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Bureaucrats and Other Pesky Critters

African Bull Elephant – On Alert!

Stand Up and Be Counted!


January 21, 2012

For a couple of years or so I have been investigating the legal issues that relate to the rights of an individual to grow and sell meat, poultry, and other homegrown farm products directly to consumers. What would be the problem, you might ask? You can grow or raise, and sell, what you want to sell, right? We live in a free country, with free and open markets, do we not?

Well, not so fast. Being the rather cautious person that I am, I began some time ago to ask questions of people working in a long list of local, state, and federal government agencies that hold jurisdiction over the land, and of us. It has been a painful, core shaking inquiry that is not for the faint of heart. I have not enjoyed the experience.

I can discuss the actual laws and regulations pertaining to selling food later. What I can say now is that, with rare exception, I have confronted a nearly impenetrable wall of mind numbing and intimidating legalize, wrapped in doublespeak, and spouted gleefully by a largely incompetent army of no sayers and useful idiots. I hate to say it that way folks, but I have to call it like I see it.

Apparently, the government at all levels is an equal opportunity employer. I have been treated rudely and dismissively by condescending staff from the city level right up to the big ol’ federal government.

Typically, I’ve been told to call a certain department or agency. I’ve been told by that department to call another because they did not regulate this or that. I have called the referred department only to be instructed to call the department that just referred them. I’ve been put on hold so many times and for so long I don’t know if I can ever listen to bad music again. I’ve been disconnected while on hold, hung up on while talking with someone, given so many bad phone numbers, and forwarded to so many unrelated or defunct departments that I no longer know which agency to question.

More often than not,  I’ve been given information that is incomplete, misleading, or completely incorrect. In many instances I have discovered information at a later date that I felt was deliberately withheld at the time. I have had to constantly reassess the nature and purpose of my original question, and to doggedly return to the trail, like a bloodhound casting for scent. I can assure you that the government’s left hand does not know what it’s right hand is up to. They don’t even know where the other hand is, except to be sure that it just picked your pocket. They didn’t even say thanks.

I was in a good mood when I started my inquiries. I was positive and full of hope about the possibilities of new ventures, new businesses, new relationships. That’s gone now, and I feel like the cat that has caught a mouthful of tail feathers and no bird. I am still hungry, unsatisfied and empty, left with a bad taste in my mouth that I find hard to spit out.

I can barely talk to someone now without shaking my fist at them in my mind’s eye. I want to scream at them and ask if they somehow managed to forget that hey, by the way, you work for me don’t you know…for us?

I was mocked by a county “authority” a few weeks back. During our conversation he laughed and said something like “You just didn’t know you were biting into an elephant did you? Ha, Ha, Ha!”. (I think there was an unspoken “did ya boy” in there somewhere).

No, I guess you did not know that you had bitten into an elephant. I am wounded. You have drawn first blood. Like Howard Beale’s famous speech in the movie “Network”, I am mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore. The pen is mightier than the sword, or so I’ve heard. I shall add my voice to the cry of raw milk and cheese producers, direct to consumer marketeers, small organic growers, home kitchen artisans,  and the growing ragtag army of others’ similarly wronged.

This is not right. This will not stand. I hope more will join us. We shall see what part of the elephant you are, and what kind of elephant am I.


The Sleeping Giant Awakens

After all, I just wanted to sustainably grow and honestly market some healthy and nutritious food to other people of like mind. I wanted to feed my family from my private property and maybe generate some small income to help with a myriad of escalating expenses. I have been stopped at every turn, without recompense, nor quarter.

To deny a person’s right to sell the food one produces defies all common sense. So, I say, thank you for laughing, Mr. Bureaucrat – and calling me to action. It may not be wise to step between a wounded elephant and it’s children. The laws must be changed.

We will have food freedom.


*Has this happened to you?

I am currently collecting stories from farmers, food growers, and property owners about their experiences of a similar kind. Unfortunately, the horror stories have become more fiendish and pervasive, and all too common.

Care to share?


“No tyranny is so irksome as petty tyranny: the officious demands of policeman, government clerks, and electromechanical gadgets” – Edward Abbey.

“After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which he government is the shepherd”. – From “Democracy in America” by Alex De Tocqueville

The eagle, soaring over a farmer’s yard, swept and pounced on a cat, thinking it a rabbit. “In the air the cat seized her by the neck with her teeth and round her body with her fore and hind claws. The eagle finding herself scratched and pressed, bids the cat let go and fall down. No, says the cat. I won’t let go and fall. You shall stoop and set me down”.John Adams

“To live outside the law, you must be honest”. – Bob Dylan

“Anarchism is not a romantic fable but the hard-headed realization, based on five thousand years of experience, that we cannot entrust the management of our lives to kings, priests, politicians, generals, and county commissioners”. – Edward Abbey


You might also like: Permissions To Come, The Gelded Rooster, Farming and Food Tyranny in the Land of No, or Tarantulas.

Teach Your Children Well

Food Freedom – and Self-Sufficiency Too!

Michael Patrick McCarty

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“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.” – From “1984″ by George Orwell.



Up close and Personal!


“You take my life when you take the means whereby I live”.                                                                             ——–William Shakespeare

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”.  – Ephesians 6:12

“Logic is an enemy, and truth is a menace”. Rod Serling, The Twilight Zone TV Show; Closing monologue from “The Obsolete Man”.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”. – Martin Luther King

“Any state, any entity, any ideology that fails to recognize the worth, the dignity, the rights of man, that state is obsolete” – Rod Serling

“In the United States big government and untold bureaucracies have been created and organized to manage and control the energies of the private sector. Now, more than ever, this paradigm must change. Business, and trade, no matter how small, must  be returned to the control of its citizens. Business can and will be organized to minimize and control most any kind of bureaucracy. Was not that the intent of the Founding Fathers? It can begin again, in your backyard, and mine…”. – Michael Patrick McCarty

Featured post

“Through A Hunter’s Eyes” Goes Live



Greetings From The High Rocky Mountains,

My name is Michael Patrick McCarty, and I wish to welcome you to our online sporting journal, and to our little window of the world. It holds a dazzling view that can change with the seasons and beckons us to roam as far as the eye can see.

Mine is an Irish name to be sure, and my family lineage also includes a healthy dose of old country Polish and American Indian ancestry.

Plainly said, my family history sports a long list of colorful characters; free thinkers and independent cusses who lived and made their livings’ close to the earth. Most of them were hunters and fishermen too.

I really can’t remember when I was not a hunter, because before I was one I wanted to be one. It’s in my blood and within my nature, and I can say without apology that I was surely born that way. It’s a good thing to know, as it is a simple fact that it is important to embrace the foundations of who you are and where you come from.

Most of all it can be said that I see everything through a hunter’s eyes.

It is not something that I can change, and I wouldn’t if I could . The fish and game animals that we pursue are great and wondrous gifts from the creator of all things, and should never be taken for granted. It is a privilege and an honor to follow their trail. To know that puts a certain spin on things.

These gifts I accept, and in so doing I owe a debt of gratitude which I plan to pay. Within this acceptance lies an opportunity to learn, to write and to teach, to give back, and wonder…and to see each other as part of something much bigger than ourselves.

I am hunter, and in that I am always exactly where I need to be, …be it near, or far, from home.

Thankfully, the place of the moment is often filled with wild fowl suspended in cloudless blue skies, or with broad-tailed fish below, hovering ghost-like amidst the rushing waters.

No doubt you can see them too. You’ve made it this far.


Michael Patrick McCarty



“Rich, ‘the Old Man said dreamily, ‘is not baying after what you can’t have. Rich is having the time to do what you want to do. Rich is a little whiskey to drink and some food to eat and a roof over your head and a fish pole and a boat and a gun and a dollar for a box of shells. Rich is not owing any money to anybody, and not spending what you haven’t got.”

Robert RuarkThe Old Man’s Boy Grows Older

Featured post

A Rocky Mountain Stocking Stuffer

Bringing in the Game. Photo by Michael Patrick McCarty

December 21, 2013

Just in Time For Christmas Dinner.

Oh Joy To The World!


Food Freedom – and Wild Meat Too!

Michael Patrick McCarty

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“The real work of men was hunting meat. The invention of agriculture was a giant step in the wrong direction, leading to serfdom, cities, and empire. From a race of hunters, artists, warriors, and tamers of horses, we degraded ourselves to what we are now: clerks, functionaries, laborers, entertainers, processors of information”. – Edward Abbey

Featured post

Searching For Obamacare

Hiding Where The Sun Don’t Shine


October 23, 2013

Posted by Michael Patrick McCarty

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*Photograph Courtesy of David Massender. See Dave’s YouTube Channel Here.

Red Rock Sentinel

Bighorn Sheep Above The Fryingpan River, Basalt, Colorado. Photo courtesy of David Massender.

Can one ever tire of watching Bighorn Sheep?

Watch the full video below.




Posted by Michael Patrick McCarty

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Elk In Time

Heading Home

Returning home from a short week of elk hunting with a long drive ahead, I had an opportunity to reflect on what had obviously been a very successful endeavor. Our small group of four hunters had managed to tag out under some challenging conditions, chief among them the obvious fact that the migrating herds we sought had simply not arrived in our hunting area. We were incredibly lucky to find and set up on some small groups of resident elk, and managed to take advantage of what would have probably been our only opportunity while other hunters searched in vain all around us.

It would be fair to say that it was our hunting skills that made the difference, and it would not be exaggeration or boast. My friend Pat and I have shared more elk camps that either of us could ever count. We paid our dues in those 35 years or so, and we have learned a thing or two along the way. Mostly we learned that elk hunting is a grand adventure which takes extreme dedication and hard work, with odds of success sometimes quite low or nearly impossible. That of course is why they call it hunting, and not shooting.

His two sons Mackenzie and Conner are young men know, and it is good to see them grown up and strong and eager to find their place in the world. They love their elk and their elk hunting, and they have managed to soak up a lot of elk hunting wisdom already. In fact, they have already taken more elk and mule deer than the average hunter. They do it all with the anticipation and joy that only young men can bring afield, and it is fine to be near them and bathe in the glory of their bright eyes and spontaneous laughter. There is something about elk and elk hunting that can bring out the best in us all.

Still, I wonder why some hunter’s are nearly always successful, while others are mostly not. Are hunters born, or molded by curiosity and circumstance. Is is skill and experience that makes the difference? Is is attitude and determination, perhaps? Or is it something else, maybe some undefinable quality hiding just beneath the skin. Maybe, just maybe, it is something much more mysterious and magical.

There was a time when the bringing home of meat meant everything. It was literally and obviously the defining line between life and death. It determined how many of members of your tribe or community would survive through the empty winter, and whether your own family and children would go to bed with a belly full of life-sustaining protein, or nothing at all. An empty stomach can make for a long and anxious night, and has a way of permanently arranging  a person’s priorities.

Hence the pursuit of game was most often a full-time activity. It took great effort and unwavering attention to the little details that could make a difference between success and failure. It was an endeavor which could require great physical effort, and could produce great fear, and result in permanent injury and even death. The hunting game was very serious business indeed.

It is not that way for most of us today, at least in the United States. Most hunting today falls under the guise of “sport”. At least that is what the uninitiated call it. But don’t try to tell that to the many families who count on their annual moose or elk to fill their larder. There are countless households who could not do without the small game and birds they bring home either. It would appear that wild game is still an important and critical component of the american diet. It has become even more important in the lean and terrible years of a struggling economy.

Hunting has always come easy for me, and I have had more than my fair share of successes. Animals have always been part of my everyday world, and their has never been a time when I have not felt deeply connected to them in some way. They have come to me as naturally as trees reach for the sky, and it was a great long time before I began to realize that this was not so for everyone. It is a phenomenon I have yet to fully comprehend.

I took my first white-tailed deer with a bow and arrow when I was twelve years old, much to the amazement of my friends and family, and even myself. Similar successes followed over the next few years, and I was often the only person to harvest an animal in a growing number of hunting camps. Other hunters began to look at me out of the corner of an eye, and wonder.

When you are young, it is easy to attribute such things to hunting skill and determination. When you get older you begin to wonder if it is just incredibly good luck. Many years ago I realized the great blessing of it all. I realized that something much more intriguing going on, but just what it was I could not say.

It was easy to wonder these things while wondering the sand ridges and washes amidst the cedar and low gray sage, with arrowhead chips and ancient bones at our feet. I could feel the ancestors there, as strong as I have ever felt it. It was easy to imagine them standing there, watching. They huddle quietly under the cedars, taking the measure of the quality of your soul and heart’s intentions as you stumble clumsily through their world.

Ancient Eyes of The Fremont People

A small movement on the side of a distant peak snaps me back to the task at hand. A small herd of elk has bunched up below a small snowfield, and three of us sit in the mud and glass them, wondering which way they will go.

They are more than a mile off, and they mill around one way and then the other as they sort out their collective mind’s. For our part, we whisper strategies and discuss this’s and that’s, eager to jump into action. It is always the best part of a hunt, that first contact and the knowing that something is about to happen.

Suddenly, the elk are moving fast in single file, all at once like the synchronized wheeling of a flock of birds in the sky. We are up and moving too, pulled together like powerful magnets that have just been energized.

Miles and miles of empty and desolate country surround us, yet, for no obvious reason the elk run directly to us as we scramble for position and shooting lanes through the scattered trees and brush. The bullets fly and lives change as they find their way home, leaving those left behind even more rooted in the way’s of life and death. We can only look at each other in silent amazement, sure in ourselves that something wondrous had just occurred.

How could it be, we all murmured? How could elk such as these choose to run in the only direction which would surely place them in harm’s way, when a simple turn or slight alteration in their path would have delivered them to cover and safety. How indeed? There are simply some things that are unexplainable in a hunter’s world. It may be best not to try.

The next morning was eerily similar. Connor had been sick for several days, and had been late from camp each morning. Today he was feeling much better, and the previous day’s adventures had motivated him ways only he knew.


There are times when even the best of hunters cannot find an elk, no matter the need or how hard they try to make it happen, or pray in hushed tones on bended knee.

One thing I know: “The elk will come to the hunter when it is time to leave this earth, when they are ready, and in their own time. They will only come when you are ready to receive them and to help them with their journey to the place that the spirits live. Each wish only to carry along the respect and dignity that you both deserve. I am honored; we are free.”

[Article In Progress]

cheering us on….happy for our results…This is special, they say. Don’t ever take it for granted. Do not let our sacred way of life and our precious values disappear into the dust and immorality of a civilization who has lost its way in the face of misplaced anger and disrespect.

The Hunter’s Jubilee


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Michael Patrick McCarty

Coyotes, Mountain Lions, and Bears, Oh My!

I See You…




*Update August 27, 2013

There is not a week goes by that someone does not ask if we have had any puma reports, and I must say, I’m a bit anxious myself. The leaves in the high county are beginning to turn color already, far too early it would seem, and it won’t be long before the early snows are as high as an elk’s belly and the mule deer are headed for the lower valleys along the river. The big cats are sure to follow, and it is then that there is a fair chance to record them on a well placed trail camera. We hope that the hunting is good this season, for us, and for mountain lions everywhere.

You can see a short video of our night time visitor here.

Originally Published August, 2012

Many of our followers are aware that I have done a lot of security work over the years, and I still do. I’ve spent many sleepless nights on one type of patrol or another, and I’ve learned to notice many things that most people miss in the world all around them.

Last night I missed a chance to see a big mountain lion moving just a short distance from my solitary post. It was reported to me by an excited and breathless observer, who apparently had some trouble believing his own eyes. He just had to tell somebody, and I’m glad it was me.

The sighting took place on the black top and concrete of a two-track bridge over a cold, clear river in western Colorado, not far from the unfenced yards of several exclusive homes and the manicured grounds of a large country club and golf course. It seemed an unlikely spot to find such a magnificent predator, or so he thought. For his part, the tawny beast was no doubt chagrined to find himself caught in such an exposed and vulnerable position.

The lion enjoys good company as he hunts. Coyote, the all-seeing trickster grows more bold and opportunistic with each passing year, having learned long ago to take advantage of the nonchalance of the family pet. He may have learned it from the big cat. Likewise, encounters with black bears are increasing, as are people and bear conflicts. As a result we receive many complaints about coyotes and bears on the property that I roam, and it looks like it may become particularly bad in this time of terrible drought.

After all, we are surrounded by the rocky mountain west, with national forest and other undeveloped lands close at hand. Still, a mountain lion report is big and electrifying news which will surely surge throughout the small community by morning. This creature rules by stealth, and it is no surprise that most people have never seen one outside of a zoo or animal park.

I have been quite fortunate to study them several times in my adventures and wilderness travels. I’ve spied them without them seeing me, and I’ve noted their reaction when they realize they haven’t seen me first. I’ve hunted them several times, and have found myself standing with the bawling hounds under the killing tree, with an angry and snarling cougar above. I’ve followed their distinctive paw prints over hill and dale, and on more than one occasion found their tracks following me. I love to watch them under any circumstance, and to see them do their thing for any amount of time is an awe-inspiring experience that marks an indelible impression. I can see a stalking cat right now, in my mind.

What I don’t like is this long-tailed ghost watching me, particularly when I don’t know it. I have absolutely no doubt that it’s happened, countless times, at close range and but a primordial fang away. I’d take a bet that it’s happened to you too, if you have spent any significant amount of time in puma country. Fates can change quickly, as the tip of a cat’s tail twitches, measuring what to do. But of course, we will never really know, and it only adds to the mystery and magic of it all.

Follow The Signs


I would have explained this to my wide-eyed mountain lion man, if I could have gotten a word in edgewise. There are some noteworthy visitors out there in the black night, just out of reach of headlight beams or human consciousness.

Think about that the next time you enjoy a hike on a shadowy mountain trail in a quaking aspen grove, and the hair on the back of your neck stands up for some unknown reason. You may wish to honor that sense. It’s there for a purpose.

Keep it in the back of your mind the next time you go out at night to check on your chickens or other animals in your backyard or back forty. Catch a breath, and take a second to wonder about what just made a nearly silent footfall, behind or above.

The possibility of a lion nearby reminds us of the wilds at the edges, and grounds us in the realities of the natural world. It’s an unsettling thought for some, and one that many of us have to live with when we spend time in the places that we love. Still, I would rather live where I live knowing that a mountain lion lives here too, rather than in a place known to have no mountain lions, and wishing that it did.

It’s a reality I am happy to accept, in the hope of but a quick glimpse, in the corner of an eye.

Michael Patrick McCarty

Things That Go Bump In The Night


Update: October 17, 2012

Game trail cameras are an invaluable tool for those wishing to document the comings and goings of our wild neighbors, particularly in those magic hours between dusk and dawn. Strategically placed, they can capture a delightful display of animal movements not otherwise observed. It’s great entertainment, with the promise of true surprise within easy reach. My anticipation of the next photo or the next video can barely be contained. You never really know what you’re gonna get…

We use several cameras scattered about the property, which we move on a regular basis. Our main interest lies in the activities of the creatures with two legs. We watch for trespass, intrusion, and foul play. That, of course, is a story for another time. Animal sightings are the bonus feature to the main event.

Today’s review of the image collection was no exception. They held the usual cast of characters. Marmots, foxes, and inquisitive raccoons. Wandering pets, and the occasional biker. One frame held the faint outline of a bear in the shadows, and another the up close face of a young mule deer.

And as you may have guessed by now, one camera captured a video segment of a mature lion on the prowl. At first there was nothing but the wide emptiness of the night, then the world lit up as the beams of infrared caught the ghostly figure like the flashes from an electronic campfire.

He was big and long and solidly built, with well-defined muscles that rippled on his bones as he padded easily back to who knows where. No doubt he had used this route before.

A house loomed large here too, just out of camera range. I know, because I set the camera there myself.

My reaction was sharp, and visceral. It’s one thing to hear someone else talk excitedly about their sighting and personal experience. You want to believe, yet, there’s always a little room for doubt in undocumented reports. It’s quite another matter when you actually see a lion for yourself, or have indisputable evidence in hand.

Real is real, and but a moment away from memory. It is undefinable proof of the untamed mystery of our realm, accessible to all just inches from the comforts of our daily routines.

I shall do my best to stay out of the big cat’s path and unseen wanderings, yearning, for his eventual return.

Hunt well, my friend.

Michael Patrick McCarty

Food Freedom, and Guns Too!

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A Pheasantful of Memories

A Memory In The Making – Rocky Tschappat Jr.

Where would we be as outdoorsmen, and as men, if not for the people in our lives who took us hunting?

It is a question not so easily answered, though at least we get to ask. Sadly, a steadily increasingly group of young people never get that chance. In most cases I can only grieve for the loss that they will never fully understand, while staring upward and thanking the heavens for the sportsmen of my youth.

It was only a natural way to be in the world in which I grew up. My father had been a hunter all of his life, and his father was too. To be true so were my uncles and cousins, my brothers, friends, and our neighbors. There was always someone to go hunting with and a shotgun was never far out of hand.

We hunted small game and deer and birds of all kinds, but pheasants – pheasants were a special creature. There were not many to be found in our corner of the uplands, and those that remained were wary and smarter than smart. It was a big event to bag a hefty, redheaded cockbird.

If you are like me then there is no doubt that you remember your first cackling rooster rising like a shimmering phoenix in the sky. The memory of that long-tailed vision burns brightly in the mind, ready for access at a moment’s notice. Mine is a mind full of ring-necks.

I hold my treasure trove of remembrances most dearly, yet it occurs to me that It is only right to return the favor. I am more than willing to share that long list of images in my head, though I would be most happy to help you gain your own.

One thing can be said.

Take a boy, or a girl, hunting – today. It is a responsibility and an honor, and in fact a debt that must be repaid.

We can only be as strong as the sum total of our experience, and I cannot comprehend a life barely lived without the solid grounds of woods and field beneath the boots. The pursuit of wild things is a foundational activity, built upon the realities of the natural world and the spirit of the quickening heart. It is an opportunity to learn some core moral values, while becoming part of something much larger than one’s self.

We owe it to our mentors to carry the torch; to help ignite that undying spark in the imagination and energy of the next generation. I can think of no greater reward than to be remembered fondly in the thoughts of the grateful and fortunate soul of a hunter.

It is only but a moment of memory, and a towering pheasant, away.


Food Freedom – Young Gunner’s, and Pheasants Forever!

Michael Patrick McCarty

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Clawing For The Skydglassme / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA


Some Flint Knapping “How To”

This short video about how to flint knap comes courtesy of Dave Massender of Oregon, and Colorado.

As you will see, Dave can make it look quite easy, which of course it is not. He tells me that he has been flint knapping for about 20 years, and that he could not begin to guess at how many hours of practice that it took him to achieve this particular level of skill.

He says that he has always been enamored with all things Indian, beginning at age seven when he first tagged along with his father and friends as they searched for arrowheads in the Nevada mountains. It took more than an agonizing few years to finally find someone who could teach him what he yearned to know, and a flint knapper was born.

Dave loves to work with non-traditional materials when fashioning his points and blades. He considers it a practical and useful skill, but most of all, an art form of elegant significance.

He is happy to share some of his knowledge and expertise here, just as his friend did for him so many years ago.

You can see more of Dave’s flint knapping videos and other things of interest here.



Michael Patrick McCarty

Food Freedom – And Guns Too!