Archives for August 2014

Calling All Hippies and Hipsters

Here’s a pretty neat article from the Vancouver Sun about people who are moved by the natural foods craze to take up hunting.  They are just now realizing that wild game is the free range protein they’ve been looking for.  I grew up in a home where wild game was a staple and never really thought much about it.  It tasted good and procuring it was fun.  It’s kind of cool to see how surprised these people are to find out wild game is way better than they ever imagined.  They even used the term “recovering vegetarian.”   LINK

A Few Words on Ozonics

Just about everyone in the bowhunting world has heard about Ozonics.  If you haven’t, it’s a little portable ozone generator that renders your human scent inert.  Deer supposedly can’t wind you and it will turn you into the epitome of stealth in the deer woods.  It’s a popular product and has a legion of  dedicated users that swear by it, but before you go plunking down $400 on one of these units, there are a few things you should probably know.

What is Ozone?  Ozone is an allotrope of oxygen that is very unstable.  The oxygen we breathe exists in nature as two oxygen molecules that are double bonded.  This is how oxygen wants to exist.  It’s happy this way.  Ozone is the normal double bonded pair of oxygen atoms with an extra oxygen atom stuck on it.  Oxygen is not happy in this state and is very unstable.  It wants to revert to its normal state of two molecules instead of three so it will readily give the extra oxygen molecule away.  What does this mean to us as hunters?   In very, very, simplified terms, when ozone encounters a molecular compound of human smell (or any smell), it gives away its extra oxygen.  This changes the human smell to something different that is non threatening to deer.  This is oxidation and what makes ozone effective at destroying scent, mold, bacteria, and viruses.

Ozone has a variety of commercial applications, from sanitizing laundry in hospitals, to treating water in wastewater treatment plants.  Ozone generators are used in fire and water damage restorations to remove weird smells like mildew or smoke.  It is a very useful industrial tool, and like most industrial tools, it can also kill you deader than Custer’s nuts.  OZONE IS TOXIC GAS!  Ozone is listed as a primary irritant and will go to work on your respiratory system and eyes even in low concentrations.  The EPA has set regulatory guidelines on how much exposure is safe, however, and the Ozonics system “meets or exceeds” these safe levels.   Herein lies the problem.  The EPA states there is “evidence to show that at concentrations that do not exceed public health standards, ozone is not effective at removing many odor-causing chemicals, viruses, bacteria, mold, or other biological pollutants.”   So there you have it.  Ozonics is meets or exceeds safety guidelines, but according to the EPA, anything under the limit isn’t effective at at destroying odor causes. Even more, the EPA is talking about these things in closed environments.  Trying to use an ozone generator outside to kill your scent is like trying to raise the level of the ocean by peeing in it. Further, the Ozonics company doesn’t release how much ozone the thing generates because it is “business confidential.”  You better get an industrial grade ozone generator cranked up because I smell bullshit.

The second biggest thing that makes me a non believer is there are no scientific studies to back the product up.  Yeah, there are a lot of “tests” on the internet, but there are no true scientific tests.  It is all based off of anecdotal evidence and tests that don’t utilize the scientific method.  It’s conjecture at best, bullshit at worst.  Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and there simply is none.  For every person who swears an Ozonics unit saved their hunt, there is another person who has had a deer walk 5 feet from them downwind with no Ozonics while smoking a cigarette and not spook.  People believe what they want to believe, hard facts and evidence be damned.

Hunters are a predictable bunch.

Hunters are a predictable bunch.

People are predictable, especially hunters.   They seem to always be looking for shortcuts or instant gratification.  The beauty of a product like the Ozonics is that it doesn’t even have to work, just give the illusion it is.  You don’t need  scientific backup or proof, just anecdotal evidence.  Couple this with some savvy marketing and you’ve got yourself a million dollar business.  I don’t fault the Ozonics people one bit for doing what they do; get that cash.  I fault hunters for being so damn desperate.  Put in your work, be patient, and you will be successful.  Drop all the extraneous gadgetry and just go hunt.  It’s more fun that way.  There’s a level uncertainty that makes hunting fun and exciting, and unlike the effectiveness of an ozone generator,  that much I can guarantee.

 

Arrow Penetration on a Hippo

Ever think about killing a hippo with a bow?  Yeah, me either.  Cam Hanes has, apparently, and did a pretty interesting penetration test on a recently expired hippopotamus.  Cam is relatively famous for his long shot videos he posts on Youtube and was recently on safari in Tanzania where he was presented with a unique opportunity.  Another hunter had killed a hippo and just to satisfy curiosity, he shot a couple arrows out of some high poundage Hoyts into it to see how they penetrated.  The video is a true testament to just how massive and tough these creatures are.

Deer Jumps Off Bridge

Here’s a pretty wild video I saw the other day.  It’s been around for a while but I still watched it 4 or 5 times.

Just When You Thought it Couldn’t Get Any Worse

I haven’t really hidden my overall distaste for hunting television shows.  There are a handful of decent ones, however, but they’re few and far between.  I stumbled on American Rebel with Andy Ross on the Sportsman Chanel and I can confidently say this is not one of the good ones.  In fact, it’s probably the most absurdly terrible hunting show I’ve ever seen.  Check out the intro below.  It looks like the only thing Andy Ross is rebelling against is wearing shirts with sleeves.

Killing a Deer With a Stone Point

In the past few years, my interest in traditional archery has increased.  Doing some research the other day, I stumbled across this video.  The guy makes his own stone point and then kills a blacktail with it.  Pretty cool.

Muzzleloader Zero

With Kansas early muzzleloader season fast approaching, it was time to check the zero on my muzzleloader.  It hadn’t been shot since last season and has spent the last 9 months gathering dust.  I’m shooting a T/C Encore Pro Hunter for the third year in a row and I’m really pleased with it.

T/C Encore

It’s got a Nikon Omega 3×9 scope locked down with a really cool one piece mount from DeadNutz.  The scope has the bullet drop compensator reticle but to be perfectly honest, this gun shoots so flat, I don’t really use it.  Nice touch though.  The glass is good and clear and it picks up plenty of light at dusk.  The one piece scope mount is machined from aluminum and really tough.  It also really saves on weight.

I’ve experimented with all different types of powder charges and bullet weights.  Last year I spent a lot of time shooting a 200 grain bullet with different grain powder charges hoping to achieve superior accuracy with a lighter bullet that might be more prone to expansion.  Long story short, I could never get consistent groups out of any combo that involved a 200 grain bullet.  I went back to the old standby 250 grain T/C Shockwave with 150 grains of Pyrodex pellets and the results speak for themselves.  That powder bullet combo hits what you point it at. I started with this load in a cold, clean bore at 50 yards.  When the smoke cleared, I was 0.5 inches low and slightly right. I couldn’t remember the last time I shot this rifle but apparently I put it away zeroed.  I moved the target back to 100 yards, loaded another and shot at the same target.  This shot landed .25 inches low and slightly left.

encore target

Satisfied with those two shots I set a target at 150 yards.  The last deer I killed in Kansas was shot at this distance so I know it might be a possibility on this upcoming trip. Centering the main crosshair on the orange dot, the 250 grain bullet hit about 1 .25 inches low and slightly left.  That’s close enough for me.

encore target 2

If I see a buck at 150 yards in a bean field, I feel pretty certain I have a good chance of making a good shot on him.  I might even stretch it out to 200 yards if I can find a spot to do it.   I’ve got my muzzleloading supplies organized and my Kansas bags are packed.  Only 25 days before the season opener and it can’t come soon enough.

Deer Aging on the Hoof: Another New Age Hunting Falacy

Once rack size and trophy management became the focal point of deer hunting in the mid to late 90’s, lots of annoying things came along with it.  One of these things was aging deer based on physical appearance.  It’s a phenomenon that is more popular now than it ever was.  The internet and television abound with people stating with certainty a deer’s age based solely on his looks.  Professor Becky McPeake from the University of Arkansas wrote a really interesting piece on the subject which will hopefully put this myth to bed.  The table below should tell you everything you need to know about the accuracy aging them on the hoof.  LINK

deer table

 

Shark Week

We’ve had a few days of solid rain here in the Laurel Highlands of western Pennsylvania and the trout are thankful.  The rain has gotten the stream flows almost to their spring levels and the fish are on the move.  I was able to get out after work today and chuck some streamers in the high, off color flows.  I missed two decent fish before hooking up with this pig of a brook trout.  I would have fished a little longer but right after I released this guy, I tripped over a rock and fell ass over tea kettle into water deep enough to swamp my waders.  I take people fishing every day and have had several good laughs at clients falling in so I guess I had this one coming.

Pennsylvania Brook Trout

10 Year Old Girl Finds Extinct Eastern Elk Skeleton in Michigan

Elk

Sophia Daniels Moehle with the antlers and bones she found canoeing on Easter in Benzie County Michigan. /Keith King/The Record-Eagle/AP

Almost everyone who hunts is aware of the the huntable populations of Elk in Kentucky and Pennsylvania.  What you might not realize is these elk are the Rocky Mountain Elk subspecies that was used to replace the extinct Eastern Elk.  The last Eastern Elk (which was its own subspecies) was killed in Pennsylvania in 1877 and they were officially declared extinct in 1880.  On Easter of this year, Sonja Daniels Moehle was canoeing with her dad in Benzie County Michigan when she spotted something poking out of the water.  They had stumbled onto the remains of what could be an Eastern Elk that was entombed in the mud for up to 300 years.  They’ve successfully raised $5,996 on Kickstarter to definitively prove the elks origins via DNA testing.  LINK (via: Detroit Free Press)