Tuesday, January 2, 2018

2018 Goals & Objectives for the SoCal Bowhunter

It has been a few years since I last posted some goals for myself or the status of the blog. That being said, where did 2017 go? Let's recap, shall we? The first 3/4 of the year flew by and the last 1/4 dragged a bit. I went to the first Anteris Alliance Try & Buy, attended SHOT Show for the first time and was added to the Bass Pro Shops Redhead Pro Staff. I also didn't post articles nearly enough and that weighed heavily on me this year. I focused more on my family more than hunting. My wife and I were at Route 91 in Vegas and had to run for our lives. I gained a great deal of weight and lost any desire to workout for many reasons. I lost my grandmother right before Christmas. Am I feeling sorry for myself? Nah, just stating facts and kicking 2017 to the curb.

Here are my 2018 Goals & Objectives for the SoCal Bowhunter:

  1. Write more than last year, and video more hunts and gear reviews. While people like to read, they enjoy videos more and more. I may add another publication or two to my writing list.
  2. Set up my reloading bench and get started reloading my own ammo at home.
  3. Offer some more hunting seminars at Bass Pro Shops in Rancho Cucamonga, CA and hopefully get some of the attendees out in the woods!
  4. Go to some fundraisers and game dinners. It's been nearly a decade since my last one.
  5. Practice much more with my bow. 2017 wasn't as fruitful as I would have hoped and I know my practice regimen was lacking.
  6. Get more sleep and workout like I would hunt. No excuses.
  7. Make more jerky! Is there such thing as too much jerky? I think not!
  8. Set up a 3D target day with my friends. I know a few guys who are eager to make this happen.
  9. Introduce a few more people to bowhunting and get them out hunting!
  10. Bow hunt for elk - either in Colorado or Idaho. Training started today as I am very much out of shape and really need to focus if I plan to hunt above 10,000 feet.
  11. Plan a hunt in Utah or Arizona! I'm not getting any younger.
  12. Bow hunt in New York with my family for whitetail deer.
  13. Put more trail cameras out and do more scouting!
There are a few changes coming from me that involve the blog, writing, and how I see things in 2018. I'll be sharing more as time progresses. Have you set any goals for 2018? If so, please share! I'd love to hear some of yours and wish you all a great 2018.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Project Game Cart: Phase II

Weekends are full of a variety of to-dos these days. Parties, hunting, reloading, and projects. Fitting some shopping in between is always good, too! For me, hunting season is winding down. I have a deer tag and a bear tag left and plan on getting to the forest in two weeks. I am praying the fires do not come near the area again. Before that, I have obligations and projects, and I enjoy every minute of them. I have a newfound respect for waking up everyday and being alive and want to accomplish many things. The highlight of the weekend, that was hunting related, was working on my bicycle game cart. 

To give you some backstory, many of the areas I hunt have a locked gate crossing the road, therefore no vehicle access. I have taken my bike through and ridden up and around and love it. It's quiet and quick. Unfortunately, I have had to lug my backpack and bow on my back while doing this. It's not a big deal, but it's tiring and awkward. A few years back, I found some all-terrain tires and started building my own cart. Then we bought a house and that project was sidelined as I tossed a bunch of the gear. It was simply cumbersome and I knew there had to be a better way. Fast forward to a few weeks ago (and about a year of thinking about it) when I found a Yakima cart that is used to transport your kids behind the bike when you ride. I bought it for $40, stripped it down and got right into transforming it into a hunting cart.



You may ask why I stripped off the original covering when it had a rain cover, netting, and clips in all the right places. To be honest, I didn't like it. It was yellow and purple and I wanted to be able to hide it when hunting. I also wanted faster access to my gear. I also found kid puke and other fun stuff inside and was not about to wash it. I did, however, save all the straps and clips knowing they would prove to be very beneficial!

My plan is to have a cart that I can transport my pack and bow without having it on my back, but also leave room to haul a deer or pig back, too. This cart has all the room I need. My original plan, that I intend to continue with after deer season, is to have a solid base of some sort of open rack, like a metal rack with open grates to allow for air and drippings to fall through. I found a great instructable that talks about using metal shelving. Excellent idea! I am trying very hard not to drill any holes if I don't have to. Right now I don't have the grate, so I am using coated chicken wire that a friend gave me. The width was perfect and I cut it down to size and zip-tied it into place. That would give me a temporary floor and it should hold up to 100 lbs. I had some spare metal bars from a recycled Easy-up that I used to form a crossbar. This allows some support for my pack without putting full weight in one spot.



I wasn't sure how to mount my bow, but I remembered my dad using some mounts for his UTV that worked great. He was eager to talk about the design and thought that idea was good, but he had a better idea. Not only did he have a set of Kolpin Rhino grips he wasn't using, these actually have a mount that secures to the bar where you don't have to do any drilling. I became very excited and they should be here by the end of the week.



The one thing I had hemmed and hawed about was covering the aluminum. Should I paint it? Should I use camo duct tape? Should I hydro-dip it? I think I am going to combine a couple things. Kevin Paulson, from HuntingLife.com, mentioned that painting it a matte black would be good. I tend to agree, but I also want to keep it our of site when I am hunting. I also have a desert camo netting that I will carry to toss over when hunting. It'll work well and packs light!

This week I will sit down and plan a few more things out for it. How many of you have a cart like this? Any suggestions or ideas? I am interested in hearing what you might do with building a cart like this. Leave me a comment with a suggestion or idea (funny or legit, I don't care) and I may pull a name or two for some hunting related gifts from my stash!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Gear Review: Rangemaxx Shooting Bench Table


Range day is a day I look forward to. Not only do I get to sight in different firearms and hone my skills, I also get to field test gear and share those findings with you guys. For months I have been testing out the Rangemaxx Shooting Bench Table from Bass Pro Shops. Normally, I would take a chair and a table. They work alright, but this shooting bench is a better option. 

Specifications: 

  • Shooting height: 36.2''. 
  • Tabletop dimensions: 27.2'' x 20.9''. 
  • Weight: 29.8 lbs.

Assembly was fairly easy for one person, but I could see two people making it less cumbersome. Either way, I was able to assemble it and sit on it without any issues. It was comfortable and easily adjustable. It folds down enough to get it into a truck, but I would not recommend transport in a car. It's bulky and you do have to take the seat off for it to lay flat.




At our desert range, I set it up quickly and was able to get it adjusted for proper shooting of my two rifles. The shooting bench allows all shooters, right- or left-handed, a comfortable shooting experience, for the most part. I did find some issues with having to turn my body a bit to make sure my elbow sat completely on the bench top. I think it would be beneficial to make the top slightly larger or have a pad near the elbow to allow for better comfort. I also am not a huge fan of the way the V-shaped barrel rest sits or the design. I think it needs better padding (which I have added later on) and I couldn't get situated comfortably to sit the barrel inside the V. I actually rested the stock inside the V and that allowed more mobility and comfort. It may not be the way it was designed, but it worked for me. The rubber coated V-shaped gun rest protects barrel finish, but it's in the shape of a V and some rifles do not fit comfortably with the barrel in the V and your elbow on the corner of the bench top. I understand why it is a V shape, but I would like to see a U shape rest to allow for stocks to be placed properly, not just the barrel. The padded vinyl bench top cover has two ammo pouches that also work well.

Overall, the Rangemaxx Shooting Bench Table is a great tool for the range. It is very sturdy and solid for all size shooters. I urge caution when adjusting the barrel rest bolt connected to the bench top. The weld on the table top is easily bent and I think it may snap off if proper care is not taken. I have noticed some play in it. Other than that structural issue I think this is a nice addition to my range gear. An improvement to the system would be a movable bracket holding the barrel rest. Currently, the mount is set direct center on the bench. I would like to see it movable (left to right) to allow for easier adjustment between firearm sizes.

The Rangemaxx Shooting Bench Table retails for $79.99 plus shipping. My recommendation is to buy one and pick it up at your local Bass Pro Shops. This will beat any table set up you have and it is a great tool for the range. 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Emerging From Hibernation with a Status Report


Hunting season has seemed like a bit of a far off dream for me. I was able to get out early in the season, but with everything that has been going on and then getting sick, I simply have not had the opportunity to get back out. Normally this would make me sad or anxious, but I know that while hunting is awesome, it isn't everything for me. My family and my own well being come first. Now that I am getting better, it's time to look at the maps again and make a plan!

Today is the last day for my tag in D14. I wish the hunters that are out there the best of luck and continued safety. For me it is tag soup, but it's all good. I have my A31 tag still jumping in my pack waiting to be filled. I have some friends who are eager to get me out hunting with them and I am excited about that.

I am excited about the updated on X Hunt maps and the new layers they have built into the system. I've check it out and I am stoked to see how far they have come and how awesome their system really is. I am really looking forward to trying it out while in the national forest and see truly how powerful it is. How many of you are using the new system?

Some reviews are coming up that I can't wait to share with you. Here are a few topics that might pique your interest. Optics: Vortex binoculars and Vortex rifle scopes. I have reviews coming on both that I am very excited to share. The Bass Pro Rangemaxx shooting bench table is a system I have been testing (see first image) and using for the last six months. I have also been testing out SneekTec Fleece Boots. I am impressed with both, and I will be sharing my 100% honest opinions of both. I have some firearms gear to share about, too. Simple things that I have been holding off writing about for nearly 10 months as I wait for CA legislation. I'm not waiting any longer and will be writing up my thoughts.

2017 has been quite a year. This blog has been going strong for seven years, but this year it took a bit of a dip. I won't say I have lost my love of writing. Instead it feels more like a change in focus and priorities. Without feedback it is difficult to grow. This blog may change soon into something more than bowhunting. Will I continue to write? Sure I will. I may even do more seminars and post about them. I honestly do not know what will happen. I know that I will pray on it, listen to God's will, and continue to live life to the fullest. Have a great week everyone.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

An Open Letter to Sutherland Springs, Texas

After the tragedy in Sutherland Springs, Texas, my amazing wife penned this letter to them. I feel it is something they will need in the days ahead.

Dear Sutherland Springs,
I could not believe the news this past Sunday morning. I had just returned from a day trip to Las Vegas to retrace my steps and visit the memorials. You see, I survived the Route 91 Harvest Festival mass shooting. It's surreal to even write those words. It's surreal to be writing to other victims of such an unthinkable, horrific, and evil act.

I woke up Sunday morning and felt peace for the first time in over a month. I was finally able to get some answers and much needed closure from my return trip to Las Vegas. I walked into my kitchen, poured my favorite coffee into a "But first, Jesus" mug that a friend had sent me after the shooting. Life was finally starting to feel 'good' again. I sat down and turned on reality TV (please don't judge me, it's my 'get away from it all' guilty pleasure). Not even five minutes into the television show, my husband told me another survivor friend of ours just posted that there had been a mass shooting in a church. I LITERALLY gasped. I could not believe such a thing. I could not pick up the remote and tune in to CNN fast enough. 

There it was. Just shock. No words. Tears filled my eyes. My body trembled like it did the night I experienced 'my' mass shooting. I IMMEDIATELY felt for all of you. This is one time in my life where I can say "I know how you feel." and have it be the truth. I DO know how you feel. You are my people. You are part of this new club of ours and you never asked for an invitation. You never wanted one. Neither did we.

But here we are. Engulfed in "Why?!"'s. Clouded by anger and disbelief. Surrounded by unbelievable sadness. It's hard to even write this letter to you without wanting to reach out and hug EVERY SINGLE PERSON this has affected - and that number is huge. You are affected. Your family is affected. Your friends are affected. Your community is affected. Your new sisters and brothers of mass shootings are affected. Most of the world is affected, not all, but most. This should have NEVER happened to you. This should have NEVER happened to us.

The media and politicians will argue. Those that weren't there will tell you how this could have been avoided. Or the worst, your tragedy will be spun as a 'false flag' - something I had NEVER heard of in my life before the Las Vegas massacre.

The only answer I have is to send love from afar. We don't 'know' you, but we DO know you. We hurt with you. We are angered for you! We care about you.

It is dark right now on this new path. SO DARK. But light will shine again. Eventually. Be patient for it. Be kind to yourself. Be strong for one another.

You are Sutherland Springs. You are tight-knit. You are resilient. You are LOVED.

Kymberli Quackenbush
Long Beach, California