Monday, January 30, 2012

California Offers Four Fund-Raising Tags in 2012
Last year, California held a drawing for two (2) big game fund-raising tag and it was so successful that they have decided to offer it again this year. PLUS, they are adding two more tags for a grand total of four (4). The drawing is a great opportunity for ANY hunter. It's only $5.66 per entry and you can enter however many times you'd like. Read the press release.

Here are the hunts being offered:
  1. Open zone deer tag
  2. Owens Valley zone elk tag
  3. Northeastern California pronghorn antelope tag
  4. Kelso Peak/Old Dad Mountains desert bighorn sheep tag

A MAJOR bonus for you sheep hunters out there.
As an added bonus, San Gorgonio Wilderness Outfitters has offered to provide free guide services to the hunter who wins the Kelso Peak/Old Dad Mountains desert bighorn sheep tag.
Now THAT is a great deal for any hunter and it's great that they are willing to throw that in. Looks like I am going to be throwing my name into the hat this year. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants a chance at a great hunt!
The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is pleased to announce four random drawings for big game license tags in 2012. These drawings will raise funds needed for vital wildlife conservation programs.

In 2011, DFG offered two random drawings – one for an open zone deer tag and one for an Owens Valley zone elk tag – which together generated more than $130,000 for conservation. DFG will bring back these tags this year and make two more tags available for random drawing – one northeastern California pronghorn antelope tag and one Kelso Peak/Old Dad Mountains desert bighorn sheep tag.

Opportunities to win one of the four fund-raising tags are available to all interested hunters. Random tag drawing chances can now be purchased at DFG license sales offices and online, as well as at the upcoming International Sportsmen’s Expositions in Sacramento and Long Beach.

Each chance will cost $5.66 and there is no purchase limit. Purchase of random drawing chances does not require a valid license, but the successful applicants must show proof of a valid 2012-2013 California hunting license to obtain the tag. The application deadline for all tags is June 2, 2012 with the drawings taking place within 10 business days of the deadline.

“In our continued support of hunting and quest to increase hunting and fishing opportunities in California, I’m pleased that our hunters can purchase multiple random drawing fund-raising tag chances for special hunt tags this year,” said DFG Director Charlton H. Bonham. ”I am particularly excited that this year we will include a once-in-a-lifetime desert bighorn sheep tag as well as a coveted northeastern California pronghorn antelope tag.
“California’s big game conservation and hunting opportunites continue to demonstrate that world-class opportunites are available in this great state. Just this past season two hunters set pending Boone and Crocket State and Pope and Young world records for desert bighorn sheep.”

As an added bonus, San Gorgonio Wilderness Outfitters has offered to provide free guide services to the hunter who wins the Kelso Peak/Old Dad Mountains desert bighorn sheep tag.

“This is a wonderful offer and commitment by the San Gorgonio folks and demonstrates the great support of one another within the hunting community,” Bonham said.

Hunters who are not selected as winners of one of the four random tag draws are still eligible to bid on any of the 13 fund-raising tags available through auction by DFG’s conservation partners. Frequently asked questions are answered on the DFG website at  www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/hunting/huntingfaqs.html.

Media Contacts:
Craig Stowers, DFG Deer Program, (916) 445-3553
Joe Hobbs, DFG Tule Elk/Pronghorn Program, (916) 445-9992
Regina Abella, DFG Bighorn Sheep Program, (916) 445-3728
Dana Michaels, DFG Communications, (916) 322-2420

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Product Review: Badlands Hybrid Pack
The Outdoor Blogger Network turned one back in October and as part of the celebration they, along with the sponsors, had abundant giveaways. One of the highly sought after items was a Badlands Hybrid Pack. Now imagine sitting in a treestand during the slow part of a hunt and getting an email (via cell phone)  informing you that you won said giveaway. When I opened the email informing me that The SoCal Bowhunter was the winner of the pack I about dropped the phone in my excitement!

As soon as I could, I looked up the Hybrid specs on the Badlands website:
  • WEIGHT : 4 lbs 2 oz
  • DIMENSIONS : 20" x 12" x 11"
  • CAPACITY : 1980 ci
  • COMPARTMENTS : Infinite plus 1
  • POCKETS : Too Many
  • RIFLE : YES
  • BOW : YES
  • CAMO : Max-1 & AP

The Badlands Hybrid pack is built for a day hunt or even two days if you plan carefully. I tested mine out in different ways. I took it out scouting and I took it to Disneyland. Yepper. D-land, with a capital D. Why? It's a great testing ground. I pack plenty of clothes and snacks for the family and I am always on the hunt for the big animals that roam the park. You know, the ones with giant ears.
 
If you are obsessive about what goes in your pack and wanting to keep it organized, then this is the pack for you. The Hybrid has numerous pockets to store your gear. How many? Let's just say I lost count. I like the fact that you can keep everything very organized and this pack is great for that. The pack also has a mesh pocket for a hydration bladder, which I utilized. It functions very well and it was very easy to place the bladder inside and also remove.

When I completed my initial once-over, I thought my pack had been sewn incorrectly because I couldn't get the front pocket open. Come to find out, it's magnetic! I am not a big fan of magnets on my gear, but it's better than Velcro. I packed up the amenities for the day trip to Disneyland and hit the road with the family. The pack felt great on my back! I was able to lug everything with ease, but that pocket kept popping open. Yes, the one with the magnet to keep it closed. I just had too much stuff in the pack or it was in a pocket that wouldn't hold it well. After moving some stuff around, I quickly realized that this pack is not meant to be crammed with gear like a Badlands 2200 is. This one is definitely designed for shorter day trips and that front pocket is meant to hold small items, such as a map, or items you need quickly. While I may not be a total fan of the magnetic pocket, it functions well and is a good feature on the pack. Well done, Badlands!

Detail showing the magnetic pocket as it is opened.

Along with that, the entire pack is waterproof. The magnetic hold closing the pocket was tight enough that it is also waterproof. This I know because I dumped water over it when it was closed. I even let it sit in a small pool of water to see if it soaked through the bottom. Result: Dry as a bone inside and that was very pleasing!

One of the features of the pack that I really think works for a small pack is the bow/rifle holder. There are a few packs out there that have this feature and Badlands has it on many of their packs, but they seem to own it.  It was easy to lock the bow in and not worry about it. My bow stayed locked in place the entire scouting trip.

Everything about this pack is balanced whether it's loaded up or not. When it's full the shoulder straps distribute the weight evenly and they never dig into your shoulders. In fact, it is so comfortable to have on your back you will almost forget it's there. I wore it all day, fully-loaded at Disneyland and scouting and I didn't think twice about it. I even put 30 lbs. inside and lugged that around. It still felt comfortable and balanced.

The Badlands Hybrid has a price point between $180-$200 in most stores, so it's not cheap. You WILL get what you pay for and that is quality, comfort and durability. For anyone who doesn't know about Badlands, they also have the best warranty in the business. If it loses a zipper or gets a tear in it, you send it back and they fix it. You will have to cover the cost of return shipping, but that is a small price to pay for service like that. 

_____________________________________________

Disclaimer: The reviews on The SoCal Bowhunter are solely my honest opinions.  I receive no monetary compensation in exchange for these reviews. I received the Badlands Hybrid Pack free of charge and agreed  to provide a review in exchange.  The SoCal Bowhunter is not sponsored by or associated with Badlands and is accepting no other compensation, monetary or otherwise, in exchange for this review.  My independent status may change in the future but, as of the date of publication, no relationship other than described above has been pursued or established.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Tejon Ranch Halts Hunting During Investigation
Press Release from Tejon Ranch today:
Tejon Ranch Company announced today that effective January 30, 2012, it will voluntarily suspend all normal hunting operations on the Ranch, revoke all unsupervised access permits, and refund all monies paid to date for hunting access on the Ranch after the January 30, 2012, suspension date.

The suspension, though temporary and voluntary, will last as long as is needed to conduct a thorough evaluation of the Ranch’s hunting and access programs and make whatever operational changes are deemed necessary.

The Company is taking the action in light of the results of a year-long investigation into allegations that mountain lions were taken on Ranch property without depredation permits as required by California law.

Once it was informed that lions may have been taken illegally on the Ranch, the Company immediately began an investigation into those claims and turned over the results of its investigation to the Department of Fish and Game (DFG).

The Company and its executive management team provided its full cooperation throughout the official investigation. The investigation determined that over the last 20 years, since the passage of Proposition 117 in 1990, which introduced new restrictions and regulations regarding the take of mountain lions in California, there had been incidents where mountain lions were taken on the Ranch without prior authorization.

The investigation further determined that those unauthorized actions were neither approved nor encouraged by the Company and, in fact, were never reported to the Company’s executive management, or to the DFG, in clear violation of Company policy and the state statute regulating the take of mountain lions in California.

“I was appalled and outraged when I learned the results of the investigation,” said Robert A. Stine, president and CEO of Tejon Ranch Company. “Tejon Ranch did not then, and certainly does not now condone such activity, and we sincerely regret that such activity took place on our Ranch. Accordingly, we are taking every step necessary to ensure it won’t happen again.

Tejon Ranch is committed to the responsible stewardship of its land, including the wildlife that inhabits the Ranch. Tejon Ranch has a long history of such stewardship, including its voluntary ban on the use of lead ammunition on the Ranch and other actions taken to assist in the recovery of the endangered California condor.”

The suspension of normal hunting activities and subsequent review is being undertaken with the cooperation of the DFG. Experts from Fish and Game and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agree that it is in the long term best interests of conservation for responsible hunting to continue on Tejon Ranch, given that it is important to maintain a proper balance of wildlife in a given habitat; and on-going hunting is a critical component in maintaining that balance.

Tejon Ranch Company will work closely with the DFG in examining every aspect of the Ranch’s hunting program. The Ranch’s goal will be to institute best hunting management standards and practices, including a full examination of whether allowing unsupervised access to the Company’s 422 square miles of Ranch property may have contributed to this unfortunate series of events.

“While it’s in the long term best interests of conservation for hunting to continue on the Ranch,” said Stine, “we believe a short-term suspension of our normal operations are necessary to determine the best way to operate the hunting program to ensure that these actions never again occur on Tejon Ranch, even if that means severely restricting hunting access to the Ranch.”

The results of both the DFG’s and the Company’s investigation were forwarded to the Kern County District Attorney’s office, which will determine what, if any, potential legal action will be taken. Tejon Ranch Company is cooperating fully with the District Attorney’s office in this matter.

Participants in Tejon Ranch’s hunting and access programs should soon receive instructions outlining the procedure for obtaining a refund of their unused portion of their hunting and/or access membership. Any questions regarding this suspension and the refund of fees should be directed to Tejon Ranch’s Wildlife Management Division at (661) 663-4210.
SoCal Bowhunter Gear Giveaway Time!
Who out there wants to win some new gear for 2012? One of my most essential tools in my kit is one that many don't have or don't think about. The tool I am referring to is my set of Allen wrenches. Sure they sell these for around $10.00 at most hunting retailers, but why not win one from the SoCal Bowhunter?

Who wants to win one of these Allen wrench sets?

I am feeling generous today, so I will be giving two (2) of these away. That's right... TWO!  

How do I get into the contest, Al? Well, I am going to make you work a little for it, but in a fun way. I want you to create a photo montage, funny ad, or interesting design using the photos below. I want you to get creative and fun... AT MY EXPENSE!

The Catch: You have to use at least two (2) of the photos in your compilation. 

Choose to edit any two or all of them together, or add your own interpretation. Feel free to add your own photos, too. (NOTE: You must have permission to use any other photos or elements you add to your design). Whatever you feel you want to do! Let's keep it PG, but have some fun! Add some fun text or a caption to the photo you edit.

Each person can enter up to three (3) photos.

The great thing about this contest is that it's open to everyone. You don't have to follow my blog, or the SoCal Bowhunter Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter. You just have workup an image or two or three and email them to me. Be sure to put this in the subject line of your email - "SoCal Bowhunter Allen Wrench Giveaway Entry". Otherwise it might end up in spam and never be seen.

Also... they don't have to be perfect! I am not looking for award-winning design here and you are not going to be judged on how well you know Photoshop. Honestly, I don't care what program you use, I just want to laugh or see how creative you get.

You have until 9:00 PM PST on February 1, 2012 to email me your entries. I will choose two (2) winners on Groundhog Day. That's February 2, 2012 for those who don't know. That means you have over a week to come up with some of your best photo manipulations, captions, ads, etc. I will post the two winning images on Friday, February 3rd. Best of luck! 

Download the photos below. Click them to make them larger and then right click>Save Image As...

In my heavier days.

Flinging some arrows.

Blue steel?

Alvin?

Monster Cali deer.

No fear whatsoever.

Disclaimer: Open to USA and Canada only. Giveaway ends at 9:00 PM PST on Wednesday, February 1, 2012. I will ship the wrench sets out after the winners have been chosen and they have provided me a mailing address. I am in no way liable for any emails sent to the wrong address or that are not delivered to me. No more than three entries per person. Any more than three will disqualify you from the contest.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

California Deer Tag Validation: Regulations vs. The Hunter
Preparation for deer season starts as early as you want it to. For me, I can never get hunting off the brain, so I am already preparing for the 2012 season and for good reason. In reviewing the regulations regarding deer tags and reading a few publications and forum posts, I have realized that there are many unanswered questions regarding the validation of CA deer tags, especially in Southern California.

In California, after you shoot a deer and fill out the tag, you must have it validated and countersigned by the closest person allowed by law to do so. I just read an interesting article in the California Bowmen Hunters Jan 2012 Newsletter by Wayne Raupe CBH/SAA Legislative Coordinator discussing the subject. He make some great points about who is allowed to sign off and how soon it needs to be done. 

Do you know the regulations regarding who can validate a tag? I'd be willing to wager a bet that you may not, or do not know ALL of who can sign off on a tag. Even I don't know it by heart! The problem I see more and more every year is that most of the people who are authorized to sign off have NO IDEA either! Sounds odd, right? Shouldn't they know? Most of the people listed on the California Code of Regulations don't know what a hunting law states, unless they hunt, and even then they sometimes do not know. 

Here's a recent example that describes the plight of the SoCal hunter. A local hunter shot his deer and took it to the closest place to his harvest location for validation of the tag - a firehouse. When he approached and explained that he needed the firemen to sign off on his tag, they looked at him funny and told him to hold on. They said they had never heard of that and asked him again to state why he was there. They called the foreman and he also had no idea what to do, so they called someone else. The hunter sat there at the station house for almost two (2) hours before his tag was finally validated by the foreman who had to come from home.

It sounds crazy, but it did happen. What would you have done? Would you have moved on to another location? Did you know that you could be cited for that? So therein lies the catch. What if you are trying to do what regulations say, but the people who MUST sign off won't do it? What if a Notary Public refuses to sign because he/she doesn't believe in hunting? This has been digging in under my skin for weeks. No one wants a citation for doing what is asked, but it could happen!
______________________________________________________

Here are the deer tag reporting regulations copied from the California Code of Regulations:

§708.5. Deer Tagging and Reporting Requirements.
  • (a) Upon the killing of any deer the tag holder shall immediately fill out all portions of the tag including the report  card completely, legibly, and permanently, and cut out or punch out and completely remove notches or punch holes for the month and date of the kill .The deer license tag shall be attached to the antlers of an antlered deer or to the ear of any other deer and kept attached during the open season and for 15 days thereafter. Except as otherwise provided, possession of any untagged deer shall be a violation.  (Refer to Fish and Game Code, Section 4336).
  • (b) Every person to whom a deer license tag is issued shall return the completed report card portion to the department within thirty days of taking a deer.
Added 7/8/11. 


§708.6. Tag Validation, Countersigning and Transporting Requirements.
  • (a) Any person legally killing a deer in this state shall have the deer license tag validated and countersigned by a person authorized by the commission as described below before transporting such deer, except for the purpose of taking the deer to the nearest person authorized to countersign the license tag, on the route being followed from the point where the deer was taken (refer to Fish and Game Code, Section 4341).
  • (b) No person may validate or countersign his/her own deer tag or tag.
  • (c) Deer and Elk Tags, Persons Authorized to Validate.
    • (1) The following persons are authorized to validate or countersign deer and elk tags:
      • (A) State:
        • 1. Fish and Game Commissioners
        • 2. Employees of the Department of Fish and Game, including Certified Hunter Education Instructors
        • 3. Employees of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
        • 4. Supervising Plant Quarantine Inspectors
        • 5. Junior, Intermediate and Senior Plant Quarantine Inspectors
      • (B) Federal:
        • 1. Employees of the Bureau of Land Management
        • 2. Employees of the United States Forest Service
        • 3. Employees of the United States Fish & Wildlife Service
        • 4. All Uniformed Personnel of the National Park Service
        • 5. Commanding Officers of any United States military installation or their designated personnel for deer taken on their reservation.
        • 6. Postmasters & Post Office Station or Branch Manager for deer brought to their post office.
      • (C) Miscellaneous:
        • 1. County firemen at and above the class of foreman for deer brought into their station.
        • 2. Judges or Justices of all state and United States courts.
        • 3. Notaries Public
        • 4. Peace Officers (salaried & non-salaried)
        • 5. Officers authorized to administer oaths
        • 6. Owners, corporate officers, managers or operators of lockers or cold storage plants for deer brought to their place of business.
Added 7/8/11. 

§708.7. Deer Head Retention Requirements and Production Upon Demand.
Any person taking any deer in this state shall retain in their possession during the open season thereon and for 15 days thereafter, that portion of the head which in adult males normally bears the antlers, and shall produce the designated portion of the head upon the demand of any officer authorized to enforce the provisions of this regulation (refer to Fish and Game Code, Section 4302).

Added 7/8/11. 

§708.8.  Deer Violations, Tag Forfeiture.

Any person who is convicted of a violation involving deer shall forfeit their current year deer license tags and no new deer license tags may be issued to that person during the then current hunting license year, and that person may not apply for a deer license tag or deer preference points for the following license year (refer to Fish and Game Code, Section 4340).
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This all sounds hard to believe, but it's all true. Every time I read the regulations and the Fish and Game Code it seems like they are trying to back hunters into a corner. It's true and very frustrating for hunters in Southern California (I don't know how the NorCal hunters handle it). One suggestion is to have hunter education instructors preach the regulations, but it's not their burden to solely bear. I also think that CA DFG, hunting clubs and other organizations need to bring awareness to the public servants who can sign off. Wouldn't you agree?

Something must be done and the wheels in my noggin are spinning. Someway, somehow, we hunters that have a voice need to step it up and inform these organizations of the regulations. I am just stuck in how to approach it and get it done. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Cheers!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Shooting on an Incline or Decline for the Bowhunter
This last deer season I was fortunate to arrow a whitetail from five yards out of a treestand in NY. The shot was fairly simple, no obstructions and easy to range. Back in California, I passed up a shot on a jumpy deer at what I felt was 30 yards, but wasn't sure because of the sheer elevation difference and all of the weeds in the way. I knew that in order to get my confidence level up to a higher standard I needed to understand the rangefinder, the elevation difference and get to shooting at those levels.

Ralph and Vicki Cianciarulo from Archer's Choice recently won a Nikon award for excellence for this how-to video describing the ID technology of the Archer's Choice Rangefinder. It just so happens that this is the rangefinder that I use. Guess it's time to get down to business!

Nikon's ID Technology & Archer's Choice with Ralph and Vicki Cianciarulo

Thursday, January 12, 2012

SoCal Bowhunter Goals and Objectives for 2012
Each year I try to post some lofty, but achievable goals for the upcoming year. I don't believe in 'resolutions' like most do. For example, I will be at the gym because I want and need to be there, not because every other person wants to lose thirty pounds to look good for the beach. Most will give up after a week of trying. No, I have realistic goals and objectives for 2012. I am truly stoked for what 2012 has to offer and I am already hammering out parts of my list.

2012 Goals
  1. Practice at a 3D target range. I have realized that in order to truly grasp what it's like to hunt and be successful out here I need to practice at a 3D range a few times. I have hit the flatland archery range countless times and have even thrown a 3D target up a few times, but I need more. If I want to be the best I can be when bowhunting I need to step it up.
  2. Practice out to 80 yards consistently. Time for a new sight that will allow me to shoot out to 80 yards. Once I get that dialed in on the bow I am going to consistently practice out to that range. I am really looking forward to it!
  3. Drop another 20-25 lbs and get in better shape. I dropped 45 lbs. last year, gained a few back during the holidays and now I have my 2012 goals. This isn't for looks people. I aim to drop the cookies and pie weight and lose another 20-25 before the September elk season in Colorado... see below.
  4. Colorado archery elk hunt. Going to follow through on this one. I've already been talking with my buddy Eddy at Piranha Bowstrings and I am more than excited. He mentioned picking up the Matriarch elk call from Chappell Guide Service, so I did. I've been practicing a bit with it and love it! I have been wondering how I would practice and not drive the neighbors or my family crazy. His suggestion was great - practice on the way to and from work! I'll be in the car for more than twenty minutes each way, so why not throw a few yelps in along the way!
  5. Arrow a wild hog. I have to get up to my buddy Jeff's place this year when the time is right. Jeff has been a super guy with letting me hunt the property and I owe him a lot. I hope I get to hunt with him a few times this year and arrow a hog on his property.
  6. Arrow a SoCal pacific-hybrid deer. This will happen! Going for the same tag again this year and aim to take a doe or a buck in my spot. I have 11 months to think about it!
  7. Do some outdoor trail running. There are many opportunities out here to run some trails and with Mark at SoleAdventure peaking my interest I just have to go for it. It'll sure beat running around the block or hitting the gym every time.
  8. Give a few archery hunting seminars. I am in the works to give a few seminars in 2012 and I'll let you know more when I have them locked down.
  9. Save up for the 2013 ATA Show. I have to make this happen. I am going crazy watching all of the videos, listening to the podcasts and seeing photos of the new gear. I'm a gear junky and love to play, so this is a must!

Reviewing my 2011 goals and the results:
  1. Continue to write at least one gear review per month and video tape a few. You'll understand why I need to video a few as they are completed. - Did pretty well with this one! I did quite a few reviews, but wanted to do a few more giveaways.
  2. Go on a Colorado archery elk hunt. - This one fell through, but I am already planning one for this Fall!
  3. More giveaways on my blog. - See #1!
  4. Meet with at least two archery product manufacturers and shoot their bows and review them.  - Big time zero on this one. It just didn't happen. I shot a couple of different bows, so I guess that was half the equation, but I failed to meet with manufacturers.
  5. Attend and write about more hunting workshops as they become available. - I attended and wrote about a few, but keeping up with these was tough. I have a few announcements to share coming soon for The SoCal Bowhunter!
  6. Leave more comments on other blogs instead of just lurking. - I left plenty of feedback for bloggers and FB users this year. It's a great way for people to get to know you, too!
  7. Arrow a Pacific-Hybrid deer. - I came to full draw twice on the last day of the season, but the shot wasn't right. Very close call!
  8. Arrow my first wild hog. - This didn't happen, but it is still a goal of mine!
  9. Take someone to the archery range and teach them how to shoot a bow. - Did this a couple of times and had a blast doing it!
  10. Take someone new out hunting. - Took a new bowhunter out and was able to help him get his first deer with a bow! Talk about a sweet feeling.
  11. Utilize social media more (i.e. Twitter, YouTube). - If you have followed my progress this year at all you will know that I grabbed the bull by the horns on this one. I didn't post too many videos, but I certainly harnessed the power of Social Media.
  12. Video an actual kill on camera. - I came SO close on this one. My button buck  from NY was shot on film, but he was JUST out of the frame when I shot. You see him right after I shot and that was good enough for me!
  13. Video someone's hunt. - This wasn't a high priority for me and my thoughts on video have slipped a bit. I just want to hunt!
  14. Plan on attending the 2012 ATA Show in Columbus, OH. - I was planning on this, but life happened and I plan on hitting up the ATA in 2013. I have a year to plan for this one and I hope it doesn't fall on certain days, but we shall see.
  15. Last, but not least...try to smile more and be more personable. I have been told that in person I come across as very serious and not very happy. Contrary to that, I am usually a very happy-go-lucky guy, but I can always improve. - I think I was able to do this a bit more. I tried to not take myself so seriously (see my avatar on Twitter) and just enjoy life more. I need to continue my work with this, but it's working!
What are your goals for 2012? Care to share at least one?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

2012 Archery Trade Association Trade Show
If you are a passionate bowhunter you probably have a good idea what the ATA show is. It's a trade show for archers, bowhunters, manufacturers and dealers with new gear being released, schmoozing, trying out new toys, and networking with people in the archery industry.

Truth be told, I only heard about the show a few years back and had plans to head out there this year. I decided against it with my daughter's birthday falling right smack in the middle, but I can live vicariously through my friends that are there. Thanks to POMA, we can also see the streaming news feed below to satisfy our craving for new bowhunting gear, news and show information.

Next year I will be there along with a few of my fellow bowhunting brothers and sisters of the blogoshphere. Count on it, even if I have to bring my wife and daughter with me!

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Offical Launch of BowAmerica!

Being a blogger has it's perks and one of them is being asked to write for a new bowhunting e-magazine. January 5, 2012 marked the launch of BowAmerica! I am humbled that I was asked to be a contributing writer for the magazine. I am also stoked that the magazine has launched. In addition, I have been helping with designing the cover, helping with layout and some working up some advertising design.

The contributors are writing about compound, traditional, DIY, gear reviews and much more. There is a strong core or writers from all walks of life and with different backgrounds. It's free to sign up and read! How amazing is that? You get great stories and tips from a FREE online magazine.

My first contribution is my story, 'Passion from Dad.'
Recently, I was asked why I bowhunt and how long I have been at it. I have been an archer for 27 years and bow hunting for 22 of those years.

I have only taken one cervid species with archery tackle and that is the whitetail deer. As a native of Western New York State, my main goal was a deer each year. I have taken other species with a firearm, but only whitetails with a bow and arrow.

Each year I hunt Pacific-Hybrid deer (California), and whitetail deer (New York). There are other game animals I hunt, but deer are my primary focus.

I am a life member of the North American Hunting Club and a pro staffer for DIYBowhunter.com. I haven't found a need to join any organization like Pope and Young, etc. They are great organizations, but my time is filled with my family, hunting and helping other hunters. I am not a trophy hunter and have never registered an animal. It's not to say that I couldn't or wouldn't, but personally I don’t find a need. If I have a tag and a legal deer walks by - it's getting shot at.
My choice to become a bowhunter was hands-down because of my dad. He would take my brother and I hunting with him when we were very young and I loved being in the outdoors. When I was nine, my dad gave me my first bow, a hand-me-down recurve. He taught me how to shoot it, care for it and the safe practices that go along with archery. When I was young I helped him track a whitetail and that got me hooked on bow hunting. I was the one who found the deer and the experience was one that I think of every hunting season.
You can read the entire post here.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Last Day of Archery Deer Season 2011
Saturday was the last day of 2011 and the last chance for me to shoot a deer in Southern California. Again, we hit the trailhead early and hiked in to our spot. On our way in we spotted a big skunk with his tail up. He was 30 yards away and kept looking back like he wanted a fight. Tell you what... it's pretty creepy when you are on a steep hillside with a fired up, beady-eyed stink machine staring you down. Needless to say, we made our way around the long way to our spots.

Once I got to my spot I made quick work of my sweaty base layers. Even though it was 48 degrees, there was a chilly breeze and I wanted to get rid of the sweaty clothes and warm up. I sprayed on a hefty amount of SEEMZ spray on my sweaty clothes and on my dry ones. I set up my turkey blind, brushed it in and sprayed that down and settled in. Looking at my watch I realized we had made it to our spots a solid hour before shooting light. It was our best time yet! It gave us time to cool off, relax and let our eyes adjust.

Once the sun came up animals started to materialize. Not deer, but more skunks! WTH! Six outings to this spot and this was the first time we had seen skunks and there were a bunch of them. These newest ones were 300 yards away, but still!

After a couple hours of sitting I finally spotted deer down the ridge. They slowly fed up the hill and then stopped. I knew something was amiss and raised up my binoculars. I stared into the brush and spotted the other bowhunter making his way down the opposite ridge. With any luck, the does would spook and head toward me. My plan worked and they bolted right up a trail that crossed 30-40 yards in front of me.

I tried to range the lead deer, but the grass in front of me kept throwing me off. That's what I get for not practicing on elevated levels. I drew and waited. The last doe spotted me and they bolted 40 yards uphill. I had time to range the only one broadside, but it just happened to be the on on high alert. She was at 60 yards, leg raised and bent, and wondering what I was. I stood there, at full draw for two minutes. I let down because while I felt comfortable shooting at 60 yards, I was not about to risk a long shot on an amped up deer and risking a wounded deer.

The fun was just beginning as the deer walked behind a bush and started feeding. Then, according to a text from Michael, the largest doe bedded down 50-60 yards from me, but I couldn't see her! She stayed that way for a half hour! I watched the other deer walk around, feed, stare at me some more, but I had no shot. Then, the little one started snorting, stomping, snorting, and snorting some more. She knew I was there, but had no idea what I was. All four deer jumped up, walked around the bushes and then came back. Then the one bedded again and I had to wait for them to appear for a shot. One of them started to come out at 45 yards and just as I was about to draw she turned away. Then she started snorting and stomping again. It was truly comical to hear. It was an odd snort, like you knew she couldn't smell you, but she knew damn well I was something out of place. A few minutes later all four deer bounded over the hill and out of sight.

I sent a text to Michael letting him know I was going to wait an hour and see if any other deer appeared. On a far hillside I spotted a lone doe, but that was it. No more deer for the day. I decided that it was time to head home after that. In our adventures out here we hadn't seen the deer moving in the afternoon. Time to throw in the towel.

Ending the day in the hills.
We had a great season, learned a lot and I am super thankful to have been out as many times as we did. I am bummed the season is over, but I learned that I need to hit a 3D range, work out harder and get in super shape. 2012 is going to be a super year and I am ready to grab it by the horns!