Quick fixes to common outdoor problems

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Ohio forest

Why didn’t I think of it? That’s the question that rolls around in my head like a loose bowling ball in the bed of my pickup, banging into the walls and corners with loud, empty echoes. Well, someone else did think of it, and they acted on it.

Sketching, designing, trying, testing and then doing it all over again until it worked, solving a problem that needed fixed or at least tweaked it, eliminated a step or a chore, or not only caught the mouse, but snatched up its buddies as well.

Appealed to consumers

And to their credit, the idea appealed to consumers. Now that’s success. Here are a couple examples of helpful products that either look better or are better — maybe both. What boater hasn’t found the need for a quick adjustment or minor repair while on the water or on the way?

Very few of us, if any. Need a screwdriver or pliers for the fix? How about a sharp knife, a bottle opener, or a do-hickey that will tug the most stuck zipper with ease?

With plenty of input from actual boaters, who we can refer to as frustrated and sweaty people who have tried to loosen a screw with a nickel or remove a spark plug with needle nose pliers, the minds at California-based Davis Instruments, a company that already makes a multipurpose tool for boats, has reworked their pocket-sized, store-it- on-the- boat, multi-tool.

The new edition is a perfect example of a very handy, affordable and functional tool that replaces or eliminates a sizable box full of hand tools. It is tagged the Snap Tool Multipurpose Boat Tool. Davis designers have come up with needed changes to the original that include the addition of three common metric hex wrench cut-outs to the four fractional inch wrench sizes.

Then add a scraper, recessed cutting blade, deck access plate keys, and that all-important zipper puller. It’s stainless, hardened, and fits in a pants pocket.

There are no loose attachments, nothing to miss-place, or roll under the floor of a boat. And it’s cheap, under $15 (www.davisnet.com).

And what about those darn ticks that seem to be everywhere outdoors? Dangerous critters that hide from the sharpest eyes and dig in tight, like a burr on a dog’s feathered tail.

Out of reach

I checked in to an urgent care facility last year with an embedded tick that was out of my reach. After three different medical professionals looked at the rump of the tick, which seemed totally happy with its plump host, they agreed that they lacked the knowledge, the tools and the skill to remove it. I suggested that they Google the problem for a tutorial and together we would do the job.

Eventually, the tick was removed piece by piece — and following was a month of heavy antibiotics.

I knew then that a better way was waiting to be found. Now comes the answer. I am purchasing for myself and all my buddies, Tick Keys, the simplest push and pull tick removal tool that I’ve found or ever hope to find.

Tick Keys look much like enlarged guitar picks with an extended neck. Indeed, a triple X guitar pick which has an oblong or keyhole-shaped cutout in it just large enough to fit over any tick then capture it in the small end of the hole.

Removing the tick

The Tick Key is then gently pulled to remove the tick and all of its body parts, including legs, intact. Heavily tested and well proven Tick Keys are made from high-strength aluminum and come in several finishes and colors.

Just lately, the color chart expanded to included attractive camo patterns. Best yet, they can be added to a key ring or other handy piece of personal gear. Although I haven’t tried it yet, the company claims that Tick Key works as well on pets as on humans.

Tick Keys have won international awards and acclaim from various public health and tick-borne research organizations. They’ve earned their way, a tick at a time. Made of hi-grade aluminum, Tick Keys are a one-time purchase.

Cost ranges from about $6 to $10. That’s cheap insurance in my book. Visit www.TickKey.com.

Shoot clean

Want more? If you are a shooter and are the type who understands that a clean gun is a better gun, a gun that retains not only its value but its performance, you’ll love this one. Called CleanShot, it is a shotgun shell that does not fire a pattern of lead or steel shot but it does clean the barrel of a shotgun sparkly clean.

Watch the videos and the sale is done. No kidding. Shot through the barrel of even the filthiest of shotguns, one round of CleanShot leaves the barrel looking just as clean as it would after a time-consuming scrubbing. Bang! Done!

A pack of four costs $9, amounting to just over $2 per cleaning, and at this time is only available in 12 gauge. If this newly developed item doesn’t impress the Shark Tank, they aren’t looking. Visit www.Huntegoltd.com.

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Mike Tontimonia has been writing weekly columns and magazine features about the outdoors for over 25 years, a career that continues to hold the same excitement for him as it did at the beginning. Mike is a retired educator, a licensed auctioneer and marketing consultant. He lives in Ravenna, Ohio and enjoys spending time at his Carroll County cabin. Mike has hunted and fished in several states and Canada from the Carolinas to Alaska and from Idaho to Delaware. His readers have often commented that the stories about his adventures are about as close to being there as possible. He is past president of the Outdoor Writers of Ohio and a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Mike is also very involved in his community as a school board member and a Rotarian.

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