Keep Food Colder Longer

In the summer make up your own freeze jugs for your
coolers. I use plastic juice containers of one quart and
one half gallon. Make up ice tea, powdered fruit drinks,
and drinking water and fill jugs 2/3 full. Put them in the
freezer and freeze. Pack your cooler with these instead of
commercial blocks of ice to save space and money. In addition,
beer in the can may be frozen and used in lieu of
ice. Don’t try it with near beer or soft drinks.
In the middle of the summer or on long trips, pack your
coolers to be opened according to when you plan to use
them. Stuff will stay frozen longer if you don’t open them
until you’re ready. I tightly strap the lid down with a boat
strap and then go around the lid with duct tape. It can
add 3-4 days to how long you can keep stuff frozen.

Great Camp Tips ***

If taking pre-packaged food to camp,
be sure you pack any extra ingredients
called for on the package, i.e. oil and
eggs for cake mixes.
When possible, pack dry goods in zip-lock bags to save
space. Keep a magic marker in your camp box to label
left overs.
A roll of heavy duty aluminum foil in the grub box always
seems to get used.
Short cuts in planning and preparations invariably lead to
short tempers amongst the campers.

Keeping Bears Out of Camp

An old outfitter I met while trapping
grizzlies for the Park Service in the l970’s
used a unique method to
discourage bears from hanging around
his camps. He’d scrounge nearly used
aerosol cans of hair spray from his wife
and daughters and take them to camp.
If a bear started hanging around camp
he’d smear the hair spray cans with a little bacon grease and
set them a couple of hundred yards outside of camp on the
ground. As he put it, “about the time the old bear crunched
down on a can of hair spray, things started to happen purty
fast!” He said his wilderness “mine field” of bacon scented
aerosol cans quickly provided bears an advanced degree in
“Avoidance!” A word of caution though, bears are like mothers
in-laws; don’t make them mad what ever you do!

Camp Safety Tips

Always pack as good a first aid kit as weight
and space will allow! Whether your car camping,
horse packing or on a raft trip make sure the first aid
kit is readily accessible.
Be concerned with safety in all aspects of outdoor recreation.
I always try to have contingency plans for any trip should
someone get sick, injured, or severe weather disrupts original

Potatoes – AKA – ‘Taters, Spuds

Though someone, somewhere other than in Idaho, coined
the phrase, “meat and potatoes”, growing up in SE Idaho
pretty much guaranteed one saw plenty of “taters” at meal
time. Being a native Idahoan who happened to be born on
the same day Idaho gained statehood, I’m duty bound to include
a special section on spuds.(Actually I entered the scene
sixty years after statehood).
Besides having eaten enough spuds in my life to say I’ve
done my share to make “Idaho Famous”, as a kid growing up
I worked on several large potato farms. After graduating from
college (as I related earlier in this book), I spent some time
driving truck,
long haul for my Uncle Harold. While doing so,
I continued to do my part to make “Idaho Famous” by hauling
20 ton loads of spuds to areas not known for their tuber
In camp or in the kitchen, spuds are considered a staple
world wide. The list of things spuds don’t go well with is so
short I’m not going to bother. Conversely the list they do go
with is so long it would be prohibitive to list here. Besides
having countless uses as a side dish, or as an ingredient in
various recipes, spuds make great menu extenders. On those
occasions when company comes unexpectedly, or your
brother-in-law, without your knowledge, invites all of his inlaws
to your deer camp, an extra sack of taters cooked any
way you want will at least get you through meal time.
My dad, who spent more time than he cares to remember
on KP duty in the army, could easily write a book just on
peeling potatoes. However, the folks who count calories,
grams of fat, and list all the nutrients in our chow tell us
we’re short changing ourselves nutritionally by peeling our
taters. As camp cooks, anything which saves time fixing a
meal means a little more time to spend fishing before heading
back to camp to cook! Fixed fancy or simple, spuds should be a staple in your
grub box. I prefer fresh potatoes over all the other ways one
finds them packaged in stores. However you fix them, always
plan for seconds all the way around.

Always Pack Your Thermos!

If at all possible, pack a couple of stainless
steel thermos bottles. Especially in hunting
camp, the cook will be less surly if someone makes a pot
of coffee the evening before and fills a thermos to set
with a cup next to his bunk. On the trail or on a raft trip,
a thermos of hot chocolate or soup made at breakfast can
be the first line of defense against hypothermia should
someone get tossed out of a raft, or a sudden thunderstorm
catches someone without their rain gear on.

Always Pack Some Extra…

Always pack the EXTRAS. The extra
mantles for the lanterns, the extra
batteries for the flashlight, extra whiskey
or beverage of choice for the cook, extra TP
in case someone gets into some bad water, extra matches
in case some one leaves them out in the rain, and any
other little extras you need in camp.

How to Leave a Clean Camp

When you pull camp make an extra trip
around the camp site after you’re all packed. Pick up any
stray snoose cans or gum wrappers. It’s also insurance
against leaving a fishing rod leaning up against a tree.
When packing garbage crush all your cans and plastic
bottles. If possible “toast” your cans for a few minutes in
the camp fire to burn off food residues.


In hunting camp, do as much of your
prep work for breakfast as you can
the night before. It saves time and
gets the guys out on the hill a little
Whether car camping, horse packing or on a raft trip, organize
your camp boxes and cooler. That way, in the grey light
of dawn, while every one is straining at the bit to get going,
you’re not going through all five coolers to find the sausage.
Some dishes, such as soups, stews, chili with beans, and
casseroles, can be made at home and frozen. These are
extra nice in hunting camp when the first guy back to camp
can start it heating, so when every one else gets in supper is
done with little muss or fuss.


Dress out as many coots as you can find folks (fools)
who will accept an invitation for a coot dinner. i.e.
allow one coot per fool or one fool per coot! Birds
should be dressed out within one month of being shot.
Soak birds for 2 – 3 days in salt water. (Use 2 – 3 lbs. salt
per gallon of water)
Rinse birds and pat dry. Place each bird on a cedar
shingle which you’ve seasoned to taste.
Place coots and shingles in a preheated oven,
450 – 500 degrees for eight hours. (Smoke usually clears
out in 3 – 4 hrs.)
Allow to cool about thirty minutes. Scrape the coots off
of the shingles into a steel drum for transport to a
“Hazardous Materials Disposal Center.”

Serve shingles garnished with crab apples!

HOW to COOK a COOT – Part I

If you’re not a duck hunter or married to a duck hunter,
just skip this recipe. Personally, I’ve never tried to cook a
coot, primarily because I’ve never even shot at an “Ivory
Billed Mallard”. Remember, this is the guy who will eat
every thing except grits and green lima beans.
In this modern age, it seems to me, too many people
blame events in their childhood for the mistakes or failures
they make as adults. Some rightly so, but I can’t help but
feel a lot of it is over done!
So where is all this leading, you ask yourself? Yup! you
guessed it, my childhood. Since my dad first took me duck
hunting at age three, the list of things I’ve done in life
longer than I’ve duck hunted is fairly short.
Memories of those first duck hunts are still vivid. Back in
that distant past, I learned that the preferred duck of those
who wait at home while others duck hunt, to be mallards.
Those of the green headed variety!
My dad, being a pretty fair hand with a shotgun, seldom
got skunked in those days. He’d been there before,
but it was a new experience for me, just four years old.
About the only thing flying in the marsh that day were
coots, which Dad had several different adjectives to describe.
I didn’t understand why dad didn’t shoot them as
they patterned by. At that time I obviously thought–ducks
are ducks! Wrong!
How long I pestered Dad to shoot them, I can’t remember.
What I do remember is him saying, “Mother didn’t
like any kind of ducks except those with green heads”
and it wouldn’t be very smart to take something home
she didn’t like. Though I was just four years old, that part I
I’m sure Dad first passed this recipe on that day. Over
the years, Dad repeated this recipe so many times I’ve
memorized it without ever having cooked it.

Freshness Tips – Fish & Poultry

For a fresh-caught flavor, thaw fish in milk.
Lemons don’t take much room and keep fairly well so throw
a few of them in your chuck box. Bottled lemon juice will
work as well. Besides using them for cooking, squeeze the
juice of a lemon over meat or chicken prior to cooking to
eliminate that “ice box” taste.


Fill a large frying pan at least 1½ inches deep with water,
broth, dry white wine, or a combination. Add 2 teaspoons
mixed pickling spice, sprigs of mint, if available, or your
favorite spices. Onion, carrot, or celery stalk pieces are
other possible seasonings. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Slip cleaned and scaled fish into liquid and simmer gently,
uncovered, until fish flakes when poked with a fork. Drain
and serve

Why You Should or Could Pre-Cook Meats

In the summer, at least part of your main
dish meats may be pre-cooked to extend their
life in a camp cooler, i.e. chicken breasts, ham steaks, sausage
links can be pre-cooked and then frozen.

Camp Salad Options

On long trips when salad fixin’s
won’t keep long enough, plan a
five or seven bean salad. A pasta
salad also will add some variety.


6 – 8 boneless/skinned chicken breasts
1 ½ cups white cooking wine or chicken stock
½ cup oil-pack dried tomatoes, diced up
½ cup pine nuts
4 oz. dried spinach fettucine
4 oz. dried fettucinee
½ cup pesto
Salt/pepper/Italian Seasoning
Season chicken breasts and arrange in 12” Dutch. Pour in
the cooking liquid. Set the Dutch on a firepan with 10 – 14
briquets underneath and let simmer for 30 – 40 minutes.
Prepare fettucine according to package directions. Drain
and dress with pesto then spoon over the chicken breasts
in the Dutch.
Sprinkle the top with dried tomatoes and pine nuts and let
simmer over the charcoal another 15 minutes.
Serves 6
Often times for river trips I’ll grill the breasts at home and
freeze them which alleviates the worry of them spoiling.
Words of

Camping with Bears

If camping in an area where bears
have been habituated to humans, a
clean camp is an absolute must. This
means dishes done after every meal,
garbage kept to a minimum and stored out of reach and out
of camp, and any food containers or coolers kept securely
closed or hung in trees out of camp.
Being nocturnal for the most part, bears are more likely to
come prowling once you hit the bed ground. Leave a couple
of pots and pans or some cleaned out cans on the ground
outside of camp. If a bear comes calling he’ll typically rattle
these around, giving you some warning he’s in the area.
Don’t try to fight a bear over food, or anything else for that
matter. Even a little bear is tougher than you! The key to
“bear less” camps is to make sure if a bear does show up,
he is in no way rewarded.


This recipe will also work on mothers-in-law, if you can get
them to shut up long enough to eat it.
1 mud duck, partially cleaned. Preferably taken
from a sewer lagoon.
1 can beer
1 cup castor oil
2 cups styrofoam packing material
1 small sagebrush, finely chopped
8 oz. spinach (for green slimy texture)
Broccoli – optional if George Bush is your brother-in-law,
or any other disgusting ingredient you can think of
Salt and pepper to taste.

Throw the mud duck in a roaster that was last cleaned out
by your hound dog. Mix all of the ingredients, except caster
oil and beer. Stuff the duck with this mixture. Give the duck
a good dose of castor oil and then pour beer over all. (Beer
is very important since brothers-in-law go into a frenzy when
they smell it.) Cook in oven on low heat for 1 hour. Garnish
and serve piping hot.
If this does not stop your brother-in-law from coming to your
house and drinking up all of your beer or asking for seconds
or thirds, there is only one sure ingredient that you can add
next time. It is illegal and you may have to do some time for
it, but it probably would be worth it. Add ARSENIC! LOTS OF
Wyoming Game Warden’s Association

Doing Dishes in a Dry Camp

In a dry camp, you can use the last of
your coffee to do your dishes. It’s already
heated and it will cut dried egg yolk off a tin

Disinfecting Bleach Rinse

Carry a small bottle of chlorine bleach. After you rinse your
dishes, rinse them in a second cool rinse to which you’ve
added one cap full of bleach for two gallons of water.
Before you toss the dish water after doing the dishes,
strain the dish water and put the solid waste in your garbage
to be packed out.
When you toss the dish water, try to get more than two
steps from the tent and don’t throw it where someone is
going to step in it.

To Rinse or Not to Rinse Chili’s & Pack Some Olives

Do not rinse canned chilies since much of the taste will go
down the drain with the water. If they are packed in vinegar,
they may be rinsed.
A can or two of black olives in the chuck box can be used to
add color and a little flavor to any number of dishes.


A recipe guaranteed not to make friends and influence
enemies, especially if they happen to be a game warden.
1 local rancher
1 domestic goat
1 subject (?)
1 nearsighted informant
1 excited game warden
1 search warrant
1 wasted day
1 egg
Start with the local rancher giving a domestic goat to a
subject. Have the subject skin the goat in his yard. Stir in
a nearsighted informant who sees the subject skinning
the goat.
Have the informant find the game warden and advise him
of subject skinning a deer. Let the excited game warden
stew for 4 hours waiting for search warrant.
Once game warden has received a search warrant and
is thoroughly stewed, let him serve it on subject and find
Mix all together and you have a wasted day. Put egg on
game warden’s face.
Thought for the day. “A game warden can always be
relied upon to waste a day trying to get your goat.”
Wyoming Game Warden’s Association

Plan on Pork & Poultry First

On pack trips or a raft trip plan your
pork and poultry meals for the first
few days, as they don’t keep as well.
Personally, I prefer to start dinner with pork or poultry still
partially frozen rather than have either of them sitting in a
cooler totally thawed out for a day or two.