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Teaching (Miscellaneous)

Blue Green Algae

- A Killer of Hunting Dogs.

By Kathleen Kalina


A thick slimy green mat of algae can form in any body of water and kill your dog….



Read more: Blue Green Algae

Plague Hits Squirrels

Plague spreads from Prairie Dogs to Squirrels

By Kathleen Kalina


Bubonic Plague, the Black Death that killed 1/3 of Europeans in the 17th
century due to flea ridden rats has now infected squirrels. 
The most common rodents who has been commonly known today to carry this deadly plague are Prairie dogs.
Now it seems that the same plague has jumped to squirrels. 
Most people do not come in contact with Prairie dogs except hunters who actively hunt them.   Now squirrel hunters will have to take a second thought about hunting.


Photo of Prairie dogs found west of
Missouri River in the United States.


The Angeles National forest has been closed due to the contaminated squirrels.



 Sign showing closed forest.

In the west, 4 people have already contracted the plague from squirrels. Even though we have antibiotics to cure the plague, it’s a nasty thought to know it’s alive and moving from one rodent to a common rodent. A man in Oregon was taking a rodent out of his cat’s mouth and was bitten resulting in the plague.

Prairie dog hunters have been aware of the plague for a long time and know to never touch the dead animal. Eagles and hawks usually pick up the carcass as food and they are immune. Zoonosis is
the name of diseases that jump from animals to humans.

A flea is contaminated with the plague bacteria and spreads it to a rodent. In the European plague dead infected rats were plentiful.




Flea with bacteria containing bubonic
plague inside (dark area).

The first US episode of black death came to San Francisco in 1900 from rats on ships from Asia. Rupert Blue was the first public health doctor to get control of the epidemic. He ordered the extermination of rats by bounty hunters (50 cents per rat) and by ordering the installation of concrete in order to rat proof dirt basements.

Politicians tried to cover up the epidemic to prevent a quarantine
of the entire city which would be bad for business. After the 1906 earthquake rats flourished again and had to be controlled.

Plague was first written about in 1650 B.C. as it spread through trade routes. Later 25 million died throughout the Roman empire in several waves of outbreaks. From 1647 until 1925 there has been 12 serious outbreaks worldwide. (17 outbreaks in Australia from 1900-1925).

The plague that affects present day rodents is a slightly less virulent type than the Black Death. Bubonic plague was named the Black Death because the large pustules and tongues of victims turned black in the late stages. The first symptoms are swollen areas around the flea bite.
Next, there are swollen lymph glands under the arms or in the groin or
extremities that turn black. (thus calling it the black death). Vomiting blood
or nausea follows. Those treated with antibiotics within 12 hrs have the best recovery.


 Plague symptoms


The fact that the common squirrel has now contracted this feared disease changes the whole picture. Squirrel hunters are the first to take notice. However, since the plague in squirrels remains in the western US, that doesn’t mean that it won’t travel soon to other areas. Certainly, eating contaminated squirrels is at question.



Photoshop Yourself

Photoshop Yourself

by Jill Joines Christensen, Staff Writer, Georgia


Do you have a photo that is almost
what you need, but not quite?

How to know when it is appropriate
to edit a photo, and how.

Read more: Photoshop Yourself

The Age of Animals

How Old Do Wild Animals Live?

Kathleen Kalina
Womenhunters President
The oldest grizzly bear was 38 yrs old.....
When non-hunters ask me that pathetic question: “how can you kill Bambi?”  I give them two fact based realities.  (1.) 9000 deer-car accidents happen every year in the twin cities in Minnesota.  Some are fatal. Reducing the number of deer can save lives.  (2.)  Deer don’t live very long and many starve or are eaten by predators.   The average lifespan of deer in the wild is 1 ½ years.  It’s rare to get a 5 yr old, most of the deer shot are just over a year old and those are the ones that are most likely to be involved in car accidents.  The older bucks live in hidden swamps and don’t come that close to highways.

Just how old does wild game get?  Matson’s lab in Montana specializes in aging the teeth of 80,000 mammals yearly.  The oldest of each species becomes a record.  So most animals of that species live half of record-holding age. 

According to Matson’s lab, the oldest black bear ever tested was 35 years old from the state of Idaho. The oldest Grizzly bear was 38 years old from British Columbia.  The oldest white tailed deer was 19 from North Carolina. The oldest mule deer was 20 from Washington state. The oldest wild boar was 11years old from Spain. The oldest bobcat was 23 from New Mexico  ( I had a domestic cat that lived to 23). The oldest coyote was 15 from Colorado (about the same as a domestic dog).  The oldest grey fox was 13 from California (the indigenous fox that has always been in America).  The oldest red fox was 16 from Sweden ( these are the fox that were introduced to the US for European style fox hunting).  The oldest mountain goat was 18 from British Columbia. The oldest mountain lion was 22 from Montana.  The oldest Moose was 22 from Northwest Territories, Canada.  The oldest Pronghorn was 17 from North Dakota.  The oldest raccoon was 13 from Oklahoma. The oldest mountain sheep was 17 from British Columbia.  The oldest wolf was 12 from Northwest Territories. The oldest weasel was only 3 yrs old from Manitoba. The oldest striped skunk was 5 from North Dakota.

Mammals just don’t have the longevity of humans or even some fish.  Sturgeons can easily live to 75 yrs old.  Carp are thought to live to 200 years old, especially koi, who are in the carp family.  Whales are also thought to live over 100 years. Sea turtles commonly are found to be over 100 years.

Living in the ocean is just or maybe more dangerous than on land.  So danger of predation is not the issue.  Genetics is the primary cause of long living humans and animals. Some animals go from natal stage to adult very fast, such as a deer becomes an adult in a matter of months, whereas it can take 3 years for bears to become adults.  Humans certainly take the longest time of 18 yrs. Some animals such as the lamprey eel stay as elvins (larvae) for 3 years before coming out of the mud.
Giant tortoise (Geochelone gigantea) - oldest known was 250 years old. They live on land with limited protection beyond the shell; however they have strength enough to knock down fences.

Predators don’t seem to have an advantage on long life:  the weasel’s longest life is 3 years old, while the wolf, an apex predator only lives to 12, with an average age of 5 in the wild. It takes the wolf 6 months to become an adult. The longest living mammal is the top predator, the bear.  However, 2-3 years of a childhood for Grizzly bears is a long time among the dangers of the forest. A cub will stay with the mother for protection during that time. The two main predators of young grizzlies are male grizzlies and man.
Black bear cubs spend a lot of time climbing trees for protection

All animals learn as they get older, so therefore, most hunters are able to kill the younger game while the wily older animals outsmart us.  Bear, deer, coyote and wolf can see about as well as humans except for their extraordinary night vision.  Also they can’t see blaze orange, which is a good thing for us since we have to wear it.  Try putting an orange glove on the floor and your dog will walk right past it unless he smells it.   The big advantage is that game animals have is their intense sense of smell.  A bear can smell a scent over a mile.  However, turkeys can see better than humans, but don’t have a good sense of smell.

Bears get taller and wider as they get older.  So it’s not unusual to see a very old bear grow to a tremendous size.

This is a very old grizzly bear, over 11ft tall.

Genetics and good food supply determine the longevity of an animal. Mammals that are around humans begin to pattern our movements and can out maneuver us.  The distinct advantage that humans have is to think of new ways to change our patterns to outsmart the old animals.


From Photo to Woodcut








My local NWTF chapter, River City Gobblers, wanted to honor a good friend of mine for his many contributions to the chapter, the community, and, especially, to the many wounded warriors he takes hunting year after year. I chose a detail-rich photo of Bill wearing a camo bug suit. I took it at the previous spring's opening day brunch, which my friend Burt Davis organizes with assistance from Bill. My chapter decided they wanted to have it engraved onto a wooden paddle (turkey) call.

Bill Brickner, aka "Strut Daddy" or "Hogdaddy" is the Real Deal.
Both pattern and texture made this photo challenging to convert.

Figure 1. Having studied printmaking, I started out thinking I must remove all but heavy outlines. Using Photoshop Elements, I applied a technique used in the movies to "drop out" actual backgrounds for replacement by another image, video, or animation. A fellow photo buff, my late friend Richard Reiss, taught me this technique. The film industry originally called it "blue screening" but now use "green screening" instead. Apparently green works better for them than blue. In this case, since the camo pattern had a lot of green in it, I chose blue.  To "blue screen" Bill's image, I changed the background color to the blue you see here, selected the sky and ground behind him, and deleted them, leaving the background blue.

Figure 2. I increased the contrast so that the outlines were clear and painted out everything else I wanted to get rid of with a white (Photoshop Elements) brush. I followed the same procedures with an image of my paddle call, then I placed the call into Bill’s left hand.

Figure  3. I added text and then converted some of my own turkey track photos to line art. I arranged them in a curving pattern around Bill and the text.

Figure  4. After speaking with the callmaker, I learned that laser engraving can cut thinner lines than traditional woodcutting techniques. He suggested that I could add back some of the camo pattern in Bill’s suit.

Then I sent the art (by prior arrangement and after a lot of shopping around, of course) to the callmaker. The boat call cost under $100 including laser engraving and expedited shipping. I could not have been happier with the result. Bill was pretty happy with the result, too!

The Mystery of Tree Damage

Last year I got an email from a customer in Japan, of all places, scolding me for alleged tree damage caused by all tack trail markers.  He heard this “through the grapevine” but had no reference to scientific proof.  At first I was defensive.  But then, I always strive to consider the impassioned views of others, so I listened – seeking to understand, but ready to refute.   He was doing a nighttime treasure hunt with friends and wanted to use FireTacks trail markers to guide him and his friends unobtrusively through remote areas in the dark.  However, he understood that FireTacks are just that… tiny tacks, with pins that affix to trees for forest navigation purposes.  I was able to direct him to others of our products that did not involve pins but were either adhesive back or “Velcro” affixed, so he was happy.  That could have been the end of it, but then I really wanted to know – do tack trail markers cause tree damage?  Not just FireTacks, but any commercial tack trail marker available on the market today?  I was out to refute this notion for obvious reasons. More importantly, I wanted integrity for my product or at least total knowledge of what it might do.  In the course of doing research however, the selfish motive for commercial gain gave way to the reality that there just might be some validity to my customer’s concern.  But - could a trail marker manufacturer do legitimate research on this issue without being perceived as a fox in the henhouse?   Yes, I thought I could.  The truth is the truth no matter how we might fool ourselves and dance around it and I wasn’t about to become “the emperor with no clothes”.

When I first bought my 80 acres of heavily wooded Minnesota forest land ten years ago, the first thing I did was to build a permanent tree stand.  I had hunted only from portable stands on public land in the past, so having permanent stands was to me a primary privilege of being a land owner.  I don’t do anything half way however.  I found a tri-cluster of 14 inch diameter oaks and spent two weeks building a triangle stand with shooting rests and gear hooks.  I did use a commercial folding step ladder that I ratcheted to the tree.  The rest of the stand was hammered together with2x6’s and 2x4’s -  and I thought it was a thing of beauty.  I hunted from that stand cloaked in the oak leaves that first year, and was ready to build more permanent tree stands.  The following spring, the tri-cluster of oaks did not leaf out and in fact died and never leafed out again.  I was stunned.  The nails used to construct the stand had killed the tree(s).  There were a couple other permanent stands on the property, built by former land owners over the years, and I began to notice they were dead or dying as well.  Right then and there I vowed to never build another permanent stand unless I could do it without nailing into the trees.  Instead, I erected 18 or more portable stands with strap on steps.  However, over the years I have put thousands of FireTacks on just as many trees, on public and private lands, and not one tree ever died or sustained damage.

So, from experience, I was not convinced that pins from trail tacks killed trees.  But maybe I just had tough trees?

Being a computer nerd, I started my research first with searches on the internet for tree damage, and secondly, asking experts I knew in the hunting and outdoor industries.   Cambium damage was the foremost concern.  The cambium is a thin layer of tree cells that lies just below the bark.    The cambium transports water and nutrients to and from the roots and leaves.  It also produces new bark tissue as plants grow.   Anything that damages the bark or the underlying cambium can weaken trees and make them more vulnerable to disease and insects.  An example of the reality of this is when a tree is “girdled”, that is, the bark is either intentionally (or unintentionally) removed or cut deeply at the base of the tree with the intent to kill the tree.  This is a valid way that foresters thin volunteer trees from clear cuts or remove undesirable trees, for example.  Animals that naturally chew and scratch on trees can cause their death for the same reasons.  Bucks rub, bears scratch, beavers chew and squirrels girdle the tops of evergreen trees.

I posed the question of possible trail tack damage to foresters, scientists and college professors.  One forester noted to me that while he was unaware of specific research tying tacks to tree damage, he was sure that nails into trees certainly could cause damage or death to trees because he had actually seen it.  Of course I agreed, since I inadvertently murdered three of my own trees.  He further noted that if the trail tacks only penetrated the outer bark and not the cambium, no damage would occur.  He noted too that if tacks were clean and free of bacteria before being inserted, the probability of tree damage was nil to none because of their tiny size.  The tiny size also would not affect or compromise the cambium structure in a tree.

I then found comments about trail markers with pins, on the web site and a string of posts relating to tree damage noted from an organization in Great Britain called the “The Woodland Trust”.  The comments there aligned with the comments from the scientists at the biology archive of the United State Department of Energy.  Objects driven past the bark and into the cambium could introduce disease bacteria and fungi into the cambium.  Further, if left in trees, nails or pins with deep penetration can also end up being “included” or incorporated into the tree, meaning the tree will grow around them which also interferes with the tree health and growth.  If markers are clean and free of infectants, and/or not inserted deeper than the outer bark layer, no damage would be imminent.  Forestry experts indicate that there is no problem with small profile trail markers and they themselves use such marking systems for their research.

I then contacted several experts who provided information from a USDA Forest Service lab, as well as University Professors, Arboretums and other sources.  One USDA location had developed a tree marking system that involved driving a 3mm wire into the base of a tree for marking purposes.  These were long term experiments and would not have been employed if they caused damage to trees, I was told.  Otherwise, the experiments would be useless.  One expert shared that the compaction from foot traffic on trails (not to mention mountain bikes or ATV’s) caused far more stress and damage to trees than a tiny pin marker could ever do.  I was additionally told that trail markers will not become incorporated or included in trees if they are affixed to the bark only.  

“What is left unsaid”, says PhD Ray Hicks, professor of Silvaculture, Division of Forestry at West Virginia University, “is that trees are wounded by many natural events (ice, insects, animals, wind, etc.) and have evolved very effective mechanisms for dealing with injury.  In fact work done by the USDA Forest Service shows that even logging wounds up to 50 square inches in size are capable of healing and walling out decay.
“I don’t believe a shallow penetration like a pin will cause any disruption to the vascular system of a tree.  In fact, scientists have attempted to experimentally disrupt water flow in tree stems by cutting part way through, and find that trees are capable of redirecting flow laterally around the wound” said Hicks.

A good alternative to nails is using rope to affix structures to trees.  This photo shows a rope suspended pulley system for using a gambrel to hoist a deer for hanging or dressing.  No nails needed.
Another wildlife biologist and tree expert noted “a tack might damage a half inch diameter sapling because it would penetrate the cambium.  But if a tack goes into a 5 inch oak, it will not penetrate to the cambium.  So I would say on any tree bigger than a sapling, there is no effect and certainly no effect when you are talking about timber sized trees 12 inch diameter and greater.”

What I gathered from this research was that scientific proof of small trail marker damage is not available because the markers have not demonstrated damage.  What can be concluded however is that trail markers with longer pins could be suspect and cause damage to trees just as nails cause damage.  A longer pin would be required if a trail marker was physically larger or heavier.  The larger or heavier the marker, the longer the pin would need to be for the marker to stay in a tree.  When you are looking for tack trail markers, be sure the markers are featherweight and that the pin length is less than 10mm (7/16inch or so) to avoid reaching the cambium on smaller trees.    That said, trees have an amazing ability to heal and redirect even with the most invasive violations of the cambium layer.  As such, before small tack trail markers are maligned, many other things riddled with bacteria and disease should be scrutinized -  like, woodpeckers, porcupines, bears, whitetail deer, insects, and the countless other things in nature that are significantly detrimental to trees. Yet, the trees have prevailed since the beginning of time. 

Common sense and knowing the facts are keys to woodland preservation just like they are to most issues we face in our world.


Why, Yes! I DO Shoot like a Girl!

Team Huntress Outdoor Adventure Camp a Huge Success!
Growing up it never really occurred to me to go hunting or shooting for recreation. Hunting was something my dad and his friends did while my mom and sister and I viewed his hunting trips as a time to check out new restaurants. I am sure my dad would have enjoyed taking us along but we never thought to ask and he just did his thing each fall. He taught us the basics of gun handling and shooting so I enjoyed that, but it wasn’t until many years later after taking a self protection shooting class did I begin to take it seriously.

Jerry asked me to go hunting with him each year for several years, but the thought of hanging out with his friends for a week at hunting camp with no other women in sight didn’t exactly thrill me either. My ideas of hunting with the guys were fairly stereotypical and involved sights and smells women are not traditionally thrilled with! I was completely uneducated about hunting and really not too sure I wanted to learn. This was a man’s world and rather than trying to fit in, I stayed home with the kids.

Fast forward several years; after letting my husband take the kids on several hunts without me, I realized I was missing out on special memories that I should have been sharing with my family. Sure I enjoyed having some “me” time but at what cost? How much more could I have enjoyed my daughter or son shooting their first bull elk; if I had actually BEEN there to see their faces not just sharing their glory when they returned?

I am happy to say that now for the most part I do share in those moments, but even better than merely observing, I share in them as a hunting companion. I personally have had only one big game kill with a small pronghorn, but I have had many adventures such as having a frightened cow elk almost trample over the top of me as I napped on the side of a hill. I can now enjoy the telling of my own hunting stories and relate to my family in a new exciting way.

My story is typical of many women. We don’t attempt something new for fear of failure or of looking inept in front of others. We may have a less than patient father, spouse, teacher or no teacher at all.
Why should children of single mothers have to forego an awareness of hunting and the importance of gun safety and usage just because she doesn’t have a man around? You guessed it… they shouldn’t!

In June I taught a field care/ taxidermy class at the Team Huntress Outdoor Adventure camp hosted by Dave Olsen and family at their outstanding hunting lodge called Pheasant Phun in Hitchcock, SD. Our Team Huntress Outdoor Adventure Weekend was designed by Jane Keller with the help of several women in the hunting industry who believe any woman who wants to learn to shoot and hunt should be able to lean in an encouraging, stress free, safe environment.

Hunting is not always what draws a woman to shooting. While meeting all of the attendees at our initial dinner and wine tasting there were women who had never picked up a gun of any kind like Marin Broucek who turned out to be an amazing shot and a vegetarian to boot! There were ladies who wanted to expand their previous knowledge and try something new like Lynn Pankey from Realtree, Inc. who is quite a turkey hunting enthusiast.
The women were given experience in several shooting disciplines in a relaxed, thoroughly encouraging setting. I went as a presenter, but became a participant in several classes and even learned how to shoot both recurve and longbows from Stacy and Mike “Hawk” Huston. I had some previous experience with a compound bow, but quickly fell under the spell of simple primitive shooting; just me the bow and some arrows. I felt I did well for my first experience but may have felt intimidated learning in a large group of men.

We all cheered each other on during the shotgun practice hosted by Holly Heyser and how exciting it was to watch the progress as the clay pigeons began to turn to dust

Kirstie Pike, CEO of Prois Women’s Hunting Apparel in Grand Junction, CO taught an amazing class about first aid emergencies, as well as teaching us the finer details of layering to stay warm in the outdoors. We learned about the new fabrics designed to wick moisture away from your skin as well as provide insulation.

Pistol class led by Barbara Baird with assistance from her husband Jason, gave the ladies a strong introduction in gun safety and a turn at trying several different pistol types. There was even a gigantic Desert Eagle .50 caliber pistol that several ladies tried.  I gained more confidence assisting at the range and walking each gal assigned to me through the shooting procedures; but the best part was seeing the bright smiles on the ladies as they realized that shooting was something they could do and they could do it well!

Of the many things I experienced at our Team Huntress Outdoor Adventure Camp, the fellowship and immediate friendships made there is on the top of my list for the weekend. Watching new women hunters and shooters really see first-hand that they could accomplish great things in what used to be considered “men only” pursuits was so much fun!
The ladies at Team Huntress were pampered with incredible food created in the kitchen by our house mom extraordinaire Annie Olsen and her staff. Then we had our choice of massages, manicures, pedicures and yoga classes on the front porch in the early mornings after being served fresh coffee. Of course we do love to mix it up with tough things like guns and bows, but after all we are ladies and a little pampering makes us very happy campers!
Anne and her husband Jerry Vinnola own and operate the Colorado Institute of Taxidermy Training, Inc and Big Timber South Taxidermy Studio in Canon City, Colorado.

Anne has written numerous hunting and field care articles for many outdoor publications. Catch her blog at Watch for the next Team Huntress Outdoor Adventure Camp and visit to book your next pheasant hunting adventure.


Mud Season Survival

Mud Season Survival

By Kathleen Kalina



Mud season is here and it can really swallow you up. Last year while turkey hunting, my truck went in liquid mud over the top of the wheels. Using a chain hooked up to my friends truck we pulled it out, but not before one chain snapped and flew back putting dents into my trucks tailgate. Be very careful to not stand close to chains when they are being pulled. They can easily snap if they aren’t in good condition.

The rusted chain snapped when a Ford 350 tried to pull a Ford Ranger out of deep mud. The snap was so hard that it put dents over the length of the tail gate and up and over the tonneau cover. This reminds us to never stand near a chain under pressure and never use a rusty chain.

Make sure your safety kit is full of good working heavy duty chains. A tow rope is not for pulling a vehicle under pressure, it will break too.
Example of the effects from a broken chain that snapped back on truck.
The chain was old and had some rust on it that weakened the strength.

What do you do if you are alone? You should always carry a long, heavy-duty chain, a couple of short 2 x 4's and a come-along winch (aka winch puller). Wrap the cable end of the winch puller to a tree and hook one end of the chain to the non tree side of winch puller hook and the other end of the chain to the vehicle. Crank the winch to pull the vehicle out. You should also have a buck saw to cut small trees down that you need to put under wheels.

Crank this handle to activate winch.

This end hooks
into a chain that is
attached to vehicle.
This side of winch puller has a cable that can pull out just long enough to wrap around tree or use hook to grab a chain around a bigger tree.
Come-along winch (aka winch pull)

No tree? Then use what the loggers do.

Loggers dig a small hole and put a 2-foot long 2 x 4 in it horizontally. Then wrap a chain around the 2x4 and hook the winch to the chain and the other end to the vehicle. The pulling is horizontal so the 2x4 stays in the hole and braces. Always carry a 3-ft piece of 2x4 in your vehicle.

Note: when putting pressure or towing with a chain, never stand near it, in case it breaks and pops back on to you.

Carrying a shovel in your truck or car trunk is an essential survival tool. You may have to dig your way out. A bucksaw is also essential in order to cut small trees to put under your wheels, or cut trees and bushes that you may be stuck on.

Once you put trees under your tire, you will need to raise the vehicle up by using the jack. Make sure to have some wood or boards to put the jack on or it will sink in the mud. Jacking up the vehicle will make it easier to put more wood or tree lengths under tires. Once a vehicle is jacked up and trees put under tires, you should be able to drive out.

Mud season survival gear that you need in your vehicle

  • 3ft length of a 2x4
  • 15ft length of heavy duty chain
  • Come-along winch
  • Shovel- to dig out under wheels
  • Bucksaw- to cut trees to put under tires
  • A good jack, one that you have tried out. (sometimes the ones that come with vehicles are okay on nice pavement, but unable to raise high enough in mud)
  • A board to put a jack on.



Women in the outdoors? You’ve heard the old saying that history repeats itself; our foremothers spent many, many hours in the outdoors. Granted, theirs was much more work-oriented than ours, but there’s no doubt they had to recognize the gentle beauty surrounding them.

Imagine stepping out your door on warm, summer mornings with the fragrance of the flowers in the air or the fresh clean smell of an early morning rain. The birds are singing their joyous cadences. The frogs in the nearby creek are croaking a much lower tune. In the woods, she could probably catch the gentle call of a hen turkey to her young, the chatter of the squirrels scrambling to gather breakfast.

My guess is they probably did their gardening and outside chores early in the morning.  No doubt they felt tremendous pride as they nurtured their young plants, watching them grow toward the production of fresh fruits and vegetables. And I can picture the gleam in her eye as she brought in the first of the crop for her family’s meals. This was a real treat as they probably had a hard, cold winter and had long before used up their supply of canned goods. They surely had scoured the woods that spring in search of fresh greens and edible mushrooms and berries, which were truly a delight; but there was just something special about the produce that came from their hard work and labor.

Starting with the plowing of the ground, the scent of the fresh-turned earth had to be pleasurable.  From there, they would mark out their rows for planting. I picture that in January and February they started many of their vegetable plants indoors to get an early start as the weather warmed. They probably spent cold February evenings planning the layout, dreaming of all they would harvest and put up for their family’s provisions.  They may have even poured through a Henry Fields seed catalog, determining what to order, and then anxiously awaiting its arrival. I would think that for them, this was much like a child waiting for Santa.

Fear of not being able to provide enough mainstay for their family was probably the motivator for them to trek into the woods for a variety of wildlife. Many of their husbands would be gone for days, weeks, or months, on cattle drives or in search of a better life for their family. During times of war, women would be left to care for and provide for their family, animals, and ranch.

They didn’t have the advantage of camouflage clothing, the best of guns, game calls, and instructional videos. They had the instincts and intuition to go out and harvest deer, turkey, squirrel, rabbit, and any other game in their domain.

I can envision her excitement as she slips into the woods, not knowing what she might come home with, but knowing that whatever comes into shooting range is sure to end up as part of their next meal. They didn’t have an overabundance of ammunition, so they had to make each shot count.

While hunting, I’m sure the elegance of the wildflowers, dignity of the trees, and serenity of the surroundings became a part of their soul.  The bright colors of the fall leaves, the sunlight filtering through the treetops, the soft moss-carpeted forest floor, and the aroma of the woods; none of it went unnoticed.  They became a part of the scene.

Imagine how hard her heart must have been beating when the largest buck she ever saw came through trailing a doe not 20 yards from her makeshift blind.  The majestic grandeur surely caused her to gasp a silent breath. As he neared her, she raised her gun or longbow, took a long deep breath, and held steady on the mighty creature. Then with all the confidence of a novice, she pulled the trigger or released the bow string.

I’m certain her first thought was of thankfulness for her family’s replenished food supply; gratefulness for the opportunity for a shot at this magnificent deer; and indebtedness for the provisions this would sustain.

On her way back to the ranch to hitch up the team to help her drag this huge buck home, the relief of knowing their subsistence was fulfilled for several weeks to come had to cause her to become a little giddy. She wasn’t certain, but her trained eye for measuring distance between plants in the garden caused her to suspect the horns were a bit taller and wider then her husband’s once-in-a-lifetime trophy hanging above their fireplace mantel.  Maybe she would need to replace it with hers. A slight giggle surely slipped out in the quiet woods.

Her mind raced to Thanksgiving dinner, and she said a prayer of gratitude for the extravagant meal she could now prepare for her family.  It didn’t stop at Thanksgiving, she raced on to Christmas. How excited Little John would be when he saw the deer hoof gun rack she would craft for him to hang his first rifle on. And Mary, she would cherish the soft warm feel of the deer hide pillow for her bed.

She undoubtedly chided herself after these thoughts, knowing her main concern at this point was to get the meat processed and put up for the winter. She would tuck away those thoughts for a later time; right now, she had work to do.

They had to take a lot of pride in all they did, and rightfully so. I’m in awe of what they accomplished with so little to work with. I try to fashion my life to them in some ways.  With society and times the way they are now, we’ll never totally go back to their ways; but I am thankful for the many outdoor opportunities that today's women’s programs offer to us.


Camo Hunting Trailer

With a two-week Wyoming hunting trip looming just a month and a half away, and needing to haul gear from Minnesota for not only myself, but for three other women hunters, I knew my Suburban alone wouldn’t be able to carry all our cargo. We do own a couple open trailers, but oh how I wished I had an enclosed trailer for this trip!

As luck would have it, a couple friends of mine knew I was in want of a small-enclosed trailer, and they offered to give me their old one… for free! They sent me a photo of the trailer, and despite it being home made and battleship gray; I knew with a little work, it would work out just fine.

Can you believe orange shag carpeting?
After bringing it home, my mind began whirring as to how I could turn it from a ho-hum trailer into a great hunting trailer. I would paint it camo!

I knew that I would also need help from my family, as I was recently involved in an auto accident and was sporting a cast on my broken wrist. I couldn’t manipulate my right hand the way I needed to.

(You may notice some photos with me wearing a sock and a latex glove on my hand/arm to keep my cast clean and free from paint.)

First order of business was to pull the orange shag carpeting out! Why on earth that was ever placed in there was beyond me! Next I tore off all the cardboard that was stapled to the four inside walls.

Then I wrote down its inside dimensions and made a list of products that were needed for my makeover project.  Rubber gaskets, paint, new ball hitch, vinyl flooring, chocolate, etc.

After a lunch of pizza and chocolate, my husband Mike and I headed to a couple of stores for the essentials, including more chocolate. We got started on our project that very afternoon.

With wire wheels attached to our power drills, we began stripping the peeling paint and the rust off the trailer. The metal fenders were first, then on to the wood base, and ending up on the tire rims. With all the paint and rust particles clinging to the trailer, a good spraying with some Extreme Green degreaser and a shower with the pressure washer was in order. We let it dry and vowed to continue with the project tomorrow.

Day 2 and beyond

We were able to get all the hardware off, lightly sand the wood in those areas, and pull off the old gasket that was used as weather stripping. That was actually the tedious part, as there were so many staples that needed to be pulled, many of which broke as we pulled. The brittle broken staples that were left behind in the wood got center punched below the surface.

Removing old, worn hardware Hardware off, ready to be cleaned and painted
Wire brushing all metal Daughter Emily, with the raspberry colored hair, is helping with the painting.
 Husband Mike getting in on the act.  Mike re-greasing the old ball bearings

Next we painted two coats over all the metal, wood, and then the wheel rims to keep any corrosion from appearing any time soon.

Mike re-greased all the ball bearings in the wheels to avoid any freeze-ups, as the trailer was old and hadn’t been used for many years.

Emily beginning the blotch painting….

...And me finishing up in another color The beginning of the color blotches on the rims and the main trailer
Finished with all the camo painting
Now for the inside painting

Painting the camo colored blotches is what I have been looking forward to most. We had to mix some colors to get the desired color we wanted for a particular camo blotch. Like Almond and Leather Brown mixed together made a nice tan. Almond, Hunter Green and a little Black made a more desired Olive Drab color.

The outside of the trailer was completely “camo-ized”, and was now ready for the almond paint for the inside of the trailer.

Dated for posterity A good place for my hunting decals 

With the inside paint now added, son Daniel cut and laid a light-colored vinyl remnant for the new flooring. It looks so much better than that orange shag carpeting! Unfortunately, the smell of new paint and vinyl would linger for a long time. I placed several Earth Scented wafers inside and hoped they would work.

Daniel also added some old Rambler hubcaps that we had hanging up in our garage. Why not use them on the trailer! I think it makes it look snazzy!!

Lastly, hardware, reflectors, weather stripping, new ball hitch and lights all finished off the trailer.

Now it would be ready for my trip west! Get the chocolate!!

Completed and ready to be filled with gear  

Finally on the road!!

Completely filled with bowhunting gear…. Treestands, ground blinds and a whole lot more!

This hunting trailer was a fun endeavor to undertake. I can’t thank friends Owen and Heidi enough for providing this unique trailer for me, and my family for helping out in a big way! Also, my bowhunting lady friends, giving it names like “The Pod,” “The Deer Coffin,” and “The Treasure Chest.”

It was certainly eyesight for others to see rolling down the highway. I think maybe they liked it as much as we did! Now it’ll be handy for all my future hunting adventures. Stay tuned!


Women Hunters Hat

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Books By Members

Books By WomenHunters
By Kathleen Kalina
Amazon Kindle and Ipad
By Kathleen Kalina
By Christine Cunningham

Regional Directors

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Alaska and the Yukon

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Kim Hose
Rachel Baker
Beth Milligan
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Angelina Coopersmith
Jenny Paul
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North Carolina


Tracy Rowe




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