Thursday, June 21, 2018

Gear Review: Mission First Tactical 10 Round Polymer Magazines and Battlelink Minimalist Stock


For over a year, I have been testing out new equipment on my AR-15. I wanted to find the best parts that made it comfortable for me to shoot, but also effective when hunting. Two of the items that I have tested extensively are the 10PM556 - 10 Round Polymer Mag and Battlelink Minimalist Stock from Mission First Tactical

Let me preface this review by saying that the folks at MFT have been very helpful when it came to these items. They have been very patient and allowed me to fully test these out over time where I could shoot with them, beat them up, shoot some more, and now I get to share my findings. Thank you, MFT!


To start, I'll go over the magazine(s). I have been using both the short 10PM556 - 10 Round Polymer Mag and the long 10-round magazine. They both lock in very well on the first try and feed extremely well. Personally, I like the short magazine because it allowed me to swivel the rifle left-to-right easier and I didn't have to rest all the weight on the corner of the longer mag. They functioned the same, but I focused on the short version. When changing magazines, they both function very well and pop right out the same way. I inserted and removed empty and loaded magazines over and over to try to find a malfunction. I did this close to fifty times with zero issues.

When I still had the magazine quick release installed, I tested out changing out magazines in different types of situations. The texture on the outside of the magazines is great and allow an easy grip with or without gloves. I tried tactical gloves, leather gloves, wet hands and dry hands. There was no slippage and I was able to load and unload easily. In fact, these worked the best out of any magazine I tried. I did not have any malfunctions with the magazines, nor was there any issue with it locking into place when loading. I then tried loading the magazines and removing them with a fixed magazine scenario. Again, they performed extremely well and I had no issues whatsoever. Two thumbs up from me! 



The Battlelink Minimalist Stock is something I think every AR owner in California should look at closely. MFT put some though into this design and it really shows. It weighs in at only 5.8oz and installs quickly and easily.




You should know by now that an AR-15 in California must have a fixed stock. The scope I tested is a telescoping stock and MFT thought it through for us in California. They put a hole in the bottom of the stock to allow you to put a pin (provided with the stock) to secure it, thus making it a fixed stock. Once locked into place I took it to the range to shoot. It functioned very well, stayed locked in place and was very comfortable when shooting. 

The design of the stock is pretty cool as it has a hook-like function on the back end. This allowed plenty of comfort when shooting, but also allowed me to hang my rifle on a branch or hook if I needed to. Having a dual function made me appreciate it even more as a hunter. I did have to be careful not to allow the lower portion to catch on anything, but other than that I was very happy with performance.

Both the magazines and the stock are excellent designs and function very well. They allowed me to shoot my AR-15 at the range and hunt with ease. The 10PM556 - 10 Round Polymer Mags
have an MSRP of $14.99 each and MSRP on the Battlelink Minimalist Stock is $59.99. I recommend both of these upgrades to your AR-15, especially if you live in California. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

OVERWHELMING SUCCESS OF BADLANDS APPROACH CAMOUFLAGE LEADS TO CREATION AND RELEASE OF NEW BADLANDS APPROACH FX PATTERN

West Jordan, UT – Never known to “take it easy,” Badlands is ready to release the second pattern in the Badlands Approach camouflage series, dubbed Approach FX, along with an entire new apparel line for 2018. Designed using a hardwood color palette that features Badlands Adaptive Coloration Technology, Approach FX is extremely effective concealment for Midwest or Eastern hunting as well as the Western or Southern hunter.

Not content to merely add a new pattern option to the already robust Badlands lineup, an entire new apparel collection will accompany the launch of the Approach FX camouflage pattern. The 2018 apparel lineup in Approach FX will include:
  •     Six base layer/mid-layer pieces
  •     Eight outer layer jackets ranging from fleece to fully waterproof pieces
  •     Four outer layer pants including silent fleece and waterproof pieces
  •     Two glove options in Approach FX camouflage
  •     Multiple accessories including neck gaiters and multiple hat options

In addition to the more than twenty new apparel pieces, the majority of Badlands packs and binocular cases will now be available in either Approach or Approach FX camouflage.


“With the new Approach FX line, we really listened to our customers about what pieces were missing in our lineup,” said Badlands Sales Manager Dominick Murphy. He continued, “We knew the whitetail hunter was looking for a new color palette as well as features such as completely silent clothing, tree stand safety harness ports in the jackets and an overall warm and comfortable lineup. We feel like we checked off every box with the new camo pattern and product offering.”

Badlands Approach FX packs are available now with the new apparel line coming in June/July of 2018.

Now in its 25th year, Badlands continues to focus on exceptional quality, continuing innovation, unmatched performance and as always, the only unconditional lifetime warranty in the industry.

###

For more information about this event, products in the Badlands line, or general inquiries, please contact Blake VanTussenbrook at 1.800.386.7839 or blake@vortexoutdoors.com

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Successfully Scouting the SoCal Backcountry

Did you hear the one about hunting in Southern California and how easy it is? Yeah, I didn't think so. Knowing the draw results were days away, my buddy Ramon and I were finally able to get out and do some scouting. It was a spot I knew well and we had lofty goals of getting back as far as we dared go on our bikes. That all sounds great when you talk about it, but when you actually do it and your bike won't cooperate, well it makes for a challenging day. I am thankful for my Rocky boots, Vortex optics, ibuprofen and plenty of water!


Right away we saw deer. In fact, as we drove to the trailhead, a healthy doe trotted across the road in front of us in no particular hurry. It got us both excited! After assembling the bikes and gearing up, we hit the trail. The first two miles are uphill, which actually worked out in our favor. I wanted to go in quiet and slow because I knew where I had seen deer before and where the best spots were to glass. Slowly and methodically we walked our bikes up the hill, all the while looking for deer. 

As we crested one of the curves in the road, I mentioned to Ramon that we should drop our bikes and glass the other side. In a few seconds I locked onto a fawn with a doe. I pointed them out and immediately said that if there were fawns there were bucks around. Excellent! We didn't glass this side very long and moved on another few hundred feet. I saw movement right away and spotted our first buck! He was bedded with a doe and they were facing us. He was up and heading for the ridge long before the doe got up. She stretched and followed him over. He was a nice forkie with a short, but wide rack in beautiful velvet. Our day was off to a great start!


About a mile up the road, I peeked over a burm to find the youngest, most spotted mule deer fawn I have ever seen. Oblivious to her surroundings, I motioned for Ramon to slowly inch toward the edge to view her. I knew a doe was close by, but she was invisible. A few minutes of watching the fawn and she decided she was off to play and follow her momma. We eagerly hopped on the bikes to get around the ridge to see if we could spot them. Ramon found the fawn quickly in the shade of some scrub brush looking right at us. She was so little! I saw the doe moving away slowly and eating along the way. A few more minutes of watching them disappear and we saw the fawn dashing up a trail with the doe close behind. We had already seen seven deer and it wasn't even 7 O'clock yet!

The next few hours were riding, hiking, glassing, and repeat. Unfortunately, my bike would not downshift on the high side, so I was stuck in high three all day. My quads were on fire, but we pushed on. 


After six hours of grueling exercise, we made it to an old hunting spot 11 miles in. I checked my water bladder to be sure I had enough for the ride out. I knew it would be close, but I had two extra bottles packed. I grabbed a bite of my greenbelly meal (which was excellent) and then drank some water. I settled in for a quick snooze while Ramon roamed around looking for sign. Two curious hummingbirds decided i looked like a chunky flower as they buzzed three feet over my head over and over. So much for sleep!

We packed up at 1:00 PM and decided to head back from whence we came. The temps were going to get a bit higher, but there was a 5 mph cool breeze that felt great when it kicked in. I knew we had two miles of uphill before there was any chance of a break. While it was tough, I was grateful to be out there and working hard. When we hit the downhill area we were stoked! We started cruising and Ramon ventured ahead when I heard a "POP" followed by a hissssssssssssssssssss as my tire deflated. I hopped off and hiked down the hill, all the while looking for Ramon. It dawned on my that while we had a great plan for our wives, we didn't discuss connecting with each other if we were to get separated. I always wear a whistle, so I blasted on that twice and again twice a few minutes later. Finally, I just hollered, 'RAMON!' and about a half mile down the landscape I spotted him riding back toward me. We met up, laughed, and changed the tire (I am thankful he had a spare as I opted to leave mine home due to carrying extra gear.) Never again will I leave without my spare(s)!

The ride back down was uneventful and while painful at times, was one of the best bike rides ever. The day was full of excitement, challenges, and deer! The entire ride back we couldn't stop talking about electric bikes and how this area would be ideal for one. Let me tell you that I am doing some deep research into purchasing one for hunting. It would help immensely and make it much more enjoyable. That being said, we had a great day all around and we can't wait to get back out and do it again!

Monday, June 4, 2018

Projectile and Powder Testing for Hunting in California (.223 Remington)

California hunters wanting to hunt deer, bear, and many other animals with a firearm must use legal copper ammunition. With our government officials doing a dance on our regulations and laws, purchasing ammunition has been made more difficult and many companies simply do not want to deal with California at all. In order to find the right ammunition for my rifles I have to find the approved ammunition list, see if a local business or FFL-01 or FFL-07 carries it, and if not see how I can get it through them. Why must it be so difficult? In my opinion, that is precisely what our legislators want. Instead of feeling deflated, I began hand loading again and now I am working on developing loads that I can use while hunting. 

My friend Bill and I spent the better part of three hours developing our test plan for loading up hunting ammunition for the .223 Remington. We carefully developed these loads because many people have AR-15s and many like to hunt coyotes. We decided to come up with some test loads with different components to see what worked best. We compared the copper rounds to the common FMJ to keep things fair. I cleaned, resized, trimmed, and primed the cases myself. Bill and I completed the rest together.

Here are the loads we worked up and tested at the range using a Caldwell Chronograph. I fired five (5) rounds of each load and took the average for the result shown in the velocity column. I highlighted (in red) the fastest rounds to help narrow it down. We loaded the low and high recommendations for each of the Shooter's World powders. The Winchester 748 powder at 24 grains is what we have been loading for years, so we used that as our base.




As you can see, we came away with some great results. Our next step is to shoot each round at a 100 yard target to see how they group. Again, I will be the only one shooting. I am eager to see how they perform at distance. I will give my full report and opinion on which powder, load and projectile I found to be the best performing in a future post. I'll compare the availability of the powder, cost, and performance for the California hunter. This is only scratching the surface of what I would like to accomplish and share with you all. If there is something you'd like to know more about or have a question, please ask. Time to go load up some more for range day!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Bass Pro Shops Free Seminars - I Need Your Help


Hi everyone! I am planning my upcoming free seminars for Bass Pro Shops in Rancho Cucamonga, CA and I need your help. I would like to know what seminars you are interested in and what topics you want me to cover. Here are some of the seminars I plan to give, but please let me know if there is some other topic or more information on a specific topic you would like to cover. These are brief examples and the topics are subject to change to cater to the audience. (I encourage questions!) I would also like to know what day works best for everyone - Saturday or Sunday.

Scouting for Deer
  • Trail cameras
  • Optics
  • What to Look For
  • Footwear

Proper Optics for Hunting in Southern California
  • Binoculars
  • Spotting Scopes
  • How to Use Both Effectively

Introduction to Bow Hunting
  • Traditional vs. Compound Bow
  • Choosing the Right Gear
  • Practice
  • Scouting
  • Where to Hunt

Reloading Your Own Ammunition
  • Review Current Ammunition Restrictions
  • Where to Start
  • Safety
  • Components
  • Proper Equipment

Deer Hunting in Southern California
  • Bow or Firearm
  • Packing for a Day Hunt
  • Packing for a Multi-Day Hunt

What else would you guys like to hear about? Please comment below, on the SoCal Bowhunter FB page, or email me. Send as many comments as you like!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

California Big Game Drawing Deadline Approaches

The Big Game Drawing deadline to get your tag applications in to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife is June 2, 2018. In case you haven't been paying attention it's coming in fast! Have you considered everything for hunting this year like the use of unleaded ammo, bow hunting vs. firearm, forest fires and time to spend in the field? These are all major considerations and you really don't have much time left to make that call. Decisions need to be made and you have less than two weeks to do it. I'll share some of my own obstacles and processes in the event they can help you narrow down your choices.

First thing I think about is family time and along with that my vacation time. Will I have enough vacation set aside for my family? Will I then have enough time set aside for the hunts I want to go on? Most times that isn't an issue, but those older my daughter gets, the more I find myself wanting to also spend more time with her before she grows up. It's a conundrum and a choice I have to make myself. 

Another factor to consider is the unit I apply for or the tag(s) I go for. Do I want to only bow hunt? Do I want options like being able to use a firearm? Do I stay close to home or am I willing to travel to go after that animal? Will my hunt partners be able to hunt the same units and are they willing to? Then comes the question of, do I have enough money for these tags? With this decision comes the non-lead ammunition factor and if you are using the allowed projectiles. Be certain you have non-lead ammunition on you and in your firearm when hunting in the non-lead zones. Next year it won't be an issue as you won't have a choice. You could be like me and already be utilizing non-lead projectiles when hunting. It takes the guesswork out.

Right along side of deciding which tag to go for is the closure of lands due to forest fires. I have heard from some hunters saying that while areas have been closed to fire, hunters are allowed to hunt there. They insist that DFW has informed them of this. Take it as you will, but verify it for yourself. I make no claims to that statement, but it would be nice to not be locked out of a region you hunt due to fire closure.

These are just some of the obstacles we face as hunters when it's time to go in for a California tag. Other things come into play, but don't be like I was last year and wait too long. I missed out because I was on vacation and thought my tag wouldn't sell out. Unfortunately it did sell out and I was left hanging. If you want that tag, put in for it and give yourself a shot! Good luck!

Monday, May 14, 2018

Gear Review: Vortex Razor HD 12x50 Binoculars


One of my favorite pre-season activities is scouting. Glassing for animals to be more precise. I began scouting last year with a pair of Vortex Diamondback 10x42 binoculars and loved every second of it. Great glass for the price. Then, in between two of my seminars at Bass Pro Shops in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, I made the best mistake ever when I tried out a pair of Vortex Razor HD 12x50 binoculars. I liken it to watching an action movie on TV in color on a 30" screen to then viewing the same movie on a flatscreen 72" 4K HD TV in full color. The view was crisp, stunning and immediately I knew I had to have a pair. If I have said it once, I have said it a hundred times, "You get what you pay for in optics. Buy the very best you can afford and if you can't afford them now, save up for them and buy excellent glass once." I did exactly that and purchased my own pair of Vortex Razor HD 12x50 binoculars without hesitation.


Out of the box these were easy to use and worked great for me. My normal issue with larger, more powerful binoculars is the interpupillary distance. To be frank, I have narrow set eyes and it is often difficult for me to find high quality binoculars above 10x. The Vortex Razor HD 12x50s allow for a wide range of motion and I was able to get them adjusted perfectly to my eyes with a little room to spare. Finally, a pair of high power, high quality glass that I can use in the field!

Focusing was fast and easy due to the diopter knob adjustment being wicked smooth. You can fine tune on a subject very quickly and easily. I allowed my daughter to try them out and it took forever to get them back when she realized how easy they were to adjust. 

Eye relief with these binoculars is great. I have sat behind these for hours and never had eye strain or a headache. As you can see on the image below, the dirt and grit on the eye cups show plenty of use from last season, but in no way did that affect the sharpness. And yes, I do clean these with the cloth provided (sometimes).


The Razor 12x50s are lightweight, not bulky and fit very well in your hands.They also fit well into nearly any binocular chest harness. That's a big plus for those who hunts out west.


Set the binos on a tripod and it's like you have two spotting scopes doing the work for you. These are the only 12x50 binoculars I have been able to use handheld or on a tripod with great results. Utilizing them on a tripod is the best way to go, but if you like to go back and forth from handheld to tripod (as I do), pick up the Uni-dapter tripod adapter from Vortex for $35. The new design is great and allows you to pull the binoculars off the tripod with no buttons or levers, thus eliminating noise and reducing movement.

I found that the Vortex Razor 12x50s work incredibly well in low light conditions. Just before sunrise and after sundown, these worked great and you are able to spot not only movement, but the actual animal outline at quite a distance. Two thumbs up for that right there! 

Many times at the beginning of my scouting seminars, I start out by passing around the two sets of Vortex binoculars. I have the attendees tell me which they like better and why. Nearly every person, whether man, woman, adult or child preferred the Razor HD 12x50s. After using these for an entire season, it was easy to convince them why the price shouldn't matter. The MSRP is $1499.99, which is a great price for the optics you are getting. The best part is you can find the Vortex Razor HD 12x50 binoculars at Bass Pro for $1099.99. You get great binoculars along with the Vortex VIP Unconditional Lifetime Warranty. You can't beat that.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Ammunition Confusion: What Are California Hunters To Do?


Hunters in California wanting to use their firearms to hunt deer, bear, and many other animals must use legal copper ammunition. With government officials doing a song and dance with our ammunition regulations and laws, purchasing hunting ammunition has become increasingly difficult and many companies simply do not want to deal with California at all. (IMHO, I believe that is EXACTLY what our CA government wants.) Confusion, ambiguity, harsh restriction, etc. (I am not a lawyer, nor am I so hard-headed that I cannot learn. If you have a better understanding of the regulations and laws, please share.) 

Hunters, like myself, have a big issue with this whole fiasco. In order to find hunting ammunition for your rifles you have to review the approved ammunition list. Then you must see if a local business with an FFL-01 of FFL-07 carries it, and if not see how you can get it through them. Why? Not all of the local companies want to carry all legal hunting ammunition for all calibers. That would involve carrying more inventory which takes up more shelf space and it doesn't move as quickly as target ammo.

According to the CA DOJ FFL regulations and the CA Penal Code, I can order ammunition and have it shipped to my FFL-03. You can read the entire section of code by clicking the link below.

CA Penal Code 30312 section 6:

PENAL CODE - PEN
PART 6. CONTROL OF DEADLY WEAPONS [16000 - 34370]
  ( Part 6 added by Stats. 2010, Ch. 711, Sec. 6. )
  
TITLE 4. FIREARMS [23500 - 34370]
  ( Title 4 added by Stats. 2010, Ch. 711, Sec. 6. )
  
DIVISION 10. SPECIAL RULES RELATING TO PARTICULAR TYPES OF FIREARMS OR FIREARM EQUIPMENT [30210 - 33690]
  ( Division 10 added by Stats. 2010, Ch. 711, Sec. 6. )
  
CHAPTER 1. Ammunition [30210 - 30395]
  ( Chapter 1 added by Stats. 2010, Ch. 711, Sec. 6. )

ARTICLE 2. Other Restrictions Relating to Ammunition [30300 - 30340]
  ( Article 2 added by Stats. 2010, Ch. 711, Sec. 6. )

(c) Subdivisions (a) and (b) shall not apply to the sale, delivery, or transfer of ammunition to any of the following:
(6) A person who is licensed as a collector of firearms pursuant to Chapter 44 (commencing with Section 921) of Title 18 of the United States Code and the regulations issued pursuant thereto, whose licensed premises are within this state, and who has a current certificate of eligibility issued by the Department of Justice pursuant to Section 26710.

My FFL-03 (which is what the above is referencing) has his license and all paperwork up-to-date and in order in the state of California. Technically, he is able to order and accept ammunition. Even still, I cannot find a single manufacturer who is willing to do that. As a hunter, I have contacted companies asking about purchasing ammunition and having it shipped to my authorized FFL. One such company, MidwayUSA, refuses to send purchased ammunition unless my name and the FFL name matches. Originally, I was asked to send my FFL info or my order would be delayed. I scanned and sent MidwayUSA the documentation and this was the correspondence that followed. I am sharing my correspondence with their customer service staff as they refuse the CA Penal Code and CA DOJ rules and regulations. 
_________________________________________________________

Dear Albert,

Thank you for sending us a copy of the FFL-03. I apologize, but we are not able to accept this FFL, as the FFL must be in your name and must be either an 01 or 07. You may have the FFL Holder create an account with their FFL and place the order for you. The order will only ship to the FFL Holders address.

Please send us your FFL-01, FFL-07 or your Ammunition Vendor License so we may release your order. If we have not received this information within 48 hours, we will cancel your order. I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.

If you have any additional questions or comments, please feel free to contact us at 1-800-243-3220. Our hours of operation are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. CST. You may also email us at customerservice@midwayusa.com.
  
Thanks for Your Business!

John 
Customer Support Representative 3 | NRA Life Member
5875 West Van Horn Tavern Rd. | Columbia, MO 65203
_________________________________________________________

Good afternoon,

Thank you for the email. To purchase online, CA DOJ requires ammunition to be shipped to an FFL. There is no specific requirement that it go to an FFL-01 or FFL-07. Simply a valid FFL. It also doesn't say that the FFL must be in my name. I am the person making the purchase and having it shipped directly to my FFL. 

Why is Midway USA unwilling to honor a valid FFL with paperwork up to date and validated by the CA DOJ?

Sincerely,
Al Quackenbush
The SoCal Bowhunter
_________________________________________________________

Dear Albert,

Thank you for your email regarding FFL's. I apologize for any confusion or inconvenience. It is MidwayUSA's policy to only accept and ship to an FFL-01, or FFL-07 holder. 

Please send us your FFL-01, FFL-07 or your Ammunition Vendor License so we may release your order. If we have not received this information within 48 hours, we will cancel your order. I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.

If you have any additional questions or comments, please feel free to contact us at 1-800-243-3220. Our hours of operation are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. CST. You may also email us at customerservice@midwayusa.com.

Thanks for Your Business!

Rebecca
MidwayUSA Customer Service
_________________________________________________________

I then responded with my FFL-07, per their request…

Hello, 

My FFL-07 is [FFL Name left out as not to drag them into a public discussion]. 

Lic. # X-XX-XXX-XX-XX-XXXX

[FFL Address has been removed, but was included in the email]

Can I have my order shipped to them?

Sincerely,
Al Quackenbush
The SoCal Bowhunter
_________________________________________________________

Dear Albert,

Thank you for the email concerning shipping.  I apologize that only the actual 01 FFL holder can purchase ammunition from us as we are not able to do FFL transfers as you're suggesting.  I apologize for the inconvenience this causes you.

If you have any additional questions or comments, please feel free to contact us at 1-800-243-3220. Our hours of operation are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. CST. You may also email us at customerservice@midwayusa.com.

Thanks for Your Business!

Larry G.
MidwayUSA Customer Service
_________________________________________________________

What are we legal firearm owners to do? I followed the regulations and laws. I sent them the proper documentation. I reached out multiple times and was shot down (pun intended). I understand the companies have lawyers telling them one thing and then policies are changed. That doesn't change the fact that it's wrong.

Even reloading components are being held back by companies. Barnes and Nosler will not ship bullets to me at my home, but they will ship to an FFL-03. CA regulations allow components to be delivered, but companies don’t want the hassle. My best guess is these companies simply do not want to be scrutinized or sued by the state of California and honestly, I can appreciate the frustration. 

My suggestion for my fellow firearms enthusiasts, hunters, and reloaders is to start purchasing your ammunition now, while you can. If you reload, start ordering components and get a good supply going because the regulations are constantly changing. If things keep going the way they are, we may not be able to get components to reload either. There are people and organizations out there who want to end hunting, firearm ownership, and our constitutional right to own a firearm. Think hard and let that sink in. It’s on our doorstep and we need to fight.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

2018 California Big Game Hunting Digest


My copy of the 2018 California Big Game Hunting Digest arrived in my mailbox yesterday. Now is the time to start reviewing the changes, zone data, and make plans on where and how you will hunt for big game this year. There are bound to be many questions, so I encourage you to contact the biologists and ask those questions. If there is something I can help with, please ask. Sometimes navigating the regulations can be frustrating. Even I get that way sometimes and I have come to the realization that asking questions and making plans early helps. 

Here are some changes that really jump out (direct from the CA DFW website) in regards to deer hunting:
Deer Tag Classification Changes
For the 2018 deer hunting season, the following deer tags have changed classifications. Please refer to the 2018 Deer Hunts for more information.
From Restricted to Premium deer tags:
A22 – tag quota filled on 6/15/17
From Unrestricted deer tags to Premium deer tags:
A18 – tag quota filled on 6/14/17
A19 – tag quota filled on 6/20/17
From Premium deer tag to Restricted deer tag:
D6 – tag quota filled on 7/5/17
From Unrestricted deer tags to Restricted deer tags:
B – tag quota filled on 7/17/17
D14 – tag quota filled on 7/13/17
A32 – tag quota filled on 7/17/17

I knew D14 would change this year due to it selling out even before I had the chance to get mine last year. With that said, I am going to review this release in detail and I have a feeling I will be making some changes to the areas I hunt this year. How about you? What are your plans? I'd love to get your feedback and hear your thoughts.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The SoCal Bowhunter Review on #PROJECTELK

Last night, after dinner and with a cup of coffee, I went outside with my laptop and watched #PROJECTELK. I had been meaning to watch it for a while and then it slipped out of memory. As I was checking my email, I received a message from the RMEF saying that #PROJECTELK was now available FREE with your Amazon Prime subscription through Amazon Video. I jumped at the opportunity and watched it in full. I decided I would write up a short review for all of you...


Go watch it! That's my review. I'm not going to tell you all about it or give you a review. Seriously, you need to do that for yourselves. Take an hour and sit down and watch it. Soak it all up and let me know what you take away from it. You will not be disappointed.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Press Release from Vortex: All-new Viper® HD Binoculars



 
NEW Viper HD Binoculars
If seeing is believing, you're about to believe. The all-new Viper® HD Binoculars are an optic masterpiece, giving hunters, shooters and outdoor enthusiasts a premium option without the premium price tag.

The new short-hinge design makes for a great grip on your binos, while the size and weight make this one of the lightest full-size binos on the market -
A noteworthy attribute when gear consideration can be measured in grams.

Now included with every Viper HD, the GlassPak™ chest harness keeps your binos at the ready, while providing comfortable, protected, strain-free,
all-day carry.

The only two things that haven't changed with these all-new Viper HD Binoculars are the price, and the fact that they are 100% covered by Vortex's legendary, lifetime, unconditional, no-fault, transferable, VIP Warranty.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Finding Your Point Blank Range from HHA Sports

As a bowhunter, what is your point blank range? Not sure what I mean? Watch this very educational, and easy to follow, video from Scott Bakken at HHA Sports. I can't wait to try this!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Product Review: Rugged Meats


Let me preface this review by saying that I am a Quackenbush, which means this...I like to eat. When I am home and doing projects and such, I don't snack so much, but in a treestand or while hunting the SoCal forests, I like a quality snack. Chocolate melts, trail mix is good, but I get over that fairly quickly. I've been eating the Rugged Meats brand of snacks and sticks for a couple years and I have to say they have a permanent parking spot in my pack now. Rugged Meats offers some awesome tasty snacks that will leave you satisfied.

First off, the snacks are from made from feral swine right here in the U.S.A. No MSG, no nitrites, and they are gluten free. Packed full of protein, they fill you up and taste great. They aren't too salty, but have incredible flavor.

I have tried all of the flavors. I have my favorites, but I encourage you guys to try them all. We all have different flavors we prefer.




Original - My favorite flavor. This was hands down my favorite. (Before I wrote this review I ordered another big bag of sticks and bites.) Just enough spice and plenty of flavor to go around.

Sunrise - These are great for those who don't like spicy. This is my least favorite flavor. It's not bad, just a little too bland for me, but I know many who really enjoy this flavor. In fact, it really is great for a morning stick.

Grass-fed Beef Jalapeño - This tastes great and has a bit of heat. I like a bit more heat if it says jalapeño, but I understand why Rugged Meats did it. I don't think anyone wants to be hiking up a hill, eat a super spicy meat stick and continue hiking.

Snack Stick Bites (Original or Sriracha) - I urge caution with these as they will go fast! They are addicting and so darn tasty. I like the original over the sriracha, but the sriracha is a tasty nugget! 

If you want a quality snack for the backcountry, Rugged Meats snacks are it. They pack well  and don't need refrigeration. I also eat these as part of my lunch and when I am craving a snack. Instead of grabbing chips, or a candy bar, I grab one of these and it's great! Unfortunately, they go very fast! These come highly recommended from me. Delicious, good for you, and they are from feral pigs. Yum!

If you want to try some for yourself, I have a discount code for you! Type in quackmaster when you view your rucksack (cart)! It is good for 15% off of the entire purchase with the exception of subscribe and save items and anything that is on sale. 

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Archery Range Meetups and Keeping Your Cool


New bow hunters are usually quick learners and they simply need guidance and encouragement.  I encourage anyone and everyone to come out and shoot. It brings out the best in us and some friendly competition is good for you!

Just a few weeks ago, I got a message from a young gentleman I met at one of my seminars at Bass Pro Shops in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. He wanted to see if I wanted to get together to shoot sometime. I told him, 'Sure!' We met up at the local range to not only practice, but get to know one another a bit. Another time, another seminar attendee brought his dad out to shoot. His dad is just starting out, but he did the right thing and shot many bows before choosing the one that fit him the best. We shot many rounds and had a great time getting to know one another. Plus, his dad nearly out shot us at the end of the day! That is some of the best time you can have. Practice as often as you can and invite your friends! Make it a friendly competition and see who can hit the smallest target at a distance. You may not be the best, but it will make you focus more. Also, bring your own target to the range. Typically, straw bales are not meant to withstand high powered compound bows and the arrows will embed in the rubber backstops. You'll thank me later. 

There can be a downside to shooting around many people and that is dealing with "that bow hunter" at the range. It can ruin a target session if you let it. You know the guy. He's been bow hunting for years, shoots deer at 140 yards with his recurve, and looks at your compound and says it's not set up properly (I kid you not, these were all said to me recently). What do you do? My response was to simply put on a smile and have a conversation. Try not to get defensive, but have some fun with the person. Recently, I had the pleasure of talking with such a gentleman at our local range. The banter was truly comical for a nearly ten minutes, until he reached for my bow and claimed it was set up improperly. Normally, it wouldn't bother me, but I was trying to help a new bow hunter shooting properly. Instead of getting overly upset, I pointed to the four arrows buried in the 4" circle of my Rinehart target 30 yards away. 'It seems to be working just fine for me,' I said. He wasn't amused, but smiled and abruptly left. It truly bothers me when other archers or bow hunters claim to be experts and start telling you what you are doing wrong or how your equipment should be set up. I keep to myself unless asked or I see someone doing something dangerous that can hurt themselves or someone else. I encourage you to do the same.