Footprints in the forest

It was Sunday afternoon and we were deer hunting near the headwaters of the Warm Springs river.(Mt. Hood national forest).

We had been exploring logging roads in the Jeep for a while and decided to go to the water as it was getting late in the day. Maybe find some deer going to water. We walked into an area we had hunted before, but there was very little sign of deer activity.

We found a lot of elk tracks and signs, but no deer signs, at least no fresh ones. We were on the way back to the Jeep when a track caught Allen’s eye.

It seemed so out of place that he took a picture to show me, get a second opinion I guess.

When I saw the picture later that night I was intrigued. I made a plan to check it out the next day.

After hunting the morning near camp, we headed back to checkout the track more closely. This is what we found.

There were 5 good tracks in very poor soil and moss. We could make out toes without claws in the first track. I put my wallet next to it for size reference. The stride was 3 1/2 to 4 feet and moving through the trees, so not running. Anyway, here they are. See what you think.

Pain Killer from the back yard

Prickly Lettuce, Milk Weed, Milk Thistle, Lactica Seriola there are many names for this common plant and most of us are all too familiar with it. We pull it up, mow it down and spray it with poison and still it comes back year after year, but do we really know it?


Wild lettuce comes in many forms with Prickly Lettuce being one of the most common in my area. I waged war on it year after year and it proved to be a real headache, little did I know it was also the cure for that headache and many other aches and pains.

Using wild lettuce for a pain killer couldn’t be easier and it works astonishingly well.

I use it as a tincture mostly, because it has a great shelf life and is super easy to make.
Sure there are other ways to use it and even to make it more powerful, but I will start with the easiest way first.


  1. Collect the leaves from the plant and wash them.
  2. Lightly chop then into small pieces and allow air dry.
  3. Place then in a canning jar filling 1/3 to 1/2 way to the top.
  4. Fill the jar with 100 proof vodka leaving a small amount of air at the top.
  5. Seal the jar and place in a cool place to steep for approx 4 weeks. Shake every few days. (Don’t forget to date the jar so you know when it’s done)
  6. Strain the resulting Tincture and bottle for later use.

Dosage: up to 1ml for adults. as needed for pain.

This is great for treating headache, toothache, muscle aches arthritis pain, etc…

So now you know, Leave a small patch of weeds in the garden for medicinal purposes.


Foraging Wild Mushrooms


As promised I am writing about my recent trip foraging for mushrooms. In a previous article I mention that I had found a good mushroom spot along the salmon river in Oregon. I returned to this spot after the hunting season to see if there were any mushrooms left.

The weather had turned cold at the end of the Archery season and we even had a bit of snow. As is usually the case the snow didn’t last long and the temps warmed up, so I ventured back to my hunting spot to see what mushrooms had survived.

On the drive in I saw many mushrooms along the roadside, most of which are inedible but nonetheless a good indicator that the bloom was still on.

I did manage to spot a small patch of White Chanterelles along the road emerging under a rhododendron bush. This was a great find and we were off to a good start. I didn’t leave my house until almost noon, so I knew time was limited. So not as much hiking as I would have liked.


The meadow I was going to is surrounded by old growth forest and is really more of a rhododendron bog, very difficult to hike through. I finally got there about 3:30pm after checking a couple places on the way in. I was pleased to see many Matsutake mushrooms growing on the roadside as I approached my destination, and I quickly had a gallon or so of these. As always I examined them much more closely once I got home and found that about half of what I had, looked like Death Caps a Matsutake look alike and a very common mistake. Know your mushrooms!!  These a very similar and VERY easy to get mixed up when they are covered in dirt and grow in the same areas.

Anyway, once at the meadow I encountered the abundance of mushrooms I had remembered from hunting season. There were mushrooms everywhere, so I grabbed my pack and my rifle (hiking alone in this area is not wise even with a gun) and off I went.

At first all I saw was a beautiful but inedible collection of mushrooms. Mushrooms of every color, reds, oranges, brown, purple, pink, white and even black. once I got down the hill and closer to the river though I started seeing what I had come for, Golden Chanterelles. A sea of them.

I quickly filled a one gallon Ziploc bag, and then another. With the weather freezing at night I knew there was no need for restraint as they all would be dead within days, so I continued on. Within about 40 yards I had filled the four gallon sized bags I had with me and run out of places to put them, so I had to return to the truck. Next time I will bring baskets and not bags, and have enough room for more then four gallons.


Lions Mane

I did collect a bears head (Lions Mane), the Matsutakes mentioned earlier and a gallon of White Chanertelles, so about 7 gallons in all.

I urge you to know your mushrooms before eating them, many have poisonous lookalikes, and can make you very sick or worse. I always examine each one when I get home and start cleaning them, and if you are not sure please don’t risk it. I do not recommend wasting natures precious bounty, but poisoning yourself is not an option.

There are a great many edible and medicinal plants, herbs and mushrooms in the Pacific Northwest and I encourage each of you to learn and enjoy them.

Morning Scout

Well it’s that time of year again, and I am roaming the mountains in search of Deer and Elk to get me through the winter. I also am collecting wild mushrooms.

This year while exploring a new area for Elk hunting I found a great mushroom area. I was exploring in the area near Gov’t Camp, Oregon, looking for likely places for elk to gather during the rut, when I found a large meadow along the Salmon River.


Frying Pan lake

I get up early to go check it out, hoping to find some Elk still moving around. when I got to the area it was just getting light, but already raining pretty good.

Lots of rabbits running around, but no Elk. I put on my rain gear to go hike the meadow and check for tracks and signs of what might be using the area.

While walking through the woods between where I had left my truck and the meadow, I noticed a great variety of mushrooms. There were Amanita muscaria in great abundance, and Chicken of the woods, Scaly vase Chanterelle, lions mane, and Golden Chanetrelle.


Of these, only the Chicken of the woods, Lions mane, and Golden Chanterelles are safe to eat, but there were plenty of them around so I gathered a few pounds and continued on my way.

As I thought, there was nothing walking around the meadow but me, I did find some interesting tracks though..


The rain was getting worse and I was getting hungry so I headed back to the truck to dry off and get a snack.

I will focus more on foraging for wild mushrooms in another post, but for now I have chores to do.

Until next time….



Columbia River Cats

Columbia River

My wife Pam and I got home from our trip to Yakima around 9:00 pm and by the time we had unloaded everything and headed for bed it was after 11:00 pm. We had planned to go fishing in the morning at Rufus which is an hour and a half from home, so we would have to get up early. So about 5 hrs of sleep later we are standing around the coffee pot like a couple zombies waiting to come back to life.

We got the boat ready and fueled the truck and boat on the way out of town. Pam slept while I drove and slept until the coffee kicked in. Thank goodness for Auto VonPilot, he has gotten me home more than I want to admit.

Well we intended to fish for American Shad because the numbers looked good coming over Bonneville Dam, but we didn’t find any shad, or at least any schools of shad where we were fishing.

Drifting for Walleye with worm rigs

We tried to drift for walleyes, but the water was low and had been very high for weeks, so I think the change may have put the fish down. There were many boats out fishing for walleyes, and I didn’t see anyone with a fish on. We did get a couple of Smallmouth Bass while drifting, but nothing of any size, so they went right back into the river.

We went to my usual spot to eat lunch and put out baits for catfish, but all we got was little fish stealing our bait. all in all it was looking pretty bleak for catching a fish dinner.

Secret spot for eating lunch

We tried to anchor up and fish for salmon, but I anchored us in too fast of water for the amount of weight we had available in the boat, and when I tried to move us to a calmer spot I couldn’t get the anchor loose from the rocks and ended up loosing it.

The temperature was rising and we were about to call it a day, but I had one more trick I wanted to try for cats so we returned to the lunch spot.

I wanted to drift through the run with the baits on or near the bottom. This is not an easy thing to do as the weight has to be very near the bottom, but cannot drag or it will snag in the rocks.

So we lowered our baits to the bottom and then lifted them an inch or two and began a controlled drift (using the trolling motor to compensate for wind and current).

First drift, nothing. Second drift through I put us more into the current, and about half way though I hooked a small sturgeon. It surface with a jump and came off the hook, but it was fun for a minute.

After that we repeated the drift and picked up a couple catfish around 4 to 10 lbs, and a couple more small sturgeon before the run went cold. (too much activity)

We tried a couple other spots and even another drift for walleyes, but we didn’t catch any more fish so we got the boat out of the river and headed home.

Special thanks to my beautiful wife for her camera work.

Pam (Camera Operator)