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Jon Wipfli: Cooking from the Bog

Jon Wipfli: Cooking from the Bog

Minneapolis-based chef and outdoorsmen Jon Wipfli spends most of his time cooking food around the city, writing or in the woods looking for critters. His passion for hunting and cooking wild game takes him to some unconventional places. On the latest Filson Life, Jon shares his experience hosting guests to a locally sourced meal on a Wisconsin cranberry bog.

The answer is yes. Of course, I’ll create a four-course October meal on a cranberry theme, with a wild game emphasis, using a smoker and a grill. And yes, I’d be happy to prepare and serve the meal—for 24 guests—next to a Wisconsin cranberry bog.

Partly I say yes because nothing good comes easy, and I like it that way. Partly I say yes bec...

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Season Reflection: The Winter Hunt

Season Reflection: The Winter Hunt

As the first weeks of spring begin to awaken familiar landscapes, the days of crisp fall air and winter hunts are over. On the latest Filson Life, Nashville-based photographer Yve Assad and writer Will Fulford reflect on past seasons in anticipation for the next.

Hunting is a southern tradition, a rite of passage.  Marksmanship and gun safety are taught through the irons sights of a BB gun on empty cans and the occasional house sparrow that lingers a bit too long. Yep, a boy and his BB gun are pretty much king of the world as he sees it.  You progress through the various small game, squirrels and rabbits, until you graduate to big game.  For most in the South, that means whitetail deer.  

At ...

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If They Ain't Wavin'

If They Ain't Wavin'

“There are those who love to get dirty and fix things. They drink coffee at dawn, beer after work. And those who stay clean, just appreciate things. At breakfast they have milk and juice at night. There are those who do both, they drink tea.”

Gary Snyder

There have always been lumberjack poets, dock-worker musicians and truck-driver landscape artists. Hell, I started taking photos and writing when I worked in the shipyard. My friends Brad and Dan grew up playing music together, rambling around in dented cars to bars and basements through the creative seasons of their young lives. In our home-town this meant not working in the shipyard, which meant a question mark where your future career sh...

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Working with the Land: Samantha Bradford

She’s up before the sun every day. She rides an old dirt bike out to the pasture to wrangle horses and guide them into the red wood corrals at headquarters. By moonlight, she catches her horse – using nothing but patience and the bond she’s developed from hundreds of hours in the saddle. Her hands are soft yet tough like leather, a telltale sign of her untiring work ethic. She’s not a cowgirl or rancher like you’d see on TV. She’s calm, quiet, sweet, calculated, strong, and steadfast. She’s seasoned from years on horseback and countless hours studying the rhythms of the natural world in which she lives, works and leans on. She’s fit, pulls more than her weight and is a staple.

Her name’s Sam...

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Ranchlands: Conservation. Stewardship. Cattle.

For Duke Phillips, it’s not about getting the most beef in a year. It’s about conservation, working in harmony with nature to raise healthy land for a strong herd. For generations.

At Ranchlands, his Colorado-based, family-run ranching and land management company, Phillips oversees 300,000 acres of land. Phillips, known as Big Duke, would be a dead ringer for Sam Elliott if Sam Elliott had a better mustache. He doesn’t own the land, but he knows it better than anyone. He manages land for the Colorado State Land Board, Nature Conservancy and other private land owners on a multi-decade basis. It’s his to manage and steward. With help.
To start, there’s Duke Phillips IV – Little Duke to his fri...

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The Life of a Smokejumper: Wait. Jump. Fight. Repeat

When it’s fire season, you don’t buy concert tickets. You don’t make dates. You miss your kid’s birthday.

When you’re at the top of the jump list, you don’t go out of range of the alarm. You stay on the base. Send friends to pick up your family at the airport. You don’t take your boots off. You wait.

“All day long, you're this coiled spring that's waiting for that [alarm] just to sound off.”

That’s Jarret Carle. Six foot five. Red hair. Fantastic beard. A healthy community of crow’s feet gather around his eyes. He wears an uncompromised grin.

Carle is a smokejumper. He jumps out of airplanes and fights fire without water. He doesn’t think that’s brave.

“I think bravery is running into a house to ...

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USFS: Fighting Fire With Fire

USFS: Fighting Fire With Fire

There’s a wall of fire 12 feet away. Ponderosa pines burn to a roar. Like a jet engine ramping up for takeoff. Flames ignite branches and tufts of green needles on their way up the trunks.

Hotshots, smokejumpers and other Forest Service employees stand nearby. They’re not here to put the fire out. They started the fire. With torches. They’re here to make sure it burns.

“This is a forest forest,” says Dan Hoswald, the USFS burn boss guiding the team. “Putting fire back into the ecosystem is huge.”

A critical role in USFS’s stewardship of our national forests is fire management. During the summer fire season, 10,000 wildland firefighters are employed to fight fires – 98 percent of which are conta...

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Region 6: Fly Fishing's Unlikely Benefit to Children in Need

The Fly Fishing Collaborative may be the new model for social change. Based in Portland, Oregon, the organization uses donated guided trips to build sustainable fish-and-produce farms in developing countries. This Filson Life is part of Filson’s celebration of the Forest Service and the people of the Pacific Northwest Region of the USFS, Region 6.

Three years ago, Bucky Buchstaber was trying to find a way to combine his passions. Being an ardent fisherman of the Pacific Northwest’s streams—from the high creeks of the National Forests and wilderness areas to the brackish, wide mouths of rivers dumping into the sea—Buchstaber was looking to overlap his time on the river with his philanthropic g...

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Region 6: Understanding the Land Through Hunting

Last fall, Bruce McGlenn started his hunting school in Central Washington. It’s exactly what the sport is in need of: a modern, holistic approach to harvesting wild meat. This Filson Life is part of Filson’s celebration of the Forest Service and the people of the Pacific Northwest Region of the USFS, Region 6. 

Learning to hunt can be like learning to sail a yacht. For the uninitiated and those who didn’t grow up doing it, the obstacles to entry can seem prohibitive. The options in the past were to hire a guide or teach yourself. Teaching yourself, via binge-watching YouTube how-to videos, will show you the nuts and bolts, but never get you out of your comfort zone.

Hiring a guide can be educa...Read More

Region 6: Planting Beavers, Raising Waters

Beaver ponds store a lot of water. Millions of gallons. And scientists are now realizing that reintroducing the animals to struggling streams is a way to buck a drying trend. This Filson Life is part of Filson’s celebration of the Forest Service and the people of the Pacific Northwest Region of the USFS, Region 6. 

As the Northwest gets less snow, Kent Woodruff says it needs more beavers.

Less snow means less rainfall. Less rainfall means less water for farms and streams – which leads to a decrease in spawning ground and shelter for salmon.

Beavers dam streams and streams flood their floodplains, which produces more trees for more dams and provides millions of gallons of water for everything in...Read More
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