One of the buzzwords of late is “hack.” Now hack can mean something very bad, like your computer getting “hacked,” meaning someone has digitally broken into your information and now everyone in the township somehow knows the secret recipe for Aunt Agnes’s famous potato salad and Uncle Oscar’s deer jerky marinade, (even though they were both written on the inside of the kitchen cabinet door.) “Hack” can also mean a DIY shortcut of some sort, like how to use a roman candle to light the neighbor’s wheat stubble on fire without even leaving your yard. But I digress, so now on to some hunter hacks I found, and some hunter hacks of my own.
More has probably been written about different ways to start a campfire than about any other outdoor subject. First off, no one in the crowd I hang with is gonna’ have need of a campfire except for rare camping trips with the family, then we’ll start our fires with those neat gizmos called matches and lighters. We all have Little Buddy propane heaters in our deer blinds, and none of us have the ambition to climb Mount Everest or do anything where emergency campfires might be needed. Never-the-less, I found hacks about using corn chips and crayons as fire starters. Sure they work fine, but what self respecting hunter is going to waste good corn chips to start a fire. Eat the chips and light the empty bag, it works just as well. And as far as lighting crayons to start a campfire, once again it works great and they burn for a long time, but no hunter worth their jerky would dream of wasting a perfectly good crayon just to start a fire. They should be kept for things of greater importance like scribbling messages and phone numbers on the wall of your deer blind or for labeling packages of meat in the freezer so you can tell this year’s venison back strap from the muskrat meat kept for next year’s coyote bait. Another interesting campfire starting hack I found involves dryer lint; it seems dryer lint burns very well and starts very easily. It can be stuffed into empty toilet paper tubes or merely carried in a Ziploc bag and used right from there. Now we’re talkin’, something we all can relate to. I mean who doesn’t save all their dryer lint and empty toilet paper tubes? Instead of emptying them into the recycle container and trash every couple years, make fire starters from them! But in all my trolling of the almighty internet I did not find one reference to the most trustworthy tried-and-true method of starting a campfire ever, even used by our Native American forefathers. From anywhere in Kansas you would have to travel forever to deer hunt where there are no cattle nearby, SO LIGHT A DRY COW TURD.
The next most talked about topic in the outdoors, especially relating to survival, is how to build a shelter. Let me offer a hillbilly hack for building a shelter. All hillbilly outdoorsmen worth their pork rinds will have a serious collection of tarps, and what a better use for a tarp than an emergency shelter. Harbor Freight has them in all sizes and you can occasionally get a small one “free with any purchase,” so there’s absolutely no excuse for not having one to carry with you on all outdoor excursions. A word of caution here; it’s not in your best interest to remove the tarp covering the hole in your trailer house roof. Anyway, there are a variety of ways to deploy your tarp/shelter. If you’re fishing, I’m sure you’ll have dynamite with you, so merely drop a stick into a small hole you dig in the ground, light her up and you’ll soon have a nice cave that you can crawl into and cover with your tarp.
No friend of mine would be caught dead on a hunting or fishing trip without a menagerie of plastic five gallon buckets, and the uses for them as hillbilly hunter hacks are endless. You can buy kits to turn one into a “luggable loo,” and even cut a notch lengthways in a pool noodle and snap it around the top for a soft seat while you heed nature’s call. Spray paint a few more green, drill a small hole at the bottom and put them at the base of each “illegal pharmaceutical” plant you “just happened to find growing” along the river as a way to water those beauties. Five gallon buckets make great hillbilly mouse traps too, for the deer blind or even the living room. On each side of the bucket near the top, drill a hole big enough for a broom handle to slide through and fit loosely enough to spin. Fill the bucket with water or used motor oil (which I’m sure you will have by the barrel-full,) put a glob of peanut butter in the middle of the broom handle and viola; when a mouse walks the broom handle to get the peanut butter, it will spin and dump the little blighter into the slurry below. If you keep the TV volume low enough you can hear the splash and reward the cat with a live mouse.
I’m certain the list of hillbilly hacks, whether for hunting or not is endless, and I’ve probably just scratched the surface here. Maybe a book is in order, “Hillbilly Hunter Hacks for the Deer Blind, Boat and Living Room.” For all my loyal readers who want one, let me know and I’ll reserve you a signed copy. Continue to Explore Kansas Outdoors!
Steve can be contacted by email at [email protected]