Backpack Sheep Hunt…With The Goats

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For the second time this fall Sarah and I dragged our Dad up into the Mountains for an epic sheep backpack sheep hunt.

We woke up with the sun and started hiking. After four hours of hiking in the timber we started breaking out in to the open. Half an hour later we had found an old outfitters camping spot, and set up our tent. We all took a little rest and then started hiking up the valley that was adjacent to us. We sat and glassed for a while, but it started to rain and Sarah and I were getting quite cold. Dad turned around and pointed to a really big mountain that we were at the foot of. “Let’s go up there”, he said, “that will warm you girls up!” So we hauled ourselves straight up the mountain.

Backpack Sheep Hunt

There should have been sheep crawling all over the mountain face but there was not one. We sat and glassed, then walked a little further, then glassed.

Backpack Sheep Hunt

It was getting late and the wind was whistling across the mountain so we started slipping and sliding our way back down to camp.

The next morning, we hiked up a different valley. Half an hour into the hike Dad spotted a mule deer at the top of one of the mountains beside us. Then around noon we spied three mountain goats. We were hiking up the mountains and had just ran out of water when we walked around the corner and almost stepped right in a little stream.  It was trickling right out of the mountain! We drank our fill and replenished our water bottles with the water from the spring, and continued walking. The three of us had just crested the mountain when out of the corner of Dad’s eye he spotted a small herd of about 7 or 8 mountain goats. The herd of goats soon disappeared and we continued on our way. Soon after we had seen the goats we came across a whole bunch of sheep tracks. There were some fresh sheep droppings, and a sheep pee that was only a few hours old! We were really exited for a while, but were disappointed that by the time that we had got to the timber we hadn’t seen, heard, or smelled any sheep. We got back to camp just shy of dark, ate our homemade de-hydrated lasagna, crawled in to bed, and fell into an exhausted sleep.

Backpack Sheep Hunt

The rest of the week followed the same sort of pattern, get up, hike up a mountain, glass all day, and somehow managed to avoid all sheep encounters. We never ended up seeing any sheep on the trip, but it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Abigail

Backpack Sheep Hunt

Sick of all the words? Check out our videos at our YouTube Channel.

Have you ever been on a backpack sheep hunt?  Tell us about it.  Think separating the sheep from the goats is super biblical?  Whatever.  I’m kinda thinking you should share with your friends anyhow.

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Hunting in the Mountains: Grizzly Bear Encounter

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It’s time to hunt.  I’m not sure what else to say.  Hunting in the Mountains is such a powerful experience.  It’s beautiful, it’s challenging, it provides food, it’s how people survived for a long, long time.  It’s also how they died.

This was more of a scouting trip for a future trip, and as it turned out, a beary exciting trip:

We are no strangers to bears, black or grizzy, they come with the territory up here.  We’ve had a fair number of encounters, even some that raised our blood pressure a notch, but I’ve not surprised a sow Grizz with cubs at short range till now.

hunting in the mountains

We were dragging ourselves through snow and sleet across an alpine meadow when we spotted her at only 20 yards.  To our collective delight, she did not immediately spot and kill us.  We managed to sneak away to about 40 yards before she pinned us.  She popped her jaws as she began to circle us with a nervous lope.  We were definitely not within her circle of trust.  As it turns out, we were also just outside of her kill-before-being-killed personal space, the importance of which should not be understated.  When she got our wind she was quick to turn, leaving the .243 an unproven Grizz defence system.  It was awesome!

hunting in the mountains

hunting in the mountains

hunting in the mountains

The rest of the trip was loaded with beautiful mountains and valleys and streams.  That’s why we’re here, to be amazed.

hunting in the mountains

We were looking for sheep country and I think we found.  There were a few mule deer but no giants, which is all that was open.  We embraced some typical early season snow, which is good for us.  Being stuck in a cold, wet weather with few provisions makes our little house seem so much bigger and warmer when we get back home.

hunting in the mountains

Are you a mountain hunter? Married to a mountain hunter? Want to be a mountain hunter? Think mountain hunters smell funny?  Me too, lets spread the word.  Share this post on your FB or at least write a letter to your grandma and tell her about the awesome blog post you found about hunting in the mountains.

Sick of all the words?  Just go to our youtube channel for pure, don’t-gotta-read-nuthingness.

 

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Hunting Haida Gwaii

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Fishing in Haida Gwaii is awesome.  It’s just too bad there’s nothing else to do when your not out on the water…. Oh wait! You can hunt deer all day long! Deer Hunting Haida Gwaii is like duck hunting; you’re definitely gonna get an opportunity and if you’re successful you can stuff it in your backpack.  This makes it the ideal hunt for the kids:

There are plethora deer on the island, so many that the bag limit is 5 each.  They are tiny and tasty and easy to hunt.  We mostly drove to old clear cuts and walked through them nice and slow.  If we were out for a couple hours we would typically see 5-10 deer.

hunting-haida-gwaii

The season is any buck in the summer and any deer the rest of the year (closed April-June).  With a couple new hunters hoping to harvest their first big game we made certain to wait for the best circumstances.  We passed on a number of bucks that were too far or did not provide the best shot.  Both new hunters got their deer with one shot for a quick, clean kill.

Even I was allowed to shoot one, I think the kids just wanted me to feel like I was contributing.

haida-gwaii-deer-dad

And, as always, we end up having to deal with steak on the beach, Unbelievable!

haida-gwaii-steaks

Check out all our videos on our youtube channel.

 

Feel something about hunting Haida Gwaii?  Feel like telling us how you feel?  Use the feeling buttons to share how you feel about all your hunting feelings!

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Gridlessness Explained

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Hey All, it seems we finally have a video that explains a few things.  Our friends at Exploring Alternatives made a beautiful video that we happen to be in, Gridlessness Explained:

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The Perfect Kid Caliber: 243

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Well, it’s time to usher in a new big game hunter, and you can’t be a big game hunter unless you shoot a big girl gun.  The perfect kid caliber for us is the .243:

It’s a pretty special birthday when you get Federal .243 shells, hearing protection and a couple paper targets.  Time to do some target shooting!

The .243 has been a huge success for us.  Not only has it cleanly killed a variety of big game animals, but it can be safely shot by the smallest of kids.  Without much kick, it offers them a chance to target shoot and hunt with the same gun.

Not bad for the fist time shooting a centre fire:

perfect kid caliber

We had just put a new scope on the Tikka so we had to sight it in.  Her first group was taken at 25 yards and was under an inch.  Confident we would hit the target, we moved back to 100 yards and she piled them up in a two inch group high and to the left.  After making necessary windage and elevation adjustments to the scope, she put down another nice 2″ group at an inch high.

I’m thinking she’ll have no problem when we put a deer in front of her.

Check out last years moose hunt with the same gun, and the first Annual All Girls Tannerite Shooting Competition.

What’s the perfect kid caliber for you? Let us know, throw us a like or share us with your circle of shooters.  Think kids and guns should be separated?  Me too, lets expose this nonsense to the world by exposing this post on facebook!

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Birch Beer: The Off-Gridders National Beverage

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I just lost my homebrewing virginity to a tall, dark carboy of Birch Beer.  How do you make Birch Beer?  We don’t really know for sure, but you can check out our maiden voyage here:

Ok, it’s so simple, if you know of a lonely birch tree in your neighbourhood, you gotta try this:

How to Collect Sap from a Birch Tree:

First off, it must be collected in the spring.  Just put a hole in the tree and put a bucket under the hole.  You can read all about it here.

collecting birch sap

How to make Birch Beer from Birch sap:

  • Render down the sap so that it thickens up (don’t boil it, it will taste burnt).  We started with about 75 litres and ended up with 15 litres (this took a couple days sitting on the wood stove, adding more fresh sap each day).
  • Measure Specific Gravity (SG) with your hydrometer.  Ours was around 1.022, this would make very weak beer.  We added 800 grams of honey and the new SG was 1.038 (this should make beer around 5%).

how to make birch beer

  • Add a package of sparkling wine yeast (EC-1118) and place the whole batch in a carboy with stopper and airlock.
  • Enjoy the bubbling sounds from the airlock for the next 3-4 weeks (until it stops bubbling and gets clear).

how to make birch beer

  • Almost ready to bottle.  We racked it (siphoned) into a stainless pot and left the dead yeast bodies (the Lees) behind.  Add 90 grams (or maybe a bit more) of sugar (so that it will continue fermenting a little bit in the bottle to make it bubbly).  Fill bottles.

how to make birch beer

  • Wait at least 3-4 days for it to carbonate.

How to enjoy:

how to make birch beer

Love homebrewing? You gotta check out Beer for Children!

I’d like to thank Emma Hughes for posting her birch beer recipe at Miscellaneous Adventures, it pushed me over the edge and solidified my deep need for home made birch beer.

Ever made Birch Beer? Like this homebrew love story?  Tell us about it, like it and share it with even your remotest of acquaintances.  Already know how to make birch beer and you can tell we are a couple hacks? Hate beer and what it does to your belly? Then I recommend you expose us, and this low-carb post, with repeated facebook shamings.

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I’m off grid and I’ll pee where I want!

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People used to be able to pee wherever they wanted.  Not so much anymore.  So often we are left to clench and hold it, hang our head in shame and meekly ask “can I use the bathroom?”.  I’d had enough, and now, I’m off grid and I’ll pee where I want!

Gridlessness is a state of mind. It’s hard to describe, so I won’t try, just watch the video:

(The awesome new song in this video is Chopping Wood by our friends Last Horse Standing)

Going off grid is basically about doing what you want.  Want to build a house but don’t have a permit?  Sorry… a permit?  What’s that?

Can’t afford a house? No problem, just whip up a little hovel.  A nice big house won’t make you happy anyways (we had dirt floors for the first year and Rose loved it!)

I'm off grid

We love to travel and adventure together as a family and homeschooling lets us do it. Wherever or whenever we go, the kids studies can be worked around it.

I'm off grid

I'm off grid

Wanna be a part of getting your own food?  Collecting and making our own food has got to be the most rewarding work we do.  Hunting, fishing, foraging and gardening is our favourite pastime.

I'm off grid

I'm off grid

Want to build a culvert house? A forced air incinerator? Blow something up?  Go off grid baby!  No one is out here to tell you what to do or how to do it. 

I'm off grid

Tell us what you think of I’m off grid. Try out one of the fancy new “feelings”, or leave us a comment. Even better, subscribe, for weekly off grid adventures, emailed right to your doorstep.

Have you seen Beer for Children?  You should check it out, it’s an off grid essential.

Think that being off grid is just for granola eaters and not for girl breeders? Share this post with all your FB friends to show them how confused you are.

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Rail Peelers of Tipper Creek: Building a round pen

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Building a round pen has been on our list for a couple years. In fact we installed the treated wood posts 18 months ago and haven’t got any further until now. A round pen is a great place to train and work our horses, to keep them in shape and keep our little riders practiced. Its also a nice safe place for beginners to ride.

Check out the rail peelers of Tippercreek here:

We first found a patch of dead pines that were perfect for the job, long straight and almost totally clear of branches. We filled the pickup twice with 14’ poles, between 4″-8″ diameter, about 80 poles in total.Building a round pen

After offloading them adjacent to the pen, the rail peelers went to town. We peeled the last three feet or so on both ends, the rest could be peeled later. Using an impact drill we secured them to the posts with 6”, 8” or 10” TimberLok structural screws, which are amazing.

Building a round pen

We still have a couple gates to build, but it was complete enough to give it a try with the horses. Its still pretty redneck, the ground is uneven, the brush hasn’t been cleared, there’s a foot of snow on one side and a foot of mud on the other; whatever.

Building a round pen

Tell us what you thought of building a round pen. If you like it, like it, or leave us a comment. Even better, subscribe, for weekly offgrid adventures, emailed right to your doorstep.

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Spearfishing in Maui

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Spearfishing is a delicious hunting and fishing cocktail.  Spearfishing in Maui combines this cocktail with the sun and beaches of an action packed family vacation.

Check out the video here:

How to spearfish?

It is actually very easy to crack the door on the world of spearfishing. We spent 5 hours with Topshot Spearfishing last year. They gave us a fabulous introduction to free diving and spearfishing and by the days end we were collecting our own dinner. They gave us the lowdown on what fishes were yummy and which ones to avoid.

Spearfishing in Maui

The rules are very simple in Maui, they can be found here. Besides a couple areas identified as reserves in the regulations, you can spearfish anywhere you want. We avoid the popular snorkeling spots and try to find areas that have decent reefs or rocks that hold the fish. You will quickly get to know the types of area that will be productive.

What kind of gear do I need?

The gun is wonderfully simple, like a slingshot that shoots a spear. A simple gun has a length of line attached between the gun and the spear while a gun intended for bigger fish will include a reel. We picked up all the gear we required (about $400 worth) at Maui Sporting goods in Kahului. The bare essentials are as follows:

  • Speargun (I got a Seac Ocean Fire 95)
  • Dive knife (straps to your ankle, waist etc)
  • Weight belt (way easier to dive with the appropriate amount of weight)
  • Snorkel gear (mask, snorkel, fins)
  • dive float (with flag, fish stringer, and anchor line)
  • Gloves (because the coral and fishes are sharp)
  • Spearfishing dive shirt (has a chest pad, for loading the gun)

What kind of fish can I shoot while Spearfishing in Maui?

Theres a zillion fish inhabiting the reefs of Maui. We found the easier fish to track down are the orange tang surgeon fish and the black durgeon. These fish are awesome in sushi, poke and deep fried in tempura.

Orange Tang - Spearfishing in Maui Black Durgeon - Spearfishing in Maui

Sushi in Maui - Spearfishing in Maui

Other fish we target are the rudder fish, goat fish and snapper. They are awesome deep fried, roasted or on the BBQ.

Rudderf Fish - Spearfishing in Maui

Goat Fish - Spearfishing in Maui

Snapper - Spearfishing in Maui

The Peacock grouper (Also known as ROI) is an invasive and destructive species that should be killed given the opportunity (unfortunately they commonly contain a harmful toxin and should not be eaten).

Peacock Grouper - Spearfishing in Maui

Let us know what you think of Spearfishing in Maui.  Got questions on how it works, leave us a comment below and we’ll tell you what we know.  Feel free to try out the fancy like or share buttons below.  If you like it, subscribe, you’ll get the next off grid adventure video emailed right to your doorstep.

Did you already see our post and video on camping in Maui?  If not, check it out here.

Fish Tacos - Spearfishing in Maui

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Camping in Maui

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Camping in maui is awesome.  You can do whatever you want, whenever you want. You have ultimate freedom in where you stay, what you do, what you eat and what stuff you can bring with you.

Check out this video for the lowdown on camping in Maui:

In truth, I never wanted to come here.  I don’t like being a tourist, I don’t like stuffing kids in hotel rooms and I don’t like spending tremendous amounts of money so Maui was out of the question.  Then I found out you can hunt here; Axis deer, wild goats and wild boar. And then I found out that you can spearfish here.  My anti-maui position was eroding.   After I discovered I could camp in Maui, I no longer had a credible defence against the pro-maui team (all six girls).

Where to camp in Maui:

We have stayed at three separate locations to date.  Each has its own pros and cons on which I will elaborate below:

Papalaua Wayside Park:

Papalaua is an easy place to get to quickly from the airport in Kahului and just spill onto the beach.  You can leave town and have your tent set up 30 minutes later.  The beach has great sand, a beautiful south facing view and front row whale watching seats. Snorkeling and spearfishing are not good directly in front of Papalaua but good spots are a very quick drive in either direction.  This place is great place to let the kids run around, catch crabs on the beach, splash in the water and generally stay out of trouble.

Camping in Maui

It is however right beside the highway.  It seems that you can fall asleep to the sound of the waves but wake up to the sound of traffic.  It also has no facilities except poorly maintained plastic washrooms.  The pricing, method of payment, and mid-week closures are also lame.  You have to buy a camping permit in town (during office hours) and non-resident families get gouged (pricing is per person), especially on the weekends (price is double), and there is no camping on Wednesday or Thursday (why? thats just weird).  We have thus far avoided/refused paying full price.

Wai’anapanapa State Park:

Camping in Maui

Wai’anapanapa, or the Black Sand Beach, is a great camping adventure.  First you get to experience the road to Hana, forty miles of tight curves and single-lane bridges through the jungle.  Most people come to Hana just during the day so when you camp here, you really get the mornings and evenings to yourself.  You will not know where to start or end taking pictures, the black lava shoreline separating jungle green from ocean blue is mesmerizing.

Camping in Maui

Hamoa beach usually has the perfect waves for boogie boarding while Koki is more of a surfers spot.  Anywhere that you can safely get in and out of the water on this side of the island seems to have great spearfishing.  A twenty minute walk up through a cattle pasture will bring you to a cross erected on a hill above Hana. Pick some guavas on the way up, and then enjoy them as you overlook Hana Bay and the town.

Camping in Maui

The only drawback of Hana is that it rains a little more here.  It could actually rain quite a bit.  I would avoid using a tent that does not have a full fly.

Olowalu:

Olowalu is a private campsite with great beachfront camping and good facilities (which they seem to be developing further).  This spot is also easily accessed from the Lahaina Highway, only a few miles further west past Papalaua.  It has an easy self check-in process which the state parks could learn from.  The snorkeling is good at the very east end of the beach, the sand is ok and the views are great.

Camping in Maui

The price again is a little discriminating against a large family as it is based on the number of people (instead of combined weight which would benefit me and my clan of lightweight little women).

Camping in Maui is a great off-grid holiday.  You can collect your own meat by hunting and spearfishing.  The kids can run wild on beaches all over the island.   You can enjoy the climate, the beaches and the water.

Let us know what you think of Camping in Maui.  Got questions on how it works, what to bring etc?  Leave us a comment below and we’ll tell you what we know.  Feel free to try out the fancy like or share buttons below.  If you like it, subscribe, you’ll get the next off grid adventure video emailed right to your doorstep.

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