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Hunting Coyotes.

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I was sitting out on the porch when I heard them. Coyotes in the far field, howling. I had already lost too many of my chickens to those pests and had been waiting for the opportunity to try to put a stop to it. It would be pretty tricky hunting them at night but I didn’t want to miss my opportunity.

I stood up, walked inside, and headed to the basement. I got on my gear, grabbed some ammo, mounted my tactical flashlight onto my rifle and headed out the basement door to the side yard. I stopped to listen again. I didn’t hear anything but knew which direction I’d heard the howls coming from, so I headed out.

Coyote roaming the fields

I stayed close to the back side of the barn and headed to the far corner. There was just enough moonlight to light my path but I would definitely need the flashlight to see those coyotes out there at night. The wind had picked up a little bit and I could feel it biting through my jacket as I crossed the back field to the fence.

I stopped again to listen. More howls. This time, much closer. They sounded like they were coming from just over the next hill. I walked along until I got to the gate and crossed over into the adjacent field. I stopped and raised my rifle up, flipping on the tactical flashlight so that I could get a clear glimpse of the coyotes. The flashlight was awesome because it cut like a laser straight across the field and I could see through my sights like it was daylight. I scanned the top of the hill but didn’t see anything.

My best tactical flashlight

I proceeded up to the top of the hill to the large oak in the middle. This would provide a good spot to lean against as well as a possible escape if I needed a quick getaway. I pulled the rifle up again with the flashlight on and scanned the lower, back field. I felt my pulse quicken a bit as a coyote passed through my sights. Then another. I kept scanning and found four in total. They were headed across the field toward the back gate.

They were pretty far off, but I thought I could get a good shot off as long as they kept moving. I had one in my sights and was leading it. I pulled the trigger and the shot ran out through the night air. I have to admit, it even startled me a little. I barely missed behind him and the pack started to take off even faster. I pulled the rifle down and started running in their direction.

I stopped halfway to the far gate and pulled up the rifle and scope. My heart was beating wildly, both from the running and the thought that they could come at me from behind. I scanned along the fence, then continued all the way back around to the oak tree and around. No sight anywhere. No howls. Nothing. Just the sound of my breathing. It seemed I was out of luck that night.

But next time, I would be ready.


Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head.

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My son and I sat inside our tent as we heard the rain pouring down outside. Any thought of getting back out to have a fire was pretty much gone at this point. It was already dark and hard to do much of anything except wait it out under the protection of our rain fly.

What are we going to do for the rest of the night?” he asked.

I’m not sure,” I replied. “Maybe this would help us figure it out.”

I reached into my bag and pulled out an unopened package of chocolate chip cookies. I opened it up and handed it over to him.

How about a game?” I asked.

What kind of game,” he replied, then stuffed a cookie into his mouth.

I rummaged through my bag and found a pack of cards. I pulled it out and handed it to him.


Sure,” he said with a smile. Somehow, even with the randomness of the card game, he always seemed to beat me.

It was starting to get a little too dark for cards so I rolled over and grabbed my rechargeable camping lantern from the corner of the tent and sat it right next to us. Thankfully, I had charged it up before our trip. It was certainly coming in handy now. It lit up the center of the tent and was casting our shadows up against the ceiling.

Our tent setup in the rain

I shuffled the cards and split them up into two decks. I kept one and handed the other to my son.

We both flipped our cards. He had a king and I had a jack. Rats.

Next flip. I had a nine and he had a ten.

We kept flipping and he kept winning. But then, we tied. Then we tied again. After the fourth tie, he flipped a queen. This was my chance. I flipped… a three. He grabbed all the cards with a smile.

The game continued and my deck got smaller and smaller as I donated to my son. Finally, he put me out of my misery and he won.

We put the cards aside and dug into the cookies again.

For a while, we sat in silence, except for the sound of munching cookies. The rechargeable camping lantern lit up our faces and the crumbs falling out of our mouths.

What did you enjoy the most today?” I asked. We had spent most of our day hiking at a nearby trail. We had stopped for lunch next to a big waterfall and tried to investigate a few caves along the way.

I loved the waterfall,” he replied. “Especially when we went back behind it. It was like a secret hideaway back there.”

Waterfall at our hiking trip

I think that was one of my favorites as well,” I said. “Though a close second was when you tried to jump across the creek… and didn’t quite make it.”

I hope my shoes dry out,” he said, smiling.

We talked for a while longer, telling stories, laughing and just enjoying our cozy, dry night inside the tent.

Then we turned off the lantern and dozed off to sleep.


The Story of Coleman

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We had just finished dinner and the sun was starting to fade behind the trees. It was great to get the chance to go camping with my college buddies and we were trying to enjoy our last night together.

We had a nice fire going and some of the guys were hanging out by it. At the picnic table, Bob and Jim were laughing as they shared stories from our college days. It was getting a little dark and I went and grabbed my Coleman lantern, lit it and set it on the table. It seemed to provide just enough light to let us see each others expressions as the stories began to come out.

Remember when you tried to scale the science hall?” Bob asked Jim. “I never would have thought it would have turned out like that.”

I never had heard the story so I was intrigued.

What happened?” I asked.

Bob leaned forward and I could tell I was in for a good story. The light from the Coleman lantern caught the grin and wide eyes on his expression.

So, Jim had been planning this out for months,” Bob said. “He was a good rock climber who was looking for a new challenge. And every day he went in and out of that building for class. So he thought, ‘why not?’”

Jim was shaking his head, smiling.

Yeah,” he said. ”I had no idea what I was getting myself into.”

Coleman lantern lighting the entire area

Bob continued. “So, Jim had it all mapped out. His route, the date, the time. Everything. He was planning a route that would take him up to the lookout room on top of the building… three stories up. I told him he was crazy. But he just had that look about him that let you know that he was going to do this.”

Jim, you were always pretty crazy,” I said, laughing. “How did it go down?”

So, the outside of the building was faced with large stones that had big crevices between them. Perfect for rock climbing. I knew the security guard schedule and planned my ascent for 11:15pm, when he would have just passed by.”

Bob piped back in. “Yeah, so I went over there with Jim and he had this route planned going up corner where the two wings meet. He started up and almost lost his footing right off the bat. But then he regained it and began to climb like a squirrel.”

It was different than what I expected,” Jim added. “But once I got a little way up, I realized I could do it. There was a ledge between each floor, so when I got to each floor I was able to take a little break. It really wasn’t any different thirty feet up from five feet up. Before I knew it I was at the top. To get down easier, I tied my rope around a spire near the top and was just planning to repel down and leave the rope.”

Security Guard Outdoors

Unfortunately,” Bob chimed back in, “he didn’t plan on the guard making a return trip past the building… right as he reached the ground. Busted!”

We all howled in laughter as Jim’s face turned a deep red.



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A soft glow shined from the camping lantern, illuminating the campsite near the hook that it was hung on. The family camping there had left it on as they went off to take a night hike.

Crickets chirped in the stillness as the light reached out to the neighboring trees, picnic table and tent. A few minutes went by and there was a rustle in the nearby bushes. As the bushes parted, a familiar site appeared – a family of raccoons. There were three in all.

They made their way slowly out of the shadows and into the light of the camping lantern. They immediately began scoping out the area, looking for food. The smallest one went behind the back of the tent. Another one went over to the picnic table. The third headed to the campfire ring. The one from behind the tent reappeared with no luck and joined the one by the table. Together, they climbed up onto the table and began looking around.

They only found a few scraps on top of the table and then began to make their way back down. Meanwhile, by the fire pit, the other raccoon found a treasure trove of marshmallows and hotdogs that must have fallen off during cooking. The other two saw his find and joined him by the fire ring. There was plenty there for the three of them and they wasted no time consuming the goods. The light from the lantern cast their shadows long across the ground, making them appear twice their size.

Raccoons near our tent

Eventually, after getting their fill, the raccoons made their way back into the woods and the site became still once again. The slight fog began to settle in with the cool air and blanketed the campsite. The crickets almost seemed to grow louder. Joining them, frogs from the nearby pond could be heard competing for the loudest croak.

The bushes rustled again. This time, it wasn’t raccoons. Instead, a doe came into the clearing, steadily, ears up and listening. It nibbled at some of the nearby leaves and gracefully walked toward the tent, sniffing the ground as it went. A few seconds behind it, a fawn followed close behind, staying near to its mother. The light from the lantern lit up the fawn’s fur, with white freckled spots.

The two of them walked around the campsite, seemingly unafraid of anything lurking nearby. They circled the picnic table and walked between the camping chairs, as still as could be imagined with their size. They each found leaves and berries along the edge of the site and spent some time nibbling.

Deer at the camping ground

In the distance, a young girl’s laughter broke the silence. Both deer looked up, with ears honing in on the sound. Then, a father’s voice could be heard. And then a brother’s, all getting closer to the site.

Suddenly, a family of campers came around the corner, just missing the deer who had left into the woods moments earlier.

The girl looked around and smiled.

See dear,” the father said. “Just like we left it. I told you no one would touch anything while we were gone.


Remember The Hot Dogs…

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Did you remember everything?” my wife asked as we merged onto the freeway.

I think so,” I replied, with a little hesitation in my voice.

When you go camping, remembering every item on your camping equipment list can be a daunting task. I started to go through the list in my head. Tent. Check. Sleeping bags. Check. Tarp. Check. Camp chairs. Check. Rechargeable lantern. Check. Flashlight. Check.

As we continued down the road, I had a nagging feeling that I’d forgotten something, but just couldn’t pinpoint it. It took us another few hours to get to our campground and I just couldn’t get that thought out of my mind.

We finally arrived, just before lunch, and I was anxious to get things set-up and make lunch over the fire. We pulled into our parking spot by our campsite and began unloading our camping equipment from our van and setting it out by our spot. With each item I took out, I felt a little bit better about my planning.

Why don’t you get the fire started while I get the lunch food unpacked?” my wife asked. “Then we can get the tent set-up and everything else.”

Our tent set-up at the camping ground

Sounds good,” I replied. I found the wood that I had packed. Starter log. Lighter. Kindling.

I set the wood up just the way I liked it and lit the starter log. Soon it had small flames licking on its sides and it was catching the kindling on fire. Several minutes passed, and a nice little fire was starting up.

I went over to our stack of stuff to find my cooking tripod. I looked all through the stack. No tripod. Ouch. That was going to drastically change how and what we could cook.

Um, honey,” I said.

Yes,” my wife replied.

You know that cooking tripod?”

Yep. Are you going to set it up.”

Well…” I said. “It’s hard to set up something that we don’t have.”

You forgot the tripod?!” she asked. “I hope you have another plan.”

Hot dogs on campfire

I went rummaging through the rest of our equipment and found our solution. Hot dog cooking sticks. We had planned burgers, but that was going to be a little difficult. But, I figured we would try something new.

I grabbed some of the ground beef, laid it onto a piece of foil, and then rolled it up into a little roll and sealed it. Then I placed that roll between the two prongs of the hot dog stick and wrapped more foil around the whole thing to hold it all in place.

What are you doing?” my wife asked, with a smirk on her face.

Improvising,” I responded. “When you forget the tripod, you’ve got to try something else.”

So, I tried to cook the “burgers” with the cooking sticks and I just had to guess how long to cook. I rotated them and tried to keep them from burning.

After what seemed like long enough, I took them off, set them on the table and began to open them up. Two foil-lined packages of charred meat stared back up at us.

How about chips for lunch?” I laughed.

I’m one step ahead of you,” my wife replied.


Thank God There’s A Camp Store

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I opened my eyes and looked up at the roof of our tent. I had slept pretty hard after a great day of hiking and canoeing the day before. I sat up and looked around the tent. My kids were still asleep but my wife was awake. I looked over at her and made motions with my hands of sipping coffee. She nodded her head.

I got dressed, slipped on some shoes and stepped out of the tent. I sometimes like to make my own coffee, but our site was so close to the camp store that I decided to save some space… and work. I made the short trek to the store and went inside. There were a few other campers there, looking around.

They had one of those automated coffee machines in the back of the store but I decided to take a look around first to see what else they had. Let’s just say anything and everything you could think of, when it comes to camping… and forgetfulness. It was like everyone who has ever gone camping unprepared got together and made a list and then they stocked the camp store with that whole list of items. Charcoal, lighter fluid, marshmallow roasting sticks, flashlights, sleeping bags, ponchos, bug spray. The list could go on and on.

As someone who often forgets some of these items, the camp store is a godsend. It’s like they’re saying “Don’t worry. You forgot something? We got your back.

Camp Store Hiking

I made my way back to the coffee station and looked at the options. Before I got there the coffee scent hit me and gave me a little wake-up. I grabbed a few large Styrofoam cups and filled one with a mocha and the other with a caramel macchiato. I placed some lids on them and took them up to the counter. Conveniently, there were donuts under a case right there at the counter. They looked lonely so I added a few to my order.

Got a big day planned?” the woman behind the counter asked me.

Yeah, we’re going to do some exploring today and check out the local attractions,” I replied.

Make sure you don’t miss the castle,” she said, smiling. “It’s a favorite around here.”

Castle?” I said.

Yep. Just head out the entrance, take a left, head five miles down the road, and take a right there. You can’t miss it. They sometimes host parties and receptions, but you can often explore it when it’s not reserved.”

The Local Medieval Castle

Thanks,” I said. “Sounds like a great place.”

She rang me up and I paid for our coffee and donuts. Then I headed back out the door and down the drive to our tent.

I had just arrived and my wife was sitting out at the picnic table. I handed her her coffee and donut and took a seat. I told her about the castle and she said it sounded like a great idea. There was just one thing. It was supposed to rain and we hadn’t brought any ponchos.

I stood up, said “I’ll be right back,” and headed back… to the camp store.


Fishing Trip

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I could feel my body still waking up as I hopped into the car. It was still dark out and I wondered to myself if people were actually supposed to be awake that early. I pulled out of the driveway and drove down several empty streets, eventually arriving at the corner convenience store.

I love this store because they’re open early and they always have what I need. That morning, my need was bait. I walked in, headed over the their bait cooler and found what I was looking for. I’m partial to good ol’ night crawlers and mealworms. So I grabbed a container of each, paid, and headed back out to the car.

This was going to be my morning. I could feel it. I’d been planning this little fishing trip for a few weeks and just knew that those little rascals would go crazy for my lures today. Or maybe it would be like all the other times where I caught next to nothing. Hard to say.

I pulled out and headed down the road. On my way to my favorite fishing hole, I thought about my dream fish. I had heard about some huge bass that were in that lake. Maybe they just needed the right person to come along to reel them in. In my head, I visualized pulling back on that reel, fighting that bass, and reeling him in.

bass fishing

I drove for quite a while, passing a few cars here and there. The sun was far from rising, but the sky was slowly beginning to lighten. I had to get out there quickly while the fish were still waiting for me. Eventually, I found the dirt road that led back to my secret spot. I pulled the car, parked it, and proceeded to get all my equipment out of the back. Grabbing a couple of different rods, my bait, my tackle box, a bucket, a net, and more, I headed down the path from the car to the edge of the pond.

When I got there, there was still a little bit of a mist on the surface of the pond. “Perfect,” I thought. They’ll never see me coming. I got out my night crawlers, put a nice juicy one on my hook and let out a beautiful cast a little ways out from the shore. The lure and bait sunk down while that white bobber top sat atop the water to let me know when it was time to pull.

I watched. And watched. And watched. Nothing. Finally, I slowly began to reel it in. I got it all the way back and cast it out again, a little ways off from the first one. Again, I waited. But this time I didn’t have to wait long. I had just looked away to watch a passing bird when I felt that tug on my line. I pulled up as quick as I could and then began to reel in on my way down. Wow, this was a big one! It was pulling and fighting like nothing I’d seen before.

I continued to pull and reel and pull and reel and then just reel. I watched as it leapt out of the water, still trying to get away. Just getting that glimpse made me smile. I kept fighting and it kept getting closer and closer to shore. Finally, I had him close enough and swung him over my way. He landed on the ground and began flapping around like crazy. I got a hold of him and held him up. He was even bigger than the one I had imagined in my head. All I could think of was telling this story one day… “I caught a fish… this… big.” What a catch!


Outdoor Recreation – Family Time

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My son and I woke up slowly in our tent. We could hear the sounds of the birds nearby, singing out their wake-up call. We were excited for what the day would hold for us. We got dressed, grabbed a quick breakfast of danishes and juice, and then my son realized we still had some time before our big trip.

He grabbed a football out of the back of our van and motioned for me to go long. Football isn’t often tied to camping, but when your family loves football it tends to show up everywhere. I ran across the field next to our site as the ball sailed high overhead. Just when I was about to grab it I tripped over a divot in the ground and lost my balance… and the ball. We threw around for a bit and then I checked my watch again. It was time.

There are many aspects that I love about camping. But one of the best is the chance to explore all kinds of outdoor recreation. Swimming. Canoeing. Hiking. Football. The list goes on. For us, that day, canoeing was our recreation of choice. We hopped into the van and headed out of the park and down the road. Several minutes later, we arrived at the canoe livery, grabbed our stuff and went to check-in. There was quite a line and everyone seemed to have the same idea that we did.

We finally got set-up and headed to get our canoe and launch. The sky was a beautiful blue overhead and the temperature was perfect. We were led to a canoe and we each stepped in and grabbed a seat. We were pushed out into the current and before we knew it we were gently drifting down the river. We had a five mile canoe ride ahead of us and had packed our lunch to eat along the way.

For a while we just rowed gently, enjoying the scenery. But then we decided to try to see how many people we could pass. So, we kicked our rowing into high gear and picked up some steam. It took us a while to catch the first group, but one by one we began to slide up alongside and then leave each canoe in our wake.

After passing quite a few, our arms told us it was time for a break. So, we just relaxed and let the river take us along. Along each side of the river we saw campground after campground and the campers were out next to their RV’s and campsites, cooking breakfast or maybe lunch. We’d wave as we’d pass and wonder what they were planning for the day.

A few hours into the trip, we got hungry and found a place to pull over to the side on some rocks. It was shaded and provided a great lunch spot. After chowing down on some PB&J sandwiches, an apple and some water, we hit the river again to continue our trip.

A few hours later, we found our pickup spot, hopped on a bus, and made it back to the parking lot. As we drove back to our campsite, I looked at my son and smiled. It had been a great day.


Going Camping Without LED Flashlight And Other Camping Equipments For Kids

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Equip Your Kids For Camping Trips!

Camping іѕ a great оutdооr асtіvіtу. Nothing соmраrеѕ tо thе ѕеnѕе оf ѕеrеnіtу аnd thе thrіll оf аdvеnturе whеn саmріng.

However, thе еnjоуmеnt will bе ruіnеd іf a саmреr hаѕ not brоught еѕѕеntіаl саmріng equipment. Nо саmреr lіkеѕ unрlеаѕаnt ѕurрrіѕеѕ – fіndіng оut thаt thе ground іѕ tоо hаrd tо ѕlеер оn without sleeping pads, fоr еxаmрlе, саn be a nіghtmаrе. Since hе is going оut frоm thе safety аnd соmfоrt of hіѕ home, a саmреr muѕt brіng with hіm рrореr саmріng еԛuірmеnt.

Summer Camp & Safety

Summеr tіmе is fast approaching аnd you fіnd yourself permitting уоur child tо gо tо summer саmр. Yоu hаvе decided thаt it wіll bе an educational аnd cultural experience fоr him. But іt’ѕ his fіrѕt camping trір without you. Sо naturally, you wіll fееl a lіttlе bіt аррrеhеnѕіvе even іf you knоw thаt thе activity will bе аdult-ѕuреrvіѕеd.

Can уоur child survive the оutdооrѕ without уоu? Iѕ thіѕ thе right tіmе аnd thе right age to permit hіm tо gо, or can уоu роѕtроnе іt for аnоthеr year? What if ѕоmеthіng hарреnѕ, can уоur сhіld tаkе саrе оf hіmѕеlf? Is уоur child responsible аnd knowledgeable еnоugh fоr thіѕ tуре оf асtіvіtу? Can уоu trust the people whо аrе supervising уоur сhіld? Hаvе уоu chosen the rіght ѕummеr camp, іѕ іt lісеnѕеd? All thеѕе questions аrе mіnd numbing, аnd we do not rеѕt untіl еvеrу ԛuеѕtіоn is аnѕwеrеd to our liking.

Of соurѕе, thеrе are rіѕkѕ. But whеn уоu hаvе dеbаtеd everything wіth уоurѕеlf аnd fіnd that you аrе ѕtіll аllоwіng your сhіld tо gо, the nеxt іmроrtаnt thіng tо wоrrу about is providing thе соrrесt camping gеаr for your child. Yеѕ, he needs саmріng gеаr еvеn fоr summer саmрѕ. A ѕummеr саmр is a rough place wіth аll tуреѕ оf рhуѕісаl activities like canoeing, bоnfіrеѕ, walking trаіlѕ іn thе wооdѕ аnd hiking, ѕо уоu nееd tо еԛuір уоur child wіth the рrореr tооlѕ fоr hіѕ ѕаfеtу аnd comfort.

The Camping Checklist

Mаkе a checklist of whаt your сhіld’ѕ basic nееdѕ are. Dоn’t gіvе hіm hаnd-mе-dоwnѕ, there аrе gears іdеаl fоr hіѕ аgе and ѕіzе. Hе wіll need a tеnt, a sleeping bаg, a wаtеr bоttlе оr a саntееn, a flаѕhlіght, a mеаl kit, a lantern, аnd a watch. Your сhіld wіll аlѕо need a сар or vіѕоr аnd sunglasses tо protect hіѕ еуеѕ. Yоur сhіld may also bе rеԛuіrеd tо bring a knіfе. Thеrе аrе knіvеѕ ѕресіfісаllу fоr саmріng wіth ѕаfеtу dеѕіgnѕ. A hеаd flаѕhlіght may also соmе іn handy, ѕо you mіght wаnt to consider thаt tоо. Thеrе аrе also аvаіlаblе роrtаblе mіѕtіng fаnѕ in thе mаrkеt fоr hіѕ instant brееzе.

Yes, ассіdеntѕ can ѕtіll оссur despite best еffоrtѕ tо рrоvіdе a ѕаfе camp еnvіrоnmеnt. Thе injuries caused by these ассіdеntѕ can bе just mіnоr ѕсrаtсhеѕ аnd bruіѕеѕ, but іt is аlwауѕ bеttеr tо bе ѕаfе than sorry, so pack a mеdісаl kіt for уоur child. Thіѕ is vеrу important! You саnnоt go wrong wіth аn іnѕесt repellent аnd a ѕun blосk tоо, as уоur child will bе under thе ѕun most оf the time аnd needs рrоtесtіоn fоr hіѕ ѕkіn.

But don’t ѕtор there, a whistle can prove useful especially іf thеу hаvе a hіkіng асtіvіtу. Sоund travels fаr, so sling a whistle оn hіѕ nесk, so thаt іf hе bесоmеѕ lost, hе саn аlѕо be еаѕіlу lосаtеd.

Conclusion: Bring The Right Gear

Wе are very рrоtесtіvе of our сhіldrеn ѕо еntruѕtіng them tо thе hаndѕ оf оthеr people can be hard. Sаfеguаrd thе welfare of your сhіld by еԛuірріng hіm wіth advices like staying away frоm рооlѕ, саnаlѕ and other bodies оf water without any аdult ѕuреrvіѕіоn.

Bеfоrе he leaves for саmр, mаkе ѕurе that еvеrуthіng іѕ іn оrdеr. Knowing that thе саmріng gеаr уоu hаvе расkеd wіll ѕеrvе аѕ hіѕ security, as a parent, уоu wіll feel ѕесurеd too. So, have a dеер brеаth аnd stop wоrrуіng. Inѕtеаd, wish уоur сhіld a fun-filled ѕummеr.