Friday, February 25, 2011

Win Tickets to the Fred Hall Show in Long Beach, CA!
It's about time we had a giveaway, wouldn't you say? Sorry to my non-resident blog readers,  this one is going to be for the people who will actually be able to attend the event.  More than likely Southern California residents or people visiting from our of town that week. The contest is only going to run for 6 days.

I have six (6)  tickets to the Fred Hall Fishing, Tackle, Boat and Travel Show at the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center in Long Beach, CA. It kicks off on March 9 and runs through March 13.

Tim Baker, from the Fred Hall Shows, graciously donated the tickets and had this to say:
We do have some additional hunting at the show this year. Factory displays from Savage, Mossberg, Legacy Sports, Ceasar Guerini Shotguns, Hunters Specialties, Rocky Mountain Pack Systems, Gamo Outdoors, the Safari Club Trailer, Crosman, The Cowboys, COHA, NRA, retail displays, lodges, outfitters and so on. 

There will be plenty of hunting vendors, archery shops and my favorite, outdoor hunting seminars. Plus, they have trick archer and contortionist Lilia Stepanova. She's got some mad skills that's for sure. Last year I attended a great elk calling seminar by Jim Rizzo from Bugling Bull Game Calls. It was fantastic! I am going to try to get another one in this year! I will be going on Saturday, March 12. Look for the black DIYBOWHUNTER.COM shirts and hats!
Here is how you enter to WIN:
Tickets will be distributed individually, unless we get less than 6 entries. If that is the case I will see if the winners want more than one ticket.

1. Leave me a comment and tell me why you want to go. Also, in the case that only a few people enter, tell me how many tickets you can use.

2. For a second chance to enter, re-post this giveaway on your blog and leave a link to your post in the comment section.

3. For a third chance to enter, follow me on Twitter. Then come back here and tell me you did it and what your handle is.

Giveaway ends Friday, March 4, 2011 at 12:00 PM PST. One winner will be chosen by random.org. Winner will be announced the same day. It will be up to you to send me your contact information so I can get these in the mail the next day.

Disclaimer: Admission ticket does NOT include the cost of parking, which I believe is $10.
___________________________________________

Directions can be found here:  
Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center
300 E. Ocean Boulevard
Long Beach, CA 90802


Show Schedule:


March 9th Wednesday 2:00 PM - 9:30 PM

March 10th Thursday 2:00 PM - 9:30 PM

March 11th Friday 2:00 PM - 9:30 PM

March 12th Saturday 10:00 AM - 9:30 PM

March 13th Sunday 10:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Admission Price:
Adults
Children (15 years old and younger with paid adult)
Military and Seniors

$15.00
Free
$14.00










SoCal Archer Wins Big In Vegas!
Many of you know that last year we had a new archery pro shop open up just a few blocks from my house. I've popped my head in at Archery Outpost a few times in the past year to shoot, talk shop, fix gear, buy stuff and more. It's truly a happening place that just seems to get better and so do the archers that work there.

The National Field Archery Association - NFAA World Archery Festival was held February 11-13, 2011 at the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV.

Connor Kelly, son of Archery Outpost owner Laura Kelly, was a big winner at the festival. Connor shot in the Compound Unlimited Flights division. There were over 600 archers in this division and at the end of day three there were four archers in Flight 1 tied for 2nd place with 899. The only thing separating them was the X count (knocking out the X in the bullseye). To give you some perspective a perfect score is 900 with 90 X's. There were six archers that shot 898 with one in that group that shot 76 X's. Prize money was handed out to the top eight archers in this division. Final totals brought everyone together and Connor ended up shooting an 899 for the tournament with a total of 75 X's as he took first place!

Congratulations, Connor!


Thursday, February 24, 2011

How Do I Get Permission To Hunt Private Land?
I am borrowing a post written by Brian over at heyBJK. His blog is growing rapidly and he is a very conscientious outdoorsman and family man. He put together a great 'How-to' for hunters looking to get permission to hunt private land. Here in Southern California, hunters should heed this advice because this doesn't just apply to hunting deer. This applies to any kind of hunting. I know it is tough to get owners of privately owned property to give you access to their land. I know it from experience and have had enough doors shut in my face. I have also had plenty of success in just asking, offering my time and being cordial. Here is some of that Brian had to say. I only highlighted some of his insight. You should read his entire post here:


Have you ever driven by a tract of land and thought, man, I'd like to have the opportunity to hunt there? I'm sure most of us know of property we'd like to be able to hunt, but can't because it's privately owned. In reality, the only thing standing between you and potentially new hunting opportunities is asking permission. I'm going to provide a few pointers that can help make that process a bit easier. 

Start now and leave the camo at home. You should start making contact with landowners early in the year. It might seem like a minor thing, but asking several months in advance shows that you're thinking ahead and is more respectful than knocking on somebody's door two days before the season opens. This also gives a landowner time to think it over, if necessary, and get to know you better. Some people might be more open to the idea of letting you hunt on their land if they're not being asked to make a spur-of-the-moment decision. 

Always be polite and respectful. This really goes without saying. Your request should be made politely. Using "sir" and "ma'am" never hurt anyone even though it is less common now. If you are turned down it is very important to remain polite. Remember, you are representing hunters in general and you want to leave a good impression no matter what answer you receive. It has the potential to open doors later. If you receive a definite "no", don't argue or keep going back to ask again. It's part of being respectful.

Be prepared to give some information. In some ways, getting permission to hunt private property is a bit like a job interview. At least you should think of it in those terms. You may be asked what you do for a living, where you live, how long you've been hunting, if you've taken a hunter safety course, or possibly even for personal references. If you don't receive permission during that initial contact, ask if it would be okay to leave your name and number. This is especially important if the landowner is going to consider your request. 

Bowhunters can have an advantage. You may talk with landowners who are hesitant to allow gun hunting on their property. Maybe they have concerns about livestock, pets, or just don't want guns being fired on their land. If you are also a bowhunter, you may be able to secure permission to hunt that way. Some people don't have the same concerns about bows that they do with guns.

It's not a one-way street. If you do get permission to hunt on private property, don't just be a taker. One of the nicest things you can do is offer to assist with work on the land. This is especially true with farmers and ranchers. I don't mean you have to be there every weekend, but maybe there is fence to be repaired or wood to be cut or painting to be done. Offer to donate some of your time in exchange for the hunting privilege. When I was in school, my brother and I helped a farmer bale his hay during the summer as our way of thanking him for allowing us to hunt on his land. It was hot, nasty work, but worth it. Even if the landowner doesn't need or want your help, you can still offer to give them part of your meat. For those who enjoy wild game, this is a nice gesture.


Some definite no-no's.
If you get permission for yourself, do NOT show up with a couple of hunting buddies in tow. Nothing will annoy a landowner faster than you presuming you have the authority to invite others. If you want to bring another person along, you need to discuss that up front and have it worked out from the get-go.  

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Latest Hog Hunt Turns To Garbage
Ok, so the title of this post may not exactly be what you were thinking, but it got your attention, right? Eric Welsh, of DIYbowhunter.com, and I went out hog hunting on public land yesterday. We found lots of sign, but no hogs. We ran into a few other people out there partying or just driving around and we figured the hogs were holed up in another canyon. At one point we really got into some sign from the day before and thought we were getting close, but we missed something and lost the trail. We hiked in and around for six miles and had a great time.

As we came out of one canyon, I looked over to my left and found this atrocity looming before us. Absolutely horrid. From what we could gather, someone had been living here for quite some time. Trash everywhere. The worst part seems visual, until I found the child toys like dolls, football helmets and stuffed animals. Not only was I saddened for this chunk of land, but I wondered in my head what had to drive someone like this to camp out here. Sure, it could be someone growing marijuana, or hiding out from 5-O, but in all likelihood it was someone hit hard by the economy and had no other place to go. No matter what the situation, it is disgusting and a sight that Eric and I both found disturbing. Here are a few photos of what we found. I left them smaller, but you can click to make them larger.

The view of the encampment from a distance.
Just look at how much garbage is piled up!
It never ends.
Toys, tarps, and totes!
There was a table with scissors and a tackle box on it.
Eric holding a homemade spear he found right next to a deer skull.

Eric viewing the endless trail of garbage.




Monday, February 21, 2011

DIYbowhunter.com is Looking for Field Staff

 
DIYbowhunter.com is now looking for "Field Staff" and we are looking for 10 bow hunters to fill these positions. We will accept applications until March 19, 2011. After that, we'll be scouring through the applications and making a decision. Good luck everyone!

What we require:
  1. You are an avid bow hunter
  2. You are willing to promote DIYbowhunter.com
  3. You are willing to log on to the forums once a week to start a new topic and reply to other topics.
  4. You must fill out the application
  5. You must email 2 to 6 Archery success pictures and/or field photos
What you will get in return:
  1. Your picture and Bio will be put on the site under the "Team DIY" tab.
  2. You will receive 3 black DIY T-shirts, 1 DIY hat, and 1 DIY sweat shirt.
  3. You will receive 3 DIY decals
  4. You will receive 50% off all DIY Gear
Here is the link to the info and the form you will need to fill out: DIYbowhunter Field Staff

I hope anyone of you interested will sign up and give it a go. If you have any questions, feel free to shoot Eric a message on the forums or shoot me an email.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Arizona Game and Fish to host webcast on comprehensive game management
For those of you who hunt in Arizona, this is a good opportunity to get a feel for how you can learn more about Arizona G&F and learn more about some of the hunting areas in Arizona. I think it's great that entities are starting to offer more webcast features. It's up to us to take advantage of these. This can help us better understand how we can approach hunting other states as well. Here is the press release I received.
PHOENIX – The Arizona Game and Fish Department will host a webcast and public meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 22 at 6:30 p.m. to develop a Comprehensive Game Management Plan (CGMP) for advancing the management of the state’s game animals and their habitats. 

“The vision of Comprehensive Game Management is to develop a tool linking existing management plans with the latest visual data of development paths, wildlife corridors, critical habitat areas, and other data for a holistic view for management,” said Brian Wakeling, chief of game management for Game and Fish.

The public can view the proceedings of the meeting in any of three ways: 
  1. live webcast at www.azgfd.gov/webcast
  2. by video conference at all six regional Game and Fish offices;  
  3. in person at the Game and Fish headquarters office at 5000 W. Carefree Highway in Phoenix.
The public can provide comments and ask questions in person, or via e-mail to webcast@azgfd.gov. Questions e-mailed early in the presentation may be answered during the question-and-answer portion of the meeting; however, all comments will be considered in shaping the plan.

Wakeling added, “We are looking forward to giving this presentation to our constituents and getting their input to help us shape the Comprehensive Game Management Plan that will guide better decisions to protect, restore, and manage game populations in the 21st Century.”

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Colorado DOW Looking to Elevate License Sales 
Bow hunting for elk has always been a dream of mine. I honestly never thought I would have an opportunity, but this year should be full of surprises. I am currently planning my Fall elk hunt with Team DIY and we are all excited. I have already begun training by increasing my cardio, dropping 25 lbs and hiking more and more. I received this email below from the Colorado Department of Wildlife and how they are trying to get more elk hunters to come to their great state. Well, you sucked one in and I cannot wait! I am posting the email in its entirety because I feel you get more out of it that way. If you do decide to go to CO and hunt, let me know. I'd love to hear all about it!

DENVER -- In a new effort to promote elk license sales and support the rural communities that depend on hunting, the Colorado Division of Wildlife is launching a national marketing campaign aimed at challenging hunters to elevate their game by tackling a Colorado elk hunt this fall.

The "Elevate Your Game" campaign targets hunters age 30 to 65 using football terminology and themes to raise awareness of Colorado elk hunting opportunities. The integrated television, print and web campaign, developed with Denver-based 5-Stone Advertising, is designed to reach millions of hunters across the country between mid-February and April 5.

Division of Wildlife Director Tom Remington said that while the campaign has a national reach, it's designed as a proof-of-concept pilot project to test the effectiveness of marketing to resident and nonresident hunters alike. The goal of the campaign is to increase elk license applications for the limited license drawing as well as sales of leftover and over-the-counter licenses later in the year.

"The Division of Wildlife's ability to manage big game for Coloradans and visitors depends on hunters," Remington said. "Hunting supports tens of thousands of jobs in dozens of communities across this state. Investing in new ways to encourage hunters to hunt in Colorado is just a smart thing to do."

The Division is believed to be the first state wildlife agency to pursue a national hunter recruitment campaign of this type.

Hunting, angling and wildlife viewing are important economic activities for Colorado and stimulate tourism to rural areas of the state.  Wildlife-based recreation has an annual economic impact of $3 billion across Colorado and ranks along with skiing as the top tourism drivers. Hunting and fishing generate $1.8 billion, supporting 20,614 jobs statewide each year. In the state's top five wildlife-dependant counties, hunting and fishing account for between 5 percent and 12 percent of total jobs.

However, during the past five years, the Division has seen the number of Colorado elk hunters decline by 37,500. Reversing this decline has become a top agency priority. An evaluation of the 2011 campaign will help determine if investing in direct outreach to hunters can convince more of them to hunt in Colorado.

The campaign features a 30-second television spot that will run for eight weeks during prime time on The Sportsman's Channel and The Outdoor Channel, two premier national cable channels whose programming focuses on wildlife recreation. In addition, 5-Stone produced two 15-second web ads that will run on popular hunting and fishing web sites, such as FieldandStream.com, OutdoorLife.com and NorthAmericanHunter.com.

A third campaign element is a full-page print ad that will adorn the March issues of Outdoor Life and Game and Fish magazines, which have a combined circulation of 1.3 million.

Each of the campaign ads will direct hunters to a dedicated website, HuntColorado.org, which features a section on planning a Colorado hunt. In addition to web-based ads, the site hosts a video that guides hunters through the license application process and a second video on planning a Colorado big-game hunt. Other links will direct hunters to the Colorado Tourism web site for information on accommodations and the Department of Regulatory Affairs to find a registered outfitter.

Tyler Baskfield, the Division's communications manager, said that the Division has increased its emphasis on customer service, with new products and services to ensure hunters get the information they need.

"We're challenging hunters to 'elevate their game' with a Colorado elk hunt, so we're raising our game in customer service to make the whole experience of hunting in Colorado as enjoyable and as easy as possible," Baskfield said.  "We have world-class hunting and we are ready to provide world-class customer service to match."

Hunters who visit the DOW web site will find an interactive on-line version of the new, user-friendly big-game brochure and links to "Elk Hunting University," a series of articles on the DOW web page that give hunters skills training and planning tips for their elk hunt.

In addition, the Division has staffed up its call center with special customer service representatives who are knowledgeable about the Division's licensing process and Colorado hunting in general. Called "Hunt Planners," these hunting experts will provide the local knowledge and insider tips that can help ensure an enjoyable and successful hunt.

Al White, Director of Colorado Tourism and the former state Senator from Hayden, said that the DOW's marketing campaign is an example of Gov. Hickenlooper's focus on supporting sustainable jobs in Colorado communities.

"I'm very excited about the direction the DOW is taking with this approach of actively marketing and soliciting hunters to come to Colorado," said White. "I think the return on this marketing investment for the state will be phenomenal."

"Hunting is a critical element to the Northwest Colorado economy and until now, our success has been based on word of mouth and trade shows," added Craig Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Christina Oxley. "This is a bold move that will benefit the entire state. Kudos to the DOW for being a true community partner and taking this proactive step.
For a downloadable copy of the 2011 Big Game Brochure, visit the Division's web site at: http://wildlife.state.co.us/Hunting/
To view a copy of the new on-line, interactive brochure with video tutorials, please visit: http://www.flipseekpubs.com/publication/?i=59966
Elk Hunting University may be viewed at: http://wildlife.state.co.us/Hunting/ElkHuntingUniversity/

For more information about Division of Wildlife go to: http://wildlife.state.co.us.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Happy 1st Anniversary to the SoCal Bowhunter Blog!
I was sitting here reading through some old posts while on a break from jury duty and suddenly realized that my blog has been alive and kicking now for a full year! A Full Year! I am stoked that not only have I been able to come up with content to write about, but you all have followed me, commented and suggested new ideas. It has been a very memorable year for me and I am humbled.

Thank you all for the wonderful support and I hope that 2011 is full of more exciting articles, contests and news for the hunting community.

Cheers to everyone!
DIYbowhunter.com Owner is Newest Bass Pro Shops Pro Staffer
There is no doubt that you have all read my writing about going hunting with my friend and DIYbowhunter.com owner Eric Welsh. Well, it has been months in the making, but you can now join me in congratulating him on being named to the Bass Pro Shops Pro Staff!! Eric has worked long and hard to get the word out there about hunting, our youth and being helpful with state laws. Many folks will agree that Eric has helped point them in the right direction and often times taking hunters to certain areas to help get them started. You really don't find that around very often. He's a rare breed.

One of the responsibilities Eric now has is to hold a few seminars at the Rancho Cucamonga Bass Pro Shops. I have been fortunate to work with Eric on a few of his seminars and they are top notch. He'll be holding one this Saturday on the topic of Introduction to Archery at 1pm (times are subject to change).

Compound, Cross, Long, Recurve… we have them all and will be hosting a great Free Seminar on Saturday February 19th at 1pm held upstairs in our Hunting department. For a great seminar and some up front hands on experience join our Bass Pro staff for an afternoon devoted to all you die hard Bow Enthusiasts. 

So if you are younger, older, male, female and want to get into the sport of archery, well here's your chance. You'll be able to sit through an hour seminar (there are more seminars being held all day) and after Eric will be around to answer questions. As always, if you have other comments or questions you can leave a comment here or you can swing on over to DIYbowhunter.com and leave a questions where thousands of archers are around to answer questions. It is truly a wealth of knowledge at your finger tips.

Congratulations Eric on a well-deserved spot as a BPS Pro Staff Member! You certainly have worked hard for it and I know I appreciate all of the help you have shown to me out here in Southern California. Well done, my friend, well done!

Eric at the Big Bear Lake annual Carp Round-up.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

'Don't Let Dogs Harass Wildlife'
The Colorado Division of Wildlife sent this notice out a couple weeks ago and I wanted to to share it with everyone. This happens in every state and people not only need to be aware, but they need to know that if they do see dogs harassing wildlife that they need to report it. I have seen this happen a couple of times growing up and I indeed called Fish & Game. If you do see it happening, do something about it. Don't let our wildlife be harassed!

Colorado Division of Wildlife offices are receiving reports of dogs chasing wildlife, especially deer, and the DOW reminds pet owners that it's their responsibility to keep their pets under control. 
     
This is the time of year when deer are weak, gathered in small groups and are easy targets for dogs, explained Renzo DelPiccolo, area wildlife manager in Montrose.
     
"Dogs chase wildlife at all times of year, but winter is the worst time," DelPiccolo said. "Deer are at their most vulnerable because they are in survival mode. If they get chased it uses up their energy and they might not survive the winter."
     
During winter, big game animals can lose 30 percent or more of their body weight.
Many female big game animals are pregnant at this time of year, so they especially need to conserve energy.          
     
Dogs will also chase elk and bighorn sheep; but deer are the most common target.
     
Many dog owners don't believe that their pets chase wildlife. But when some dogs see large animals they may act on their genetic instincts and give chase.
     
In mid-January in the Ridgway area, two deer died after being chased by dogs. One deer was killed by the dogs; the other had to be euthanized. The dog owner was ticketed and paid a fine of $276. Fines, however, can total more than $1,000 depending on the circumstances.
     
The incident was reported by neighbors who observed the attacks.
     
"Dog attacks on deer are absolutely brutal," DelPiccolo said. "Dogs tend to hamstring deer by biting at the animal's legs. But many times they also like to bite and grab hold of the face."
     
Dogs should remain secured when owners aren't present. If left off-leash in a yard, dogs can get out, chase wildlife and be back on the porch by the time the owner gets home from work.
     
Dogs observed chasing or harassing wildlife can be shot by law enforcement officers. A landowner can shoot a dog that is harassing livestock. Most cities and counties in Colorado also have leash laws that require keeping pets secure.
     
Pets allowed to run at large also are at risk from vehicles and predators. If you care about your pets, it's in their best interest to keep them secured, DelPiccolo said.
     
People are also reminded that feeding big game is illegal. Feeding concentrates animals in groups, making them easier targets for dogs and predators. When animals are in close contact diseases can be spread quickly among the animals. If you see someone feeding big game, call the DOW.
     
While dogs chase large animals, cats also cause problems because they kill birds. Cat owners should limit the amount of time their cats spend outdoors. Using a bell collar can sometimes help to warn birds that danger is approaching.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Big 200lb. Boar Down in Parkfield!
No, sadly it wasn't me that dropped the big boar, but it was an awesome hunt none the less.

I got up to the ranch a few hours before Jeff on Thursday to get some early hunting in and see what sign was visible. We were spoiled on this hunt with access to the house on the property. That meant no camping under the stars, a fireplace and shelther from the cold and wind. It was such a blessing! I hit the trail by 10am and there was sign everywhere! Tracks, mud rubs, rooting and I knew they would be out. I stalked up on 4 deer that we eating acorns. The wind changed on me and I got busted, but they were very cool to watch! I was able to video a lot of my hunt, which I will post after I finish the editing.

Later on, after my scouting, I met up with Jeff in the afternoon and we set out on our evening hunt. Right at O'dark thirty I saw them. All of them! A group of 30 hogs came barreling under the barbed wire fence where Jeff said they might come. Unfortunately for me, they were 70+ yards away and with me using archery tackle it was too dark for a shot. I even crept in closer as they were trotting towards there holding area. I got to within 30 yards as darkness set in and all you could hear was squealing and fighting. It was awesome and scary all at the same time.

The next day we went out and saw nothing. A new hunter, Mike Milano, was meeting us at the ranch to get his first hunt in. Mike had never hunted a big game animal in his life. He wanted to get closer to the meat that he eats and figured hunting was the way to do it. Well, judging from the photo below he got REALLY close to the meat he eats! This guy had major scar tissue from fighting and his ears were shredded! That isn't mud on his side, that's the scar tissue. What a brute!

Myself, Jeff Abell and Mike Milano with Mike's first ever big game animal - a 200lb. wild boar!

Here is Mike's story:
Haven't been hunting very long and had my first opportunity to go hog hunting this weekend.

The sun was setting, so the three of us set out for different areas of the ranch. I was walking from a wash, up a trail, to a field where I was going to setup.


I poked my head up to field level and there was a boar trotting directly towards me about 50 yards out! This was exactly where Jeff told me they would be coming from. I got a huge adrenaline rush and my heart was about to pound out my chest.


I ducked back down to take the rifle off my shoulder, uncapped my scope, and looked up again... but he was gone and I didn't hear any noise at all.


I was thinking about what I should do. Should I go up there? .. but then he popped back out on the game trail and continued towards me.


I went to aim and the scope was zoomed in way too much to do anything, so I brought it all the way down to 3x and aimed again. I had a scope full of head and gently squeezed the trigger ... the safety was on! With his head still in the scope and still coming toward me, I snapped the safety off and fired the shot.


He staggered a couple steps and fell over. I hit him on the right side of his jaw with my new Tikka T3 in .243. I used Corbon DPX Hunter ammo - 85 grain Barnes Triple Shock non lead round. I ranged the shot at 20 yards after he was down.


We dragged the boar back to the house and weighed him before I got a crash coarse in gutting, skinning, anatomy, and meat preparation. (Thanks a ton Jeff and Al!!) He was an even 200 lbs. This hog was a fighter. He had scars all over his sides and ripped up ears.


This was my first time taking any animal unless you count fish. What an experience!


Now I have a cooler full of goodness I can't wait to start cooking and I have a feeling hunting is going to become a habit.

Congratulations  on an awesome animal, Mike! I am super stoked to have been on the hunt with you. I do have to say I am happy to hear why you hunt, too. That is one classic first for you and you will have a lot of work to try and top that sucker! Hell, he had 2.5" cutters! Mike, I am sure I speak for Jeff when i say this, but we were more than happy to help show you the gutting, skinning and butchering. I even learned a thing or two about skinning hogs. Thanks, Jeff!

The next day Jeff and Mike went on a hound hunt for some hogs which left me alone at the ranch. I went out before dawn and set up where I saw the hogs the first night. I found fresh sign, but the hogs were long gone. I decided to scout a bit more and do some spot-n-stalking. I found myself stalking right back to the house for some coffee and breakfast. It was an awesome stalk! The dehydrated eggs didn't stand a chance! I changed clothes and hiked up to the top of the mountain behind the house. It's 1.10 miles to the top and it goes incredibly vertical. It was a tough hike that I did three days in a row. It was hard, but so awesome at the top. There's this awesome pond at the top where the animals will come to water. I love it because you can only hear the birds, feel the breeze and you are very much alone. I plan on hunting this spot more often each time I can get up there. I saw nothing but bluebirds, so after a couple hours I made it back down for the evening watch. To my dismay, I saw only woodpeckers and my shadow that evening.

The next morning Mike made his way back to Temecula and I hiked up to the pond again. I just wanted some peace and quiet before heading back to the hell in L.A. (a.k.a. L.A. traffic). I spent a good couple hours up there and on my way down ran across this mule deer shed.

Nice shed from a nice buck a year or two ago. I'll bet he's a great buck this year!
Back at camp I packed up the car, said my thank you's and goodbye to Jeff and hit the road. I wasn't successful in killing a hog on my third trip to the ranch, but it WAS successful in my opinion. I was able to see hogs, be there when a new hunter killed his first hog, hiked my ass off, found an awesome shed and had a great hunt. I have seen all corners of the property now and that helps. I can't wait for the next opportunity to get up there with a few more archery guys and see if we can stick one!
This was from Jeff after I left camp:
Last night I was all alone & I went out to the house field & there was a big old boy milling around under an oak tree between the 2 houses about 150 yards off the property near the horse.
I had about 10 to 15 min. of light left & he didn't look like he was gonna move anytime soon so I played a feeding frenzy from my Fox Pro & he perked up, looked straight at me & started trotting a beeline course right to me.
He cut through the horses field & the horse charged him & ran him off into an area I couldn't see & darkness was pretty much upon me at that point.
It was pretty wild cause I totally called him right to me which was something I've never done before.
I really didn't want to shoot one anyway cause I was all alone & my freezer is pretty full so I was happy for the experience.
I have more photos to share, but for now this will have to do. I got called up to serve on a jury today and will be out blog range for a bit while I catch up on work. I will certainly try to keep up on posts as time permits. Until then, Happy Hunting!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Back From Parkfield and a few thoughts!
I am now back from my hog hunt and raring to tell the story of the hunt. I know you are all on the edge of your seats. You'll have to wait a few days as I have to do my civic duty and report for jury duty. I had a great hunt, hiked a lot and took some great photos.

Here are a few other things on my mind. First, I won the contest over at The Outdoor Fever for the H.S. Strut Turkey Call. A big thank you to Matt Elder for having the contest. Stop on over there and check out his blog! You can find some great information on many types of hunting and read his hunting adventures.

Second, did anyone see The Wild Within from last week with the Canadian Moose Hunt? I finally got around to watching it last night and was extremely bothered and disappointed with Steven Rinella. SPOILER ALERT: Steve shoots a bull moose, but even on camera he says he could only see his rack. WTF? You could only see his rack? Really? This is the kinda thing that scares the shit out of me as a hunter. What if a guy had been packing out a moose, the rack was sitting on top of the pack and Steve had shot him? Sure, there could be editing and all, but Steve actually comes right out and says he could only see his rack. Maybe I am just an overly cautious hunter, but I would like to think most hunters would wait to see more of the animal to be SURE of what they were shooting at. I like what Steve does with the show, but this is pretty scary stuff. I even replayed it for my wife and she said the same thing. Sorry, Steve, but I do not agree with the way you were thinking and from what you described I would NOT have taken that shot.

Anyway, I know that there is wireless while I wait to be summoned, so I will be trying to update everyone throughout the next few days. In the meantime, let me know what you think about The Wild Within episode.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The SoCal Bowhunter Is On A Piggy Hunt!
Phone rings. Voice on the the other end: "Al, want to hunt some hogs this weekend?" Sound of screeching rubber as my feet tear up the linoleum floor on my way to my car. Ok, so it didn't happen EXACTLY like that, but it could have and I am excited. Overly so!

While you are reading this I am out scouring the draws and hillsides of Parkfield, CA. My friend, Jeff, invited me up again to hunt his property. I'll be hunting with my PSE X-Force again in hopes of bringing down a pigskin in celebration of the Super Bowl. Yepper, I am doing it again with my bow and arrow. I just love the challenge and the thought of possibly bringing down some pork with a razor-tipped carbon meat missile.

I'll be sure to post photos, video and my DIY hunt story when I return! Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Product Review: Bone Collector Knives from Benchmade

Once again it's time to review some of my favorite things: KNIVES!

This review is on two of the new Bone Collector knives that the kind people over at Benchmade sent me. I'll admit, I do watch Bone Collector on The Outdoor Channel and I do like it, but it has nothing to do with how I do my review. I am looking at these knives like they are any other knife being out through the paces.

First, I am going to review the Bone Collector Mini Axis Folding Knife. When I took the Axis knife out of the box I was very surprised at how small it was. My first impression was that a folding knife didn't need to be in a soft bag and be inside a box. Still, the bag was useful. I will get to that later on.

Product features:
  • D2 tool steel (60-62HRC)
  • Contoured G10 handle with rib cage pattern for extra grip.
  • Handles are available in either black or layered green/black G10.
Blade Length: 2.95"
Blade Thickness: 0.115"
Handle Thickness: 0.618"
Blade Material: D2 Tool Steel
Blade Hardness: 60-62HRC
Blade Style: Drop-Point with Ambidextrous Thumb-Studs
Weight: 3.46oz.

Pocket Clip: Tip-Up, Black Steel, Reversible
Lock Mechanism: AXIS
Overall Length: 7.08"
Closed Length: 4.13"
Sheath Material: Sold Separately
The Mini Axis knife is a very useful, well-built folder. I carried it around in my packet for two days and hardly knew it was there. It fits well in your pockets. I also used clipped it to my pocket and wore it around for another day when I was going to be doing a lot of moving around. I took it to the range where I was standing, kneeling, squatting down and twisting and the knife always stayed in place. I have not found many knives that hold that well.

Let's talk construction. The Mini Axis fits comfortably in the palm of your hand. At first I was skeptical because I like a knife to fully fit my hand. This knife only fits inside the palm, but that was a major advantage for me. I was able to twist and turn it with more ease than a larger knife.

It's a nice knife and worth more than your average folding knife. This knife retails for $135.00. I have a feeling it is because of the Bone Collector stamp, but who knows. I know that seems a bit steep for a folding knife in my book, but you get what you pay for and it is a solid blade.


The second knife I am going to review is the Bone Collector Caping Fixed Blade Knife.

The Fixed Blade Knife is deceiving. It is built like a sleek steak knife, but it is much more than any steak knife. At first I thought it was a little slim for hunting needs, but it turns out it is an excellent field knife.

Product features:
  • D2 tool steel (60-62HRC)
  • Contoured G10 handle with rib cage pattern for extra grip.
  • Handles are available in either black or layered green/black G10.
Blade Length: 4.00"
Blade Thickness: 0.125"
Handle Thickness: 0.590"
Blade Material: D2 Tool Steel
Blade Hardness: 60-62HRC
Blade Style: Utility
Weight: 3.46oz.

Pocket Clip: Sheath Included
Lock Mechanism: Fixed
Overall Length: 8.00"
Sheath Material: Leather 2.18oz (62.06g)

The knife is very lightweight, sharp and your can use it like a scalpel. Right out of the box it was extremely sharp and ready to use. For cutting around the rectum and skinning this knife is perfect! I am very used to using a larger bladed knife for my gutting and skinning, but this has changed my mind! Being able to maneuver around quickly and efficiently makes the job of gutting an animal seem to go very fast. I have heard plenty of hog hunters here in SoCal use a similar knife to this for skinning and caping. They say it gets the job done faster than any larger, thick blade knife.

The grip on this knife is quite unique. It is a solid rubber material that isn't supposed to slip in your hand when cutting anything. It truly feel like a scalpel on steroids. You can skin through an animal very precisely with a blade of this caliber. I had a hard time keeping a solid grip on it in the cold with my bare hands. The grip is solid and not rubbery, but it is also very thin. Keeping it in my palm was a bit of a chore. Maybe it's my fat hands, but I'd like to see the grip just a little thicker. I may end up wrapping paracord around the handle.

The leather case that holds this knife is solid, but I think it can be improved. The little slip that folds over the finger-hold doesn't always hold the knife in. It seems like it's too large for the knife. If you are careful with it you should be fine, but if you set it down or are busting brush and the knife and case are exposed you might have it slip out. Highly unlikely, I know, but it's a fair warning.

This knife retails for about $100 in most places and if you are looking for a solid, lightweight skinning knife this is a great one. I am sure it'll be worth every penny.

Both of these knives are high quality. They are extremely well made, durable and extremely sharp. Everyone I have shown them to has liked the look and feel. Kudos to Benchmade for another fine set of steel blades!


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Turkey Call GIVEAWAY at The Outdoor Fever Blog!
With turkey season is right around the corner here in SoCal, I am sure many of my readers are gearing up full-tilt. Matt Elder, over at The Outdoor Fever, thought, 

'What's a good way try to get people pumped about turkey season? Give away a Turkey Call!'

He is giving away a Brand New Ring Zone Friction Crystal Turkey Call by H.S. Strut!

Ring Zone Friction Crystal Turkey Call by H.S. Strut

"Unique outer ring and enlarged resonating surface more accurately mimics turkey calls than conventional pan calls. Resonating surface is 200% larger than conventional friction calls for a frequency range most audible to turkeys."


Here is how you enter to WIN:

1. There are four sub species of wild Turkey in the United States. Post a comment on the post over at The Outdoor Fever stating which subspecies of turkey you would like to hunt most. If you have hunted all of them, post which one you enjoyed hunting the most.

2. For a second chance to enter, Re-Post this giveaway on your Blog and leave a link to your post in the comment section at The Outdoor Fever post.

3. For a third chance to enter, Leave a comment on any other Outdoor Fever blog posts this week.

Giveaway ends Friday February 4, 2011 at 9:00 PM CST. One winner will be chosen by random.org. Winner will be announced the next day. Only eligible in the U.S. and Canada.
Good luck and if you are lucky enough to win, post some photos of your hunt with your new call!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Being Recognized By Your Peers
You write. Write some more. Your posts lack comments, but you KNOW people have to be reading your work. Right? I love to write and share my ideas, so if no one comments no big deal. There have been plenty of times when I think I hit on a good topic and no one leaves a comment. Anyway, I know my fellow bloggers read my posts and one in particular has fashioned it upon himself to hit me with a "Stylish Blogger Award." Brian, who writes his blog, HeyBJK, is a fellow outdoorsman, father and all around interesting guy. He mentioned The SoCal Bowhunter in his list of the fifteen blogs you need to check out. Thanks, Brian! I am humbled that you think my blog worthy of any award because it always needs to improve. I'll keep at it in the hope that more people will find it as interesting as you do.

The original rules for this award were that the recipient needs to perform the following duties:
1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award. 
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Give the award to 15 recently discovered worthy bloggers.
4. Contact them to make them aware of the award.

I am only going complete #1 and #2 because #3 feels way too much like a chain letter on steroids. I hate chain letters, but that's not part of my seven things about myself. I already took care of #1, but again a big thank you to Brian for reading my blog and sharing it with his readers.

Now on to #2. Seven things about myself. Here goes...

Our first date at Disneyland. Our very first photo together...ever.
  1. I met my wife on Myspace. Yep, Myspace. Don't believe me? We were both just checking the site out when she saw some of my goofy photos that made her laugh. I couldn't read her message to me because I was staring at her photo thinking, 'Who is this Cali hottie writing to me?' Long story short, we talked for a couple months, I flew out to CA for our first date. Disneyland on Day #1, Catalina Island on Day #2. Flew back to NY on Day #3. Hardest goodbye and longest flight of my life. I had fallen in love with a beautiful California girl. The Beach Boys were right! So, I quit my job in NY, packed everything into my car that would fit and trekked cross-country to California to see if it would work. 5 years later we are still madly in love and have a beautiful little girl to prove it. I love telling the story, and while most people don't believe it I swear it is all true.

  2. I played rugby for 12 years and helped win two state championships in NY with the Finger Lakes Vikings RFC. We made it to the Sweet 16 my last year and I was pumped to score in each playoff game. I miss the game incredibly.

  3. I am a published poet and have a couple residing in the Library of Congress.

  4. I am an award-winning photographer and graphic designer. I specialize in portraits, wildlife and landscape photography. I do shoot an occasional wedding, but it is truly a passion of mine to capture amazing wildlife images. I used to do it strictly as a hobby, but a few years ago started doing it professionally. I love graphic design. Especially when it comes to designing material for the archery community. Keep your eyes peeled, you might just see some of my work coming your way soon.

  5. I love to eat and chicken wings are my nemesis. They attack my waistline using delectable hot sauce which I fight back with hearty, chunky blue cheese. I miss the wings in NY. California restaurants make ok wings, but the Death Wish wings at Parker's Grille in Geneva, NY are fan-flippintastic!

  6. One of my favorite foods is a Nick Tahou's Garbage Plate. What is a plate? Two cheeseburg, mac, homefry, everything, extra hot <-- and that is how you must order it. In Rochester, NY it is one word. Twocheeseburgmachomefryeverythingextra hot. Allow me to explain. It's a bed of macaroni salad and homefries in a large Styrofoam container. You slap down two uber-cheeseburgers. They cover them with mustard, diced onions and a bitchin' hot sauce that your taste buds scream for. They throw in two large slices of sourdough bread with butter and serve it up. You then have to add more Tabasco to it to give it more heat. Ahhh, so delicious!! These are great hangover fighters, but are wonderful as a special meal. You can't eat too many of these. High calorie, super greasy, and downright tear your gut out heaven, but once in a while they are worth it. Dammit, now I am salivating all over my desk. Napkin anyone?

  7. I would gladly share the shirt off my back, or blanket in my trunk for someone in need. I have done it more than once and will do it until the day that I die. People can say what they want, but actually doing something about it shows true character. God has blessed me with more than I can take with me and if someone else can use something more than I am happy to share.
There you have it folks. I am sure that there are more interesting things out there about me, but for all intensive purposes this will do. I hope you all enjoy reading the blog and that you'll participate in future discussions. Don't feel that you always have to agree with what I say either. On the contrary, I love a good debate and I want to hear your opinions. Brian, thanks for the nod and I hope your blog keeps rolling strong! Cheers!