Thursday, January 31, 2013

I Could Use Your Help (and Votes)!

As many of you know, I was fortunate enough to take an elk in 2012 and it was an amazing experience. I submitted my photo to a trophy photo contest (any harvest is a trophy in my book) and now I am in the running for $5,000 cash. Here's the catch, I need YOUR votes on Facebook. I know many of you aren't on FB and that's ok, I won't hold that against you. For those that are, I have until February 11 to get votes on my picture. If you have the time, please head over and LIKE the Grime Boss page and then VOTE for my picture. I am the only one in there with an elk trophy shot (look for Albert Quackenbush).

Direct link to my photo.

You can vote once every 24 hours, so if you can, please vote daily. I appreciate any help I can get. This money would go a long way for my family! Have a great day and thank you!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Product Review: Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener

Honing a knife by feel is a skill I have yet to perfect. To me it is an art form. I know many who use whet stones very well and others who just utilize a one-stroke sharpener. There is a delicate balance in the angle of your blade to the stone to get a finely sharpened blade. I have used many different types of sharpeners and have had mediocre luck with them. Recently, I was given the opportunity to review a Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener which came at a perfect time. I had some dull knives from my hunting season that needed an edge. How would I do with a new sharpener? Turns out not too bad when you follow the instructions.

The first thought that came to my mind when I opened the package was 'Where are the instructions?' The box said they were inside. I thought maybe my package was missing them until I saw a flash of white inside the unit. Low and behold, inside the sharpener, under the diamond plate were the rolled up instructions. Took me a minute, but I found them!

From the Work Sharp Tools website:
The sharpening guides are purpose built for your hunting knives, pocket knives and filet knives. Strong rare earth magnets secure the easily interchangeable diamond plates and also provide coverage for the Broadhead Wrench and small storage compartment. Compact design and Lanyard Hole make it easy to pack carry on your next outdoor adventure so you can sharpen anytime, anywhere with speed and ease. Also sharpens serrated knives, fish hooks, broadheads and many common camp tools.

Includes: (1) Coarse Diamond Plate, (1) Fine Diamond Plate, (1) Large Ceramic Rod with 3 Positions (coarse, fine and fish hook grooves), (1) Small Ceramic Rod, (1) Leather Strop conditioned with Micro-Abrasive, Broadhead Wrench and User's Guide.

The Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener is not like any sharpener I have used before. First off it gives you a 20° sharpening guide (in yellow) and a 25° honing guide (in black) to make certain you have the correct angle for your blade. Time to get to work! The guides were great for a guy like me and I can see where they would come in very useful in the backcountry.

I was able to sharpen my knives to a fine edge with the Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener.  By utilizing the coarse side with a few strokes and more strokes using the fine diamond plate I was able to get it back to where I felt it was before skinning an elk. To even it out and take off the burrs I used the ceramic rod and then the leather strop. Having a leather strop built in is great. It allows you to get a very sharp blade whereas many of the single stroke sharpeners get you close, but can't seal the deal.

The ceramic rod feature is an added bonus. Not only can you use it to get a knife edge back, but it has a fishhook sharpener built in. Taking out some old fishhooks was a good test and they sharpened to a point very nicely in no time!

The broadhead wrench is nice to have built in because then you know exactly where it is at all times. It worked very well and while I may not feel I would need to use it in the woods, there may come a time when I need it. Knowing it is inside the WSGFS is peace of mind.

The different settings on the ceramic rod were great. Coarse -Fine-Fishhook.
I will say that the one feature that drove me a bit crazy on this review is the handle or grip. If you are using the sharpener on a bench and don't need to hold it down you are fine. I like to hold my sharpener and when I was trying to get an even stroke when sharpening I found it very difficult to the point where I almost cut into my finger. The grip only allows your thumb and forefinger and it was a pain! In photos it looks as if you would have no problem holding onto it, but I found it difficult and irritating.

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 Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener free of charge in a giveaway on the Outdoor Blogger Network and agreed to provide a review in exchange.  The SoCal Bowhunter is not sponsored by or associated with Work Sharp 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.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Announcing the 2013 Spring Turkey Tune Up

With Spring right around the corner that can only mean one thing for California hunters - time to get ready for turkey season! The lottery for turkey hunts at Sutherland are being held at San Vicente Reservoir on February 23rd, 2013 at 8:30 a.m. (Schedule of events at the end of this post.)

Location: San Vicente Reservoir, 12375 Moreno Ave, Lakeside, CA 92040

It is sponsored by The City of San Diego Public Utilities Department and The San Diego Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation.

There is a $10 entry fee that gives you access to seminars, vendor booths, raffle chance for prizes and entry into the lottery draw for the Turkey Hunts!

Rules and Requirements:

Only one entry per person, duplicates will disqualify your entry. Winners may register one partner who must be present to register, both parties must have a valid California hunting license when applying.

General Reservation lottery entries will only be issued to those of an age to purchase a hunting permit (8 years of age or older).

Hunts will be on each Monday, Wednesday and Saturday during the Spring season. Lake gates will open at 4:00 am and all hunters must exit by sundown each day.

Fees to be paid upon winning are: rowboat and blind area reservation $20.00, adult hunting permit $10.00 and youth permit (8-15 years of age) $5.00. Motorboats may be purchased on the day of the hunt and paid for at the reservoir for $29.50 each.

There are no refunds, switching of dates, name changes or exchanging of permits allowed!

Draws will be occur in the following order:

1 spot for a Wounded Warrior, youth season then general season

Undrawn Wounded Warrior and youth tickets will be added back in to the general season draw

First drawn will have first pick of date and location, second drawn second pick until all hunts are taken.

*This announcement is for general information only; events and schedule may change without prior notice.

Schedule of Events:
8:30 a.m. Gates and vendor booths open
9:00 a.m. Warden Speaks
9:30 a.m. Seminar: “Spring Turkey Hunting Tips”
10:00 a.m. “The Well Prepared Hunter”
10:30 a.m. Raffles, Vendor Displays, Demonstrations
11:20 a.m. Deadline for entry into all draws
11:30 p.m. Hunt draws: 1 Wounded Warrior, Youth, General Season

Sutherland Reservoir and its surrounding property (located just north-east of Ramona) offers some of the best turkey hunting in the County of San Diego.

If you have any questions regarding the event, please email Lori Felchin. If you have questions on hunting, licensing or areas to hunt, please check out the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Friday, January 18, 2013

SoCal Bowhunter Goals and Objectives for 2013

Making resolutions isn't in my nature or vocabulary. Instead, I make a realistic set of goals in the hope I have enough drive to accomplish them all within the year. 2013 will be full of family outings, writing for PSE Archery, and for hunting and fishing. I shared the results of my 2012 goals in a previous post and fared well in my own standards.

2013 Goals & Objectives for The SoCal Bowhunter

  1. Shoot at a 3D target range (or set one up). I know that to become a better archer and bowhunter I need to practice at a 3D range a few times. Even better yet would be to set up a small 3D range of my own that I could use often. That is setting the bar high as I truly would like to get out and shoot at a local range. The range in Orange seems like my best bet and I am sure I can get a few of my buddies to go have some fun, too.

  2. Get back into bowhunting shape and I don't mean just losing weight. I also mean getting my upper body stronger and conditioned so that drawing my bow is smooth every time. I did well in 2012 in preparation for my Colorado elk hunt and aim to to the same now. I took nearly a month off around the holidays for an experiment (future post) and now I am eager to get the lungs going strong and trimming down the waistline. Plus, in 2012 we located some new areas to hunt and hiked our tails off up and over hills. I plan on doing that and then some again this year!

  3. Do more turkey and hog hunting. I did not get into the field as much as I wanted to last Spring. I have some areas pegged for good turkey and hog hunting on public land and just need to make the trip. It may involve camping out a few nights, but it'll be well worth it!

  4. Arrow a SoCal deer (pacific-hybrid or mule, I don't care). I didn't get too close last year due to my honey-hole being barricaded. As a result, we found some new spots, but are starting all over with trail cams and scouting. In our new area, Brett was able to get close, but had no shot. This year we are stepping up our online and ground search to find some productive areas.

  5. Spend some more time freshwater and saltwater fishing. I put fishing on hold for much of 2012 and I found that I really missed it. My daughter is now wanting to go and I can't wait to take her. I also want to go tuna fishing later in the year and the best times fall around December, which is also a good time for deer! I will have to keep an eye on the timing of the tuna run and my tags this year.

  6. Gain access to some new hunting areas. I have found some private land that I know is very promising for deer and quail. I will be making some calls and knocking on doors asking for permission this year. Hopefully that will be just what is needed to check off #4.

  7. Save up for the 2014 Archery Trade Association (ATA) Show. I blew my travel cash on my elk hunt last year and I don't regret it for a second! I didn't get to go to ATA or SHOT Show, but I lived vicariously through people on Twitter and Facebook. In 2014 I would really like to make it out Nashville and I'll bet I can convince my country loving wife to head out there with me. Time will tell!

  8. Spend more time taking good, quality photographs in the field. While I did well at the beginning of 2012, my patience fell off at the end of the season and I noticed that I hurried too many shots.

  9. Visit some product manufacturers factories or offices and get to know some of the people behind the scenes. I think it would be good to put a name with a face and see where some of the products are manufactured. It would also be a good way to start forging relationships between myself and reputable companies.

  10. Teach someone new how to shoot a bow. I love seeing the reaction on a persons face when they 'get it' and understand what you have been talking about. I hope to teach at least one person how to shoot properly, and if we can make it happen to get them out hunting!

  11. Volunteer for the 2013 Sheep Survey. I participated in this last year with some friends and while we didn't see any sheep (it was too hot) we had a great time. I am looking forward to this again and this year we should be able to find some more. Plus, I am ready to hike in deeper to find them!

  12. Apply for some draw tags and preference points. To this point I haven't found a need, but as I grow as a hunters and yearn to find different game to hunt I see that I must try for some coveted tags.

  13. Continue to pursue out-of-state hunts. I have hunted Colorado and now plan on looking to hunt alligators in Georgia, maybe elk or deer in Idaho, and maybe, just maybe try to get back to hunting in Colorado with my buddy Eddy.  
I have seen some other goals being set by my fellow bloggers and I am excited and hopeful for you all! The very best of wished from me to you. 
Have you set any hunting goals for 2013? What are they?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Product Review: Button Buck - Kid's Outdoor Apparel

Being a dad is one of the best things I have ever been blessed with. Sure, it's not easy, but everything I do I work hard for and I work hard to be a good dad. As I live in a house of only girls who like to do girly things, I love it when my daughter, Riley, takes an interest in something I love like bowhunting or hiking or doing gear reviews (yes, I said gear reviews because she does like to help). When Button Buck contacted me to do a review, you can imagine my daughters excitement. The funny thing is, we decided on t-shirts for her seeing as we live in Southern California. Seeing as it is usually scorching hot I thought it would be perfect. Little did I know that we'd get hit with the coldest Winter I have encountered out here. It's nothing like the Winters in NY state, but when it hits 34 degrees and my wife's truck thermometer reads 'ICE', well, you know it's cold out here!

Out of the box the two shirts looked and felt great, and I knew Riley would love them. One is pink and the other purple so how could she not like the colors. When I showed them to her she immediately wanted to put one on and check herself out in the mirror. I explained what each shirt had on it (the pink has a button buck) and she quickly reminded me that she already knew what a deer looked like. Ha!!

My daughter was in love with her new shirt!

On one of our warmer days, I took Riley to our local nature center to photograph her in the shirts. She wanted to wear the purple 'Suction Cup Archery Association Champion' shirt first and I thought it fit perfectly. I asked her how she thought it fit (she's four) and she said 'OK' (translation: good). I asked her what she thought of the feel and she said it was soft and this was great for me to hear. I find that many shirts she wears are way too form fitting or too tight. Plus, the tags can be a bother for my little one. These tees have a screen printed tag to prevent itching. Great thinking by the folks at Button Buck!

When it came time to take some photos she was more than excited to run around and show off. The shirts leave plenty of room for flexibility and room for her to grow. Plus, they seem very durable and well made. Again, kudos to Button Buck!

Overall, I am very happy with the shirts and how well they fit. My daughter said she was also happy. Personally, I like what the company stands for and how they are promoting kids being outdoors. I am happy to see the tees have a little longer cut so my daughter can grow into them and wear them a bit longer than many of her other shirts. The pricing is reasonable at $19.99 for a BB tee. Brad and Lauren Christian at Button Buck are doing a great job of spreading the word about hunting and the outdoors with their catchy slogans and great craftsmanship. You can't go wrong with their clothing and your kids will thank you. Mine did!

Check them out on Facebook and on Twitter!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Missed Opportunities Lead to Success

My most recent blog entry for PSE Archery:

Riding the pine. Sitting the bench. Waiting your turn. Everyone has their own way of saying it and no matter which way you look at it, well, it's never as fun as actually playing. For the past couple of weeks it has been difficult finding time to get into the forest. To be honest, it drives me a bit insane because the weather has turned cooler, much cooler in fact. It has been considerably cooler in the mornings and evenings, which is perfect hunting weather in Southern California. Instead of hunting, I have been reading and reminiscing about hunting.

California draws can hide a fair share of huntable animals.

I work hard to hunt here. There is a wealth of public land and a plethora of hunters. The deer are tough to hunt and live in rugged country. Finding these areas to hunt can be found with hard work, but can also be found be sheer luck! One of my local deer spots I stumbled upon by sheer luck through a friend. It is loaded with deer, but it's also surrounded by non-huntable areas. I have been reading about how some of my fellow hunting brethren have gone deer hunting and have seen deer, but have had no shot or they have shot and missed. Sitting here thinking about these scenarios brought back to memory my last hunt from last year.

A few weeks prior to me sitting in my deer spot, my good friend had shot and killed his first deer with a compound bow. His vocal excitement could be heard for miles. He was so excited that he jumped up and down while yelling, which spooked the remaining deer off. There was no way to contain his joy and I was proud of him for all of the work he had put in. Now, I was sitting in the same spot, patiently waiting for a deer to walk by.

Glassing rocky hillside like this one can result in finding deer or sheep.

From my experience in this spot, my gut feeling was that I would start to see deer walk by between 9:00 and 10:00 AM. Sure enough, close to 9:30 I watched a far hillside as three doe ambled down the steep face on the trail I expected them on. They were still a quarter mile away, but it gave me time to prepare. Too much time really. As I sat waiting, I looked for a spot to let an arrow fly once the deer walked by. The trail was a mere thirty yards from the bush I was hiding near, but would that be enough?

Early that morning, I had erected a small turkey blind in front of my position to break up my pattern. To be honest, I wish I had brushed it in better because as the deer got closer and closer they knew that something was different. The deer around here aren't like whitetails. They get spooked, but not like a whitetail. These deer just remain cautious and when you have three of them together you have to be aware of all three sets of eyes. As the deer drew closer and got within range, I drew my bow and waited for the lead doe to walk into the opening I planned for. The lead doe slowly walked into the lane and then I saw it; the small tuft of dried weeds sticking up right in front of her vitals. The weeds were at least ten feet closer to me and instantly my mind told me not to shoot. I let down and when I did the deer spooked about ten yards and stopped, but none of them gave me another shot. It was the last day of the season and while I had drawn my bow, my tag would remain empty.

SoCal mule deer spotted on a recent hunt.

 A few weeks later, I sat down with a few gentlemen for lunch when the subject of me letting down came up. One gentleman, a former hunter, questioned why I let down. He brought up a good point that I was shooting a powerful PSE Bow Madness, a heavy arrow, and was only thirty yards from my target. Why hadn't I just shot? I felt incredibly content when I told him that I was not about to wound a deer. I wanted to kill it with one shot, not have to track an injured animal. I mentioned it was a sharp downhill angle, the noticeable weeds, and the fact that the deer were on alert. He shook his head and said that he didn't understand why, but that he was a rifle hunter and not a bow hunter. To be honest, it wouldn't have mattered if he was a bow hunter. The opportunity that had presented itself was mine and mine alone. I had held the choice in my hands and I opted not to shoot and I was content.

With all that being said, I want my fellow hunters to understand that a successful hunt doesn't always have to end with a shot. Sure, I would have loved to have filled my tag, but I had found a spot, located deer, and had drawn on a mature doe. I won't say I wasn't disappointed, but I also felt sure of my decision to pass on the shot. In a couple weeks I'll be headed back to that spot and I hope this year the odds are in my favor.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Wild Pig Hunting Seminar at Bass Pro Shops - Jan. 26

Attention hunters looking to hunt feral pigs in California!  

I am no pig hunting expert, but Ron Gayer and Durwood Hollis are! They will be presenting another wild pig hunting seminar at Bass Pro Shops in Rancho Cucamonga Saturday, January 26. Combined they have decades of hunting experience and a vast knowledge of hunting pigs on both private and public land. I have attended a couple of their seminars and let me say they are worth every penny. You not only learn a lot, but you make new friends, have a chance at some new hunting partners and usually there is a nice giveaway at the end (verify that when you register and don't hold me to it).

This detailed presentation will be held in the upstairs seminar room at Bass Pro Shops and will begin at 10 a.m., Saturday, January 26th. It will cover a wide range of wild pig hunting topics, including: how-to use maps to locate the best spots, reading sign, calls/calling, gear and gadgets, appropriate weapons and a free set of public land hunting hotspots maps. The investment is $40 per person. Junior hunters are free with a paid adult.

Seating is extremely limited and the spots are filled first-come, first serve, so early registration is encouraged. To pre-register and reserve your seat, call (661) 809-1613.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Last Hunt of a Productive 2012 Season

The end of deer season is always bittersweet for me. Bitter because I know I won't be deer hunting for many months, but sweet because my knees can recover, I spend more time with my family and I get to sleep a bit more on weekends. This last hunt of 2012 was one that Brett and I had been looking forward to for a few weeks. Our schedules had been full with work and family obligations. Also due to a busy schedule, our good friend Brandon couldn't make it out with us, but I am sure he put a few ducks down during his waterfowl adventures. Even though it would just be the two of us, Brett and I were ready to hit the trail one last time!

The weather app on my phone said it would be 36 degrees where we were hunting. Knowing the area, I knew it would be at least five degrees cooler. It seems odd to say it might be 31 degrees in Southern California, but let me tell you, it can get colder than that and sure enough it did! When we pulled up to the trailhead it was 28 degrees! Fortunately, we had packed cold weather gear, but we were not looking forward to the hike in to our spot. There was a fifteen mile-per-hour breeze that made it feel like 13 degrees. COLD for what we tolerate!

From prior experience, I knew we should wear lighter clothing in for the steep hike so as not to sweat like mad before arriving at our glassing point. We kept to our plan and began the hike wearing very light jackets and light pants. While it may have been a brisk hike, it was also fantastic! We got to see the beauty of everything lit up by an almost full moon. Hiking by the light of the moon is an amazing experience and I encourage you all to try it. It's a sort of surreal feeling. An hour later we were swapping jackets for coats, gloves and hats.

We sat patiently waiting for the sun to come up and we actually started glassing beforehand because the moon was so bright. As we sat on the South facing slope, we glassed every ridge, canyon and trail. Nothing was moving. As we glassed some more I kept noticing a dark spot across the canyon. It never moved and finally I decided to check it out. Sure enough, there was not one, but two doe with their backs to us, and the wind, hunkered down to stay warm. On closer inspection I noticed a third standing there. I looked over at Brett and pointed them out. His eyes lit up and we glassed for what seemed like hours. The deer stayed put and I mentioned a plan of waiting until they moved to the opposite side of the hillside they were on before me made any movement. Little did I know this would take nearly an hour!

As the last doe finally sauntered off to be with the rest of her group, we packed up and started to hike around the hills. Our plan was to get in position for a stalk and we knew we had plenty of time. The wind wasn't letting up and with the way the deer were acting we could sneak in pretty close. Hiking into the wind was bone-chilling, but the thought of getting close enough to a SoCal mule deer for a shot kept us very warm!

A chilly hour and a half later, we arrived at far edge of the ridge where we knew the deer were. We dropped our packs and began our attack. As we reached the edge, I raised up just enough to see one of the doe around 150 yards to our right. It was time to make a stalk! Our hunting rules (the guys I hunt with) are that the first shot (or stalk) is determined by whomever glasses up the deer first, but I opted for a different plan. While I was first to glass up the deer, I wanted Brett to have first crack at it if he wanted it. I was fortunate to arrow an elk this year and while I have never arrowed a SoCal deer, I really felt Brett should make the stalk. He had never had the opportunity and I could tell he was hungry to get close to the deer. Without hesitation, Brett placed an arrow on his rest and crouching low began the slow stalk of a determined bowhunter.

I ventured over to a far side, way behind where Brett was making his stalk, in case the deer doubled-back and came my way. After a few minutes of sitting there I knew my plan for a shot here would not work, so I went back over to glass for Brett. Watching someone put a stalk on a deer is awesome. Anticipation filled the air as Brett inched closer and closer to where the deer were. He looked like a pro as he crawled and then hunched over walked the rim to find the deer. They were not on one side, so he inched closer to the other. More than a half hour later he spotted them and was within 80 yards. He crept closer for a shot and they took off. My heart sunk as I watched them climb the opposite ridge. To add insult to 'injury' the deer were just below where we were glassing from earlier that morning. When Brett recapped the stalk for me I could see the excitement in his eyes. Even though he hadn't shot, he was happy to have been so close.

The rest of the day was spent glassing, taking a much needed nap in the sun (out of the wind) and then hiking a ridge to glass for the evening. As we sat glassing the surrounding area, we both felt the deer were not going to move and the wind hadn't let up at all. With a couple hours of daylight left, we hiked the trail out feeling successful on the day. We had braved the cold, spotted deer and Brett had put on his first stalk. I count that as a success in my book!

On the way out I started noticing more and more trash left behind by hikers, hunters and just careless people. First it was a Mylar balloon (we usually find many of these during the season), then a bottle, a can and the list goes on. By the time we had made it to the trailhead, our arms were full and we had to hike out knowing some more trash was still on the trail. It was right then that Brett said something that made me proud to hunt beside him. He said he'd be willing to take his truck in some weekend with trash cans and bags and start packing out the trash that was there. Without hesitation, I also offered to help and we now have to plan a trip back up to the mountains to clean up what we can. We hunters also do our part for the environment and for conservation, just in case you anti's didn't know that.

We filled up the trash bin at the trailhead and loaded up the truck with our gear. The ride home was filled with stories of the season, plans for the off-season and discussions of char-grilled meat. I know that we will be find some good areas in the off season to scout and map out for future hunting trips. We know we have our work cut out for us, but we also know that hard work yields great reward.

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Truth About Western Hunting

Image of Ryan Hatfield © The Western Hunter TV.

Hunting the West, in a word, is tough. Trying to describe it to my friends back East is difficult to do because most don't understand it. Think about it. Back East I might hike in 300 yards, hunt from a treestand or blind and then hike back out. If I was fortunate enough to kill an animal I would drag it out or load it on an ATV. I know I am generalizing, but you get the point. Now take hunting out West. Rugged mountains, hiking in mile after mile after mile, climbing steep hillsides, glassing and then waiting. Then you put a stalk on the animal that could last hours. If you are lucky enough to kill an animal then you have to pack it out. It might not seem like a lot, but let me tell you it takes work and The Western Hunter TV showed it well in the premiere episode on Wednesday on The Sportsman Channel.

The Western Hunter is firmly committed to the fair chase hunting of all wild, freeranging western big game. Our mission is to educate, inspire, entertain, and share, as well as make our audience better hunters, more thoughtful sportsmen, and dedicated conservationists.

Bowhunting is my true love, but I also respect rifle hunters. Watching Ryan Hatfield, editor of The Western Hunter magazine and host of The Western Hunter, on his Wyoming elk hunt was exciting for me. He used a rifle on his hunt, but that didn't make it easy. I thought the way that the story was told was at a great pace and the voice over kept you wanting more. But that wasn't what really captured it for me. What grabbed my attention was the description of the stalk on the lone bull elk. How they (I am including Nate Simmons in this as he had to hike behind filming with the camera) had glass him up from five miles away and had to scale an extremely muddy mountain side in order to wait out this bull. It was right on and I felt like I was siting right there.

To be honest, that part was good, but it got even better when Ryan began to vocalize how the work begins after the kill. That is what captured my attention. Most outdoor shows end with a hero shot of the hunter talking about his kill. Not with The Western Hunter. It goes beyond that as the breaking down of the elk is shown being shared by friends and the grueling pack out is documented. I appreciate this now more than ever because after arrowing my very first elk this past September, I understand what it takes to pack out an animal from deep down a mountain. Even still, I know that I didn't have to pack it out 4, 5 or 6 miles. That must have been one hell of a pack out. 

My DVR is now set to record a show that truly shares the ups and downs of Western hunting and what really goes into it without having to glam it up. They let the fair chase hunting for free range animals speak for itself. Well done you guys. Well done.

The Western Hunter Trailer from The Western Hunter on Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

CA DFG Name Change Effective Today

Effective today, January 1, 2013, the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) has become the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). You can also read the press release on their website, but I wanted to share this with my California readers that might see my blog before going to the actual CA DFG website.

The new name was mandated by AB 2402, which was signed Sept. 25 by Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. and is one of numerous provisions passed into law during 2012 that affect the department.

“The name of the department was changed to better reflect our evolving responsibilities,” said Department Director Charlton H. Bonham. “As our role has grown to meet 21st century expectations, we remain committed to our traditional responsibilities and to honoring our deep roots in California’s natural resources legacy.”

Traditionally known as game wardens, the department’s law enforcement staff will now be called wildlife officers.

Californians will notice new Internet ( and email addresses for CDFW employees. The old URL and email addresses will continue to work indefinitely.

Many department materials will continue to bear the old name because AB 2402 reduced the cost associated with the name change by preventing CDFW from undergoing a wholesale turnover of materials, including signs, uniforms and supplies.

The mission of the department continues to be “to manage California’s diverse fish, wildlife, and plant resources, and the habitats upon which they depend, for their ecological values and for their use and enjoyment by the public.”

In furtherance of that mission, the department carries out numerous responsibilities related to the commercial, recreational, educational and scientific use and enjoyment of California’s natural resources.