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About koochiching

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    Sr HotSpotOutdoors.com Family

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  1. I purchased a 2005 Frabill Ranger Solo portable late last year, and installed the bubble insulation in the unit after I read the Expert Information section posting by lars0926 (see my earlier post on this thread). Initially, I installed the insulation only on the back wall and roof of the portable, terminating it just above the zipper door on the front wall of the unit. I described how easy a task it is to do this in a post on lars’s thread… Frabill uses a coated nylon tenting material for the walls and roof of its portable unit, and while the material used in the 2005 model seems to have a thicker waterproof coating than earlier models, it is still much lighter than the canvas used on Otter portables, and it often “flutters” in strong winds… much like a flag on a flagpole in an open area. Early this year I spent a wild night on Mille Lacs in severely gusting winds, sometimes so strong I considered installing a tie-down anchor unit to prevent my portable from sliding across the ice… I finally packed up and left, before this was necessary. But I did notice that the only part of my portable that was “fluttering” was the front wall area, even though the zipper door was securely closed. Frabill offers a set of adjustable support struts – they call them ‘telescoping shelter poles’ – to minimize “flutter”, but I hadn’t used them… The 48” wide sheet of bubble insulation running up the back wall and across the roof had so strengthened the structure that the support struts weren’t required… I had unused bubble insulation material on hand, so I cut a new section a bit longer than the distance between the roof support tubing just above the front wall door panel and the support tubing at the bottom of the front wall door panel. I overlapped this new piece of insulation with the existing roof piece on the support tube above the door, as the Velcro tapes were more than long enough to accommodate the extra thickness. Using 2” diameter nylon washers and aluminum pop rivets, I pop-riveted the new piece of bubble insulation to the front panel of the unit in about 12 places (could add about 6 more…). Then I carefully cut a slit in the sheet of insulation to match the “U” of the zippered door opening. I taped the ends of the slit (someday I may get around to taping the edges), and I can now use the zippered door when the portable is set up… Bringing the insulation down across the front door panel will probably eliminate “flutter” in that front panel. It should also add a little more light and warmth… I can’t really say yet, because I haven’t been out in extreme winds or cold weather… This past month I’ve been able to heat my portable with just a Coleman single mantle propane lantern, or – when it gets a bit colder – with just an older Coleman propane tent heater. PS: I’ve also been using an inexpensive Coleman battery-powered tent fan, with plastic blades so it won’t hurt you when you stick your hand into it… Very small, yet it is sufficient to keep the warm air from collecting just under the roof, while your toes get cold… It makes a real difference. Good fishin’ kooch
  2. There's another DIY thread in the FM forum Equipment > Expert Information section, entitled "experimental results"... lars0926 has an excellent post on his tests confirming the insulating ability of the bubble material. http://www.fishingminnesota.com/forum/showflat.php?Cat=&Number=680362&page=&view=&sb=5&o=&fpart=1&vc=1 kooch
  3. If you plan on towing your one-man portable behind an ATV or snow machine, you really need that heavy, ultra-durable sled used by Otter and a few others... But if - like me - you drive your vehicle to your fishing location, and you reposition your portable by pulling it by hand a maximum of a few hundred yards during most fishing trips, you really don't need that very heavy sled... in fact, loading and unloading an Otter portable from a pick-up box can be a real chore! I had a spacious 2003 Frabill Ranger Solo, lots of room for one person and his large dog, or two persons on occasional outings... and the whole shebang weighed less than 65 pounds. The uninsulated swivel seat(s) is the best-designed seating in any portable unit. Period. The current 2005 Ranger Solo has been improved and upgraded in just about every possible area... Frabill engineer Tim Makos and his team should win a prize for their brilliant upgrade of an already great design... insulated swivel seat, replaceable windows, separate ventilation window, improved windbreak mode, extended sealer flaps around the front and sides, with a chain pocket (I installed a 20' length of #2 chain, and it seals the bottom edge even when there is no snow on the ice.) And the 4' wide R-12 bubble insulation from Menards fits perfectly when inserted between the tube supports and the heavy waterproofed tent fabric. I used exactly 10' to insulate the back wall and the entire roof, to 1" above the front door... I use a Swedish folding cot from Cabela's for my tent camping (springs, a 2 1/2" thick mattress), and it sets up comfortably inside my new Ranger Solo unit. IMHO, anyone looking for a spacious solo unit should take a look at this new Frabill Ranger Solo portable. The fact that it is priced at less than $300 complete is just a bonus... it's actually the best "portable" unit out there. kooch
  4. Quote: I need some help with a little dilemma... If my dog can't handle 30 degrees, winter camping would not be an option. Any ideas? Hi Dundee, I've been tent camping with my dog(s) for over 20 years, usually up until the first snowfalls in mid November. My current dog is an older mixed breed (English Springer Spaniel and Aussie Sheep Dog) and I shear her coat every spring so she is more comfortable in summer heat and humidity. Also, that long Sheep Dog hair attracts sand burrs and thistles like a magnet! Hair doesn't always grow back uniformly on older dogs, and they develop "bald spots"... I've found that synthetic Microweave blankets work well in temps to the mid 40s; you spread the blanket out next to your bag, set the dog one side of the blanket, then cover the dog with the other half of the blanket. Fold the blanket back so the dog's head is almost exposed. The dog quickly adapts to spending the night under this warm cover... But the blanket is insufficient in colder weather... I use an inexpensive Hollofil regular (not mummy style) bag by Coleman during colder weather. Unzip it and spread it out, set the dog down on one side, then zip up the bottom and part of the side, leaving the dog's head near the top opening. Works well to just below freezing... But in colder weather, you have to bring your dog into your bag with you. Super size mummy bags, or extra long and wide regular bags, are necessary for this to work with dogs over 40 pounds. Invariably the dog wants to sleep with its head at the bottom of the bag; if you have a double zipper, it helps to open the zipper at the bottom just a small amount; wear your long johns and boot socks, and cover the opening inside the bag with your shirt, or a towel... The dog will press its side or back against your leg, so you'll have a living hot pack all night long! Using an XL Woods down bag, the dog and I have been comfortable in below zero weather with this arrangement... Good luck. kooch
  5. Thanks for the info, gspman... I had no idea the DNR was maintaining such a list online. kooch
  6. Quote: In my opinion, there is no sportier way of hunting Grouse than to walk though very stealth like trying to get them on the ground. There is a huge difference shooting a grouse on the ground in the middle of the trail, compared to walking through the middle of the woods and spotting one under a tree and trying to get a clean shot before it flushes. I've grouse hunted all my life and find it most satisfying when I'm doing this and flush one, and then track to where it landed and try to sneak up on it and pop it on the ground. It is very difficult to do this, as I may take 30 minutes to track one grouse. Keep going with your .22, and just be smart of your backdrop, and you'll be fine. Hey, fishlakeman, I'm with you on this one... Stalking a flushed grouse has got to be the ultimate bird hunting experience. Quickly moving to a spot near where the flushed bird has gone down, then freezing and listening for the bird's nervous clucking or the sound of the bird moving through the leaves on the ground... Slooowly working your way towards the sounds, until you finally can discern the shadowy outline of the bird sneaking away from you... I'm often crawling on my hands and knees, seeking a firing lane so I can take a shot... Sometimes, I can imitate the nervous clucking sound, and the bird will actually answer me... I consider this experience to be the essence of hunting ruffed grouse... If you don't know what we're talking about, I feel sorry for you... fishlakeman, may all your birds flush to higher ground, so you don't have to crawl through standing water... Good hunting... kooch
  7. During the opening weekend of partridge season, I visited a number of primitive state forest and county campsites in Koochiching, Beltrami and Itasca counties. Yuck! I was really disappointed in the amount of discarded litter, garbage and vandalism evident at most sites. I realize that county and state maintenance crews have been sharply reduced because of budget shortfalls. But the maintenance of these campsites has always been the responsibility of current users, who are expected to clean up a site before leaving, so that the next visitor will have a pleasant camping experience... I've been visiting some of these sites for over 30 years, and I've never before seen so much discarded rubbish and wanton destruction. Any ideas as to who is responsible for this vandalism? Also, any ideas as to how it might be controlled? kooch
  8. Quote: ...cook fillets on George Foreman or other two sided grill Right on, mnz... A remarkably useful gadget... not only for fish, but also for pork chops, brats, and even French Toast for breakfast!
  9. Quote: I was wondering if there was anyone on here who hunts grouse up north near Thief River Falls? Maverick, I've been hunting a bit to the east of you, in Lake of the Woods and Koochiching Counties, for many years. About 20 years ago, I think I got as far west as Greenbush, but most of the time I hunt in the Pine Island State Forest just to the east of the Red Lakes. If you're looking for a contentious, bigoted group of elitist would-be grouse hunters, you should visit the Shooting Sportsmen Forums. I also hope there wasn't too much rain this spring, and the hatch survives through the summer. Couldn't get much worse than it's been the past few years, but we should be through the bottom of the cycle... k
  10. Hi Free, Jessie Lake is a small lake located about 20 miles north of Deer River on State Hwy 6. I don't know how it's ranked today, but about three years ago it had more walleyes based on its size than any lake in Minnesota. There's a private campground favored by RV owners on the SW side of the lake that also accepts tenters. I never used the amenities, so I don't know just what they have, but the walleye fishing on Jessie is usually very good, and there are numerous other lakes within a few miles in all directions. Any possible spot would be the new Big Bog State Park at Washkish, on Upper Red Lake. All the amenities you asked for, plus great walleye and crappie fishing... only you have to throw the walleyes back! And your 12' boat might be a bit small in really windy weather...
  11. Slothin', Thank you for your information. There's an excellent current thread about Frontline on this site. Go back to the "Main Index", then to "Hunting", then to "Hunting Dogs" Many posters, all with something positive to say about Frontline (except the price ). My decidedly unscientific opinion is that ticks may realize the dog they're riding is toxic, and drop off. If the dog is a house pet, you end up with ticks running around on the house floors. I wonder if people who kennel their dogs also notice live ticks on their garage floor, or on the kennel slab?
  12. WTBF, Let me tell you about two of my favorite tent campgrounds: 1. State Forest Campground at Hay Lake. You turn off Hwy 65 a few miles south of Jacobson. The turnoff is marked. You drive about 4 mi. east on a gravel road that ends at the campground. About 20 beautiful tent camp sites in a mature pine grove. They supply firewood (first cuts from a local sawmill), you need a bow saw, or something similar, to cut it to length for use in your firepit. Many of these tent sites are right on a bluff about 50 feet higher than the lake, the others are less than 50 yards from the edge of the bluff; you can put your boat in at a very nice launch site, then put-put or row a few hundred yards along the shore, and park your boat in the weeds next to the shore directly below your camp site. There a several marked trails leading up the bluff to your camp site, but you can't see your boat from your camp site. There's a beautiful swimming beach next to the boat launch site, but nicely screened by trees and rocks. I often see wives there sunning themselves on folding lawn chairs, watching the little kids play in the sand and shallow water, while the old man is out somewhere on the lake fishing... Primitive sites-- no electric, but a fish-cleaning shack at the launch site, firewood, picnic tables at each site, convenient bear-proof garbage cans at intervals, water from a hand-pumped well, and convenient outhouses cleaned daily... About $10 a night, honor system... Unfortunately, Hay Lake has everything but great fishing. If you fish hard, you'll catch enough northerns and bass for a meal... maybe. I don't even try... I leave my motor at home, row out to the edge of weeds about 200 feet from shore, and fish for small bluegills. Catch lots of them, just about anytime. Your small kids will love it... older kids will yawn. If you know how to filet small panfish, you'll have enough in a couple of hours fishing, or less, for a nice evening meal. 2. Former primitive state forest campground on Tamarac River at Washkish. The campground lies on the west side of Hwy 72; a beautiful sand beach is just across Hwy 72 on Upper Red Lake. You can launch a large boat into the Tamarac River, in any weather, then run under the Hwy 72 bridge right out into Upper Red Lake. Two years ago, the state upgraded this campsite into a state park, so you now also need a state park sticker, and I suspect the prices for tent and camper sites have gone up. Probably have sites with electricity now, also. Maybe ten sites on the Tamarac River have little docks, where you can park your boat only 20' away from your tent. This is a great fishing lake... check out the Red Lake forum threads... If you have older kids who can swim well, the beach is unbelievable. You can walk out 50 yards, or more, beautiful sand... and the waves can be quite large in the right conditions... But get current information on tentsites and charges from the MN state park information site... k
  13. The dog and I both picked up many ticks this past week, walking on open sandy truck trails, with new grass springing up in the center. I've been averaging 4 per day, and I don't think I had that many all last year... If ticks stay on the dog, they die... But some ride her into the house, then drop off and start looking for me... I wonder how thick the ticks are on the islands in Kabetogama and Rainy Lakes? Or in some of the mainland campgrounds in that area? k
  14. When I started using Heartgard and Frontline years ago, you could buy the Heartgard online from Canada without a prescription. You could always buy Frontline online without a prescription. Then the vets complained, and the manufacturer Merial Labs made it impossible to buy in North America without a prescription from a vet... so I started buying my dog medicine in Australia... 55% of US prices for Heartgard and Frontline Plus, and no prescriptions required... Last year Merial stopped selling Heartgard in Australia without a vet prescription. A competitor offered a Heartgard equivalent, using the same critical component (Ivermectin) as in Heartgard, and it worked fine. This year Bayer offers Advocate... one application per month, identical to the way Frontline is applied, and your dog is protected against fleas and ticks, against heartworms, against intestinal worms, and against sarcoptic mange... Costs in Australia a little less than both Heartgard and Frontline Plus used to cost... Seems to work well, except that ticks hook onto the dog when she's outside, then apparently sense that they're on a toxic critter, so they drop off when the dog is in the house, and I find them crawling across the wood floor near the dog's rug. Don't recall that happening much in the past few years, but we seem to have a huge number of ticks that just became active in the past week in central MN. Anyone else sense a huge increase in tick activity this last week?
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