Wednesday, February 29, 2012

An Amazing Grilled Chicken Recipe!

Sanpete County, Utah!

Sanpete County Turkey Farms
Sanpete County is home to one of the most beautiful valleys in Utah, and some of the most breathtaking mountain terrain in the west!  The valley is located on the San Pitch River, right in the heart of Utah.  The Sanpete area was settled by Mormon (LDS) pioneers in the mid 1800's...a great choice for settlement with it's fertile valleys and vast grazing areas.  

The area was, for a long time, best known for it's large sheep herds.  Many sheep herds remain this day, but Sanpete has now become more well known for it's large turkey growing and processing industry.   That's right, the communities of Manti, Ephraim, Mt. Pleasant, Spring City, Fairview, Moroni, Fountain Green, and many more small towns are known for more than just pretty girls, and that breath-taking LDS temple on the hill in Manti! 

With so many families being in, or having been in the turkey business, you can imagine there are some great recipes out there.  I have a lot of family in Sanpete...I love to visit my dad and brothers in the area when I can, which is not nearly enough.  From my experiences there in the summer time, you will seldom find a family BBQ that doesn't feature Sanpete Turkey (or chicken) on the grill!  That smell...wow!  I remember the first few times I had this recipe, I thought, "I bet it takes a lot of work to make something so good."  Not hardly!  We enjoy this recipe quite frequently at our home, and it's not hard at all.  


Sanpete County has shared a wealth of culture and history throughout the state of Utah, and throughout the world.  It's time to bring a taste of that culture to you!  This is a must-have recipe.  Give it a try, you won't be disappointed!  





Sanpete Marinade (Chicken or Turkey)

1-2 Pounds of skinless, boneless turkey or chicken.  (We prefer breasts, cut into strips about 1-2" wide, about the length of the breast)

1 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Cup Soy Sauce
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 CAN of Sprite

Mix oil, soy sauce, garlic powder, and sprite.  Pour into an air tight container.  Add the cut-up meat and seal the container.  Allow to marinate at least 3 hours. (Some recommend almost 12 hours, but I find it is plenty strong after only 3 hours)

Grill the meat on your BBQ.  For tender, juicy chicken or turkey, I like to grill on indirect heat.  On direct heat, the oil will cause your grill to flare up more, and you can avoid this on indirect heat.  On my 3-burner grill, I light the 2 outside burners, and place the chicken in the center, with that center burner turned off.  I watch the heat, I like it to get up to around 300-350.  For added flavor, I will also throw a few mesquite wood chips in the grill.  The hint of smoke flavor is great!  At 350 it should only take 10-15 minutes to cook.  



 I hope you enjoy this one.  Our judges approve, and they can be a hard bunch to please!





Monday, February 27, 2012

Timberline Range Camps


Man oh man, I have been waiting for this past weekend to come for some time now!  Back in December I was approached by Kelby Madsen (my brother), of Timberline Range Camps with a great idea.  First of all, we have been trying to find a time that all of the brothers could get together for a fishing trip to Fish Lake, Utah..  We have been trying for some time, but with all of us scattered across the state with busy lives...well, you can imagine it has been tough to do!  Kelby takes Timberline on the road all over the West, and has been the hardest to catch up with.  So, along comes this idea!  Let's fish for a weekend, and it will be a great opportunity to test out a Timberline Range Camp in winter conditions!  Sometimes you have to combine work and play to make it all come together!

I met Kelby just west of Fish Lake on Friday afternoon, and we got right to setting up the camp.  For this trip we would be fortunate to spend a night in the 24' "Legacy" model camp.  OK, I'm not going to lie...when Kelby pulled up my first thought was, "man, how are we all going to fit?  It just doesn't look that big."  I went to work helping him unhitch the trailer, and level it out, still doubting what kind of a night this was going to be trying to sleep 6 in the camp!  Then I stepped inside...

Wow!  Yeah, I was way wrong!  Immediately I started making comparisons to my 24' travel trailer.  Right off the bat it was easy to see that there was MUCH more storage space than I have in my camp trailer.  Much of this is made possible by features that allow items to stow away, such as the large dining table, a full sized bed (there is also a queen pillow-top bed at the front of the trailer) and 2 additional couch-type cushions that convert to beds.  All this tucked away until you need it, which gives you a large, wooden floor that is very striking when you do not need those extras pulled out.

It didn't take long for the boys to make their selves to home!
As I entered, to the right I found a nice little freezer/refrigerator, with a microwave in a cabinet above that.  That's right, these new range camps have some differences than those old versions sheep herders used years ago.  These camps are equipped for generator use, plumbed with gas, a water supply, toilet, shower, and sink!  Yep, everything you will find in a camping trailer...with one great addition...a wood burning stove!  Just like the old sheep camps you may remember, this trailer can be heated by a good old wood stove!  As an option, some models can also come with a cooking top/oven with the wood stove.  How cool is that?

There was still one more surprise in store.  As I went out to check the exterior storage, Kelby directed me to a bin on the right side of the trailer.  He lowered the lid, and out slides a Camp Chef 2-burner stove!  Talk about fast set up!  One of my dislikes with camping is getting my Camp Chef and all my accessories set up for cooking.  Well, with the Legacy this stove is always ready!  There is no need to hook the gas bottle up, it is plumbed to the stove, which glides out for access on rollers.  What a set up!

A while later Kelby, his son Austin, my son Braden, and myself were joined by our dad, Paul Madsen, and another brother, Brett Madsen.  So how was the room?  We had no trouble getting everyone fed, the slide out table provides plenty of room.  As for sleeping, for the couch cushions the arrangement is a little tight, but a great fit for kids.  The full sized bed, and queen pillow top provide for a great nights sleep!  What a night to test it in winter conditions!  A fairly strong breeze, and temperatures near single digits!  I can't say enough about the construction of these camps.  We started a fire in the wood stove, and we were soon opening windows!  We let the fire die, and went to sleep.  The furnace was set for 50 degrees, and it never kicked on all night.  Talk about insulation!  Also, we were not far from the highway (due to deep snow we had no choice) and we could barley hear cars as they passed by.  One thing I recall is my brother giving the wall of the trailer a hard "thump" with his fist.  I wouldn't dare do so in my camp trailer, fearing I would crack the material on the wall.  Not with these range camps!  Talk about solid construction.  I gave it a thump myself, and was shocked at how solid it was...I would dare say more solid than sheet rock walls in my house!  Great durability, and very nice trim features to give it a very appealing look!

I can't say enough about how impressed I am with Timberline Range Camps!  I don't know how many times I found myself saying that I am going to have my own before long!  Yep, already scheming on how to sell my trailer so I can upgrade!

I wish I could say I was impressed with the ice fishing!  It was a very slow day at Fish Lake, with only a few of us catching anything.  A couple of small splake, 3 good rainbows, a few perch, one small lake trout, and a sucker!  I still have to say, Fish Lake still attracts me as you have the opportunity to catch so many species of fish!  Our gear and our nerves also got tested to the max, with fairly cold temperatures, and wind gusts approaching 50 mph.  Once again the Eskimo "Fat Fish 949" performed very well under harsh conditions!  Got to love Eskimo ice fishing gear!













Many from this area are familiar with "sheep camp" style trailers, but you may have never seen them like this, and I'm sure some of our viewers have little knowledge of these western legends.  Timberline has some great information on their website: www.sheepcamps.com
 Click on the "History of Range Camps" tab to catch up on the history of the sheep camp!   It's great information, with some great photos depicting the range camp in the old west.  You will also find an "About" tab to learn more about the Timberline company.

 Timberline has a wide range of camps, with various options for modern conveniences...including ATV "toy hauler" options!  For the specs on the Legacy model that I have mentioned here, follow this link: http://sheepcamps.com/camp-types/legacy/

If you are a guide or outfitter you have seriously got to think about the Timberline Range Camp!  So many conveniences, with rugged, durable construction, which will also create a very authentic atmosphere for your business!  As for the rest of us that love the outdoors, what a great trailer for a quick get away, and so convenient for a family!  Make sure you visit Timberline's website for more details, photos, and information. 

Check back soon!  We should have more photos and video of Timberline Range Camps in action!  Thanks for setting up this awesome weekend Kelby!  I look forward to working with you and the staff of Timberline again in the future!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Few Bucks, and a Few Sheds!

Shed season has begun!  Well, sort of...

My first find of the year!
I have found my first set of the year, and what a way to begin!  I seldom find a matching set when it comes to deer antlers, so you can imagine I was pretty stoked by my find last week!  As for the "sort of" part?  Well, there were still 6 bucks in the area packing antlers, one of them being a giant that I shared in some photos here back in November/December.  I got a great look at him from about 20 yards the other day, and let's just say he's a LOT bigger than I thought!  I'm pretty nervous now, as I've seen some competition poking around this spot the last few days.  So far, they are staying away from this hidden little pocket where the bucks are holed up!  Additionally, another group of 5 bucks in another location are yet to drop!

 
This 5 X 5 set scored approx. 187"   








It seems late to many, but remember, we have had hard winters for almost 7-8 years running now.  The bucks will tend to shed earlier when they are stressed.  This year we are enjoying warm temperatures, and little snowfall, something we aren't used to lately.  I do recall several years ago, 2003-2004 when mild winters (lots of rain down low and snow up high) caused the bucks to hold out longer.  Well, we can probably expect the same from the elk this year.  A lot of us are nervous as we watch the big one, waiting as we have for almost 3 months in my case!  Maybe there is a shimmer of hope that the bitter temperatures forecast for the weekend and into the first of the week will be enough to get them dropping!

Whatever early luck I had, I've got to think it had to do with that new Shed Inc hat!  It looks pretty sweet in grey, don't you think?

Clayton Carter (right) and myself with our first finds of the season.  These were found the same day in different locations



A couple of bucks still packing



I'm not the only one with early success this year!  Clayton Carter of Escalante, Utah stopped by the house the other day with the sheds of another buck I had been watching back in December, a very impressive typical 4 X 4 mulie that looks to have been pretty close to 30" outside width!  I have also seen a few smaller 4 points on Facebook, and I have heard of some smaller buck sheds being found as well.




He is still out there!
 A lot of people ask why on earth would you spend the time and money on shed hunting.  If you have never tried it, well, it gets addicting fast!  When you find your first good set you will find your mind wandering, thinking about getting out and combing the hills all spring!  I find it is a great gap-filler in between ice fishing season, and spring turkey hunts.  It is a great way to get out and stretch the legs, and stay in shape.  Strap a pack on, throw in a lunch and plenty of water, and head for the horizon!  What a great workout!  I know many of us complain about being out of shape come hunting season, and this is a great way to keep the legs and back fit!  Your kids will love it to!  You can never get them started too young on hiking and just generally loving the exposure to the outdoors. 

I hope you enjoy these photos!  Remember, this is a place for all outdoors lovers to gather and share some tall tales!  Send us your photos as you hit the field this spring!  You may submit them by email to suhuntandfish@gmail.com  
OR
 share them on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/suhuntandfish.

Another shot of my first set of the year
While you are there...or here in the "comments" following this post, tell me, what do you think about a little shed contest?  I'm thinking not on size of the shed, but just a photo contest of shed hunting.  Display your sheds and I will come up with a panel of judges.  Maybe I can get some more Shed Inc gear or something like that to give away.  Let me know what you think, and if this is what the viewers want, I will make it happen! 

And remember, as you hit the field you may be able to make a little money off of those sheds by visiting our friends at the Shed Inc in Panguitch, Utah.  Or visit their site www.shedincstore.com for more information on selling your sheds, and great outdoor gear and apparel!


Monday, February 20, 2012

Shed Inc Winners!

The results are in on our first giveaway!  I want to send out a HUGE thanks to all of you that entered!  During the 4 days that this contest run the blog received just over 1,000 views, and we added a lot of new friends!  Also, thanks for sharing the blog with your friends!

Alright, I'll get to what you are all waiting for!




 We didn't have a lot of entries on the blog; after taking out a couple of double-comments we ended up with 13 contestants.  Our random number generator selected comment #4...Lacey!  Well Lacey, now it's your turn, please shoot me an email to suhuntandfish@gmail.com to claim your prize.  Be sure to include your mailing address and shirt size!

The winner of the Facebook draw was #139, Bryce Schear.  Bryce has won the Shed Inc hat.  The hat is a flex-fit, size S/M.  If I need to up that to a L/XL let me know Bryce, and also please include your mailing address.

I would again like to thank all of you that entered!  Words cannot express the gratitude I have for the viewership that Southern Utah Hunt and Fish has, and for the friendships that it is creating.  I never imagined this blog would take off so fast!  Your comments mean a lot to me!  If there are things you would like to see here, or see more of please let me know.  Also, a big thanks to our newest sponsor, Shed Inc.  Mat and Randy, it has been great working with you on this!  These guys made this giveaway possible, please support our sponsors by visiting their sites and I'm sure you will see more contests and giveaways in the future!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Shed Inc. and Our First Giveaway!

I'm very excited to bring you this post this week! This site is now well over 10,000 views, which we were able to accomplish in less than 3 months thanks to YOU! Thank you for the support!  In celebration to this milestone I have a couple of items to give away!  First, I would like to introduce you to our newest advertiser here at Southern Utah Hunt and Fish, Shed Inc Outdoor Gear!

The Shed Inc was founded by Randy and Mat Houston of Panguitch, Utah.  Randy and his son Mat started this adventure just a couple of years ago, bringing their passion for the outdoors into the heart of Panguitch to share with others.  Of particular, one of their favorite outdoor hobbies is collecting deer and elk sheds.  The Shed Inc was born as a place to buy and sell these antlers, coupled with a variety of sporting goods geared towards the hunting and fishing opportunities of the area.















The store has experienced an explosion of popularity lately as Mat and Randy have ventured into creating their own clothing line!  The Shed Inc now features a wide variety of hats, shirts, and sweaters equipped with the Shed Inc logo, and graphics such as elk sheds and deer antlers.  These items are featured in men's, women's, and children's sizes.  Not only can you purchase these fine items of clothing though the Shed, Mat and Randy will also print t-shirts and sweaters for you business, community organization, sports team...whatever your needs may be.  They offer high quality products at very competitive rates.  Be sure to stop by and visit the Shed Inc for your screen printing needs.

If you have been around Panguitch lately it is very hard to go very far without seeing a shirt, hat, or decal in a truck window sporting the Shed Inc logo!

As I mentioned, the Shed was established as a place for people to bring their sheds to buy, sell, or trade.  This service is still alive and well!  As the bucks and bulls begin to drop their antlers this spring, keep in mind that the Shed is a great place to take those sheds!  Who knows, maybe you will earn enough to make enough money to pay for the gas that went into your shed hunting season!  As the seasons change stop by the store for your hunting and fishing needs!  Ammunition, fishing supplies, knives, optics, camping gear, archery equipment, game calls...the Shed Inc has a lot to offer sportsmen as they wander the hills of southern Utah.
I am very surprised as I travel the area how many people haven't stopped by the store, or for that matter even know there is such a place in Panguitch!  If you haven't stopped in you really owe it to yourself!  Haven't seen it?  The Shed Inc is located very conveniently just north of the 4-way stop on Highway 89 (main street) of Panguitch.  Stop in and see Randy and Mat for your hunting, fishing, and clothing needs; antler selling, and so much more.  Last year the guys at the Shed also held a "big buck contest" and provided some great prizes.  Keep this in mind as you head out this fall, as I wouldn't be surprised if they do it again!  Do you have a big buck, bull, or fish you would like to show off?  There is a "bragging board" in the store where you can share your success, or check out what others have to share.


















Not from the area?  Don't let that get you down, you can still check out the line of apparel that the Shed offers at their online store www.shedincstore.com

Now, for the exciting part!  The boys at the Shed Inc have provided me a couple of items to give away!  One lucky winner will take home a flex fit hat featuring the Shed Inc logo.  Another winner will claim a shirt featuring the logo on front, with a pretty sweet shed graphic on the back.













Here's how the giveaway will go down:

There are 2 ways to enter:

1.  Enter here on the blog by becoming a follower (click the "join this site" link located on the right sidebar) and leave a comment in the "comments" section following the post.

OR

2.  Visit our Facebook page www.facebook.com/suhuntandfish and become a fan.  Like the page (make sure it is the like button for the page, NOT for a comment!).


If you do both, you will double your chances of winning!

The contest is open now, and will close 5:00 PM Mountain time on Monday, February 20th!

I will announce the winners Monday night here on the blog, as well as on Facebook.  Winners will be selected by a random number generator, a number being assigned to you in the order you entered.  We will not be tracking you down!  Check back to see if your name has been selected.  At that time there will be instructions posted for claiming your prize!

I would again like to thank the Shed Inc for providing these prizes!  Please support our advertisers!  You will find their logos on the right sidebar.  Click on the logos to visit their websites!  Thanks again for your viewership!  Good luck to all!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Outdoor Places: Fish Lake, Utah



Fish Lake, Utah (view from east side)

Here's a stab a new idea I would like to try here on the blog, please be sure to tell me what you think!  I periodically like to highlight a different area, and share a few facts with you, my fellow outdoors men/women in hopes that you may feel the need to go check it out for yourself.  Easy, easy, easy!  All you trying to hold on to your secret "honey holes" don't form your lynching mob quite yet!  I'm not talking about your favorite hunting area, or exposing exactly where to go on the lake to catch the big one!  I'm talking about just sharing some popular outdoor locations...lakes, scenic drives, awesome hiking opportunities, ATV trails, and places that are just all around great for recreating.  The economy sucks right now...it's hard to vacation, it's hard to travel.  I want to highlight some areas closer to home that would be great, cheap getaways.  For those of you not from the area, maybe you will fill inclined to come visit the beauty that Southern Utah has to offer!     


A typical ice fishing catch!
This week I want to kick this off by sharing one of my favorite locations, winter or summer...Fish Lake, Utah!  Most of my time spent at Fish Lake is done so during the winter months, as I frequent the lake to take advantage of the great ice fishing!  I live about 2 hours form the lake, and I am quite often asked, "why would you travel clear over there, when there are plenty of lakes to fish closer to home?"  Besides the beauty of the lake, and the opportunity to hook into a BIG fish, there is one obvious answer to me.  Where else can I fish closer to home that would provide the opportunity for me to catch 4 different species of trout, as well as perch?   


Not going to lie...this was my first ever catch
at Fish Lake!

Fish Lake has a big population of rainbow trout, as any other lake in southern Utah probably will also have.  Have you ever hooked into a splake trout though?  The hybrid is a cross between a brook trout and lake trout, and happens to be one of the best fighting fish that I have ever caught!  I often get more work out of trying to reel in a 2 pound splake versus a 4 pound rainbow!  Speaking of rainbows, they are almost always fat, healthy, and put up a good fight as well.  The lake also holds a population of brown trout, which can be very tricky to find, but they are there none the less.  While the lake is great fishing for these species, Fish Lake gets it's notoriety from it's lake trout, (also called mackinaw).  The "macs" in Fish Lake can reach up to 40 pounds!  Fishing for these monsters can be tough, but you will hear of the giants being caught on open water, or through the ice every year.  Already this ice fishing season reports of a few macs over 20 pounds are being shared locally. 

Additionally Fish Lake has a very large population of Perch.  Most fishermen use perch as bait for the trout species.  However, if you want to get your kids excited about fishing get them into the perch!  These little guys can be caught all day long, in about 5-20 feet of water.  They will hit almost any small jig, worm hook, etc, and can provide some great entertainment for the youngsters! 


This is what keeps me going back!  This 36" fish was
flirting with the state record for splake!
 For western standards, Fish Lake is a pretty big body of water.  The natural mountain lake is nearly 6 miles long by a mile wide!  The average depth of the lake is around 100 feet, the deepest location found checks in at 127 feet deep!  You will find gentle sloping shorelines on the west side (highway side) and the east side drops off very sharply.  In fact, on our last outing, at barely 40 yards from shore we found ourselves in 65 feet of water!  The lake is surrounded by the Fishlake National Forest, where you will find amazing conifer and aspen stands, and rugged mountains filled with deer, elk, and other various wildlife.  Several smaller lakes and streams lie nearby, providing ample recreation possibilities.  In nearby Loa, Utah you will also find gas, groceries, restaurants, and lodging.  It truly is a beautiful place for those who love the outdoors!  


Headwaters of the Fremont River, Fishlake National Forest
 As for camping opportunities, five campgrounds are found in the Fish Lake basin, as well as hookups at 2 local businesses; the Lakeside Resort, and Bowery Haven Resort.  These resorts also provide cabins, as does the Fish Lake Lodge.  You will also find small stores, restaurants, docks, and boat rentals at these locations.  Please follow the following link for details on rates for boats, cabins, and more in the Fish Lake area: http://www.utahsfishlake.com  You can also check out www.fishlake.com for more information on the lodges and resorts.

I know a lot of people that have told me "man, I really want to go check Fish Lake out.  I'm going to try to get there this year."  Most of them still haven't!  I'm telling you, if you haven't been there you really should make it a point to do so.  When you do, be sure to leave your comments here on the blog telling us all what you thought of your experience there. 

Incredible views near Torrey, Utah.  Torrey is near the entrance of Capitol Reef National Park, which is only minutes from Fish Lake.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Busted by the Wind!


Rough country like this can cause big wind problems

Every hunters dream situation...6:15 AM, about 45 minutes before sunrise and you have managed to find your way over the ridge, through the trees, and down to the perfect vantage point in the dark of night.  This was no problem, you have walked the path a dozen times as you have scouted this bull off and on for the past few months.  You know he will be there, he was there yesterday.  Yes, this is the spot, it will offer a perfect shot.  Right now the wind is perfect...nothing can go wrong!  As the sun begins to crest the ridge you hear him bugle below!  Wait!  No, the wind can't change direction, not right now!

If you have been hunting very long, you have experienced the frustration of being busted by the wind!  Many of us now carry tools to aid us in determining the direction.  Even so, that doesn't always take all of the challenge out of the wind.  How long will you sit on that particular spot?  Will you need to move?  Will an approaching storm switch the winds?  We try to plan by forecasts, and by what we have seen on past days in the area.  Planning is a great idea, that is exactly what I will talk about today. 

Effects heating from the sun has on slope winds

In September I sat on a ridge on Utah's Mt. Dutton range, similar to the situation I described at the beginning of this post.  We made it in before first light, and we were sure we would get set up in the right spot to look around, with the wind on our favor.  Within minutes of the sun coming up all of that changed as the wind shifted on us, carrying our scent in the direction we didn't want it to go.  Five months later I find myself sitting in a wildland fire behavior class in Boise, Idaho.  As a meteorologist is going over "diurnal" wind patters (slope winds that occur in mornings and evenings) it dawns on me that in all my 12 years fighting fire, and learning weather, I had never really applied those weather lessons to my hunting techniques.  So, sit back and let me give you a little crash course in slope winds.  For my firefighting buddies reading this, I apologize if this is basic stuff you already know.  Still, I hope you think about these things as you get out hunting.

Warm, rising air.  Upslope daytime heating

First, a simple concept: as the surface heats with the sun hitting it, that air will rise, and "flow" up the slope.  It's pretty simple, this is an upslope wind, it will begin slowly in the mornings, and can intensify throughout the day.  In the evening, the surface and air will cool, the air will flow downslope, down the canyons, and eventually to the valleys below...downslope winds. 

Now, that seems pretty simple.  However, I think about our situation on Mt. Dutton.  I had figured the winds would change and start to move upslope after sunrise.  What I didn't take in to account is that even though the sun was coming up, our side of the canyon would be shaded for some time to come!  It would be this way until the sun rose high enough in the sky to hit the slope.  Across the canyon, on the opposite aspect the air may have begun to rise.  On our side, in the shade, it would be a few hours.  So, in the tops of canyons, bowls, saddles, and other such features, it is very possible that light winds may be blowing in several different directions based on the sun hitting the slope.  It can take some time for the sun to work it's magic that will cause these little wind battles to cease, allowing the winds to balance to the point that all the wind will be pretty much upslope later in the morning, and through the afternoon. 

Evening downslope winds caused by cooling surface/air
So, as far as planning to beat the wind, look at your aspect.  When will the sun hit it?  If I am at a ridge top or in a saddle will the wind "swirl" as it is effected from various slopes?  Also, on ridge tops winds often tend to be stronger.  Afternoons can be very tricky.  Daytime upslope winds can be strong, and as the sun begins to set and the land and air cool, the wind switch from upslope to downslope can often be very abrupt.  My wife and I observed this in October as we got set up on a canyon rim.  We did anticipate this, and the wind played right to our favor.  Arriving at our spot around 3:30 PM the wind shifted quickly an hour later.  Wouldn't you know it, just minutes later a good sized group of deer appeared from the direction that the wind was now blowing from.  I have to wonder if at first they could smell us, but after the shift in wind they no longer had this advantage.  They came within 20 yards of us.  This was a light breeze, probably from 4-8 mph. 


Virga.  This is an indicator of strond downdraft winds
approaching.  Photo by Chuck Doswell http://www.cdoswell.com/

Terrain can really effect the winds.  Where canyons converge, winds from the two canyons can mix and swirl, causing an "eddy" effect.  As winds hit a peak this eddy effect can also occur on the opposite side of the peak that is being hit by the wind.  Bottom line: think of wind as you would water.  If water hits an object it will move around it.  Winds in a gap or canyon are a lot like a river that gets squeezed into a tighter area; the air will speed up as the water would.  Wind will follow the path of least resistance as water would.  As it passes through mountains, the landscape will cause winds to bend, curve up and over, strengthen through narrow areas, or be absorbed as it hits larger features head on.  Vegetation will also effect wind, as stands of trees can absorb wind, and open areas can intensify it.  It's a lot to keep in mind!
   

A bull I called in during a fierce hail storm.  This storm
aided me to call in a lot of bulls that day!

Now this is all quick and dirty, and I encourage comments here if I need to explain further or clear things up.  This is weather, and we all know things can change.  Storm systems will blow all of this out of the water.  The conditions I have mentioned about slope winds will generally apply to normal sunny days, void of storm or greater wind events.  If a storm system is on the way it is quite normal around here to experience a strong southwest wind until the storm arrives, switching to out of the northwest after the front passes.  These winds will over ride the slope winds.  Thunderstorms produce strong gusts that will cancel out slope wind.  Check your forecasts and try to understand them!  If the weatherman isn't mentioning storms or strong winds these simple slope rules will help you greatly.  As you go out and hunt keep a journal with you.  Write down what your weather is doing each time you go into an area to scout that buck or bull.  Write it down every time so you can establish patterns.  What time of day does that wind shift occur?  Where does the wind switch to?  Does the wind effect what the animals do or where they go?  People talk about patterning big game, and I find that weather is usually that driver to their patterns.  As the weather changes, so can those patterns.  Keep a log so you can learn and adjust!  Go out and give it a try, and remember to check back in to let us know how it's going!

Monday, February 6, 2012

2012 Panguitch Lake Ice Fishing Derby

Before I get to my story about the tournament from this past weekend, I would like to take a moment to send our thoughts and prayers out to the boys at West Mountain Powersports, in Richfield, Utah.  Brady Davis, owner of West Mountain Powersports, was caught in an avalanche while snowmobiling near Fish Lake, Utah yesterday.  Our sympathies go out to his family, friends, and employees!  The boys at West Mountain have been very supportive of this blog, and in fact I have written about their shop a few times: http://www.suhuntandfish.com/2011/12/west-mountain-powersports.html
On a personal note, I want my little brother, Clay Miller to know that our prayers are with him as well.  Clay was with Brady when the avalanche occurred, and rushed to help dig him out.  I know this has been especially hard on him.  I want you to know I love you bro, and you did all you could.  I hope you find comfort in this difficult time.  I know you will be missed by many Brady!

I apologize for being late in posting this today!  I am writing to you from Boise, Idaho this week, where I wish I could say I was doing something fun, but find myself here for fire training, learning about fire behavior calculations.  Sounds exciting, right?  Well, at least Cabelas and Sportsman's Warehouse are both down the road!

The 2nd annual Color Country Interagency Fire Ice Fishing Derby, held in benefit of the Wildland Firefighter Foundation (WFF), was held again at Panguitch Lake, Utah this past Saturday.  What a great turn out we had this year!  Fishing reports on Panguitch Lake have been very bleak over the past few weeks, but that didn't keep the fishermen (well, firefighters) away this day!  Maybe it was only the fact that they knew Bill Roach was cooking again!  No, it had to be the cause!  It was great to see so many come out to support such a great cause!  Registration for the derby was $20, all of the entry fee going directly to the WFF!  Prizes were donated by various businesses, individuals, and the WFF.  Of special note, Bill Roach, the Color Country Fire Dispatch manager provided the top prizes, as he did last year.  A big thanks to Bill for the prizes, and for the great food!

The weather turned out to be perfect!  At 9:00 AM the tournament was kicked off by a welcome from Brian Burbridge, one of the even organizers, and a fish identification/regulation briefing by Dale Hepworth of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.  With that, the group quickly dispersed to their chosen spots on the ice.  As for those fishing reports?  Well, it's amazing how fishing had turned around this weekend!  Just days before fishing was terribly slow, but this day almost everyone reported fairly good success!  The action began right off the bat, and stayed fairly steady until about 1:00 in the afternoon.  The bite was very light once again, as is fairly normal at Panguitch Lake in the winter.  There were a few reports of big cutthroats being hooked, but not quite pulled from the ice!  My grandpa, Marvin Porter hooked one of these beauties, and as I tried to get a finger under a gill to pull him out, the jig popped and I couldn't scoop the fish out!  I think he was about 22-24 inches, somewhere around 4 pounds.  I spent the day fuming, but grandpa was pretty calm about it.  We will see if he cuts my line next time I hook a big one!  Our group managed to haul in between 6 to 10 a piece, not too bad!
 
Jake Schoppe (2nd place) and Louie DelTorro (1st place)
 Weigh in began at 2 PM, where several rainbows in the 15-18 inch range were checked in.  As the fish were measured, we had several ties occur!  This all changed when Josh Soper and Louie DelTorro brought their fish to check in.  Louie DelTorro of Panguitch, Utah claimed the top prize, his fish coming in at 18 1/2 inches, followed by a tie for second place at 17 5/8".  This tie was broken by the heaviest of the 2 fish, going to Jake Schoppe of Panguitch.  Louie claimed the Eskimo ice auger for top prize, Jake the Eskimo "Fatfish" ice house for runner-up.  Well done boys!  Congrats on a couple of nice fish!

The cook!
  A raffle followed the awarding of the top prizes, consisting of shirts, sweaters, and hats provided by the WFF.  Other prizes donated included; small heaters, ice fishing gear, a sled, dutch oven, and portable grills.  The Coates family and Mike Melton were the big winners in the raffle, either they bought a ton of tickets or lady luck was on their side this day!  A big thanks to all those that donated items.  Remember, even if you don't fish, you should show up for the raffle next year!  You can purchase tickets to get in on the action!

A big thanks to Brian Burbridge, Steve Barker, and Bill Roach, organizers of this great event.  The derby raised about $1,700.00 that will go directly to the WFF!  What a sweet accomplishment!  Your efforts to put this together are greatly appreciated!  I look forward to next year.


The Wildland Firefighter Foundation is an organization that raises money for the families of fallen wildland firefighters.  Proceeds will go to families who have lost loved ones on the fireline, or those who have suffered serious injury in the line of duty.  I want to thank the foundation for all you do for the firefighting community. 

Are you interested in donating?  You don't have to attend an event to do so.  Please visit the Wildland Firefighter Foundation webpage for more information on the mission of the foundation, and what you can do to help.  There is a great video on the homepage that explains these things very well.
http://www.wffoundation.org/

Be sure to come out and support this great time next year!