Thursday, March 31, 2011

Alaskan Congressman Refuses Humane Society Award
I don't usually post about politics or the like thereof, but this one made me smile today. Props to the Congressman from Alaska!
Alaskan Congressman Don Young refused an award this evening from The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the Humane Society Legislative Fund that would have honored his work for animals in 2010.   While capitalizing on the good work of local humane societies that shelter, spay, and neuter animals, the HSUS does not own, operate, or directly control a single animal shelter in our country, despite a budget of well over $100 million.

“HSUS are hypocrites, plain and simple, and I will not join them by accepting this award,” said
Rep. Young.  “Local animal shelters and humane societies do excellent work by caring for neglected and homeless animals, and through their spaying and neutering programs.  This organization, however, has absolutely nothing to do with animal welfare.  Instead they prey on the emotions of big-hearted Americans.  They flash images of abused animals on our television screens to raise money that will eventually go to pay their salaries and pensions, not to helping better the lives of these animals.  They run anti-hunting and anti-trapping campaigns and are of the same cloth as PETA and other extremist organizations.  I can only guess that I was to receive this award due to my support of the Wildlife Without Borders program, which develops wildlife management and conservation efforts to maintain global species diversity.  That program is true conservation; what this group wants is preservation. To accept this award would be supporting their manipulative ways and misguided agenda, and I want no part of that.”
I've worked with animal shelters in the past and believe what they were doing was great, but you won't catch me associated with the HSUS or PETA. Money sucking, manipulative scumbags with an twisted agenda about sums it up.


Where do I sit on all of this? Proud member of Hunters Against PETA, that's where.

Here's some of the info right off of the front page of the site. Does this ring true or what?
There are more than 16 million hunters in America. We have been the silent majority for far too long. It’s time to stand up and fight back and beat them at their own game.

If we continue to sit back and be the silent majority they’ll slowly work their way through the political back doors until they’re all the way in. Then it will be extremely difficult if not impossible to undo the damage they’ll create to our hunting rights and freedoms.
 Looks like Rep. Young didn't feel like being silent. Well stated, Rep. Young, well stated.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Winner Of The SoCal Bowhunter Gear Giveaway
After a week of some interesting answers and some great answers, there were only six people that got it right. Out of the correct answers, I used the Random Number Generator at Random.org and the winner was randomly chosen.
 
The winner of the SoCal Bowhunter Gear Giveaway is:  
Mark Lefevre

Congratulations, Mark! Please email me your contact information so I can get your prizes out to you.

For those of you wondering what the correct answer to my question was, here it is. Steve Rinella has his Whisker Biscuit set up incorrectly, and very dangerously, I might add. First, the Biscuit is mounted in front of the riser. It should be mounted in the rear of the riser. By mounting it in front, the actual rest opening is also turned down. Greg, of Trophy Ridge, sent me this response after viewing the photo:
'He has it mounted in front of his riser which turns the opening for loading down. It should be mounted behind the riser. '
I feel this is incredibly dangerous. If the arrow slid down through the opening on his shot, the broadhead could cut into his hand, or fall further down towards his leg as he fired. Sure, that's extreme, but perfectly plausible. Here's another look at his set-up so you understand what I am talking about.

Notice his Whisker Biscuit opens to the bottom, right. The opening should be on the top, right. 

Now, the reason I brought this to Steve's attention, to the attention of Trophy Ridge and to you all isn't because I am trying to call Steve out. Actually, I enjoy The Wild Within. I mention this issue because I am a big proponent of safe archery practices and hunting practices. I would hate to see someone mount a Whisker Biscuit like that and see them injured because they had an incorrect set-up. In all honesty, I used to have my WB mounted in front of the riser, too, but my rest opening was in the correct space. Top-left. It was safe to mount it that way and the reason I did it was for clearance with my hand. It's a long story, but I now shoot a drop-away and for me it works much better. In Steve's defense, it also looks like he is having a clearance issue on his bow, but I can't say for certain. I sent Steve and The Wild Within each a message asking about this, but have not received a response.

Again, thank you all who entered the contest and congratulations to Mark Lefevre on winning this prize pack!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Gear Giveaway! - Are you a super sleuth?
Time to give away some swag! This contest is going to be very basic to some and not so to others. Either way, it's going to be fair to all and I wish you all the best of luck! Basically, I want you to spot what's wrong in the photo. Simple as that.

Can you spot what's wrong in this screen grab from The Wild Within?

The photo is a screen grab from the Guyana episode of the TV show The Wild Within with Steve Rinella. Before you all raise your pitchforks and string me up, keep in mind that I love the show and what Steve, the crew and The Travel Channel are doing is great. Still, when I see something wrong, especially during a bowhunting episode, I call it out. Here's your chance to help Steve out. Tell me what you see wrong in the photo and leave a comment. Out of all of the correct comments, I will do a random draw via Random.org and that winner will receive this prize package:
Here is how you enter to WIN: 
Leave me a comment and tell me what is specifically wrong in the photo. That's it! BUT, if you post and do not have a blogger profile, you WILL have to leave your first and last name so I know who to congratulate if you win. If you do not abide by these rules, you will be disqualified. I will be holding off posting the comments so everyone has a fair shake at the correct answer!

Giveaway ends Sunday, March 27, 2011 at 12:00 PM PST. Out of all of the CORRECT comments, ONE winner will be chosen by random.org. Winner will be announced on Monday, March 28.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Product Review: Jerky From House of Jerky!
Anyone that knows me knows that I love to eat. Yes, I have been known to pack some food away from time to time. There is so much variety in food and I just want to try it all. One such morsel I love to eat, especially on backcountry hunts is beef jerky. Why? Well, it's easy to pack, won't spoil in the California heat and is great way to get some protein! I just love the stuff!

Janie Honeycutt, over at House of Jerky, sent me a nice little package to try out. I had been hearing great things and wanted to see what all of the hype was about. I figured jerky is jerky, right? Wrong! The package came in the mail at the perfect time. My buddy Michael and I were headed out for a backcountry hog hunt / scouting trip and the jerky would be a perfect addition to my pack. I decided to pack three kinds (I was sent five). The hot, the sweet & spicy and the black pepper.

The packages I was given were 2oz, vacuum-packed and then tightly sealed. They fit so well in my pack that I forgot they were in there all morning! After we hiked around 3 miles, we stopped for a break and I decided to break out a sample for us to try out. Both of us needed a snack and the jerky was a perfect solution, but which one should we choose?

We started off with the Sweet & Spicy. Wow! Packed with awesome flavor and very tangy - something I did not expect from jerky. The pineapple juice gave it a really great flavor. I thought the flavor was incredible and it about melted in your mouth. My only issue is that it was sticky.  When you are out in the field, surrounded by ants, bringing a tangy, sticky sweet snack is not the best option. It tasted great, but next time I won't bring it in the woods, I'll eat it at home with the convenience of soap and water.

Two more miles of mountainous climbing later, we found a nice spot of shade under a nice oak tree. What time was it? Time for more jerky! We decided to eat the Hot Beef Jerky. Michael and I both like hot, spicy food so this was a good test. It was excellent. Just enough heat to make you reach for some water, but not enough to grab a fire extinguisher. Both of us commented how we really enjoyed it. The great thing about the heat is that you don't chow it down as fast (at least we didn't) as the Sweet & Spicy. We savored this one and took our time emptying out the bag.

We didn't want to have to wait to eat some more, so I tore open the last pack I had - the Black Pepper Jerky. We saved the best for last! This was by far the best of the five I tried (all were very good, but this one was superb). The jerky was moist, perfectly chewy and packed the most flavor our of any jerky I have ever tried. Trust me, I have had my share of jerky (and yours, and hers, and his)! I almost didn't want to share this one. Even after the last morsel was devoured Michael caught me licking the remnants from the inside of the plastic bag. Come on, it was good!

You know how you can get some jerky and it will taste kind of raw inside? Not with any of the jerky from House of Jerky. This was all top notch, perfectly dehydrated and flavorful. I would recommend their products to anyone, especially outdoors men and women. Why? Beside the fact that it tastes great and is good for you, it packs extremely well and is a nice lightweight snack. My only advice to you guys is to Go Get Some! The recommended serving size is one ounce. I think that should be changed to "Serving Size: One Bag." I know that I will be ordering some more soon and I might even try a few of the exotic meats. Have you tried them out? What are your favorites?

A big thank you goes out to Janie for the care package and awesome customer service. Thank you, Janie!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Introduce Someone To Archery - Check!
Yesterday was an exciting and almost very costly day. It began like any other day. Coffee, packing the truck up with my archery gear and waiting for a friend to arrive so we could hit the archery range.  Still, today was a bit different. If you think back to my 2011 Goals and Objectives, Goal #9 was to introduce someone new to archery and teach them to shoot a bow. Lucky enough for me, my friend Bobby wanted to learn. Talk about a God Wink, right?

Bobby is a great guy and is his wife, Jody, is a wonderful woman. My wife and I had the good fortune of being able to photograph their wedding back in 2009. We've stayed in contact, but had never found to opportunity to hang out, until now. Bobby asked me if I would teach him to shoot and immediately I agreed. After juggling some dates, we settled on yesterday to hit the El Dorado Park archery range.

We arrived at the park, set up our target and I explained the list of Do's and Don'ts to Bobby. I gave him a run down of what we were doing to do, let him know if he had any questions to ask and to just have fun. We were using a beautiful, handmade recurve that was given to me that I thought would be perfect for this. I didn't want him to be overwhelmed by a compound right away.

At 20 feet, the arrows started to fly and we were off. The recurve was a 50# pull and I purposefully did not bring a shooting glove. I wanted Bobby's fingers to hurt a little and be sore so he would appreciate using a release when we learned that in a future lesson. Not many people would teach this way, but I thought it would be effective. Bobby learned how to aim and find a sweet spot to anchor his hand. That was the toughest part and I figure I have to learn a better way of explaining. I don't think it helped that the bow was 50#, but that's the way the cards were dealt. We took turns shooting the bow, flinging arrows, talking about archery, life, trucks and had an incredible amount of fun.

On our second to last planned round of shooting is when everything went downhill. Bobby drew back the bow, held for a second and then "CRACK!" as the arrow fell off the side if the bow. Immediately, I thought the arrow had split and drove into his hand. My heart sank. Instead, the arrow was intact, but Bobby had a confused look on his face.

'What happened?' he asked.

'I don't know, are you alright? What was that noise?'

Then I took a close look at the bow and we saw what had indeed happened.

The bow split where the two woods met.

A close-up showing how bad the damage really was.

I don't think I have ever apologized more to one person. Well, maybe my wife, but this could have been much more serious that than it turned out. The bow split where the two woods meet and then the wood shattered right at the gripping point. If that piece of leather hadn't been there I fear that we would have been making a trip to the ER. Most everyone knows, but I am a firm believer in God. I pray often and this morning I had prayed to our protection out there on the range. I am very thankful that God was watching out for us, especially Bobby.

Photos were taken to document what had happened and I removed the string from the bow. I was a bit shaken the rest of the time we talked. Bobby was very thankful I took the time to show him the ropes and he kept apologizing for the bow. I repeatedly informed him that the bow was not a concern and that he needn't worry about that. Ever. He was the important piece of the puzzle here. He wasn't fazed and asked me when we were going to go out again. *Insert huge smile in my face here.*  We made plans to get out again to shoot and this time I will have a lower poundage bow and will definitely be praying before we go out.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Product Review: GameHide Packable Camo Clothing/Rain Gear
Quality camouflage clothing is something I take pride in. When it comes to quality rain gear I naturally want the best. I haven't used a lot of rain gear in the past, but for the past year I have used the GameHide Journey jacket and Journey pants, and they have performed flawlessly!

The Journey Jacket description from the GameHide website:
The perfect packable rainwear jacket for those wet or threatening days afield. The jacket packs into the side pocket and our HydroCore laminate will keep you  dry and comfortable in the worst conditions. Yet, it's quiet enough to wear as your everyday camo! The mesh lining is soft, comfortable and slides on easily. The two large zippered slash pockets will hold a ton of gear. Our AirFlow zippered back vent allows you to regulate your temperature with the pull of a zipper. This jacket comes with an attached hood that has a built in visor. Topping off this incredible garment is Gamehide's Freedom Sleeve, a feature designed for enhanced movement and range of motion.

The Journey Pant description from the GameHide website:
This feature-rich six pocket packable rainwear pant offers ample storage without the weight. The deep mesh-lined front pockets are ample in size and help the garment expel moisture. Two large side cargo pockets with dual snaps will hold extra gear. The internal mesh lining is comfortable and allows the pant to easily slide on and off. The pant legs feature waterproof knee high zippers and snap adjustments on the leg openings for a custom fit.





When I first took my GameHide camo out of the box I noticed how incredibly quiet and soft it was. I figured there was no way that this would be waterproof. It didn't feel waterproof. It felt like it would be comfortable and I have never had comfy rain gear. Plus, this gear rolls up into itself so you can pack it well. Another bonus, right?

I have never been so wrong about something as I was about my first impression. The perfect opportunity to test this hit when I went pig hunting in central California. We got rained on for three days and a day full of sun on the last. Time for the test!

My GameHide clothing went on super quiet. When I walked it barely made a sound. As an archer, I want to be as quiet as possible. I also want to be able to stay out hunting as long as I can. There is nothing worse that trying to hunt in a cold downpour and trying to stay focused. Fortunately for me, I didn't have to worry about that - at all!

The day I brought it out in the rain was a doozy. Constant downpour. I had no other rain gear with me, so I hoped to God this would perform. I had to walk a quarter mile to my spot. The entire time it rained and the entire time I stayed dry, warm and very happy! When I arrived at my lookout point the rain had not subsided. I had an hour and a half before I was to meet my hunting buddy. So I waited and glassed the area and saw nothing, but I sure was dry. The clothes never felt so saturated that they were too heavy to walk around in either. I felt good. The rain gear is not plastic and it's not roasting hot. It's breathable, soft and moves with you as you move. I was very impressed! Even the hood on the Journey jacket has a short brim which was great for making it a bit rigid as to hold in in place as the water flowed over my head.

An hour and a half  went by and I called up my buddy. He lasted a half hour and was already back at camp. I decided to stick it out. After all, I was dry on the inside of my clothing and I was also warm. I hiked around for another hour before my hands got cold enough where I had to head back and warm them up by the fire. When I got back to camp, everyone was either soaking wet or cursing the weather. I kept my mouth shut until one of them piped up and asked me why I was still in my wet clothes. After I explained why I was so warm and dry they started cursing me in jest.

I wore the jacket and pants all day and for the most part I stayed dry. I say most part, because by the end of the day the clothes did get some water down my neck when I took my hood down to cool off. Big mistake as my undershirt now acted like a wick.

On the fourth day, it was very sunny and the mercury was consistently rising. Another great opportunity to test these out in the field. The temps started off low, but were set to creep into the high 70's. I ventured off to go hike up the mountain behind camp to look for hogs. After a a short jaunt up the trail I began to get very warm. Instead of taking the jacket off, I opened the pockets and the rear vent to let cool air in and the hot air out. This worked very well! I was able to stay fairly cool when I was hiking slowly. Once I started hiking up the mountain I began to get very warm and the pants don't have a vent (unless you count the zipper). I wasn't about to hike around with my fly down, so I stayed warm and got a bit sweaty. Not terribly so, but enough where I had to take more breaks to keep cool. This really wasn't so bad in my book. It forced me to move slow and in doing so I stayed comfortable.

I was also hiking in tick country. Actually, it's more like a tick haven, but you wouldn't know it when I was there. I was fortunate enough not to get a single tick on me when I was hiking through the brush. Nor, have I since while wearing the GameHide. I am not sure if the clothing has a treatment to it, if the ticks don't like the material or if I've just been lucky. I am going to go with the latter.

Back at camp, I aired out the rain gear to let it completely dry. I then decided it was time to test the packability. The jacket rolled up into itself and you can actually pack it into its own pocket. Pretty cool stuff! The pants rolled up very easily and I was able to pack them into my backpack with ease. I have to say that I was very impressed.

All in all, this camo rain gear is the most comfortable I have ever worn. I actually still use it one days when it's very sunny. Why? It's just that comfortable and light. I give it a 5 out of 5 stars and I would recommend the GameHide camo to any hunter planning a backpack trip where it might get rainy and wet. 

CAUTION!: Whatever you do, DO NOT wash these with ordinary laundry detergent. It'll take away the rain protection properties of the clothing. I spoke with another person who did exactly that. He had to buy a new pair! Use the unscented, UV killer, safe for camo detergent.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

T-Minus 4 Days and Counting for California Bear Hunters
As a bear hunter in California I have had to deal with plenty of people giving me grief for hunting 'their bears.' Yes, people have literally told me to leave their bears alone. As a California tax payer, a hunter and a conservationist I have just as much right to legally kill a black bear for some excellent table fare as you do. 

The HSUS would have you believe that our bear population is in decline. On the contrary, our bear population is consistently growing. With that said, the CA DFG is looking for input on increasing our bear take from 1,700 bears to 2,000 bears we can take in a given year.

Holly Heyser, fellow hunter and writer of the NorCal Cazadora blog, posted an entry last night that really lit a fire under my arse. Here's an excerpt, but I insist you go over and read it in its entirety. She did a great job of gathering all of the data needed to make a solid argument in favor of raising the limit to 2,000 bears.

This is directly from Holly's blog:
Why does this matter? Because we are in the last few days of a public comment period when people can weigh in on the proposal. These comments from the public will be taken under consideration by our Fish and Game Commission when it decides the matter.

If you're a California hunter, or if you don't hunt, but support lawful hunting in California, please take a few minutes to email DFG in support of this proposal - we don't want HSUS supporters to be the only ones emailing about this.

And after you've sent that email, please share this post with your friends and ask them to do the same. The deadline is 5 p.m. Monday March 21.

I am writing my letter to the DFG immediately after I post this. Please share this with as many people as you can. We need to get the word out. As a hunter, and more specifically, an archer, I would love the extended opportunity to be able to put some bear meat in my freezer. Wouldn't you?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Recap: Fred Hall Show in Long Beach, CA
The 2011 Fred Hall Fishing Tackle, Boat & Travel Show is now over for Long Beach, CA. There is the show in Del Mar at the end of the month in case you missed this one.

Attending this show is something I look forward to each year. I am not the fisherman like my dad is. He loves it a great deal more than I. I like to fish, but I truly love to bow hunt and every chance I get I am out at the range or in the forest. This show is 95% about boating and fishing, fresh water, deep sea and getting people involved in them. So to me, it's a bummer to have to walk through the entire floor to get to the stage for the hunting seminars. My mission was simple. To get back to the hunting area, check out the seminars and talk to some of the companies dealing with hunters.

The seminar seats were packed when I showed up for the Jack Dagger - King of Fling show. 

"Jack is a world champion in his field and a member of the knife throwing hall of fame. Jack will dazzle you with his knife throwing expertise. This is an exciting performance that will leave you sitting on the edge of your seat."

Honestly, I have never seen the seats as packed as they were. It was standing room only! If I had to guess, I would say well over 300 people were watching his act. Jack put on a great display of comedy, knife-throwing skills and audience interaction. The part of his show that captivated me the most was what he did AFTER the main show. A couple of parents brought their kids up to talk to him about his knives and such. He took his time to directly explain why he throws the knives he throws. He explained that each was not sharp like the knives we see and that knives should NEVER be thrown around like he does without the proper training. Mind you, he didn't just breeze over this. He looked right at these kids and explained this and made sure that they knew what he was saying. It brought a smile to my face to hear his explanation. 

After that, he walked right over to me, introduced himself and spent some time chatting with me. I learned how he got his start, how he trained and how hard he works to stay keen with his skill. Believe it or not, he practiced by throwing between 800-1200 knives a day for a month with his trainer. He said it was 'like going to see Yoda.' Awesome discipline! 

Check out Top Shot on the History Channel tomorrow night, March 15. He gives the crew lessons on tomahawk throwing that shouldn't be missed.

You can find more about Jack Dagger on his website. Jack, thanks for taking the time to speak with the children, their parents and me after your show. You are a class act!
_________________  _  ________________

Seminar number two was one I wanted to attend for a couple reasons. The seminar was about preserving "our hunting and fishing heritage from inside the citadel of Hollywood." It was given by successful actor, director and PR guy, Patrick Kilpatrick. Now, most celebrities or people of that status will show up to these seminars, speak their mind and take off without giving you the time of day. Patrick was the polar opposite. Before he started his seminar he asked everyone that wanted to get closer to fill in the seats nearer the stage. As I looked around there were maybe a dozen people filling the seats. Pretty disappointing showing for me, but it didn't seem to bother Patrick. What he did next let me know he was very serious about what he believed in. He went to each and every person and asked your name and introduced himself. He mentioned his background as a writer, a PR person, actor and director. He also explained his roots as a hunter, fisherman and outdoorsman. 

He made a point that hits a lot of us outdoor men and women pretty hard. The Anti's! Instead of getting bitter, Patrick decided to do something to change it. Here are some of his ideas. I'll admit, I am paraphrasing his presentation, but if you really want to catch it you can contact his office to see where he'll be speaking next.

  1. He speaks what's on his mind and doesn't hide it. 
  2. He invites the press and becomes friends with them. 
  3. Bring the fun and align it with charity. 
  4. Use PR and advertising skillfully and use creativity in marketing.
  5. You can always ask for money from investors, but you have to remember that you will need to pay it back - with interest. You have to be frugal with the money you do get and use it wisely.
  6. You have to serve the sponsors. No sitting around doing nothing. You have to be sure the sponsors are ALL taken care of.
  7. Reward the people that do the right thing and step out. (Could be in the form of swag or something else).

Patrick is hosting the 2011 Hollywood Celebrity Sporting Clays Invitational on June 11, 2011 in Newhall, CA. This event is to promote firearms and hunting in Hollywood and to get other celebrities involved. This is a Pro-American, Pro-Military, Pro-Hunting, Pro-Shooting event. You would be surprised to hear how many celebrities shoot or hunt and don't talk about it. This event is open to the public, with the purchase of a ticket of course. You can purchase the entry ticket, get set up on a team and have a fun day of shooting, getting to know other shooters and best of all - having fun! I'll post more about this event as it gets closer. A big thank you to Patrick and his team for putting together such a great event.

This was a great quote from Patrick that I can't get out of my head:
'I drive a Prius and I have a shotgun in my Prius.'
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The third, and final seminar on my agenda was with Dieter Kaboth on DIY public land elk hunting. Dieter is a World Elk Calling Champion and Hunters Specialties Pro Staffer, but he didn't focus on that subject at all. Instead, he focusing on calling and hunting and how calling involves a lot of luck. Hunting takes on an entirely different breed. Dieter has spent his life pursuing elk on public land and his seminar was very well done. He was short on time, only five of us showed up for his seminar, but I took a great deal away from it. As a first time elk hunter this year I need all the help I can get. His approach was awesome. Dieter never touted his years of hunting or saying he was an expert. He actually said he wasn't an expert, but knew plenty of tactics to get close to elk to hunt them. 

He gave some great pointers on what calls to use and when to use them. Best of all, he talked about being an aggressive hunter and not a passive one. One example he gave was if you spook elk, and you will spook elk if you are doing it right, chase after the cows. Get behind them and give a little spike bellow. Then sit tight because more often than not, the herd bull is not going to tolerate a spike or raghorn invading his territory and chasing his cows. Your opportunity at an archery shot will be much greater than sitting and watching the cows run away and hoping to maybe get a shot.

For only having a short period of time, Dieter did a great job of instructing us and giving is tips on hunting the Wapiti this year. I know I cannot wait to get out there! Thanks, Dieter!
_________________  _  ________________

All in all, I enjoyed the three seminars. I do think that the Fred Hall Show managers should try to get more hunting/archery shops in there though. I don't know why there aren't more than one, but I have some pretty strong opinions on the guys manning the archery booth that was there. 

I hope next year has some more seminars and events related to hunting. If not, I may not be attending. I am just not that much into fishing and boating to go down and try to catch a good seminar. I can hit up Bass Pro for that while still getting a great deal on gear. Anyone else go and have a different experience?

Friday, March 11, 2011

National Bowhunting Championships
Have you signed up for the 2011 National Bowhunting Championships, yet? What? You haven't? There's no time like the present! Pre-registration is open right now.

DIYbowhunter.com is holding the championships and you can sign up over on the website. There will be some awesome prizes given away, too! Let me know if you have any questions... but first, get your butt over there and sign up!

What do you think of the poster? Designed by yours truly!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Hunter Education Certification - Are You Prepared?
With the Colorado elk and deer seasons just a few months away and me being a non-resident who plans to hunt elk, I'll have to submit my Hunter Safety Certificate number prior to purchasing a license. If you don't have a certification you have what I see as three choices. You can opt not to hunt at all, you can attend your state safety program and submit your information, or you can take the Hunter Education class that the DOW offers. I would recommend getting it in your home state first because should you choose to take it in CO there is still a 4-hour classroom session and a written test. My point it, get your certification if you plan to hunt out-of-state and do it now if you haven't done so already.

With the April 5 limited license application deadline looming, the Colorado Division of Wildlife and volunteer hunter education instructors are offering more than 100 hunter education classes statewide in March. Since 1970 the agency has required anyone born after 1948 to take hunter education before applying to hunt in Colorado.

Classes range from large classes like the one offered at the Division's Denver headquarters to rural offerings throughout the month in towns like Meeker, Trinidad and Antonito.
 
"Our goal is to make it as convenient as possible for people who need these classes to find one and complete one," said Mark Cousins, Hunter Education Coordinator for the Division of Wildlife.

A complete list of upcoming hunter education course is available on-line at http://wildlife.state.co.us/Hunting/HunterEducation/CourseCalendar/.

Beyond traditional hunter education classes the Division is also offering internet-based courses which allow students to conduct some of the coursework on-line to help fit busy schedules or allow parents to work with their children. These classes aren't completely on-line as they still require a minimum of four hours of classroom time with an instructor, a live-fire session and a written exam to complete the course. Other hunter education courses are also offered specifically for youth, women or college-aged students.
 
"We recognize that people learn differently and in different environments," Cousins explained. "The important thing is that people find a class that fits their schedule and complete the course. Hunter education is for everyone interested in the outdoors and wildlife."

Colorado began requiring hunter education in 1970 after an average of nine hunting-related fatalities each year through the 1960s. By the 1990s, hunting-related fatalities had dropped to about one per year in the state.
 
"The numbers speak for themselves," Cousins said. "With more than 400,000 hunting licenses sold each year, hunting is one of the safest outdoor participation sports in Colorado."

Volunteers are the core of the Division's hunter education efforts. Courses are taught by volunteer instructors, keeping the cost of taking a course low at just $10.

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

Monday, March 7, 2011

Blog Questions and Suggestions
During the past few weeks I have been asked numerous times by fellow outdoor bloggers if I had any suggestions on how they could improve their blogs. I am no expert and still have a lot to learn, I am not a professional hunter or writer, and instead of sending out countless emails to each person, I decided to do it here to help everyone with their blogs. Mind you, this is only my opinion and you should take these ideas with a grain of salt.
______________________  _  _____________________

Do write short bits, add photos and humor.
Don't write a book everyday, your readers will avoid you.
______________________  _  _____________________

Do break your long stories up. Have a long hunt that goes on for a week? Break it up into a few entries. It'll give everyone something to come back to. It also helps fill the void of having to figure out what to blog about during that week. You have a specific topic for a few days!
Don't write everything into one entry. It'll only drive you crazy and stress you out from having to write it all down in one post. It'll also be tiresome for a person to read if they don't have the time to read it all in one sitting. There is nothing wrong with a series.
______________________  _  _____________________

Do give your readers a chance and the ones that want to read it will.
Don't  get on Twitter and Facebook repost the link over and over in a short period of time.
______________________  _  _____________________

Do pose questions that will spark debate. It'll make your blog more interesting and you'll be surprised how many people can't avoid a good debate.
Don't  just regurgitate things from the web all of the time. Put your two cents in there. It's YOUR blog, right? Nothing wrong with adding a press release once a week if it relates your blog, but don't do it every day.
______________________  _  _____________________ 

Do share your personal feelings on certain subjects. People want to know who YOU are.
Don't  hide and think you have to follow what everyone else says.
______________________  _  _____________________ 

Do post often, but not everyday, unless you have something very useful and unique everyday. By posting every other day or every few days it gives people time to catch up on other blog and to have something to look forward to on your blog.
Don't  just post to post. Don't throw something up there just to fill a void for each day. It'll only make people frequent your blog less.
______________________  _  _____________________ 

Do share the good and the bad. We all know that people miss animals, or do stupid things. We also know people do wonderful things and it all doesn't have to relate to hunting. Write about your adventures!
Don't  think every post needs to be a hunt or an outdoor event. You can mix it up. I encourage you to! Don't feel that you are singled out if you make a bad hit on an animal or can't figure something out. Write about it and see what responses come in.
______________________  _  _____________________ 

Do comment on other bloggers pages. Leave your mark. Put your opinion out there and let them know you are reading their material. 
Don't  shy away or become a lurker. Posting comments only helps us all become better.
______________________  _  _____________________ 

Like I said, I am no expert, nor am I perfect. I make mistakes. I write posts that people don't read, but I write and I continue to write. I share my experiences, my opinion and my adventures. It's how I roll and you should comment and let me know what you think. Leave your opinion and your thoughts on what I have said. I don't care if you don't agree with my thought process, let me know. Please add the things I missed (this is a short list) and make suggestions. The only way I can improve it to hear about it from others, too. Still, you know I'm right...right?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Daytripping Down The Trail
What has two thumbs and is going after hogs again this weekend? Yepper... This Guy! Sure, I may spend a lot of time and money chasing these bristly, tick-infested balls of muscle, but I love every second of it. For me it's not all about getting one, but the experience.

“In wisdom gathered over time I have found that every experience is a form of exploration.” ~ Ansel Adams

Right on, Mr. Adams, right on.

I am headed off with a friend of mine to go hit up another area of public land to do some archery hog hunting and scouting for the fall deer season. We might even try to call up a coyote or two, but we are in for a good hike and some beautiful scenery. 

This hunt is about many things. We have both been practicing quite often and are ready to send some arrows flying at things other than foam targets. We both want to backpack in to a hunting spot and do some serious scouting. It's about us getting out of the city and testing our meddle and putting our will power to the test. All of this makes for an exciting day trip to the wilderness.

I hope you all have a great weekend and if you are heading to the woods, good luck, be safe and let the ammo fly! In my case it'll be 350 grains of sharpened steel... yes, you guessed it... on a meat missile. That one's for all of you who needed a good laugh. Cheers!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Winners of the Fred Hall Show Tickets
Pick a ticket, or two or three.

Congratulations to all three who entered the contest! You have ALL won tickets!

Jeff Abell - 2 tickets
Eric Welsh - 1 ticket

Please email me your shipping addresses so I can get these in the mail first thing tomorrow.

For those who are interested in the hunting seminars, here is the schedule. For a listing of all of the seminars you can check them out here: Full List of Seminars. Just click on the link under each sponsor to see what is scheduled.

Also, for you all with an iPhone: The FREE Fred Hall Show iPhone app is now available on iTunes and through your iPhone's App Store. There's a full list of seminars, exhibitors and a growing list of show specials that will be updated daily.

This will be a great show for sure and I hope to see some of you there!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Product Review: AAE Max Hunter Vanes
For the past three months I have been shooting Arizona Archery Enterprises Max Hunter Vanes and I have nothing but good things to say about them. Originally, I was shooting Blazer vanes and while they work great, but the Max Hunters work better. For me they worked MUCH better.

In comparison, the Max Hunter is a different design than the Blazer. I first laid eyes on the Max Hunters while watching a hunting show and I couldn't help think about how odd I thought they looked. Like they say, I really should never judge a book by its cover. Ever.

First off, you can get the Max Hunters in only one size. The specifics are 2.1" long, .590" high, .024 thick and they come in eight colors: Black, Bright Green, Fire Orange, Hot Pink, Purple, Sunset Gold, White, and Yellow.

The vanes themselves are a bit thicker than most, but I feel that this helps correct the arrow in flight much faster. When shooting these in a crosswind the AAE vaned arrows corrected faster than the Blazer vaned arrows and I was more accurate with the AAE vanes. There are other benefits with the vane being thicker than most. I shot more than one arrow through another vane, on more than one occasion. I then took the arrow with an arrow hole through two vanes and shot it at 60 yards. I hit pay dirt. Again. Even with holes in the fletching the arrow flew true. (It did have a nice airy, whistling sounds, but this was just for the field review). When I did this with the Blazers, my arrows flew erratically and were not consistent.

When fletching, they go on each properly prepared arrow securely and with the AAE glue, they hold extremely well. I never had any fletching tear off when shooting it through mesh. On the other hand, more than once, the Blazers (with their glue) did come off when shot through the mesh. 

I hit the range multiple times in the past three months. The AAE Max Hunters corrected faster and my arrow groupings were tighter that the Blazer vaned arrows. Same arrows, same field points, just different fletching. I was more consistent with the Max Hunters and even some of the spectators at the range noticed.

These were shots 56-60 and my arm was fatigued.
The Max Hunters fly true and are, in my opinion, the best vanes on the market. Let's put it this way, for the first time ever, Sunday I decided to go out and shoot at 70 yards. So, I adjusted my pin to what I thought was close and shot 5 arrows. I hit the target , but wasn't as close as I wanted. One adjustment later and I had all five arrows in the paper plate. At 70 yards! For many western hunters that's not a big deal, but for this guy who has never shot anything over 60 yards, well, this was awesome. It felt great and I will continue to shoot the Max Hunter vanes on any arrow I shoot because I believe in them.

All in all, I give these vanes a 9/10. They are excellent. The only reason I didn't give them a 10/10 is because they do stick a bit inside some of the fletching jigs because of their thickness. Other than that, they are superb and I'll back them 100%.