Thursday, August 29, 2013

The SoCal Bowhunter Fall Gear Giveaway!

These items are not being given away, but you can win some great gear below!

California is very dry right now, but it's time to make it rain... or so to speak. It's time for the SoCal Bowhunter Fall Giveaway! My sponsors and partners have been very good to me this year and now it's your turn to check out what they have to offer!

The folks over at Dick’s Sporting Goods  are offering my readers a chance to win one of two $25 gift certificates* from their store. What would you buy? Would you put money toward a bow or maybe some camo?


Badlands Packs is giving away an awesome Bino X binocular chest pack! 



We have a firestarter from Survival Creek and a 30 ct. soft pack of Action Wipes, too!


Entry is easy! Simply like the sponsor pages on Facebook and you’re in! Want to get a few extra entries? Check out the other ways to enter below.

Want to have an even better chance of winning some other gear for Fall? The Will to Hunt has a great prize giveaway going on now as well! Head on over and support our outdoor bloggers!


Thank you all and good luck!!

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Dick’s Sporting Goods, Badlands, Survival Creek, and Action Wipes. I did not receive any compensation to run this contest. Open to US only. Winners will be chosen by randomly through Rafflecopter. Winner(s) will be contacted by email and announced in this post. Sponsor is responsible for shipment of product to giveaway winner. I am not responsible for shipment of prizes. Number of winners depends on the number of correct entries. Winners will have 48 hours to respond or I will choose new winners.

*Exclusions apply. $25 off, no minimum. Code must be entered in the cart. Instructions to readers must indicate the valid dates. Code can only be used once. If the full $25 is not used during that purchase the remainder of the balance is lost. 
 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 23, 2013

Product Review: Baladéo ROC Lantern/Torch Combo


Sleeping alone in a tent at night, in the pitch black, can be very unnerving. You hear all sorts of things and having a light source nearby is beneficial. What about in a survival situation? Have you ever tried lighting a gas lantern when you are on high alert? It can get pretty shaky! Plus, gas powered lanterns are bulky, can be messy (you need gas), and require regular maintenance. Recently, I was made introduced to the Baladéo ROC Lantern/Torch Combo and it is an excellent replacement and is great for survival situations. I was contacted by Emily over at Survival Creek about reviewing the lantern and I had to think about it. Survival Creek is a new company, but also, I had never heard of the Baladéo line of products, so I did plenty of research before saying yes. Baladéo has been around since 1995 and they cater to people active in the outdoors.

Before I begin the review, I want to mention that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. The Survival Creek website is simple and to the point. They also have products that many of us have probably not heard of in the hunting industry. Backpackers and hikers have reviewed Baladéo and I was curious to see the quality of their products. Besides, most of the lantern I have used were strictly gas powered while this on runs on three AAA batteries.



The very first thing I noticed when I received the lantern was it is super compact! As you can see from the photo, it fits in my 4 year-old daughters hands and it a perfect size to fit in a backpack. I am still in awe at the size of this thing. It's not bulky at all!

After the three AAA batteries were inserted, it was time to begin testing! The ON/OFF button is on the butt end of the lantern/flashlight combo. The first press of the button gives you a high powered beam and press again to turn off. The third press turns on a low light beam and another press turns it off. The fifth press flashes a high-powered on/off giving you an emergency beacon. All three modes would be excellent in a survival situation or while camping.



The main feature I wanted to test was the lantern. You just unscrew the head of the light to reveal the end, pull up on the metal hanger and the lantern appears. Again, this is a very small lantern, but it does give out some bright light. Now, with a gas powered lantern there isn't a glimpse of a chance that I would allow my daughter even near it, let alone carry it around, but this is completely safe. We first tested it out while reading a bedtime story. It gave off plenty of light on the bright setting to read a story and share some giggles. (The settings for the high beam, low beam and flashing work the same for the lantern as they did with the flashlight.) The low beam would work just to see and get around in a tent, but not for reading. The flashing strobe works even better in the lantern setting because the light disperses 360°. If you needed assistance, you could set the lantern to strobe mode and let it sit on a rock so other could see it. A major plus with this lantern is that it gives off very little heat. The gas-powered lanterns would burn you if you touched the glass, but not the Baladéo. You can handle it like any flashlight and it's kid safe.


A waterproof  lantern? Really? This I had to see to believe! While I had no idea what IPX4 waterproof construction meant, so I looked it up. The '4' rating means it is waterproof to water splashing on it for up to five minutes. I was guessing that means as a flashlight, and possibly the lantern. After testing my theory I was right. I allowed it to get wet and had no issues. It DOES NOT mean you can open up the lantern, hang it over the edge of a boat underwater to attract bait fish! What it means is that if you happen to be crossing a stream and it accidentally falls and you pick it up quickly, it should be safe. Don't submerge it as that is not what it's meant for.


Information from the website:

The Baladeo 3W 'ROC' is both a high utility Lantern and capable Flashlight. The product is perfect for camping and outdoor applications for outdoor lovers and camping enthusiasts. It is by default set-up as a flashlight with a focus-able beam that unscrews to reveal the collapsible lantern. This Lantern/Torch has a powerful 3 watt LED emitter for 90 lumens max output, , powered by three AAA batteries (included). The Torch Lantern has a push button switch with three modes to choose from: high (100%), low (30%) and flashing. Anodized gray aluminum construction with lantern hanger and IPX4 waterproof construction. 

Specifications:

  • Max Output: 90 Lumens
  • Beam Distance: 30 meters
  • Runtime: 3 hours
  • Length: 4"
  • Open Length: 5.65"
  • Head Diameter: 1.48"
  • Diameter: 1.43"
  • Weight: 3.6 oz. 

PROS:

  1. As the website states, it is a very lightweight piece of gear. While it's the last thing mentioned, I believe it one of the best parts of this review.
  2. In a survival situation, I would dream of my 4 year-old carrying a bulky, heavy gas-powered lantern that gave off so much heat it could burn her. This one is an excellent replacement!
  3. I have been using the same batteries for over a month and they still work well. At 4" tall it will fit in just about any pocket on a backpack.

CONS:

  1. The one issues I have with the lantern is that the lantern section seems to be made with glass. If you dropped it and it shattered, what would you do? It would be great to see Baladéo add in a metal post on one side and the other to give it some more rigidity.
  2. Also, describe the IPX4 waterproof construction rating and what it means on the box. Don't make the customer have to look it up.
After all is said and done, I would give the Baladéo ROC Lantern/Torch Combo 4 out of 5 stars. If it were completely waterproof I might give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.  It retails for $44.95 and while I think the lantern is great, the price seems a bit high. If it were around the $30 range I think it would be a much more reasonable investment. Overall, it is a fantastic addition to a pack for hikers and campers. As a hunter, I would pack this as a lightweight alternative to a heavy lantern. If you camp with kids, this is a fantastic lantern that everyone will enjoy.

Follow Survival Creek on Facebook and Twitter for updates and new product releases!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Bucks Have Been Located and Now the Waiting Begins


Alarm clocks have purpose. They are meant to be heaved across a bedroom to see if you can set a new record in distance and destruction. Usually, I am raring to go for a scouting trip or to go hunting, but this past Saturday I just wanted to sleep. My brain said 'Get Up!', but my body said 'Sleep!'. Given, it was 2:15 AM and I had to meet up with Brett and Ryan to hit the Foothills by 4:00 AM. When I saw the two of them I saw they were feeling as tired as I was.

We started up the dusty trailhead at 4:10 Am and we were right on schedule. Before long Ryan spotted eye glowing in the darkness. A lone doe was hugging the lower rim of the hillside. We climbed and climbed and Ryan again spotted eyes and this time it was a doe and fawn. It was looking good, but I was more focused on getting to a glassing point. I have seen plenty of deer in the darkness only to have them disappear like ghosts when the sun came up.

Eyes were again spotted and these were 30 yards off the trail. A beautiful buck stood there watching us. As promising as it was to see a buck, we pushed on because it was still long before sunrise and we needed to be in position.

After a few miles of hiking, we divided up to glass the basins and ridges. Brett and Ryan took the West side and I took the East. We sat for an hour and a half and saw nothing. We had wanted to rule this spot out as a hunt location and this sealed it. We would hunt where we knew there were deer and hope we spotted bucks.


Brett using the MINOX 15x56 binoculars to sort out the bucks.

Brett and I hunted this spot hard last year. We had big bucks on our trail cams, but didn't see any during the season. We hadn't seen any earlier in the year either. As we hiked to our favorite ridge, Brett said those magical words...'Deer! It's a buck!' Off the side of the ridge we went to prevent sky lining ourselves. It has been so incredibly dry that the sand was kicking up more and more. We slowed, positioned ourselves and started scanning the hillside. Our buck was headed right for a shady spot that Brett and I both know well. Shortly after setting up, we spotted another buck and then a doe and a fawn. This was getting good!

Ryan taking cover as he glasses for deer.

With the temperatures nearing 90 degrees, we brought out the big guns and set up the MINOX 15x56 binoculars to get a really good look at the  before they wandered off. Brett's buck was a legal forkie, but mine was a spike, which is illegal to shoot in California unless the spikes are less than 3". Seems a big backwards to me, but those are the rules. We watched them bed, get up and feed, walk around and then head over a hill. Wanting to see where they were going, but not spook them, we took off down the hill and around the hill to locate them.

Crappy iPhone pic through handheld binoculars. Notice the fork on the left side of the deer on right.

Ten minutes and mouthfuls of dust later, we found them coming off a small ridge and heading into the shade. This time they spotted us and we froze. Not wanting to spook them we slowly backtracked. The deer calmed down and continued feeding. It was just after 9:00 AM, it was getting hot, and we had had a successful morning of scouting. We were stoked to have seen bucks three weeks before the start of the season.

Brett and I felt pretty good about our mobility, too. We had hiked hard, were not sucking wind, and figured we can probably drop a few pounds before the opener. It's now time to keep practicing and organizing my gear to prepare. I am so ready to hunt!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

CDA Offers 10th Annual "Sharing the Tradition" Junior Hunt Drawing

This is a great opportunity for 15 young people to get a once-in-a-lifetime hunt at Tejon Ranch! I just received this press release and wanted to share it right away.

Fifteen lucky junior hunters will be selected in a free, random drawing for either one of five guided antlerless deer hunts or one of 10 guided hog hunts at the famous Tejon Ranch for the 2013 season. This year the California Deer Association (CDA) will hold its 10th Annual "Sharing the Tradition" junior hunt drawing. According to CDA President Jerry Springer, "These hunts are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for juniors to experience a free guided hunt on the famous Tejon Ranch and to receive great hunting products."

The 15 junior hunters will be drawn at random for a free one-on-one guided antlerless deer hunt or one-on-one guided hog hunt on the 270,000-acre Tejon Ranch, located in Southern California. These are no ordinary hunts, thanks to the generous sponsorships of Tejon Ranch, Barnes Bullets LLC, Alpen Optics, Hunter's Specialties and Birchwood Casey. First-class lodging on the ranch is included and each junior hunter will receive ammunition from Barnes Bullets, a pair of high-quality binoculars from Alpen Optics, plus hunting and shooting equipment from Hunter's Specialties and Birchwood Casey.

To date, 167 junior hunters have participated in these hunts with a 98% success rate.

The deadline to apply for this year's drawing is September 30, 2013. Hunts will take place during the week of December 16th. Entry forms can be found on the CDA website at www.caldeer.org or requested by emailing Jerry Springer at Jerry@WesternHunter.com.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Colorado Bear Trail Cam Photos


As the start of Colorado elk season nears, many hunters are out scouting and planning where they will be opening day. My friend, Eddy, is out there putting miles on his boots and has had awesome success in locating not only elk this season, but also big, black bears! He sent me some trail cam photos yesterday and once I was able to pick my jaw up off the ground I gave him a call.


Eddy mentioned that he pulled his cards this weekend and in less than 48 hours he had seven different bears on one camera! Look at the size of some of these bears! We talk for a while yesterday about the bears and while I opted to only purchase an OTC elk tag last year, next year you can guarantee I will also be getting a bear tag. Colorado has some awesome opportunity! Eddy, thank you for sharing these images!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Taking Each Day In Stride: Dealing With Hip Pain

As I was grew into a young man, I poked fun at myself at how I would run when playing sports during gym class. When I graduated to rugby in college it followed. I even noticed that while I was indeed fast on the field, I had a slightly odd gait. Then, about 12 years ago, I had some excruciating hip pain where I could only sleep when I lay down on my right side. It became so bad that I wasn't getting any sleep. X-rays were taken and the diagnosis was that I 'might have arthritis' in my hip. There was no recommendation to see a specialist or anything. The X-rays were not shown to me and I had no idea what to look for so I took their word for it. It was recommended I take Ibuprofen when it hurt. Hmmm, ok.

When I retired from rugby in 2005, the pain went away for a long time. I would always feel a twinge in there if I stretched too far or increased my stride while hiking, but I figured it was me getting older. Then we bought a house and I started doing a lot of work outside. To me it was no big deal, because I am an active guy and it felt great to work outside.

Five months ago the pain gradually came back. It wasn't super painful at first, but the aches in the afternoon slowly turned to aches throughout the day and then into the night. Before long, I was hobbling, not working out at all, and not sleeping well. My threshold for pain is abnormally high and usually I would pass this off as something temporary, but I knew I had to see the doctor. I couldn't exercise the way I wanted to and I was becoming lethargic. I still tried to train using my Badlands 2200 backpack with weight in it, but I have gained more than a few pounds back after losing a great deal a couple years ago and it needed to change.


Photo courtesy and © kymberli q. photography

My physician had no idea what was wrong and sent me for X-rays. He said while it could be arthritis, he thought there might be something more to it. He also recommended me to a orthopedic surgeon to review the results. Immediately upon seeing the X-rays, the surgeon said he could see one issue. I had hip dysplasia. In Layman's Terms, the sockets of my pelvis never fully developed and the ball of the joint wasn't covered as much as it should be.

After the surgeon explained the issue I became very angry. Not at the surgeon, but the hospital staff and doctors that looked at my X-rays 12 years ago. They SHOULD have seen that I had hip dysplasia and then actually TOLD me about it. Almost as quickly as I was angry, I let it go because it wasn't going to change what was happening now.

The surgeon said my cartilage looked great and I had great spacing, so I would not need a hip replacement (cue angels singing). He also mentioned that if he had been the one reviewing the X-rays 12 years ago, he would have done some incredible surgery on my pelvis. Breaking it in a couple spots and adjusting it for more socket space. Remember how angry I was? Yeah, now I was relieved that they hadn't spotted it because I would have been laid up for months recuperating. (Everything happens for a reason.) Then he noticed two spurs on my ball joint. He set me up for an MRI and told me to take Aleve for the next couple weeks. I hate taking medicine, but I had no problem because the pain was almost unbearable.

My MRI completed, I met up with the surgeon three weeks later to reveal that I have a 2" cyst near my joint. It was immediately apparent when viewing the MRI results. Here is what it looks like:



Arthroscopic surgery is now required to remove the cyst. I was referred a top-of-the-line surgeon to do the work, but I have not gone to see him yet. Why? Well, honestly I am a stubborn guy. Hunting season is upon us and if I have the surgery now (or soon) I will be in physical therapy for a couple months. I decided that I am going to manage the backcountry hunts hip pain or not. I am also a strong believer in God and believe in the power of prayer. Once I left the surgeons office, I called my wife with the news. She took it well and reminded me to keep it in my prayers and that she would keep it in hers. My daughter even prays for my hip at bedtime every night. I have a very supportive and loving family, which i am very grateful for.

Know what else I am thankful for? Since my trip to the surgeons office to review my MRI three weeks ago, I have had little to no hip pain. I haven't had to take any meds for pain and I have gone jogging (4 miles one night, 5 the next) and also gone biking (11 miles one night and then 6 the next). No pain in the hip. I have been tired and my quads were screaming at me, but no hip pain. Now, getting out of a car I can feel it, but it's only as I am getting out. I am going to keep praying and have faith that this cyst might disappear. If it doesn't, I will be holding out until early next year for the surgery so I have time to hunt and enjoy the holidays with my family!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Product Review: Wildlife Tags


As a young boy, I would stare in awe at my dad's whitetail racks mounted on the wall and wonder what the story was behind each one. My dad certainly knew each an every one, but he began to amass quite a trophy wall of antlers and I couldn't keep up! How great would it be to have some of the history of each hunt right on the mount? What about my own mounts and trophies? That's where the craftsmanship and skill behind the folks at Wildlife Tag come in.

We are a small company that creates quality leather tags to help remind you of your best days in the woods.

Wildlife Tag is owned by leather craftsman Andrew Becker. You tell him what you want on your leather tag and he crafts it to your needs.  In return, you get a custom, leather tag created with the details you want to preserve. All of the material and craftsmanship is from right here in the U.S.A.

Like my dad's trophy wall, I realized my trophy wall has been growing over the years and while I can remember most of them, there are one or two I can't quite place. It would be helpful to have something on each one to tell the story. With the ones that I do remember, it will be great to include a history of the hunt like when it took place, where, and how.

The art of leather crafting has been around for centuries and we plan to carry on the tradition. While we use some modern techniques to etch our designs, we still hand pick our leather from a local leather shop, hand stain every tag and work one-on-one with our customers to ensure we meet their needs.

With my 2012 Colorado Bull Elk mount hanging on my wall, I wanted to capture the main details of the hunt on a Wildlife Tag. Not only would it help me remember, but if anyone came over to visit they could read it for themselves. I contacted Andrew and he said he could definitely help me out. He also mentioned that not only does he create a tag look, but can also cut the leather in the shape of the state I wanted, so I opted for Colorado.


My Wildlife Tags arrived a couple weeks after I ordered them and Andrew went above and beyond what I expected! As I opened the box, the warm aroma of leather drifted out. Inside were three examples of what Wildlife Tag can create. The first was a 3"x2" tag, the second a 4"x3" tag, and the third a tag in the shape of Colorado. All three are extremely well crafted and shipped with the utmost care. I tried all three on my elk mount and I have to say that I really like all of them! I think the 4"x3" looks the best because of the size of the rack and it adds to the beauty of the mount.

Andrew included some wire hanger in case I didn't like the leather straps to hang the tag. I found that the wire slipped down the antlers far too often and didn't look as nice. The leather straps anchored easily, looked great and look classy and rugged.


The prices for each Wildlife Tag are very reasonable. The 3"x2" retails for $9.99, and both the 4"x3" and custom tag for $14.99. Wildlife Tag donates one dollar ($1) of each tag purchase to Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry in support. What a great way to give back to the community! For a beautiful way to remember the hunt for each of your trophies, Wildlife Tag is a great way to do it. I will be using Wildlife Tag in the future for sure.

Follow Wildlife Tag on Facebook and Twitter to keep informed on updates and new items. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

SoCal Bowhunter Joins the MINOX Adventure Team


Hunting the West involves locating your animal by burning boot rubber and using great optics. Glassing is one of the key components to successfully locating game. I am priveledged to announce I am teaming up with MINOX Sport Optics by joing the MINOX Adventure Team. I am in excellent company with other team members like Mark at Sole Adventure, Dustin at High Country Bowhunter, and Randall at HuntersFix.com.

Last year, I started doing some more research on quality optics and was introduced to the MINOX line of optics through our local MINOX rep. Dave was very helpful and offered to meet up to review some of the optics. Being a sponge for knowledge, I agreed and we met a few weeks later. A short lunch meeting turned into a two-hour session of trying out the MINOX optics and talking about the company as a whole. 



I have been using the BD 10x44 binoculars for a few months now (review coming) and I am very impressed. Not only are the binoculars sharp and easy to use, but they are also lighter weight than many I have tried. I even had Brett, my hunting partner, test them out. I practically had to beg him to give them back to me.

With deer season just a month away, I am heading out this weekend with Brett to do some scouting and let the MINOX optics work for us. One of the pieces of gear we are both very excited to put to good use is the MD50 spotting scope. It is compact, lightweight, and has a clear, sharp image that will be perfect for those backcountry hunts where I need quality viewing capability, but don't need a weighty scope. Hunting the SoCal foothills will be a great testing ground. 


MINOX produces high quality optics at an affordable price and they have a lifetime warranty. Follow them on Twitter at @MinoxUSAHunting and on Facebook at Minox North America Hunting.  Be sure to check them out as you prepare for your 2013 season!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Product Review: Hi-Country Wild Game Jerky Seasoning


One trait I inherited from my dad is that I LOVE to eat. I know my svelte figure might make you think otherwise, but I really do. When I am out hunting, I enjoy a snack that is high in protein, tastes great, isn't going to melt, and doesn't need refrigeration. One of the best options is jerky. Even better is some homemade elk jerky seasoned with Hi-Country Jerky Seasonings. Through the North American Hunting Club, I was given the opportunity to review some of the original blend jerky seasoning from Hi-Country Wild Game Jerky Seasonings.

Hi-Country Seasoning’s number one selling Original Recipe jerky kit will prove how easy it is to make jerky at home. This kit will season 15 pounds of either ground or sliced meat. Simply use any meat, our kit with step by step instructions included and in just a few hours you will have delicious jerky. No special equipment is needed; you can cook your jerky in a smoker, oven, on the grill or in a dehydrator. Hi-Country jerky kits have nearly twice the seasoning as any other kits on the market and have been formulated from 36 years of meat science experience. Making your own jerky at home is economical, simple and fun!

The box states the kit will season up to 16 pounds of meat. Sounded great to me! Once I had a chance to read the instructions, I noticed they mention that they have videos online. I didn't feel I needed videos and could just follow the directions as they are quite simple. The directions in the kit are very good, but one key item that was left out was using a dehydrator. They mention an oven, but no dehydrator. I would recommend that they add that to their kit.


After thawing out roughly 12 pounds of elk meat, I trimmed each piece to get rid of any silverskin. It took me nearly an hour, but once I had a bowl full of high-quality protein, I covered it in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for an hour. This allows more of the fluids to drain out before adding the seasoning. After the hour, I drained out the remainder of most of the fluid and then added the seasoning. Many will say to dry each piece of meat, but I don't normally take the time to do that. The packets of seasoning and cure will season up to 16 pounds of wild game. I like my jerky on the spicy/peppery side, so I had no problem adding the entire packet to my 12 pounds of meat. After mixing the seasoning and meat thoroughly, I rewrapped the bowl and let the meat sit in the fridge for four hours to allow time for the spices to permeate the meat.



I prepped the dehydrator trays, lay the meat on them and began the process of drying it all out. Eight hours later I had a couple pounds of beautiful elk jerky. I took it off the trays and put it all in a gallon zipper bag to sit overnight. That would allow the meat to balance (the driest meat getting a bit of moisture from the others).

The next morning was the true test. How did it taste? Honestly, it was delicious! I had to have a couple pieces, you know, for quality control. I shared some with two of my friends (both hunters) and they both said it was great. It is just slightly on the salty side because I used more seasoning for the amount of meat I had, but I found it to be excellent.

Overall, I give the Hi-Country Wild Game Jerky Seasoning two thumbs up! The directions are easy to follow and the spice mix is top notch and full of flavor and kick. I liked it so much I am going to give some other Hi-Country Jerky Seasonings a try. At $8.29 a kit you can't go wrong. You don't need to be a psychic to see that there will be plenty of tasty homemade jerky in my future. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Bass Pro Shops - Fall Classic Bowhunting Seminar with Cam Hanes

Cameron Hanes sharing his experience at Bass Pro Shops Fall Classic in Rancho Cucamonga.

Hunting stories are something I live for. The preparation, hard work, gear and actual hunt make for some great conversation. Anyone who has attended a hunting seminar knows that somewhere in the midst of sharing about whatever topic they are discussing, the speaker goes into a hunting story. Saturday afternoon was no different as I traveled to the Bass Pro Shops Fall Classic to attend another seminar by Cameron Hanes. Sure, I had a few hundred items on my list to purchase, but I really enjoy hearing Cam talk about his practice regimen, strategy behind the gear he packs in and his actual hunts.

As with any Cam Hanes seminar, it was standing room only by the time it kicked off at noon. We had arrived early and I was fortunate to grab a seat in the second row with my friends Cody, John and John's sister Barb. The front row was full of kids eagerly awaiting a glimpse of the legend. One of the things I really admire about Cam (and he does this every time), is that prior to the start of the seminar he goes up to the kids in the front row to say hello and shake their hand. The sheer happiness these young hunters shared was contagious and it carried throughout the seminar.

One of the things I truly enjoy about Cam's seminars is that he doesn't showboat, shares his mistakes, and is very humble. I also like the fact that he does share his long range (160 yards with a bow) practice videos, his intense hunts (spot and stalk grizzly) and that he works his tail off to get to do what he loves. It was a great seminar full of positivity, encouragement, and some rad hunting footage. Great job, Cam and thanks again for sharing what you have learned. I sure hope you don't have to pass on any more monster bulls on opening day!

For the next couple hours I walked around trying not to buy everything I wanted. Actually, I was very good and looked at plenty, but only picked up what I needed. It is a personal accomplishment when I can walk out of BPS having spent less than $50. Score!

As I wandered the camouflage apparel, one of my blog readers introduced herself. Maggie comes from a hunting family and is eager to get more involved in bowhunting, not only for herself, but also for her two boys. Her enthusiasm could not be contained as she shared her history and eagerness to be in the woods. We each shared a few stories and I learned a few things about the surrounding area and some good places to get some pre-season hiking or running in. Thanks for the advice, Maggie! Best of luck this year to you and your boys!

Now that my SoCal deer season is only 32 days away, I am going to be stepping up my training. To be honest, there has been very little training the past few months. I'll be sharing why in future post, but for now just know that I am going to be working hard by putting sneaker to pavement, bike tires to trail and boot rubber to the mountains. There is great motivation in talking with fellow bowhunters and I plan on harnessing that motivation and getting mountain ready. Well, as ready as I can be.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Product Review: Action Wipes

Originally posted on the PocketRanger blog.

When I hike, I sweat. When I sweat, I stink. Ask my wife, she'll be the first to tell you. I work hard and play hard, but I certainly don't smell like roses when I am hiking, cycling or training for hunting season. One of the products I have come to use for the past year during my excursions is the environmentally friendly Action Wipes.



'Action Wipes were developed as a refreshing, natural travel wipe for the entire family and for athletes, campers and people on the move, by athletes, campers and people on the move!'

As an avid outdoorsman, I am always on the move. I don't always have time to use soap and water and many times I am well out of range of finding a water source. I am a stubborn guy and when I read up on Action Wipes about them being 'natural' and using 'essential oils' I thought 'Great, this is another hippie product'. So I began using them. First, I used them during my afternoon, lunch hour hikes at work and then during training rides on my mountain bike. I also compared them to your average alcohol wipe and Hunter's Specialties Scent-A-Way wipes.

Acton Wipes ingredients:

  • Water
  • Leuconostoc/Sorbus aucuparia fruit ferment filtrat (preservative derived from the berries of the Rowan shrub)
  • Cocamidopropyl PG-Dimonium Chloride Phosphate (coconut oil derived emollient, surfactant and preservative)
  • Capryl Glucoside (sugarcane derived surfactant)
  • Boswellia Carteri (Frankincense) Oil
  • Eucalyptus Radiata (Eucalyptus) Oil
  • Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil
  • Cananga odorata (Ylang Ylang) Oil

My afternoon hikes during my lunch hour didn't allow me time to shower, so I used an Action Wipe. These hikes were me hauling a backpack with 100 lbs. of sand for four miles in 80-90 degree temperatures. You will just have to imagine the sweating and odor. A few minutes with an Action Wipe smelling of natural, eucalyptus and I smelled great and felt great! My skin didn't have that soapy residue that can happen when using regular soap. I felt clean, my skin was oil free and I smelled of those natural oils I was so quick to judge. One of the great things about the wipes is that they can be rinsed and reused again a couple times. Once you rinse, you will lose most of the essential oils, but it will work great like a wash cloth. Being able to utilize a wipe for a few times helps the environment and supports Action Wipes global commitment to helping the environment.




Action Wipes eliminate the need to pack soap, water and a cloth separately. This comes in very handy when you pack limited supplies on your back for some mountain biking, or just biking around town. A small packet with a single wipe can easily be tossed in a pack or placed in your pocket. In the heat of the high desert, you will sweat and your bike helmet will seem like it's cooking your brain. There is nothing like a drink of water, a snack, and cleaning up with an Action Wipe at the end of a long ride. They feel cool and refreshing. The 9"x10" wipe covers a large area and doesn't slip as you wipe away dirt, grime and sweat.



Like I mentioned earlier, I compared Action Wipes to Hunter's Specialties Scent-A-Way wipes and the HS wipes did clean, but they are thinner, come in a noisy packet of 20 and the pack tends to dry out quickly. Each Action Wipe is individually wrapped in a quiet pouch. The HS wipes also didn't feel like they cleaned as well, plus I felt like I needed to use three of them to equal the cleanliness of one Action Wipe. Alcohol pads were also tested and they don't even compare as they are truly only meant for your hands. They don't smell good, they stink. They also have harsh chemicals and if you use them around your eye, the chemical will leave an unpleasant burning.



Why do I like Action Wipes so much? There are no harsh chemicals, no alcohol, they pack well and they are kid friendly! Plus, they can be reused not only as a wipe, but as a napkin, too. The single, large wipes retail for $1.49 each, but you can cut that to below a $1 each if you order a 30-pack. I tested the single, large wipes, but you can also order a 30-sheet soft pack if you prefer.

One of the side benefits I found with them is that bugs weren't drawn to me as they normally are. One area where I have not tested them is in the field when hunting. With natural oils and scents I would imagine they would be a bit more scent-friendly with an animal, but only a good test will tell for sure. Personally, I would recommend these to anyone who is active in the outdoors, cares about the environment, has kids who are active, and wants to smell and feel clean with a simple wipe. Action Wipes are something I will keep in my pack, bike kit, and keep around for those outings with my daughter.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Reviewing the Equipment List from my 2012 Colorado Elk Hunt

Last year at this time, I was sharing what I was taking into the backcountry to hunt for the Wapiti. This year I am not hunting for them, but as others are I figured I would share what I would change about my set up. Thanks to B. Cramer for the great question and I hope this post helps you when packing. If you see it in black, I will still be bringing it. If it has a strike-through, it'll be removed.

I will recommend that you test out and know each article of gear you bring with you. You may need more than what I am bringing, like a tent. I didn't need a tent because Eddy already had one set up for us. If you plan on staying deep in the forest and waking up with the elk you will need one. Think about the area, terrain, weather, and read up on what others have done and recommend, too.

My list from last year had a lot on it. Here is my 2012 list and what I will be changing for my 2014 hunt.


PAPERWORK

  • Hunter Education Card (Must have in order to hunt non-resident in Colorado)
  • Hunting License (Will purchase OTC when I arrive)
  • Hunting Regulation Book - Just bring the pages you need for elk hunting


ARCHERY TACKLE

  • PSE DNA 65# - I used my PSE Bow Madness on my 2012 hunt.
  • Easton 340 Full Metal Jacket Arrows (dozen)
  • G5 T3 Striker Magnum Broadheads
  • Scott Archery Little Bitty Goose Release - Also pack a spare
  • Judo Points
  • TightSpot Quiver
  • Nikon Archer's Choice Rangefinder


OPTICS

  • KOWA 10x50 Binos
  • KOWA 10x42 Binos - MINOX 10x43 Binoculars
  • Carbon Fiber Tripod with Ball Head - For camp only
  • Small tripod for hunting
  • Badlands Bino Pack


FOOD STUFF

  • Mountain House Meals
  • House of Jerky Black Pepper Jerky
  • Jetboil
  • Jetboil Fuel
  • Coffee Packets
  • Wilderness Athlete Gel Packs
  • Energy Bars
  • Cookie Boy Cookies - PROBAR Meal Bar Supplements


BACKPACK GEAR

  • Trekking Poles
  • Badlands 2200 Backpack w/96 oz. bladder
  • Hybrid Daypack - If using my frame pack (below) I would utilize a smaller pack.
  • Pure Hydration Water Bladder And Filter - As a spare
  • Commander Freighter Frame Pack - Bring it on every hunt in case you get one and are miles deep!
  • Knives (Buck Special, SOG Woodline Fixed, Havalon Piranta)
  • Knife Sharpener


ELECTRONICS

  • SPOT Locator
  • Garmin Etrex Venture GPS w/HuntingGPS Maps
  • Smith&Wesson Flashlight
  • LENSER L7 Headlamp
  • Nikon DSLR Camera - Always bring it with you if you want good photos!
  • Brunton ReSync Charger
  • Digital Cards with extras
  • Extra Batteries


CLOTHING

  • Schnee's Wilderness Hunting Boots - Best piece of gear on my body! Add inserts for support.
  • 6 Pair Of Wool Socks
  • Camouflage Pants (Insulated and Non-Insulated)
  • Camouflage Jacket (Insulated and Non-Insulated)
  • 2 Pair of RedRam Merino Wool Base Layers
  • Camouflage Gloves (Insulated and Non-Insulated)
  • Camouflage Cold Weather Hat
  • Brimmed Hats
  • Rain Gear
  • Alaska Game Bags (2 Packs) - I might switch up to a more rugged bag, or a pillow case.


MISCELLANEOUS GEAR
  • Multi-Tool
  • Allen Wrenches 
  • Carbomask Facepaint
  • Fresh Step Cover Spray
  • Pure Aqua Tablets
  • Paracord Bracelets
  • Yellowstone 20 Degree Sleeping Bag
  • Klymit Sleeping Bag Pad - A must for the hard ground.
  • Marking Tape
  • Cow Call - Practice, practice, practice before hand!
  • Bugle Call - Leave it home unless you practice consistently.
  • Field Dressing Gloves
  • Compass
  • Lens Cleaner/Cloth
  • Mole Skin
  • Tape Measure
  • Topographic Maps
  • Whistle
  • Wind Direction Checker
  • Bath Towel/Wash Cloth
  • Butane Lighter
  • First Aid Kit - KNOW WHAT IS IN IT! This was needed on my trip. Fortunately, I knew what I had in it.
  • Handkerchief/Kleenex - My sleeve worked just fine.
  • Ice Chest/Cooler - ORCA 75 Quart cooler and a spare
  • Magnesium Fire Starter
  • Notebook & Pencil
  • Plastic Trash Bags
  • Shovel
  • Forks, Knives, Spoons - Bring a metal spork.
  • Emergency Space Blanket
  • Extra Shoe Laces (Paracord)
  • Toiletries And Personal Items
  • Aspirin/Pain Reliever
  • Cell Phone
  • Chap Stick
  • Dental Floss
  • Contacts
  • Eye Drops
  • Extra Truck Keys
  • Nail Clippers
  • Scent Free Deodorant
  • Scent Free Wipes
  • Toilet Paper
  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste
  • Pillow - Don't forget a pillow!
  • Waterproof Camera Case/Bag
  • Zip Ties
  • Nylon Rope - Leave it home and just utilize paracord. Nylon sucked for this trip.
  • Cash 

What will you be bringing and what modifications might you make?