“The Bloodletting on the Bloodvein.” That’s what my Canadian wilderness adventure pals dubbed our fishing and paddling excursion along the Bloodvein River in Ontario and Manitoba. We’d anticipated pleasurable days of gliding the river while fishing for lunch or dinner. Reality delivered a blistering heat wave and hard-core paddling escapade topped off by water-filtration equipment that failed. Boiling water over a campfire is the most full-proof method of purification, but to be safe, make sure you boil it for at least one minute.   If the overwhelming heat coupled with torturous 10- to 12-hour paddling segments involving scores of difficult portages…
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Thick leaden clouds blanketed the sky and the air had a heavy, raw feel as we pushed off into the emerald green river. But at least temperatures hovered above freezing. We were embarking on a 10-mile float trip for ducks and the last thing we needed was ice or snow to contend with. It can be productive to hunt before a winter storm. Game animals will feed heavily 12-24 hours before a storm approaches because they know food will be hard to find once snow blankets the ground.   No sooner had we left the launching spot and paddled our…
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You’re ready to improve your outdoor survival skills. A quick Google search brings up dozens of survival school options in the United States. But how do you evaluate a school or course and choose one of the best? We’ve done some of the homework for you, picking out 10 of our favorite survival schools below after scouring schools for qulified instructors, great courses and positive reviews. Be sure to check credentials and background when evaluating survival or outdoor schools. To help us in our mission to find the nations top schools, we first spoke with Dina Bennett. She runs the…
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This is why you should get off the water — and shoreline — during a lightning storm.     Did you spot the fisherman? Around 32 seconds in, you can see the angler is pointed out in the video via an arrow. Now that was close! According to the video, uploaded to YouTube June 19 by Tesla Weather, the angler was located about .03 miles from the lightning strike, which occurred in Barcelona, Spain, in the morning hours of June 15. The person who captured the video wasn't very far away, either — about .06 miles. Here's a screen grab from YouTube:…
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Shirt pulled up to expose his belly and plant in hand, 10-year-old Curt used a circular motion to rub the plant over the surface of his skin. His little cousin followed suit. The little boy was my genius cousin who was scientificlly, in his mind, testing his theory that he was not allergic to poison ivy. The copy cat was me. Five-plus decades later, I remember the agony I suffered and still cringe at the thought of the experience and how I got through my allergic reaction to the plant. Avoidance isn't always easy though ... expecially for the outdoorsmen.…
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  Several years ago, me, the wife and our two kids attended an organized night hike at a nearby arboretum. The kids were only in their single digit years but were no stranger to hiking. Most of their trekking miles were gained via state park trails and exploring the woods and meadows near our home. Always being on the alert for new hiking opportunities, I was excited to discover the night hikes offered by the arboretum's naturalists and sign the family up for the next one. During that first organized night hike, the kids were mesmerized by the naturalist's stories…
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YouTube screen grab   Wondering why you're seeing so many bear videos pop up in the news and social media? It's mating season. From May to July, bears are out roaming the land in search of a mate, which is why bear sightings increase during this time of year. While many of these sightings are adorable (see Bear Relaxing in a Hammock), some can be downright nerve-wracking. Take for instance this story out of Canada, where two joggers were joined on their run by a young black bear. Not surprisingly, the two men were nervous about their new training partner…
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As settlers traveled across the country a couple hundred years ago, their needs were simple even though times were harsh. Food, shelter and safety were primary. After trudging laborious miles through strange lands, scared, exhausted and many sick, a rewarding meal was often looked forward to at day's end. This made one piece of gear more of a treasure than a travel accessory: the cast iron kettle, or Dutch oven. Today, a Dutch oven is a treasure found around campfires as a luxury more so than a necessity. Pulling a Dutch oven from the vehicle or RV at a campground…
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For some campers, a good night sleep is easily achieved after a day of adventure taxes the body. But for others, even a day of trail trekking or kayak paddling can't bring a comfortable slumber experience. Laying your head down in a strange place can disturb the sleep routine, but if a few adjustments in bedding and sleep preparation at camp are made, a good night's sleep is possible. The foundation of a comfortable camp bed is the padding and/or bed apparatus. Most tent campers use sleeping pads of various styles, some of which may not be the best choice…
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 When temperatures rise outside, so do the number of people enjoying the outdoors. But the beauty of nature can also bring harm. And while spring may produce storms and rain, the summer is actually peak season for lightning deaths in the United States. According to statistics from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 70 percent of lightning strikes occur in June, July and August. Those months are also peak times for outdoor activities, which can create a dangerous situation for anglers, campers, boaters and hikers. According to NOAA, of the 238 lightning strike deaths that occurred in the U.S. between…
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