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Combat Focus Shooting: Resolve to Protect… and Survive

Kevin shooting5

By Kevin Reese

Glock2It’s no secret, stories of home invasions, car-jackings, armed robberies, murders, assaults and even domestic violence are never-ending and the themes, eerily familiar, as they relate to the victims’ inability to protect themselves in one way or another; often, for gun owners, the shortcoming is a lack of effective defensive training. This New Year’s I challenge you to a resolution. Rather than focusing as much as we do on weight, finances or the next big promotion, try something a bit more selfless and impactful. Resolve to be the protector… and survivor your family may depend upon. For me, this critical commitment was launched by Rob Pincus’ life-changing Combat Focus Shooting program; in fact, consider CFS, as it relates to ending threats and surviving, the gift that keeps on giving.

Kevin IwoJima93The basic premise of Combat Focus Shooting, like many training programs, is survivability. I was familiar with this logic, first, because I want to survive just as much as the next person and second, my extensive Marine Corps handgun training, through countless hours of instruction and range time, also preached the same – we just didn’t train the same. Unlike my military training and qualification with a 1911, and most other training programs, survivability, pursuant to Combat Focus Shooting, hinges on distinctly different cornerstones, chiefly among them, a balance of speed and precision, and beginning with fundamental principles of defensive handgun shooting; the operative word being “defensive”, shooters should certainly possess at least basic handgun experience and study which equipment is deemed most appropriate for defensive shooting – walk on the rocks I stumbled on! Let me explain…

As a professional in the hunting and shooting industry, I knew Rob in advance but had no concept of the premise of the I.C.E. Firearm Training Combat Focus Shooting program. Like most of my Marine Corps buddies who had trained and qualified (I proudly qualified Rifle Expert, 6th Award, and Pistol Sharpshooter) and, indeed, all veterans exposed to concentrated handgun training, I thought I knew precisely how to defend myself and what gear I needed to do it. Nothing could have been further from the truth.

My first CFS experience was to have Pincus condemn my holster before my first drill.

“Put this on.”

ICE RAC7He handed me a new I.C.E. RAC Kydex OWB Holster and I did as he instructed, quickly changing holsters and joining the rest of the class for “balance of speed and precision” drills. This is the overwhelming theme of Combat Focus Shooting and a primary factor in survivability. The rest comes from instinctive, aggressive movements both in firearm manipulation and sustained fire without ever losing sight of the threat. In Pincus’ words, “If you’re looking down you’re not focused on the threat and if you’re not moving, you just might stay that way. Simple as that.”

Like a broken record, “balance of speed and precision” played on through every intense, physically grueling exercise from repeated, advanced versions of our first online drill to exhausting live-fire wind sprints and unnerving high-stress figure-eight drills. After two full days and 1,000 rounds of mentally and physically intense training, we survived. Of course, it’s worth noting the I.C.E. Kydex holster was a complete game-changer – the best I’ve ever used and still on my belt.

By the close of training, I was battered and bruised with rock-tape, expertly applied by CFS Instructor, Alessandro Padovani, running its X-pattern of support down the length of my strong-arm but I never broke… only persevered, learned and earned. I learned that before Combat Focus Shooting when I thought, as a concealed carrier, I knew everything I needed to in order to protect my family, I actually knew very little. I learned that the best way to protect my family is to train to stop a threat and survive to do it again if need be. Sadly, I also learned my beloved Marine Corps does not adequately equip my brothers-and-sisters in arms with training conducive to engaging an active shooter and surviving the experience.

CFS Coin6After training, Rob asked how I felt about Combat Focus Shooting. I chewed on his question for a moment, never truly answering. How does someone sum up a life-changing gift like CFS training in words that do it justice? You don’t. I was elated to have graduated the course, the prized CFS coin in hand, but my emotions were mixed. While elation was present so was humility and sadness. It wasn’t enough to acknowledge I knew much less than I thought, or even that personally, CFS was impactful beyond measure. I struggled with memories of the inadequate combat-focused handgun training I received as a Marine and that I suppose is still a disheartening reality.

At this time of year, when we search high and low for the right resolution to add depth and breadth to our lives, why not consider becoming the protector… and indeed the survivor, in the event of a threat, you are called to be? What better gift to your family is there than survivability? It truly is the gift that keeps on giving.

CFS TargetAB-2CFS TargetC-2Side note – Balance of Speed and Precision is a simple concept. When engaging a threat your primary focus should never be precision accuracy, nor should it be to spray bullets in the actor’s general direction. Your best strategy for stopping an aggressor is somewhere in the middle, what Pincus refers to as the balance of speed and precision. Your goal should be to fire as rapidly as possible while maintaining a reasonable degree of accuracy; that is to say, keep your shots contained in an area referred to as the high-center chest.

CFS_Logo_GreenSpecial thanks to Combat Focus Shooting’s expert instructors Rob Pincus, Alessandro Padovani, Ken Crawford and Michael John Lowe, as well as fellow students and range hosts, Ken and Maggie Ortega.

I_C_E-Firearms-Training-Logo2Visit I.C.E. Firearm Training at http://www.icetraining.us or the Combat Focus Shooting website at http://www.combatfocusshooting.com for more training information and scheduled classes. More information about the best OWB holster I’ve ever used, Pincus’ personally designed I.C.E. RAC Kydex Holster can be found here at http://www.nrablog.com/post/2014/08/21/The-ICE-RAC-Kydex-Holster-Range-and-Carry-Holsterse28099-Finest-Hour.aspx and in the following video. The I.C.E. RAC Holster can be purchased at I.C.E. Training (http://icestore.us/Holsters/I-C-E-RAC-Range-and-Carry-Kydex-Holster.html) or Global Outfitters (https://www.globaloutfitters.com/pages/Proshop/ProductDetails.asp?ProductID=499).

More information can also be found in the following video:


Meat Eaters R’ Us

FRESH perspective on the food chain

By Kevin Reese

To All HuntersAs an outdoor writer, photographer, videographer and speaker in the outdoor industry I’ve successfully made work out of hunting; unfortunately, I’ve been so busy writing about hunting recently, that I haven’t had many opportunities to hunt at all. My outdoor work is finally starting to wind down but deer season is all but over and only two whitetails fell victim to my stick and string.

It’s also worth mentioning that I’m so immersed in outdoor communications that I don’t watch very many hunting shows at all – a bricklayer doesn’t want to lay bricks then go home and watch bricklaying on television, even if that his is life’s passion.

That said, I do have a guilty pleasure. I’m addicted to Duck Dynasty. Worse, I created a couple of other addicts; my wife and son can’t get enough. We even blew duck calls at midnight on New Year’s Eve. I must admit I was the only one in the family that actually sounded like a duck; of course, I’m also the only duck hunter in our family so I suppose the gross difference in calling technique wasn’t such an anomaly.

During a recent family viewing, Jase Robertson echoed my sentiments, “I don’t like grocery store meat. It scares me.” Disliking purchased meat has less to do with taste and much more to do with the disassociation it creates between us and the brutal reality we call the food chain. A perfect example of this tragic circumstance was sent to me via email years ago. The email was simple, “LOL” with an attached image. Opening the image I found a newspaper clipping that read, “You ought to go to the store and buy the meat that was made there, where no animals were harmed.” Sadly, the same person that submitted that gem also votes.

Newsflash – ALL meat comes from living things; in fact, all food sources come from living things whether directly or indirectly – meat, fruit, veggies, all of it. Wouldn’t you rather take an active role Click here for more information on The Mindful Carnivore!in what you provide for your family? Like my hunting brothers and sisters, I choose to take an active, responsible role in providing sustenance. Where most people live in that disconnect, we are intimately, blood-under-the-fingernails aware of our role and the significance of taking life to sustain life.

With the close of deer season, it seems that your backwoods grocery store is locking its doors, making for a pretty dismal postseason outlook for meat-seating hunter’s throughout our region, and soon, across the nation. The last time I checked I didn’t see coyote or bobcat entrees littering restaurant menus. For many, hunting is over until spring, full freezers or not.  But living in our Lone Star state, especially here in our area, provides infinite opportunities to stock freezers year round.

With an estimated 2 to 3 million feral hogs rooting up the neighborhood, it’s safe to say we are overrun. The bad news is that feral hogs predate bird eggs (including quail, turkey, and others) and other small and young animals, including other hogs. Rooting also causes immense damage to land as hogs root for grubs, roots, shoots and other tasty morsels in the soil. Rooting injures livestock, destroys farm and ranch machinery, and negatively impacts both the landscape and our fragile ecosystem, especially where other wildlife are concerned.

Kevin Reese rootingOver $400 million in damage is caused annually in Texas alone by feral hogs. They are not native but invasive and compete with indigenous Texas wildlife like whitetail deer for more than just food sources, but habitat as a whole – and, they are winning.

So, what does that mean for red blooded, meat eating, conservation minded hunters? It means hunting feral hogs is not only fun, it helps combat a real problem! Even better, that freezer of yours, hungry for packages of organic red meat, can be fed year round. There are no bag limits or time constraints. Hunt day or night, seven days a week if you’ve got the time. Dust off your britches, pick up your rifle or bow and go hunt. With our feral hog population Corsicana freezers have a bright, bright future.

Hunt hard, hunt often.

Click here to visit Just-Hunt.com!

 


Tactical Hunting: Sir, Yes, Sir!

Much to the dismay of piers morgan, diane Feinstein and willie nelson

(names intentionally not capitalized out of respect… or lack thereof)

By Kevin Reese

BR10-smMy pop once told me I might fit into my dress blues if I used bungee cords; the truth hurts. Looking at me it’s hard to believe I spent eight years in the Marines. In all honestly, I’m not that bad off… I’m just not that well off; I could stand a few months of nonstop treadmill work. Beyond reminiscing about my life as a Marine and wishing I still looked the part, I miss many aspects of active duty life – chief among them being camaraderie and my trusty M-16 A2 Service Rifle.

I wasn’t a huge promoter of 62-grain 5.56 Ball NATO ammunition but it seemed to be sufficient. I qualified every year as a rifle expert and later in my second enlistment as a pistol sharpshooter, qualifying with an original Colt 1911 that had been in Marine Corps service for over 75 years and was still a sweet shooter.

Kevin 3d SRIG-editedAssimilating to civilian life, including civilian shooting was a tall order. On the firing line, I had difficulty adjusting to traditional hunting rifles. I began looking at AR-15 rifles to regain that comfort level I had with my M-16 A2. As an avid hunter on an extremely tight budget, I recall how badly I wanted to purchase one of the Colt AR-15’s I drooled over as I passed by them in the PX. It looked exactly like my M-16 but was semi-automatic; it even had the bayonet stud. Perhaps I arrived at my justification before my time but I thought, back in the late 80’s, the AR-15 would make a great hunting rifle. Certainly, when I was honorably discharged in 1996 and searching for that comfort level I had achieved with my M-16 A2, the AR-15 was my only reasonable option.

chriskevinSeveral years ago, good friend and fellow Marine Corps veteran, Chris Reed, History Channel’s Top Shot season 2 winner, talked about his desire to do more tactical-styled hunting. We talked about tactical hunting often and he eventually restored my fervor for AR platform rifles, something I hadn’t experienced in years. I had been too immersed in bowhunting to stop and realize my passion for modern sporting rifles had slowed to a low-crawl. in the end, I can thank Chris for drawing that passion back to the surface once again, this time for the long haul.

Long range Bolt Action by Kevin ReeseWhile I still bowhunt religiously, I have expanded once again to rifle shooting. My CZ-USA Model 3 .300 WSM is back in the game and more importantly, so is my Smith & Wesson (S&W) MP15T Tactical 5.56. For long range shooting, my Alpen Apex 6-24x50mm scope is the only way to go and I’ve dialed my S&W MP15T Tactical in at 600 yards; however, here in Texas most shots are much closer and my routine hog hunting is predominantly at night.

That said, my AimPoint H34S Hunter is the perfect lowlight/night optic for hunting and shooting within 300 yards and now rests atop my AR-15. The Alpen Apex scope, trusted for long distances precision accuracy, reclaimed its 600+ yard throne to reign over my CZ-USA . Both are topped with HHA Optimizer Horizon mounts. The Horizon allows me to calibrate for bullet drop out to 600 yards and is incredibly accurate. Once the Horizon is calibrated I simply dial in the range within 5 yards, up to 600 yards out, and put the crosshairs on target; there is no need for hold-over or mil-dots. I’ve also outfitted my S&W MP15T with a Crimson Trace Rail Master CMR-201 Laser smithwessonmp15t-2and Hawglite Helios H250. The Helios H250 is a rail-mounted lighting system with a remote switch that delivers a blinding red, green or white led light with a remote switch I’ve attached to the handguard. I also ordered a Harris bipod from Brownell’s to round out my tactical hunting rifle and have since set out on a series of new adventures that send memories of days gone by flooding back into my brain-housing-group.

Like many of our Sportsman Elite loyalist, I cut my teeth shooting every can I could as a kid and honed my skills with military training that has carried over well into my hunting success. More importantly, it broadened my perspective on modern sporting rifles like the AR-15 and the diverse ways we can employ them for self-defense as well as recreational shooting and hunting.

smithwessonmp15tI’ve heard arguments on both sides of the fence, from Piers Morgan backers like Willie Nelson who believes semi-automatic AR-15’s should only be used by military and police (I’ve since thrown all my Willie albums in the trash – sorry I just can’t stomach his position on gun ontrol!), to the well-thought-out ideology of our Lone Star State Senator, Ted Cruz, who educated a nearly catatonic diane feinstein on the differences between a semi-automatic rifle that happens to be black and a bolt action rifle… rather the lack of differences between them!

BHbipod5My pop also once told me “You’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything” – well, he told me many things and I tried to remember the important ones. This is an issue I do take a stand on. I choose to roll my eyes and the irresponsible of ramblings of people like Morgan, Nelson and feinstein (I never dreamed that I would group Willie with California’s waste of a senate seat – Willie’s always been wasted anyway) while I stand with my brothers-and-sisters-in-arms who undoubtedly would love to venture into the hunting woods with an AR-platform rifle that, while offering only a single-shot firing option, does cater to those creature comforts we identify with through service to our beloved country. It’s also worth mentioning that a while back, California senator, Leland Yee, a staunch supporter of gun control even arguing for outright gun bans was arrested and indicted on serious gun-trafficking charges. What’s wrong with that picture?

Read more about Senator Yee here:

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/03/26/california-state-senator-arrested-in-fbi-sweep/

So, what’s my message to my fellow Navarro County hunters and shooting enthusiasts on AR-15’s and other modern sporting rifles in the woods? Take ‘em if you got ‘em! I choose to unify our front rather than divide our ranks with ignorant rhetoric and feinstein fascism. I suppose my position came with the commitment to uphold our Second Amendment, along with every other word in the Constitution, unlike some other folks. Of course, I also happen to believe an AR-15 is perfect for more than personal defense, it’s also great for hog and predator hunting!

comeandtakeitThat “Come and take it” perspective was born from military training and the knowledge that “we the people” rule the roost. Equally as important, it came from my proactive approach to real freedom. Whether you choose to shoot a bow, bolt action rifle, AR-15, 1911, revolver, muzzleloader or even Crosman’s ridiculously cool Benjamin Rogue .357-Caliber Air Rifle, get out there and do it! While you’re out there, thank every past and present warrior in our nation’s illustrious history for preserving your right to do so!

Hunt hard, hunt often and hunt with a modern sporting rifle like the AR-15, or better yet, with an ol’ Remington 700 BDL .300 resurrected with a McRees Prescision BR10 Chassis if that’s what turns your rotors! Whatever you choose, just get out there, enjoy God’s creation and eat well.

BR10-3-edited

A standard Remington bolt action rifle fitted with a HUNT READY McRees Precision BR10 Chassis (www.McReesPrecision.net)

 

 


Deer Hunting: Late Season is a Game Changer

By Kevin Reese

Christmas Credit Where It’s Due… Before we talk late season hunting, Kelly, Jacob and I would like to wish you and your families the merriest of Christmases this year. Our prayer through this holiday season is simply that you know, understand and embrace the Reason for the season. Make a simple birthday song your newest Christmas tradition. Santa is one cool cat but not nearly as awesome as the Lion and the Lamb. Give credit where it’s due this Christmas and commit random acts of kindness.

That said, let’s talk hunting…

Mike Kormos, Editor at the Corsicana Daily Sun, in Corsicana, TX, takes a nice 8-pt. buck!

Corsicana, Texas resident, Mike Kormos and a nice 8-Pt.

Late season deer hunting, fraught with the challenges of downright cold temps and bucks that have decided the nightlife is better for their health. Too often, it seems, deer lockdown after the rut, while does still dot the landscape on occasion, bucks have wised-up and don’t care nearly as much about the does as they did weeks earlier. Food sources change, too. Acorns are on the ground, others sources have dried up or gone… the changing season seems to change EVERTHING we know about deer hunting from the early season through the rut.

I often remind people that the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect different results. Consistently hunting an area, or hunting it the same way is never a good idea; after all, if food sources, activity, temperatures and down-and-dirty deer behavior (rut) have all changed, why wouldn’t you change the way and places you hunt?

It’s easy for us to get stuck in a routine; it’s a path of least resistance – we don’t have to change anything – same Bat channel, same Bat time. Unfortunately the fault in our logic often is that as much as we think we have deer patterned, by mid-season they have likely patterned us; they know the paths we take to our stands or blinds and know where those setups are located. You might get the surprise of your life if you change the setup. More than once, simple changes have been the difference between seeing nothing… AGAIN, and killing the buck of a lifetime.

Consider trading in your regular spot for something less expected. Don’t be afraid to scout and find prospective areas during a quiet, scent controlled mid-day browse but stay away from known bedding areas and keep your bow or rifle with you – you just never know – stranger things have happened. Consider predominant winds when you find signs of deer activity like scat, scrapes, hoof prints, rubs, etc. Set up your blind or stand on the downwind side of observed activity. After setting up a stand or blind in a new location stay out of the area for several days, if possible, before returning to hunt.

Consider what it is exactly you are hunting over and whether interest in those food and water sources change as temperatures drop, acorns fall and the season progresses. How does the change from fall to winter alter activity and food sources? Are they rutting? Is that trail if front of your setup still used? Is water close by? Is it still their first or only choice? Use changes in weather and activity as the measuring stick you use to grade the effectiveness of your current position. Is it time to change your game? When deer have disappeared, your only option is to find out where they went.

Hunt funnels, pinch points, water sources, trails and areas with heavy acorn concentration or other desirable food sources; ask any hunter sitting over a feeder what happens when the acorns fall. In short, those changes must define where and how you hunt. Hunting over active sign as the season progresses makes infinitely more sense than sticking to the same old setup because you saw a buck working a scrape in early October. The lesson here is, “The only constant is change.”

A lack of success spanning the season can be more than frustrating; it can be downright mentally and physically draining. Human nature, if not kept in check, is to see your cup half empty. Pessimism is a hunter, too. It invades your thoughts and manipulates your decisions. Remember how many times Thomas Edison learned how NOT to make a light bulb? You may remember my pop’s best advice; I’ve made mention of it many times, “If you ask a thousand girls to dance, one of ’em’s gonna’ say, ‘Yes.’” There is nothing truer in our pursuit of wild game although there are times you must change the way you ask the question or approach the “girl”. Often, your biggest hurdle is yourself. Be a warrior against pessimism and a champion of tenacity. Attitude is everything; it either keeps you indoors or pushes you in the woods for another day of celebrating our outdoor heritage no matter the odds or the outcome. “You can’t win if you don’t play!” I’ll see you in the woods.

Hunt hard, hunt often.

TIPS FOR A GREAT HUNTING PHOTO: Be in natural settings, not in the back of a truck or a garage floor. Clean up as much blood as you can. RESPECT THE ANIMAL. Keep rifle barrels pointed away from people. Take the photo from a lower position… your deer will grow! Consider if you would frame the photo and place it on your mantle. If you would, great! If not, take the time to get it right.

Brian Beauchamp Buck 2014-sm

 


OpticsPlanet.com ~ How to Prep for a Big Game Hunt

Click here to visit OpticsPlanet.com!


Too Hot to Hunt?

Getting refined by the fire!

By Kevin Reese

Kevin is Overheated and Some Say a Little CrazyEvery summer the same the excuse batters my eardrums. “It’s too hot to hunt!” If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times before. While last summer was indeed a tough nut to crack, scores of hunters, myself included, peeled themselves off of the couch to hit the woods. While sitting in triple digit temperatures is not fun in and of itself, hunting is fun no matter the season; in fact, I’ve killed more feral hogs during our blistering summers than any other time of year; however, the grit to get out there is not enough to garner success. Check out these great tips for not just surviving summer hunting, but bringing home the bacon.

Scent Control and Playing the Wind

Kevin's Summer Collection!

Kevin’s Summer Collection!

The most significant obstacle to successful summer hunting is scent control. Getting close is key no matter when you’re hunting. Wash your clothes in scent eliminating detergent and dry with scent eliminating fabric softening dryer sheets. Carry your clothes in a scent proof bag to your hunting property if possible. Shower with scent eliminating shampoo and soap. Use scent eliminating deodorant and toothpaste to finish the preparation phase. Before heading to your stand or ground blind, make sure you spray yourself (or have your buddy spray you) from top to bottom, front to back. Make sure you spray the bottom of your boots – doing so reduces or eliminates the scent trail you create while walking to your setup. Dead Down Wind offers a great scent eliminating system; however, other products, like ThermaCELL also offer great protection in the form of cover scent while also keeping pesky mosquitoes at bay. Used in conjunction, Dead Down Wind and ThermaCELL can be a downright deadly combination!

Click here to visit DeadDownWind.com!While scent control up front is great, hunting in hot temperatures presents a secondary scent issue. When it’s hot we sweat, no great epiphany there; however, while you perspire you create scent. The secondary problem is that no matter how well you prepare with scent control products, actively making scent while you hunt means other strategies must come into play. When possible I get my scent off the ground by hunting tree stands. More than that, wind direction is critical. Bad wind, bad day, good wind, great day! Proper preparation with scent control products, getting off the ground and hunting downwind of your prey means you can still beat the best noses in the woods.

Keep Your Cool

Keeping cool is tough business during our summer months. Let’s face it; no matter what you do you’re not going to trick your brain into thinking the temperature has dropped. But, freezing a large bottle of water to drink on stand is a great idea. While you hunt, the ice in your bottle continues to melt; the result is ice water that lasts quite a while!

Click here to visit FroggToggs.com!Frog Toggs offers a great product to keep you cool in the woods. Wet their Chilly Pad Cooling Towel in water and place in a sandwich bag. When you begin your hunt, remove the towel from the baggy and lay over the back of your neck or your head. The dampened towel stays cool to the touch for hours – how refreshing! Keep a spray bottle of Dead Down Wind with you. As you also use your towel to wipe away sweat, spray your Chilly Pad Cooling Pad with the scent eliminating spray. Not only does this get rid of your sweaty stench, it acts to continually refresh the cooling property of this ultra-cool Frog Toggs product.

Click here to visit AlpenOptics.com!It doesn’t take long to realize that every move takes physical exertion and that exertion heats your body. I carry good optics, like my Alpen Rainier 10×42’s in the woods whether hot or cold; however, the point is that when it’s hot, I watch more and walk less! When I get to my spot, hunting is much ado about glassing, on-the-fly scent control and cooling down anyway – it would be plain silly to not have your binos! Who would have thought optics played a role in keeping you cooler? It’s true!

Hunting from tree stands in hot temperatures does more than just get your scent off the ground. It keeps you in circulating air rather than the often stagnant hot air encountered in a stuffy ground blind. Nothing feels better on a hot summer day than a little breeze!

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!

Click here to visit New.EleteWater.com!

Click here to visit EleteWater.com!

Guts, Grit and Glory

Another hot one in the books!Those of us who venture into the woods to become one with our outdoor heritage in temperatures easily topping 100 degrees are a rare breed indeed. While we would certainly prefer cooler temperatures, hot weather is simply a part of life here and is not likely to change in our lifetime. So reality then begs the question, do you have the guts and grit to go after the glory?

Hunt hard, hunt year round.


CX Maxima RED

The new Maxima RED is a breakthrough in controlling Dynamic Spine.

By Bob Humphrey
(Republished with permission from Glenn Walker, Providence Marketing Group)

   Click here to visit CarbonExpressArrows.com!Football aficionados know the significance of the red zone.  It’s the most important part  of the football field.  Control the red zone and you control the game.  Unlike a football field, the most critical part of an arrow shaft is in the middle.  That’s why the folks at Carbon Express refer to the middle of their new Maxima RED arrows as the “RED ZONE.”  And they’ve figured out a way to manage dynamic arrow spine there, and put you in control of the game.

Background

The nock, shaft and broadhead represent something of a “holey” trinity of bowhunting, holey in this case referring to how close you come to putting successive arrows in the same hole.

The more you control these variables, the better you shoot, and the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts.  And it’s probably fair to say that of the three, the shaft is the most important variable.Click here to visit CarbonExpressArrows.com!

Consistency

Consistency is the ultimate goal of those who shoot, and make arrows.  Greater consistency in materials and construction produces greater consistency in results, which is essentially the definition of precision.  It also leads to increased accuracy.

The Carbon Express design and engineering team has always gone to great lengths to ensure their arrows are consistent, and as a result, your shooting is more accurate.  They use some of the most sophisticated equipment in the industry for manufacturing and testing their arrows for straightness, weight and static spine (the relative stiffness of a shaft).  Tighter tolerances in all three produce greater precision and accuracy.  In short, you shoot better.

It is sometimes said, in sports and in business that getting to the top is tough, but staying there is tougher.  Carbon Express has long held a position among the leaders in terms of arrow straightness and weight consistency, but they’ve never been content to rest on their laurels.  Still unsatisfied with the results, they recently decided it was time to look elsewhere, at dynamic spine, to build a better arrow.

If there’s a holy trinity, there’s also an “un-holey” trinity of arrow performance: Archer’s Paradox, Oscillation and Planning.

Archer’s paradox refers to the phenomenon where an arrow does not travel precisely in the direction it is pointed when the bowstring is released.  At release, there is a sudden and explosive transfer of energy from the bowstring to the arrow, which causes the shaft to bend, or flex.  The relative stiffness – how much it flexes – is referred to as dynamic spine.

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  The shaft first bends one way, then the other, and continues to bend or oscillate as it flies, until it eventually recovers and flies straight.  The greater and more prolonged the oscillation, the less stable the flight, and the less accurate the shot.

At the front of this flying arrow shaft is a broadhead, the blades of which act like “wings,” causing it to plane.  They also exaggerate the effects of arrow flexing and oscillation in flight, which reduces accuracy and increases the time and effort required for tuning.  The quicker and more effectively you can control these factors, the more precise and accurate the shot.

Until now, dynamic spine was managed by giving careful consideration to all the following variables:

  1. Arrow shaft material, length, diameter and wall thickness
  2. Fletching weight, angle, shape and clearance
  3. Nock weight and fit
  4. Precision Point weight and style
  5. Arrow rest type and positioning

If only there was an easier way to manage dynamic spine.

A New Wave

You can’t alter the laws of physics, and therefore archer’s paradox.  However, the engineers at Carbon Express discovered a way to use physics against archer’s paradox.  By restricting the dynamic spine flexing to the center of the shaft – the RED ZONE – instead of on the ends (like most arrows), they produced a shaft that oscillates less than other arrows.  As a result, the arrow recovers from archer’s paradox oscillation – becomes stable – more quickly and thus produces dramatically improved accuracy, especially when shooting a broadhead.  It also de-emphasizes the importance of the other variables.  The Maxima® RED™ manages dynamic spine so well, it only requires two spine sizes to match bows from 40-92 pound of draw weight.

How

The Maxima RED is extremely forgiving because of the way it’s built.  Carbon Express uses proprietary manufacturing techniques, different types of carbon and a new, hi-tech carbon design to build the shaft.  Stiffer ends contain the arrow’s flex to “RED ZONE”™® when launched and throughout its flight.  The process also produces superior spine consistency with matched weight of each arrow in a boxed set.

But Wait… There’s More

In case the above is not enough to convince you, Maxima RED arrows are also loaded with other features, some of which are already familiar to Carbon Express shooters.Click here to visit CarbonExpressArrows.com!

LaunchPad Precision Nocks – Designed in concert with development of the Maxima RED, they provide precise contact points for controlled arrow release, an aligned nock barrel for truer arrow flight and have a concentric design to center the nock in the arrow shaft for more consistent performance.

Performance Blazer Vanes – Addressing the effects of dynamic spine allows the use of lighter, shorter vanes, which further enhances speed and accuracy.

Diamond Weave Finish – The Carbon Express patented outer layer process uses 100 percent diamond weave carbon for improved stiffness and spine consistency.

BuffTuff® – This super strong outer finish enhances toughness while reducing friction and noise.

K-360º – Carbon Express’ patented process integrates 100% low modular carbon weave into the outer layer of an arrow for excellent strength and spine consistency

BullDog™ Nock Collar – Created with aircraft-grade aluminum, the BullDog nock collar was specifically designed to form-fit over the back end of the arrow shaft to protect it from nock-end impact damage.

Tolerance – Carbon Express laser-checks arrow spines and arrow straightness of 0.0001 of an inch to ensure each set meets their rigorous standards.  And unlike most manufacturers, Carbon Express straightness tolerances are maximum measurements, not averages.  Straightness of +/- 0.0025″ Max. and a weight tolerance of ” 1.0 grains place the Maxima RED at the top of its class.

Recap

When the game is close you need an edge.  Carbon Express has figured out a way to manage dynamic arrow spine, confining it to the “RED ZONE,” making their new Maxima RED arrows a real game changer that will help you score big this season.

www.carbonexpressarrows.com

Click here to visit CarbonExpressArrows.com!


The Hunt for Your Legacy STARTS RIGHT NOW!

Legacy Outfitters is Your Guide

By Kevin Reese

Click here to visit LegacyOutfitters.org!Your legacy is quite possibly the biggest footprint you leave here when it’s time to take your rightful place on the Big Hunt in the Sky. As a Christian man, a loving husband and father, a hard worker, and an avid outdoorsman, I feel that I have a firm grasp on who I am and what my purpose is in this obstacle course called life but is that what I demonstrate in my actions and in my balance between the outdoors, work and family time? Sadly, for many of us, the answer is a resounding no. Where do we go for answers? Where do we go when how we identify ourselves does not match how we are identified? After all, that demonstration itself is our lasting legacy, not what we see in our proverbial mirrors; it’s not what we say, it’s what we do that counts; moreover, it’s what we do in the dark. Author Russell Gough said it best in his book Character is Destiny – enough said there.

Kevin helps Jacob build his own legacy.Few lessons are better learned yet hardly taught outdoors amidst the majesty of God’s creation. Numerous programs and ministries have been centered on taking your kids outdoors; however, few have assisted men in becoming better fathers, teachers and legacy builders. That’s where Legacy Outfitters (LO) steps in. LO works to assist men in becoming doers instead of talkers by outfitting us with the tools to become better Christians, husbands, fathers, sons, and brothers through large and small group outdoor themed fellowships. Through shotgunning, archery, food, presentations, mentoring and forged friendships with other men we gain perspective on our legacies and understanding our strengths and weaknesses with open minds while maintaining accountability are great cornerstones.

A second yet no less important focus of LO is to lead people to Christ through outdoor fellowship. What could be better than reaching out to others for Christ amidst the great outdoors and through our greatest passions of hunting, fishing, camping and other outdoor activities?

LO exists simply to help men live their true purpose outdoors while equipping others to live their best lives outdoors as well; doing so not only ensures future generations enjoy and protect our outdoor heritage but more importantly centers our focus on celebrating the One that gave us outdoors to begin with. Building a legacy around Him is more than just words, it’s an heirloom of actions and examples for others to emulate and pass on.

None of us are perfect; my Grace Community Church family rests on the principle “No perfect people allowed.” We all can use some improvements in our daily lives; as humans we are always out of shape. LO is there to help us whittle away at that shape on the second Tuesday of every month at the Upland Bird Country, located on FM 637, also known as Camp Wanica Road, just two miles east of Highway 287. Monthly fellowships are kicked off with shotgunning and archery loosely starting between 5 – 5:30 p.m. and continue with a great meal at around 6:45. The meal is complemented by great fellowship and dynamic messages from guest speakers centered on God and our outdoor passions.

We also explore opportunities to grow in small group ministries known as Focus Groups. These small-group fellowships narrow the search for meaningful friendships based again on LO’s principles and our like passions. Examples of Focus Groups may include archery and bowhunting, rifle hunting, shotgunning, handgunning, cooking and more.

To learn more about Legacy Outfitters visit www.LegacyOutfitters.org. If gathering with other hunters sounds like a good time, you have a personal invite! The only rule for new attendees is “Show up!” If you got to choose the footprint you leave behind just how big would it be and where would it point?

Hunt hard, hunt often.


HOG HUNTERS = YEAR ROUND PROBLEM SOLVERS

“Uh, Houston Corsicana, we have a problem!”

By Kevin Reese

Hog Eye for the Huntin' Guy!It should be no surprise that we are overrun with feral hogs in many parts of the state, Navarro County included. Over the past 10 years I’ve noticed a significant increase in the number of road-killed hogs on the side of the road, next to twisted bumpers and broken glass. Estimates put our Lone Star “prob-ulation” as high as 3 million hogs while annual damage is now consistently over $400 million in Texas alone. And, as a side note, hogs are now in at least 39 states and four Canadian provinces! It’s also worth noting that our state is home to roughly 50% of the nation’s feral hog population. Along with creating hazards for livestock on ranchlands, destroying crops, rooting yards and destroying vehicles, they compete with indigenous wildlife here in Texas… and win!

While hogs are not considered “big game” in Texas, hunting them with a rifle or bow is similar to deer hunting. Strategies for hunting hogs parallel proven methods of successful deer hunting. Like scouting for deer, scouting your ground for hog sign is critical to establishing that your hunting ground has some uninvited guests. Scan your property for rooting, hoof prints, scat, wallows and mud on trees. Use a trail camera to catch them in action. Ensure your camera boasts great night surveillance capabilities. I currently use a SpyPoint Tiny-W2 that allows me to check photos from my game cameras without walking into the setup. The Tiny-W2 assures me of clear day and night wildlife photos that give me useful behavior information. Although patterning can be downright maddening, a trail camera also helps bridge that gap.

ü  HOT TIP: Hogs do what they want, when they want to do it. If you’ve patterned hogs two days in a row, be in the stand on the third day… they generally do not keep a long term routine, especially with any human activity.

If you find hog activity, it’s time to pick your poison. Will you hunt with a bow, rifle, handgun or dogs? Will you spot-and-stalk or still hunt? Will you hunt from a treestand, natural cover or a ground blind? Hogs possess one of the greatest noses in the woods, if not THE greatest. Some reports claim hogs can pick up your scent on the wind as far as seven miles away! Will you be ready? How is your scent control routine?

Click here to visit Dead Down Wind Online!HOT TIP: Dead Down Wind is the best scent eliminating system I’ve used! From washing my body and clothes to brushing my teeth and even wiping away sweat on the hunt, Dead Down Wind offers highly effective scent elimination in all areas of control – I’ve put it to the test against Texas’ best noses!

Hogs also are incredibly intelligent. They know their environment and recognize changes quickly. Placing a ground blind means brushing it in and leaving it up to ensure that if they do pick up it up, they become comfortable with it. Many blinds also use scent eliminating technology. This year’s blind, my Ameristep Switch Ground Blind, offers another layer of scent control while concealing movement. Even with a great blind system, scent control is still critical. Ensure your blind or stand setup is downwind from where you expect hogs to be active and actively work to control your scent.

Spot and stalk hunting is also effective but don’t believe the hype on a hog’s eyesight. They do not see well, but see much better than most people think. They’ll spot you every time on open ground; within bow range they will also spot your movement in good cover. Approach from downwind and never expose your silhouette, especially within the last 100 yards. Make sure the area behind you continues to break up your outline as you close the distance. Once in range pick your spot! Remember that a hog’s vitals are more forward and lower than vitals on a deer; more on shot placement later. Until then, shake the dust off your boots and get back out there. It’s time to problem solve!

Hunt hard, hunt often.


Bowfishing: Summer Hunting… On the Water!

By Kevin Reese

Bowfishing for TilapiaLiving near Richland Chambers Lake, Fairfield Lake, the Trinity River and other great water and wetland resources has its advantages. Within 45 minutes all of those places offer phenomenal bowfishing action. Whether you are searching for tilapia, carp or trophy Alligator Gar, we’ve got them. For those of us with an itch to scratch and the inability to decide if hunting or fishing fits the bill, bowfishing answers loudly! Having said that, I’d also like to clarify that while I love bowfishing, the majority of the bowfishing population seems to have a knack for it that just hasn’t kicked in for me yet. I try hard but the truth is I still seem to miss far more fish than I hit!

Not long ago I headed into the shallows of Richland Chambers with friends and local residents Brent and Hunter Folmar. I knew these guys were great bow-anglers but Hunter, at his young age, is one of the best stalking bowfishermen I’ve shared the shallows with; he seems to connect on every arrow he sends into the murky water; it’s fascinating to watch! While Hunter is quite an accomplished bowfisher, he obviously learned everything he knows from his dad, Brent. While I shot and missed, shot and missed, and shot and missed, Brent and Hunter continued tossing scaled bodies into the boat; a lesser man would have considered the afternoon quite an embarrassment but I left that afternoon with some valuable lessons sure to up my bowfishing game.

Check out these great tips:

Polarized Sunglasses – Breaking through a reflective surface of water can be tough, especially depending on the location of the sun. Polarized lenses cut right to the underwater chase. You’ll be amazed at how effective these lenses are in contributing to improved vision even several feet down.

The Shorter the Tip, the Better the Stick! – While it’s not so important with smaller fish, bowfishing gar presents a problem worth addressing. Many compare gar scales to a turtle shell; they are rock hard! Gar enthusiasts agree, penetration is everything, not necessarily punching through the fish but getting enough penetration to break through the outer layer of scales. Breaking through a gar’s tough exterior allows the blades or barbs to lock the fish onto your arrow much like a drywall anchor.

Aim Low – The most common cause of a miss is shooting over the fish. As a general rule, fish are actually lower than they appear because of refraction at the water’s surface. Bowfishing aficionados would tell you to aim at the bottom of the fish or “If you think you’ve shot to low and missed, you’ve probably hit perfectly!” Bowfishing is a game of skewed inches at the most; centimeters may be a more acceptable tolerance depending on the size of the fish.

It’s About WHO You Know Not What You Know – Your chance of a productive bowfishing trip is commensurate with your experience level and knowledge of the waterways you choose to hunt. Reality is a tough spill to swallow. While we hate to admit it, there is always someone better than us. Spend as much time as possible bowfishing with others who are more familiar with the waterways and possess a higher degree of experience.

Pass It On – Hunter Folmar’s love for the outdoors wasn’t an accident. While his pursuits have led him on some amazing adventures, it was his father, Brent, who sparked his initial desire and ultimate addiction to all things hunting. Brent passed his outdoor passion to Hunter by consistently making his son a valuable member of his hunting “team”. Like father, like son, Brent and Hunter offer a great example of the value in some father/son time outdoors… and they’ve got the pictures to prove it!Hunter Folmar with a Needlenose Gar. Brent, his father, is in Background with another gar.

Take someone with you on your next adventure!

Hunt hard, hunt often.


The Things I’d Do for a Duck!

Duck Hunting 101

By Kevin Reese

Mallard Drake by Kevin ReeseWe laughed there in the dark, each sitting on our tailgates as we prepared for the morning hunt. Some of my favorite ducking hunting memories are not of hunting of at all; this morning was turning into one of those. We laughed hard, out loud, dare I say obnoxiously to some degree but it didn’t matter what others thought, we were caught in the moment.

My breath lifted like a silver cloud in the moonlight as I struggled to get my feet set into the bottom of my chest waders; maybe I could have gone without two pairs of socks. The morning laughs boomed when I finally succumbed to my struggle and fell off my tailgate, feet still wedged mid-way into my wader boots! The laugh was on them, the fall somehow allowed both feet to finally, easily slip into their proper place as I grabbed the tailgate and pulled myself back up. I laughed so hard at myself my eyes teared up.

Finally ready, we grabbed our decoy bag and Mojo Duck… and handed them to the rookie for the half-mile walk to our favorite spot; after all, it’s important for the new guy to earn his keep, right? We grabbed our shotguns, shells, duck calls and thermoses and headed off. Our silhouettes filed down the serpentine trail carved out of reeds and cattails until we finally reached the water’s edge. Once there we waited on the rookie. You would have thought the 60 pounds of gear was going to kill him… but it didn’t; it was good for another laugh in the darkness. Next season, if he survives, he’ll get to do the laughing!

We broke through ice as we entered the knee deep marsh, a sign that hunting was going to be good. We quietly hung a light to let other hunters know of our position then went to work setting up decoys. Like a star atop a Christmas tree we planted the Mojo Duck on the inner edge of our newly created flight path. All that was left to do was enjoy a hot cup of coffee among good friends and wait on day break.

As darkness lifted, we situated ourselves at fairly even distances back up into trees along the edge of the marsh in a crescent formation, simply the shape of the bank. While fun was important, safety ruled our roost; each of us acutely aware of where the others were. Our set was perfect. The biting breeze at our back would soon be replaced by the warm glow of a rising sun; both critical parts of a great setup.

Click here to visit FallingFeathersGC.com!We began the morning with light calling, isolated quacks with some feeding calls; nothing to write home about. It wasn’t long before we started seeing black dots flood the sky seemingly miles away; it’s amazing how quickly ducks can close a distance! After initial rounds of passing and circling ducks, some meeting their demise, things slowed and calling became a bit more active. Veteran hunters know you shouldn’t call if you see ducks heading in your direction; of course, calling after ducks have passed by can be effective if they don’t appear to be circling back. We’ve called many a dead duck back into our decoys using this strategy.

In the end, it was a great hunt. We limited out before lunch and headed back to our families but not before we were checked by game wardens and stopped to allow wildlife biology students to record and keep our ducks; giving up your ducks is voluntary but your rewards are that you are helping them with studies and they send you on your way with nothing but your duck breasts – hard work done!

Sure your morning starts early but by lunch time I’ve got the hunting bug out of me and my family still gets a healthy dose of my time. For me, perhaps, that is one of the draws I have to duck hunting. It allows me to pursue both of my passions, my hunting and quiet time with my wife; better still, to revel in God’s creation amidst His creation. It’s quite humbling and remarkable to watch the world awake from the front row. And, people wonder what I’d do for a duck!

7 Highly Effective Duck Hunting Do’s:

  1. Use 2-3/4-inch to 3-inch No. 2 – 4 steel shot – no lead! Keep your plug in your shotgun! Opinions vary but I prefer at least a modified choke and don’t take shots longer than 40 yards.
  2. Setup with the wind and the rising sun to your back. Ducks prefer to land into the wind and they have a harder time picking you out in the landscape with the sun in their eyes.
  3. Camouflage yourself with appropriate colors. If you’re in brown reeds and cattails, perhaps bright green isn’t your best choice. Ducks can and will spot you. Don’t move when they are coming in!
  4. Don’t overcall. And, don’t call when they’re coming in. Even if they don’t see you, they see your decoys. If they want to come, they’re coming calling or not.
  5. Be responsible. Don’t trespass. Respect landowner property and follow all rules if hunting on public ground.
  6. Keep a great attitude. This is a necessity for me. Unlike my friend and shotgunning stud, Arron Cottongame, wingshooting is a tough nut to crack for me. I’m the first to admit I carry two boxes of shells and occasionally burn through all of them! Shooting is instinctive. Ducks can be tough to hit, even tougher if you spend too much time aiming – like dove hunting – mount, swing, shoot!
  7. Obey all hunting regulations. Remember to take your hunting license and make sure you have your federal duck stamp. Hunting is much more fun if you aren’t worried about breaking rules. Let more than your conscience be your guide.

Hunt hard, hunt often.


Bowhunting Madness!

Full Draw on the Boys of Fall!

By Kevin Reese

Click here to visit BowTechArchery.com!You have to admit, summer has been relatively mellow this year compared to the inferno we endured in 2011 making the contrast in seasons nearly seamless; in fact this opening week of archery-deer season promises highs in the 80’s! The truth is, while we haven’t noticed much of a change, our whitetail population knows what time of year it is. Temperatures are cooler, acorns are falling, the antlers are back and the velvet is gone. It won’t be long now before gentle sparring on a set of horns becomes a great way to lure in the deer of a lifetime. I love early season hunting – the gentle coolness of morning sweeping across my cheeks, the heavy scent of cedar and dew in the air and early signs of the impending rut. What a perfect time to venture beyond the sea of asphalt and concrete in search of yourself and your buck of a lifetime!

Rifle hunting can be tough but nothing like the often maddening stick and string chase. Bowhunting means confident shooting, getting so close you can see lungs expand and muscles twitch. Like the planets, numerous variables must align when bowhunting; prepare to experience the highest of highs and lowest of lows! Take my word for it; I’ve experience more than my fair share of epic failures. So, in an effort to preserve your early season sanity here are some tips to up your odds in our October woods.

ü  The Cloak of Invisibility: Camouflage is critical when deer hunting. I’m not necessarily talking about color but breaking up your outline is a must. Disappearing is the name of the game. While as a general rule, deer do not see color (at least in the same way we do) they do notice shapes and lines that are not natural to their environment.  If you hunt from a ground blind, black is your key to invisibility; consider the color of the interior of your blind. Make sure you are sitting toward the back of the blind and keep opposing windows closed. You never want to silhouette yourself in the ground blind. They may not see YOU but they will see you MOVE! Even the best hidden hunters are easily seen as soon as they move to scratch, drink some water, adjust in their stand – the opportunities and reasons to move are endless.

ü  Home Sweet Home: Scouting is vital. Setting up your home away from home means figuring out where and how deer are moving. Where are food and water sources, bedding areas and primary trails? Watch for rubs, scrapes, tracks, scat and other signs of activity. Trail cameras are great for scouting areas. Consider predominant wind direction, shade and sunlight to pick your new hunting spot. Don’t hunt upwind. A great solution to hunting regardless of wind direction is to setup stands or blinds on opposing sides of where you believe deer can be intercepted. Ensure you set up close enough to make a confidant shot if the moment of truth arrives. Trail cameras can be a great way to catch trespassers.

*Cameras like SpyPoint’s Tiny-W2 now have the technology to pass photos instantly to “black box” hidden in another area of the woods safeguarding photos of the criminals from being erased. (www.SpyPoint.com)

ü  Win by a Nose: Like hogs, beating a deer’s nose can seem nearly impossible! Make sure to hunt downwind and follow a rigid routine of scent control. Many items are available to control your scent including laundry detergent, dryer sheets, storage bins and bags for your clothes, gear, shampoo, soap, deodorant, toothpaste, gum, cover scent products, etc. Work to control your stink with scent eliminating products like Dead Down Wind and cover scents. Dead Down Wind also makes wipes, great for toting in your back pack or fanny pack. Don’t forget to spray the bottom of your boots, yourself and your gear down with scent eliminating spray again before walking into the woods!

*Visit Dead Down Wind online to browse my favorite line of scent eliminating products.(www.DeadDownWind.com)

A couple of other great products to carry into the woods include:

Revelation Amp Hunting Knife(www.RealAvid.com). The Amp is razor sharp and includes a bone saw, gut hook, drop-point blade and high intensity lights for nighttime field dressing.Click here to visit RealAvid.com!

ThermaCELL(www.thermaCELL.com) I can honestly say I’ve been using a ThermaCELL for years and have yet to receive a mosquito bite while the unit is in operation. It’s quite possibly the coolest invention since ice cubes!Click here to visit ThermaCELL.com!

Alpen Binoculars(www.AlpenOptics.com) I love the idea of premium glass at blue collared prices. I love the quality of these binoculars and the no-questions-asked lifetime warranty. A hunter without good optics is often at a severe disadvantage!Click here to visit AlpenOptics.com

Following these tips won’t guarantee you that big buck but they’ll certainly increase your chances. On a pre-rut note, don’t be afraid to rattle the horns but start with some light sparring and keep your eyes open. The boys of fall are in your midst!

Hunt hard, hunt often.


TOP Shooter Targets Cancer for Michael Spellman Benefit

Top Shot’s Chris Reed’s Tactical .308 Masterpiece Shoots for Spellman’s Cure!

 By Kevin Reese

Cancer is a monster. I can scarcely count the number of times someone has reminded me that if I don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything. So, out of respect I keep quiet on many fronts; however, cancer is not one of them. Cancer is not good, productive, inspiring, kind, peaceful or respectful. The purest definition is simply “monster”! Cancer is not good; it is counterproductive, frightening, nasty, intrusive and certainly not a respectful of one’s time, resources or physiology. I really didn’t have an opinion on it growing up. It never hit close to home, at least until my pop was diagnosed in March, 2011.

Five months after his diagnosis, we lost him. There were no words left unsaid, for that I felt blessed; however, if wishing upon a star was possible, I would have asked for two; one, to spend more time with him and two, that we could have caught it earlier. Fortunately we were afforded the great blessing our spending our childhood through our young adult years, appreciating his dry wit, coy smiles, booming laughter and occasional look that always told us we were in big trouble! By the time he became ill, we were mature enough to handle the news and progress through the illness from start to finish; many don’t get that time with their loved one. Still, many others do get to experience that when the battle is won here on Earth.

I feel blessed in some small way to have experienced it from the perspective of voice. All too often we feel we have no voice when cast into cancer’s downward spiral, but there is a light at the end of that tunnel! Losing someone close to us to cancer is not the end, it’s the beginning; the beginning of using our voice, our finances and our encouragement to make a difference for others battling their monsters. Michael Spellman is the OTHER I wanted to share with all of you.

Michael Spellman’s storybegan long before I heard about it. While on a recent turkey hunt I took a call from good friend Chris Reed, winner of History Channel’s Top Shot, Season Two. After venting about a tom I had missed earlier that morning, I asked Chris what he was up to. Chris quieted a bit, “I’m building a rifle for a friend of mine, Michael Spellman. He’s another friend of mine battling cancer with a great wife and kids. I’m building a special one for him. We’re going to raffle it off and donate the proceeds to his fight. We need to keep him here to raise his kids. Can you help get the word out?”

Chris couldn’t see my reaction but I hope he sensed it through the air waves, I was beaming. Here was a chance to give my voice in chorus with so many others to help a good father win his fight and somehow reconcile the loss of my own; make our loss a purposeful, positive blessing for great kids, a strong woman and a remarkable man. Asking how I could help spawned this article. I can help by telling ALL OF YOU that you CAN make a difference!

Chris has pulled all of his tricks out of the bag to build this amazing rifle, and you can own it! A raffle is currently underway for a modest $5 per ticket. All of the proceeds will be donated to Spellman’s fight. Recently Reed’s masterpiece was displayed at the 141st NRA Annual Meeting and Exhibits, in St. Louis, Missouri. While those who want to make a difference have purchased raffle tickets in person, tickets may be purchased online at www.MichaelSpellman.org.

What you stand to win…

Beyond the obvious, winning the fight against a monster with Spellman and many others, you may win the masterpiece Reed not only designed but personally assembled!

Here are the specs you’ve been waiting for:

Remington 700 SPS Tactical AAC-SD

  • Caliber.308 Win w/ 20” Heavy Barrel with 5/8-24 Threaded Muzzle
  • Accepts AAC and 5/8-24 Threaded Flash Hiders, Muzzle Brakes and Suppressors
  • 1 in 10-inch Rate of Twist for increased Bullet Stability
  • X-Mark Pro Externally Adjustable Trigger Set at 3 1/2 pounds
  • NIGHTFORCE 5.5-22×50 NXS Scope w/ illuminated Reticle and Zero Stop Turrets
  • McRee’s Precision Modular Folding TMAG Stock w/ Detachable Box Magazine
  • Starlight – Hard Sided, Watertight, Chemical Resistant, Military Grade Gun Case

CNC precision engraving lets you know just how special this rifle really is; engraved on the left side of the receiver is “Outlaw Custom guns by Chris Reed” with serial # 0001 while “SHOOT FOR A CURE” is engraved on the opposite side, reminding you that your help, along with many others, truly makes a difference!

The rifle will be raffled off at Outlaw Sporting Goods grand opening celebration on July 4, in Greenwood, Mississippi. The winner does not need to be present to win. The lucky winner can pick up the Spellman rifle at Outlaw Sporting Goods or have it shipped to the FFL dealer of their choice.

Feel like you haven’t made a difference? This is your chance to make one! Don’t wait. Get your tickets at www.MichaelSpellman.org.

ABOUT MICHAEL

Michael’s Story as published on www.MichaelSpellman.org

Michael Spellman is a lifetime resident of Mississippi and has spent his entire life in rural Carroll County. The 1994 Graduate of Carroll Academy led his high school football team, as quarterback, to its one and only state championship victory. He has also protected his community as Chief Deputy Sheriff and is the son of Carla Shackelford and retired Game Warden “Big” Mike Spellman, a father of two and friend of many.

His fight now is one we all hear about way too often. Michael has been diagnosed with cancer. He has not asked for help nor would he even consider such a gesture, but it is our duty as friends of Michael to help him just as he has helped so many.

We are asking for anyone willing to make a donation or to purchase a raffle ticket to do so in his honor.

ALL proceeds go directly to Michael and his family to help with medical expenses and to seek out the best treatment they can afford. Michael does not have any insurance to cover these costs and has sold practically everything he owns to keep from burdening others.

We ask that you please help in any way you are able; please know your contributions will be treasured.

Finally, please take a moment and ask the Lord to look over Michael and his family, and pray that we can help them find peace through this difficult journey, AMEN… and Thank You! 

 


Sighting-In Your Bow: Keep it Simple

*As published at www.GlobalOutfitters.com

By Kevin Reese

When considering hunter ethics, the most important element beyond the scope of wildlife conservation and habitat preservation is shot placement. Good bowhunters understand this critical ingredient and practice year round to ensure their prey receive nothing short of best efforts from confident, ethical integrity-minded sportsmen. 

As a matter of shot placement, accuracy and consistency are key. Many say practice is the only answer to consistently accurate shot placement; while this is true, it’s not the entire formula; well tuned equipment is also vital to your accuracy. Confidence in your equipment is as important as competence in your shooting abilities. Archers of all ages struggle with shot placement at some level whether dealing with target panic, buck fever, improper form or a bow in need of proper tuning; they key to mistake-proofing is using the process of elimination.

 Ensure your bow is well tuned, including timing, tiller, center shot, etc. and that your shooting equipment matches your needs, i.e. correctly spined arrows. Once you are sure of your equipment, ensure your shooting is consistent and accurate; at this point, accuracy doesn’t necessarily mean you’re making great shots, it simply means you are grouping your arrows and establishing a pattern. Now it’s time to sight in your bow.

Here’s a simple to tip to make sighting-in a bit easier.  Consider a cross, or crosshairs – a cross pattern is made of both a vertical and horizontal line; the point at which those lines meet is the bullseye. The problem most archers have when sighting in is that they focus on the bullseye as a point of aim instead of one line at a time.

Pick a side of your target specifically used for sighting-in and tape or spray paint a cross that spans the entire target. Decide which line you would like to aim at first; I like to aim at the horizontal line so we’ll begin there. Aim at only at that horizontal line and shoot well to the left of the vertical line. Move your aiming point to the right a couple of inches and put your pin on that horizontal line again, shoot, then move your aim to the right a few inches and shoot again; continue shooting at the horizontal line, moving from left to right, until you establish a consistent vertical distance above or below that horizontal line. If you consistently shoot below the horizontal line, adjust your pin or sight elevation down. Conversely, if you’re shooting above the horizontal line, adjust your pin or sight elevation up. ALWAYS FOLLOW YOUR ARROW WHEN ADJUSTING YOUR SIGHT!

Now, follow the same method for adjusting your windage (left to right adjustments). From the top and moving down every few inches between shots, aim only at the vertical line and shoot enough arrows to consistently show a pattern of hitting either to the left or right of that line. If you are hitting to the left of the line, adjust your sight to the left; if you are hitting to the right, adjust your sight to the right. Again, ALWAYS FOLLOW YOUR ARROW WHEN ADJUSTING YOUR SIGHT!

Many people understand how to sight-in a bow; however, many struggle with the process because they concentrate on hitting both lines at the same time. Sighting-in on one line at a time simplifies the process by concentrating your focus on one broad focal point – just try to hit the line, period. When you adjust to hit one line and then the next, your next shot will be exactly where you need it – in the vitals.  

Hunt hard, hunt often.

Kevin can be reached at kevinr@just-hunt.com for questions and comments.


Chip off the Ol’ Block!

A Bowhunter’s Legacy

 

*As published at www.GlobalOutfitters.com

 

ByKevin Reese

We snuck around the outcropping of mesquites then froze in our tracks. I looked back at my huntin’ buddy and put my finger to my lips. Shhhh. Slowly pushing through the briars brought us to a clearing where our prey its destiny. My buddy stayed behind me, holding onto my shirt to keep his balance. I steadied my bow and came to full draw. I could feel my buddy’s excitement building as he wringed the back of my shirt. Thwack! The jackrabbit ran frantically through the briars but escape was futile; he piled up a short 15 yards away. I turned and fell to my knees as my buddy rushed in for a high-five, “Congrats, dad!” The hug that followed was a reminder of one of few bigger-than-life reasons we fight so fiercely to protect our outdoor heritage.

What were you expecting, a bunch of guys hunting trophy whitetails? A day in the woods with my son is much better than that! A mountain of memories has been piled upon that distant day yet the details are no less vivid. Whether remembering the first time he watched a buck clear a barb-wire fence or the day he conquered his fear of heights by conquering my treestand, the memories never fade – only fuel my desire to share more with him; watching him develop his own appreciation for the outdoors while thanking God for its splendor is a blessing in its own right.

At home, we sit in the deer-stand (our couch). With his bow (and suction cup arrows) at the ready, we silently sit in wait for the trophy of our dreams to trek across our television screen. I watch him draw his bow, then release. His arrow finds its mark on our television screen with a puck. He’s harvested some incredible trophies!

Not long ago, as I tucked him in, he asked the question that truly validates the effort and time we’ve taken to begin building his legacy, “Daddy, can I have your truck?” Puzzled, I asked him why but wasn’t prepared for his answer, “So I can take you hunting when I grow up.” I came dangerously close to opening a floodgate of tears. “Yes, you can have my truck when you grow up.”

I share the same joy as him, perhaps more so, I suspect. For me it’s not as much about the fun as it is about my legacy and our outdoor heritage. When I see him smiling back at me, I think, my son is the future of our outdoor heritage. I think about the legacy I hope to leave him and the lessons he continues to learn such as patience, discipline, self-control, self-reliance, confidence, ethics, reasoning, decision-making, respect for our natural resources and appreciation for the miracle of life and permanence of death; however, the most important lesson he is learning is how to build that same legacy or better in a concerted effort to guarantee enjoyment of our outdoors and the teaching of those same invaluable lessons for generations to come. I look forward to the day when I can honestly say he’s a chip off the ol’ block. What could be better than that?

Hunt hard, hunt often.

Kevin can be reached at kevinr@just-hunt.com for questions and comments.


Cold Weather Bowhunting

Seven Tips Every Extreme Hunter Should Know

*As published at www.GlobalOutfitters.com

By Kevin Reese

Cold weather bowhunting offers great opportunities to see and harvest some of our nation’s finest trophies in some of the most pristine environments on the planet; however, doing so comes at a price. Do you have what it takes to stand up against brutal subzero conditions? Hunting deer in some of Montana’s most brutal, bone-chilling environments, where survival is dependent on preparation and on the fly decision making has taught me some valuable lessons. Here are the top seven:

 

Stand Guard… in Layers!

Dressing for cold weather hunting is not as much about dressing in layers as what comprises the layers. Starting with a moisture-wicking under garment like Under Armour is a great way to suppress moisture, by way of perspiration. The next layer, also good as the initial base layer is a set of polypropylene thermal underwear. Polypropylene also possesses great moisture wicking, great drying, breathing and insulating characteristics. The next layer may be comprised of fleece. Fleece shares the nearly the same insulating ability as wool at half the weight; however, because of its inability to protect from biting wind, I do not recommend it as your outer layer. My personal choice for an outer layer is wool. Yes, wool is heavy, but it’s virtually waterproof, protects well from the brutal whipping wind and has a phenomenal insulating factor. And, because bulk is a bowhunter’s enemy, wool is quieter and far less bulky than most down outer wear applications. Because we also spend a lot of time on our feet, heat loss via conduction is a serious concern. My premier choice for footwear is a 1600-gram Thinsulate waterproof hunting boot at mid-calf height; coupled with wool socks and ThermaCELL’s new Heated Insoles, the combination cannot be beat! Turn the ThermaCELL Heated Insoles to the high setting of 111 degrees and you’ll swear your sitting fireside!

 

Hypo What?

Hypothermia! It’s the number one killer of ill-prepared hunters in blistering cold conditions. Hypothermia attacks when your body temperature drops to a point that impacts normal metabolism and your body is incapable of replenishing lost heat, usually around 95 degrees. As hypothermia quickly progresses uncontrollable shivering and mental confusion set in leaving a slightly disoriented hunter utterly lost and incapable of making critical, sound decisions. The number one catalyst for a healthy dose of hypothermia is moisture. Killing moisture at its onset is critical to combating opportunities to develop hypothermia.

 

Keep it Covered!

Keep every exposed part of your body covered, at least within reason. We can’t very well run around like wool mummies but we can protection from conduction as mentioned above. A fleece or wool balaclava is perfect for dangerously cold temperatures where frostbite is a concern on exposed skin and ice particles may be as comfortable to breathe in as you would like. Good boots and insulated bowhunting gloves also are essential to protect against frostbite.

 

Compression is King!

As mentioned above, wool is a great choice as an outer garment not just because of its great insulating properties but also because unlike other bulky garments, wool is generally flat, laying close to your body contour. Before hunting in cold weather, dress in all layers you expect to hunt in and practice. Ensure there is no contact between you, your bow and your string. Also make sure your layers do not inhibit your ability to shoot with proper form and anchor in the proper place. Contact with layers must be dealt with and can be improved by applying a compression sock to the forearm of your forward hand and even an outer belt around your torso, if necessary.

 

Survival is Serious Business!

Carry a first aid kit and outdoor survival kit including water-resistant matches or a lighter, fire starters, a compass and or a GPS, your cell phone, emergency blanket, poncho and other items in your backpack. You may laugh but I also carry my ThermaCELL mosquito repellant unit. ThermaCELL operates by igniting a butane cartridge via a spark; one cartridge can burn for as long as four hours. In a pinch, that ThermaCELL unit does a great job of warming hands and other things and the butane may come in handy as a fire starter if you find yourself in survival mode! Great resources expanding on first aid and survival kits can easily be found via your internet search engine.

 

Eat Like a King!

 High calorie foods also are suggested; your metabolism has more to do with your body heat than many people realize. You must have calorie intake to keep your metabolism at a normal state. Slowing of your metabolism as a result of calorie intake can lead to loss of body heat and hypothermia.

 

Plan Your Hunt, Hunt Your Plan!

Having a plan before you hit the woods just makes survival sense! Adhering to a good plan only increases your chances of having a successful, memorable and safe hunt. However, things can and do happen when we least expect it. Anytime you venture into the woods, especially in extreme, life threatening temperatures, make sure you outline your hunt as much as possible. Include detailed information about your hunt locations, dates, times of travel, trail markers, companies, outfitters, other hunters in your party including contact information, etc. Leave a copy of all of your plans with someone you trust who is not going with you. If the unthinkable happens, people are more apt to effect product searches by using a copy of your itinerary and hunt plan.

Kevin can be reached at kevinr@just-hunt.com for questions and comments.


Guts, Grit and Glory

Inside the Mind of a Bowhunter

*As published at www.GlobalOutfitters.com

By Kevin Reese

 Friend and owner of Hardcore Huntin’ Music, Steve Conover says it best in a song from his Hardcore Huntin’ Hits CD entitled Real Tree Hugger. “Rise, kill and eat. That’s good enough for me. It’s a tree huggin’ way of life.” The shortest way to explain a real tree hugger is simply to provide sustenance for their family; however, hidden in the shadow of simple provision lies the complexity of what truly drives a tree huggin’ bowhunter into the woods. Human nature, spiritual fulfillment and the flat-out adrenaline rush that follows a double-lung shot at close range are a few of those complexities that keep us in the woods day after day, season after season with stick and string in hand.

 

Proud Providers

There is no debating our primary objective. While the “journey” and coinciding memories are a the heart of a successful hunt, there is no denying the principle reason we are hunting and passing on our heritage as hunters. We are either providing or teaching to provide. If we weren’t trying to fill the freezer we couldn’t really call it hunting, could we? We were perfectly designed to provide and by nature our instincts tell us we must in order to ensure survival. While we have any number of other options to provide in this day and age, the nature of provision has never loosened its grip. If anything it has become the driving force behind our total bowhunting experience; leaving us not just as providers but considering our means of take there truly is a sense of pride in success.

 

Finding YOUR Center-Shot

Establishing your center-shot in archery involves a tuning technique that perfectly aligns your arrow with your limbs, string, bow sight and arrow rest. With finely tuned center-shot your arrows fly much truer; there’s a certain raw beauty in good arrow flight that assures us we’ll hit our mark if everything we’ve done up to the point of release is also aligned.

 

While rifle hunters scratch their heads at a bowhunter’s shear tenacity in the stand, we seldom call it tenacity ourselves. We call it exorcising our inner demons, reversing our priorities and clearing out our waste baskets of meaningless-busyness. While rifle hunters wonder how we can spend countless hours waiting on one good shot, we wonder how they miss the greatest trophy of all… finding your center-shot.

 

Look ‘Em in the Eye

I love a good hunting story. I’ve listened to scores of tall tales about spectacular kills from afar, fogged scopes, misfires at the moment of truth and perfect shots; however, a vast majority of the stories lack what a bowhunter craves most – intimacy. Certain intangible rewards reveal themselves to every bowhunter during the most critical moments that rifle hunters rarely experience. Look ‘em in the eye. Witness the haunting thud of your arrow as it pushes through hide and into the vitals. Experience the adrenaline of up close and personal hunting where you know your prey on a level rifle hunters simply do not understand or embrace.

 

Guts, Grit and Glory

This is where guts meet grit head on; the place where a bowhunter’s story rivets the rifle hunter; it rarely happens the other way around. Embracing the opportunity to get outdoors and close the distance means embracing the good, bad and ugly of bowhunting. Doing so surely leads to the one intangible reward bowhunters crave more than meat on the table – glory! Nothing plays in the mind and on the heartstrings of a bowhunter more than glory. Some would call it the X-factor. Whatever you call it; few rifle hunters ever experience it.  

…and they think we’re crazy!

Hunt hard, hunt often.

Support my friend and fellow tree hugger Steve Conover! His music is “by, for and about hunters.”

Like him on Facebook at:  http://www.facebook.com/HardcoreHuntinMusic

Click “Share” on Hardcore Huntin’ Music’s Facebook page then email HuntingMusic@mail.com to receive a free .mp3 of his hit song Real Tree Hugger!

Buy Steve Conover’s CD, Hardcore Hunting Hits, at www.HuntingMusicCD.com or in iTunes format at www.HuntingMusic.com.  

Kevin can be reached at kevinr@just-hunt.com for questions and comments.


An Ounce of Prevention

Listen, Scout & Know Before You Go!

*As published at www.GlobalOutfitters.com

By Kevin Reese

 

I knew I was going to be hunting there and had the time to go. He even invited me to help check stands, etc. but I declined; I was simply too busy. The result of my inability to “make time” was the excruciating hunt I describe for you below.

 

The Cost of Poor Planning

 

My guts wrenched as panic struck. I watched as the sun rose while frantically scanning the ground below. 20 feet up in my climbing stand, I succumbed to the brutal realization that what I thought was a trail in front of me was simply the remnants of one. The searing heat radiating through my insides intensified when my eyes locked on a super highway not more than 100 yards to my right; it was heavily cloaked by a mesquite thicket but would have been easily seen in the daylight. The sight was double upsetting than simply hunting an old trail, and it got worse. Over my right shoulder where I never expected to shoot was a significant branch covered in trash, completely blocking any potential for a shot regardless of distance; the only remaining shooting lanes were to the front and on my left side at 90 degrees. With daylight now sweeping away the shadows, it was too late to adjust. I rattled quite a bit and brought in several great bucks that hit a doe trail early on and blew me off. I could have rappelled from my treestand and it wouldn’t have made any difference to them.

 

Several of the bucks I rattled in would have been considered a trophy in anyone’s book; they had mass, points, spread, maturity, everything! However, the only one I pulled within range of my ill-planned setup was young 6-point. It was nice to watch him from a distance of only five yards but frustrating at the same time. While watching those bucks file down the super highway in the distance and witnessing this young buck eating grass at such close range, all I could think about was “I can’t… I’m too busy.” If I would have spent even 30 minutes walking the area weeks before, I would have known exactly where to place my stand in that general area. The result was that my stand was hung in the worst possible area and in the worst direction.

 

Fool Me Twice… Shame on Me!

 

It was like rewinding a video tape to a previous year’s hunt. I thought I had learned my lesson but obviously had not. I’m reminded of an old adage, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” I don’t think it ever applied to my hunting life anymore than in those two hunts combined. The good news is I am still able to get into a climbing stand (or any other) and easily trek back up a tree. Lord willing, that ability will continue to exist for many years to come so I have ample opportunities to make good on lessons learned.

 

My advice is simply to walk on the rocks I stumble on; learn from my mistakes and hard-learned missteps to avoid pitfalls like the one I described above. The easiest way to prevent epic failures in your hunting experiences is by listening to people, scouting and learning about the animals you pursue. Be prepared for as many situations as you can dream up, especially with bowhunting where every detail is critical. In the end, success and mistakes combined, hunting is more about the journey than the end of a blood trail.  

 

Hunt hard, hunt often.

 

Kevin can be reached at kevinr@just-hunt.com for questions and comments.


ThermaCELL

Starving Blood Suckers One Bowhunter at a Time!

By Kevin Reese

As Published on Bowhunting.net

As an avid hog hunter, I spend a lot of time in areas where water is fairly prevalent; marshes, creeks, rivers, lakes, ponds, are all important attributes to hog habitat because of a hog’s need for water in terms of survival but also as a resource for creating wallows used to control both insects and body temperature; hogs do not have sweat glands and depend on other ways to cool off. Understanding hog habitat and my obsession with hunting them one might note that because I am hunting “wet” areas, I face another brutal foe, those pesky mosquitoes!Author with two hogs, zero mosquito bites thanks to ThermaCELL.

 

Hunting hogs is where my love affair with ThermaCELL truly began. ThermaCELL operates off of a butane, heat plate and chemical pad system. Once ignited, the heat-plate warms up and vapor from the chemical pad is released. This vapor is what mosquitoes and black flies can’t tolerate. As hunters, fishermen, hikers, campers and anyone who spends time outdoors, we are always looking for a tool that keeps us bug free and hunters especially look for products without scent… and without resorting to rolling around in those wallows!Compact, easy to carry and place unit keeps you mosquito free to enjoy your time outdoors.

 

ThermaCELL’s vapor emits an organic scent. Original ThermaCELL pads are based on a synthetic Chrysanthemum fragrance, something wildlife considers a non-threatening part of their natural environment. ThermaCELL also offers a new scent and my personal favorite, Fresh Earth. Fresh Earth accomplishes the same mission as the original pad but is also a great cover scent!

 

I can honestly give testimony under oath (and those who know me remember) that in years past I’ve had as many as 400 mosquito bites in a single hour while hunting hogs in my favorite spot near a marsh. But since discovering ThermaCELL in that same stand, I have yet to receive a single bite! Don’t just believe me, believe others. If you hunt in areas steeped in mosquitoes or black flies, chances are good that you already have friends using ThermaCELL units during their outdoor adventures.

 

Cold feet? Not when you have these in your boots.ThermaCELL offers a complete line of defense against mosquitoes and black flies from individual ThermaCELL units to larger picnic, outdoor and camping ThermaCELL lanterns. ThermaCELL now also offers rechargeable Heated Insoles! Running insole temperatures between 100 – 111 degrees, there is never a season where ThermaCELL shouldn’t be a part of your gear! Visit www.ThermaCell.com to see their complete line of ultra-innovative products!


Dennis Dunn Hits the Bulls Eye with Barebow!

A quiet yet no less legendary bowhunter chronicles his incredible quest!

By Kevin Reese 

Looking back over my years as a bowhunter I’ve always had a fascination with heading outdoors with stick and string; in fact, even as a Cub Scout I remember how fun it was to fling arrows into giant bales of hay. As an adult I can honestly say that fervor has never left. I am just as committed to traditional sports as I ever was; actually, since taking on bowhunting in my early 30’s I can say my passion for archery has grown exponentially over simple target shooting. So much so that I found myself teaching bowhunting and archery seminars! I am truly an addict.

 

Beyond hunting, I am also passionate about the history and milestones richly present in our archery and bowhunting heritage. Names like Fred Bear, Glenn St. Charles, Saxton Pope, Ben Pearson, Pete Shepley, Gail Martin, Chuck Adams, Doug Easton, Ted Nugent and young icon, Fred Eichler, fascinate me to no end. Reading their stories, catching footage of their adventures on my television set or visiting with them at one of the increasing number of trade shows or conferences I attend only serves to fuel my desire to be the best I can be in the bowhunting realm; further, to leave a legacy for my sons that allow them to utter my name in outdoor industry circles without reservation. But, while those archers and their stories are nothing short of legendary, Dennis Dunn also quietly roams those ranks and should be considered shoulder to shoulder among them. Read on…

 

I met Dennis Dunn last year at my Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA) conference. We spoke shortly after my arrival and I immediately recognized Dennis as one fitting the ranks of those named earlier. The more we talked the more I appreciated Dunn as a fellow bowhunter but I had no idea of the significance of his contribution to our bowhunting tradition until he mentioned a book he wrote. “It chronicles my 40-year quest for North America’s Big Game 29 with a barebow.” My jaw dropped. He noticed my excitement and asked if I would like to preview the book.

 

Dunn’s coffee table book, Barebow! An Archer’s Fair-Chase Taking of North America’s Big-Game 29, is a 504-page, 9-pound masterpiece! Barebow! took top honors in 2010, earning the prestigious, Mossy Oak sponsored Pinnacle Award for Best Book, at the Professional Outdoor Media Association’s (POMA – www.professionaloutdoormedia.org) annual conference.

 

In 2005, Dennis became the first bowhunter in history to complete the North American Super Slam with a barebow; a barebow is a long bow, recurve bow or compound bow void of any devices used for aiming; in short, archers and bowhunters refer to this style as instinct shooting. Since Dunn completed this feat in 2005, two others have now joined him in what is widely regarded as the most difficult challenge currently afforded modern day bowhunters.    

 

Dunn writing is vivid and fluid. He paints his adventures (and misadventures) with words that enveloped me and took me along on his quests. The imagery in text he creates throughout Barebow!’s pages is cinematic and grand in scope while black and white illustrations and full color paintings by world renowned wildlife artists Hayden and Dallen Lambson both fill and separate Dunn’s exploits; the father and son Lambson team contributed depictions of each of North America’s big 29 species, each one leading the reader into another of Dunn’s amazing stories. Barebow! is also filled with a comprehensive collection of Dunn’s personal photos, taken over the course of his 40-year quest. What you won’t find in Barebow! are photographs of Dunn posing with his trophies. One of his primary goals when authoring Barebow! was to create a treasure both hunters and non-hunters could enjoy. Currently, according to Dunn, one-third of his sales are to the non-hunting population. 

 

During his quest , many of Dennis’ trophies, 21 to be exact, landed upon the pages of Pope and Young’s record book while his the final trophy, a Grizzly Bear, taken in 2004 with an 8-yard heart shot, became the world record, measuring a hefty 26 5/16. The bear is currently housed at the Pope & Young Club/St. Charles Museum in Chatfield, Minnesota.

 

If you’re looking for something to sink your reading teeth into, jump on Barebow! It’s not just a book; it’s a treasure, a family heirloom! I feel profoundly lucky to own a copy of Barebow! Moreover, since meeting Dunn, reading his book and corresponding with him, I’m proud to call him a friend. Barebow! truly chronicles a legendary hunter’s hunger for that which no other had ever achieved and does much to promote our shrinking heritage. Reading Barebow! will give you a greater understanding of the hearts and minds of bowhunters past, present and future. Dunn exemplifies all that is good in bowhunting and strikes a bullseye in sharing it!

 

Barebow! is a must-own for bowhunters and a should-own for everyone else!

 

Barebow! An Archer’s Fair-Chase Taking of North America’s Big Game 29 may be found at www.str8arrows.com, www.Amazon.com, www.BarnesandNoble.com and many other places online. The book retails for $95; limited edition with author and artists’ signatures, gilt-edged pages, leather spine, slipcase box, and premium cloth cover is also available for $195.

 

Visit www.LambsonArt.com to learn more about the incredible artwork of father and son team Hayden and Dallen Lambson.  

 

Hunt hard, hunt often.


Dennis Dunn Hits the Bulls Eye with Barebow!

A quiet yet no less legendary bowhunter chronicles his incredible quest!

By Kevin Reese 

Looking back over my years as a bowhunter I’ve always had a fascination with heading outdoors with stick and string; in fact, even as a Cub Scout I remember how fun it was to fling arrows into giant bales of hay. As an adult I can honestly say that fervor has never left. I am just as committed to traditional sports as I ever was; actually, since taking on bowhunting in my early 30’s I can say my passion for archery has grown exponentially over simple target shooting. So much so that I found myself teaching bowhunting and archery seminars! I am truly an addict.

 

Beyond hunting, I am also passionate about the history and milestones richly present in our archery and bowhunting heritage. Names like Fred Bear, Glenn St. Charles, Saxton Pope, Ben Pearson, Pete Shepley, Gail Martin, Chuck Adams, Doug Easton, Ted Nugent and young icon, Fred Eichler, fascinate me to no end. Reading their stories, catching footage of their adventures on my television set or visiting with them at one of the increasing number of trade shows or conferences I attend only serves to fuel my desire to be the best I can be in the bowhunting realm; further, to leave a legacy for my sons that allow them to utter my name in outdoor industry circles without reservation. But, while those archers and their stories are nothing short of legendary, Dennis Dunn also quietly roams those ranks and should be considered shoulder to shoulder among them. Read on…

 

I met Dennis Dunn last year at my Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA) conference. We spoke shortly after my arrival and I immediately recognized Dennis as one fitting the ranks of those named earlier. The more we talked the more I appreciated Dunn as a fellow bowhunter but I had no idea of the significance of his contribution to our bowhunting tradition until he mentioned a book he wrote. “It chronicles my 40-year quest for North America’s Big Game 29 with a barebow.” My jaw dropped. He noticed my excitement and asked if I would like to preview the book.

 

Dunn’s coffee table book, Barebow! An Archer’s Fair-Chase Taking of North America’s Big-Game 29, is a 504-page, 9-pound masterpiece! Barebow! took top honors in 2010, earning the prestigious, Mossy Oak sponsored Pinnacle Award for Best Book, at the Professional Outdoor Media Association’s (POMA – www.professionaloutdoormedia.org) annual conference.

 

In 2005, Dennis became the first bowhunter in history to complete the North American Super Slam with a barebow; a barebow is a long bow, recurve bow or compound bow void of any devices used for aiming; in short, archers and bowhunters refer to this style as instinct shooting. Since Dunn completed this feat in 2005, two others have now joined him in what is widely regarded as the most difficult challenge currently afforded modern day bowhunters.    

 

Dunn writing is vivid and fluid. He paints his adventures (and misadventures) with words that enveloped me and took me along on his quests. The imagery in text he creates throughout Barebow!’s pages is cinematic and grand in scope while black and white illustrations and full color paintings by world renowned wildlife artists Hayden and Dallen Lambson both fill and separate Dunn’s exploits; the father and son Lambson team contributed depictions of each of North America’s big 29 species, each one leading the reader into another of Dunn’s amazing stories. Barebow! is also filled with a comprehensive collection of Dunn’s personal photos, taken over the course of his 40-year quest. What you won’t find in Barebow! are photographs of Dunn posing with his trophies. One of his primary goals when authoring Barebow! was to create a treasure both hunters and non-hunters could enjoy. Currently, according to Dunn, one-third of his sales are to the non-hunting population. 

 

During his quest , many of Dennis’ trophies, 21 to be exact, landed upon the pages of Pope and Young’s record book while his the final trophy, a Grizzly Bear, taken in 2004 with an 8-yard heart shot, became the world record, measuring a hefty 26 5/16. The bear is currently housed at the Pope & Young Club/St. Charles Museum in Chatfield, Minnesota.

 

If you’re looking for something to sink your reading teeth into, jump on Barebow! It’s not just a book; it’s a treasure, a family heirloom! I feel profoundly lucky to own a copy of Barebow! Moreover, since meeting Dunn, reading his book and corresponding with him, I’m proud to call him a friend. Barebow! truly chronicles a legendary hunter’s hunger for that which no other had ever achieved and does much to promote our shrinking heritage. Reading Barebow! will give you a greater understanding of the hearts and minds of bowhunters past, present and future. Dunn exemplifies all that is good in bowhunting and strikes a bullseye in sharing it!

 

Barebow! is a must-own for bowhunters and a should-own for everyone else!

 

Barebow! An Archer’s Fair-Chase Taking of North America’s Big Game 29 may be found at www.str8arrows.com, www.Amazon.com, www.BarnesandNoble.com and many other places online. The book retails for $95; limited edition with author and artists’ signatures, gilt-edged pages, leather spine, slipcase box, and premium cloth cover is also available for $195.

 

Visit www.LambsonArt.com to learn more about the incredible artwork of father and son team Hayden and Dallen Lambson.  

 

Hunt hard, hunt often.


Smoked ‘Em!

Quick Tips on Shot Placement for Hogs
By Kevin Reese
www.just-hunt.com, Just-Hunt a Blog!

“Smoked ’em!” I’m always a bit disappointed when I see a bad shot made on a hunting show. That shot is usually followed by my raised-eyebrow-are-you-kidding-me look. The post shot interview generally includes, “We ran out of light. . . had to come back this morning” while sitting behind stiff-as-a-board quarry. Unfortunately, I see this quite a bit with hogs. The misnomer that hog vitals are the same as a deer’s has resulted in many a troubled hunter. Even most hog 3-D targets display vitals located too far back. With this problem gnawing at me like a tick, I wanted to take a moment to talk about shot placement.

I continually see arrows and bullets hit hogs in the perfect sweet spot. . . for deer. The problem is they obviously are not deer. All too often, we do not take the time to really educate ourselves about good shot placement. We assume four-legged quarry carry their vitals in the same spot. I have been convicted of this a time or two! In fact, my first bow kill was on a hog I shot too far back and never recovered; my buddy found him by watching the buzzards; the hog had only traveled another 75 yards into brush simply too thick to get through.

When using rifles or handguns, the most effective shot is one well placed directly behind the ear. Feel the pit behind your own ear – a soft spot behind and at the base of your earlobe – yep, that’s the spot. However, many of us like the idea of displaying our trophies. In those instances, I prefer a broadside shot directly through the shoulder. The most effective shoulder shot is low and towards the rear of the shoulder where the heart is, perhaps just an inch or two above lower belly-line. If that shot is a bit beyond your capability or what your nerves permit, putting a bullet through the center of the shoulder will destroy the shoulder and result in a double-lung shot, another great shot rarely allowing the toughest of hogs to make it more than 40 yards or so. My personal rule of thumb when rifle hunting is “Behind the ear on sows and through the shoulder on boars.” Quartered away shots are great as well, but my personal preference is to take out a shoulder with the vitals to restrict any real running; simply another opportunity to further reduce tracking.

Bowhunting presents some other challenges in shot placement. Kinetic energy and sharp broadheads are key to accomplishing quick and ethical kills even after correct shot placement. Shooting 60 – 70-pound draws on my bows I have always subscribed to the mantra “Pin the shoulders together and they won’t go far.” Of course, this only applies to shooting sows and smaller boars with higher poundage bows, good kinetic energy and sharp broadheads. Lower poundage archers should stick with hugging the back crease of the shoulder or taking quartered-away shots. You should only be shooting sows or younger boars. Low poundage bows generally do not create enough kinetic energy to make a quick kill. High-poundage shooters should shoot mature boars in the quartered-away position; sneaking the arrow in behind the shoulder and armor plate and aiming at the forward edge of the opposite front shoulder does the trick quite nicely; penetration is key here.

A mid-body broadside shot directly behind the back crease of the shoulder on sows and smaller boars results in a double-lung shot with good penetration, taking out the upper lobes of a hog’s lungs. The same shot, low on the body with the closest front-leg forward may still result in a good heart shot but most assuredly results in a good lower lung shot. A quartered-away shot, as explained above, typically results in a lung shot and if low enough can also be a great heart-shot. Nearly all hogs shot in the body run; even heart-shot hogs can run if their lungs are full of air. When the air in their lungs has been expelled they die immediately. I’ve actually had a couple heart-shot hogs travel further than hogs I made double-lung shots on. For this reason, I’m a lung guy. The target is bigger and I typically don’t track more than 40 yards or so to recover the hog, no matter how big they are. No air – no go! How far can you sprint without breathing?

In my own experience, shot placement is arguably the most critical aspect of ethical hunting, strategies aside. Yes, on occasions, things go wrong; you just didn’t make the best shot; it happens…on occasion. It has happened to me a couple of times, but as a hunter you owe consistent practice, well-maintained equipment and accurate, effective shot placement to all wildlife you choose to pursue. If you are doing that when you make a bad shot then at least you know did your best; the good news is it won’t happen often.

Take the time to learn about the animals you hunt. Education always ups your odds in the woods. In the end, shot placement defines your level of respect towards wildlife, our outdoor heritage and even the preservation of our privilege to go afield.

Hunt hard, hunt often.

Kevin may be reached for questions, comments, product and outfitter reviews via e-mail at Kevinr@just-Hunt.com.

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BruzerGear Backpacks

No Bumps or Bruises from This Pack System!
By Kevin Reese
www.just-hunt.com

Photo: Chris Stack, Owner of BruzerGear with a great Nevada Mountain Goat!

 

As an outdoor writer, photographer and columnist I am afforded opportunities to play with a decent amount of hunting and outdoor equipment. Within the scope of product reviews, although still a lesser percentage, a significant amount of my focus is on new products; I just love tinkerin’! The 2011 SHOT Show boasted an immeasurable amount of awesome products, many of which I’ll be reviewing throughout the year. It’s important to note I obviously have not reviewed all of the products currently landing on my doorstep so they have not been included in this next statement; the best product I’ve reviewed since the onset of the 2010 deer hunting season was not the product of a large scale company or the SHOT Show at all!

So far, that title belongs to BruzerGear Backpack Systems, specifically, the Day Pack with optional Bow Holder. With all the equipment I am currently testing, simultaneously in many cases, it became quite difficult to lug everything through the woods so the package I received from Chris Stack, owner of BruzerGear, couldn’t have arrived at a better time!

Bruzergear - Dominating Backpack InnovationWhat I expected to find was just another low grade hunting pack, the type one might find on the clearance shelf of some dimly lit retail store. What I found inside was anything but that! This pack was much heavier than anything I have used in the past. Let me clarify, I do not mean heavier in terms of more than I would like to carry; to the contrary, I mean heavier in regards to the weight of premium quality materials I was excited to carry!

It’s worth noting, before we get into the “nuts and bolts” of this pack system, that all BruzerGear Packs with the exception of the upcoming Waterfowl Pack are dressed in BruzerGear’s proprietary Graywolf Concealment Camouflage; the new Waterfowl Pack will be available in M2D Camouflage, another incredibly effective pattern. Also, all zipper tabs are covered by rubber non-slip grips allowing for easy zipper manipulation when wearing gloves – someone was really thinking!

Now the nuts and bolts:

The shell of BruzerGear’s Day Pack is constructed of a heavy duty buck suede and saddlecloth mix. Stack explained the reasoning behind his choice of shell materials, “I really felt as though this was the most durable, softest and quietest material available. The durability of the buck suede and saddlecloth, along with the shell’s internal lining and reinforced stitching also create a waterproof system in terms of on-shore weather – no floating or submersion please! This combination really protects your gear and keeps it dry during the roughest of weather conditions, short of extreme acts of God! It also does a great job of repelling those annoying thorns and burs.”

A heavily padded waist strap and backpack shoulder straps with various clips and buckles also adorn this amazing pack system. BruzerGear seems to have thought of everything!

The Day Pack includes two main pockets. The largest main pocket includes a large netted interior pocket for gear and another pocket on the back wall for a hydration bladder. This main pocket is also perfect for carrying your binoculars, rangefinder, camera, field dressing kit and countless other accessories.

Bruzergear - Dominating Backpack InnovationThe second main pocket consists of a wide array of webbed expanding loops and pockets for carrying all manner of hunting equipment. This main pocket even includes a zippered window pocket, perfect for carrying your hunting license. Also, Using the exterior straps makes the daypack a perfect organizing tool for treestand hunting!

Bruzergear - Dominating Backpack Innovation

Like the interior, the exterior is also chock-full of functionality; a deep pocket and bungee system holds a variety of materials while webbed straps with more clips and buckles run down the back shell; this is where I attach my BruzerGear accessories like the much needed Bow Holder.

Bruzergear - Dominating Backpack InnovationThe BruzerGear Bow Holder boasts a deep pocket to house the lower end of your riser and cam. Upper and lower buckled straps are used to secure the lower half of your bow to the system while a buckled strap on the exterior shell of the main pack is used to secure the upper portion of your bow; it’s worth noting that instead of a bow, a rifle could certainly be secured in this system. The Bow Holder has a main pocket capable of holding a substantial amount of hunting products without compromising the ability to carry your bow. The face of the main pocket is covered by a weather proofing flap around the perimeter of the pocket, hiding access to the pocket via the recessed zipper – another great weatherproofing idea! Looped web strapping also runs down the outer shell of the Bow Holder. In the closed position, the Bow Holder creates yet another great pocket for carrying a variety of products such as a lightweight coat or even an extra quiver, you decide.

Stack and the rest of the BruzerGear family really dedicated a significant amount of time and other resources into the development of their pack systems and that hard work shows best in the unmatched quality and innovation of BruzerGear’s pack systems. Without a doubt, my BruzerGear Day Pack is the best pack system I’ve ever carried into the woods!

Feed the Addiction!BruzerGear is a proud sponsor of Break-N-Dawn Outdoor’s Antler Addiction and is nearing completion of its Antler Addiction Pack Series. Antler Addiction airs on the Pursuit Channel and is available on both Dish Network and Direct TV; check your listings for dates and show times.

If you think the pack is great, just wait. BruzerGear is nearly ready to launch sales of the new Waterfowl Pack!

Breaking BruzerGear news! (Now that I’m a huge fan) – BruzerGear’s professional grade camera bag, also in Graywolf Concealment Camouflage, is now available! This camera bag is packed (no pun intended) with innovation and function, true to the mission of BruzerGear. The camera bag, according to Stack, also packs the same level of quality, protection from the elements and customer satisfaction that truly appear to be the

hallmarks of BruzerGear’s business. Stay tuned for a review in the near future sure to satisfy the hunger of hunting’s most demanding photo and video professionals and enthusiasts!

Chris Stack with the Day Pack and a Trophy Nevada Mountain Goat!Check out BruzerGear’s top quality, innovative products at www.BruzerGear.com. BruzerGear’s pack systems and camera bag include a lifetime warranty on workmanship. If you are interested in a new product not released to BruzerGear’s store it may still be available. E-mail Chris Stack at chris.stack@bruzergear.com with questions or inquiries.

Do you have a product you would like tested or reviewed? Contact me at kevinr@just-hunt.com or visit my neck of the woods at www.Just-Hunt.com. Follow my blog at http://blog.just-hunt.com!

Hunt hard, hunt often.

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Finding Your Cheese

Tips for the Challenged Hunter!

By Kevin Reese, Freelance Outdoor Writer, Photographer and Columnist
www.just-hunt.com, Just-Hunt a Blog!

Photo: Stuart Smith, of Smith Group Real Estate Solutions in Corsicana, Texas, found his cheese and took this great north central Texas buck!

Meant as a management tool, you can imagine how the book’s message can be used in all aspect of life; after all, change is the only constant in every aspect of our lives whether we choose to accept change or not. Even those who have decided to fall behind the curve, become victims of change have experienced change. Like it or not, it’s a condition of the world in which we all live.

Hunting presents its own challenges and standards for change. Like life, we encounter changes in seasons, habitat, herds and even species from time to time. To be successful I have outlined a number of tools “of the trade” to help but have never touched on change. You hear about change so often, it’s almost disappointing that few talk about what to do about overcoming those changes. So, let’s talk about a change that drives us all crazy!

I am guilty to the N’th degree of joining this banter about changes, “The deer changed up on me!” Seriously, this excuse is no excuse at all when talking about the entire season; let me back up and exclude when dramatic or traumatic changes have occurred, i.e. mass kill-offs due to extreme temperatures, toxins, over-population or an out-of-control predatory population affecting herd populations or mortality rates among young or newly-born animals; in my humble opinion, those are changes I would readily accept; nearly all other excuses should be checked at the door – It’s called hunting!

So, in our individual hunting areas, let’s suggest we haven’t experienced any singular event of significance resulting in dramatic changes (no, we aren’t going to count “the acorns are falling” as a dramatic or traumatic event!), what do we do now? Since we know what the “cheese” is (deer, turkey hog, etc.) we must establish what the “who” really is – the deer have changed their routes, sleeping patterns, feeding habits, feeding areas, use of the habitat or any other differences we can attribute to simply nature at work; the rut is a perfect example of exactly what a “who” might be. Once we decide what the “who” is, we must figure out what the “move” is – Where on earth did they go? This takes a little investigative work. If you’re up for the challenge, congratulations, now you are looking for “cheese” in new places; a good sign you won’t starve!

Walking, not tromping, through the hunting ground is a great way to re-scout the area. Look for signs of fresh activity whether those signs are scrapes, rubs, rooting (hogs), eaten lower branches, scat – Can you determine what has been digested by looking at the scat? Where is that food source? Keeping your eyes peeled and taking the time to really inventory the details of what you are looking at offers great clues as to what facilitated change.

Game/Trail cameras are another great resource. Throughout your walk you notice signs of activity, trampled new trails, etc. Setup cameras in those areas and monitor activity for a few days. You might be amazed at what occurs under the unrelenting and watchful eye of a good camera; Moultrie’s I-45 is a perfect camera for the job – not too expensive and incredibly effective, especially for infrared night shots! If no activity is occurring take another walk. Be careful not to be overly-aggressive with your visits to your hunting area. I try to give the property as much as a week between visits unless I’m hunting for the weekend; the last thing I want to do is pressure wildlife off my hunting property.

Once you establish where the “cheese” has moved, it’s time to form your strategy – ground blind, treestand, still hunt, spot and stalk; what is the best method? Only you can answer that question. My best advice here is to pay attention to prevailing winds. Ensure you are downwind of your most active area and pay attention to any new trails; place your setup on the downwind side of any trail if possible. Operate in “stealth mode”. Be diligent with scent control and your trips in and out of your hunting setup – slip in and slip out!

Change is constant and unless you constantly change, you’re likely to come up empty handed with great regularity. Change can be as simple as wind direction or fluctuating temperatures, cutting away a new shooting lane or choosing to climb into a ground blind instead of your favorite treestand.

If you can tune into “who” moved your cheese you’re likely find exactly what you’re looking for, the memory (and sometimes the trophy) of a lifetime.

Hunt hard, hunt often.

Kevin may be reached for questions, comments, product and outfitter reviews via e-mail at Kevinr@just-Hunt.com.

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Visit Kevin at Just-Hunt.com and join the FORUM, make some new friends that share your passion and take opportunities to win free prizes! You won’t be disappointed!

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