Thursday, December 30, 2010

Deciphering Animal Tracks

I was reading on a trapperman forum about one's struggle with individuals not doing their due diligence in order to identify animal tracks while out setting their trap line. I guess the problem is endemic to our society's need to quickly get an answer to our problems. Of course a quick search on Google revealed a great resource of animal tracks that you can use to compare to. But I think even doing a little research was too much work!

Think about it... if you need to know what the weather is, you have a television channel for that. If you need to know what is playing at the movie theater, there is a website, newspaper, and phone number where you can find which time a particular movie of interest is playing. Numerous of things are available to me from entertainment to education... all at my fingertips.

However there are somethings that still require effort. With all our technology, with all our improvements of lifestyle, there are still things that are out of our reach of 'instant gratification.'

I think that is why I love trapping so much. There is so much to learn and to become successful, it really becomes an art. It is something that you aspire to and practice at to become better. You cannot become an 'internet trapper.'

It takes work, dedication, research and experience to get good at becoming a trapper. The same goes to fishing, hunting, or most outdoor activities. The practice of getting better, the challenge of failing and overcoming is simply an important part of what makes us better.

Answer the call of the wild,
Jeff Barnes

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Top Ten Stocking Stuffers for Christian Outdoorsman

So.... here is my Christian Outdoors-man Top Ten Stocking Stuffers

1. Waterproof Camo Outdoors Bible
2. Duct Tape

3. Case XX pocket knife (This is the Texas trapper)

4. Paracord

5. Beef Jerky

6. Speed Hooks

7. Leatherman

8. Scent A Way

9. Flash Light

10. And of course... Cash is King

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Jesus wasn't born on December 25th... So, Why do we celebrate it?


Jesus wasn't born on December 25th?

Then why do we celebrate Christmas as Jesus's birthday?

Check out the following cool video by Paster Bob Coy of Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale!

Found some great tips from Thrifty Outdoorsman...

I found some great tips by visiting With the economy in the rut and men looking for ways to enjoy the outdoors on the cheap, thrifty outdoors dot com provides a great list of tips to hunt on the cheap! Just take a look below.

the below comes from

Thrifty Outdoorsman Tips

If you are an avid hunter like I am then you know how expensive hunting can be.  With all the hunting equipment out there you could spend a fortune before you even hit the woods.  Before you cast away your passion for hunting, here are some alternatives you can use to cut down on cost.

1) Opt For Used Rifles Besides Brand New Ones

Among some of the greater ways to cut down the cost of hunting as a hobby is to get used rifles.  That can add up to savings especially if you're doing it the right way.  A new rifle can set you back hundreds of dollars.

To cut down this cost, you'll need to find a dealer that distributes used rifles.  Double check to ensure that the rifle was legally used before it was resold.  Remember, always go through an inspection.  Some used rifles look good in the pictures but when handled are actually nothing more than a piece of worthless metal.

One thing to look for when you're inspecting the used rifle is the amount of rust around the firing pin. If there is a large amount of rust this indicates that the rifle you're looking at probably wasn't well taken care of by the previous owner.

2) Buy Hunting Equipment Online

Unlike buying guns over the internet, getting hunting accessories such as rifle scopes is relatively hassle free.  You may also find better prices in online stores.  These stores have lower operational costs and their savings can be transferred back to the customer.

3) Book Hunting Trips Instead of Leasing Expensive Hunting Land

We all know how expensive buying and leasing hunting land can be.  An individual hunter can rack up several thousand dollars each year just in hunting land payments.  A much more economical approach is to book hunting trips with a guide or a hunting lodge.  Pooling resources with your hunting buddies can also help you save a bundle on guide fees, lodging and other traveling expenses.  There are many agencies that offer special group discounted prices.

Also, if you're a seasoned hunter and pretty familiar with remote surroundings, you could even do away with the expense of a guide and save even more.  But for the hunting newbies, getting a guide may actually be the best decision.

No matter what, always conduct your own independent research and use your discretion.  At the end of the day, what's feasible for others may not be for you.  Nonetheless, there's definitely no harm to just hunt around.  Who knows?   You may just find a better catch!
4) Utilize Pre and Post Season Sales
Check local hunting stores and websites for pre-season and post-season sales. Stick to a motto of never paying regular, retail prices for any of your hunting supplies. BE A THRIFTY OUTDOORSMAN.
5) Take Advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sales
I know how hard it can be to wait on a sale to buy that item you so desperately wait/need but nowadays vendors are really offering some great Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.  If you can wait then you could save some big bucks by utilizing these sales. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christian Men are hard hit in today's culture

Brothers we are under attack...

Our culture is a direct affront to our Christian values and those of what is truly being a REAL MAN.

We are bombarded with sexual stimulus through television and movies. We are told to believe that real women are supposed to satisfy you and your needs by dressing provocatively, act like a porn star in bed, cook like Betty Crocker, and mother you and your kids like Aunt Bee.

Men, that isn't the case. That isn't what God put women on this earth for. They are here to be our help mate and friend. They are here to help support and lift you up both spiritually and mentally. They are here to help you father in a new generation of God fearing children. They are to be loved as Christ loved the church.

We also take hits to our manhood though pictures of success. Let's say that you like to cook and want to become a chef. When I was growing up, culinary arts were not considered a manly profession and only wimps and girly-men would venture into those career choices.

What about singing or dance? Yep... if you like to sing or dance, your sexuality would come into question. No straight man would ever consider dancing and singing. Kids were supposed to play gender specific roles and they were specific boundaries you were not supposed to cross.

The sick thing is that those who are really successful at those 'girly' roles are also attributed to uber manliness. Men like MC Hammer who could sing and dance like no other's business was 'THE MAN' when I was growing up. Take Kenny G, there isn't a woman I know who lived in the nineties who didn't dream of a man who could sing to them like he could with his 'fabioesque' hair do and his saxophone.

So, our culture is telling us if you are successful, you are manly, but if you fail, you must be some girly man and your sexuality is in question.

So how do we combat this?

Through prayer, through brotherhood, through encouragement!

Let me encourage you today brothers that while you are weak, He is strong. When you feel beaten or defeated, Jesus will lift you up. When you need a friend to talk to, there is no greater friend than Jesus.

It is time brothers that we raise up. It is time for us to be Ass-Kickers. Let's put on the full armor of God. Let's take back the land that was lost in our hearts, in our families and our country. Let's encourage one another to hold strong against the enemy. To battle the demons who are trying to rip us apart!

Stand firm, charge ahead, praise God.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Fur Trapping in Southern Indiana

This video is about a year old but it does show some great information on muskrat and beaver trapping. As you can see if you are trapping for muskrats, it is best to mark your traps with a simple stake with a colored flag.

The neat thing about muskrat trapping is that you can set a 100 traps in three to four hours and keep coming back to them every day where they will produce for you all season.

The prices he talks about is about average and I think muskrat is even higher now as I keep reading the forums on trapperman. So, if you are interested in trapping and need a place to start, they are using connibear or bodygripping style traps on a stake in the ground.

They place the trap in a 'channel' going to or from their bedding ground aka their hut. If you cannot see the channel or find it, you can still place it coming out of the hut a few feet away and you should be good to go.

Keep your powder dry...

Jeff Barnes

P. S. I should have a few pics of my new gun (High Standard Double 22) I picked up yesterday from Tucker's Sporting Goods in Mount Vernon, indiana. Tuckers is the one and only place I go for all my sporting needs. If he doesn't have it, he'll get it and he always treats you right!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Indiana.... Land of the Free? Meh, Maybe Not!

So this morning's fresh cup of coffee and my favorite trapping forum when I came across this...

This is something that is frustrating to me. You would think that in this country, if you bought your land, paid your taxes, you were free to do whatever you chose as long as it was morally, ethically correct.

That may not be the case. Here a man, chose to live off the grid. A man who simply wants to be alone. The county says that it is 'illegal' to live without electricity, or proper plumbing such as sewer or sceptic.

Now... I can understand this from a health perspective but if the guy is doing things his own way.... Taking care of his sewage in a safe manner, then leave him alone.

That goes on to say that he cannot just dump sewage on the open ground as it could contaminate ground water and cause other problems for others.

Really, there are just a few things this guy has to do to make sure that he is within the legal bounds with the county. I just think the county needs to give him time to do so.  Or if they have, the need to provide aid in helping get him within sanitary boundary.

Keep your head above water,


Friday, December 17, 2010

Online Courses for Trapping at

I am bonified

I am totally impressed with I found it while reading a message board on trapping and figured I would check it out. Currently Kansas and Illinois both require people to go through the online trapper course and pass the online test in order for you to be able to trap in that state.

I think that is a great idea. More importantly, if you are a beginner trapper, I highly encourage you to sign up (it is free). Take one of the courses and learn the basics of trapping and the proper state guidelines that you might face.

I found it refreshing and informative. A great resource for sure!

Happy Birthday To Me.... My Kids Bought Me Coon Pee?

Yes it is true....

How do you know that you are truly an outdoors-man and loved by your family? You know it when they willingly buy you stuff like Wildlife Research Center 'Coon Urine'.

My kids laughed so hard and it was hard for them to keep the secret before my birthday. I knew something was up when two days before my birthday, my wife took the kids to Gander Mountain to shop for me for my birthday and Christmas presents.

The kids kept telling me how funny 'it' was referring to the one present my daughter Evie bought me. Now I know what all the laughter was about. The funny thing about the gift is what I read on the package...

"Do not apply to your body or clothes.... YOU WILL BE ATTACKED"

I wonder who exactly will attack me?
Deer (as it is for covering my human scent)?
Or would it be some boar coon?
If it is a coon, what does a coon attack look like?
What kind of damage can they do to a man with a firearm?

Actually, I found a video of a VICIOUS RACCOON ATTACK

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Prepare To DROOL ....Sportsman Edition Toyota Tundra Interview SEMA 2010

I got this link from one of the online magazines I subscribe to. My buddy Derek and I have always talked about having a 'system' for all of our gear when we go hunting. This takes the cake! It has definitely given me ideas on what to do for my truck this next year.

I love the fact that it has a blind on the top of the truck. Even though it is illegal to hunt from any motorized conveyance in the state of Indiana, it still is a cool feature. It is everything you need for a good hunt. It will even go across rivers with a snorkel exhaust.


Can I change my mind for what I want for Christmas?

Snaring Coons

This is a great video to help you get started snaring. Snaring is an art form in and of itself. Last year I set out a few snares on a line with little to no success. I believe it was because I made the snares myself and they simply didn't lock well. So I had several misses.

Neck snaring coons is difficult. Most successful snaremen go after a body snare on coons simply because of the varying body size of coons in their trapping area. I know for me and most of where I hunt and trap, coons have a wide variety of sizes.

But why snares?

1. Cheap... You can buy a dozen snares for $15 to $16 bucks plus shipping.

2. Longer trap lines.... going along with cheap, you can run a much larger number of snares for a higher probability of yield

3. Safe.... Much easier to teach a kid to snare than how to set a double long spring trap

4. Fast.... To set up a snare should take less time than a dirt hole set.

5. Fast Reset.... When running your line, if you have a catch or a miss, it is quick and easy for you to reset the snare and keep going

So... if you are looking for a cheap and easy way to get into trapping, I suggest start out with snaring. There are tons of information available on how to set snares. Of course go to Trapper Man, but also I found this new website from a guy who does animal damage control that has lots of information on coon snaring that you might like as well. Check out Trapping Supplies Review. It is a good article

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Happy Mark's Birthday...

I was listening to KLOVE this morning on the way to work and heard Micheal Jr. talk about his ministry to bring comedy to others. Lisa and Eric went on to talk about this video that Micheal put together called Mark's Birthday.

If you haven't watched the video yet.... stop reading and click on it. I will wait.

You done?


It is a pretty cool video. It is what Jon Acuff would call sort of a 'Jesus Juke' but I think the message is pretty important reminder to us. Yes, we as Christians have lost focus on what it means to celebrate CHRIST mas.

I like what Micheal Jr. was saying on the radio that instead of saying Merry Christmas, he is now saying Happy Jesus's Birthday. He says you have to say with conviction and sincerity. Don't say it with scathing anger or haughtiness. Simply say it with authority and interesting enough, people around you will submit to Jesus's name.

So today, instead of focusing on Christmas.... I am going to start saying Happy Jesus's Birthday to help me focus on the true "reason for the season."

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Star Wars meets The Princess Bride - The Chatty Duelists

Probably one the coolest sword fighting scenes ever...

They are actually using real sword fighting techniques in this movie which makes it totally awesome. Add some lightsabers... Totally awesome!

I remember watching this movie when I was a kid and all through college it was my go to movie for geek fun. I can still quote many of the lines from the show. I think I was drawn to the movie because it at times is larger than life. Look at who they had in the show, and you will be amazed! Andre the Giant (my second all time favorite wrestler) made a great comedic appearance and truly made the show great.

Beside that, I have had the great opportunity of watching this film with my kids. They too get to share in the humor and fun of this great movie. It is fairly clean, tons of humor and fun, and all around a great movie that becomes a tradition.


Yes tradition. I think movies such as The Princess Bride should be a tradition. Something to share with others. These type of movies never wear out and always bring you back to a sense of yesteryear and good times. Just like A Christmas Story around Christmas time. I mean, what Christmas is complete without A Christmas Story with Chinese men singing "Fa, Ra, Ra, Ra, Ra...Ra..Ra..Ra!"

So this year, find a good family movie to make a tradition. It is something that all of you have in common and look forward to watching together. It was something I shared with my parents and something I believe you will enjoy too.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Roadkill Toys

This has to be one of the funniest videos I have ever seen. This short post is my way of sharing the love!

Down Time....what do you do?

It happened this weekend...

Friday night, my littlest one was crying out and couldn't sleep because of a cold and cough she was dealing with. My wife has graciously take care of the kids all week even when she didn't feel well herself. As much of you know, little kids are mucus flinging monkeys and I had been exposed to the muck that my little one was carrying.

Saturday morning started well, and then went quickly downhill. After my normal visit to my favorite sporting goods, 'mens get-a-way', I came home to help Jen with the kids and do a few small chores around the house. This ended up with me staying at home with the kids while she got to go out and get her 'away' time.

Well, as she got back home, I started feeling bad and decided to take a nap. Which turned into getting the chills and then moving from my lazy-boy to the bedroom for several hours of rest.

After dinner, I sat around watching TV and it was driving me NUTS!

This weekend, I wanted to get out into the woods. I wanted to get out and do SOMETHING. In the end I spent the entire weekend resting and trying to feel better so that I was in shape to get to work on Monday. Doesn't seem fair.

This got me thinking.... What could I do to get me ready for the outdoors or feel like I am productive during downtime? I thought of several things...

1. Clean your guns
2. Organize your camping gear
3. Clean and sharpen your knives
4. Clean and oil your boots
5. Get gear ready for next hunt
6. Get on Google Earth to research your hunting grounds
7. Spend time reading forums
8. Read hunting or trapping magazines, or books
9. Watch a trapping DVD at the disgust of your children


10. Sit around the house, watch various shows on TV, bribe your children to bring you cups of coffee, peanut butter cookies, and other sort of snacks.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Season and the WANTS....

The WANTS have invaded our home.

You know who they are. They are like the unwanted in-laws who invade your home during the holidays. They come in the form of television commercials on kids programs. They come with tons of glitz and glitter for all the new gadgets.

Then the MUST HAVES invade your home like stinky little cousins with dirty hands and poor table manners. They come and fill your place with garbage and slime the house with their messy ways. You chase after them hoping that you can get them under control, and even a time out by standing in the corner cannot correct them. They are still there as a constant reminder. The only way to fix it is to buy into their nasty behavior and get what 'They' want.

Then come the 'Wouldn't it be Nice' nieces who ballet around the house with a wisp and a dream. These nasty little creatures act like pie'd pipers and get your once happy family members prancing around with hopes and dreams of something big and expensive or expansive.

The problem is that is not what CHRISTMAS is all about. I almost wish I had a log cabin out in the woods just to get away from all the nonsense. Just to spend out of the influence of all this seasonal stuff.

How do you handle the wants, the must haves, and the wouldn't it be nices?

Post your thoughts in the comment section below!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

How to use a lay down duck blind

From December 4-5th, 2010

On our trip to Uncle Lee's this weekend, Derek and I decided that we would have a little fun with our Kentuckian neighbors. But I think we made more of a fool of ourselves than that of what we intended...

I cannot read the next line of scripture without thinking of the 60's song. I can imagine my Mom and Dad 'groovin' and digging this music. That is cool. But there is a good Biblical perspective to share as well...

Ecc 3:4 A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.

So many of us men think we always have to be this stoic character. In the movies, the good guy has that dirty harry, don't mess with me look. A man is a man because he grits his teeth and smiles only when his life is on the line.

In truth, God has given us all a time and place for all different types of emotions. It is OK to cry during Old Yeller or when the Colts lose a game. There is also a time for mending, for joy, for laughter and fun.

Don't forget that you only have one life to live. Have fun with it!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

If they don't find you handsome...they'll sure find you handy!

I love the Red Green Show. It just fits my sense of humor to a T. Matter of fact it was my inspiration for my new pair of suspenders show in picture above!

However, this short post is about me, or my dashing good looks it is about 'fixing' things when you have nothing to fix them with. It happened this weekend. Somehow the water control knob on the shower seemed to pull out too far and would continue to spin one direction or the other. While we are still getting water, it just wasn't working correctly.

I tried to find a working solution, to my dismay and four trips to the hardware store later, I realized that all the internals to the shower need to be replaced. Ugh, big job! By the time I got all the pieces for the job it was already late and everything was closed. So what was I to do? 

Momma needs her shower! I would much rather wrestle ten grizzlies then mess with the fury of my wife without her shower. So I found a solution pictured below:

Not perfect, but a compression coupler did the trick to hold the screw into the shower control and allow the wife to turn on the hot water. That is until I find the right part to fix it...

Till next time, Keep yourselves above water!

Jeff Barnes

Monday, December 6, 2010

Uncle Lee's road trip

It's not that you have nothing to do...

It's that at that particular time you just want to go out and do something. Cabin fever set in and I called a buddy of mine to go on an afternoon road trip to visit 'Largest Sporting Goods In Kentucky Store." Anyone who boasts that they are the largest in Kentucky has to be visited to see what all the hub bub was all about. I recently heard about Uncle Lees from a new acquaintance this past weekend and I was surprised that I hadn't heard of them before since it is about an hour and a half away.

Needless to Say, Derek and I drove over to get a good luck and see what  they had to offer. The cool thing about road trips is a time to fellowship with your fellow brothers in the Lord. It helps because you can talk about anything and you know that it won't be overheard by someone you may not want to hear. It allows them a time to rest and relax and to get out of the current situation you are in. I find road trips a great way to clear your mind and help you get back to focus on the important stuff.

After about an hour and a half drive of arguing with the GPS and each other as to which is the best route to take, I am surprised that we ever got there. Upon arrival, you get the feeling that this off the beaten path store is something genuinely unique.

And so it is... Imagine a mash up of sporting goods store (guns and archery), with a Dollar General, Harbor Freight, Seasonal Store, Furniture Store and Restaurant.  It was pretty neat to see. The prices were good on most things we saw. I really was interested in a 17 foot, swivel chair with gun rest ladder stand for $75. That was a steal but wasn't carrying the cash on me nor was I willing to be scalped by the wife if I paid for it by our debit or credit card.

We spent several hours there, and I really tried to buy something on the cheap as I was looking for a second camo gear set that would allow me to alternate if necessary. Either I found a jacket I wanted and no matching pants or vice versa.  Of course I was looking at the closeout racks. I found several suites I would have liked to have but not having the cash was of course separating me from acquiring them. Sometimes I think it is goofy that we will spend $300 for a good camo outfit for something we will only wear on a few weekends a year and during the weeks of particular seasons we like to hunt.

Another interesting thing I noticed is that at Uncle Lee's camo was the color of choice for the guys and the ladies. I even saw camouflage purses, and accessories for women. Needless to say they have just a bit of everything there.

The really 'cool' thing about Uncle Lee's is there is so much to look at and see. I loved the huge archery setup they had there along with a very good supply of arms and ammo. It really is a one stop shop for most of your hunting and fishing needs. However I was unsatisfied with the trapping selection they had as I only saw one Duke conibear trap.
Of course my favorite thing I saw was the huge bear trap they had mounted on the wall.

Overall it was a good experience. There was plenty to see and the prices were pretty reasonable. And I can see why that this place was so busy. However, I will say that I could have found comparable prices in my local area. Derek did buy himself a nice game sled for about $45 dollars. It is a lot heavier duty than the ones we have used in the past.

Here is Derek with his daughter enjoying what will be a multi-use game, and child sled. Don't worry, I will remind him to wash it out before he puts his little girl in it.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Why I love

photo from

I am a novice trapper with just a few catches under my belt. When I get on the forum, it is like coming home to a sit down talk around a fire with your friends. These guys are so helpful and have so much wisdom and knowledge to pass down to new trappers.

Here is what I am talking about... a complete trapping resource guide to help you get started. It is absolutely free to download from and the link was provided to me from a fellow trapper.

Student Manual 2005

So, how do you get started trapping? Well the brothers at responded in a recent thread to a newbie trapper interested in trapping coyotes. Here was their response:

1 - read your state's trapping laws

2 - buy a couple books/videos on the subjects of your desire

3 - find a mentor near you if possible

4 - buy the proper gear (notice, this wasn't step #1!)

5 - learn from your mistakes (there will be a few...or if you decide to go headfirst, there will be LOTS)

Well, see you in the woods!

Jeff Barnes

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Penalty Flag on God.... wha?

Rules and Regulations are always up for interpretation. However I think that this is going a little too far.

Instead, a highschool kid gets penalized for thanking God for a touch down. Don't we see this all the time during other football events be it college or professional? Don't we see exhilaration from the team members when a team achieves?

Is it not OK?

I mean, this kid wasn't out there taunting the other team...

He wasn't in your face...

While it would be funny, he wasn't doing the chicken dance or electric slide...

This kid just knelt down, said a short prayer and pointed to God. Being a former football player myself, I can tell you that what that kid did was 'Girl Scout-ish' compared to the trash talk, mother defiling statements that have been expressed on the field... yes I said them too.

In the end, I don't know what the ref was thinking. More than likely he was going to make some statement of 'sportsman like conduct' that can only be interpreted that the kids short prayer and nod to God was taking up some of the game play's time.

Sorry ref, you blew the call. Never mind the wasted time refs take to remeasure the distance, make bad penalty calls, and while they are not supposed to favor a team, you can recognized those leprous zebras pretty quickly.

All I can say is ... BAD CALL!

Real men carry knives


Probably one of the earliest tools of all man beside the big stick was something sharp used to aid in cutting game, make other sharp sticks, as well and other odd jobs was the knife. It provided our ancestors the essential tool they needed to get multiple jobs done with one handy tool. I remember seeing an early version of one when one summer day, My dad took me and my brother to the local rock yard to shovel rocks in the back of his pickup to spread around the new landscaping my dad had built. Somehow, I always got tasked with heavy work. 

Interesting enough, while out shoveling rocks, we stumbled upon an early native american knife. Well, actually it looked more like a scraper used in the tanning process. Regardless, as a kid with that in my hands, I had found what was a true treasure. A tool used by early natives and probably several hundred years since it was last touched by a human hand in my area.


So Mr. Big Neanderthal, what would a civilized man need a knife for in this day and age? Well, let's just run down the list. I found a great listing from If you haven't had a chance to visit that site, you are truly missing out. Tons of good information. It truly is "Man Stuff" for a non manly age.

Art of manliness lists the following:

  1. Opening a box.

  2. Cutting rope, tags, and string.

  3. Cutting an apple. I love eating an apple that I've cut with my pocket knife, slice by slice. You feel like a bad ass doing it. You hold the apple in your non-dominant hand and then make a slice with the knife using your dominant hand. After you make the slice, pinch it between your thumb and knife blade. Bring the blade to your mouth and deposit the apple slice. (I have to agree... from one bad ass to another... This is a must for manly men  )

  4. Opening a letter. Sure, you could use your finger, but using a knife is just more manly.

  5. Weapon. Not the most effective, but it's better than nothing.

  6. Camping. How else will you sharpen the point of a stick in preparation for stabbing your prey? And by prey I mean hot dog.

  7. You never know when you're going to have to MacGyver your way out of a crisis. Be prepared.

  8. You need something to clench in your teeth when swinging from a rope.

Of course, it is great for helping you gut a deer, cleaning traps, cut off stray threads, and other such stuff.

However picking out a pocket knife is something else all together. I asked on one of my favorite forums which knife they would choose if they could only carry one pocket knife. 

Many chose some variant of a Case XX knife followed by a close second of victorinox swiss army style knife. I personally carry the officer suisse knife for going to work/carry pocket knife.

So, what would you carry and why? Post your comments below!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Do we need another Sergeant York?

Sergeant York
I am way to young to truly appreciate the heroic deeds of Sergeant York and World War I. A man, who in his own measure tried to be a pacifist and resist going to war for religious reasons. After being convince that Americans were on God's side, he went on to become a very popular and courageous man.

At the end of the war, he walks out of the woods with 132 German soldiers and a tale that is so awesome, that it had never been heard of till that day. York out shot an entire German Machine Gun battalion and killed 25 Germans in the process.

I did however get to watch Gary Cooper share his version of the story with such style that it still sticks to me in the back of my mind. In the face of defeat, amidst your brothers in arms dead around you, you still attack! If you are looking to watch it, you can find them here on Amazon (there is a link provided here).

Sergeant York (Two-Disc Special Edition)
It reminds me of the passage in the Bible
"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He alos justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:28-31

However, the real question I have to ask is do we need a Sergeant York today? I believe we do. Here is my point. At the time, people clung to the ideal of Sergeant York because he represented ideals and values of what Americans believed they shared. He was a Christian, a pacifist, and a man who in the face of trouble was able to overcome.

I believe that we need real men today. Men who stand up for God. Men who represent what Americans truly value. Men who are not worried about political correctness, and more worried on 'being right' and right with God. We need men to point out it is OK to be real men. It is OK to not have to agree with popular culture. Men can live a life more simply and graciously by living within their means.

We need heroes. Men who in the face of public scrutiny, will stand up and proclaim God (not for ratings, or popularity mind you.) We need to take back America's men. Lead them to living fuller and richer lives. Get them off the comfort couches of life. Help them conquer fears and doubts and lead them to Christ.

By the way... if you are looking for a more information on Sergeant York... Feel free to read it here for free! You gotta love Google Books!

~ See you out in the woods!

Jeff Barnes

Monday, November 29, 2010

Trapping, easy way for bonding with children

My First Raccoon

I don't know why I got all excited about trapping. It really happened after my dad passed away. I was looking for ways to remember him and I believe that the fondest memories I have come from spending time with my Dad outdoors. It was a time we were equals and we spent the time together for the same purpose. When I was successful in harvesting a deer or other animal, my dad's eyes just sparkled.

When he passed, I lost that time with him. With the deer season passed and me still missing my dad, I was looking for more ways to be outdoors and then I fell in love with trapping.

JJ Helps Me Set The Traps

I am in no way an expert. I am however well read on the subject and spent enormous amounts of time reading and researching the best ways to trap and how I can get myself ramped up. I even asked for traps purchased for me on my birthday and Christmas just so I didn't have a huge cash outlay to get my self ramped up.

Currently I am mostly focused on raccoon and Beaver. For raccoon, I use dog proof traps which prevent stray animals such as dogs to get caught in a set.  They are very easy to set and a fun way to get your children involved in trapping. We use a marshmallow at the bottom of the dog proof trap to entice the raccoon to put his paw in. From there, it will snap down on his paw in a safe way preventing them from hurting themselves.

Here is a good example from

They have great deals on all kinds of trapping and hunting supplies. I have personally bought several traps and lures from them and trust me they are great to deal with. They ship quickly and keep in touch with you that you order has shipped.

If you are interested in learning all there is about trapping and a whole lot more, I recommend you head on over to They have the best forums on the net hands down. The guys and yes gals there are the absolute best at helping you get going.

Happy Trapping!

~ Jeff Barnes

Interesting life lessons learned from Lonesome Dove Part 1

So, there I was...

Poised at the edge of my seat flipping through different movies available to stream via Netflix on my TV. You see, the weather got the better of me. My well laid out plans to hunt this past week have been dashed by 5 inches of rain.

Instead of spending my day out in woods hunting the elusive 'King of the Forest' (some freak of nature monster buck with a rack the size of a VW), I spent my day cleaning the garage, prepping for the Thanksgiving meal, and digging a trench in the back yard because of a failed gutter that needs to be replaced.

After a hard day at it at home, and the cabin fever about to get the better of me I stumbled upon the Lonesome Dove series. It has been some time since I have watched the series and read the book. Well... a good part of the 950+ page book.

The show opens just like the book with Gus on the front porch yelling at some pigs who themselves were eating a rattle snake... Always an interesting picture. In a sense, the ole' devil is defeated by some dirty ole stinky swine.

Captain Augustus McCrae Gus is the picture of a man, while getting older in his years, he has yet settled down. He still yearns for adventure and to live in the wild. He loves the things of the past and wants more of them. Unsatisfied living the docile life, he fills his days with whiskey, women, and gambling.

All that to say is that Gus is also loyal to his friends and those he is in charge of. He would be the first to head out to go a save someone who was in need.

Gus desperately needed one last adventure and the trip to Montana. Call and Gus had often thought about going to Montana to raise cattle and they finally made up their mind to do it. This 'code' of acting upon your words and living by your word was something that Gus truly believed in. This code was stronger that his love for Clara. This code was stronger that the pull to run off with Lorena off to San Francisco.

His love for adventure ultimately got him killed when he was struck by two arrows from an indian hunting party they he fell upon chasing buffalo.

Lesson Learned?

Here are a couple Life lessons that I think can be learned from ol' Gus

1. Be willing to stand up for what is right
2. Be willing to go into harms way to save another
3. True love never fades
4. Holding too strong to an 'ideal' life will often allow you miss the blessing God has for you. It may not be your perfect picture for your life, but it may be God's.

Captain Woodrow F. Call
Call, was the quiet hardworking type. Almost to a fault. He worked hard and demanded discipline from those under him.

His hardened spirit and determination help carry the men from Texas to Montana. While the strong stoic, he never really liked recalling life's mistakes. Most notably living up to telling Newt that he was his father.

His desire for something better and for one last adventure was what lead Call and Gus and the rest of the men to head up North. One final adventure to end their days long forgot as Texas Rangers.

He is the picture of a man to live by his words, answer his own call to adventure as well as a man who lives up to his promises. He promised that he would bring Gus back to Clara's orchard and bury him there.

Lesson Learned?

1. You can't live life in the past
2. Honoring your word is a solid vow (James writes to us, let your yes be yes and your no be no)
Above all, my brothers, do not swear--not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your "Yes" be yes, and your "No," no, or you will be condemned. James 5:12

Blue Duck was the son of a Commanche Chief and Mexican prisoner of War. Legend has it that he and his father had a disagreement and he was banished from the tribe. From there, Blue Duck formed his own band of misfits and thieves.

In the show, Blue Duck was unfinished business for Gus and Call. He represented a man, bent on doing harm to others. He ends of taking Lorena and uses her to try and trap Cal and Gus.

Often times he is close to being caught but slips by with grace. Ultimately Blue Duck is caught and tried. Cal meets up with him again one last time before Blue Duck was going to be hung. 

I truly believe Blue Duck is a picture of the devil because the devil seeks to devour and destroy us. Blue Duck did whatever he could to get at Cal and Gus. He taunted them, he trapped something they loved in order to draw them out and kill them.

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”

Lesson Learned?

1. Things in my life and in my past may continue to haunt me in my future even though I am a Christian
2. There are things in this world hell bent on destroying me and those I love
3. Ultimately it is important to not to chase after them and right your own personal wrong... it is more important to lift it up to God. In the end, He wins.

Well.... there is so much more I want to say and little time to say it. So this will be the end of Part 1 of this series. Be sure to stay tuned to the rest.

Jeff Barnes