Wednesday, November 28, 2018

2018 NY Bowhunting Trip Recap

Hunting in New York has become one of my favorite activities. Why would a guy who is from NY say that? After having lived in California for the past 12 years, going back to NY is a blessing and one hunting trip I LOVE to plan for. I prefer to hunt there vs. hunt here in SoCal due to many factors, but it's all personal. Traveling to see my family and hunt with them turned out to be one of the most memorable hunting trips ever.


To begin, I have to take you back to early September when my dad and brother were setting out trail cameras. They figured a couple spots were going to be gold mines and they were not wrong! They sent me pictures of buck after buck after buck. One buck they named Moe, due to Eeny, Meeny, Miny, and you get the idea. They didn't see him in person, but he was there. Somewhere.


Weather is always a factor when hunting and hunting in NY during the rut usually means cold weather. The weather report mentioned 40s and rain. I packed my cold weather Badlands Approach camo fully expecting snow. I forgot to pack my High Unitas Vest (I love this vest for the warmth it provides) and was very disappointed. I had my Badlands merino wool base layers and that helped a great deal, but I was very cold at times. 


We saw deer every day, from every stand, and had a blast! I passed on a yearling fawn the first day, but that didn't stop her from eyeballing me for over an hour and walking up to my stand. Let me say this, I stand by my Dead Down Wind spray. I have said it before while hunting pigs and now with this hunt, the deer were downwind of me for hours, but they never spooked. Not one time did a deer snort or kick off due to smelling me. This particular doe was downwind for a long time and kept smelling the air, knowing I was there, but couldn't place the scent. It was great fun to watch!

I was blessed to be able to harvest a doe on day three at 8 yards. Yes, 8 yards from the stand. Most of the deer I saw were within 30 yards all weekend. My dad sure can pick a good stand location. 


Jumping ahead to the last day of my hunt, with thirty minutes of daylight left I saw Moe for the first time. He was beautiful! He came from downwind of me, walked into a shooting lane and I watched in awe as he walked by at 35 yards. After already filling my archery tag, I was left with only a doe permit, so I could do nothing but watch. It was an amazing sight. The biggest buck of my life had just walked by and there wasn't a thing I could do but feel blessed to have witnessed him.

I came home with a cooler full of delicious venison, but the story doesn't end there. The New York firearm season was about to begin in a few days and while I may not have been there physically, I was there in spirit as the two best hunting buddies took the stand with their rifles. What would happen? Would they see Moe? Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Countdown to Some Treestand Time

The weather in New York is cooling down rapidly and the deer are in the mood. The trees still have a lot of green, but I am prepared. Between my Badlands Approach and Approach FX camo, I'll blend in well. Practice has been on point and I am looking forward to being 20 feet up in a tree for a week. With weekly reports on the deer activity it is difficult to focus on anything else. Deer fever is setting in and the cure seems so far away. 

Monday, October 22, 2018

Gear Review: Propper Kinetic Tactical Pants


Tactical pants are essential if you are at the shooting range often, running drills, or just need things available when you need them. I was very curious to see how a tactical pants would be for the archery range. I also wondered how well they would work as pants when I am scouting. Would they hold up to the beating I would give them? Would things stay put inside and out? Are they comfortable and worth the money? Deciding to test out my questions, I have been field testing the Propper Kinetic® Pant for a couple months on a regular basis. 

  • 6.5 oz 79% polyester / 21% cotton ripstop NEXStretch® fabric w/ DWR
  • Durable water repellent (DWR) treatment to resist dirt and moisture
  • Durable and rugged ripstop fabric with integrated stretch
  • Updated, modern, professional design
  • Gripper waistband
  • Metal button waistband closure
  • Cargo pockets with internal dividers
  • Wider belt loops with badge / sunglasses tabs
  • Ambidextrous pocket configuration
  • Gusseted crotch
  • Classic fit
  • NTOA member tested and approved

When I asked the Propper team about sizing they were very clear in saying to order according to my size. They claimed the pants would fit properly and they were right! I ordered a 36x30 pant and they fit well. There is a thin rubber strip on the inside top of the pant to allow it to grip your skin to prevent slippage. When standing straight up this worked well. In fact, it has a stretch waistband that adjusts to you and fits very comfortably. When I tested it with a backpack on I found it difficult to pull my pants back up due to the rubber gripping lower than I wanted. If the pants had a bit more of a higher waist I would like them better. That truly is the only thing I wasn't a huge fan of, but that is very minor.


The Kinetic Tactical Pants are constructed from NEXStretch™ mechanical stretch fabric that stretches slightly and is tough as nails. I spent time hiking, biking, and taking them to the outdoor ranges to see how they would hold up to abuse. I knelt on rocks, hiking through thorned branches, crawled on sand and also had the cuff rub against the pedals and chain of the mountain bike I rode in an effort to test strength. The Kinetic Pants not only held up, but they also cleaned up surprisingly well. My sweat and the grease and grit from the bike was really prevalent, but a quick wash and they looked brand new again. The color stayed strong and the material looked new again. Also, the metal button waistband closure stayed secured throughout all of my testing. This has been an issue in the past due to my aggressive six-pack (belly) and I was concerned the pants would pop open. Not once did that happen.

The Kinetic pant has eight (8) pockets, but some of the pockets are inside other pockets. If you consider those facts the pants could be said to have twelve (12) pockets. As I recommend with any backpack purchase, just because the pants have 12 pockets doesn't mean you need to fill each and every one of them. Use them properly and they will be a useful tactical tool.

Movement in the pants proved to be relatively easy and comfortable. There was no chaffing and the fabric moves with you. They breathe well, too. I spent a day in 95+ degree temps in the desert and then also in the mountains on a bike (going uphill with a full pack on) and they were great. Even on a 22-mile bike ride and a short hike they stayed relatively comfortable.

Competitively priced at $54.99, the Propper Kinetic® Pant are priced to sell. It's a great price considering the quality material, construction and comfort. Plus there is free shipping and a low price guarantee. I would recommend the Kinetic Pant for shorter trips, not for long trips in the mountains. These are great for the shooting range, archery range, and for a short hike scouting trip, as they are durable and very comfortable in most applications. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

BADLANDS INTRODUCES ARTEMIS TENT SERIES – TENTS MADE FOR HUNTERS BY HUNTERS


West Jordan, UT – Badlands has expanded its already robust product offering once again by offering two new backcountry tents designed to keep hunters agile, comfortable and protected from the elements. Designed with ease of use, durability and functionality in mind, the Artemis Series features one and two-person models that are available now.

Not willing to sacrifice quality and durability for minuscule weight savings, Badlands focused on high quality, long-lasting materials for the construction of the Artemis Tents. While still considered lightweight backcountry tents, the Artemis Series is built for the hunter who puts their gear through all the rigors of backcountry hunting. Features include:


  • Three Season Performance
  • Badlands Exclusive One-Piece 7001 Aluminum Pole Design
  • Welded Bathtub Floor
  • Front Porch Double-Zip Vestibule
  • Ultralight Quick-Pitch Option (utilizes footprint, poles and fly only)
  • Each Artemis Tent Includes a Footprint
  • Minimum Trail Weight = 4 lbs. 1 oz (2 Person Model) & 3 lbs 5 oz (1 Person Model)


“Our focus for the Artemis Series was making a tent that hunters can rely on for a long time,” said Badlands Marketing Manager Blake VanTussenbrook. He continued, “We didn’t add frills or gimmicks that people frankly don’t end up using. The Artemis tents are extremely easy and quick to setup and were designed for the abuse hunters put on their gear.”

The Artemis 1 Person Tent is $379.99 while the 2 Person model comes in at $439.99. Both models include a footprint and the legendary Badlands Unconditional Lifetime Warranty.

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.

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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

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Gear Review: Peltor Sport Tac-500 Hearing Protection


When it comes to hearing protection, I am a bit picky as I have lost some hearing in my right ear due to shooting without hearing protection as a teenager. I want it to work well, be comfortable and if it has multiple functions then I am very interested. The Peltor Sport Tactical 500 electronic hearing protection earmuffs have all of that. I had the opportunity to try them at SHOT Show and was able to speak with the people behind the technology. My interest in the equipment spiked and they reached out to have me put them to the test.

The Peltor Sport TAC-500 hearing protection comes packaged with extra ear pads and an intuitive manual. They are easily adjustable to your head and they fold up easily when you put them back in your range bag. They also fit very well over a hat-button due to a well-designed opening. Nice thinking!


The Tac-500s fit very snug (see photo above and how they are pressing in on my head). It's one of those pieces of gear that I love to hate in this instance. The fact that it is so tight is great when you aren't wearing your safety glasses, but when you do (like you should) it presses the glasses tight to your head and it's uncomfortable. The great thing about it is that you won't have any sound getting in that isn't supposed to. With them being so tight there is one more drawback and that is that your head will sweat more where the ear foam lies. It's a minor dilemma, but an obvious issue I noticed. After a while, you will feel the pressure and I was not a fan of that.


How do the Peltor Sport TAC-500s function? Not only do they work as hearing protection, but they also allows you to hear everything around you while you are at the range. They cuts out when a shot takes place due to the technology and goes right back to allowing you to hear. They also have Bluetooth capability which is really sweet. You can use these as wireless headphones with your computer or with your phone. This allows you to play music or answer a call all while protecting your ears. Bluetooth gets turned on via a button on the right earmuff. This is also where you will adjust the volume of what you can hear inside and outside of the earmuff. Quite honestly, I think the TAC-500s excel in the category of hearing protection with few limitations.

Different calibers were used to test out the capability of the sound deadening. I tested out rifles in .22 caliber up to .300 WIN MAG, a 12 gauge shotgun, 10MM handgun and many others. The TAC-500 worked incredibly well for all of them!

Battery life was outstanding and I thought I would mention this experience I had. I used the TAC-500s on a few occasions where they would give me three beeps after using them for over ten hours (total time). I figured the batteries were running low. Little did I know (had I read the entire manual at that time) that this is letting you know they are going into power save mode because I hadn't actively used them in over an hour. I have had the same pair of batteries in for a few months now and have used them on more than eight different occasions for longer than two hours. Battery life has been great!

The Peltor Sport Tactical 500 electronic hearing protection is not a cheap investment, but it is a solid investment. I wanted to clear that up right away. You get what you pay for and these come with a bunch of extras. They retail for around $169.99 and initially I thought for the amount of shooting that I do that was a steep price, but I have since changed my tune. They do so much and take a beating after being tossed into my gear bag, being out in the desert heat, and the capabilities.

My recommendation on the Peltor Sport TAC-500s is based on these thoughts. If you shoot handguns often these would be perfect! If you shoot AR style rifles or hunting rifles, these are also great! If you shoot rifles with a high cheek rest, these may not be the ones for you as the earmuff hits the cheek rest, especially if you use a high cheek rest. For most applications, these would be an excellent investment, especially if you need all of the functions they come with.