By: Bears Butt

This doesn’t need an introduction!

Tonya is a taxidermist out of Alabama:

Tonya O'Tinger wood duck

Bears Butt

November 29, 2015

Written on November 29th, 2015 , Hunting Stories
By: Bears Butt


I’ve been enjoying the Crawford mountain mule deer hunts for many years.  Before the DWR made them a draw only hunting area we enjoyed a few good years hunting in that area during the late muzzleloader hunts and got to know the country pretty well.  The bucks would either “Be There” or “Not”!  But no matter if they were there or not did not deter us from hunting the place.  I recall one of the last hunts we were there, Dry Dog and I had work obligations we had to attend to and so could not come to the camp until three days after the hunt had opened.  When we arrived with my camp trailer in tow, the guys who had been there hunting were very disappointed (not disappointed that me and Dog had shown up).  They had not seen even a track in the three days they had been hunting.  That is very disappointing to say the least.

They did not want us to unhook the trailer as they had already decided to move camp to somewhere else, perhaps across the valley and into the high country with pines and quakies.  Well, Dry Dog and I had been dreaming about hunting this area and so we were a bit taken back by their suggestion.   The two of us proposed an option and wanted to have a morning hunt just down the draw from our camp.  As I recall….”Let’s hunt till about 10 and if things are the same as you say they are we will come back and move camp”.  To say those guys had to give up a lot after not seeing anything for 3 days is really giving them credit.  Had I been one of them I would have insisted the two of us go on our jaunt and when we came back they would have camp ready to move.  But they didn’t, they went out for the morning hunt.

Dry Dog and I took a high road while the rest of them went on down the drainage to get into shooting positions.  Dog and I would push down to them and then we would drive back up to camp and pack up.

As Dry Dog and I were moving up the drainage to get into our positions for the push, I stopped about half way to the top.  He was to continue to the top and when the signal came we would make our move down the side of the ridge to the others.  As I stood there waiting in the early morning light of that day, I heard the noise of rocks rolling behind me.  As I turned around two giant bucks were coming down a slide out area on a dead run…straight at me!  Two of the biggest bucks I had seen in a long, long time!  The biggest of the two was either a very big heavy horned 4 X 4 or an equally large 5 point.  I can only guess and he was the one I wanted to shoot!  I was on it with my sights but it kept trees between himself and me, while the other one came on my side of the line of trees!  I remember thinking to myself…Heck, that’s a nice buck right there!  Go ahead and shoot it!….Which I did!  A very respectable 4X4 with long eye guards (long for mule deer anyway), heavy, wide and tall!  At the shot the bigger buck turned on the after-burners and made a trail straight to where Dry Dog was waiting!  After the buck disappeared over the ridge I heard Dry Dog shoot!  BAM!

I felt great to know that 5 minutes into this hunt I had one of the biggest bucks I had ever taken with a muzzleloader down on the ground and Dry Dog was probably proudly standing over an even bigger buck!  However, that was not the case!  He had heard me shoot and thought the worst…I had fallen and the gun went off by accident and so he was coming back toward where I was when the big buck showed up suddenly right in his face!  His shot was quick and off mark.  The big buck went on to live another day!  Dry Dog was eye popping by the time he got to me to see the big buck I was dressing out.

Well, long story short!  The bucks had moved into the Crawfords during the night.  Big bucks seemed to be in every draw and on every ridge!  Just like the saying goes…they are either here or they aren’t!  We ended up with 4 BIG 4X4 bucks and 2 2X2’s before that hunt was over.  AND to add to that, Fat Duck had to leave camp to go to Japan or somewhere and a big buck chased him out of the mountains right past our camp.  That gave the guys a fun time shooting at that big old bugger!  He too lived to see another day.

Ok, now to the point of this writing!  You thought the story was the point?  Not this time.  Just some fun times to share.  The point for this writing is where do the deer come from that winter in the Crawfords?


I have been told by some very reliable sources that most of the deer that spend their time in the Crawfords during the winter come from as far away as the Wind River Range near central Wyoming.  A long distance to travel, but not un-heard of for animals to migrate that far.  I recently discovered on line, where the fish and game of Wyoming have been conducting some extensive studies on animal migrations.  They have teamed up with local folks, oil interests, hunters, livestock people and more, collared a bunch of deer, antelope, elk and moose and followed their travels for several years.  Their study is far from over and what they are finding out is amazing.  Some of these animals, especially deer and antelope are moving extremely long distances between their summer and winter ranges!  BUT…closer to home…The Crawford Range, the migration map shows those animals come almost straight South down the border between Idaho and Wyoming and then into Utah.


(Deer are purple, Antelope are yellow)


That puts their summer ranges in and around the Star Valley area of the Bridger Teton National Forest of Wyoming and the Caribou National Forest in Idaho.



So, what’s the point in all of this?  I guess just to clarify what I’ve been telling everyone for years was not true!  I’ll admit I did not do any research on my own when told what I was told, I just took it as fact and ran with it.

Bears Butt

November 23, 2015

Written on November 23rd, 2015 , Hunting Stories
By: Bears Butt


I borrowed this picture from the internet…thanks to whoever took it!

Tomorrow Tracker and I are going to go off and do something a little different….we are going to go take pictures of rutting bucks!  Of course the place we are heading into is a deep dark secret but we will be staying in his cabin over night.  Once at the cabin we will be setting up our base camp at about 6500 feet and there should be some snow around from the recent storms that went through the area.  During our adventure we will try to reach the top of Monte Cristo mountain which sets at just over 10,000 feet.  I’m not so sure we will be able to make it that high, but that is the goal.

Our main purpose is to take pictures of the wildlife in and around that area.  The big muley bucks are now in full rut and they should be visible in almost every direction.

Tracker had heard about this several years ago and has yet to make the trip…this is the year.  One thing we have come to know is this:  If you want to do something, then do it!  Time waits for nobody and before you know it your time will be at an end and you will still be saying…I was always wanting to do that (whatever that is).

So, not knowing exactly how to pack, I’m probably over packed for cold.  Backpack full of water and goodies and of course some emergency stuff just in case.  Snow boots as well as regular hiking boots.  Insulated bib cover alls, the kind I use ice fishing.  Capote and warm gloves and lots of assorted other warm clothing.  I’m also packing my 17, just in case we see a coyote that needs to be dead.

Our food is limited to meat mostly as that is just what we do.  Salad and stuff like that is not something we think we need, at least not on this trip.  Steak, jerky, pepperoni, kippers, hot dogs…ya, that will do.

This will be a snap and chat excursion as opposed to a run and gun one.  And hopefully there will be lots of critters to take pictures of.  I’ll try and get a picture of the coyote just before it takes a dirt nap, but no guarantee.

More will come by the end of the weekend…until then!  Wish us luck!

Bears Butt

November 18, 2015


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It was Thursday morning and the sky was mostly cloudy, temps in town were in the mid 40’s and we knew it would be colder where we were heading.  But it was still a rather difficult task to decide what we needed to bring to keep warm.  Over dressing is not a good thing, but under dressing is even a bigger problem.  So, with the old saying “It’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it” went into effect.  And off we went!

Sunrise copy(discount the 5 white dots on the picture, that’s part of my camera)

Sunrise across the Cache valley was pretty interesting to me and so I had to take this moving picture of it.  We were in for an interesting weather day.

And even more interesting was the fact that Hyrum city had there Christmas lights up and burning as we went through town.  Hey guys, it isn’t even Thanksgiving yet!

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And on our way up Blacksmith Fork canyon the deer started to appear!

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We couldn’t stop to take pictures of all of them but there were plenty to keep our attention.  And when we arrived at the Hardware Ranch, the turkeys were ubiquitous [you-bick-quit-us] (seemingly everywhere at the same time).

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This was just a small band of turkeys off by themselves.  I thought it a great picture where they were all standing in a line along the ditch bank.  They best be hiding as Turkey Day is fast approaching!

And as our trip continued toward Tracker and Bone’s cabin, the deer continued to entertain us!

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Almost every hill had a deer or two on it…mostly does, but then there were the occasional small buck as well.

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The seven mile drive to the cabin took us about an hour because of all the stopping and looking at deer!  It was fun and a sure sign that our trip was not going to be a bust!

Arriving at the cabin, we had to “undo” things in order to make it ready for our overnight stay.  Bones is funny in how she places things in order that when she comes back to get ready for the summer, everything is in its place.  We messed things up really good for her this time!

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We were ready to head out about 11 a.m. with great prospects ahead!  I was really excited to think:  First:  I get to drive the Rhino!  Second:  We were going to drive up a road (trail) I have always wanted to go up and Third: The prospects of seeing some magnificent bucks was very real!

Well our trip began by heading up a very well used road through private property and on our way to Monte Cristo Peak from the west side of the mountain.  A beautiful piece of property with lots of very nice scenery.  Those who have ownership of the parcels are really lucky.  A gateway to some exceptional deer, elk and moose hunting country!

Well, here we are heading up a rocky stretch of the road and going slow so as not to miss the glint of an antler in the high sage.  I glanced to my left and saw a lone magpie fly off a branch on the hillside some 400 yards away.  I made a mental note of the bird but thought nothing more about it, when suddenly another magpie took flight and then I saw what I thought was the tip of an antler.  And then another.  I pulled over and glassed what turned out to be a dead bull elk.  We made the walk down the draw and up the other side to where the bull lay.

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A fine specimen of a mature bull elk.  5 points on one side and six on the other.

Of course the first thought that came to my mind was it was poached and left to rot.  On further examination, without too much disturbance of the area of course, I think it died of wounds from fighting with another bull elk.  Time and an examination by an officer of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources will determine the cause of death.  Of course anytime an outdoors person finds such a thing, they should contact the authorities and have it investigated, which I did on the site.  With only one bar on my cell phone service I called the poaching hotline (1-800-662-3337) and reported it.  I’m still waiting for a return call to set up a time to go to the site with the officer to investigate it. The animal has been dead a long time and of course there is no salvageable meat, only the antlers and ivories.   If that officer agrees with me we might be able to keep the head.  If not, the animal will become evidence.

Well, we spent about an hour dealing with this and then were on our way.  I apologized to Tracker for “seeing” this and having to deal with it.  An hour lost on our adventure…oh well!

Up the road a ways we came to a cross roads and since neither of us had been on this road, we made the decision to drive it and see where it went.

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That “road” sure looks more like a trail to me!  But we turned to the left and headed up it!  A beautiful drive through the snow that was on the ground.  Our tracks were the only ones on it.  The snow was about 2 inches deep and no problem for the Rhino to traverse it.  Never slipped a tire….well….once we got to here.  We had a time before we got here and at that time I thought we were done driving up this road.  But by unloading about 180 pounds from within the Rhino (Tracker getting out), it climbed right up that slick steep hill!  Thanks Tracker for sacrificing and walking up that hill!

Well, as we proceeded up this road toward what we figured would be Monte Cristo, we found ourselves in a narrowing of the canyon and of course the narrowing of the road.  Someone coined this area “The Switchies”….Switchies or not, I had some Twitchies of my own as we drove along it.

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Whoever made this road knew to keep the cut of the road sloping into the uphill side and I was sure glad as some of this snow had ice under it and I hate sliding off the down hill side of a hill.  There was plenty of brush to stop our rolling decent should that happen, but it would have ruined a perfectly good day.

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Tracker agreed.

By the time we got through the Switchies and up on the ridge line, it was time for some lunch.  I had brought along some hot dogs and fixins and so we found a really cool spot tucked away off the ridge and out of the wind and blowing snow to make a fire.  A wonderful little spot I might add.

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A close look at the scene and you should be able to see we have all the essentials…cold beer, hot dogs, buns, ketchup, mustard, napkins and of course a LONG stick to cook the dogs on.  The fire was warm and the snow about 4 inches deep!

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As we enjoyed our hot dogs it was obvious that a snow storm was coming in.  It began falling as small flakes and soon was blowing and drifting.  Perhaps it was time we turned around and headed to lower country.

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The sign says Private property, but the road went around the gate.  We figure this road is probably a pass through road that people are allowed to travel to get from one side of the private property to the other.  I don’t know for sure, but we turned around because of the snow that was bearing down on us.  The wind was whipping up pretty good too and that made for a very cool ride back down.  I was SO glad I had brought ALL my warm clothes…back to the old saying….better to have it!

Back down and through the Switchies, the weather was much different.  Very little wind, no snow and it was much warmer…still glad I had all my warm stuff on though.  We took a little detour and then a short walk to look over the edge of the steep rock cliffs in search of bucks and bulls, but mostly what we saw was a deer that had pooped on a flat rock!  We didn’t see the deer only the evidence it left.

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One must be constantly aware of his environment.

Back to the bottom of the mountain and the main road we took a drive down the main road to see what was there.  It was getting late in the day and the daylight was fading fast.  We saw some deer and I’ll post up a series of pictures of some of them at the end of this article.  As for now let’s just say we saw some pretty nice bucks.

Back at the cabin the sun was down and it was getting cold…I mean COLD!  So, Tracker went to making a good fire in the cabin fireplace.

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We had a wonderful day out and about and now it was time to relax inside, have a couple drinks and then eat our supper!  Tracker had planned on us to have a nice T-bone steak with Garlic Toast and he did it up right!  It was the best tasting steak I think I have ever had and the toast was perfect…crispy and yummy!

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This cabin of theirs is wonderful!  Warm, dry and all the conveniences of home!  It doesn’t get any better than this.  After supper and clean up, we sat and talked about all that we had seen that day.  And then it was up into the loft to catch some dreaming time in preparation for tomorrows adventure!

Morning came quickly and during the night we had some very strong winds, freezing rain and a bit of snow…of course that was all outside….inside we were comfy, warm and dry!

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I didn’t bother looking at the thermometer this morning but it was COLD!!!!!  The prospective of another great day of wildlife viewing ahead!

The following pictures are not necessarily in the order they were taken, but just to show you that we did indeed see a lot of nice bucks, here you go:

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Does too!


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Nice2Point copy

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I love skyline bucks!

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Small4Watching copy

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Two impressive bucks….not the biggest in the world, but pretty neat to see them together.

Well, that isn’t all the pictures I have of bucks and other deer, but that gives you a pretty good idea of what is available to see should you decide to drive up there and take a look for yourself.  OH, but that isn’t all!  During our travels we saw two of these guys too!

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Not the best of pictures as I was holding my camera on full zoom when I took this, but the top bull is a 3X3 while the bottom is a nice 6X6.  They didn’t care if we were there or not, but then they were 500 yards down hill from us at the time!

And what would be a trip like this without seeing some bull moose?

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Hey, there is another!

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And a third one!

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Dang!  Three bull moose all together!

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And if I had a tag, this is the one I would have taken just because he is so unique!


And so, you can see we had a really good time at the cabin.  I think we will be doing that trip again in the future!

Thanks Tracker for allowing me to join you on this trip!  It was a fun trip!

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Bears Butt

November 22, 2015


Well it took a bit of time and several phone calls both from myself and from the DWR, but we finally made a time to meet to investigate the dead bull elk.  Tracker and I made sure we had some extra time before the meeting to be able to stop and view any wildlife we might encounter on our way into the meeting place.  We did manage to see this little guy on our way in.


A very tall 3 point.  We both thought it strange that the number of deer we were seeing just wasn’t what it was last week.  Did they migrate on through?  Were they just not near the road?  Were they just laying in the tall grass and sage?  Whatever the reason the deer just were not as plentiful as we saw last week.  None the less, we did see a couple bucks.


At the meeting place with the DWR Conservation Officers, we went on through the locked gate and drove up to the parking spot where the elk could be seen.  We were quickly told this was an investigation and that we were not allowed to take pictures.  I’m sure they would have rather not had us tagging along with them, but before long I think they became at ease with our presence.

The elk had been dead for at least a week, maybe two and was “quite ripe” but the officers took that in stride and literally dug right in.  Not a pretty sight for my old eyes, but I sure could see they had a method about what they were doing.  Both very professional, talking about what was going on and what they were seeing etc.   Samples were taken from the animal and saved.  Pictures taken as well and pretty soon it was obvious to all of us that this bull had been poached.

I really hate poachers and this one just added my hate for them.  A magnificent 5X6 bull elk, just reaching its prime and there it lay, bloated and wasted in every way.

Tracker and I continued to watch the methodical way the two conservation officers worked and we even helped where we could rolling the carcass over or holding on to it while they cut and carved the parts they needed for evidence.  I have always thought highly of the DWR personnel and the job they do, but this event put them at an even higher level in my mind.  I don’t care what they are paid, after this stinking endeavor, they don’t pay these two enough money!

The very sad thing is what we were told later on, back near the trucks.  They have investigated OVER 25 poaching cases since August on the Cache Unit alone!  25 cases of poaching of deer, elk and moose!  How sad is that?  How many of those poachers will be caught and brought to justice?  And how many of those brought before a judge will only get a slap on the wrist instead of what should be really tagged to them for the wanton disregard for animals that belong to all of us?

I can’t go into detail about what we saw with this investigation as it might be detrimental to the case, but I for one was very “down in the heart” to think it was a poaching case and not a natural selection that caused the big bull to die.  We were enlightened as to poaching in general:

There are those people who are really out there to take trophy racks and make somewhat of a living doing it.  Those types will kill the animal and tie the antlers to a tree and then drive away to come back many months later and retrieve their “trophy”.  My take on these thieves is they have NO regard for right and wrong.  They don’t need licenses and they don’t have any seasons.

The second type of poacher is the accidental type.  Maybe they were shooting at a cow elk and the bullet struck and killed a bull standing near by.  If that hunter does not turn himself/herself in for that accident and lets the animal lay there and waste away, they are poaching in the second worst way (the worst way is the guy who conducts his poaching as a profession).  Perhaps this hunter shot at something he thought was bigger than it turned out to be and then walked away leaving it lay there.  That is the same thing in this case.  A poacher with no regard for the animal shot and no remorse for leaving it rot.

The third type of poacher is the “opportunist”.  Here is a guy with a gun in the truck and suddenly there in his view and shooting capability stands a giant of an animal!  Something we all drop our jaw at first seeing it.  The mentality of this poacher is to shoot the animal because he can.  Not necessarily to get the giant rack, but just to shoot it.  It’s sad to think there are people out carrying weapons that just can’t stay off the trigger.

Investigation done, we headed home.





The most interesting thing happened just about the time we came out of the canyon….High upon the ridge, some 500 yards out stood a very large buck silhouetted against the sky.  I looked through my binoculars and almost in that instant saw an equally big buck coming up from below that buck.  I told Tracker…they are coming together!  And he quickly got out and started to set up his camera on the tripod.  Before he was ready to start his filming, the two bucks were locked in battle.  They pushed and pushed each other and the horn rattling was intense.  Soon they fought over the ridge out of site.  I maintained the binocs on  the ridge and after about 30 seconds here they came pushing each other around in big buck fashion, over and down onto our side of the hill.  The fight went on for over a minute, maybe longer.  I  have never seen such a spectacle in my life.  Sure I’ve seen bucks come together like this, but usually the battle lasts maybe 5 seconds or so and then it’s over…not this time!  Eventually the bigger buck got the best of the smaller (yet still big) opponent and it ran off, big buck still in pursuit!

A great way to end the day!

Bears Butt

November 25, 2015



Written on November 18th, 2015 , Uncategorized
By: Bears Butt


My game plan for hunting in 2016 is to do it with a bow.  I’ve been hunting with a muzz rifle for a really long time…like over 40 years and it’s time to try my hand at bagging a buck with a bow (it’s on my bucket list you know).  So, now is the time to be practicing for that moment of truth.  If I can get all my form ducks lined up and don’t have to think about them when the moment comes, I just might end up bagging one.

I watched Weasel last year when he got his and he was shaking so bad just before the shot I couldn’t help but think I might not be able to finish the job.  And he had been practicing for months!  I need to do the same.  So, my mind has been on arrow selection, fletching style and mount, broad heads and there are just so many variables I’m really having a time deciding.

Well, with that, I went to the internet and asked the simple question:  “What should my set up be for hunting with my bow”?  A simple question and I expected to see a ton of sites that would offer suggestions.  I even expected to find a “fill in the blank” questionnaire that would spit out all the options available for my particular circumstance.  BUT…nothing is out there.  SO….know it alls, there is an avenue for you to expand on!

Here are some questions I would expect and my answers to those questions:  What bow style are you shooting?  Compound bow, Traditional longbow, Traditional recurve, Crossbow?  What is your draw length?  What is the draw weight of your bow at your draw length?  What is the rated draw weight of the bow you are shooting and what is the draw length listed for that draw weight?  What type of release do you use when shooting your bow?  Do use sights on your bow?  Does your hunting bow have a quiver mounted to it?

Some of these questions may not be pertinent, but you get the idea.  The one about the rated bow weight and draw length is a check on the person answering the two previous questions to see if they are figuring in their less than rated or more than rated draw weight based on their draw length.

So, in answering these questions my answers would be:  Traditional recurve.  26 inches.  47 pounds.  55 pounds at 28 inches.  Three finger tab, three under.  No.  No.

With that someone should be able to say, “Butt, you need 500 spine arrows in the make of your choice, cut to 29 inches, feather fletchings cut in parabolic shape and mounted helical, tip the end with a 125 grain 3 blade broad head.  Whether you choose to glue the broad head on or not is your choice as well.  Good luck hunting and I expect a package of back straps”!

How much more simple could it be….for me?  But there is nothing like that out there and so I have to go digging and asking questions…you hunt with a bow don’t you?  What weight bow do you shoot?  Oh, that’s close to mine.  What arrow do you use?  What about the fletchings?  Broad head of choice and weight?  Have you ever gotten anything?

Well, what do you say?  What arrows?  What broad head?  It’s time for me to start practicing and getting ready for the big hunt that happens in 10 months!

Bears Butt

November 12, 2015


Written on November 12th, 2015 , Archery stuff
By: Bears Butt


The other day I was rumbling through the garage and found an old candle I’d saved for making emergency fire starters.  I also had an 18 egg carton and decided today was the day to melt it down and pour it into the egg carton.  I cut some kerosene wicks down to put them in as wicks for the fire starters even though the egg carton would have been enough by itself.

Today I cut the carton apart and put the fire starters in a plastic bag and placed that in the hunting trailer.  I’ll probably be using the hunting trailer if I ever am in need of an emergency fire.  But then that could happen anywhere in the woods.  You never know.

So, I decided it would be a good idea to know just how long they would burn and with that knowledge you would know just what you had to do in preparation before you lit it.

The picture above is just after I had lit it.

EggCartonFireStarter2Two minutes later this is what it looked like.  I can imagine placing small twigs and such around it and having them start to burn.

EggCartonFireStarter5MinAt the 5 minute mark it was blazing pretty good.  If I had the need to get a fire started this would be more than enough time to dry out wet twigs and get it going, I would think anyway.

And at the 8 minute mark the flame went out.

EggCartonFireStarter8MinEight minutes is a pretty long time to get a fire going and so I think these will work just fine.  Place one in a plastic bag with a half dozen strike anywhere matches and put it in your day pack.  You just never know when you might need it!

Bears Butt

November 8, 2015

Written on November 8th, 2015 , Uncategorized | Stories, Ramblings & Random Stuff From an Old Mountain Man is proudly powered by WordPress and the Theme Adventure by Eric Schwarz
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Just some of my old stories, new stories, and in general what is going on in my life.