Thursday, June 30, 2016

Nonlead Ammunition Implementation Phase 2 Starts July 1

I am posting this press release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife as a reminder because we all need to be aware of the mandatory changes in nonlead ammo. I have said it before, I am not a fan of the change, but it's here to stay and we hunters need to abide by the law.


Starting July 1, 2016, nonlead shot will be required when taking upland game birds with a shotgun in California, except for dove, quail, snipe, and any game birds taken at licensed game bird clubs. In addition, nonlead shot will be required when using a shotgun to take resident small game mammals, furbearing mammals, nongame mammals, nongame birds and any wildlife for depredation purposes.

Existing restrictions on the use of lead ammunition in the California condor range, when taking Nelson bighorn sheep and when hunting on all California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) wildlife areas and ecological reserves remain in effect.

The next phase of the implementation goes into effect July 1, 2019, when hunters must use nonlead ammunition when taking any animal anywhere in the state for any purpose. There are no restrictions on the use of lead ammunition for target shooting purposes.

Nonlead ammunition for some firearm calibers may be in short supply so hunters should plan accordingly. Hunters are encouraged to practice shooting nonlead ammunition to make sure firearms are sighted-in properly and shoot accurately with nonlead ammunition.

In October 2013, Assembly Bill 711 was signed into law requiring the phase-out of lead ammunition for hunting anywhere in the state by July 1, 2019. The law also required an implementation plan designed to impose the least burden on California's hunters while adhering to the intent of the law.

In order to determine what was least disruptive to hunters, CDFW coordinated question and answer sessions at sportsmen's shows, held meetings with hunting organizations, and hosted a series of eight public workshops throughout the state. Incorporating the public input from these workshops, CDFW then presented draft regulations to the Fish and Game Commission.

In April 2015, the Fish and Game Commission adopted CDFW's proposed regulations and implementation plan.

More information on the phase-out of lead ammunition for hunting in California can be found at www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/nonlead-ammunition.

Media Contacts:
Craig Stowers, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3553
Clark Blanchard, CDFW Education and Outreach, (916) 651-7824
Lt. Chris Stoots, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 651-9982

Friday, June 17, 2016

SHARE Program Offers Elk Hunts in Northern California, Including New Properties

Who wants to hunt elk in California? This is a great opportunity.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) program is now taking applications for 37 elk hunting opportunities. The hunts will take place August 15 through December 13, 2016 on 21 properties in Colusa, Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino and Siskiyou counties. Applications go on sale Friday, June 17 through July 25.

The goal of the SHARE Program is to provide additional hunting, fishing and other recreational access on private lands in California. CDFW is excited to be offering elk hunts on 15 new properties for 2016. The specifics for all 28 elk hunts can be found at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Hunting/SHARE#elk

All elk tags will be distributed through a random draw process. These hunts are in addition to those issued through the big game drawing and no preference points will be considered or used. Applications can be purchased by anyone with a valid California hunting license from any CDFW license office or online at www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/InternetSales

An $11.37 non-refundable application fee will be charged for each hunt application. Successful applicants will be notified on July 29.

Elk hunters are reminded it is legal to take only one elk in California per year. 

These opportunities are made possible by the SHARE Program, which offers incentives to private landowners who allow wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities on their properties. Participating landowners receive liability protection and compensation for providing public access to or through their land for wildlife-dependent recreational activities. The goal of the SHARE Program is to provide additional hunting, fishing and other recreational access on private lands in California.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Non-Lead Ammo Questions and Concerns


In regards to legal, non-lead hunting ammunition, how do we find a possible candidate from the lists provided on the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (DFW) website? Would I have to scour each one to see if there is an approved non-lead shotgun ammo? The short answer is YES. You have to do some searching on your own. Why? The common misconception in that all non-lead ammunition is approved for hunting. That is FALSE. The ammo manufacturers need to submit their non-lead ammo data to the DFW and get it approved PRIOR to California hunters legally using it. That is a fact.

Take a look at the boxes of .270 caliber ammo below. One is leaded, the other unleaded, and both shoot great out of my .270. The only problem is I can only use the Vital-Shok for hunting big game in California. The top box (leaded) is around $23.00 a box, while the Trophy Copper (unleaded) is $40.00 a box. Ouch! Imagine what my 300 WM ammo costs!


Many, including myself, have switched our rifle ammo over to non-lead to be legal. It's a bitter, pricey pill to swallow, but we have to abide by the law. This year, I want the opportunity to hunt hogs with my shotgun, but non-lead shotgun ammo is an issue. Bullets were fairly easy to find, but what about shotgun ammo? I needed to find approved, non-lead saboted shotgun slugs. It turns out, I needed to go through each hard list (in PDF) on the DFW website in order to find the approved ones. 

I contacted Craig Stowers with the DFW and asked him about my non-lead ammo search for shotguns.

Regarding shot-gun ammunition, all the materials previously certified by the Fish and Wildlife Service as being “non-lead” ammunition suitable for use while waterfowl hunting were grandfathered in to our regulation so if they are approved for use by them the manufacturer’s don’t have to go through our certification process. 

The other question is not so easily answered...we’ve had very few contacts regarding muzzle-loaders or slugs to use in shotguns.  I think one of the places that may be doing something along those lines is Tom-Bob but the supply of that kind of ammunition is probably going to be limited based on the contacts we’ve had to date.  Wish I had better news on that front to provide you but it’s just not there.

We are going to need all the help we can get as we can’t force the ammunition manufacturer’s to go through our certification process.

So there you have it. As a hunter, you will need to do the research to find an approved non-lead ammunition you can use. My suggestion is to download the PDF files, print them out and have them accessible. That's what I have done. I also found a few non-lead sabot shotgun slugs that are on the approved list. It's a bitter pill to swallow for many of us, but it's the reality we live with right now.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

BADLANDS RELEASES ENTIRELY NEW APPAREL LINE FOR 2016 INCLUDING 26 NEW PIECES!

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Exciting news out of Utah! Badlands is releasing their new apparel line with the Approach camo pattern. Can you saw AWESOME? I know I am super stoked to be able to share this with everyone. So many of you have asked me if the apparel would have the Approach camo. YES! Badlands is also releasing 26 new pieces. Check out the press release below and check out some of the sweet pics!
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West Jordan, UT - Along with the unveiling of the innovative Badlands Approach camouflage pattern (new for 2016), Badlands will be offering 26 new groundbreaking apparel pieces. Due out in June 2016, the all-new apparel line will feature technologies never-before-seen in the hunting industry.


Featuring lightweight base layers to fully waterproof outer layers and everything in between, the new Badlands Approach apparel line was designed for hunters to find the perfect system regardless of the climate, location or type of hunt they will be going on. Features of the new line include:
  • Heatwave™ Ceramic Membrane Technology for extra warmth without bulk
  • Cooltouch™ Membrane Technology for additional cooling in warm to hot weather
  • Highest quality YKK® zippers on all new apparel pieces
  • Teflon® Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finishes on outer layers
  • High-wear areas reinforced with Schoeller®-Keprotec Kevlar infused fabric
  • Silvadur™ Antimicrobial Technology for scent control
  • Industry’s first truly Unconditional Lifetime Warranty on all clothing


Badlands Marketing Director Blake VanTussenbrook said of the new apparel line, “For us this was about taking everything we’ve learned about clothing over the last 10 years and putting that knowledge to work for hunters everywhere. The technology we’ve used, the materials and quality construction and our unconditional warranty takes hunting apparel to a whole new level.”

The 2016 Badlands apparel line will be released in June 2016 and is available in Badlands Approach camouflage. Pricing and more information about each item can be found at www.badlandspacks.com.

Now in its 22nd 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 product, other products in the Badlands line, or general inquiries, please contact Blake VanTussenbrook at 1.800.386.7839 or blake@vortexoutdoors.com

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Gear Review: The Drill Doctor 750x


Putting gear to the test is something I love to do, whether it be hunting gear or household products. There is something fun about taking a new product or new-to-me product and putting it through the paces. Usually, I take my own gear, push it to the limit, and then see how long it. I do the same thing with my tools around the house. I have used my drill bits for the past few years to the point where they wouldn't even eat through a soft 2x4. I needed to sharpen my bits or buy new ones. That's where the Drill Doctor 750x drill bit sharpener from Darex comes in!

The top of the line 750X sharpens drill bits from 3/32” to 3/4”. Point angles can be set anywhere from 115 to 140 degrees. Adjustable material take-off allows you to adjust the amount of material removed during sharpening - extending the life of your bits. The 750X is built to stand up to professional use.

A bit of back story on how I found out about the Drill Doctor. A few weekends ago, I was waiting for my daughter to finish her dance class while wearing my Work Sharp Tools t-shirt when another dance-dad leaned over and asked me about Work Sharp products. I shared about their awesome knife sharpening systems and that I have reviewed their products in the past and really like their performance. He asked me if they made a drill bit sharpener and I explained that I did not know, but that I would find out. A quick email was sent off to them and they responded back just as quickly that they, in fact, do make a drill bit sharpener, the Drill Doctor. They informed me that Darex is the parent company that owns both Work Sharp and The Drill Doctor. What a nice surprise!


The Drill Doctor will sharpen Carbide, Cobalt, High-Speed Steel, Black Oxide, TiN-Coated, twist and Masonry bits. Yes, all of those, so I needed to figure out where to start. Old bits were scattered throughout my tool box, along with newer bits in my bit case, but I had no idea what bits they were. I had worn many of them down to dull metal as they had been used a great deal over the years. Some were used to drill holes through the stucco on my house. (I know, get a concrete bit dummy!) The stucco pretty much destroyed them. I lost hope of ever finding something to bring new life to them. The Drill Doctor made that happen.

The Drill Doctor is easy to use and doesn't require an engineering degree to use. It comes with an easy to follow DVD with instructions. There are also paper instructions in the box. If you misplace your paper copy you can always download a copy here. I won't pour over the instructions other than to say they are very simple and helpful. Take the time to go over them. I went through the paper copy first, but found the DVD to be a better starting point. I would highly recommend watching the short video before diving into the paper instructions. It just makes things move a bit faster when sharpening your bits.


The unit looks daunting, but really isn't. Follow the instructions and you'll be sharpening bits in no time. Here are the basics of the instructions:
  1. Determine the type and angle of the drill bit.
  2. Align the bit in the Chuck.
  3. Sharpen the bit.
  4. Split the point (if you choose).


I want to add a small note about what I thought the Drill Doctor was and what it actually is. I thought the Drill Doctor was going to be a sharpener that would sharpen the entire bit (sides and all), but I was mistaken. The Drill Doctor only sharpens the tip of the bit. I was hoping to have a sharpener that would also sharpen the sides of the bit. My dad used to have one when I was younger that was manual, but it sharpened all the way up. That being said, the Drill Doctor does exactly what it says it will do! It sharpens the bit head to allow a better bite into wood, metal, and probably other material.

If you don't do it properly, it will not bite into the wood properly and it'll feel like it's not completely sharp. That's because it isn't! I found out a couple times that I did not sharpen the bit properly and had a hard time with it biting into wood. I also found out that I have cheap bits and needed to sharpen mine after a few uses. Better bits will make for a cleaner, more productive job. Plus, I am positive they will sharpen better!

The Drill Doctor 750x is built for professional use, or in my case, cheap bits that need to be sharpened all the time. The 750x retails for $139.95 and that's because it is built for the professional. Over time, this will save you money! You won't have to have someone else sharpen your bits, or purchase new ones. It also comes with a 3 year warranty. Don't fall for the cheap sharpeners you can find at local, chain hardware stores. The 750x allows you to get the correct angle, lock in the bit, and sharpen with ease. Get a quality machine for the job you do. There are many other Drill Doctor machines that cater to different use and abuse. Choose the one that is best for you! I can honestly say that this machine is far superior to anything I have owned, but is also more machine than I need. For the contractor or handyman, this is perfect. I am currently getting bits from my friends to test this out further and am having fun doing it!