Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Moe Falls in New York!


A few days after I had returned to California and had rearranged my freezer, I couldn't stop thinking about the hunt. The excitement, challenge, and the sheer numbers of deer we saw made my mind spin. My dad and I had talked about my uncle David and how lucky he was when hunting or fishing. I think some of that luck was handed off to my brother because over the years he has had some awesome luck both hunting and fishing. There are many stories to tell!

Opening day for the NY firearm deer season was that Saturday and I waited on pins and needles for a text from either one. Early on, texts started flying in from my dad saying he had a buck down. Then a doe. Then another. It was looking like a great opener! We sent messages back and forth as I lived vicariously through them. When the day ended, they had work to do and I went to bed thinking about the fun they must have had.

Sunday morning came and went without a text, but the afternoon proved to be a highway of electronic communication.
"I just shot Moe!"

My brother's words popped up on my phone and the smile on my face kept growing. That lucky summina...! I knew this was one of our top hit list bucks and my brother had just dropped him. Then I thought about how much money he was going to have to spend on the mount. I'm glad I shot a doe! I joke about it, but I am thrilled that he was the hunter to take Moe. He and my dad put in a lot of hours setting up cameras, treestands and hauling me around the woods. What a great hunting season we had!


So there you have it. Moe was taken after all and we all filled deer tags this season. I am already planning my 2019 NY deer hunt, but first I have a couple more weeks to try and fill my California deer tag. It will more than likely turn out to be a beautiful hike, but maybe some of that luck my brother shares with my late uncle will make it out west. One can only hope!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

2018 NY Bowhunting Trip Recap

Hunting in New York has become one of my favorite activities. Why would a guy who is from NY say that? After having lived in California for the past 12 years, going back to NY is a blessing and one hunting trip I LOVE to plan for. I prefer to hunt there vs. hunt here in SoCal due to many factors, but it's all personal. Traveling to see my family and hunt with them turned out to be one of the most memorable hunting trips ever.


To begin, I have to take you back to early September when my dad and brother were setting out trail cameras. They figured a couple spots were going to be gold mines and they were not wrong! They sent me pictures of buck after buck after buck. One buck they named Moe, due to Eeny, Meeny, Miny, and you get the idea. They didn't see him in person, but he was there. Somewhere.


Weather is always a factor when hunting and hunting in NY during the rut usually means cold weather. The weather report mentioned 40s and rain. I packed my cold weather Badlands Approach camo fully expecting snow. I forgot to pack my High Unitas Vest (I love this vest for the warmth it provides) and was very disappointed. I had my Badlands merino wool base layers and that helped a great deal, but I was very cold at times. 


We saw deer every day, from every stand, and had a blast! I passed on a yearling fawn the first day, but that didn't stop her from eyeballing me for over an hour and walking up to my stand. Let me say this, I stand by my Dead Down Wind spray. I have said it before while hunting pigs and now with this hunt, the deer were downwind of me for hours, but they never spooked. Not one time did a deer snort or kick off due to smelling me. This particular doe was downwind for a long time and kept smelling the air, knowing I was there, but couldn't place the scent. It was great fun to watch!

I was blessed to be able to harvest a doe on day three at 8 yards. Yes, 8 yards from the stand. Most of the deer I saw were within 30 yards all weekend. My dad sure can pick a good stand location. 


Jumping ahead to the last day of my hunt, with thirty minutes of daylight left I saw Moe for the first time. He was beautiful! He came from downwind of me, walked into a shooting lane and I watched in awe as he walked by at 35 yards. After already filling my archery tag, I was left with only a doe permit, so I could do nothing but watch. It was an amazing sight. The biggest buck of my life had just walked by and there wasn't a thing I could do but feel blessed to have witnessed him.

I came home with a cooler full of delicious venison, but the story doesn't end there. The New York firearm season was about to begin in a few days and while I may not have been there physically, I was there in spirit as the two best hunting buddies took the stand with their rifles. What would happen? Would they see Moe? Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Countdown to Some Treestand Time

The weather in New York is cooling down rapidly and the deer are in the mood. The trees still have a lot of green, but I am prepared. Between my Badlands Approach and Approach FX camo, I'll blend in well. Practice has been on point and I am looking forward to being 20 feet up in a tree for a week. With weekly reports on the deer activity it is difficult to focus on anything else. Deer fever is setting in and the cure seems so far away. 

Monday, October 22, 2018

Gear Review: Propper Kinetic Tactical Pants


Tactical pants are essential if you are at the shooting range often, running drills, or just need things available when you need them. I was very curious to see how a tactical pants would be for the archery range. I also wondered how well they would work as pants when I am scouting. Would they hold up to the beating I would give them? Would things stay put inside and out? Are they comfortable and worth the money? Deciding to test out my questions, I have been field testing the Propper Kinetic® Pant for a couple months on a regular basis. 

  • 6.5 oz 79% polyester / 21% cotton ripstop NEXStretch® fabric w/ DWR
  • Durable water repellent (DWR) treatment to resist dirt and moisture
  • Durable and rugged ripstop fabric with integrated stretch
  • Updated, modern, professional design
  • Gripper waistband
  • Metal button waistband closure
  • Cargo pockets with internal dividers
  • Wider belt loops with badge / sunglasses tabs
  • Ambidextrous pocket configuration
  • Gusseted crotch
  • Classic fit
  • NTOA member tested and approved

When I asked the Propper team about sizing they were very clear in saying to order according to my size. They claimed the pants would fit properly and they were right! I ordered a 36x30 pant and they fit well. There is a thin rubber strip on the inside top of the pant to allow it to grip your skin to prevent slippage. When standing straight up this worked well. In fact, it has a stretch waistband that adjusts to you and fits very comfortably. When I tested it with a backpack on I found it difficult to pull my pants back up due to the rubber gripping lower than I wanted. If the pants had a bit more of a higher waist I would like them better. That truly is the only thing I wasn't a huge fan of, but that is very minor.


The Kinetic Tactical Pants are constructed from NEXStretch™ mechanical stretch fabric that stretches slightly and is tough as nails. I spent time hiking, biking, and taking them to the outdoor ranges to see how they would hold up to abuse. I knelt on rocks, hiking through thorned branches, crawled on sand and also had the cuff rub against the pedals and chain of the mountain bike I rode in an effort to test strength. The Kinetic Pants not only held up, but they also cleaned up surprisingly well. My sweat and the grease and grit from the bike was really prevalent, but a quick wash and they looked brand new again. The color stayed strong and the material looked new again. Also, the metal button waistband closure stayed secured throughout all of my testing. This has been an issue in the past due to my aggressive six-pack (belly) and I was concerned the pants would pop open. Not once did that happen.

The Kinetic pant has eight (8) pockets, but some of the pockets are inside other pockets. If you consider those facts the pants could be said to have twelve (12) pockets. As I recommend with any backpack purchase, just because the pants have 12 pockets doesn't mean you need to fill each and every one of them. Use them properly and they will be a useful tactical tool.

Movement in the pants proved to be relatively easy and comfortable. There was no chaffing and the fabric moves with you. They breathe well, too. I spent a day in 95+ degree temps in the desert and then also in the mountains on a bike (going uphill with a full pack on) and they were great. Even on a 22-mile bike ride and a short hike they stayed relatively comfortable.

Competitively priced at $54.99, the Propper Kinetic® Pant are priced to sell. It's a great price considering the quality material, construction and comfort. Plus there is free shipping and a low price guarantee. I would recommend the Kinetic Pant for shorter trips, not for long trips in the mountains. These are great for the shooting range, archery range, and for a short hike scouting trip, as they are durable and very comfortable in most applications. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

BADLANDS INTRODUCES ARTEMIS TENT SERIES – TENTS MADE FOR HUNTERS BY HUNTERS


West Jordan, UT – Badlands has expanded its already robust product offering once again by offering two new backcountry tents designed to keep hunters agile, comfortable and protected from the elements. Designed with ease of use, durability and functionality in mind, the Artemis Series features one and two-person models that are available now.

Not willing to sacrifice quality and durability for minuscule weight savings, Badlands focused on high quality, long-lasting materials for the construction of the Artemis Tents. While still considered lightweight backcountry tents, the Artemis Series is built for the hunter who puts their gear through all the rigors of backcountry hunting. Features include:


  • Three Season Performance
  • Badlands Exclusive One-Piece 7001 Aluminum Pole Design
  • Welded Bathtub Floor
  • Front Porch Double-Zip Vestibule
  • Ultralight Quick-Pitch Option (utilizes footprint, poles and fly only)
  • Each Artemis Tent Includes a Footprint
  • Minimum Trail Weight = 4 lbs. 1 oz (2 Person Model) & 3 lbs 5 oz (1 Person Model)


“Our focus for the Artemis Series was making a tent that hunters can rely on for a long time,” said Badlands Marketing Manager Blake VanTussenbrook. He continued, “We didn’t add frills or gimmicks that people frankly don’t end up using. The Artemis tents are extremely easy and quick to setup and were designed for the abuse hunters put on their gear.”

The Artemis 1 Person Tent is $379.99 while the 2 Person model comes in at $439.99. Both models include a footprint and the legendary Badlands Unconditional Lifetime Warranty.

Now in its 25th year, Badlands continues to focus on exceptional quality, continuing innovation, unmatched performance and as always, the only unconditional lifetime warranty in the industry.

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For more information about this event, products in the Badlands line, or general inquiries, please contact Blake VanTussenbrook at 1.800.386.7839 or blake@vortexoutdoors.com