Last summer a buddy of mines neighbor gave him an ice fishing tent… Brand new, in box. The guy had got it as a gift or something, and didn’t need two.. something like that IIRC. But unfortunately the guy was a little drunk when he was giving it away, and insisted on showing my friend how to set it up.
Uhuh. Broke two poles in the process. And I’m really not sure how… These tents are so simple and idiot proof.. well, I guess not drunk proof.. lol.
These things operate on a simple tension system, a X of poles, anchored at the outer corners of each wall, and the roof, a pivoting hub in the center attached to the wall. The X is a few inches bigger than the dimensions of the wall, so when you snap it out rigid it bows the wall out against the pressure, and it pops into place and stays under the tension. Super slick and easy.
He managed to snap off two of the poles from one hub, snapped right at the end, flush with the metal pivot ends that fit in the hub.
My buddy doesn’t ice fish(yeah, a weirdo, I know…), so he gave me the tent. I just got around to going and getting it from him a week ago yesterday.
New poles I found are $10 each plus shipping. They’re 49.5″ long, I hate to think what shipping to AK was going to be. But I figured there had to be an easy fix.
My buddy thought PVC pipe over the breaks. I can’t remember seeing PVC that small. (3/8″ ID for the pole, 1/2″ ID for the end fitting.)
And I was hoping to not buy anything 😉
I took it apart and took the end pieces out, headed to the shop.
I had a plan, would just make a sleeve to join them, set screws to hold them in, long over the pole side for support against it torquing out, or snapping again.
Didn’t have any aluminum big enough dia, that wasn’t 2″ Dia, so I used a scrap of bead stock brass. Ended up 5″ each sleeve, bored through at 0.375″ and counter bored on one end at 0.5″. Cross drilled, and tapped 6-32 for some brass screws I had. Cross drilled through the end fittings (aluminium), and ran the screws through instead of just against them.
When you break a fiberglass rod, as you know if you have ever broken a ski pole or tent pole, it “blooms” on the end, sort of a spreading, or swelling to larger dia.
That made it perfect, I fed the fittings over from the opposite end, and it formed a press fit over the expanded area, I had to drive them on, down to the right length to end at 49.5″. Perfect!
First assembly I had the end of the sleeve too close to the cross pin the ends pivot on in the hub, it wouldn’t fold. Went back and trimmedthem down a touch, now they’re fine.
Sorry, only took pics after it was back together… In place, and in use;
That was a week ago today. I’d been needling another buddy about going fishing some time soon on that Sunday. Day after I fixed this he sent me a message, lake name and date. 😀 This last Saturday.
So, we’ll before first light we loaded up andheaded out;
Two hour drive to the lake, short hike across the lake, we’re set up just after dawn. 3.5 hours of fun later; (yeah, so much fun I never stopped to take pics!)
Little silver salmon. (Stocked lake). We had hoped on some big lake trout or pike that are usually easy in this lake, but they weren’t biting. I ain’t complaining! It was still great!
I came home 1 short of the daily limit! I’d caught 6, but put 1 back. Another guy caught 5 or 6 he kept. The other guy got 4 that he kept, but has a freezer full of salmon, so he let me have them. Had lots more bites we missed, and some that got off half way up etc.. Good times!
We didn’t freeze either, and actually fished comfortably outside the tent, only setting it up with the buddy heater to wam up once. 5F with a 5 to 10 mph wind. Dreamy weather for a first trip of the season. (Always a bitch to acclimate yourself to the ice, wind, andfishing at -20F for the first trip out! 😉 )
I gotta say that little Victorianox paring knife is THE sweetest fish cleaning knife I’ve ever had. Thin narrow Wicked laser sharp blade, and a great grippy handle. Love it!
I’d decided that I need a new holster for my .357. (Vintage Ruger Security Six, 4″). Field holster I guess you’d say… I don’t concealed carry often anymore, just open carry for hunting/hiking.
Until recently I’ve done belt carry, have a great pancake holster from Simply Rugged that works phenominally.
But I can’t do belt carry anymore;
Problem #1, it kills my screwed up hips, and #2 at current weight loss level/clothing sizing, keeping my pants up is impossible with the weight of a gun…Hell, it’s hard enough without the gun. Lol. (belt tight enough to hold it all up, cuts into back/hips too much, back to problem #1)
I’ve tried regular shoulder holsters. No go. Got a leather Galco “miami classic” style for a full size auto, have had it a decade, worn it a total of maybe ten times.
Borrowed a buddies Uncle Mikes vertical nylon job for hunting last month. Wore it once. Rode ok once adjusted, but where it was secure and somewhat comfortable, I couldn’t reach the gun to draw it!
I’ve had nylon ones twice in the past before. Got a great vintage Bianchi leather job that a good friend gave me, but it’s too big for this gun(actually hoping to convert it to chest or bandoleer carry for my .41 mag Blackhawk ).
Anyway, I can Never get any slight semblance of comfortable, or secure, at the same time, and never an easy draw either way…
Add to that the layers of straps you get with the holster, a backpack, and a rifle sling while out and about in the woods… Just no. There’s too much of the world sitting on my shoulders anyway, don’t need to add more!
I’ve thought about a bandoleer setup, but that ends up on the hip cross draw… hard to reach (yes, I still have a bit of a spare tire to reach around, and add a heavy jacket, forget it!) and in a place that would interfere with backpacks, pack frames, and I think a slung rifle..
So, my last ditch idea is to attempt to try a chest rig…
They’re actually extremely popular up here in AK for bear country fishing, and some hunting.
Yes it hangs on shoulder straps, at least one..but the weight sits on the chest, not under the armpits. And it should pull on the back more than straight down on the shoulders.. I think. I’m thinking it will be more secure feeling and more accessible. And probably more comfortable, leave me some range of arm movement without under arm binding. (Hopefully!)
So, a couple weeks digging around, and some fantastic suggestions from friends on a forum, and I made a choice.
I ordered a holster last week. I’d seen these before, and looked at them off and on, but wasn’t sure.
But I decided for the cost –About $40– I couldn’t really go wrong.. If nothing else I could modify the snot out of it.
But really, I decided I needed something low cost to try, to see if chest carry was even the answer, without dropping $70 to $150 depending. Expensive risk, if it turned out chest carry wasn’t my thing.
So, the make is Skyball Mountain Holsters. Amazingly, made in USA. Only places I can find them are Facebook and Ebay, apparently it’s a small business, no dedicated website.
I dug around and found out that the current Ruger GP100 is super close in size to a Security Six, so I ordered the one for a 4″ barrel GP100.
It fits the gun perfectly!
(Being a open non formed holster, it actually fits All of my mid frame ~4″ hand guns almost perfectly!)
These are built a little different than the average chest harness. The average seems to be an around the body horizontal strap, then the holster sits on that or straps down to it. Then the shoulder strap goes over and attaches to the horizontal strap on your back.
This one is the horizontal strap, and then the shoulder strap goes around from the holster, and BACK TO the holster…
It works. But it adds another strap crossing under your arm, and for me it’s a bit uncomfortable crossing that high under my arm. (I’ve a bit of fat there and it presses in anoyingly)
But even having said that, this thing is SUPER comfortable!!
I threw it on with the 357 over a light hoodie a few nights ago, and went out and split a days worth of firewood. 45 minutes swinging a splitting maul, lifting, moving logs, etc. and I only had to reposition it a few times. That’s pretty upper body active, more so than any average time I’d normally be wearing a gun.
My only little problem is the way it sits, all the tension is pulling to the left side… The straps don’t hold it to the right if it’s pulled left. But it’s a left hand draw. So it drifts left during draw. Grabbing it with the right hand durring draw fixes it obviously. But I might not always have that hand free, so it needs a hold down strap on the right.
There is a loop on the barrel end of the holster (probably for a hold down), so adding a short cord, I’m thinking shock cord for a little movement, should be easy, run down to my belt.
One other thing, not really a problem, is the chest strap, on me, is extended almost all the way out. Not a design flaw, I’m just a big guy. So I’ll have to get an extension strap for wearing it over a heavy coat. It’s all 1″ strap, and all ends are held with SRBs, so it’ll be easy/cheap to add/remove as needed. The shoulder strap on the other hand, oddly has like another 10″ of outward adjustment, it’ll be fine.
Overall, I really like it. It works, and is verry comfortable.
As to mods, I’m trying to find the site I saw a T shaped side release buckle on recently…
It was simple the male or female side of the buckle, but the strap side had the slots on it at a 90 to the buckle… So you can slide it to any place on a strap and have the buckle T off. It was for camping/hiking packs, like to add a sternum strap or similar. Just can’t find it again!
Anyway, was thinking one of those or similar on the around the chest strap, put it in the back, and clip the shoulder strap into it, doing away with the under arm strap.
I’ll wear it/use it a while as is and if I don’t get used to that strap there, I’ll look into moddling it. But for now it’s fine!
Fat guy in a holster;
And the bonus, I can pick and chose what I want to carry;
Beretta Stamped SAA;
(3.5″ barrel us a little short in there, but I think it’ll balance ok/hang ok)
Browning BDM 9mm;
(Which is great for now since this is my usual winter woods carry gun. No bears then so I don’t need the .357 etc.)
My first time out.
A friend and I have been trying to get out to do this together for about 2 years now, finally got to go.
Ended up with his teen son along, and got two other friends to go, one that has a fancy German hunting dog.
We even put it off a week, last minute plans from last Monday so to make sure one guy could go… Turned out great, we got a few inches of snow in the week, make the birds more visible on the ground!
I borrowed a buddies 12ga auto shotgun to take since I don’t have one.
2.5 hour drive south to a 70 acre private property plot we have access to(Church bible camp) just north of Mt. Denali, and the foot hills of the Alaska Range.
2.5wonderful hours hiking around in clear 5F weather, fantastic company and country… 4,000 grouse tracks everywhere. Millions of rabbit tracks.
Some fox and lynx tracks.
We’d talked about other game, and unfortunately lynx is closed until Dec 1st, but fox is open, and rabbit, and I was hoping to see a rabbit.
And I wouldn’t have argues with getting a fox pelt either to be honest!
Hiked 2.5 to 3 miles in flat country trails, open forest and fairly thick brush/black spruce country.
$$$ fancy hunting dog tracking all over the place. Really cool to see that, finally. (Friend has been trying to get me out to see the dog for almost 2 years now.)
Never saw an (game)animal.
No, take that back… we saw one camp robber. Lol.
Now, it was mid day by the time we got down there after we worked out some issues, drive was slow because of hairy roads in places…
We honestly figure the birds were all up in the trees roosting by the time we got out there, and once a spruce grouse is in a spruce tree it’s invisible.
But it was a fantastic trip regardless of not shooting anything! Really was fun just getting good out and enjoying God’s creation with some friends.
I didn’t actually take the shotgun after all. Talking to my friend that I’d planned this with, he didn’t have one either, so he and his son would be with .22 rifles.
I remembered that last year when we started talking about going, I bought a new Skinner sight for my Dad’s(now mine) Browning SA-22.
Figured it was a great brush gun, it’s super small, light, and short, points fast, be a dream to carry. It’s also a take down gun, for easy packing.
Also knew we’d be in Super dense cover at tines, and that 12ga is Loooonnnggg. Be a bitch to swing in the brush..
So I took the .22.
And it did pack and carry marvelously! Do need to get a sling mouth set on it to make it a little easier, in thrvthick stuff (bith hands free)and a dedicated short pack case for it.
One other friend was supposed to have a single shot .410 along, but couldnt find it, so he had a 12 ga. pump. Figured the other guy would gave a 12ga. But he chose to just wrangle his do for us. But we did end up with one shotgun in the mix, for any fast flight shots.
The group minus me and the dog;
Same two friends in this shot, if you can find them… even the relatively open forest was hard visibility beyond 20 feet!
Something cool (I think) I started doing with another tube fed gun, a Ruger MKII magazine makes a great speed loader. Just push the rounds off one at a time. Easier than a hand full of loose ammo.
Cutlery that I took for cleaning animals;
The red Mora fixed blade I bought that morning… Had to take one guy to grab a hunting license before we went.
I was walking around the sporting goods store while he got it, killing time,
and was amazed to see real Mora knives for sale with the fishing gear! Never seen them locally before, just online. Even stranger, it’s in a small home town shop (one of a kind, not a chain store). Even though I do have a couple already, I couldn’t pass it up for $9.99 😉
Anyway, still a great day without the birds, and the season is open all winter. Thinking I’ll start taking a .22 along with ice fishing trips etc. Never know what you might see!
So, the moose story.
finally. (Some of you have been asking for this post for a week) 🙂
The morning of the day of the wolf adventure above, we’d gone up one ridge before day light (Fun.) I couldn’t so the last climb to the very top, about 60 yards of what at that time I deemed “death slope”.
This area is a little U shaped valley along a ridge, sitting between prongs, or points off the ridge. Ridge and river sit paralell, prongs point at the river, so open top of the U faces the river. It’s about 0.4 miles from river to the bottom center of the U, 0.35 miles from one point to the other across the U. Not a big area.
From river to about .25 miles in, it used to be boreal tundra spruce… 90% no bigger than 8″ in diameter. Several years ago it burned. So it’s now a mess of 3″ Dia 8′ tall new birch, alder, and willow, with its floor covered in down, dead spruce… High stepping nightmare to hike in. But it’s dry and flat.
At that .25 mile mark is a line, and small grove of larger older spruce forest. It goes maybe 50 yards in depth. Behind it, the rest of the flat into the bottom of the ridge, of the U is moss covered tundra. Moss a good 1.5′ to 4′ deep in places, wet, spongy. And permafrost grown spruce, all about head height and 2″ in dia.. Thankfully that area isn’t muskeg tussoks, but the moss isn’t any picnic to hike in.
From the right hand watch spot, on the first ridge point we climbed, from about half way up, looking across the U at an angle, to the next point, and the base of the 2nd point.
That first day, they’d gone up the first ridge mid afternoon, to scout. Didn’t see any moose. That evening at dusk they went up again, and I hunted watching a sand bar along the river, couple hundred yards from camp. I didn’t see anything but a Huge beaver.
All they saw was two other hunters on the next point, that hiked in from the river!
That next morning, (wolf day), we all went up before daylight, and watched. That pic there ^^ is from my vantage point later in the morning. They were a bit higher than me furthet up on my right.
We would have gone over and up the second point at that time, but figured the other two guys would be back that morning. They never showed.
Around 9 am, they saw a moose, good sized one, a loooonnnnggg ways out on the burn flat past the second point, about 700 yards, headed our way.
I never saw him that day. You have to know what your looking for at that range, it’s amazing the one guy saw it to begin with, but he has eagle eyes for that stuff… saw it at first with bare eyes, No Glass!!
Anyway, about 10, they decended into the U and crossed the valley behind the trees, in the mossy mess, to the other point, and climbed it. By 11, the moose had bedded down, off that point a few hundred yards out.
I headed back to camp (mid way between points, on the river). They went off the other side of that second point and into the valley there, and scouted around, back to camp, around 1 pm.
If we’d known that morning that the other two guys weren’t coming back, we’d have gone up that second ridge then, and could have shot that bull that morning, he came well within range before bedding. As it was, he bedded before we got anyone on that ridge.
Fast lunch, then we napped to 3pm, early dinner, then hiked in and climbed the second left hand point around 4pm. I could only get up about 50 yards, and it was from this point I took this pic shown in the wolf post;
center U trees on left, big trees on right are on the far bank of the river, looking toward camp, other point on the left/center…
3 hour watch, around 730pm was when he shot the wolf, and I went down to help.
The big bull never showed again that evening. Around 8 after we got back to camp with the wolf, our 3rd guy that had stayed up top(Ole eagle eyes) saw another pair of bulls headed in along the same line the other had taken into the area, these two a good 900 yards out. Younger smaller bulls, spike forks both of them, a medium sized one and a smaller one trailing him by a ways.
Too far out, too late to worry about, but maybe the next day they’d range in better.
Late dinner that night after he came down around 9, then we were up till 12am,while he skinned out that wolf. In the dark, in the cold, in the rain (sleet, almost snow actually ).
Next morning about 530, up and breakfast, and they headed back up the steep 2nd point. Wanted to be there when that first big bull started moving around.
I’d had too much mountain goating around, and general hiking the first couple days, was starting to blow out a muscle in my right thigh… Figured if I was going to be of any use helping to butcher, and pack out meat if we got one, I needed to stick to the flat land and stop trying to climb ridges.
I stayed in camp till around 8, then went and tried to hike to the sand bar I’d been watching, long the river. That was Fun. Had to head into a stand of old growth spruce along the river, some 4′ in diameter at the base. And more dead falls. But unlike in the burn area, these were 10″ in Dia and bigger. And the area had a drainage ditch/street bed.
At 9:10 I’d managed 100 yards from camp, and decided the heck with it, started to head back. (The very fresh bright purple bear scat in places added to the ease of that decision 😉 , although we’d been seeing that scat, most of it fresh within the week, purple (blueberry) or red (cranberry) all over the valley. )
915am, 3 shots off the ridge above me.
Headed for camp a little faster.
About 10, my buddy got into camp. Eagle eyes had gone to start gutting it. 😀
They were up there watching, nothing moving in the flat, when suddenly he saw movement out of the brush at the base of the ridge below them… That big bull had skirted the base of the slope, too close to the ridge to be seen till he got out 100 yards or so! Walked right by under them.
He also went right by the spot I’d sat the evening before, within about 50 to 70 yards!! If I’d have been up there he would have crossed below me, in perfect range, at a slow walk, broadside!
As it was, he heard my friends, gave a lot at them up the ridge, and broke into a trot toward the center U trees..
They fired two shots that missed him as he turned, and then God blessed my buddy on the 3rd shot, as the bull got to about 350 yards out, into the mossy area, he shot for the spine downhill, bull facing almost square away from him. Missed the spine, but the shot went into the rib cage.
Little later dressing him out, the shot broke 3 ribs going in on the left side, made hamburger of its liver, through that lung, destroyed the aorta, and passed into the off side shoulder or brisked. Hydrostatic show made jelly of the other lung, and blood shot some brisket, neck.
The bull took a few steps, about 20′ if that, and dropped in his tracks.
When oppenened up, the body cavity was Full of blood, and there was no blood in the meat as we butchered it.. The shot destroyed the aorta, but missed the heart, and under a run, and adrenaline, the bull heart kept going and pumped himself dry, bled out Fast, and dropped.
The only problem was, the side of that tree line that he ran to. Lol.
So packing him out was 50 or 60 yards of mossy muck, 50 yards of (active use!)bear trail through the timber, and 200, 250 yards of the burn area. FUN.
But at just a little over 1/4 mile, it really wasn’t that bad. But I now fully understand an old saying here; NEVER shot a moose further than 100 yards from a motorized vehicle. 😉
The most entertaining was getting the head and hide out. Skinning went so fast with three guys, them two cutting and my pulling the hide, that he decided he wanted it in one piece, to keep. The fact that it’s a chocolate brown and deep black, I can’t blame him, it’s gorgeous!
And the 4×5 52″ rack, he wanted for a full European mount (antlers on skull).
So, hide folded around two 10′ poles laid shoulder width apart, poles on shoulders, and carry it out. Oi. I did about a 40 yard stretch of that in the burn area. As the guy in back. Learned how easy it really is to hike in that otherwise; you can see your footing. As the rail gut carrying the hide, you see hide, not the ground. Oi!
The head we hung from one pole, and carried the same way. Uhuh. Better visibility, but man… Not fun. I did 60 yards or so of that in the burn area too. They’d carried the head out of the mossy swamp without the pole, antlers laid on their shoulders… I didn’t see it, but wish I had!! 😉
Took us all that first day to butcher it all, bone out the quarters, and skin it, and pack out about 1/4 of it. Took all day the next day to pack out the rest of the meat, the head, and hide.
Going into this I was worried that my back and hips wouldn’t take the packing. They said that’s fine, it’s a group effort for all of it, I wouldn’t have to pack meat if I couldn’t/didn’t want to.
I figured I was gonna feel real guilty doing that and planned to do as much as I could, as safe as I could. After the amount of work I put in skinning and butchering, and only actually cutting for 5 minutes, I understood. It really is a group effort, and takes a lot of work for an animal this size.
I wouldn’t have felt guilty not packing meat.
But I did. Some of that was entertaining, we only had one pack frame. So you grab a meat bag, 30 to 40 lbs of meat, sling it over one shoulder, and hike. Ugh.
I did one trip with the pack frame, 55 or 65 pounds of meat.. That was easier since it balanced in one place on your back, and you had your hands free in the brush… But damn that was heavy.
Me, Brian, the shooter, and Bullwinkle;
(I’m the fat one in plaid, Not the fat one with antlers!)
Funny thing about that shot… he’s holding the other guys bolt action rifle, not his gun he used… lol. (He used his AR, in .308! Weird to be hunting with a black rifle, for me, but it works!)
Butchering(warning, slightly graphic);
Brian and Robert getting ready to haul the hide in the mossy area;
Them hauling the head in the burn area;
This next pic is pretty graphic, but I’m proud of it, so I’m posting it. Shows what the carcass you leave Should look like… ALL meat harvested. Law requires all usable meat be taken, but a lot of guys leave a great deal… We did the legal, and ethical thing and stripped everything.
All we left was a gut pile, a pile of feet, and that carcass.
Anyway, great experience, wonderful time with a good friend, and a new friend (one of these guys I’d never met till the morning we headed out!) Wouldn’t trade any of it for the world!
And, he called Friday night, went in to pick up my share of the meat from the processing place yesterday. (more expensive, but I didn’t have time or the space to butcher and grind that much meat. Costing me abut $1/lb, not bad really), I got 200(!) pounds of meat, plus some tenderloin and heart that didn’t go to the processor. 🙂 😀 😀
We pulled a little over 600 lbs of meat total off the animal.
After what I’m giving away to friends, and folks I know that had a bad year, that need it more than we do, I’ll end with more than enough for us, will easily last us till next season, at more than two moose meals a week.
At this point, I know of 7 families that will be eating from this harvest, and I’m sure the other two guys are giving more away.. GOD IS GOOD!!!
At the least, some serious touch ups are needed. Dragging it through the brush the last several years has taken its toll… Not to mention it turned 49 years old this summer, I’m sure some of these scratches were there before it was mine.
But I do see a lot more after every season, some distinctively new this last week..
Especially on the underside. –Which makes sense; when the gun is shoulder slung, that part of the barrel meets the brush I push through as it goes over/around me.
And Yes, those are rust spots in the first pic, and on the muzzle… Found out the hard way that my Kolpin gun boot IV is NOT waterproof if left upside down..
The butt end cover fits Over the main part of the case, but without a seal. So left upside down in the rain on the boat for 5 days, water runs into the cap… And then into the rest of the case when you pick it up.
Dumped probably a quart of water out of it… Foam liner was basically soaked. Found this when loading the boat to come home –no time to dry it.
–In defense of the case, it is designed to be solid mounted in a vehicle, butt up, barrel down, cap up, “right side up”, so water couldn’t enter in this manner. Ive been using it as a hard carry case off of a mount, Not what it was designed for.
About the only way you’d get water in it when mounted upright is full submersion… which its not designed for either.. Definitely operator error leaving it upside down in the rain a few days, Not a fault of the case or its design.
No other easy way to carry the rifle home though, to keep it out of the way anyway, and out of the rain. Had to put it in the wet case. 15 hours later when I got home, the rifle was pretty wet.. Wiped it down then, but it still managed to rust a few spots before I got it cleaned(couple days later).
Gave it a thorough WD-40 bath… Really slathered it on, whole action out of the stock, and the bore. Wiped down again.
Then did a simple bore cleaning, solvent, brush, patches.. There is some somewhat heavy copper fouling in the bore, that wouldn’t budge… Didnt want to scrub it THAT hard now, but if any of it was rust, I did brush it hard enough, I’m sure it would have come out. Then oiled the snot out of it inside and out…
Did the 357 while I was at it… been meaning to clean and oil that gun for months, its spent a lot of time out in the weather this year, and it’s missing a lot more of its blueing. Actually amazes me that that gun never shows any rust inside or out..
Hate to admit it, but this is the cleanest they’ve both been for a couple years…
Honestly, I don’t clean guns often, if they shoot and function good, and ain’t rusting, all I do is oil from time to time.
Do Need to get in a better habit though of post trip cleaning! At least for surface moisture/external dirt and grime if not full on scrubbing..