Commissars. Think of gold, diamonds, Champagne, Ferraris, and what else but caviar. The finest caviar was from the Caspian Sea, from sturgeons that could weigh over 900 pounds and reach ages greater than we humans. It was carefully harvested, delicately salted to preserve it, and sent all over the world in sterling containers carefully packed in ice. Beluga was the most famous, and Ostreca and Sevruga were also revered by connoisseurs." (From Great Cooking)

As usual, for reasons that I don't quite remember, and who's torturous path through my synapses I can't even begin to fathom, I wanted to know how to make caviar.  Don't ask, I have no idea why, it's not like there are any fish in Afghanistan.

Well, there are some, but they real good at spotting an Afghan with an RPG. Seriously they shoot at trout with RPGs to collect them. Here.

Anyway, I started checking out caviar making, and lo and behold Mr Hank Shaw of Hunter Angler Gardener Cook did a whole write up on preparing salmon roe so you can on your way to making caviar.

"Caviar has always had a hold on me. It is a mysterious ingredient, almost otherworldy; the individual eggs look like jewels from an alien planet. Caviar tastes briny and vaguely floral, and the textural surprise of the pop in your mouth has led more than one writer to liken it to Pop Rocks for adults." Hank Shaw, How to Make Caviar

I would be remiss if i didn't mention the food photography by Holly Heyser; it is phenomenal!

 Photo credit: Holly Heyser
Makes you want to lick the monitor screen doesn't it?

So there you have it folks, another project for all of us to give a shot at come fishing season!

 If you have already tried it, please let us know how it worked out. We have substantial shad runs in Florida, and I am curious as to the possibilities of making caviar.. More research is in order!

Best Regards,
Albert A Rasch
Member:  Lakewood Ranch Tent Club
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...