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Heartland Outdoors cover November 2017

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Gretchen
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Through the Lens

Fight the Flu with Elderberries!

Fri, January 19, 2018

If you haven’t experienced the wickedness that is year’s go around with the flu, consider yourself very lucky.  I won’t reiterate all the ways to help prevent it that the mainstream news media has been throwing at us left and right, I think we all have a pretty good grasp of the importance of handwashing, covering our sneezes and coughs, and staying away from those who are ill.

Tamiflu is frequently prescribed for those with the flu, and some physicians are even prescribing it as a preventive for others in the household who have yet to contract the flu, but there is a cheaper, easier, and non-pharmaceutical way to also treat the flu, winter ick, colds right under noses – ELDERBERRIES!

Elderberries/Elderberry syrup have been proven to work exceptionally well in the treatment of influenza, in controlled double blind scientific studies. Seems that when our grandmas and grandpas insisted that we have a little bit of elderberry wine or syrup each winter were indeed onto something, and it truly does make a good preventative.

Elderberries naturally contain A, B, and C and stimulate the immune system. Researchers found that the complex sugars in elderberries support the immune system in fighting cold and flu. Commercially multiple companies have developed formulas based on these complex sugars that have been clinically shown to help reduce the duration and discomforts of all kinds of winter ick and flu.

Elderberry disarms the enzyme viruses use to penetrate healthy cells in the lining of the nose and throat. Taken before infection, it prevents infection. Taken after infection, it prevents spread of the virus through the respiratory tract.

While commercial preparations are handy, they can be a little pricey, and with just a little time and effort you can easily make your own elderberry syrup that’s just as effective.

I always make a few batches of the syrup each year when harvesting elderberries for jelly, jam, wine etc.  and, either freeze or dry extra elderberries to use throughout the winter. I personally like to stir a tablespoon or so each day into my juice, hot tea, or even on my pancakes as preventive measure in the winter. Once a case of the ick or the flu hits I up it several times a day.

If you don’t happen to have elderberries in the freezer or any dried ones stored, you can buy any number of commercial preparations as well. If you are lucky enough to have elderberries in the freezer or dried – consider making up a batch!

Dried elderberries can also be purchased at various health food stores or online. Just run a simple search for dried elderberries and you’ll be surprised by the number of shops that offer them in bulk.

Here’s the recipe – Don’t forget late this summer, when elderberries start to ripen – be sure to head out and harvest enough to make few batches!

You can take daily for its immune boosting properties, or reserve for the periods of the creeping crud.

Standard dose is ½ tsp to 1 tsp for kids and ½ Tbsp. to 1 Tbsp. for adults. If the flu/crud does strike, take the normal dose every 2-3 hours instead of once a day until symptoms disappear.

elderberry syrup recipe

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Stay Warm With Field and Stream’s True Pursuit Line

Thu, January 18, 2018

With this year’s unusually long lasting and unusually cold weather, many of us have been scrambling to find warm outdoor attire.  Luckily for me, Field and Stream generously provided me with an insulated coat and pants from their women’s True Pursuit line to field test.

Truth be told, Field and Stream provided me with the coat and pants to field test at the beginning of the season, but my early months in the field were just as unseasonably warm as the more recent weeks have been unseasonably cold. Finally, the weather took a dive and I could really put the stylish, functional, and affordable set to the test in the field.

The first thing I noticed was how light the garments were, not bulky and heavy like so many insulated hunting clothes. I hate bulky insulated clothing – I have enough of Michelin Man shape without adding more bulk to my fluffy self in clothing. Vanity aside, heavy bulky insulated outdoor wear just makes everything a bit more difficult and restricts movement.

There is none of that nonsense in the Field and Stream True Pursuit insulated jacket or pants for women. Both pieces are light, not at all bulky, soft, and provide plenty ease in movement.  While one might wonder if an insulated set this light could actually be as warm as advertised – do not fear – Field and Stream knocks it out of the park on warmth with these pieces.

Both items sport Field and Stream’s Wind Defense technology as well as Field and Stream’s Hydro Proof Ultra breathable waterproof fabric.  I purposely forced myself out into the howling winds that were resulting in wind chills in the minus 10-20F range to put the ensemble to the test on its claims of blocking frigid air and gusts that seem to often creep in through other fabrics in these conditions.

I STAYED WARM! The Wind Defense technology does truly work. For most of my test I was in temps that ranged between 0 and 15 degrees with some nasty wind chills, and yet I did not get cold. I was wearing fleece leggings and the Field & Stream Women’s C3 Midweight Mock Neck Base Layer Shirt and a lightweight hoodie as layers under the coat and pants and was truly impressed with this pairings ability to block the cold winds, repel the snow and sleet, and most of all keep me warm in the bitterest cold without feeling like I was carrying around 15 pounds of insulated clothing.

The second area where Field and Stream really shines is comfort and fit. The most technical and functional masterpieces of hunting attire are totally useless to me if they don’t fit well and aren’t comfortable throughout the day.  I was blown away by the comfort of the Field & Stream Women’s Every Hunt Softshell Hunting Pants when I field tested them, and the True Pursuit line offers the same level of all day comfort.

Let’s have a look at what’s offered up in these pieces that should be in every outdoors woman’s winter closet.

Field and Stream True Persuit Women's Insulated Hunting Jacket


Field and Stream True Pursuit Women’s Insulated Hunting Jacket:

• Specifically trimmed for female hunters – don’t be afraid – there is no garish pink or lime green, just some subtle yet stylish dark burgundy trim, and the cut is such to flattering yet comfortable for the female form.
• HydroProof™ Ultra provides breathable waterproof coverage – snow and sleet brushed right off, I stayed dry in some near blizzard like conditions.
• Fully seam-sealed – no annoying little leaks of cold air or moisture
• WindDefense™ windproof technology fully blocks cold air and gusts – Again, this was impressive in the frigid December winds – they simply did not penetrate this fabric.
• Lined brushed tricot body retains heat – Again, comfortable, and warm. I had no problems staying warm throughout the day on all day excursions.
• Taffeta-lined sleeves help with easy on/off – makes layering a breeze. None of that annoying having other layers sleeves wadded up halfway.
• 2 hand pockets and 2 cargo pockets – good deep pockets, with zippers so that you don’t leave a trail or lose items out of them when climbing, hiking, bending etc.
• Adjustable cuffs, hood, and hem – All three can be cinched to individual comfort and to assist with keeping out those darn drafts and cold air leaks.
• Safety harness opening in back – An absolute essential for any winter coat. This enables one to comfortably wear the safety harness under the coat and stay plenty toasty in the stand.


Field and Stream True Pursuit Women’s Insulated Pants

• Specifically trimmed for female hunters – again nothing overtly girlish or glaring. Just enough to take you from the field to grocery store, and still look stylish.
• HydroProof™ Ultra provides breathable waterproof coverage – no wet behinds with this technology!
• Fully seam-sealed – no leaky seams to let in moisture or cold air
• WindDefense™ windproof technology fully blocks cold air and gusts – again can’t stress enough how well this technology works!
• Lined brushed tricot body retains heat – toasty, with just fleece leggings under them as base layer
• Zippered leg openings – long enough to make getting those knee boots on and off a breeze without having to remove the pants.
• 2 zippered hand pockets – I confess; I am huge fan of zippers on pockets and these not only feature zippers they are large enough to easily get your hand in and out of and have plenty of room for whatever you might choose to safely stow.
• Rib-knit waistband – this is another shining example of how well Field and Stream address the fit and comfort for women’s hunting attire. The waist band has plenty of give for adding extra layers (or pounds!) Yet stays snug, doesn’t roll and is wide enough to be very comfortable.

All in all, I must give this set a full five stars.  The line is affordable, well made, lives up to it’s claims. The comfort factor is high, and the fit is super – it’s designed not for the Barbie Doll set, but for real average sized women hunters.

We still have some bitter cold months ahead, so go to your local Dick’s Sporting Goods store, or visit their website and invest in this great set of cold weather battling coat and pants. You won’t be disappointed.

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Sheds are Starting to Drop

Wed, January 17, 2018

Sheds are starting to drop in southern Illinois, and I am still amazed by the number of times I see references made on social media and in the various forums about shed hunting in State Parks. This seems to be a terribly confusing thing for folks hunting sheds in Illinois so I reached out to IDNR and asked that they provide a little guidance and explanation about just how and where you can and can’t hunt sheds in IL.

The response was pretty cut and dried and in truth - exactly as I remembered it to be.

“Based upon past DNR legal opinions and state law (20 ILCS 835/6), shed deer antlers are an “inanimate natural object” and may not be collected from any State Park. Similarly, the Natural Areas Preservation Act (525 ILCS 30/23) prohibits the removal of any object (including shed antlers) from any Dedicated Nature Preserve or buffer areas. The public may however collect shed antlers from all other lands managed by the IDNR, including Fish & Wildlife Areas, Conservation Areas, Recreation Areas, and Boat Access Areas, provided the area is otherwise open to the public.”

In a nutshell, nope you can’t shed hunt or remove sheds from State Parks, Dedicated Nature Preserves, or buffer areas in Illinois. Additionally, if you are going to shed hunt on private land, insure that you have permission to shed hunt on that property or you may find yourself facing a trespassing ticket.

Moving on - let’s talk for a minute about finding deadheads, or skulls with antlers - not only do the shed hunting rules apply, but there’s the added part of having to call in to get a salvage tag for that skull. Technically the head should be left in place until you have permission from a CPO to remove it and have been issued a salvage tag.

This all may seem a little over the top, after all they are just shed antlers but as shed hunting continues to grow in popularity so does the number of people heading to the forests and fields in search of them. There are areas where it gets nearly as contentious as mushroom hunting in the spring. Out of towners and non residents show up to run entire groups through areas on the hunt for “Big Illinois Antlers”.  Would it be likely that shed hunting here would become as regulated as it is in some Western states - I seriously doubt it, but as always it behooves all of us to follow the rules that we have, so that we don’t find ourselves facing any that could be more strict or cumbersome - or worse - an unwanted wildlife violation. 

Just like any other hunt of a natural resource on public land, mind you manners, mind the regs, and play nice. Good luck this shed season !

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