Holiday Gift Guide Day 7

Badlands Monster Pack

badlandsNeed something to tote all your stuff into the woods?  The Badlands Monster 1100 cubic inch fanny pack leaves all of its competitors in the dust.  With a Delron internal frame, the Monster can carry a lot of stuff as well as a 35 oz. bladder (not included) to keep you hydrated.  Made to go the distance on rugged western hunts, you can’t go wrong with the Badlands Monster pack.  $139.95


Holiday Gift Guide Day 5

KUIU Ultra Merino Bottoms




Founded by one of the original co-founders of Sitka Gear, KUIU is one of the coolest up and coming hunting gear manufacturers out there.  They provide a great product and keep the costs low by selling direct.  Solid base layers are a must and the KUIU Merino Wool bottoms are a great addition to any gear collection.  $89.99

Holiday Gift Guide Day 4

Havalon Piranta

Havalon PirantaIt’s no real secret that I’m a huge fan of the Havalon Piranta.  It’s a simple folder that utilizes scalpel blades and makes dull knives a thing of the past.  Rugged and durable, the Havalon makes caping a deer head or quartering an elk light work.  The orange handle also makes it impossible to lose.  Throw all those knife sharpeners in the trash and get yourself a Havalon Piranta.  $46.99


Holiday Gift Guide Day 3

Alpen Optics XP

binosThe only thing more sure than death and taxes is that quality optics aren’t cheap.  That is until Alpen came along.  The Apex line from Alpen provides top quality glass without top quality prices.  I’ve used the Alpen XP model 699 12×50 for two seasons and am greatly impressed.  These things are bomb proof.  And just in case you’re harder on gear than I am, Alpen offers an unconditional no questions asked, no fault warranty.  Its definitely a champagne product on a Busch Light budget.  $643.00 but if you buy online they’re $396.00 which is an absolute steal.


Holiday Gift Guide Day 1

It should be easy buying for the hunters or fishermen in your life, but a lot of the time, it can be quite difficult.  With all the hunting and fishing gadgetry on the market today, it can be difficult to know where to start.  Allow me to make it a little easier.

Smartwool Medium Crew Hunting Socks 

socksLieutenant Dan from Forrest Gump only had two rules.  Rule one was take good care of your feet.  Rule two was don’t do anything stupid like getting yourself killed.  Yeah, it’s that important.  Many people go afield with terrible socks and they pay dearly in discomfort.  I’ve worn Smartwool socks for years and they’re the real deal.  Made of a Merino wool and Nylon blend, they wick moisture away from the foot and keep you warmer and the wool also keeps most of its insulating properties even if it does get wet.  The Nylon also cuts out the itch factor and makes sock liners unnecessary.  Smartwool makes a damn tough sock that’s hard to wear out and the best part is they’re American made.  $18.95


Nock Out Lighted Nock Review

Unlike the people at the Colorado Department of Game and Fish, I’m a big proponent of lighted nocks.  Aside from the novelty factor, they do serve a valid purpose.  A lot of archery kills are made in low light conditions when being sure of one’s shot placement is sometimes very difficult.  Secondly, it saves arrows.  Most hunting arrows are north of the $20 a piece range and they have an uncanny knack for disappearing after errant shots.  If the light up nock saves one arrow, it has paid for itself.  My dad gave me a pack of Nock Out lighted nocks from Clean-Shot Archery and for the past month and a half I’ve used them with pretty good results.



Lighted nocks have three criteria to meet before I’ll use one.  They have to not affect arrow flight, be easy to use, and last but not least, be bright.  The Nock Out has all three covered.

Weighing in at 21 to 24 grains depending on which insert is used, the Nock Out comes in 2.6 grains lighter than the Lumenok and 1 grain heavier than the Nocturnal.  A lot of people don’t like lighted nocks because they throw the Forward Of Center ratio out of balance.  The extra length kept the FOC in an acceptable range in my 29 1/8 inch arrow 340 spined arrow.  The biggest test of the nock was actually shooting it though.  It preformed flawlessly up to 60 yards out of my Mathews Chill X with a 29 inch draw at 70 pounds.  No sight adjustment was needed although I think the 60 yard pin could be tweaked just a little bit if I was shooting this distance a lot.

The Nock Out is pretty easy to use.  They come with three inserts and after choosing the right one, press the insert into the end of the arrow.  It is a snug fit, and some of my criticism of the nock comes here.  Once that insert placed, it isn’t coming out.  The arrow is forever mated with the nock.  The second piece of criticism is that the battery life is almost half that of it’s competitors and the battery is non replaceable.  With a continuous battery life of 24 hours, it isn’t that big of a deal considering the light will only be on for a few minutes at a time, but if you mistakenly turn it on and the battery goes dead, it’s useless.  There is a way around this, however.  The metal collar between the nock and the black insert that houses the battery has a practice mode.  If you turn it 1/4 turn, it deactivates the LED.  This is helpful when practicing or the arrow is not in use.  To turn the light off upon retrieval, you simply pull it out until it clicks and the light goes off.  No digging around with a pocket knife like the Nockturnal.  They’re also bright.  Really bright.


Lighted nocks can really be hit or miss.  The Nock Out seems to overcome common problems associated with most light up nocks and while they’re not absolutely necessary, they can really make life easier in the archery woods.  If you’re in the market for a good light up nock, check out the Nock Out from Clean-Shot Archery.  At $28.99 factory direct, they’re a pretty tough deal to beat.


Potential West Virginia Record Buck Killed in McDowell County

record buck

Photo Via Facebook

Mercer County resident Chad Scyphers has killed what could be the new West Virginia state record typical on November 18th on public land in McDowell County.  Rough green scored at 196 5/8, Scypher’s buck dwarfs the 175 6/8″ current record held by Mark Lester.  The Scyphers buck cannot be officially scored until the 60 mandatory drying period is complete.


Two More Missouri Bruisers Hit the Ground

Chuck Tate from Oklahoma Killed this buck here with Rusty at State Line yesterday.  Congratulations Chuck.

Chuck Tate from Oklahoma Killed this buck here with Rusty at State Line yesterday. Congratulations Chuck.

My friend Brian Vliem from Michigan killed this monster yesterday in Northern Missouri where we've hunted together in years past.

My friend Brian Vliem from Michigan killed this monster yesterday in Northern Missouri where we’ve hunted together in years past.

Missouri Rifle Opener

The Missouri gun season opened this yesterday morning and as usual, it did not disappoint.  With a cold, crisp morning and the rut in full swing, the deer were on the move.  Usually gun hunting in northern Missouri, my dad and I hunted with our good friend Rusty Willis at State Line Trophy Hunters in southern Missouri.  We’ve known Rusty for a lot of years and know how good his turkey hunting ground is so this year we decided to check out the deer hunting.  We were fortunate to tag out the first day and now we are sitting back and enjoying some good food and time away from home and work.  Thanks Rusty, you run a top notch operation.  Go over to Facebook and give Rusty a like.  LINK





West Virginia Public Land Bow Kill From the Ground

Wv bow kill

With cold weather and rain, Halloween turned into the perfect evening to be in the woods.  I’ve been eyeballing a small cut over spot on some public land for a couple seasons.  I’ve also though it would be really cool to sneak out the main tram road through the thick stuff and try and glass a deer bedded downhill.  I’d tried this twice before and both trips yielded no deer.

Since trying to kill a deer this way seemed fairly unproductive, the Halloween outing would serve as a scouting hike that I’d take my bow on…just in case.

After making my way to the highest point in 12 acres of tree tops and slash I sat with wind and rain squarely in my face.  I diligently glassed the opposing hillside and the point below like I had twice before and this time was no different.  I made a second pass with the binoculars and when I did, I saw deer bedded down in a laurel thicket that borders the cut.  Using the wind and rain to cover my approach I closed the gap to 55 yards without being detected.  I knew I wasn’t going to shoot this deer which I could now clearly tell was a spike.  I was just happy to have gotten to bow range of a deer without it knowing.

After watching him for almost an hour, the spike stood up and started feeding out to the left and soon was out of sight.  Within a few minutes, the spike returns almost acting spooked.  He crosses in front of me at 15 yards and continues into the brush.  Soon after, a doe appears from the same spot about the same time I hear a grunt.  The doe crosses in the same place as the spike.  Walking out of the established trail, the buck appears quickly and I get him stopped at 30 yards and make it to full draw.  Quartering to me, my arrow hit the right lung and liver.  He went 25 yards and stood in the open looking the opposite direction. Through the tall weeds, I could see bright red blood pulsing down his side.  His legs started to shake and he tipped over right in the tram road.

I had no expectations of killing a deer while sneaking through this clear cut.  I figured at best I might jump one up and that would be that.  But the rain and wind covered my movement and I had a good vantage point to observe from.  The rest was a little luck.

When I skinned the deer, I did see something strange.  It had been shot with a 2 blade mechanical right behind the shoulder.  The scab was just about off of the outside cut and a layer of dense fat had formed under the hide.  The broadhead did not penetrate the chest cavity.  I don’t know why it failed, but it failed.  Another case for fixed blades.

Cut from the outside almost healed.

Cut from the outside almost healed.

The red cut on the bottom is from the broadhead.  The  fiberous fat had grown in around the wound.

The red cut on the bottom is from the broadhead. The fiberous fat had grown in around the wound.