Wednesday, May 30, 2012

'BRAVE' Youth Archery Tournament

Participation in archery is on the rise and it is exciting to see! The Pasadena Roving Archers and the City of Pasadena Parks and Recreation are putting on a youth archery tournament on June 10, 2012 to benefit the Pasadena Ronald McDonald House. You will need to pre-register here in order to participate. Youth means 16 and under, so if you fall in that age range and want to enter, do not hesitate. This is for experienced archers and not beginners, so keep that in mind. Good luck!


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Book Review: The Mindful Carnivore: A Vegetarian's Hunt for Sustenance

A few months ago, when tweeting back and forth with Tovar Cerulli, I was asked if I had an interest in reading his book, The Mindful Carnivore: A Vegetarian's Hunt for Sustenance. While I am no literary critic or bibliophile, I do love a good book and having been given the opportunity to review something other than a hunting product excited me. Before I proceed, you must understand that I have been a follower of Tovar's blog for some time and can appreciate his perspective on the outdoors, hunting and fishing. Many people like to debate with Tovar and he always has a good, fact based response. While I know it can get emotional, he keeps his responses on point. Knowing this, I decided that yes, I had a strong interest in reading his book. Tovar and I have had honest, level-headed debates on other blogs based on our opinions, but where we stated facts to make our point. I appreciated what he had to say, so I knew I really wanted to read this book.



Vegetarians have called it “thought-provoking” and “beautiful,” and have urged others to read it. Hunters have commended the questions it raises about what it means to take an animal’s life, and have said that it gives them new insight into vegetarianism.

The quote from Tovar's blog is very true. I have been very standoffish from vegetarians because most that I encounter try to ram it their views down my throat and say hunting is wrong. They tell me I am a murderer and what I do is reprehensible. Then I explain my hunting background as the eldest male in a family growing up with little to eat, but being blessed with wild game to hunt. Why I hunt is often discussed and while this usually eases the tension a bit, it can be a very testy situation. In his book, Tovar deals with these very same issues and how he approached them. They may not be detailed in the exact manner as I have stated, but nonetheless they are there. I respect what Tovar has to say because he brings something new to the table.

His book outlines his struggle with eating properly, staying healthy and fighting his conscience. What I mean by the latter part is the inner and outer battle he has to deal with regarding vegetarianism vs. hunting. His moral code is not only respectable, but you can feel the struggle he goes through. Even still, the journey he shares is one of understanding and freedom. Debate will continue to exist between vegetarians and hunters, but Tovar lays out some viewpoints rather innocently and lets you choose how to think. He also does not judge you for the choices you make. Consider that when reading the book.

'Now that I was fishing, the water had come alive. Ponds and lakes were no longer mere scenery.'

The quote above describes exactly how I feel as an outdoorsman. Everything in the woods, on the mountains and in the water is alive. That being said, I don't always have to go kill something to have a successful hunt. That is another interesting avenue that Tovar touches on throughout the book.

'Looking around at the taxidermied heads on the fish and game club walls, I wondered how the hunters who had done the killing saw those mounts. Did they see them as proof of their capacity for domination? Did they see them as ways of honoring the animal they had killed, or as ways of preserving the memories of those days, those moments?'

I have often wondered similar questions. I am not a trophy hunter by definition. Any animal I hunt, kill and put in my freezer is a trophy. It is something I have worked hard for and to me it IS a trophy. Now don't get me wrong,
like many hunters will, I do proudly display my mounts from animals I have killed. It's a personal choice, but Tovar still makes you think about it. There's no right or wrong, but rather a question of accountability.

In the book, Tovar mentions living for a spell in New York State and where he lived was less than an hour from where I grew up. This also helped me connect with him on a geographical level. It brought me back home. The smells, the open country and driving through the Finger Lakes int he Fall. You don't have to be from New York, New Hampshire or any specific location to relate to the book. Just be a hunter with an open mind. I do think that the book is more focused at hunters understanding vegetarians and not vice versa, but that is strictly my opinion.

Most of you will be pleasantly surprised when you read this book. By the end you will feel like Willie and Uncle Mark are part of your extended family. I am not going to give all details away here, but I highly recommend picking up a copy. While it started off slow for me, the meat of the book and the ending were thought provoking, powerful and entertaining. It'll give you insight into the mind of a vegetarianan-turned-hunter, the inner battles one has to address and the highlights of some great dynamics between friends and family.

The book is published by Pegasus Books and distributed by W. W. Norton. It can be purchased through local bookstores or online. For purchase links, more info, and details on upcoming events around New England, please visit Tovar's website: www.tovarcerulli.com/book.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Wounded Warrior to Go on Safari

With Memorial Day coming on May 28, I often find myself thinking about our military members and the sacrifices they make on a daily basis. Many in my family have served and I have friends still serving our country. Thank you for your service. I also know I am not the only one thinking of our troops. Fellow outdoor blogger and owner of Starr & Bodill African Safaris, Britney Starr, contacted me regarding a wounded warrior safari that will be taking place from August 25-September 3, 2012.

The
United Special Sportsman Alliance in conjunction with the Lake Superior Safari Club International and S&B are all collaborating to put this hunt together. S&B is providing the wounded warrior and his brother a ten day all inclusive safari in the East Cape of South Africa. Nick will be hunting kudu, blesbok, warthog, blue wildebeest, and impala. 


There are costs that the above organizations are stacking up (airfare, one night hotel stay, and dip/ship of the trophies back to the US) and they are trying to raise money to help offset the costs. If you would like to help, checks can be made out to "USSA" and mailed to:

Britney Starr 
1583 108th Ave. 
Otsego, MI 49078

The USSA is a 501(c)(3) organization and all donations will receive a receipt for tax deductions. 

There are already companies sending gear for the two men. Federal Premium Ammunition has generously donated ammo for our warrior to use while on safari, Blackhawk! tactical gear is outfitting Nick and his brother with clothing, and Shooters Ridge is providing shooting sticks.

Some of the gear still needed are 2 pair of lightweight leather gloves (Size x\XL) and 2 backpacks. If you know of anyone who can help provide gear that would further assist Nick while on safari you can Britney via email at britney.sbsafaris@gmail.com.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

California Big Game Application Deadline Draws Near
Attention Hunters! Do you have your California big game tags yet? The deadline to apply for premium deer tags, bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope and elk tags, as well as for point-only applications is June 2. All other restricted and non-restricted deer tag sales are first-come, first-served, no deadline. 

Important note: June 2 is a Saturday and DFG offices will be closed, so I highly recommend applying early, like NOW! The transaction must be completed before midnight June 2. Don't wait until it's too late.

You can apply online, at a license sales agent or at a DFG license sales office. To apply online (which I think is the easiest and fastest), please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/ols/.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Motivation, Accountability, Goals
Ever have one of those weeks where you just don't have the drive to hit the gym or workout? Lately, I have been trying to dig myself out of a rut. I am not writing this looking for a pity party or 'atta-boys' for work I have done in the past. The past is just that, the past. I am keeping myself accountable and letting you all know that I am human and I falter. This brings to mind the SNL sketch with the late Chris Farley and his 'I live in a van down by the river' motivational speeches. Cracks me up, but not what I need.

The last week for me has been terrible as far as me staying on top of working out. I had a great run on Monday and then my back got sore. Not sure if it was truly sore or if it was in my mind, but I stopped working out. Call it the easy way out, lack of motivation or just apathy, but I didn't feel like going. I didn't want to run the same circle at work for 45 minutes. I didn't want to go to the gym at 11:00 PM and usually by that time I was whooped and had already fallen asleep. I went home, spent time with my family and by 11:00 PM every night I was either passed out or trying to finish up some project.

When I got up this morning my belt felt a bit snug and I knew my apathy, not eating properly and self-imposed project stress had taken a toll. It wasn't over the top, but enough where I felt the swift kick of my fellow bowhunters telling me, 'Ok, you had an off week. Now suck it up, quit whining and get back after it!' Good motivation right there, but am going to ask for more assistance. I know that is what I need to do, but I thrive on working out with someone telling me to do more or push further.

Question of the Week: Are there any local bowhunters who have a membership to 24-Hour Fitness in Cypress, CA who want to train a couple times a week? My schedule is flexible and I could seriously use a partner for some weight training. I refuse to pay for a trainer when I know what I need to do, I am just NOT doing it. So if there are any of you out there locally that want to meet up a couple times a week, I am game. Looking to meet up at either 5:30 AM or in the evenings a couple times a week for some weight training. If you do want to train, shoot me an email and let's get this going! I am also game for an early Saturday meet up for a trail run or hike with some weighted backpacks. Accountability and support are going to be needed for this endeavor and I sure need some.

My goal is still to be down only ten more lbs of fat, slightly increase my muscle mass and keep my cardio level ever rising. When the Fall hunting seasons hit I want to be ready to hit the mountains in stride and feel positive about each day I am out there. Time for some oatmeal, water and a set a plan to stay focused on my goals.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Product Review: LENSER H7 LED Headlamp
Without a doubt, hiking into your coveted hunting spot in the wee hours of the morn requires a good source of light. When you are 5 miles into the back country and are hiking out in the pitch black darkness you want a light source that will not only work, but work well and have lasting battery life. I have used headlamps that worked well, some that worked okay and some that downright failed. When I was offered a chance to review the LENSER H7 headlamp I gladly accepted. I love technology and testing out new innovative products!

The LENSER H7 led headlamp is a must for hunters.

For the past few months I have been reviewing the LENSER H7 Headlamp and I have to say it holds up well to my testing. It's a powerful source of light and it doesn't weight a lot. Double bonus! I tested it in NY during the Fall whitetail season and in the high desert of Southern California during October, November and December. I have also had my dad and brother testing one out in NY during the Winter months.

The pros are thrilled. With the H7, they get the lightweight, easy-to-wear feeling of the H5 but with six-times the Lumens. The Advanced Focus System adjusts for either long-distance light or a circular low beam, making outdoor activities more comfortable and safer. The light's stageless dimming function and swiveling light design are very handy.

The LENSER H7 headlamp is lightweight, runs on 3 AAA batteries and is super bright when needed. You wouldn't guess that this headlamp utilizes just AAA batteries by the light it emits. You would think that it was hooked up to a car battery. I took it to NY last year on my whitetail hunt and my dad immediately wanted one. For the purpose of this review, LENSER sent one for him. He put it to good use and was as surprised as I was at how powerful this little light is. 

The light uses the patented Advanced Focus System can be adjusted from a wide beam to a tight, focused beam of light. At 155 lumens it is very bright! There is a small lever on the front that you move left or right to get the desired beam of light. This was the feature my brother liked the best. He said it was very convenient having a lever at your fingertips to focus the beam quickly. He was also very impressed with how the light performed in the Fall and in the Winter. 

The head can be moved forward to angle it down towards the ground, or you can just leave it anchored at the top to point straight away. This was one feature I thought beneficial because when you are hiking into a spot from two miles out you don't want to be straining your neck the entire time. By adjusting the angle of the light, you can watch where you are walking comfortably, without any strain. The light, when at an angle, has enough resistance in the hinge to keep the light from falling forward or back. I hike vigorously and was pleasantly surprised that the hinge held firm and stayed right where I angled it. It is a very simple and effective design!

If you pull together the strengths of the lens and reflector into one combined system, you achieve clear, homogeneous light spill for up-close reading and a sharply-focused beam for long-distance viewing.

This is exactly what we've done with the Advanced Focus System (AFS); a unique and patented lens/reflector optic. AFS means reading the map up-close is easy on the eyes and then focusing to find the path or landmark in the distance, clear and bright.

The LENSER H7 is one incredible light on most levels. I only had an issue with two things. The first was with the power adjustment lever on the back of the head strap. It is designed to adjust the strength of the beam of light. If you have a hood on, over the back of the light, the fabric will rub against the lever and cause it to slide around making the light beam go bright to dull to bright. I think that if the lever clicked or had simple grooved sections to adjust that it would work better. The second is that there is no option for a colored light beam, such as red and green. For any hunter it would make sense to have these features. Maybe LENSER will come out with an updated version. We can only hope.

All in all, this is a powerful light and will be a great addition to any hunters pack. It's lightweight, has no excess wires running to and fro, and is very comfortable to wear. You can find the LENSER H7 from $30-50 and the average is around $35 for one. I think that is a very competitive price point for anyone looking for a high-quality headlamp. Check them out on Facebook, too!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Feeling at Home on the Range
Last Friday evening I met up with a couple of guys from DIYbowhunter.com to do some target practicing at El Dorado Park in Long Beach, CA. Brett, Brandon and I were excited to get out and fling some arrows. I have known Brett for over a year now and recently met Brandon. Both are passionate about bowhunting and it was great just getting to know them more and do some shooting.

By the time I arrived at the range, Brett already had his DIY target up. He made a simple, but very effective target using foam flooring material and zip ties. Total cost was around $12.00. It worked so well that I am thinking of making one for myself. I bought a Morrell target last year that has taken a beating and performs well, but I am really liking how lightweight Brett's target is. Now I want to buy a small Rhinehart target just to shoot in the garage. Plus, it'll be great to take to the woods for just tossing it out there and judging distance.

We started out at 50 yards and immediately I found my shots were slightly off. Not sure of my sight got bumped or what, but I was hitting low on everything. I went to adjust it and loosened the bolt. Our conversation regarding hunting was getting good. I lifted my head to answer a question and immediately felt the sight slip and drop to the ground. I had loosened too much, let it go and it fell out. Instead of getting angry with myself I started laughing and poking fun at not being able to do two things at once. We all got a kick out of that. A few seconds later I had the sight back in, bolt tightened and was ready to shoot. 

We spent the better part of an hour just sailing arrows into the target and talking strategy for the year. Like me, these are two guys are itching to hit the trails and hunt. We spent another half hour just talking bowhunting and when we'd be able to shoot again. It looks like we are planning on hitting the range again this Friday at 6:00 PM for anyone interested. I can't wait!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Badlands is on a Winning Streak!
This release is hot off the press. I own many of their packs and because I am starting to test out their clothing line I just had to share it! Congratulations to Badlands!


Badlands

8100 South 1300 West
West Jordan, UT 84088
PH. 800-386-7839
FX. 801-978-2249
Badlands receives unprecedented Gold award for sixth consecutive year
Based in Salt Lake City , Utah , Badlands was honored in receiving the “Readers Choice” award for 2012 as voted by the committed readers of Bowhunting World Magazine. This will mark the sixth year in a row Badlands has grasped the coveted “Gold” award in the highly competitive category of Hunting Packs.

Since 2006, readers have recognized Badlands products for their outstanding performance and quality awarding the brand “top honors” with the Gold award.  “It’s a privilege to receive this recognition for the sixth time in a row. This is something unheard of in the hunting industry. I am proud to be part of Badlands and it’s gratifying to see what a dedicated and passionate group can achieve.” Expressed Lawrence Magana, key player on the Badlands Design Team.

Badlands is honored to have our efforts recognized in regards to hunting packs and fanny packs. A great deal of work goes into designing the highest quality merchandise that will hold value and enhance your hunting experience. We continue to set the standard for hunting packs by pushing innovation technology, conducting new research and applying our understanding of the sport to all our products.

Emerging 18 years ago, Badlands has earned reputation for exceptional quality, unmatched performance and the industries only unconditional lifetime warranty.

###

For further information or questions regarding this award, our product or other company news, please contact Isaac Aleman at ixa@vortexoutdoors.com.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

First Impressions: New Badlands Ion Pants
In case you have been hiding under a rock or found yourself away from a computer for the past year, Badlands has come out with a new line of bio-thermic camouflage clothing. I've been following the progression closely on Twitter, Facebook and hunting forums and I was fortunate enough to be selected by Badlands to review the new Ion Pants. The gear review will be coming shortly and I wanted to share my first impressions.

The first thing that crossed my mind when I unfolded the pants was that these are definitely a mid-weight pant. It is not super lightweight, but not overly heavy either. Going to be great to test these out in Southern California.

The material is very soft and comfortable. It makes virtually no noise when walking around my house, but I wasn't wearing my boots or busting brush. My only concern for this material is static and noise. We will see what happens!

Kick ass new digs from Badlands.
The zippers are re-enforced and covered with the same style waterproofing system as on the Badlands packs. This can be a great feature for wet weather, which we do get out here from time to time. For the high desert I think these might protect from dirt and items falling out, but I wonder how noisy they are?

One of the things I immediately noticed was the pocket lining. The pockets are lined with a solid fleece material which is not only good for warming your hands, but it also makes no noise. Double bonus!

I am digging the Nylon re-enforced belt loops as you can clip something onto any of the loops for added carrying space and it makes the loops that much stronger. 

The overall fit is something I will continue to test out. The pair I received were an XL and since I recently lost most of my baby fat I realize that I have to go down to a size L instead. Once I have them in hand I will be running them through the gamut. Hmmm... running in them might be interesting, too.

Be sure to check out the Sole Adventure blog where Mark has shared his first impressions of the Badlands Velocity Jacket. Mark's reviews are honest, thorough and interesting and I know I am excited to hear what he has to say about the new gear. Also having lost some weight with a focus on fitness, Mark has had a dilemma...

I don’t have any hunting clothes that fit me anymore. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

This should fit very well into his review. In case you missed his post about new clothing, here is the link.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

It's a Cornucopia of Gear Giveaways!
Recently, I was discussing some of the current online giveaways with some bowhunters and I thought to myself, why not post about a bunch of them and give everyone an opportunity at some great gear. So that is exactly what I am going to do in this post. There are a number of giveaways and contests going on for the outdoorsmen and women, so without further ado...

You must be a member of the Outdoor Blogger Network to enter. The topic for your essay will be 'How has Coleman kept your family outdoors and brought it closer together?' The prizes they have are insane!

Following Ghost giveaway! Tommy makes custom calls and he's giving one of the works of art away! This one is specifically for his Twitter followers, so you should head over to the blog and read the rules before entering!

Appalachia & Beyond is celebrating 5 years of blogging and they are giving away gear to celebrate. Here are links to the past three days. It's up to you to keep up with the rest!

Field & Stream is having a Scoring Contest where you can win a new Bowtech Insanity CPX compound bow. They will post a total of four bucks photos, one per week, for one month. You will have to guess the gross B&C score of each one. Be sure to keep track of your guesses and know that fractionals will count. 

Facebook Contests:

Eastman's Hunting Journals Giveaway for a Spot Hogg Hogg-It sight and Wiseguy release.
Head on over to the Sweepstakes tab on our page and enter for a chance to win a brand new Hogg-It sight and Wiseguy release from Spot Hogg!

Cherry Valley Bowhunters is giving away 1 doz. Easton Axis 400 arrows & a Doinker Hunter Dish stabilizer.  How to win: You must first "like" the Cherry Valley Bowhunters page, then you need to get your friends to "like" it too. Have you friends post on the CVBH page and say that you sent them. The person with the most "likes" next to their name wins. The winner get to choose between the arrows or the stabilizer. The 2nd place winner get the remainder prize.

VitalX Archery is giving away a StarTRAX sight and a MagniX rest. Enter by clicking the "GIVEAWAYS" tab located below our their cover photo! Entries close this Friday at 12 noon so you don't have much time!
ATS Outdoors GIVEAWAY! We are going to hook someone up with a Bohning Chameleon 5 Arrow Quiver. All you have to do to enter is LIKE and SHARE this picture. (Mobile phone users, just like the pic to enter.) Once we reach 3600 LIKES we will pick a winner!

Camp Chef is giving away three Hunt Gather Cook cookbooks by Hank Shaw. Be sure to enter the contest and tell them what your favorite camping recipe is.

OuttaBounds GIVEAWAY! Win an Apple iPad2, $50 Cabela's Gift Card and a OuttaBounds Shirt! How to win: LIKE their page, SHARE this post they specify on your wall and COMMENT how you would use an iPad2 for the Outdoors! They will pick a winner on June 1.

Sole Adventure Blog: Mark is giving away some Blood Vanes over on his blog next week. Follow his blog for details! 
Good Luck to everyone!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Archery Seminars Lead to New Friends
Over the weekend I had the pleasure of giving a 'Getting Into Archery' seminar on Saturday and Sunday at Bass Pro Shops in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. I had the only archery seminar and I had the 4 PM time slot which made it a challenge. I welcome challenges!

I was able to get there a few hours early to hit the archery range and shoot with Redhead Pro Staffer Harold Horner. We shot our bows, dialed them in a bit more and talked hunting for the better part of two hours. I had a great time and Harold, thanks for taking the time to go over upland bird hunting. I learned a great deal, plus I had a great time. Meeting your wife and Trevor was great, too. We had plenty to talk about on Sunday afternoon!

The Saturday seminar kicked off a little late because of the previous seminar, but the six people who attended were very patient. With only six people I was able to focus on what they wanted to learn about. I covered the archery media craze, gear, pro shops and proper form. We had some great input from the ladies in the crowd which was really great to hear. Once it was over, I opened it up to a Q&A session and the questions were great! Thank you to all who attended and shared information.

The Sunday seminar seats filled quickly and all in all I would say there were around twenty people in the audience. We had a nice mix of young boys and girls, wives and girlfriends and people looking to get started in the crowd. The seminar went very well and pretty much flew by. The Q&A after brought out not only some great questions, but some new archers, too. It was a pleasure meeting you all and thank you all for not only attending, but asking questions and offering pointers. I met some great people from DIYbowhunter.com, a great couple from Huntington Beach and some young people from the area. I'll admit, I lost track of time with talking about archery and my love of it. I will offer an apology to the women who waited patiently for me to stop talking so they could get their men out of the store. You were all VERY patient. The great thing is that many of us live close enough and we are all planning on getting together to shoot over at El Dorado Park in Long Beach, CA very soon. If anyone is interested, contact me and I'll try to set something up. 

A big thank you to everyone who made this possible. Thank you to Bass Pro Shops for asking me to come in and give the seminar, the attendees and my wife who deals with my archery obsession on a daily basis.

Here's a map of El Dorado Park in Long Beach. The entrance is off of Spring St. Drive in, take a left at the stop sign and then take a right by the range. There is a $7 charge to get in before 6 or 6:30 PM. Carpool in and you'll save money!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Product Review: KOWA BD 10x42 Binoculars
Quality. Whenever a hunter asks me about what optics to buy, quality is the first word out of my mouth. That's what you want in optics and I can tell from first hand experience that KOWA is quality.  I'll admit, I didn't know much about KOWA when I first saw some advertisements in a hunting magazine. I had heard about people using the brand, but hadn't seen them first hand. I didn't even personally know a single hunter who used their optics. I hope this review will change that for the hunting community.

Image © kymberli q. photography
While talking with the folks over at KOWA, it is obvious that they have the utmost confidence in their products. Not only are they knowledgeable, but they are dedicated to providing quality, customer service. They gave me the opportunity to see for myself and to share my findings with the hunting community. So, for the past few weeks I have been testing out a pair of KOWA 10x42s and a pair of the SV10x50s from the new product line. I was able to put them to use in the field, along with a TN-773 Series Spotting Scope when I went on the CA Bighorn Sheep Survey in the SoCal mountains. I have also taken them out hog hunting in different terrain at a different time of day. I enjoyed every second of reviewing these. For this review I will cover the KOWA BD 10x42s Binoculars and the others in subsequent reviews.

Included in the box are:
  • Case
  • Strap
  • Rainguard
  • Kowa Lifetime Warranty  
BD42-10x Specifications:
  • Model BD42-10
  • Magnification 10X
  • Objective Lens Diameter 42mm
  • Minimum Focus Distance 2.0m
  • Real Field of View 6.0 degree
  • Apparent Field of View 6.0 degree
  • Exit Pupil Diameter 4.20mm
  • Relative Brightness 17.6
  • Twilight Factor 20.5
  • Eye-Relief 17.6mm
  • Field of View at 1,000m/yds 105m/yds
  • Length 146mm
  • Width 127mm
  • Height 51mm
  • Weight 745g (25.7 oz.)
  • Warranty: Lifetime of the product from manufacturer's defects
First impressions. Right out of the box the BD42-10x High Performance Binoculars felt great in my hands. I noticed that compared to my other binoculars, these weigh just slightly more, but I know that is attributed to the high-end glass. The only thing I didn't like right out of the box was the smell of whatever the binoculars are treated with. That was very powerful in my nostrils. Others have said this could be due to the leather case they came in, which is entirely possible. I am assuming the more I use these the more the scent will dissipate. I may try setting them in coffee or something to reduce the strength. Anyone have any suggestions to remove the scent? 

Image © kymberli q. photography
Lens clarity on these is excellent. As a hunter who wears glasses and contacts, I strive to find optics with stellar eye relief and clean view. The BD42s are exceptional in both areas. I used these in bright sunlight and on a cloudy day. There is no lens distortion. Period. The focus was sharp in all conditions. The view is crystal clear. No graying around the edges and no foggyness. Did I mention super sharp all around?

The non-slip grip on the BD42s is a must when hunting in the high desert. With my gloves on or off, the grip was excellent and I never felt like these would slip from my hands. When my hands were sweaty the grip had a slight tack to it and stayed put in my hands.

The BD42s have a distinctive barrel where there is a slight contour where you place your thumbs. I found this extremely useful. Gripping the binoculars felt natural and the weight distribution was balanced. The weight was not an issue when glassing, as I first thought it might be. The BD42s weigh more than binoculars I am used to because of the high quality glass, but I never had an issue with them. In fact, it was a pleasure using these. I could sit back and view everything clear as day, even into the evening twilight.

One of the main features I truly love to test is the interpupillary distance of optics. The KOWA BD42s adjust down perfectly to my narrow-set eyes and adjust open to someone who might have a greater distance. My eyes are set narrow on my head and I have had difficulty finding a high-quality pair of binoculars that will adjust to fit my needs. These fit the bill to a T and I couldn't be more pleased. I even had a little room to spare and that is a first.

The diopter (focus adjustment) adjusts smoothly and with ease, but not overly so. It will hold your setting even if bumped around a bit. Still, even if you did bump it, you can find your settings very quickly.  I noticed that fine tuning the optic settings to your eyes is faster than other brands because you don't have to turn the diopter as far. A very nice feature indeed.


Image © kymberli q. photography
The binoculars come with a unique neck strap that has neoprene padding covered in soft cloth material. It seats comfortably on the back of your neck and doesn't rub. This was one feature I did not use often. Like many Western hunters, I am using a harness or chest pack to house my binoculars. If I was not using a chest pack, I would be using one of these padded straps. I have tested plenty of them and they can do a number on your neck when hiking for a short distance, let alone miles. This strap is well made and I can tell that much thought went into it before it was decided upon to put it in the box.

Another nice feature of the BD42s is the ability to mount them to a tripod. I mounted these to my tripod and it was like I had opened a new world. Not only could I see clearly, but I could pinpoint features I could not see while hand holding the bino's just from my hands moving. Having the ability to mount these to a tripod, especially out here in Southern California where you are constantly glassing is a must and these have it.

The KOWA BD 10x42s retail for $685 (You can find them as low as $615). I highly recommend the KOWA BD 10x42s for any hunter out there. For your money you get a quality product that you can always rely on. I will be using these for my 2012 scouting, birding and hunting.


You may read other reviews here and here.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Getting Into Archery Seminar at Bass Pro Shops
The interest in archery has been on the rise lately, with much to do with the archery craze in the mainstream media and movies like BRAVE, The Hunger Games and The Avengers. In an effort to help answer some of the questions, Bass Pro Shops in Rancho Cucamonga, CA has graciously invited me to come in and give a seminar on Getting Into Archery during the Set Your Sights program right now. Being a self-proclaimed archery nut, I am very excited to share my knowledge during this seminar. I am no expert, and don't claim to be, but I do love archery and I want to help those interested in getting started! Plus, it's being held at a great venue!

I will be giving the seminar both Saturday, May 5 and Sunday, May 6 at 4 PM.

Some of the topics we will discuss are:
  1. Learning where to begin by gathering information. Places like Bass Pro staff, Pro Shops, other archers, online forums, etc.
  2. Archery Tackle: The Gear
    • Traditional vs. Compound bows
    • Release-aids vs. Finger shooting
    • Arrows
  3. SAFETY! <-- This should be a no-brainer, but I will cover it nonetheless.
  4. Proper form and why it is VERY important. I recommend you take some lessons. If you can shoot well, using the proper form you will enjoy archery for life.
  5. I'll also discuss Archery Pro Shops, like Bass Pro Shops and the available staff to help answer any questions you have.
There will be a Q&A session after where I'll be available to answer archery related questions. Also remember that the Bass Pro staff will be available to answer questions in the archery department.

The most important thing to remember is to be safe and have FUN and enjoy yourself!

See you at the seminar!