Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Operation Venison Extraction

You cant tell a 74 year old deer hunter to stop hunting by himself, but you can tell him that if he get's a deer to call you to drag it out.

"Got One!"

That's all it took to know that this particular Monday night would involve a hell of a lot of work

I was almost home when I got the call that OMR had a buck down.  Within 10 minutes, Big C was scooped up with an on-the-go dinner and we were headed northward to help with venison retrieval.

His face said he was tired, but happy and proud non the less.  An experience with heat stroke early in hunting season made him realize that he couldn't do what he once thought nothing of,  but this buck's death reaffirmed and reacquired his mojo.

We set out to the deer, 3 generations of Mills boys with flashlights lighting the way.   Concerned grandmothers and moms weren't quite sure it was a good idea to bring a boy just shy of 4 into the deep dark woods to help drag the deer out.  I couldnt think of anything  better.   My childhood was full of times like this and I count not deny my oldest boy the same.

He took to the trail with excitement and wonder.  He held the hand of "Poppa Fay" and was a continual stream of questions that grandpa was happy to answer.

We reached the deer and  my son's wonderment reached next level.  I looked at the deer with resignation and said "shit"

It was a damn fine deer, a damn heavy big bodied mature deer.

We were almost a mile back in the woods when I put a rope on the antlers and began the drag.  Each successive hogback and small ridge made the deer a couple pounds heavier.   The fall pine needle drop made going uphill like skating on ice at times.  We made progress and  let's say that crossfit has nothing on this particular workout.

The last field was reached and OMR joined the push to the truck, dragging the deer with me.  It was a happy, proud and tiring moment.  Three boys on an adventure.  One just starting his outdoor experiences, one in the middle and one nearing his eventual end afield by himself.

The tailgate slammed in my truck and the job was complete.  Big C was asleep 5 minutes after we hit the road, and OMR was a happy hunter.

I was tired as I could get, but the experience of operation venison extraction was just plain awesome.

Monday, November 24, 2014


I swear it was watching me.  All it needed was a painted on smile and nose.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Irish Setter Vaprtrek Boot Review

Ready for a super technical review of an amazing piece of outdoor footwear?

Ok, here it goes.  About that super technical part, maybe not.

Aside of being a fishing nut, I do love to spend time watching my dogs work a pheasant field and chasing turkeys in spring.  It seems like I have zero luck over the past 5 or so years with hunting boots.  Failing seams, failing water barriers, you name it.  Wet feet equals a terrible outdoor experience.   I'm hell on outdoor gear.

So when I was given an opportunity to field test a pair of Irish Setter Vaprtek boots, the answer was pretty obvious.

Here are the top four reasons why these boots past my large human test and are making my time afield a lot more enjoyable in the foot department

1.  Weight

These are the lightest boots I have ever worn.  Period.    According to the web site, these kicks are 40% lighter than the average hunting boot.   This really was apparent on my most recent pheasant hunt where we put in a lot of miles in a day.  I can distinctly remember what my old boots felt like at the end of the day (cement blocks) and these don't fit into that category at all.

2.  Agressive Tread

The channeled scablands of Eastern Washington where we chase ditch parrots is a crazy piece of ground, and I really enjoyed the grip these boots gave.  Kudos to the designers on this one.

3.   Molded Footbed

Back to the super technical review.  I wear molded insoles due to extremely flat feet, and these boots have a rock solid molded foot bed (dont know if that's the right term) that keep my foot in place and so far have kept blisters on the bottom of my foot away.

4.   Quick Break In

Normally it takes weeks to get a pair of hunting boots to break in.  2 hunts and these were dialed in.
That my friends, is awesome

One thing to consider...

While the break in period was drastically reduced compared to other boots that I have had, I did make the mistake of going too far on the first hunt and I did end up with some pretty serious blisters. When I first put them on they felt so incredible that they felt already broken in and ready to go.

They fit great but with a boot like this that is going to last for several seasons, you still need to break them in properly.  After my initial hunt and when the my heals had recovered, I wore them for a bit every night for a week and the next experience was drastically different.

I can really see these boots doing really well for anyone in the outdoors, but especially guys and gals who really value a lightweight and sturdy boot.   Bowhunters, Upland Bird Hunting and long distance hikers will absolutely love them

My last question...

I dont know what it's going to be like in the severe cold  and really deep snow.  We havent' had these conditions yet and when glassing and sitting for long periods of time when deer hunting  you often are subject to really cold feet.    So that question remains....

There's a pile of technology that have gone into these boots and you should check into these four items that Irish Setter hangs their hat on


See, I promised super technical.

All in all, these outdoor kicks are worth every penny of their price tag.  In the market, give them a test drive and hopefully they work for you like they have worked for me

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Skeena Watershed Auction Fundraiser

The Skeena River system is an amazing place, and the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition is at the heart of the fight to protect it

Right now, the SWCC is hosting a hell of an online auction that features dozens of unique items that will be perfect under your Christmas tree.

Personally I have my eye on this beautiful atlantic salmon fly

Give it a look, bid ends on November 23rd

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Go to Belize with The North 40 Fly Shop...

Belize is amazing.  Period.

If you can swing it, hop on board with Denver and The North 40 Fly Shop when they roll down to San Pedro April 19th through the 23rd for 5 days of fishing and sun.

The package comes in at $1995, including flight from Belize City to San Pedro, accommodations at the Pelican Reef Villas, breakfast and lunch.  Not included are items like international flights, booze, dinners, and a few others.  Guides and fishing arranged by Belize Fly

It's a hell of a deal.

In the two weeks I have fished the waters in and around San Pedro, I have found this one of the most intoxicating places I have ever fished.   There's a legit shot at a flats grand slam and other amazing fish including snook.

If you've never caught a bonefish, you can hardly comprehend how fast line leaves your reel.  It's amazing.

Get more info and book your spot by contacting the North 40 Fly Shop.

Welcoming TU's Wild Steelhead Initiative...

On November 20th, Trout Unlimited is jumping into the steelhead conservation arena with both feet with their Wild Steelheaders United initiative.

Welcome brothers and sisters in conservation.  They were an integral part of kicking the crap out of the proposed pebble mine in Alaska, so lets see what they can do to activate more people and bring more light on steelhead issues across the west coast.  More voices, more money, more press.  All things steelhead need

In full honesty, I have always wondered why TU hasn't been heavily involved with steelhead conservation, considering what steelhead are.   Alas, better to be in the game then never in the game and I am excited to see what this national organization can bring to the fight.

On the 20th, TU will be hosting several regional kickoff parties across the west coast, including Seattle, Portland, Boise, Juneau and Santa Cruz

If you're near any of those venues, go check it out.  Here's another opportunity to get involved.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What's In The Grass...

The tall native grass just goes and goes.  At times you lose the dogs because it's so dense and thick and the only way you can located them is to watch for the serpentine movement of grass that indicates their movement.

Our labs work the cover nose down, searching for scent trails that indicate their quarry.  You dont get to watch the dogs as well and notice their body language, so the flushed ditch parrots rocket up and scare you without prior indication.

Makes the ticker really go pitter patter.

We might walk 2 miles of the grass without so much as a flush.  We might bust birds at the beginning, middle and end.  They might run all the way to the end and hit the air at the same time in a flurry of wingbeats.

Either way, when I start this particular grass field, I always take a second before I step a boot into the cover and wonder....

What's in the grass?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Elusive Trout's Redband T-Shirt

Spokane based illustrator Deanna Camp and Spokane Falls Trout Unlimited have partnered up in creating a sweet new shirt to help raise money for the native fish of the Spokane River, the Redband Rainbows.

 These fish are scrappers, living in a river that while beautiful, has distinct challenges of pollution, storm water runoff, poaching, and many other limiting factors.  The proceeds from these shirts, posters and prints will do directly into habitat restoration and protection.

Here's are a few ways for you to pick up a shirt or print and lend a hand in helping these native redband rainbows

Retail Locations--Silver Bow Fly Shop, Sweds Fly Shop and Atticus in downtown Spokane

Online--Elusive Trout and Spokane Falls Trout Unlimited

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Chrome Rocket

Pretty damn fresh, considering its 449.7 miles from the mouth of the Columbia to the mouth of the Grande Ronde

Oh yeah, and the multitude of damns they have to cross.

Kind of a miracle that these fish can still look this bright when they make it to us.

Amazing eh?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Millsfly and Rep Your Water Giveaway...

We are proud to announce a new, 3 day contest with our partner Rep Your Water.

For the next three days, anyone who reposts, shares, or uses the #repyoursteel hashtag will be eligible to win your choice of 1 steelhead themed RYW hat, the swung fly long sleeve t-shirt and 2 flies from Chucking Line and Chasing Tail's vice.

Dont forget, 1% of the proceeds for the 11 steelhead themed hats goes back into conservation with a donation to the Wild Steelhead Coalition.

One winner per day, this Wednesday through Friday

Good luck, and swing away!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Mas Reel Porn...

So dewey, so hawt.