AuthorRussel

Midnight Chainsaw Campout – Hardcore Adventurecraft

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It’s cold and it’s dark, you need fire! What you wouldn’t give for a chainsaw and some matches?! Sure it’s nice to take your time… if and when you’ve got it. I love a painstakingly handcrafted artisan fire just as much as the next guy in line at Starbucks, but when you live in one of the coldest and snowiest places on Earth, sometimes you just want fire and you want it now!

It might not be modern Bushcraft aesthetic, it’s obviously not survival, we were only an hour away from the truck… so what is it? It’s Adventurecraft baby!!!!! Come join me, Joel, and Joel’s chainsaw for some heavy duty bush time deep in the dark cold Canadian wilderness. It was awesome!!!

Sometimes you wanna play bowdrill and sometimes you just wanna play chainsaw!

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A Late Night Arrival.

Big boys with full time jobs don’t really get to do much other than work during the weekdays. So when Friday comes around, just packing up, traveling and trekking out to a remote camp site can push you pretty far into the night. Never the less adventure demands action! Sally forth!

Chainsaw Camping - Late Night Arrival

We didn’t get out to our site till very very late.




Chainsaw Equals Fast Fire!

Like I said in the above video description, “It’s cold and it’s dark, you need fire! What you wouldn’t give for a chainsaw and some matches?!” Add to that the fact that it’s already the middle of the night! Could I have made a more hard fought primitive fire in this circumstance? For example, could I have chopped all the wood by hand and started the fire with flint and steel? Yes, yes I could have. However because I’m out this evening for the less noble cause of relaxing and drinking beer, I choose a faster route to the same goal.

Chainsaws equal faster fires. Fact.

Chainsaw Campout - Joel Replaces Chain on His Saw

It’s best to change your blade regularly. Joel gives us one important tip about installing your chain… don’t install backwards!

Chainsaw Campout - Cutting a Fallen Dead Spruce

There is always plenty of dead wood around for use for small trips like this. There is no need to harvest living wood.

“I Thought You Were Into Bushcraft?”

So let’s not beat around the bushcraft… I mean bush, chainsaws aren’t officially bushcraft sanctioned. I’ll give you that, chainsaws are not bushcraft. However, I feel that modern bushcraft seems to be more of an idealized aesthetic, a style, than an actual strict practice of thriving in a wilderness environment. It seems that style is king and almost commercially branded at this point. So many companies selling “Bushcraft”. If you don’t fit the mold someone will surely point out, “Well that’s not Bushcraft!”

However I do not prescribe to any particular aesthetic. I do what I want. If I want to play bushcraft with a knife and a few sticks I play bushcraft with a knife and a few sticks. If I want to saw up a couple of trees and have a roaring fire, it doesn’t mean I don’t practice bushcraft. I just practice it when and how I want.

Don’t misunderstand me however, I love bushcraft. I love the practice of wilderness self sufficiency, and the skill set that goes with it, but don’t tell me how to craft my bushes.

I feel like I am rambling, however I’ll allow it. I am, after all, the guy who won’t stop typing.

Chainsaw Campout - Preparing Kindling

To baton or not to baton.. who gives a crap?! Get ‘er lit!

“But In A Survival Situation!”

If this was a survival situation would you look at the chainsaw and then an axe and choose to use more time and energy on the axe? No of course not. This wasn’t a survival situation though was it? So it’s up to you or me to decide what we see fit. You can choose either option based on your current supplies, needs or even desires. It’s up to you. In the end it’s your time in the woods, spend it how you please.

Speaking of survival situations, how boned would I have been if I had have burned the scales off my knife?! Would not have been ideal that’s for sure.

Chainsaw Campout - Don't Burn Your Knife

When I was making kindling, I pounded my Camillus Bushcrafter down into the fire lay. I’m glad I noticed it before it was damaged. Don’t burn your tools!




Time To Bounce.

Everything good has to end sometime. We were up pretty late carrying on and making merry around the fire. I havn’t got a clue what time we even went to bed. Morning came, as it does, and we packed up and made ready to head out. It was a great night, a great adventure!

Chainsaw Campout - Packing Up

These little pleasure trips have got to end sometime. Plus it’s dang cold out there, and unless you plan of cutting more wood, you may as well bounce.

Chainsaw Campout - Don't Burn Your Boot

So… being distracted while telling a story with your feet near the fire is a bad idea. All it took was seconds and my $300 dollar Scarpa’s were on fire.

Chainsaw Campout - Left Over Firewood

We found some nice standing dead cedar during the night. This wood was well seasoned and dried. It served us well and there was even leftovers for next time. Thank you tree!

The moral of the story? It’s your time in the woods… do your own thing. Stay safe!




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Skinning My First Rabbit… Join Me in the Fur Shed!

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Welcome back everyone! After the satisfaction of my getting my first catch, it’s now time to put this natural resource to use. I’m after a pair of rabbit fur mitts for next season. That means getting my first catch skinned out and eventually tanned. Join me in the fur shed. Let’s get to work skinning that rabbit.

WARNING!! This video contains graphic images of animals being processed for fur. Images may include blood and/or animals with their fur and skin removed. VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED!!!

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Welcome to the Fur Shed.

Ah… the fur shed! With it’s kerosene heater, bottle of whiskey and unmistakable feeling you’ve gone back in time! It’s awesome. Very nostalgic. Furs, traps and gear line the walls, and bits of scrap fur lay here and there on the floor. The fur shed is purpose built, and there is no mistaking what goes on there. This is a man cave, if ever there was one!

Skinning in the Fur Shed

Welcome to Tyler’s fur shed. Tyler was kind enough to let us film this video in his warm and comfortable fur shed. The atmosphere was awesome. Traps, furs, whiskey! It was great!

You can see in the background of the shots above and below, a coyote and two foxes that we had just skinned prior to beginning the rabbit. These were my first canine skinning jobs and I enjoyed the work immensely. It was a great learning experience. These furs were donated as practice furs for me to work on. I have one of the foxes tanned up and hanging on my wall at home now.

Anyway back to business. I admire my catch one last time and then get to the business at hand. Turning that catch into a rabbit pelt.

Im going to be skinning this Snowshoe Hare

Here I am, still so proud of my first trapping catch, admiring the beautiful specimen.




Let’s Get to Skinning .

Now the step by step process is much more fluid in the above video, but here are the basic steps I follow when skinning a rabbit. I’m sure I could break it down into even more detailed steps, but to be honest I feel that would over complicate things. It’s actually not rocket science and you just gotta get in there and go for it. Your first skin or two might be a little jagged but you will learn really fast. It’s a simple learning curve.

Step 1

You need to start somewhere and most trappers start skinning from the hind end. The first thing you need to do is cut a ring around both ankles and remove the rear feet.

Skinning Step 1... Making the Ankle Cuts

The first cut you make is a ring around both ankles.

Step 2

You need to open the pelt up so you can pull it off the carcass. First identify the line from the ankle to the vent. You can see a fairly slight change in the color and direction of the fur on most animals along this line. Use this line as your guide. You open the fur from the ankles to the “vent”. The vent is the skinning term for the poop shoot. But we don’t say poop shoot. We never say poop shoot! Unless we do say poop shoot. In which case we just say poop shoot. Anyways… it’s the vent.

Skinning Step 2a... Identify Ankle to Vent Cut Line

You should be able to easily identify a change in color pattern following a line from the ring cut at the ankle to the “vent” of the animal. This is the line the next cut will follow.

Skinning Step 2b... Making Ankle to Vent Cuts

After removing the feet you now place the knife under the skin. Make a cut, following the fur color line, to the vent. Do this for both hind legs.

Skinning Step 2c... Ankle to Vent Cut Finished

Here is what it will look like after you open the fur from the ankle to the vent. Do this for both hind legs.




Step 3

Now it gets easier. You will feel you’ve really gotten somewhere after completing this step. You’ve already opened it up on one end so now all you need to do is pull the pelt away from the flesh. You can basically think of pulling off a sock. Just roll it down off the carcass.

Skinning Step 3... Removing the Fur

Now that the lower portion is opened up it gets really easy from here. Simply pull the fur off the rabbit as if removing a sock.

Step 4

Remove the front feet and pull the front legs out. The only tricky bit to this part is getting it started. What you need to do is poke your finger through the sinew under the “armpit”. Right between the skin and the meat. Once you have this accomplished you can use the front legs to pull against, removing them from  the pelt. Do this for both front legs.

Skinning Step 6... Pull Out the Front Legs.

Once you roll the fur down as far as the “armpit”, remove the front feet and then pull the front legs out of the fur as if pulling them out of a sleeve of a coat. Do this for both front legs.

Step 5

Now you just have to finish up and cut the pelt free of the carcass. Basically just continue pulling the pelt off as you did before up over the neck and as far up over the head as you can. For species like mink, muskrat, otter and others this is a must. These species must be perfectly removed from the carcass to be marketable. In the case of rabbit, they aren’t even typically sold at large fur auctions, so it doesn’t really matter. I was trying to see if I could do it on this rabbit but I blew it. Rabbit skin is very thin.

Skinning Step 5... Finishing Up Over the Head

This last step is just a way to get all the usable leather and fur you can. Continue to pull the fur off over the head as far as you can.

Step 6

Once you have the pelt free of the carcass you simply split it straight from vent to chin along the belly to open it up… Then open the front legs, identifying the same sort of fur patterning as you did for the rear legs.

Remember to open your pelt up and salt it well to remove moisture and preserve it till tanning. Lay the pelt fur down and salt directly on the bare leather, making sure to cover all areas of the pelt. I did not show this in the above video. I should have, I’m sorry. I will show it in the tanning video I have planned for the near future.

My Furry Prize.

With the skinning done and opened up I admire how clean and soft it is. A job well done I’d say. Typically with farmed rabbits I had been cutting the heads off and going in from front to back, so this was a bit different for me. I’m sure I’ll get more proficient with time.

Beautiful Fur

Again I beam with pride. I have skinned rabbits before, but this was special. I’ll never forget my first catch as a trapper!

So again, I’d refer to the video above for more detail, but there you have it… Rabbit Skinning 101! As mentioned above, I plan on doing a tanning video in the near future. Stay tuned as this future article and video will complete the process of turning my catch into usable fur.




Thanks for joining me here on Outdoor Adventurecraft!

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Snaring My First Rabbit! Come see!

New Video @ Outdoor Adventurecraft on YouTube!

I’m so excited right now! You can see it on my face as soon as the video starts! I snared my first rabbit! I got home and got right to editing so I could share with everyone. A pristine snowshoe hare! So white and clean in his deep winter coat. Just beautiful! Join me and see my first catch!

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Making the Find.

So I headed out to check the line again. As a trapper you have to be patient. That comes with the territory. You do your best… then wait it out.

I didn’t know if I would be successful or not. In the interest of getting that first catch recorded though, I took the camera. Man, was I glad I did! After finding a few empty snares, I came around the bend on my little snare line and there… just off to the left under some low cover, was a rabbit in one of my snares! I actually was mildly shocked for a few seconds. It took a moment to register that I had actually made that first catch. I was soo excited!

Finding the Rabbit

Here you see the rabbit just as I found it. Snared cleanly and quickly around the neck.




The Look on My Face!

At this point, after making the find, I set up the camera and began filming. I wanted to let my viewers know I had snared my first rabbit. This was what I had been waiting for! My face beaming from ear to ear I began to express my excitement.

It takes commitment to get into trapping. Here in New Brunswick you have to take a trappers safety and certification course to be legal to trap. I had to travel one hour each way everyday to a nearby town where a course was being held. We have laws on which traps are allowed for specific species, as well as for the seasons we are allowed to trap within. Needless to say getting the education and knowledge to begin an activity like trapping is a lot of work. I was feeling very fulfilled to finally make my first catch. The effort and the time had been worth it. The feeling was memorable to say the least. I’ll never forget it!

The Happiest Smile Ever

This picture was taken from just seconds after I discovered my first catch ever! I was practically bubbling with excitement.

I’m a lot of things before I’m a trapper. I’m a son, a husband, a father, a brother, and employee… you get the point. So to take on a new hobby and really give it your all takes some sacrifice. I’m a beginner with a lot to learn, but catching that first rabbit was a great feeling. You just have to try it.

Hoisting My Trophy

Held up high, my prize files me with a sense of fulfillment and relief that I actually finally had achieved success. I had invested much time in effort to get this far. Very proud moment.




My Prize, A Perfect Snowshoe Rabbit (varying hare).

Fully grown, with a perfect winter coat, my Snowshoe Hare or Snowshow Rabbit, was beautiful. I just call them rabbits typically.  Call them what you will… this one, as far as rabbits go, was a beauty!

For more information on the Snowshoe Hare see the link below.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowshoe_hare

Admiring My Catch

Just a perfect specimen. I was very proud here, and also very excited to have the camera with me. I was very happy to share my excitement with everyone.

Common Hare

With their winter fur pattern in full effect, these guys are really hard to hunt without a dog to flush them out. If they are sitting still you likely wont even see them.

The season came and went in a real hurry! I hope to get a lot more snares down next season and really make a go of it. For now, I’m just glad to have made this first catch. Looking forward to spring muskrat season now. Stay tuned!




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Checking the Trap Line and Improving the “Funneling”

New Video @ Outdoor Adventurecraft on YouTube!

Hey everyone… let’s go check those snares! After my last video I went and placed 7 more snares for a total of 9. I spent a lot more time “funneling” around them to guide the rabbit towards the snares. Let’s go see if my efforts paid off.

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Just a Quick Trip Out to Check the Line.

Working a 40 hour week as many of us do, finding the time to check snares or to have a hobby like trapping at all can be tricky. Many trappers end up running out at night to check their lines. Needless to say this is a bit inconvenient, but one does what one must. I fight on the front lines as a weekend warrior as well!

I put these particular snares in a few days prior and had done a better job with the funneling than in my first few attempts. It really does make a big difference. These being some of my very first snares I’m still learning every time I touch the wire!




Improved Funneling Around the Traps.

For snares to be effective, you really want to do everything you can to direct the targeted species to the snare or trap. This is called “funneling” as it creates a natural guidance towards the snare. In the chance that something does come along near the path of the snare, the funneling will block their way from going around snare. The path of least resistance will be the opening where the snare is.

It’s really easy to do too, as everything you need to do a good job of it is right there in the woods. Branches, sticks, leaves, rocks, anything really can be placed in such a way as to direct traffic towards the snare. Experiment, use what’s on hand. You can’t really do it wrong. You can do it poorly maybe, like me on my first few snares, but any amount of funneling increases your chances.

Use natural funneling

In this instance I used a naturally occurring fallen branch to tie snare to. I also added some additional twigs and sticks to hide things in.

Funneling Around Snares

Using small well rooted trees that occur close together you can easily fill in around the snare.

Thankfully “funneling” is not a difficult task. The more time you spend at it the better your chances and the easier it will be. Just try to picture how the animal might see the ways around the snare and prevent that if possible.




The One That Got Away!

Upon checking one of my snares I found the brass line stretched out as tight as could be and the snare itself was snapped right off the end! There are really only four possibilities.

  1. A predator heard the distress call and came in shortly after and snatched it.
  2. A rabbit got snared poorly, possibly around leg and got away.
  3. A human discovered the catch and took it.
  4. Something much larger found itself temporarily detained by a tiny brass snare.

Now I presume to think a coyote or a fox got it. My reasons? There are a ton of coyotes and fox in my area! Lol. A few centimeters of fluffy powder had fallen that AM. Under this very recent light powder, there was hard packed snow that had previously experienced a mild thaw and refreeze. This would have made passing undetected before the powder fell very easy on top of the frozen crust. Can I say for sure this is what happened… nope! If it did, the culprit must have taken the catch somewhere else to make a meal of it. There was no sign of blood or struggle.

It’s also possible the rabbit got snared around leg only in which case he would easily have been able to escape. This is also a likely possibility. In which case the small loop with nothing to hold it shut would have eventually sooner than later just fallen off.

Then there is the possibility of human interference. Do I think another trapper came and took it? No not really. I mean it’s possible, but it’s a remote spot and only accessible on snow shoes. Seems a great length to go to for a single snared rabbit.

It’s also possible that the aforementioned predator themselves got snagged up and quickly broke free. This also lines up with the hard packed snow conditions. It would have been hard to tell it ever happened unless it had happened after the powder fell.

No matter how you figure it, something got away! I had something in that snare and it was gone. I have been thinking about it ever since, deliberating over the possible causes. You be the judge.

Snapped Snare Line

I can only assume that either the rabbit got leg snared and broke free, or a predator took my catch before I could return.

Future Success?!

I can’t say, but tune into the next article to find out. You’ll be glad you did! And stay close to Outdoor Adventurecraft as we get underway with our Winter Expedition Series.




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Tying My First Rabbit Snares. Come learn with me!

New Video @ Outdoor Adventurecraft on YouTube!

Having just taken my trapping course a few months ago, it was high time I got out to lay my first snares! So I headed out on a beautiful -20c Canadian day! I even had a chance to have a fire and fry up some baloney too. I hadn’t had a chance to chill out in the bush for a long time! Join me… learn something and relax by the fire.

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Newbie Disclaimer!

This video captured what where literally my first two snares ever! Before this video, I had only ever read about or seen videos about how to tie a basic snare. I took my certification course recently as required by law here in my province. What you see here is me diving in! I’ve got a lot to learn. I am by no means a source for expert trapping advise. What this video does demonstrate is that anyone, regardless of skill level, who has an interest, can enjoy trapping! Just go for it! Get legal and stay safe!

Just little ol' me tying some snares

Just out on a nice day learning to tie my very first snares. I was very happy to get my trapping hobby started.




How to Tie Rabbit Snares.

A snare is the most basic of traps. It’s both primitive and modern. It’s been used for thousands or years. In modern times snares are often brass, stainless steel or even braided steel wire for larger species. Because of the simplicity of design they can be made simply out of any strong cordage material. Thus the interest shown by the bushcraft and survival community.

All you will need is some snare wire, a pair of wire cutters, and your hands. Let’s get started. Anyone can do it.

Step 1 – Wrap Short End Around a Twig.

This is pretty straight forward. Starting with about 4 feet of wire, take the last 3 inches and make two wraps around a small twig. Some people only use 1 wrap, that’s fine too. I do two wraps because it creates a locking ring to better prevent the snare from reopening.

Create the Snares Locking Loop

Start by wrapping your snare wire around a small twig.

Step 2 – Twist Short End Back Around Wire.

Using the twig with locking loops in one hand and with the tip of short wire and the rest of the wire in the other, simply start twisting the twig. The shorter wire will twist back down around the length of the rest of the wire. It helps to start with the end of the wire and the rest of the length angled apart at about 90 degrees. This method is nearly foolproof and virtually guarantees a tight even bond between the two sections of wire. This method uses the twig as a perfect handle to simplify to job.

After you’ve twisted the short end down the longer end about an inch if you still have extra I just started wrapping it back up towards locking loops. In my beginners opinion this seemed to add friction to the twists and further prevent escape. You want a strong snare.

Form the Snare's Locking Loop

Twist the short end back along the wire ensuring the locking loops wont open back up when snare is under load.

Once you are finished twisting your twig handle till the locking loop is tightly formed and secure, you can simply break the twig at the point where the wire goes around it and presto it’ll pop right out. See above video for clarification.

Step 3 – Thread the Loop.

This is the part that turns your wire into a trap! Once you thread that locking loop with the long end you basically have a slip knot or snare that will tighten on anything that gets caught in it and tries to pull against it. Aim to make your snare loop a little bigger than your fist.

Thread the Locking Loop

Simply bring the long end of the wire back through your locking loop and you should start to see the snare forming.

You can start to see how that second loop acts as a lock now… When the snare is pulled tight, without the second locking loop you have just a strained loop that the long end might move back through. With the second locking loop, when under strain the inner loop is able to bind 360 degrees all the way around the wire thus preventing slippage or loosing off of the snare. Try both and test them by putting a piece of firewood through the snare and look at the results of the second locking loop.

Step 4 – Put a Bend in Wire to Prevent Unwanted Movement.

So now that you basically have the snare finished, you will notice at this point the whole thing just sorta moves around where ever based on the springy nature of the wire. Wire has metal memory and can take some convincing to get to do what you want it to.

I make a gentle round 180 degree bend back along the snare and then a gentle bend 90 degrees up. This creates a pocket in the snare wire for the locking loop to rest and holds the size you set the snare too

Get Kinky With You Snares

You need to bend the snare loop to prevent the locking loop from sliding out of its desired position.

Step 5 – Celebrate your first snare.

You are now a trapper, albeit an inexperienced one who has never caught anything yet! It’s a start and you should be proud! Dance a little jig!




Step 1 – Wrap long end around tree more than once!

You may need to experiment with the right amount of wire to start with to make sure you can wrap around more that once. You want to rely on that friction of the wraps around the tree rather than the twists you place in the wire. Wrap any remaining wire around the tree until you have no less than 4 inches of tag (more is fine) to lock it on to the snare.

Setting Snares

Make sure you put plenty of wraps around the tree you intend to use. Rely on that friction not just the twisted wires.

Step 2 – now twist the tag and snare Together.

One tip I have noticed, is try to engage both wires in the twisting. Don’t simply wrap one wire around the other. Try to make both wires wrap around each other. This can be achieved by angling both wires away from each other 45 to 90 degrees as you wrap them around each other. Get a nice obvious spiral going with the two wires marrying together nice n tight. Again if you get slack, wrap it back towards the tree.

Step 3 – position Your snare.

Set snare opening to just larger than your fist and set about 4 fingers above the ground. This is no hard science. Just try to imagine the size of your target and position of head when coming down the trail. Set accordingly.

Setting Your Snares

How you set your snares is important. I use large fist size snares set about 4 fingers off the surface of the snow or ground. In this set you can see I choose the location because there was already some natural funneling available. This can actually often be the case if you are observant.

Step 4 – Funneling.

In trapping, funneling refers to closing in around the trap in such a way to guide target towards the snare. This increases the odds of a catch. Is it 100% necessary? No. Will you catch more with good funneling? It’s very likely. Use your best judgement. If you have a really obvious game trail that is well traveled, too much change to the scenery may make the target suspicious of the change. You may get lucky with what is called a blind set, a snare set unhidden unbaited on a well traveled trail.

In the above video I lacked much by way of decent funneling. If you check out my next video in the series, you can see much more attention paid to funneling around the snares. This helps to guide your target towards the snare. In the next video I come back after setting out many more snares to check them and to snow the funneling I worked on.

Some Time to Myself! Finally!

Not many snares were set on this my first outing. I wanted some time to myself to relax and enjoy a fire. After a few days, I went back out and put out a bunch more snares. The more snares out the better the chance of results.

Having found a nice piece of dry standing wood, I went to work processing it down. I didn’t need a big fire. Just a small cooking fire.

Harvesting Dry Standing Wood

Getting fuel for a little fire. It’s good to take some time to relax.

I decided to use some dry tinder I had been storing in my bag. It had been in there for a long time and I wanted to cycle it out. I had made a primitive folded pocket for the tinder from a rabbit pelt. It was tied shut as one would a parcel with natural jute twine with a bow on top so it could be opened easily. More tinder can be collected and my stash replenished next time I’m out.

Birch Bark Tinder

I always carry dry tinder material with me. When dry tinder is available at site I prefer to use that, however sometimes I just want to cycle my stash. The oils in Birch Bark all but guarantee a fire.

Using the birch bark from my pack and a brush bundle made from dead spruce and fir twigs I found at site, I was easily able to light my standing dead wood fuel. This gave me sometime to warm up and reflect by the fire. A fire in the woods by myself offers me untold peace and replenishes me deeply. It had been too long and this was much needed. The whiskey I brought added a nice touch too!!!

Reflecting by the Fire

This sorta thing needs to happen often if I’m to be a balanced individual! Seriously, sometimes I just need to stare into the fire and work out my priorities. That’s where it all seems to make sense.

To wrap things up I had a little baloney fry and was able to share a few more thoughts with the viewers of the above video. I thanked them and I thank you the reader here too, for joining me to learn something and experience the outdoors via my adventure on that day. I had a great time, learned a lot, and am happy to share the experience with you as best I can.

Frying Some Baloney

Having a bite to eat in the cold winter air is awesome! It doesn’t matter that it’s just a slice of plain old baloney. To me… in that moment, it was heaven!

Till next time… Don’t eat yellow snow!




Thanks for joining me here on Outdoor Adventurecraft!

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Getaway Weekend @ The Cabin

New Video @ Outdoor Adventurecraft on YouTube!

Life at the cabin at its’ best… Lots of snow and a full wood box! Don’t forget the beer and gruel! A great weekend at the cabin with friends and family. Why not come join us? Get your wet boots off and get yer’ feet up. Grab some slop and listen to the stories. Welcome to the cabin!

At it’s core the content for this video has some examples of easy to prepare camp meals made from extremely basic canned ingredients available in any convenience store. It doesn’t have to be fancy to be tasty. Everything tastes better at the camp with warm fire and good friends!

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Making The Trek.

One of the not so relaxing parts of a relaxing weekend is always the load in! Trekking up the hill laden with gear is a chore to be sure. It’s worth it though. Once you get a nice fire lit and crack that first beer it’s paradise! Especially if you are spending time with good friends and family.

Joel's Gear Skid

Joel is pretty hard core when it comes to the backcountry! He made this sweet gear tote from odds n’ ends. He carried most of our stuff up. BEAST MODE!!!!




My buddy Joel was out hiking around Mount Carleton that same weekend. We met at the camp. He had his homemade trail tote with him. The harness is made from the belt out of a tool pouch, the poles are fiberglass chimney sweep poles and the tote itself is a deep kids toboggan. Really well built and genius design. I thought he had purchased it. I asked him where he got such a sweet setup, to which he informed me he had just made it himself. Very cool!

Arriving at the Cabin

Our beast of burden, AKA Joel, lol, pulls into the cabin dooryard. Don’t think I wasn’t pack laden too, I was! I always over pack. Somebody has gotta carry the beer!

Loaded down myself with gear and supplies, the trip is difficult but well worth it. I actually like that it’s a little hard to get to. Makes it so much more rewarding!

Cabin Time With Friends.

Obviously a warm cabin atmosphere is made even warmer by the company of friendly faces and happy chatter. My son Chris and nephew Avery were up. Joel obviously, our pack donkey was there as well as Aaron. Much laughter and smack talk was par for the course.

Relaxing with friends

One of the best parts of getting up to the cabin is time with friends. Just chilling out, a few beers, and talking about nothin till the am! Love it!




Cooking Up Some Cabin Grub.

After all the trekking and laughter, you gotta feed the troops! A hodgepodge of beans, wieners and alpha-getti was on the menu. I also did up a batch of “Expanded Ham”, a silly made up fancy recipe for roasting up a a can of ham on a stick. A cabin specialty!!!

Back in Cabin Life : Episode 3 – “Cabin Cookin'”, I outline my theory for camp gruel or as some call it hodgepodge. Simply put, you take what you or others may have brought and throw it all in the pot. Good themes are things like beans, chili and meat based soups or stew. I usually try to add as many meats as I can get my hands on. It all depends on how well I’ve prepared. My gruel can range anywhere from bacon, steak and sausage miracles of the culinary arts, to bean and cocktail wiener discount slop! But it’s all good at the camp! The fire, friends and the fresh air fix everything!

Beans N' Wieners

A typical Hodgepodge of Beans n Wieners and other things. Anything goes!

When it come to “Expanded Ham”, the idea is to get the meat spread out well on the stick or skewer so that it can dry roast all in around the delicious fingers of ham! It’s a great one to have in your recipe book. You dirty zero dishes and it works just as well over an open fire as it does over the stove.

Expanded Ham

“Expanded Ham” is a made up name I gave to fancy up the simple task of sticking a canned ham on a skewer! It may not be fancy French cuisine but its amazing at the camp!!!!!

The real secret to good food has always been the company and atmosphere. I’d rather eat slop in the house of Kings than eat delicacies with the swine!

Get Out There!

Maybe you don’t have an old shack in the woods, doesn’t matter… Grab some buds and some lawn chairs and go get a bonfire going! Have a few brews, cook up some slop, enjoy that adventurous atmosphere! Carpe Diem!!! That wasn’t too cliche was it?! Who cares, get going!




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Tracking Small Game

New Video @ Outdoor Adventurecraft on YouTube!

I was out hunting for rabbit, partridge and squirrel on a mild winters day so I brought the camera along. I did not have an opportunity to harvest anything on this day,  however I did have a chance to talk a little about gun safety, knife sharpening and tracking small game

While this is no comprehensive guide to tracking, I hope you can pick up a few ideas for your next trip out. The atmosphere was great and the time in the bush was very relaxing. Join me for a beautiful walk in the woods.

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Tons of Snow makes for easy tracking!

Late 2016 has seen an insane amount of snow fall here in eastern Canada. In and around the trees the snow often is 2 feet deep. This was shot in late December, it’s now January as I write this and I can’t wait to see how much snow we get in 2017!

Finding and identifying tracks and game trails is very easy in the snow. Having taken my trapper certification course in the summer of 2016, it’s a great way for novice trackers like me to learn.

Deep Snow

I do sometimes wear snowshoes, but I find them cumbersome for hunting. Needing sometimes to crawl in tight spaces to retrieve game.

On this day it was very warm and I was only wearing long johns and pants, with two layers of wool socks in insulated work boots. Additionally just a t-shirt and heavy sweater. I was actually sweating!




Tips on Gun Safety.

Walking about on uneven terrain with a gun can be very dangerous! It’s important to keep your safety on and your finger well out of the trigger at all times! With multiple layers of crust and differing snow densities, progress was often unpredictable and jolting. You could easily have an accident if not diligent about gun safety.

Gun Safety

Please please please be careful out there friends! One mistake could be fatal. Some mistakes you will not be around to make twice.




Small Game Tracking.

As I progressed deeper into the woods, the game signs became more and more evident. Here’s a few descriptive pictures showing some tips on tracking small game in the snow.

Natural funneling. Tracking Small Game

Notice how game is blocked left and right and passes through center of frame. This would be a great place for a snare.

Game trail near tree. Tracking Small Game

Notice how the snow is packed down into a trail as they move to go around this tree. You can also see under the fresh snow the dirty marks from their feet.

Rabbit Tracks Tracking Small Game

Hopping down the bunny trail! Notice the direction of travel as they land on their front feet first then rear feet before taking next hop. Tracking rabbits is really easy!

Real nice trail! Tracking Small Game

Again, really obvious rabbit trail. You can see the depression and the discoloration very clearly. This tells you that you are hunting in the right area.

Obvious Rabbit Hutch Tracking Small Game

This entrance led into a clump of downed trees and roots. With lots of snow insulating it I bet they are very comfortable in there.

The key to tracking is observation. You need to get used to the typical lay of the land, then look for where it has been changed by the passing of animals. This is obviously way easier in the snow! I had it pretty easy. As I grow in experience, I look forward to tracking in all seasons.




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Exploring Abandoned Cabins

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After much delay… I’m back with another in my Cabin Life series! This time out we take to the woods to explore some old run down abandoned cabins. You can really get the sense of what great old camps these must have been in their prime. It was a really nice day in mid November when I filmed this, and I’m glad to finally share it with everyone.

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Driven to Explore!

As the cooler fall air settles in, I start to think about the soon approaching winter weather. Mentally I’m already preparing winter camping trips. I love staying in adventurous locations. During hunting season I’m always pushing deeper and exploring farther in search of interesting locations to set up camp. Whether it’s just for a day trip or an overnight outing, it’s fun to explore and find new locations.




A Neglected Old Logging Cabin.

The first little beauty I found this fall was what appeared to me to be an abandoned old logging cabin. I have seen this style of cabin around before. The design seems to be that of a long narrow rectangle with a very low roof pitch. It looks like it could be easily loaded and unloaded onto a trailer or flatbed truck with a few jacks and posts. This makes it an ideal design for transporting from one location to another.

Small Abandoned Logging Cabin

I found this little gem one day while I was out hunting for partridge.

Inside I discovered that a lot of the wall boards had been torn off. Likely used as firewood one night when someone just didn’t want the party to be over. Someone had actually swept up since my last visit and had thrown a collection of cans and bottles out the window onto the ground outside. Not exactly cleaning up but it did look a bit better inside.

I noticed the building was wired for lights and outlets. This is likely so you can run a generator outside and have access to power.

Abandoned Logging Cabin Interior

Here’s a look at the inside of the small logging cabin. One of the beds even had a thin pad on it. That would really help if you were lost and came across this cabin.

A real boon in a survival situation would be finding an abandoned camp like this with a functioning wood stove. It could save your life! Although the piping wasn’t up to code, I’d say you would be very comfortable with the output of this little stove. That is, you would be, if you didn’t burn the place down! You could always roast a squirrel  over the coals of the old place after it burnt down. OK, that’s just not funny! No wait, yes it is!

On a more serious note, I wouldn’t turn my back on this stove if I had a fire going in it. Be very careful if you intend to have a fire in a strange stove. The pipes could be caked with creosote from burning green or dirty wood, and you’d have a flue fire on your hands right quick.

A Nice Wood Stove

The old abandoned logging camp had a small wood stove in it. I would be careful about how large a fire I built in it, as it did not have a double wall chimney.

Outside was a lot of garbage and disarray. Old lawn furniture lay about the yard, some of it broken with age and abuse. Beer cans and bottles littered the area. As I mentioned in the video above, it must have been someones proud little camp site at one time, but now likely is only a party spot.

That being said I will likely clean up some next time I’m back. Maybe if someone starts showing some respect for the old place, others will too. People aren’t all bad.

Side View of Small Abandoned Logging Cabin

You can see that the building is really well built. However the neglect and abuse have taken their tole.




A Sad but Beautiful Old Camp.

The next camp we explore is obviously much older. Most of the damage is from neglect rather than abuse. The fact that it’s open to the weather and wild animals has really been it’s undoing.

This place is actually only about 10 minutes from my house. Hidden away as it is however, its a miracle I ever stumbled into it. It was when I found this second abandoned cabin that I got the idea to share an abandoned cabins video.

Much Older Adandoned Cabin in Springfield

This old Cabin isn’t that far from where I live. This one is very old and would take a lot of work to restore.

Here’s my guess as to the reasons why this place is in the shape it is… I think the owners have either given up on it or perhaps sold the land and the new owners lacked the interest needed to repair the old place. Had I purchased a piece of land with a gem like this on it, I would have made it top priority to at least board up all the windows and make sure it had a door that could close up.

I had to do the same thing with my old camp. It was neglected for a time in the 90’s and suffered some abuse at the hands of some local hooligans. The first step to repair was new windows and doors to keep the wildlife and weather out.

View of Back of Cabin

This is the rear view of the cabin. You can see that most of the windows have been boarded up. This is good because it keeps the weather out. Birds are getting in the small back window though.

Overall Impressions.

These old places stir me with a mixture of emotions. Part of me feels frustrated that they have fallen into such a state. However part of me sees the beauty for what it was and I feel satisfied with that. Almost hard to know a good thing until you’ve lost it, if that makes any sense to anyone.

I want to throttle people that would abuse and destroy sites like this for their own entertainment. Just think… If a few individuals had a modicum of respect, these place would be in far better shape. This infuriates me to no end! At the same time I realize that some people just can’t be changed.

All in all, it’s good to find beauty where you can in this life. I hope having a look through this old cabins brought some beauty to your day.




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1000 Subscriber Giveaway / Hunting in New Brunswick

New Video @ Outdoor Adventurecraft on YouTube!

Hi everyone! I’m back with my 1000 subscriber giveaway! I was out hunting partridge and squirrel in the New Brunswick forest, so I took the opportunity to catch up with you guys and share my evening’s adventure. Come enjoy some time in the woods with me. I stumbled on a huge surprise while out on this particular evening! You will be impressed!

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Small Game Hunting in New Brunswick.

I love the fall time! I love the crisp cool air. In the Maritimes we have high humidity and that makes the summer heat unbearable. Fall time is much drier and just perfect!!!! Most of our hunting seasons here in New Brunswick are closely aligned with the onset of fall.

The standard deer license here also includes partridge and rabbit. They can also be purchased separately. Hunting squirrel however requires that you have a furbearer license. This means taking a trapping course. So keep that in mind, you can’t just go harvesting squirrel in N.B. without a trapping license.

Hunting in New Brunswick

At peace in the trees. Just out for a walk with my gun. Didn’t get anything but really enjoyed myself.

So far this season I have been able to harvest 2 partridge and 4 squirrel. I havn’t been out much, maybe 3 times. I look forward to being out much more. I tend to hunt right though into winter. I really enjoy hunting in the winter. It makes tracking animals really easy!




Don’t step on the Moose!

So I’m filming the bit letting you wonderful viewers and readers know about the 1000 YouTube subscriber giveaway… and all the while I don’t realize there is a huge Bull Moose 30 feet behind me! A huge temperamental horned animal the size of a horse is not the sorta thing you want to accidentally walk into!

Now I actually believe that just the fact that I was minding my own business talking calmly to the camera is what disarmed him. My complete lack of knowledge about his existence, may actually have been my salvation. I was basically acting like I belonged there and he excepted that. Had I just come walking around the corner unannounced, things may likely have been very different.

Bull Moose

Just as I came around the bend, I discovered I had been talking and filming about 30 feet from a Bull Moose! I’m very fortunate I didn’t startle him.

What did I learn? … Always film YouTube videos around Moose! They love it! Also just for protection maybe I will start carrying some slugs for that 12 gauge! I used to do that, but I got away from it.




1000 YouTube Subscriber Giveaway!

So as mentioned I’m very excited to have reached this 1000 subscriber milestone! This is all about you guys! I would not be here without each and every individual one of you. Thank you all so much!!!

To think that I started this channel only 7 months ago and you guys are showing this level of support is awesome! I’m floored and really don’t have enough words to show how appreciative I am! Please everyone, each one of you, accept my many thanks!

T-Shirt Giveaway

In celebration of my YouTube channel reaching the 1000 subscriber milestone I am giving away 2 Outdoor Adventurecraft t-shirts!




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My Stress Management Secret

New Video @ Outdoor Adventurecraft on YouTube!

Have you ever felt just simply overwhelmed? So worn out and stressed you felt you just needed to escape?! Stress can be overwhelming, however, it’s perfectly natural to feel that way, we all feel that way sometimes. You are not alone. Join me for a relaxing escape to nature. Ease into a nice cup of tea with me and enjoy some bushcraft tips too. You won’t regret it.

I hope this little bit of time in the woods leaves you feeling refreshed and at peace.

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Sometimes You Just Need to Get Away from it All!

I wasn’t feeling the greatest so I decided to just take a little break and do something I enjoy just for a bit. Getting away from things even if just briefly can help you regain perspective.

Making Tea

Just taking a moment to have a bit of tea or coffee alone can really ground you. Very stress relieving.

Just the sounds of the birds, and crickets made me feel better. The smells of the outdoors, the light breaking down through the leaves and branches, all helped to sooth my tattered nerves.




Practice your Skills to find Peace

Just for fun and to relax I practiced my flint & steel technique too. In the video I share a little tip about extending an ember. I have used flint and steel in previous videos, but it was often not easy to see. In this instance I get up close and personal and I think the footage is really great!

Practicing Flint and Steel

Just taking some time to do some skill building can bring a deep sense of accomplishment. This is very rewarding.

Doing something you love in a stress free environment like the forest is the perfect recipe for coping with stress. Maybe your happy place is different from mine. That’s ok. Just find that place and do something that you know will bring you that sense of accomplishment. Maybe its’s reading a good book, or working on your art. Maybe its just going for a walk and listening to music. What ever works for you.

Just remember you can’t control everything. Learn to be ok with that, and with yourself. Remember… it’s ok to take a break, life will be there when you get back.




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