Friday, July 29, 2011

An Afternoon Family Nature Walk: Part 1
My backyard is the connection of two major freeways. Not just any freeways, mind you, but two of the most traveled freeways in the country. I despise traffic and city life is out of my comfort zone. Still, I moved out to California, to this concrete jungle, to be with the love of my life. Shortly after I arrived here five years ago, my wife, knowing my need to be in the outdoors, found a hidden little wooded park a mile from our house that helps me unwind and feel free. 

Last weekend, we took a little walk into this green, leafy wonderland to enjoy some quiet time. My in-laws had never been to the El Dorado Nature Center, so we decided that it would be a perfect way to spend some time on an afternoon. The girls were walking and talking, pointing bugs and critters out while spent the time using my camera to capture what I saw.

We had a fantastic walk full of surprises. Here are some of the photos so you can enjoy as well. Be sure to check in to my next post to see what the big surprise was from our walk.

God has an amazing way of helping nature put a smile on my face.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Giving Young Hunters a Killing Chance
Being an avid hunter, who got his start at a very early age, I try to encourage our young hunters every chance I get. Although I choose to mostly bow hunt my game, I am always willing to promote other types of hunting as well. Hunting is a passion that should be shared. It's a tradition that my family has shared and passed down to me and I absolutely love it. 
Some of our youth hunters in California don't get the opportunity to hunt like I did or have a father who knows the ropes like mine did. I have been blessed and now an California organization is trying to help twenty-five youth hunters bag a deer.

Twenty-five lucky junior hunters will be selected in a free, random drawing for a guided antlerless deer hunt at the famous Tejon Ranch for the 2011 season. This year the California Deer Association (CDA) will hold its 8th Annual "Sharing the Tradition" junior deer hunt drawing. According to CDA Vice President, Jerry Springer, "These hunts are the most successful junior deer hunts in California, with a 98% success rate over the last seven years."

The 25 junior hunters will be drawn at random for free one-on-one guided antlerless deer hunts on the 270,000-acre Tejon Ranch, located in Southern California. This is the largest privately sponsored junior deer hunting opportunity in the state. Plus, these are no ordinary deer hunts, thanks to generous sponsors Tejon Ranch, Barnes Bullets LLC, Alpen Optics, Hunter's Specialties and Birchwood Casey. First-class lodging on the ranch is included and each junior hunter will receive ammunition from Barnes Bullets, a pair of high-quality binoculars from Alpen Optics, plus hunting and shooting equipment from Hunter's Specialties and Birchwood Casey.

To date, 140 junior hunters have participated in these hunts and 137 have taken home a deer to share with their family. For over 95% of these juniors, this was their first deer.

The deadline to apply for this year's drawing is October 14, 2011. Hunts will take place during the second half of December. Entry forms can be found on the CDA website at or requested by e-mailing Jerry Springer at

So you parents of youth hunters, get those applications in and do it quick! I want to wish those lucky twenty-five junior hunters good fortune in killing a deer during their hunt. Be proud! Share your stories and if you have a good story to tell of your hunt, let me know and I'll share it here. Shoot straight!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Ban on Hunting in the Los Padres National Forest
Have you heard about the ban on hunting in the Lower Santa Ynez Recreation Area of the Los Padres National Forest? It falls in the Santa Barbara Ranger District. I'd be willing to bet you probably had no idea until now. J.R. Robbins, Managing Editor of NRA's Hunters Rights, wrote up this piece discussing the situation. I am thankful that J.R. decided to communicate this because I know of a few hunters that hunt the lower LPNF that probably have no idea about this order. I am only highlighting a few things, but if you are a Southern California hunter, regardless if you hunt the LPNF, I suggest you pop over and read the full article.  Who knows how many other 'closures' will appear right before hunting season.

"Los Padres National Forest officials announced that hunting will not be allowed within the Lower Santa Ynez Recreation Area of the Santa Barbara Ranger District. The Forest Order was issued to provide for public safety and will remain in effect through February 29, 2012."

And there was this, too: "Violators are subject to a $5,000 fine for an individual or $10,000 for an organization or imprisonment for not more than six months, or both."

At the bottom there was a big blue link to the actual order, but clicking on it took me to a "Page not found" message.

Moreover, this hunting ban was apparently put in place purely at the discretion of the Santa Barbara District Ranger. Asked if the public had any chance to comment on the decision before the ban was implemented, Madsen said, "Not that I'm aware of. I don't believe there is a stipulation that we need to involve the public in closure orders."

Whether there is a stipulation or not, a certain group of citizens about to be banned from using public land deserves to be included in the process. To exclude them is nothing short of arrogance.

While nobody advocates trespass (even one hunter who commits it makes us all look bad), no hard figures were offered as to how many complaints were filed, or if they were all confirmed violations. Beyond that, the relevant agency cannot give out "vague descriptions" to hunters trying their best to obey the law. And while a government agency may be obligated to address residents' complaints, the process needs to involve all affected parties. A sudden, blanket closure of public land to hunting is a rash, knee-jerk reaction.

The original forest article from July 15 said this:

GOLETA, CA….Los Padres National Forest officials announced that hunting will not be allowed within the Lower Santa Ynez Recreation Area of the Santa Barbara Ranger District. The Forest Order was issued to provide for public safety and will remain in effect through February 29, 2012.

Violators are subject to a $5,000 fine for an individual or $10,000 for an organization or imprisonment for not more than six months, or both. Law enforcement personnel will strictly enforce the prohibition, and the public is strongly encouraged to report any violations to the Los Prietos Ranger Station on Paradise Road.

For more information on authorized hunting areas on the Santa Barbara Ranger District, please call the district office at(805)967-3481.

Let this serve as a heads-up warning to all of my fellow hunters. If you hunt the local forests, please check the websites for closures before you go. Getting a ticket in these closed areas is just the start of trouble. I wouldn't think to check the forest site every day before I hunt, but it's looking more and more like we are going to have to. Best of luck to those who are out in the heat and hunting the legal sections of the forests.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011

Controlling the Feral Pig Population... or Feeding the Beast?
In the past few weeks, Southern California has been thrown into the limelight in the battle of controlling the feral pig population. News reports have come out describing how the U.S. Forest Service is going to begin trapping and euthanizing these animals to reduce the population or trying to flat out 'exterminate them'. 

Please bear with me a moment while my inner voice has a good chuckle...

'Buahahahahahahaha!! Exterminate? Really? Buahahahahaha! Stop! I can't breathe!'

It's not totally out of my system, I could go on and on, but do they seriously think they can reduce their numbers over that vast an area? I don't think the U.S. Forest Service means to be THAT specific, but this piece written by Ed Zieralski back on June 1, 2011 seems to say so. I think the U.S. Forest Service just wants to make an impression on the public.
"Our focus has to be what we can do at this point to control the effect they are having now," said Joan Friedlander, supervising ranger of the Palomar District of the Cleveland National Forest. "But it also has to be about controlling the population, keeping it low and at a threshold so it’s not growing exponentially and beyond what we can handle."
Maybe over a long period of time and a few well-placed bombs, but they are talking about attempting this over an incredibly large, difficult to get through area. It's thick in there people. Most of this discussion has been about the areas near or in the Cleveland National Forest. It's rumored that there are between 200-300 hogs down there roaming and multiplying left and right. I've been down there a few times. While they may be there, I have never seen even one.  I know a few guys who have taken pigs in this area, too.
Hunters who spend a lot of time in the backcountry say the population is three to four times that now and it will be useless to try and eradicate them. 
This hunter wonders what 'backcountry' they are talking about? Why, the private parts of course. The public land where they describe them to be, well, I have hiked it and hunted it hard with my buddy Michael - over 7 miles of hilly, rocky terrain - and we didn't see any rooting, tracks or hogs. I know a few other who have done the same thing. Hmmmm, running rampant they are not. I am not saying that we shouldn't be concerned or that feral pigs aren't a nuisance, I am just saying that the articles paint a different picture. Personally, I lean towards Jim Mathews response to the situation.

So, imagine my delight, followed by surprise, when I read The Press-Enterprise today and one of the main stories is about hogs in the Santa Ana River Basin. This story peeked my interest because I know this area.
In an effort to control the population, the Department of Fish and Game has long issued tags to hunters for wild pigs. But it's not enough to stem the increase, considering their rapid reproduction and lack of predators, said Tremor, who estimates the population along the San Diego River at 120 or more.

About the same number are believed to roam the Santa Ana River area between Riverside and Norco. Pigs have lived there since at least the 1960s after they escaped or were released from local farms, according to a 2009 report by the Conservation Biology Institute.
As a hunter, this story is misleading. Sure, tags are issued by the DFG, but YOU CAN'T (legally) HUNT THE RIVER BASIN where the hogs are! Trust me, I have inquired. Am I misinformed? Prove me wrong. I have researched, asked around and get the same answer. I have called and asked the DFG. I have checked out the maps. I have also checked the regulations for firearms and archery equipment. You can't hunt it. Tags may be issued to hunt hogs in CA, but the article seems to say that hunters aren't able to keep them in check. In fact, the hunters haven't been given a chance to go into the Santa Ana River, even if it is just with archery tackle. It would be great if we were able to get in there.

Almost everyone in that area is afraid of hunters because they fear what could happen if it were opened publicly to hunters. There are many people who hike, ride horses and fish down there so a firearm (according to local ordinances) is out of the question. They think hunters are going to go into the river bottom with guns a-blazin' to kill the hogs. I will not disagree, their fears are warranted, but they fail to understand that we want to eat the hogs, not just slay them for personal enjoyment. I propose we meet in the middle - Why not have a opportunity drawing for an archery pig tag (raffles are illegal in California) specific to the Santa Ana River Basin? Also offer up certain time frames and areas where said archers can be in there to reduce the chance of an accident. Along with that, offer up some access points and parking for the hunters to get in and out without being harassed. At present that is nearly impossible, as you may get harassed even if you just want to take photos. Most of the land is private and/or fenced off. If this Hidden Valley Nature Center (in the article) is having such an issue, maybe they would provide certain opportunities for archers. Yeah, I know, I doubt that, too. 

Sure, I am daydreaming about this and from time to time think it could actually happen. When I wake up and snap out of it I then highly doubt it, but wouldn't it be fun to get into an area like this with archery tackle? It would be awesome! Especially an area that is as untouched as this one.

What can you offer up as a reasonable solution to both areas? Both the Cleveland National Forest and the Santa Ana River Basin. Should the U.S. Forest Service be allowed to do it? Should something be opened up to reduce the population near Redlands, CA? I am very interested in what others have to say on this. I know how a few of you will answer because we have discussed this topic before, but it has reared its ugly head again and I want to hear opinons. I still think that charging to hunt hogs is BS and that they should be free to kill at any time, day or night. That is just my opinion, but it's mine and I plan to express it. I know our government needs to increase monies to help balance the budget, but charging for pig tags are a bit much for something so hard to kill anyway.

I am ever-so-slowly stepping down off my soapbox now, but I reserve the right to jump back on and squeal at any time.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Interview with Kerry Mackey: The Chaplain to the Outdoorsmen
Exciting stuff today folks! I had the great fortune of getting to meet one of the bloggers I follow and see many of you following and getting to know. Kerry Mackey, known to many as simply the Chaplain to the Outdoorsmen, is a local SoCal resident with a fervor for all things outdoors. Check out my interview I had with him and I'll bet you learn a thing or two! I certainly did.

Kerry Mackey (R) and I at Bass Pro Shops in Rancho Cucamonga last Sunday.

SoCal Bowhunter: What inspired you start Chaplain to the Outdoorsmen?
Chaplain to the Outdoorsmen: A call from my dear friend Jeff Wait (Okeechobee Shooting Sports) in December 2010 is what prompted me to formalize Chaplain to the Outdoorsmen. While serving as a Pastor in South Florida I had the privilege of getting to know Jeff. During that time we prayer walked an 83 acre piece of property which became his new state of the art outdoor shooting facility. Over a 2 year period I volunteered as the “Range Chaplain” for Okeechobee Shooting Sports. I don’t think Jeff nor I completely knew how God would use our desire to help others in the shooting sports. However, we saw significant life change in persons while they were at the range. I prayed for, counseled, talked with, worked alongside of and challenged persons to a better version of themselves during that time. I truly was their pastor, their chaplain, and their life coach.

SCB: What is your favorite part of blogging about the outdoors?
CTTO: I would submit that “the real me” comes out when I am blogging or producing webisodes. Building a community of like minded folks who genuinely want the best for others while providing that avenue through the outdoors is unmatched by any other industry. You get to see me as a hunter, fisherman, shooter, husband, father, spiritual leader and life-coach.
Persons get to see me, my short comings, my desires, dreams, my fears, my bucket lists... We get to share life in a social community of men and woman who have the same love of the great outdoors. I’ve been blessed to meet so many great men and woman in the industry... truly building a network for a life-time of friends and hunting partners.

SCB: How long have you been a hunter in Southern California?
CTTO: I’ve only hunted SoCal for the past 2 years. We have lived in SoCal on and off since 2005. First coming to SoCal to be the Membership Pastor at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Ca from 2005-2008 and then returning in 2010 to Friends Church in Yorba Linda, Ca.

SCB: How do you find the hunting out here vs hunting in Texas?
CTTO: Completely different... Texas is for the most part, flat terrain and East Texas where I’m from is big, beautiful pine timber and hardwood bottoms, creeks, slews, and lakes. Hot, humid, thunderstorms, with true seasons through out the year. The game in East Texas is plentiful... pigs (by the millions), deer, coons, fox, and, coyotes. Fishing is great too... so many great lakes to choose from. Hunting, fishing, and shooting is a way of life of 90% of the population.

Southern California is the other extreme... almost. It is steep mountainous terrain and most of it is public land (National Forest) where Texas is mostly private. The weather stays fairly consistent throughout the year. Rain is seldom, heat is moderate with little to no humidity, and there are no insects to speak of. Hunting is hard work... a ton more glassing is required, no bating is allowed, game is much harder to find. The travel distance to hunting locations can sometimes be over 4 hours. Talking with other hunters about where they are finding game, sharing information is a must.

Oh, and hunting, fishing, and shooting is NOT a way of life for 90% of the population in California.

SCB: I know you are happily married and have four boys. Wow! Do your kids go hunting with you and do they prefer hunting or fishing?
CTTO: You bet ya. I’ve taken all four of my boys hunting... Since California requires that you are 12 years old and have attended a Hunters Safety course before they can tote their own bow or gun... they go sit with me and run the electronic coyote caller and video camera.

As for fishing... they all LOVE fishing; however, it’s tough finding places here in SoCal that doesn’t cost $22 / day / person with a 5 fish max limit. Almost sounds like the state doesn’t want us to fish. It’s time for the Mackey Boys to find a private landowner who will let us
catch and release.

SCB: What drove you to become a pastor and then to follow it up as Chaplain to the Outdoorsmen?
CTTO: I became a believer/follower of Jesus on January 19, 1980. I never set out to “become a pastor”. In fact, my degree is a Bachelor of Science in Forestry with an emphasis in Wildlife Biology and Forest Recreation. I often tell persons that I am closest to God when I am with Him in the woods hunting, fishing, and shooting.

During the summer of 1993 while I was a Forester in Magnolia, Arkansas I felt God telling me that I was supposed to be doing something different with my life. Not necessarily more... just different. I was so fulfilled as a Professional Forester. I could never have asked for a better career. But I knew in the core of my being I was supposed to do something different. I
didn’t know what that was, but through coaching from men in my life I went to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas for Seminary in January 1996 for additional training as a Pastor. Since that time I’ve been a Pastor, Life-Coach, and now a Chaplain to Outdoorsmen in Arkansas, Florida, Texas, and California.

Chaplain to the Outdoorsmen has grown so fast since January 2011 that it is hard to explain. I really believe God is pulling together my LOVE of Jesus and the Outdoors to make a difference in the industry I so enjoy and want to raise my family in. I foresee a broader audience in days to come.

SCB: Where is your ministry based out of?
CTTO: We currently live in Yorba Linda, California. A community of approximately 90,000 folks just west of Los Angeles about 50 miles or so. Right on the northern tip of Cleveland National Forest.

SCB: If you could give my readers only one tip about outdoor blogging what would it be?
CTTO: Content is king. Quality content is imperative.

SCB: What, in your eyes, is the biggest achievement your blog has reached?
CTTO: I think the “Daily Thought” widget we created has made great strides in putting words of encouragement in the hands of so many in our industry in such a short time. It is great to see the Daily Thought widget when you go to others websites and blogs. We are also honored that other bloggers are quoting, sharing, and retweeting our materials. It is so refreshing to see outdoor industry leaders sharing our insights with others. I have a gut feeling the best is yet to come... As long as we don’t get in God’s way and screw it up.

SCB: Do you have a 'hunting/fishing' bucket list?
CTTO: You bet I do... Although I am not the world’s greatest bow hunter, I would rather shoot a bow than a gun, any day. SO, my bucket list is a Bull Elk Bow Hunt... I’d love to live with them on their turf for 10 - 14 days in the middle of nowhere... stalk to within range... have them bugle in my ear until I can’t hear from the deafening noise of their deep throated bugle... see the whites in his eyes and then with a peace that over comes you in the moment, the silence that surrounds your inner soul... as I release 400+ grains of carbon / steel and watch the fletchings disappear into that golden brown hair of a heart shot.

Yes’r... I have a bucket list... and it only has one item in it.

SCB: If so, do you have any plans in place to get any of your bucket list items done before the end of the year?
CTTO: I wish I could say I do; however, as you can imagine with four boys and my beautiful bride who is a work at home mom and homeschooler. It doesn’t appear we are a point in our lives right now to afford such a hunt. One of these days...

SCB: Besides a 'bucket list', what are some of your focused hunting goals for 2011 or the near future?
CTTO: I am looking forward a Archery Mule Deer Buck tag I drew in Utah for this fall. And then there is the hopes of my first California Blacktail. I’ll also have my annual Christmas archery deer/pig hunt in Texas.

We are really working hard to have Chaplain to the Outdoorsmen in on several video hunts in 2011-2012 across the U.S. We have several inquiries right now that would put us on Fish in North Carolina, Pigs in South Florida, Coyotes in Wisconsin, Deer/Pig in Texas, and potentially Deer in Arkansas. Of course, that all comes with a price tag... so we will see what the Lord allows.

SCB: Who are your major influences in the outdoors?
CTTO: I had the privilege of having Dr. James Kroll (Dr. Deer) as my Wildlife Professor at Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches, Texas where I received my degree. I’d have to say Dr. Kroll is one.

I have also become really good friends with RB Wright with RB Wright Outdoors in Fayetteville, N.C.. RB is an up and coming Outdoor Industry Leader that is going to make a huge difference in thousands of persons lives.

Jimmy Sites with Spiritual Outdoor Adventures and his influence in the lives of so many is awesome. And then I enjoy Keith Warren, Matt McPherson with Mathews, Michael Waddell, Bill Jordan, David Blanton, Drury Brothers, Lee & Tiffany, Pat & Nicole... etc...

Don’t forget Ted Nugent... Uncle Ted has my vote.

SCB: Other then hunting, fishing, and blogging, what do you do in your spare time?
CTTO: I spent a ton of time with my beautiful wife Stephanie and our four boys, Caleb, Josiah, Levi, and Silas. I really enjoy Life-Coaching Outdoor Leaders. My list is intentionally small. Therefore, I only coach a select group of 5 - 7 Outdoor Leaders at any one time. I also speak at conferences, retreats, events, etc...

I am also wanting to learn to weld. I have always wanted to learn how. SO, I’m thinking this year is the year I purchase a welder and cut’n torch and see what I’m made of.

Kerry Mackey - Chaplain to the Outdoorsmen

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Product Review: Delta Rail Stabilizer by Tactical Archery Systems
Does your bow fall forward after the shot? Is there up-swing or down-swing? What about vibration and weight control? These are all factors you should be aware of and consider before purchasing a stabilizer for your bow. 

For years I have had what I thought were the best stabilizers on my bow, but I had them on for the wrong reasons. At first, I thought you HAD to have on on there just to be cool. Ha! Then I figured you had to have one to combat vibration, which can be true, but you also have to consider the weight of the stabilizer. You have to really get the weight right to balance the bow, but you may want to consider other factors, too. One might be adding a bi-pod to your bow. Another could be adding a light to aid in night hunting (if it's legal where you hunt). What about a screw in type system where you can add additional weight if needed? The Delta Rail stabilizer from Tactical Archery Systems has all three.

I recently did a review of the HipBone from TAS. The Delta-Rail is the second piece of archery gear I have reviewed of theirs.

Delta Rail overview from website:
  • Accepts standard accessories and lights
  • Side-to-side adjustable rails for accurately aligning accessories with arrow impact
  • Low-frequency vibration reduction
  • Light-weight, high-strength aluminum construction
The world's first tactical stabilizer. The Delta Rail reduces vibration with added dampening in the low frequency range. The picatinny tactical rails are adjustable laterally to compensate for the torquing of the bow at partial and full draw so that the accessories (lights, lasers, etc.) will align or stay aligned with the target instead of moving off to the side. This stabilizer represents the first use of picatinny rails for archery though they have long been a military standard. Through extensive testing it was discovered that the torquing of the bow caused the accessories to no longer be aligned with the point of impact and therefore lateral adjustment was necessary. Countless tactical accessories designed to fit these rails will work on the Delta Rail including lights, lasers, bi-pods and so much more.

The Delta Rail stabilizer works similar to many stabilizers on the market. It's weighted so you can balance your bow. It has a screw in area for adding on the TAS HipBone system or additional weights.

Screw in area, mounting rails and a sleek finish.

The Delta Rail works like any other stabilizer in the fact that it helps balance your bow. It does have the 'tactical' advantage of having three areas to attach a light, bi-pod or a camera (should you have a mount that will fit).

The stabilizer attached quickly to my bow and the weight was perfect for my shooting. I had no problems with the bow falling forward fast or kicking back on me.

Time for me to pick it apart a little. This is a tactical stabilizer, not necessarily one made for hunting, at least from my perspective. 

First, it's bulky. It's not thin like 95% of the stabilizers on the market. When I am setting up my bow, I don't necessarily worry about the look before functionality. I want things to work and work right. This one certainly functions as a stabilizer, but because of it's bulk and width girth if there is a crosswind the Delta Rail catches it and forces the bow to sway. We have a good crosswind at our range from time to time and this was definitely noticeable.

The second thing I will point out, and the thing that I think is most important, is that there is supposed to be low-frequency vibration reduction built-in. I didn't notice any vibration reduction. When I put the Delta Rail up against an S-Coil stabilizer there is a huge difference. With the S-Coil there was no vibration in the handle of my bow. With the Delta Rail my hand vibrated to a point where it scared me. Yes, it actually had me looking over the bow a few times to make sure it wasn't falling apart. When it was vibrating, I had no other attachments on the stabilizer. There were no weights, no washers, and no added vibration dampening units.

The Delta Rail has three 'rails' on it to attach things. Attaching a light for night hunting is a snap, where legal. I just tried mine out at a store because it's not legal to have a light attached to your bow out here in Southern California. I'd love to give it a shot, but it's one facet of my review that I could not attempt.

Following the same lines with the rails, attaching a bi-pod could be great for some. That is IF you get the Delta Rail to fit perfectly level on your bow. This can take some fine-tuning. Let me give you my example. I shoot with a wrist strap. It has a leather connector for attaching it between my bow and stabilizer. With this on there I could not get the stabilizer to level without either adding some washers to the back where it connects tot he bow or by loosening it just a bit. Seeing as loosening it wasn't an option I chose another route. I tightened the heck out of to where it cut into the leather. I didn't care for that and it still didn't line up quite right.

There is a screw in area at the end for attaching the HipBone or other additional weight. I really like that feature, but I am guessing that it was specifically designed like that. The ball screw-in attachment went in as described and worked well.

This is from a subjective point-of-view and me being nit-picky, but the colors of the Delta Rail, could be improved. While it's black and silver in color, and the aluminum is dulled down, I don't like having anything shiny like that on my bow. I was considering putting camo tape over the silver or giving it a paint job. The shine will only appear in direct sunlight and it's a small surface area to deal with. Like I said, I am being picky because I don't like that kind of thing on my bow.

All-in-all it's a decent stabilizer for the range, but I wouldn't take it out hunting if I am using a wrist strap. If I am shooting without one I will definitely keep it on the bow. It has a price tag of $89.99 and in my opinion, that is just too high for something that I feel needs improvement.

My recommendations to Tactical Archery Systems would be the following:
  1. Add some vibration reduction technology - I just can't feel it. I would still like to see something more to aid in vibration reduction. (Edited: see Continued Review below)
  2. Include some washers (maybe rubberized) to get the Delta Rail to line up evenly or offer up a solution to rotate the rails. (Edited: see Continued Review below)
  3. Give it some color and cover up the aluminum.
CONTINUED REVIEW - July 20 - After exchanging some emails with Klint Kingsbury about the vibration in the bow I decided to go back and test it again. He made some recommendations and I made a plan. I did two separate checks. The first one was on my bow WITH a wrist strap. This is where there is some vibration. Why? Well, Klint pointed out that I can cinch down the lock nut after getting the stabilizer where I wanted it. Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to do when there is a quarter of an inch of leather from the wrist strap that nearly covers the nut. I can tighten the nut down, but not fully. So, in my findings, you can't really lock down the Delta Rail with a wrist wrap on your bow. 

I then moved on to my backup bow. No wrist strap, and no vibration dampening on it, except for a string stop. I was able to adjust the rails to where I wanted them, too. I then locked down the Delta Rail tightly, no play in it this time, and shot 60 arrows. While the vibration was reduced greatly, there was still some felt in the handle, but it is VERY limited. Klint is correct in that you need to lock down that nut tight to get the most out of the stabilizer. In my opinion, the minimal vibration you feel is offset by the fact that you can use the HipBone with the Delta Rail and with most other stabilizers you cannot. 
My reviews are strictly my opinion and nothing else. I am not knocking TAS for their product, I am just providing my insight and findings for the hunting and shooting I do while using their product. I would love to hear some ideas, recommendations or your experiences with the Delta Rail stabilizer, too. Let me know if there was anything I may have missed, too. I am not perfect, nor am I an expert.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Product Review: G5 Prime Centroid Compound Bow
The G5 Prime Centroid Compound Bow is new to me because G5 just recently started building bows and they really know what they are doing. I was invited by the staff over at Archery Outpost in Los Alamitos, CA to come over to shoot the bow, ask questions and do a review on it. How was I going to say no? Before I went over, I wanted to do some research online. I avoided YouTube and other sites doing reviews. I wanted my review to be my own and not influenced by anyone or any company. My first stop was the G5 website to review the specifications on this bow.
Introducing Prime™ and Parallel Cam™ Technology
Prime is a premium bow line by G5 Outdoors that aims to take bow technology and innovation to new heights. Parallel Cam Technology is a breakthrough cam technology that addresses a major issue cams have had until now: cam lean.

The first of its kind, our Forged 7000 series T6 aluminum is twice as strong as the 6061 T6 aluminum our competitors use.

The C-1 cross weft design significantly reduces torsional stresses in the limb, producing improved consistency and accuracy shot after shot.

Our Flexible Titanium cable guard system reduces cam lean by 25% by reducing side load on cables during draw.

Parallel Cam™ Technology
The patent pending revolutionary cam system that conquers cam lean giving you a shooting experience unlike any other.

IBO (FPS): 332
AXLE TO AXLE (IN): 34.25"
DRAW LENGTH: 27" - 31"
DRAW WEIGHT (LBS):50, 60, 70
MSRP $999
My first impression of this bow was that it was very balanced in my hand. They did not put a quiver on it, but they had it set up with a sight. It was set at 55# with a 29" draw. Here is a 3 minute clip of me shooting the G5 Prime Centroid.

The bow shoots incredibly smooth and it is fast! I shot 40 arrows though it before picking my personal bow up to shoot it. What happened next shocked me. I shot my first arrow and the vibration in my hand scared the hell out of me. I looked at my bow to see if something had come apart, but everything was where it should be. I looked to my right and there was Bob, AO staff member, just watching me. He walked on over and he knew exactly what had happened. I described what happened and the shock I felt. He explained that was the EXACT thing everyone he has spoken with has said after shooting this bow. It was a very interesting bit on information.

One of the other things that I was surprised to learn about was the dual cam set-up on the Centroid. This new innovative design was created to eliminate cam lean. I drew the bow back a few times to check on the truthfulness of this claim. I was surprised to see that this was indeed the truth. My personal bow top cam lean to the right. The Centroid cam was fully upright each time I drew it back and shot. Impressive to say the least!

The build of the bow is sleek and sturdy. I really like the feel of it by itself, carrying it around the shop, but also when shooting it. It felt very comfortable in my hands. There was not vibration, no overpowering sound and it felt clean. It's a very forgiving bow that is fun to shoot.

The price tag on this bad boy? Well the MSRP is an astounding $999.00. No, that is not a typo. They want nearly a grand for this bow. Holy Schnikes, right? That's what I had to say because I already own a bow, but if you planned on buying a brand new bow and having it for a long time, this would be a good choice. Would I buy it? If I had a thousand bucks to burn, maybe.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Follow-up to the Hollywood Celebrity Sporting Clays Invitational
Many of you will remember the interviews I did regarding the 2011 Hollywood Celebrity Sporting Clays Invitational. Sadly, I was unable to attend this years event, but I plan on attending and helping out for next time. Speaking of helping out, I received this letter from Patrick Kilpatrick yesterday and I felt compelled to post it. You can read the letter for yourself, but in a nutshell they went over-budget and are in need of some more donations. The best part is, they aren't just asking for cash donations (which I am sure you can make). They are offering up hunting excursions through auction. The instructions on how to bid are listed in the letter. Remember, these donations go to the orphans, widows, paralyzed veterans and wounded warriors (charities listed on the HCSC website).

The dates are wide open right now for the whitetail hunt and the African safari. They are looking to help accommodate the winning bidders.

Dear Friends,
As we bring the 2011 Hollywood Celebrity Sporting Clays Invitational to a close we wanted to make you aware of some challenges we face.

Officially, it’s now been recorded that we fed 1,282 people in 2 days. Resulting in a catering bill that has doubled which has consequently created a substantial monetary shortfall.

Rather than simply asking for additional donations or additional sponsor dollars we have assembled the following hunts to be offered for bargain sale to cover the shortfall, supplementing the monies going to the designated charities.
  1. The hunt from Freedom Hunters & Licking River Outfitters – Kentucky whitetail deer hunt. The individual who gets this hunt will be going with 3 service people on this hunt. Winner can choose either bow, muzzleloader OR a rifle season hunt – it does not include license / tag fees nor airfare. Meals and accommodations are included.
  2. An additional pheasant hunt in South Dakota with celebrities and filming – this is a mirror of the one we have already auctioned off + celebrities. 4 people -- 3 days pheasant hunting – it does not include license / tag fees nor airfare. Meals and accommodations are included.
  3. Mystery, African safari hunt – details still forthcoming but we promise we will make it an adventure of a lifetime, in all its glory – it will not include license / tag fees nor airfare. Meals and accommodations are included. 
Of course if you have a wonderful hunt or fishing adventure to be added to these auctions -- the orphans, widows, paralyzed veterans and wounded warriors would greatly appreciate it.

Please email your bids to – please include in it the highest amount you will bid, your name, your contact number and current email address. Let us know if you would like us to phone you in case you have been outbid, please include your current cell number and indicate if you desire this or not. Once these hunts are secured with a winner we will work with you to customize each journey for the respective winner.

Remember, this is completely, 100% tax deductible.

Deadline is in a week – on next Wednesday, July 13th – at high noon. This is for all bids. Auctions will go to the highest bidder.

Once again, thank you one and all – for your every participation. Thank you also for helping to put the event over the top.

Best and love,
Patrick Kilpatrick

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Last Season vs. This Season
Scouting for black bear and pacific-hybrid deer is about to begin for me. I plan on hitting the forests in the next few weeks to put up trail cams, glass for animals and check for sign. I am stoked because I normally wait a little longer or have to search out more areas. This year I have my bear and deer spots set and I am ready to scout. I am also ready to do a lot more hiking. Check out these photos from September of last year to June of this year. I am now forty-seven pounds lighter and ready to hit the trails.

What a difference a year makes!
One of my goals is to do more hiking on hunts and this should be a good start. My other goal is to go on an elk hunt this fall. So far it is still in the cards and I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Friday, July 1, 2011

OC Fair Photography Contest -  2 Entries Accepted!
For the past eighteen years I have been extremely blessed when it comes to my photography. I owe it to God, my family, many caring professionals, my professors and lots of hard work. I didn't just learn overnight and I didn't do it on my own. Most of the time I was just shooting photos for the fun of it. I loved being behind the camera and it was cool to catch that perfect moment. For fourteen years I shot as an amateur, practicing by photographing wildlife, the outdoors and sometimes my friends. It wasn't until my wife urged me to do it professionally that I ever considered shooting other types of photography. (Yes, honey, I know. It's about time I listened to you.)

Over the past four years I have entered a few photography contests and I even won a few of the local ones. The first year I entered a photo into the Fair I was an amateur and won an honorable mention, but once I started selling my work I entered the Pro category. Last year was a highlight for me as I was chosen as a first place winner in the OC Fair in the Professional - Children/Families photo category for my image of a toddler on the beach. Talk about feeling stoked!

My wife, who is an amazing photographer, was at the Fair on opening day last year and saw that she won third place in People and I won in my category. She called me right up to tell me and my jaw hit the floor. By the way, hearing that you won a photo contest from your excited wife is so much cooler than getting an email. Just for the record. Here's where you can see her winning image from last year, along with mine right below it.

I honestly think my wife has the best chance of winning a ribbon this year for her image of cows in a pasture. She has a unique talent and if you read up on her, she's only been doing it for a few years and has a passion like I have never seen before.

So, without further ado, here are the two of the four images I entered (two were rejected). If you head to the OC Fair in Costa Mesa, CA this year, take a look around and see if you spot them.

Sam Leccia creating a masterpiece at a local event.

Eric and Katrina Welsh during an awesome engagement session.
There is some funny irony in our entries this year, too. My wife loves photographing people and my passion is for landscapes and wildlife. So, she gets a landscape/animal photo in the Fair and I have two photos of people chosen. How ironic is that? 

You can get free admission tot he OC Fair on certain days. Click here to find out when!