My 2011 Washington Blacktail

I spent five days hunting whitetails and mule deer in Eastern Washington last week in what can only be described as sun bathing weather. Not exactly the type of conditions that produce great deer hunting. I saw plenty of deer, including 9 bucks, but there were no shooters in the bunch. Lots of marching, climbing, hiking, sweating, hobbling, and scratching my head with nothing to show for it except a stubborn sinus infection and sore feet.

Before I headed back to the wet side of the Cascades my final words to the guys in camp were, “No worries. I’ll be able to hunt blacktails for the rest of the season.”

Sure, I could hunt blacktails for the rest of the season and even the late season for that matter, but the “no worries” part wasn’t exactly true. Getting a quality blacktail in the Amazon-like under-scrub jungle in Western Washington isn’t easy duty. I knew exactly what I was up against.

There aren’t too very many people that know exactly where I hunt blacktails and I plan on keeping it that way. Heck, one of my very best friends and partner in the Outdoor Line doesn’t even know where I hunt deer in Eastern Washington after 20 years of asking. I can tell you what types of habitat to look for to find a blacktail, however, as there are plenty of blacktails in Western Washington and knowing what habitat to look for is a huge leg up in successfully hunting them.

Finding blacktails requires an understanding of what type of habitat they call home. The good thing is that there’s a lot of that type of habitat here in Western Washington. The down side is that not all of it is festooned with these elusive deer. Finding a good spot requires putting boots on the ground and doing some scouting.

Look for clear cuts that are anywhere from 2 to 10 years old and locate as many of these types of clear cuts as you can, so you have a few to bounce around to throughout the season. Blacktails are browse feeders and they love to munch on all the underbrush that sprouts up in these age-class of clear cuts and the cover is not yet thick enough to totally conceal deer when they’re out and about.

Are blacktails using the cut? Look for tracks on the roads that surround the clear cut from blacktails leaving the timber to feed at night. This is an obvious sign that critters are in the neighborhood. A second clue is the prescense of rubs around or in the clear cut from rutting bucks or bucks removing their summer felt.

You’ll see rubs when you’re walking around the edge of the cut and also watch for them on small trees in the middle of the clear cuts when you’re glassing. A few rubs is a good sign and a lot of fresh rubs is money in the bank.

Once you find a clear cut that’s being used by blacktails you can either sit and wait for them to move or slowly still hunt your way around the area. I like a combination of both techniques.

I’ll usually find a perch that offers a good view, which is usually a very uncomfortable splinter-filled stump, and glass for a while watching for movement in the cut. If nothing happens within an hour, or so, I’ll begin still hunting my way either around or thru the cut.

If you’re going to still hunt for blacktails you need to be uber-conscious of the wind and use scent control if you can just to be safe. Hunting blacktails in the brush usually means close quarters hunting and most shots are less than 100 yards. I’ve taken two quality Washington blacktails in the past three years and as luck would have it I had the wind at my back for both of them. If I wasn’t wearing Tek-4 clothing and persistently washing my hunting duds in Scent-A-Way I guarantee that I wouldn’t have had a chance at either of those bucks.

Image of a Washington blacktail deer taken with a Browning 30.06

For a better handle on scent control check out this blog that I wrote back in September aptly named “Ten Tips for Better Scent Control”.

Having more than one clear cut to hunt came into play yesterday. I usually mountain bike in behind locked gates and when I found a truck parked at my first spot yesterday morning I didn’t waste any time heading for another area.

I worked my way into a productive area at my second stop, glassed from an uncharacteristically comfortable stump for around 30 minutes and then began still hunting my way thru the cut. From past experience I knew there was a small trail that sliced thru the cut and I slowly worked my way down it. There were fresh deer tracks literally everywhere!

It didn’t take long to run into them feeding in a small draw in the cut. Three does and a really small 2 point were 50 yards off the trail and I watched them feed for a while before slinking off.

There were no rubs and I didn’t see one set of tracks that jumped out as being a good buck so I moved on to the next clear cut.

This clear cut was about ten years old, with reprod growing eight to 12 feet high. It was tight cover, but offered some openings and was a perfect place to do some rattling . I still hunted my way to the center of the cut and then rattled for a couple minutes to see what might pop up. After 30 minutes of waiting I moved on, only to jump two blacktail does just fourty feet from my rattling position. Still, there were no rubs in the entire cut and I felt I needed to make another move.

I drove back to the gate that I had intended on parking at in the morning and now there were two trucks parked there. Ugh!

Off to yet another cut and by now it was lunch time. I had talked to a land owner the previous evening who had a deer “problem” and my plan was to head for his place later in the day for an evening hunt. Offers like that just don’t present themselves every day and I was already imagining a pasture full of blacktails. His problem…my delight!

So, the plan was to quickly hunt this heavily-trafficked clear cut to kill some time before heading to the private land.

I left the bike in the truck and basically stomped my way into the cut figuring I would slow down and get the wind in my face towards the back of the huge cut furthest from the busy road where the deer might be hanging out. Less than a quarter mile in there were fresh tracks all over the place. Does, bucks, yearlings…tracks everywhere!

This clear cut was shaped like a big “J” and my plan was to cross the largest part of the cut and thoroughly hunt the small part of it where I’d seen deer last year. In doing so I’d lay down a phat RUN AWAY scent trail for any deer in the largest area of the cut. I’d have to put some faith in the scent control measures I’ve been pestering about.

Without knowing it I crossed the clear cut just 50 yards up-wind of this blacktail buck and he had no clue I was there. I took a hard left at the timber and worked my way to a low rise that would give me a view of a small draw in the long part of the cut and there he was. 50 yards away and looking at me. He was trying to figure out what I was.

I only had a head and neck shot and the buck even gave me time to turn my scope up to 9 power before I sent the 150 grain 30.06 Winchester XP3 where it needed to go. It was a nice clean kill and he hit the dirt immediately.

Since I was hunting solo I would now have the joy of packing this animal that weighed in excess of 190 pounds over a mile back to the truck by myself. Should I quarter it up and make two trips with the frame pack or just drag it back to the truck cave-man style? I opted for the latter.

An hour and fifteen minutes later I was whooped, but my worn-out self and this heavy-bodied blacktail were in the truck and we were headed for the butcher. It helps to be in shape for this sort of thing.

If you think it’s too late in the season to get a blacktail that’s hardly the case. Blacktails are just now coming into the rut and the latter part of the general season and the late season in November can be the best times to hunt these elusive deer. Even if you aren’t successul in finding a good blacktail this week the time you spend in the woods right now can pay off when the late hunt comes around in a few weeks. Deploy some of the tips I’ve given you here and start building up your blacktail knowledge base!

Best of luck to you this hunting season and don’t forget to post your hunting photos and questions in the Outdoor Line Hunting Forum. Thanks for stopping by!

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle

Puget Sound Smorgasboard!

I seriously considered issuing a warning before posting this blog, something like: "Warning! Fish guts ahead" for example. So, consider yourself cautioned.

The best way to learn how to consistently catch actively feeding fish is to find out what they are eating and mimic the "menu" by tailoring your presentation to represent the feed of your quarry.

Unfortunately, the only sure way to learn what's on the dinner table is to get your hands dirty.

You have to get in there, open up the stomach, and examine the contents. Marine Biologists call this piscatorial autopsy "gut content analysis" so, let's glove up and lets get to work!

Many anglers have opened up their catch and found herring, but what about food items that are harder to identify? I had one heck of a time deciphering this chinook's dinner plate!


I had to send a picture to long-time WDFW Biologist Curt Kraemer who ID'd these critters as juvenile hake! In the 1980s' hake were common in Puget Sound until the bottom trawlers knocked them out. If this picture is any indication, the pacific hake could be making a comeback in the Sound which could be a very positive sign!


More than once, I've been surprised by what I've found inside blackmouth or feeder chinook. Here is a "poggie" or pile perch (bottom of pic above the spoon) found alongside a mess of juvenile herring! Note how well these Silver Horde Kingfisher Spoons mimic the baitfish.


Candlefish are a common and welcome resident feed item for our young salmon and adults as well. More common in the sandy areas of Puget Sound, candlefish show up on your sounder as clouds or masses in close proximity to the bottom.


In the spirit of "matching the hatch", look how well the Coho Killer spoon represents the candlefish!


Just this past week, I was shocked to see what was inside this October coho taken near the Mukilteo ferry landing. These six smelt were jammed inside him and still he swatted a cut-plug herring!


Identifying and learning to immitate Puget Sound's "smorgasboard" is a big step in your education as a successful salmon fisherman.

One last caution: Don't let your wife catch you taking pictures of fish guts! I have suffered some serious ridicule in the name of science…

Here's hoping that thinking about bait size, color, depth and behavior starts to enter your thinking when you venture out on your favorite body of water.


Tom Nelson
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle

Bobber Fishing for Fall Salmon

Ray's bobber went down for the umpty-umph time that morning and he reeled hard into a chrome king salmon that quickly headed for the tangled mess of lumber immediately downstream of where we were anchored. After some finaggling and coaxing Ray co-erced the chrome king salmon boatside and I slid the basket of my Frabill net under it's snout. This one was going in the box!

Catching king salmon in the river on eggs can be a total blast, mostly because you're holding the rod, directing your float down the slot, and feeling the initial throbbing head shakes of the mighty king salmon the second they're hooked up. It pegs my fun-omemeter every time I do it!

Like anything in fishing there are some things you can do to be more successful when you're bobber fishing for salmon.

I know for certain that there are several different ways to skin this cat, but here's how I rig up for bobber fishing and it's worked for me for years.

For starters, I use a ten and a half foot rod to keep as much line off the water as possible. The more direct line you have to your float the more control you'll have over it. This makes it much easier to work your float around downed trees, brush, root wads, and other salmon holding hide-aways in the river.

I use a levelwind loaded with 30 pound Big Game super braid. The braid has much less drag on the waters surface, it makes for a longer drift, and when you're hung up you can get everything back but the leader more often than not.  It's much easier to pay out line evenly with a levelwind, but if you're new to this gig don't be afraid to use a spinning reel. Most of the coastal salmon guides use spinning reels with their guests. It's just a little more difficult to control the line is all. 

Slide a bobber stop onto the mainline followed by a bead, and then a sliding float rated for 1 ounce of lead goes on next. A sliding float is almost mandatory, as fall salmon almost always lie in the deepest holes on the river. 

Below the float add either a 1 ounce egg sinker or two 1/2 ounce egg sinkers. I like to use the 1/2 sinkers because I have a large supply of them for steelhead fishing in the winter months. Regardless of which sinker you use you want about two-thirds of your bobber to be under water when you're fishing. The key with the additional lead here is to get down in a hurry so you're bait gets in front of fish that may be holding in the head of the runs. You'll want to get your bait down to them fast.

Below the egg sinkers I add a bead or two to protect my knot and then attach a barrell swivel to the end of the mainline.

To the barrell swivel I'll run two to three feet of 20 pound monofilament leader and finish it off with a 2/0 or 3/0 Mustad Ultrapoint hook. I'll reserve the smaller hook for low water conditions when a smaller bait might be needed.

Egg cures are like belly buttons…everybody has one! It's no secret that I use Pautzke's Firecure when I'm fishing salmon in the fall because it flat out works. It was specifically designed for fall salmon by Oregon guide Mark Yano years ago and the results are amazing. It's a sulfite based cure that's jacked up with krill, two tastey goodies that both silvers and kings like to eat.

The best thing with this stuff is that I can use it straight out of the bucket and I don't need to mess around with mixing up my own egg cure recipe. I say "bucket" because I have a 5 gallon bucket of Firecure!  


Here's another look at how to rig up for bobber fishing in last weeks "Last Cast" video posted on the Outdoor Line video page.

What do you do when you're float goes down? In most salmon or steelhead fisheries you'd set the hook like a banshee and reel like mad until the fish is on. When you're bobber fishing for salmon with eggs that type of hook set is no bueno…no good.

You want them to eat the eggs, so all you're going to do is reel when the bobber goes down and then give them a little "POP" once they are on just to set the hook. It's the river equivelent of mooching in the saltwater. You hold the rod, feel the bite, and reel to set the hook!

We had a banner day fishing king salmon on one of the Washington coastal rivers last week just as it dropped back into shape. Guess what…the coastal rivers are once again dropping back into primo shape after yesterdays monsoon and the fishing this weekend should be lights out. Get out there and enjoy some of the amazing fall salmon fishing while it lasts! 

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle

Selecting a Trail Camera

BY NICK HARTMAN. Picking a Trail Camera is never a black and white decision.  There are dozens of trail camera manufacturers, each one with many different models to choose from.  So how do you know which camera will work for you? 

The single most important consideration is how you plan on using your new trail camera?  Is it going to simply watch a feeder?  Or will it be on a game trail, a scrape, food plot or you may even want to use it to see who is breaking into your cabin?  If you don't know the answer to that question, then you will want a camera that is versatile and can be used for all of the above.

There are three basic aspects to look for in a camera; Detection circuit, picture quality and battery life.  Once you start looking at cameras individually, you will notice there are dozen of smaller factors, but camera quality can usually be broken down into these three categories.

Detection Circuit
Detection circuits, at its most basic level, consist of Trigger Speed, Recovery Time and the Detection Zone (which is the combined detection width, detection angle and detection range).

Trigger speed is merely the time it takes a camera to take a picture of a subject when it "activates" the camera.  These times can range from 0.2 seconds to 4 or 5 seconds.  Why is trigger speed important?  Well, a slow trigger speed can mean missing a ton of animals as they walk or run by.  Just consider how far you can move in 4 to 5 seconds.  You could easily nearly walk out of the field of view in that time with just a brisk walking pace!

Recovery time is the time it takes a camera to store a picture and ready itself for the next activation.  These can range from sub-1 second, to 60 seconds.  A 60 second recovery time is no big deal if you are watching a feeder.  However, a game trail is a different story.  Think of this scenario. It is early November and the rut is in full swing.  You check your trail camera to only find pictures of does.  Where are the bucks?!  Well, if your camera has a 60 second recovery time, the chances are pretty high that the buck was trailing those does by just a few seconds.  How many times have you seen a buck chase a doe in the rut?  Almost constantly!  So, recovery time is of utmost importance for game trail surveillance.

The detection zone of a camera is merely the area in front of the camera that it is capable of "sensing."  Cuddeback cameras have a very narrow detection zone, which is fine if you are pointing at a feeder.  However, a wide detection zone covers a much larger area and is much more desirable on food plots or open fields.

The most capable and versatile (and expensive) trail cameras have quick trigger speeds, quick recovery times and large detection zones.

Bushnell Trophy Cam detection zone test,

Picture Quality
Picture quality refers to the quality of picture both during the day and at night.  Day pictures can be very subjective.  If you are like me, I merely want to know what walked in front of my camera.  I don't plan on framing it, I just want to know what it was, how big it is and when it came by.  Some folks want to blow the picture up and frame it.  There is no right or wrong way of thinking; it simply comes down to what YOU will be using the camera for.  The best way to judge picture quality is by looking at sample photos.

Infrared cameras and Incandescent cameras take drastically different night photos.  Infrared cameras are black/white and depend heavily on the individual camera for how bright and clear the picture will be.  Also, infrared cameras will produce blur with movement (the amount of blur also depends on the individual camera).  Incandescent cameras take beautiful color pictures.  However, they use more battery and they have the tendency to spook game much more so than an infrared camera.  Once again, you need to look at sample photos to see what will work for you. (Mouse over photos below) 

 Infrared trail camera flashIncandescent trail camera flash








Battery Life
Experienced trail camera enthusiasts may tell you the first thing to look for in a camera is battery life.  Why?  It can be expensive to change batteries every 2 weeks!  Many modern cameras can run for 3-4 months on a set of batteries while some still struggle to maintain a few weeks of battery life.

One thing I would always recommend, when available, is to use rechargeable batteries (I'm stepping on my soapbox – beware!).  Look, if you are reading this article, you are obviously an outdoor enthusiast.  We love the outdoors, we love wildlife and maybe more than that, we love to pass it on to the next generation.  They make high-quality rechargeable Nickel Metal Hydride (Nimh) batteries that can be charged up to 1,000 times.  They also get the same, if not better, battery life (especially in cold weather) than your typical alkaline battery.  Over the course of a rechargeable batteries life, think of the amount of batteries you have prevented from finding its way into a landfill.  Not convinced?  A quality charger and a set of Nimh batteries cost roughly what you would pay for two sets of alkaline batteries.  By your third charge, you are making money.  Rechargeable batteries are a no-brainer.

As you can see, so much of buying the right camera comes down to how you will use the camera.  If you are unsure, a good bet would be to buy a versatile camera that is solid in all aspects.  Another aspect is how much money you would like to spend.  It is unreasonable to expect to get the perfect camera (which doesn't exist) for under $100.  However, there are quality cameras at each price point, each one offering something a little better as you go up.  Once again, consider what you will be using it for.  You don't need a $500 camera to watch a feeder, you can easily get by with a $125 camera.  However, if you are putting a camera up in the mountains, under severe weather, knowing that something may only walk by once a day or even worse, once a week….  Can you really afford not to have the quickest, most battery efficient and most durable camera watching that spot? 

A good resource, to see the different ratings of the trail cameras, is to look over our different tests (which can be found at  This is black and white information, with no commentary attached.  Once you have narrowed it down to a few cameras that would suit your needs, read the review on your individual camera (which you can find here –  This will put all the information together and provide commentary on the in's and outs of the different cameras.

I hope this article has provided some insight in the basics of buying a trail camera.  I am always open to answering any questions (you can email me at you may have.  I greatly appreciate the Outdoor Line letting me rant on like this.  I wish everyone a safe hunting season and happy scouting!

Nick Hartman 


It's been a while since we've seen a coho season around here with "legs" like this one.

What am I talking about? Well, when a spawning run of salmon in these parts provides action and opportunity for three solid months… it has "legs" or the ability to run a long distance.

I guess after 2010's "coho no-show" we had a good run coming but just think about the 2011 silver season for a second: it started almost un-noticed in August due to the swarms of pink salmon, provided excellent, boat-limit fishing in September for the final two events of the Northwest Salmon Derby Series and is still providing solid action even as we speak!

To get a good idea how the action has been, I jumped aboard Nick Kester of All Star Charters boat to see for myself! 

Once we arrived at the "Shipwreck" north of Edmonds, it wasn't long before we were into a hot coho! Nick mans the net and coaches up his client!


No sooner did we get the first fish in the box and Boom! fish number two is on and it's a dandy!


Nick slides the twine under the chunky coho and he is all ours!


A very proud angler holding one very big, chrome reason to keep fishing this fall!

Catching saltwater coho when it's closer to Halloween than Labor Day is an unusual opportunity for Puget Sound anglers and when you add our new winter crab seasons to the mix, well… it's going to be very hard to pull the tarp over the boat for the winter!

Heck with the tarp! Let's get out on the sound!

Northwest Outdoor Report for October 8th

Puget Sound Crabbing Re-opens Today
Seven marine areas of Puget Sound reopen for recreational crabbing today at 8 a.m.. Marine areas 4, 5, 6, 7, 8-1, 8-2, and a portion of area 9 north of a line between Olele Pt and Foulweather Bluff will be open to crabbing 7 days a week starting today thru December 31st. Marine areas 11 and 13 will reopen for crabbing on November 21st and Marine Areas 10, 12, and the southern portion of Area 9 will remain closed, as the catch quota’s have already been met in those areas.

Hunting Season Opens October 15
Deer hunters will take the field in most of Washington’s Game Management Units on October 15th and duck hunters will also get a 5 day season October 15-19, with a brief closure before main hunting season reopens on October 22nd. Pheasant season will open in Eastern Washington on October 22nd. For more detailed information about hunting seasons please log onto the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website.

Showdown With a Grizzly Bear
Montana outfitter Erin Bolster and her horse “Tonk” will appear on the David Letterman Show on Tuesday night. The pair saved a young boys life from an enraged 750 pound grizzly bear  on a trail ride in the Flathead National Forest back on July 31st. Erin charged the bear three times with her horse before plucking the young boy to safety. You can catch Erin and her incredible story right here on the Outdoor Line after the next break.

House Bill Allows for Lethal Removal of Sea Lions
Tired of seeing sea lions feast on endangered salmon and steelhead at Bonneville Dam? House bill 3069 was passed on Wednesday that will allow for the lethal removal of trouble sea lions from the Columbia River and its tributaries.

The Endangered Salmon and Fisheries Predation Prevention Act allows Washington state, Oregon, Idaho and the four Columbia River treaty tribes to obtain one year permits from the Secretary of Commerce for the lethal removal of a limited number of sea lions from the Columbia river system.

Fishing License Sales Up in Washington
It’s not all gloom and doom for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife these days. In the toughest economy in decades the department has managed to post strong gains in both resident and non-resident license sales from 2006 to 2010. The biggest jump in license sales came from 2008 to 2010, with sales increasing from just over 800,000 resident licenses sold in 2008 to nearly 1.1 million in 2010. A post has been started in the Outdoor Line forums if you’d like to chime in on this latest news.

NOAA Suspends Alaskan Catch Sharing Plan
NOAA’s decided to postpone the Alaskan halibut Catch Sharing Plan after receiving over 4,000 comments in opposition to it. The plan called for a reduction in the daily halibut limit in Area 3A, which includes the tourist-heavy Kenai Peninsula, to just one halibut per day. Halibut numbers have been declining in recent years in Alaskan waters and members of the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council have been scrambling to come up with a plan to stop the decline. Many point to the nearly 6.5 million pounds of bycatch from trawling in the Gulf of Alaska and another 2.5 million pounds of bycatch from the long line fleet. Commercial bycatch in Alaska is currently higher than the total recreational quota.

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle

Rockin’ the Shore Lunch

Back when I was a full time river guide here in Washington one of my favorite fisheries was the Skagit River catch and release season for wild steelhead. The season was set up for March and April when the majority of those big bruisers were headed upstream and man-o-man do I have some memories from those beautiful spring days targetting America's hardest fighting freshwater gamefish.

In the early days all the scenery and all the fish in the world couldn't get people to book a trip, however, because they couldn't bonk one over the head and bring it home for supper. Catch and release steelhead fishing was a whole new dealio in this state at that time and people just couldn't grasp the thought of letting one of these awesome fish loose after landing it.

Flyfisherman had been releasing them for years, but getting a gear guy to let one go was like pulling teeth. I needed a plan.

I contacted a few of the big name guides at that time and ran my dillemma by them. One of them, whom I'm still friends with today, mentioned that he would sometimes pull over mid-day and whip up a quick bbq'd shore lunch for his guests. They loved it, of course, and always came back. That was it…a shore lunch!

I cooked all sorts of stuff on the river in those days, including chicken, steak, venison, shish-ka-bobs, and salmon. Any hot meal on the river bank was a big hit, but the salmon always got the most compliments. Salmon with a potatoe side dish and perhaps a bbq'd vegetable or some roll's…dangit that was some good stuff.

I got the cooking program so dialed in that I could have the food on the bbq in less than five minutes and have the goodies cooking while we fished our way down the river. Before long I was booked solid each and every season. I'd like to think those awesome shore lunches had a lil' something to do with it. 

I've been retired from the river guiding gig for a few years now and out of all of the days I've spent on the river it's those spring days I miss the most. So, when my good buddy Ray Gombiski sent me a text the other day to say he was in a funk and needed to get out on the water I knew a shore lunch was in order. 

This is one of the easiest shore lunches to prepare and nothing beats it on a drizzly fall day here in Washington. 

The night before the trip I cut up a mess of red potatoes and onions and place them in a baking dish. Add some cracked pepper, sea salt, and rosemary to taste and then drizzle olive oil over the whole works. Place it in the oven at 425 degrees and stir the potatoes every 15 minutes or so until they are thoroughly cooked. It usually takes about 45 minutes to get the job done. Wrap up enough potatoes in tin foil for lunch on the river and eat the rest for dinner.

Place a bunch of asparagus stalks in a Zip Loc bag and hit them with olive oil, cracked pepper, and sea salt.

Thaw out your salmon and keep it in the vacuum pack bag for the next day and pack either Tillamook butter or olive oil for the fish. One of my favorite commercially produced rubs is Tom Douglas's salmon rub and if you can't find it concoct your own rub using my Smokey Sweet Salmon Rub recipe found over on my Prince of Wales Sportfishing website.

Here's everything you need for this shore lunch: 

Rosemary Red Potatoes


Salmon Fillet

Olive Oil or Tillamook Butter

Salmon Rub

Tin Foil

Plastic Forks

Paper Plates 



BBQ Lighter 

Newcastle Brown Ale

After the bbq is lit place the salmon in some tin foil and either drizzle olive oil over it or place a few chunks of Tillamook butter on it. Sprinkle your favorite rub on the fish and then place the potatoes and asparagus on the grill. Seal that baby up and check it in about ten minutes, or so. The salmon should be pulled off when it's medium rare, which is just about the same time the potatoes are warm and the greens are cooked. 

Place your grub on a cheapo paper plate and feel good about making comments like "I wonder what the poor folks are doing" as you scarf down every last scrap with your sophisticated plastic cutlery.

I whipped up this shore lunch for Ray and my next door neighbor Mike the other day and it topped off a perfectly awesome day on the river. Ray got out of his funk and I got to day dream about April's on the Skagit River.  

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle




The Education of a Hunter

There's a scary statistic out there stating that if a youth doesn't experience hunting or fishing by the time they turn 18, there's a slim chance of him or her becoming an outdoor enthusiast in their lifetime.
So,  when my son Matthew turned 18, I knew it was well past time to get his Hunter Ed Certificate and get him on the trail to chasing his first deer.

One of the major obstacles to attending a traditional classroom Hunter Ed course just finding one close enough and fitting it in to a young man's busy schedule. Fortunately, WDFW saw the need for another option and now offers an on-line, home study hunter education program.  Today's kids are much more comfortable in front a computer screen than in a classroom and Matt tore right in to the on-line program.


Once the home study course was completed it was on to the Range Evaluation Session! The in-person skills evaluation is a required final step to receiving the all important Hunter Education Certificate which must be presented to purchase that hunting license and deer tag!

The class we found was at the Mount Vernon Trap Club in Skagit County. 


The instructors give a overview of the class and discuss what will be expected from the students during the firearm handling stage. 


The Range Evaluation consists of a series of common field situations such as crossing a fence, getting in and out of a boat, loading and unloading a variety of firearms and properly stowing firearms in a vehicle. 


After a successful run through the firearms "obstacle course" the students were treated to some live fire action on the trap range! 


Since our first father and son hunt will be an eastern Washington deer hunt, we needed to sight in the rifles and the Everett Sportsman's club Public range is a great, safe and affordable place to shoot.


One of the reasons the ESC's range is safe is that there are rules and the Rangemaster insists that everyone follows them! This is a well equipped range with targets for sale and bench-rests, sandbags and spotting scopes for your use! 

Matt even got a chance to shoot this Barrett semi-auto sniper rifle! A memorable day for sure!


We have a little more range work to do prior to hunting season but my trusty Ruger M77 .270 Win can still print a nice 100 yard group. 

There's still time to get your young hunter into the on-line hunter ed program. Log on and get crackin'!