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OUR LATEST POSTS

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At one point or another, every man will look themselves in the mirror and realize they need a camper.

Just recently I have developed a strong desire to get a camper. On several occasions, on a growing basis, I find myself looking for lodging in remote areas as I plan hunting and fishing trips. Having a camper would make these little weekend adventures much easier in regards to time, money, and convenience.

The biggest problem I face, however, is storage. I just simply don’t have a place to put one! This is where a nice little DIY truck bed camper has inspired my imagination to get to work to hopefully figure out a way to do it.

First off, I looked at some teardrops. If you are not familiar with a teardrop camper, they are dinky little pull behinds that mostly just fit a bed and little bit of storage. They are fairly lower priced as compared to bigger pull behinds and the same for manufactured truck bed campers.

However, finding a used one tends to lead to paying more than I care to spend for such a whim, and making one myself is just out of my element. I don’t want to be giving people high-fours instead of high-fives for the rest of the my life because I decided to play Bob Vila for a few weekends and lost a digit.

homemade-camper1-300x258So, what would be the next natural thought in this decision making tree? Yep. I own a truck so why not throw some boards together and make my own truck bed camper!

If you just listened closely, you may have heard the collective slap sound of wives across the country smacking their foreheads in disappointment. Google has some really good information on this subject and some of it seems easy enough that I am confident I just might keep all of my digits.

Alright, here we go. According to several websites like this one and and the one found here, it all looks and sounds pretty darn easy, doesn’t it? Just go to Home Depot or Lowe’s, grab some 2×4’s, some insulated paneling of some sort, a bunch of screws, and slap it all together with the help of a few cuts here and there. Well, at least that is what I’m telling myself right now.

Maybe this video by tontotralman, might make you feel a little more confident about the whole thing.

Are you feeling more confident? I am too. In the coming months be sure to check back for progress as I attempt to take this on and see where it goes. I can’t imagine mine will be as elaborate as the truck bed camper in the video above, but functional and warm is more my goal anyways. I’m not worried about lights or electricity on the inside. Instead, just a place to sleep and keep the elements at bay.

Have you ever tried to build your own? What tips do you have for me?

1

Get better meals and save money by home dehydrating.

Anyone who’s camped more than a mile from the parking lot has probably eaten dehydrated food. It’s a great way to keep and transport real food, and a major advance from pilot bread.

After that the reviews get more mixed. Some dishes preserve great. Beef stroganoff and other pastas—a freeze dried staple when I was a Boy Scout—typically don’t do well.

The good news is that you aren’t limited to what you can find at a camping store. Dehydrating at home is simple and more affordable than you’d have guessed. This quick run-down should give you the why and how of dehydrating your own food for hunting and camping trips.

Dehydrating Is Easier Than You Think

The initial investment for a food drier is manageable. A good one will run you around $200 dollars. Most models look like a scaled-down mechanic’s tool chest: a box with a lot of thin drawers. Those drawers hold racks where the food sits while warm air is passed over it to dry it out. The process is pretty simple and works with most foods, though some are more challenging. Meat especially takes some finesse.

ca-fooddrierYou will start to see saved money right away. The dehydrated foods you see in outdoor stores run around $4 a pack, and if you spend a lot of time in the backcountry, you could be saving money in a matter of months.

You can save more space and keep food longer if you vacuum pack after dehydrating. Unfortunately, that equipment is usually sold separately.

Preserve Flavor

Momofuku chef David Chang is a huge proponent of dehydrating food. His love affair began with ramen noodles, probably the most recognizable freeze dried product in the world. For Chang it’s about flavor. If you’ve ever sampled the flavor-powder that comes with a pack of instant ramen, you’ll know what he means—it’s almost unbearably intense.

Other methods of storing food tend to break down flavor-compounds, or else cover them up with preservatives. Dehydration preserves the flavor of fruit and meat, and avoids the loss through spoilage that’s all too common in today’s refrigerators.

Customize Your Meals

A lot of store-bought meals are kind of formulaic. Rice or pasta, some kind of sauce, and dinky cubes of meat and vegetables. Home dehydrating lets you get creative.

Most sauces dehydrate well, especially if they don’t have much fat. Fatty things like dairy can be dehydrated, but they tend not to last as long and the texture suffers from the process.

You also get the advantage of the personal touch. Home-prepared meat and vegetables will almost certainly be superior to their processed equivalents, even if you aren’t a great cook. Honestly, it doesn’t take much.

More Nutrition

This blogger found that their home-prepped spaghetti compared very favorably to the store-bought equivalent. It had more calories and less sodium. Slightly less protein, but that can be made up with chicken or other meats.

2

I challenge you to tell us a crazier hunting story than this one.

On Oct. 2, bowhunter Casey Sanders showed up to his deer stand near Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia to find something very unexpected. A naked man was standing in a nearby creek, holding nothing but a walking stick. The buck naked stranger said he had been beaten up by a group of guys while leaving Tomorrowland, a three-day electronic dance music festival held nearby four days earlier.

The man said he’d been in the woods for four days, staying alive on rotten crab apples and creek water, and that he didn’t even know what state he was in. Sanders kept his distance from the man while they had this bizarre exchange.

Sanders wrote that he eventually helped the man find his way off his land.

“He recalled his number and I got in touch with somebody to come get him after I led him to the road. By far the craziest hunting story, I will ever have!”

If you were Sanders, what would you have done?

3

This French bulldog and deer get together in a Canadian backyard for a good old time.

You’d think a dog and deer encounter would involve little other than strictly running.

As in, the deer fleeing from the dog that is chasing it. But the scene in the video posted to YouTube by Jamie-Rae Fifield plays out a little differently.

Yeah, chasing happens but not before a little fun.

It probably helps that the bulldog, a 3 year old named Ellie-Mae, is a French Bulldog. This means that she is quite a bit smaller than other bulldogs.

I think the term “playing” is used very loosely in this case. It seems that the deer may be the one playing with the dog. I’ve never seen a dog try to intimidate a deer unsuccessfully before, but that appears to be what is happening here.

I’m not sure if the deer is confused or if he is trying to fight back but either way it makes for an entertaining video.

Have you ever seen anything like this, or other deer antics in your backyard? Tell us about them in the comments below.

Harvesting does is a controversial issue in many deer camps, even among individual deer hunters. The venison is great and most deer herds can use minor culling, yet there is something about tinkering with future populations that makes many hunters uneasy.

Should you bag all the antlerless deer that the law allows, or is it better to be conservative and keep the fawn factory humming?

This QDMA post speaks directly to the dilemma.

byers017You’ve heard some people say they never shoot does “because that is like killing next year’s fawns.” While this sounds logical, it’s not always the correct approach. Doe harvest isn’t always necessary, but when it is, taking the right number of does can actually increase fawn production.

The reason is pretty simple: Healthy does raise more fawns.

Consider a deer population in which there are more deer than the local habitat can support in optimal health, whether deer density is too high, habitat quality is very poor, or both. Under these conditions, fawn recruitment is lower than it could be. Does in this population conceive and give birth to fewer fawns on average. Those fawns then experience lower survival rates due to decreased milk abundance, less quality forage for weaning, and greater susceptibility to disease, weather, predators and other mishaps due to less-than-optimal health. By fall, the number of fawns that have survived to six months of age is relatively low. You may only recruit one fawn into the fall population for every two or three does – or worse.

DSC_0196Calling waterfowl, wild turkeys, and game animals is one of the most exciting ways to hunt.

Watching a big gobbler change course and come directly to your waiting shotgun is heart-pounding excitement and makes you a much more effective hunter.

Waterfowl calling is equally exciting and necessary for success on ducks and geese.

Learning to call wild creatures is challenging because it’s mostly trial and error. Using incorrect notes or sequences will actually scare game away.

Matt Wettish has solved this dilemma with the “Conquer the Call” video training system, which will teach you the basics and help you develop your skill levels to expert grade without costly in-field mistakes.

Check out this quick video and get into the game.