Snapshot: Ft. Niagara State Historic Site

Ft. Niagara was established nearly 300 years ago at the mouth of the Niagara River. France, Great Britain (twice) and the United States have claimed ownership. The 22-acre site is soaked in history. It’s worth a visit.

Schedule an extra day because the fishing on the Niagara River is fantastic. Contact Capt. Frank Campbell. Capt. Frank will put you on fish.

From USA Today

Kentucky’s New Sporting License Year Arrives with Price Hike

Kentucky’s 2018-19 sport license year begins March 1. Prices have gone up.

There has been considerable grumbling about this across the outdoor fabric of the Commonwealth. The price hike is across the board and is fairly hefty. Example: beginning today the resident combination hunt/fish license will be $42. A year ago it was $30.

Non-residents won’t generally see a boost in fees. Non-resident rates were raised in 2014. The most previous hike in resident license fees was 2007.

Details and a full rundown of the new pricing is at You can also buy your license at this site.

If you’d like to voice an opinion about the fees contact the Department of Fish and Wildlife headquarters at 1-800-858-1549. If you’d like to voice an option with someone who actually made the decision about the price hike contact your district commissioner. You’ll find their contact information at

Notes on Genesis (stove not scripture)

One of the perks of my job is testing new gear. A Genesis Base Camp Cooking System recently arrived. I immediately set it up on the tailgate of my F-150 for a brief test run.IMG_2413

The Genesis stove is a two-burner system. High tech, high heat output and simple to use. Boiling water on the tailgate is hardly a thorough field test. That will come later. I simply heated water and made a cup of tea to see how the stove worked, which was very well. The quality of construction is evident. The base camp system includes a 10-inch frying pan and 5-liter pot and wind shield, all of which nest together in a handy, easy-to-handle soft carrying case. The Genesis stove can be purchased without the pots. A HalfGen (one burner) model is also available.

More later. But until then check it out at Jetboil is part of the Johnson Outdoors family of products.

And my thanks to Sam Petri at for helping with this project.


Notes on Hidden Treasures

While visiting with my brother during the holidays we spend a couple of hours Christmas afternoon digging through a cedar chest that had been in our parent’s house. It has been years since either of us had delved into the battered old chest.

It contained the usual assortment and family knickknacks and junk meaningless to anyone with a different last name: decades old receipts; yellowed and faded snapshots; a folded  packet of W-2 forms chronicling  our father’s yearly income for nearly two decades beginning in 1949. A note written in our mother’s round, flowing script. A baton my brother had twirled in school.  An antique, black-handled .38 revolver and a German-made .22 single action – both damaged and probably beyond the powers of the most skilled gunsmith. IMG_2330.jpg

My eye caught a flash of greenish bronze. “What’s that,” I asked. My brother removed a box and unwrapped a powder horn; about six inches long, the butt end larger than a golf ball but not quite baseball size. The stopper was missing and there was no strap but a roughly made catch was evidence that one had once been attached.  It was thin as bone china.

Neither of us could remember our father , a hunter, ever owning, shooting, or having any interest in a black powder firearm. We determined the horn must have belonged to our grandfather, William Zachary, our mother’s father, and a man of whom I have no memory. He died before my birth. My brother, who is nine years my senior, has vague memories of him.

I turned the old piece over in my hands. It was intact save for the missing stopper. A tiny pinhole marked the only flaw in the horn. It smelled faintly of powder. I handed it to my brother who took a whiff and shook his head. I then decided the unmistakable scent of black powder must have been generated from memory. If we were correct about the ownership it hadn’t seen action in nearly seven decades.

“You shoot a black powder gun, don’t you?” my brother asked.

“I do,” I said, still holding the old horn, which felt both fragile and indestructible.

“Maybe we could shoot your black powder gun and use this sometime,” he said.

Maybe. But for now it went back in the chest. Some things shouldn’t be disturbed.