Friday, July 31, 2015

Cigar Review: Montecristo Relentless Toro


It is time for another cigar review as we head into the weekend! Famous Smoke Shop sent me the Montecristo Relentless Toro (6 x 54) to review. Having never smoked a Montecristo, I was eager to smoke one, but I resisted the urge to smoke them right away and let them rest for a couple weeks in my humidor. I left the cellophane wrapper on and after two weeks it was time to enjoy a smoke! I decided to space this one out over a couple months. I smoked one every three weeks to see if anything changed. The results were the same the three times I smoked, so everything here is complete.

The first thing I do when smoking a cigar is breathe in the aroma. When I inhaled, memories of a fresh cut hayfield on a humid day pierced my nostrils. It was extremely plantlike and 'green' smelling. It hails from the Dominican Republic. It has Nicaraguan and Brazilian Mata Fina longfillers, a Mexican San Andres binder, and an Ecuadorian Connecticut shade wrapper, and most cigars I have smoked with that type of wrapper
have a green smell to them. I hoped smoking it would be better than the smell.


The draw was smooth, but I found I had to really puff to get it to flow at first. Plants and charcoal flavors were tough for me to get past. It is a medium-bodied cigar that smoked very well. The first third had very strong plant flavors, but the second third was enjoyable. The final third tasted like the inside of what a charcoal grill smells like after a rainstorm. There wasn't anything peppery or spicy about this cigar. In fact, it didn't have any 'Wow!' factor for me.


Depending on how fast you like to smoke, the Montecristo Relentless Toro will last anywhere from thirty-five minutes to an hour. It burned even with no canoeing at any time. It gets an extremely high consumer rating of 90, but I feel that is overly generous for this cigar. I felt this was at least in the mid-eighties at best. While I personally didn't care for it, I know many cigar lovers who will.

So there you have it, I honestly didn't care for this cigar. I don't particularly care for cigars that taste like I am smoking a green tobacco. There are many that do and if you like that, get some of these. At around $10.00 per stick, I think it's a decent price, if you like this type of cigar.

Thank you to Famous Smoke Shop for giving me the opportunity to review Montecristo Relentless Toro. Even though I didn't care for it, I do appreciate the opportunity. If you want to try the Montecristo Relentless Toro in 6x54, you can pick up this Famous exclusive Montecristo online here. If you do purchase one or have smoked them in the past, please let me know your thoughts on the cigar in the comments below. Happy Smoking!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Bow Maintenance and DIY Tuning

After I posted yesterday, I reviewed my bow hunting to-do list. Tuning my bow and routine maintenance was at the top. I knew I needed to swap get my new Piranha bow strings on my other Bear Anarchy HC, but knowing I needed to hit the archery range on Tuesday night, I needed to work on my current bow first. I waxed my bow string (do this often) and after that, I turned my focus to tuning.

For weeks, I have noticed my arrow was pointing right due to my rest being set too far to the right. I also noticed that my sight level seemed off from my 'internal' balance. What do I mean? Have you ever been aiming at the target and your sight bubble is level, but you feel like it is off? That is what I am talking about. While this can sometimes seem I am just being difficult, other times it can mean I am correct and that my 2nd axis is off. How was I going to figure all of that out? Before I get to figuring it all out, I knew that in order to make any of the adjustments, I needed a bow vise. I researched and found a decent one online that seemed solid, constructed well, and far less expensive than many on the market. I purchased it and mounted it to my work bench. So far it is working well and I like it.

Getting back to the axis adjustments, a couple weeks ago I won a DVD from Jerry Eulitt, who most of you might know as "Ike", from Ike's Outdoors. He has put together a very comprehensive and easy to follow DVD of how to set up your bow, tune it properly, and have it driving tacks in no time. Plus he offers many extras on the DVD. Much of the DVD was an excellent refresher for me, but the French tuning part was something I had never tried before. Here's a short clip of what he is offering:



While I know how to adjust my 2nd and 3rd axis on my HHA King Pin sight, I wanted to see what Ike shared and to refresh my memory before I started tweaking anything. He does a great job of making things simple and sharing what you need to do to better your set up. I gathered up my Allen wrenches, a headlamp, and poured a strong cup of coffee in preparation. I am sure I spent more time than I needed to making sure everything was spot on and level. I measured and leveled two and three times to be 100% sure it was correct. Once I had it done, I felt like I had a brand new bow. It is very reassuring when you can do much of the fine tuning by yourself and not have to rely on anyone else.

While this is mainly about tuning and adjusting my 2nd and 3rd axis, this is also about the DVD that Ike put together. If you want to start working on your own bow or making the adjustments at home, this DVD is an excellent tool to assist you. You can buy the DVD for $20 from his website (http://www.ikesoutdoors.com/shop.html) and he offers free downloads for tuning. After getting my bow properly set up, I am confident my arrows will fly truer and my shots will be accurate. Good luck getting your own bow tuned and set up for hunting or 3D! 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Taking Time and Focusing on the Important Stuff

I am sure you have all noticed a slow down in my posts as of late. It has been a busy couple of months with work load, family time, and archery practice. With the wildfires raging, we haven't been able to scout or get our trail cameras up where we wanted. For some reason, owning a home has its share of demands, too. Who would have thought? Long story short, I have articles and gear reviews in the works. Much has been going through my aged brain, but I have to find the time to sit and get it all typed out. In all honesty, it is frustrating not being able to share everything as often as I would like, but that is just how it is.

To satisfy my curiosity, would you guys rather see more written posts, see more videos, or a combination of the two? 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Gear Review: HHA Sports Optimizer Lite King Pin Sight

Image provided by HHA Sports.

Disclaimer: I am a member of the HHA King's Court national pro staff. That being said, every company I partner with understands that if I like something about the gear I promote, I will share it. The same things goes for the parts I do not like. I share those as well because it is only fair to share everything in a review, not just the good parts.  


For a couple years, I have been shooting my bows with HHA Sports single pin hunter specific sights mounted on them. This year I stepped up my game. The HHA Sports Optimizer Lite King Pin TE-5519 (Tournament Edition) is dialed in on my bow and it has helped me improve more than I could have imagined. I am going to review the sight and I encourage you all to ask questions to either myself or HHA if you want more information.

Many have asked me why I opted for the King Pin tournament edition vs. the hunter edition. The reason I went with tournament edition vs. hunting edition is the dovetail and being able to extend it out further on my bow. This allows me to adjust it perfectly with my peep and I love how easy it is to adjust. The housing is further out, making pin movement more visible and can be more difficult to keep in one place, whereas the King Pin hunting sight is closer to the riser, thus reducing that shakiness you might find. It's a personal preference as to which one you choose. I have an Optimizer Lite Ultra on my other hunting rig and I really like that one, too, but I love the way the King Pin works.

A few details to mention to give you an idea of what the sight is all about. The sight housing is 1 5/8" and the fiber length is 5 ft. This allows for more light gathering and a brighter pin. Like many HHA sights, the King Pin has the mechanical rheostat feature that allows you to adjust the brightness by twisting it to the desired brightness level. I'll be honest, I usually leave mine at the brightest setting. 


The weight of the King Pin can be an issue for some as it comes in at 16 oz. Many might be turned off by that. I wasn't concerned as much as curious if it would impede performance. I originally had an 8 oz. stabilizer on my bow. I removed it due to the sight adding so much weight and I thought the sight itself would help stabilize my bow. I was mistaken and found I still needed the 8 oz. stabilizer on the bow. I do notice how heavy the bow is, but I also shoot with my quiver on my bow, as that is how I hunt. I have to get used to the fact that if I plan to hunt with all of the gadgets on my bow, it will be heavier.

When choosing a pin size, I opted to go with the .010" pin vs. the .019" pin. Normally, I like to have a large pin to focus on when aiming at an animal and it really helps during the dawn and dusk hours. I want a bright pin and be able to see it, due to the fact that I wear glasses 100% of the time when I hunt. I dislike contacts. This year I decided that I would go with a .010" pin because no matter what, I can't see the pin before a certain time of day or after due to my vision, no matter what the pin size is. It turns out it is the best thing I have done with my sight set-up. This allows me to focus even tighter on my target and see more of what I am aiming at. Along with this, the King Pin now has a sight tape magnifier that allows for adjustment to the 1/4 yard. It is really nice to see your set yardage pop just a bit more when shooting. It's a mental thing, but it's really nice.

There are now removable dials in case you want to switch the sight to different bows that may also have different draw weights. For me, this wasn't a game changer. Personally, once my sight is on my bow, it is staying put. I am not going to risk moving it to another bow. I would rather pay for a new sight that take that risk. It's a great idea and I wonder how many people actually use one sight for two different bows. I'd love to hear about it.

Wheel-forward technology has been added to allow for one-piece quivers, such as the TightSpot Quiver. I swapped out the large screw for the set screw and was able to add the quiver mount directly to the outside of the sight. Excellent new feature in my opinion. Before I had to add a bracket, between the sight and the riser, to allow for mounting my quiver. It's not even an issue any more.

I added a sunshade and 4x lens kit B to the King Pin. This is the amber lens used primarily for hunting. I tried using a 6x lens and that required I use a clarifier. I opted for the 4x amber lens and it is incredible and really does help me out. This could be bad for me when hunting in the desert or rain, as sand and water will collect inside of it, but it's a gamble I am willing take.

Don't forget about the sights are Made in the U.S.A. and carry a 100% Lifetime Warranty. Allow me to repeat that so it sticks with you - Made in the U.S.A. and a 100% Lifetime Warranty. Need I say more?

After shooting the King Pin TE for a while and talking with others, I do have one thing I do not like. The magnifier over the sight tape only works well before you draw. If you hunting and are at full draw and the animal moves, you will want to see the yardage you are set at. Unfortunately, the magnifier not only blocks it, you can even see the line. IMHO, it might be worth looking into for an update to either lower the magnifier so you can see if at full draw, or lose it altogether.  (Update: I am told that HHA has come up with a solution to this issue and will offer a 'brass pointer assembly that will be shipping along with the magnifier next year.  That way the customer can pick which one they prefer.' Again, this is another reason why I love HHA Sports. They listen to the archers and make modifications for us. Awesome!)

This was my group at 60 yards when sighting in. I am very happy with the results.

The King Pin is not inexpensive. MSRP for the tournament edition is $400. I explain to people that you need to think of the King Pin as an investment, not just an archery sight. When you buy the King Pin, you are buying a sight you will use for many years, if not a lifetime. These sights are built like tanks and with a warranty like HHA offers, you can't go wrong. I know guys that are rough on gear and buy inexpensive sights that they replace every couple years because they break on rocks where they hunt. Save and spend your money on the King Pin and you won't have that problem any longer. 

Would I recommend the HHA Sports Optimizer Lite King Pin to anyone? You bet I would! Tournament archers and bow hunters alike will benefit from this awesome new addition to the HHA sight line.  I know I have and love how comfortable I am shooting now. This sight truly is a game changer for me and it will be for you, too.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Dehyration, Scouting, and Fire Season

Yard work can teach you a great deal about what you are capable of and what your limitations are. It also serves as a reminder that when you are out in the elements, nature is the boss, not you. Yesterday, I was thinking about the reviews I need to type up and blog posts I'd love to share, but my heart wasn't into it. I had other priorities around my house that needed to be addressed first. Not wanting to feel stressed, I headed outside, sunscreen in one hand and water in the other. Temperatures were on the rise, but I felt good. There was landscaping, mowing, and digging to be done and I don't have a landscaper, plus I like maintaining my own place.

I won't go into detail about everything I did, but I was outside working for only 3.5 hours. It was very hot and I took my share of water breaks, but it was really tough to keep going. (My farming days are far behind me.) I drank a gallon of water and did not have to go to the bathroom at all in those nearly four hours. I was, in fact, dehydrated. I didn't have a headache, nor did I think I was dehydrated. Knowing that I didn't have to go to the bathroom made me aware that I was dehydrated. I drank more and more water until I finally had to go. Let's just say it wasn't pretty, but I knew I needed more water.

The point I am trying to make here is that hiking into the backcountry or high desert in SoCal is going to require some planning and plenty of water. I was not hiking with any weight on my back, but I was exerting plenty of energy and working in the direct sun. I was feeling great until I sat down and realized how drained I really was. If you get caught like this while scouting 5 miles in, you had better have a plan. You also must have plenty of water. If you can only carry enough water for a couple mile trip in the desert heat, only travel that and no further. One important bit of information I have picked up is to only hike as far as half of your water supply takes you. I would edit that slightly due to the fact that you might start hiking in the cool air before the sun comes up and then be hiking back in the direct sunlight. Plan accordingly! Now, if there is a water source on your hike, plans can be adjusted, but don't overdo it.

Also, use appropriate clothing on those hikes. I wear a long-sleeve shirt to protect my arms from the sun and it also helps keep me cool when I am sweating. I also wear a wrap around my neck that keeps me cool and protects me from the sun. It's one that you can soak with water and hold water for a long time. Truly beneficial! I also pack a SPOT locator beacon. In the event I get into serious trouble, I don't want to wait around. I also inform my wife of where we are going, when we will be home, and if I don't call by a certain time to call the significant other of whomever I am hiking with to see if there has been any communication. 

Keep an eye on the fire dangers, too. They seem to be erupting all over now and you do not want to get caught behind a fire line with no escape. There is always an element of risk when scouting or hunting. I take risks, too, but plan ahead and if it's too risky with the fires or lack of water, think twice before going. I know I have packed a gallon and a half of water on a scouting hike before and it sucked for my knees, but I was glad to have the water. I also know that if there was a fire, I'd be screwed in that situation. Sure, I had my SPOT, but that won't fly me outta there. 

We can all do a little more preparation and research before going out. Go with a buddy, or two or three. Enjoy yourselves and think smart. Try to stay as cool as you can and don't overdo it. I want to hear and read the stories of the animals you have taken this year. I don't want you to be a headline in a rescue mission. Now, if you think this will get me out of doing yard work in the heat, think again. Better planning my friends! Time to do the yard work in the evenings, when it's overcast, or pace myself a bit more. No matter what, I always learn from my experiences and I hope you do as well. Enjoy your summer!