Monday, December 13, 2010


I finally got to go on my first Goose hunt! My friend Mack called me Friday and asked if I wanted to join him and a couple other guys in the morning for a layout hunt in a local field. After a quick check with the Boss…YES! After a quick inventory, I had to make a quick run up to the local big box store and grab some appropriate steel goose feed.

6:30 in the morning we meet up and headed to the farmers field with practically a train of trucks. Mack had his trailer hitched up and I started learning that goose hunting requires a LOT of equipment. Tons of goose decoys, of several varieties, placed in patterns I have yet to grasp but were debated over by the other hunters and 6 layout blinds went into the field. Raking the corn stalks and debris to cover our set up as well as help in the illusion that the decoys were looking for food, was all part of my learning experience. Then we parked the trucks out of the field and waited.

Like duck hunting, I enjoyed this hunt because you got to talk and shoot the breeze until someone spots or hears geese coming in. Mack had the blinds laid out so that he was in the middle to call the shot. I was towards the left end next to the last guy in the row.

At 8:30, 2 low flying geese were spotted heading right for the left end of our group…that’s me! Mack called out to let us have the first shots and we got ready… They got closer and closer and I was waiting for Mack to call the shot…. They cupped for landing… no call yet…they dropped their landing gear…no call yet….HECK WITH IT! Time to shoot!!! I missed. By that time, the rest of the group opened up and 2 birds quickly hit the corn. I think I hit the lead bird on my second shot but by that time with everyone else shooting I could not be positive and I was having so much fun I didn’t care anyways! How would have known that laying in a tent like sleeping bag thing that opens up on the top, in the middle of a corn field in 20 degree weather could be so much fun! (Btw- Mack just figured we’d open up when they got close….got a bit of a ribbing for waiting so long to shoot.)

2 birds in, 2 birds down, not a bad way to start the morning. About 30 minutes later another flock came in and we all hunkered down. This group didn’t like something though as they circled us twice and then headed across the road to another field. But they didn’t land, they circled back again for another fly over of our set…but still no landing gear coming down and they headed back.

Mack told us that things would explode when the geese really got moving and around 9:30 he was right… a group of 4 circled and dropped their landing gear only to be meet with a hail of steel and tungsten. 4 more down. While Mack and a couple others were running out and picking those birds up, another flock came in and circled the decoys! Half our group was just laying in the corn and the other half were sitting in their blinds trying not to move! No shooting though as that group moved on. A couple minutes later though and several hundred geese were coming in from what seemed like every direction! We had a group land just to our left while a couple other groups came in for landings in the decoys. 6 shooters, 6 birds down so we had 6 more birds to go…and 10 seconds later the hunt was done!

So, you’re asking when did I get my bird? …well, after the second group my feed tube on my pump shotgun jammed! And nothing I could do in the field would free it up. All this was happening while being circled by hundreds of geese! So, it was down to a single shot and I waited until I had a perfect line on a single bird about 35 yards out….one shot was all I needed!

We grabbed all the birds for a quick shot and Mack got his truck and trailer out so we could load it all up and get out of the field as quick as possible. We then went to Mack’s were I’m fairly certain I was the but of a joke as Mack convinced me to pose for a picture not with just my birds, but with eight that he put in a neck carrier…at least he told me it was to carry them around my neck. I really didn’t think about the fact that I was going to have 8 birds hanging around my neck only…at 10 to 12 lbs a piece…that’s close to 100lbs of “dead” weight! Oh well, I still couldn’t stop smiling!

Mack, thanks for introducing me to ANOTHER addiction!

Friday, December 3, 2010


Well, I recently made a trip up to Chico’s neck of the woods for our annual PSE team meeting. Since you’re wondering why a company selling hunting products would have a meeting during the peak Whitetail hunting season, I’ll fill you in on the excitement…

Our annual meeting is scheduled around this time as it allows our Regional Manager, Paul Penix, a chance to get back from Arizona (PSE’s headquarters) and hopefully have a full delivery of the new 2011 products for us to not only review but SHOOT! We get a hands on technical review and then an opportunity to run each and every product through its paces. Paces, sounds like a horse race, I should have said “down the ¼ mile”!!!

Each year we see improvements in the Archery industry by all the competitors but this year, PSE has made a quantum leap! While there’s a lot of stuff I’m privy to as a staff member that I can’t tell you about, here’s what I can…

First, check out the new website! WWW.PSE-ARCHERY.COM It’s totally redesigned with lots more information and it currently has the new line up…and it’s accepting orders! New technology animation videos, Pro shooter interviews and much, much more.

Next the bows…

If you’ve read some of my journals in the past, you know that I’ve been shooting the PSE Omen for the last year and a half. Are the cams aggressive? You bet! Does it have a super shallow brace height? 5 ½” …you bet! Is it faster than Superman with a sugar high? Sonic booms don’t have time to even start! Does it shoot smooth as glass? You could cut a diamond on it! Could PSE improve on that? YOU BET! The new Omen Pro is not only faster and smoother, PSE has re-designed it to pull back so smoothly you’ll take it to a pro shop just to have someone else tell you you’re really pulling back 70lbs even if it feels like 60lbs! or less! I shot the new Omen Pro with 60lb limbs, dialed all the way down it pulled at 63 lbs and it felt like I was pulling 50 lbs! How did PSE accomplish this you ask? …well, I can tell you a couple things. First, they re-engineered the riser, called the new Planer Flex Riser, thickening it while at the same time milling down some areas to keep the weight down. This helps change the vibration and flex in the riser from side to side on a shot, to forward and back. By changing this vibration and flex direction it provides a more stable launch and a more accurate shot. Next, they introduced the new Centerlock Limb Pockets. They’re wider and longer. By widening the split limbs and lengthening the pockets, PSE has increased the stability and power all at the same time. From 50lbs to 80lbs and 26” to 30” (in half inch increments!), its draw length specific and ready to knock down anything walking the planet! (I’m not sure about setting this monster killer up for bow fishing…but Moby Dick had better stay on the bottom!)

The Drury brothers Dream Season has been the pinnacle of speed, smoothness and hunting for years. This year, PSE introduced us to the Dream Season EVO (yup, that’s for EVOlution!). Incorporating all the changes in the Omen Pro, the DS EVO uses the new AXE Hybrid cams. Smooth? Time to add the butter to the glass cause you’ll be cooking some backstraps before you know it. These cams are not draw length specific and can be adjusted from 25” to 30” in half inch increments with the included module (which stores in the cam!)

What other bows are in the line up with the new technology? Well, you’re going to have to go visit the web site cause otherwise I’d be writing for way more time than I have available. Don’t miss the new Dominator series and the Supra One Cam…. And that’s just the Pro Line!

The Bow Madness still leads the way in the main line and that’s a bow that out performs the top of the Pro line competition for half the price! It’s a monster sleeper for sure! Zzzzzzz BOOM!

There are improvements to the Chaos and a new youth bow called the Mini Burner (and boy does it burn!). The Chaos is now offered in only 2 draw weights, 30 and 60lbs…why? Because you can now adjust them down in weight by 50%! 60lbs all the way down to 30lbs!

Ok, I gotta stop now or this will turn into a book! Go check out the web site!

Did I mention that a number of the bows even ship with America’s Best bowstrings

Don’t forget about the Crossbows either! TAC15 or TAC10…..William Tell would not only shoot the apple off his sons head, but at way past a few paces and he could do it if his son was on the opposite side of the tree!

Ok, Ok…till next time, put some gloves on cause the new PSE’s are SMOKIN HOT! (guess you’ll have pre-cooked venison shish kabob for 2011!)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Deer Camp 2011

Well, deer camp 2011 has come and gone and the “buck” pole (an old swing set minus the swings) remains empty. Even so, deer camp is always a time to remember. This year I once again concentrated on getting my daughter an opportunity to kill her first deer. We even pulled doe tags for that area to increase her odds.

With Opening Day on Monday, we ran into a lot of traffic heading north on Friday afternoon but we arrived at camp with just enough time to get changed, grab our bows and run to the stands I had set up weeks before. I’ll just say it was a nice evening to take a nap with all the deer action we witnessed… The next morning was a command performance of the previous nights. So far it was looking pretty scare at deer camp.

My buddy and his son arrived shortly after we had lunch. Deer camp is at his Mom and Dad’s place in Northern Lower Michigan. They’ve been taking care of me, and now my daughter, for over 15 years and it’s a tradition to spend the opener enjoying their hospitality.

After lunch we took a walk to an area we haven’t hunted in years called Cone Head (small hill looks like a cone head…). To get to this area we have permission to cross some private land we’ve hunted in the past and boy are there some deer sign there! As soon as we crossed into the state land, WHAM! Trees, not saplings nor twigs, all rubbed up… and right in front of my old blind, a nice fresh rub. …tempting but its a couple miles hike and getting a deer out would be a night mare… maybe next year.

Anyways, we all got geared up and headed out to the treestands for an evening bow hunt.. same song, same dance…deer someplace are having a grand ol’time.

Sunday started out with high winds and rain so we called off the morning hunt and caught up on some sleep (no complaints here). Did I mention the food served at deer camp? I brought a roast and my buddy brought steaks and chicken for the grill….even if we didn’t get any deer nobody was going home hungry!

Opening day;

Well, opening day was a new experience for my daughter, she got to find out what it’s like to sit in an open stand during a hail/sleet storm! I can only say I’m very thankful it was sleet and hail and not rain…wow! After the storm passed the day improved a little but our luck was still not changing. My buddy and his son saw a couple does and “claimed” the does headed straight for us…likely story (LOL)

Unfortunately, my buddy came to deer camp with a pretty nasty cold and his “drugs” were pretty rough on him. His plan was to hunt Monday night, Tuesday morning and then pack up and get back home as his son needed to be in school Wednesday. He decided that he wouldn’t be able to drive if he stayed any longer so he packed up and headed home. (he’s doing better which is good news since he’ll be hunting in a couple weeks in Michigans Elk season! Drew a Bull Elk tag!!! Lucky dog!)

Since he’d seen some deer in the morning, we decided to switch stands and see if we could improve our score card…

After sitting for a couple hours my daughter quietly says “dad! Deer!” I turn the camera on and look over her shoulder, sure enough, I can see a nice wide brown body coming through the trees. It angles to her right and I can see it’s a large basket spike. She get’s the gun ready and the buck stops broadside at about 25 yards. He still standing and no boom…at this point I’m in the whisper mode of “…shoot, shoot, shoot him, shoot, shoot……” etc. I think my daughter was about to smack me in the head. After what seems like an eternity the buck walks away. By this time I can see his belly is coated in red, he’d been wounded earlier. Since we’ve heard all the local shots, I know this buck has traveled a long ways and while it looks like a lot of blood, it could only be a grazing wound. He’ll be back.

Back to my daughter….After the buck walks away she turned to me and explained that she could not see the deer in the scope, it was just a little point of light… I know exactly what the problem is and explain that by having to turn her upper body a full 90 degrees and then try and hold the gun for the shot, it would miss align her head and the stock and prevent the proper alignment necessary to view through the optics. I am very proud she decided to not pull the trigger on a marginal shot even though that would have been her first deer!

In a future blog I’ll be going over how to train your self to shoot from the opposite shoulder. I’ve been shooting left and right handed for as long as I can remember and it’s natural for me to simply change shoulders when an animal crosses to my off side (even if it drove my coach nuts while on the rifle team! Sorry Sarge!)

After my daughter explained why she didn’t pull the trigger, she then proceeded to explain her thoughts about my repeated comments over her shoulder…so I get excited when deer are around…shoot me. She also wanted to know why her “seat” was shaking so much. I explained that it’s called “Buck Fever” and the day opportunity knocks like that and you don’t shake, is the day you need to stop hunting. Heck, I only had my camera going and my legs were shaking to mix paint. Oh, and in regards to the camera…note to self, make sure camera is ready before you press the record button. Oops.

We finished out the evening seeing 3 more does skirt though the woods behind too many trees and one other deer sniffing around our drag line of Mikes Magic…but he didn’t come in. A lot of talk that evening was about shaky behinds and opportunities…Excitement!

Tuesday morning was almost back to our first day except one lone doe trotted through the field where we could not get a shot through the trees at her.

Stories are made, New experiences are remembered and Deer Camp 2011 shows a win for the deer and great memories for my daughter and me!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A few more pictures from my Duck hunt with Mikey and crew

"Mojo in the Mirror"

"Duck, duck...GOOSE"

One of the other groups out that morning, retrieving a duck they knocked down.

"Perfect Morning"

Ducks, Ducks and More Ducks...

...and maybe a Goose or two.

Well, I’ve finally gotten out and gone Waterfowling a couple times this year….so far the Geese and Ducks are safe even if a few tail feathers are missing.

A couple weeks ago Mikey invited me to join him, Randy and his friend Logan for a Saturday morning hunt at a near by lake. This would be my second waterfowl experience, period. I got all my gear ready, made sure I had the appropriate licenses (including my duck stamp) and ammo. Friday night I got about 3 hours sleep before I needed to get on the road and drive the 45 minutes to Mike’s house. I slept right through my alarm! Luckily, I had set it early so I could stop on the way north and pick a couple things up …skipped that and got there on time…WHEW! Anyways, I got to Mikes and we loaded up his truck, got loaded and headed out. While Mikey has his driving permit, Mike had me drive while towing the boat.

We arrived at the State Park boat launch around 4am and there was one hunter already waiting to go out. We got the boat off the trailer and loaded with most the gear. The plan was to take Logan and Randy over to an island, drop them off to start setting the decoys and come back to pick me up with the rest of the gear. The only problem we had was that Mikey couldn’t get the motor started. All joking aside, Mikey pulled that rope enough times to start about a hundred or more motors. He called Mike, made some changes and BANG! It started. (See Mikey, Dad knows best! LOL).

Once we all got to the island, Mike and Logan made sure all the decoys were set in some pattern only known to them…looked like decoys on the water to me but I’ve been told there is a way of placing them that makes them work. You just can’t throw them out any which way. We “brushed” the blind in more and as Mikey and Logan were finishing up, more hunters started to arrive and soon there were another 4 groups out. The night was clear and warm so sitting and waiting for “shooting” hour to commence was a great time to relax and enjoy being out side. A bit of comical relief was thrown in as Logan seems to be still in the learning stage of applying camo face paint. Black paint (compliments of Dead Down Wind Color Wheel), applied in a heavy pattern that leaves ½ an inch of white skin around your mouth and eyes creates an almost Holloweenish type’s not going to hurt getting it on your mouth or on your eye brows, lids and under your eyes… Once Mikey, Randy and I had stopped rolling around on the ground laughing, we took pity and provided a bit of advice on finishing up what Logan started. Sorry Logan, it was just too darn funny. Oddly enough, after the “paint” session was completed, the two “kids” laid down and fell asleep while the two older (barely!) guys stayed awake. What happened to youthful energy??About 20 minutes before legal shooting time, Mikey and Logan woke up and got ready to go.

TIME TO ROCK! Legal shooting time had arrived and immediately we had two ducks paddling in towards the decoys. As Mikey was telling us to get ready to flush them up, Logan jumped up and opened a rain of steel on them. Guess they brought their umbrellas cause they lifted and flew away unscathed. A few minutes after that, a truck pulled into the boat launch (we were positioned on the island were we could see the launch site) and dropped a bass boat in the water. The two guys proceeded to fish through out the zones of several hunting groups. Not the smartest idea and I’m sure it effected the flight patterns of incoming birds. As the sun started to rise more, several small groups of ducks flew past but none were interested in our decoys or landing and having a chat so several misses later the group was still birdless.

About 9am, I notice a boat heading across in front of us that looked like it had a model plane on the bow…weird until I watched it beach on the public beach area and meet several other folks all carrying planes. Oh Crap. Sure enough, they soon started flying RC Sea Planes back and forth in front of us. Now, while I can’t say without a doubt that they were engaging in hunter harassment as its all public park, there was a section of lake that is off limits to hunting that they could have been on with the same access and facilities…go figure. While I was tempted and while I did pull up on several occasions and put my bead on the planes because they were certainly in range, I never pulled the trigger. First, at times, there was a family on the beach in the direct path of any falling steel and that would have been not only dangerous but irresponsible. Other times I just didn’t have the lead time get a decent shot off. Probably a good thing as I just should have called the DNR to have them ticketed for harassment. This harassment went on until after we left for the day. Then again, I could have been distracted by the couple canoeing that paddled directly at us until they were about 35 yards away, took some pictures of us and paddle around the island…directly into the middle of another hunter’s decoy spread!

Well, while it was a beautiful day and we did get to throw some steel at some ducks, we decided to load up and head home. While Mikey and Logan were gathering the decoys, Randy and I cased up our guns and got the blind area cleaned up. Suddenly I heard a honk! I yelled “Geese”! Randy looked up and yelled “Treetop”. Luckily, Mikey and Logan had not cased up their guns yet and grabbed them quickly. Mikey opened up and missed but Logan got on a goose and knocked him down! Packing up and opportunity knocks! Go Figure. Logan got his first goose. Congratulations Logan.

All in all a very interesting day. I think that if we were not harassed we would have had a ton of opportunities to drop some ducks and geese but at least we had a good time, got a bird and everyone got to go home safe.

Next: the Birthday weekend hunt.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Caring for Concealed...

I just wanted to write a quick blog to remind everyone who has a CCW/CPL not to neglect your carry firearm. I today’s hectic environment it’s easy to come home in the evening, take your firearm off (locked up or secured) and forget about it until the next time you take it with you. You might think, “Hey, I haven’t had time to go to the range and practice, so I know it’s clean…” …WRONG! Carrying concealed, whether you fire your gun or not, is active service. It will get dirty. While I would never say pocket lint or light rust will cause your firearm to malfunction, would you bet your life or the lives of your family on it?

There are a couple of ways you’re going to carry your firearm, against the body or just under a layer of material. If you’re going to carry against the body, like in an IWB rig (Inside the Waist Band), one of the biggest concerns you should address is moisture. Whether you are exerting yourself and sweating or simply carrying all day, your body releases moisture. With the firearm trapped between your clothing and your skin, even with a holster (and especially with a Clip carry), steel components will start to rust. Even well oiled, body moisture can still get to spots internally and start the process of oxidation. You are trapping the moisture in your firearm.

For all methods of carry you should always be aware that dirt, lint and the like can and will find its way into your firearm one way or another. Fibers from your shirt or pants can get wedged into small areas…like behind the trigger, the safety lever or decocker, etc.

It should be part of your habit/routine to not only check for function and load every time you pick up your firearm, but also for dirt and moisture/rust. Make sure you break your firearm down and give it a light cleaning and a quick oil once a week (Dead Down Wind odorless oil is an excellent example). This is for pistols and revolvers…

Protecting our families and our lives is not something that should be neglected.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Rinehart R100

On Saturday, August 7th, the Rinehart R100 was in Saginaw Michigan. I thought this would be a fun day to take Mindy and let her have a good time shooting at different targets. I recently bought Mindy a new PSE Bow Madness XS and put some new Americas Best Bowstrings in her favorite color, purple and white, on it. The week before the R100, I finally got her drop away rest tuned in, her sight set, loop installed and served her G5 peep in. I know, a week to practice after not shooting for months…it was just a fun day. I had Mindy sight in and tune her groups for 20 yards and a few at 30 yards. Thinking about what distances she would need to shoot at for the R100, I had her take a couple shots at 40 yards (4 shots). Time would dictate that we would not get in any more practice before Saturday.

Well, Mindy had to get up at 5am (during her summer break! Oh my!) and we made our way up to Mike’s house. We loaded up his truck and headed north.

We arrived shortly after the course opened and it was already starting to fill up so we all got our bows out and sent a few arrows down the practice range before we started. The R100 offers two courses, the North American and the Exotics. They both have 50 targets (hence the R”100”) and if you’re planning on attending next year, plan for two days. We started around 9am and didn’t finish the North American course until almost 2pm. We chose the North American course because we knew the targets would be ranged more to practical shot distances for actual shots.

The biggest mistake I continuously made all day was in not trusting my gear! I recently installed a G5 Optix XR2 sight which is one fixed and one floating pin. I’ve never used a floating pin before and while I marked ranges for both elevated and ground level shots I continuously over corrected and my scores showed it. For some reason I just could not get used to the sight working the way it was designed and I was making high and low shots because of it. When I set the pin as marked and trusted it…boom! Spot on! That is why practice, practice, practice is so important, especially with new gear.

Now, on the other hand, Mindy with her new bow, with very little practice and 4 shots at 40 yards with none longer….was smoking ME! Everyone in our group ended up missing a target some time during the course. With targets ranged from 18 yards to 53 yards can you guess which on Mindy missed? …the 18 yard target! She was smoking the long range shots! PSE Bow Madness INDEED! I will add a little advice if you’re shooting one of these fast PSE bows…I’m shooting a PSE Omen with Carbon Express Aramid KVs…lubricate the arrows with a little bit of Scorpion Venom, otherwise they melt the targets and are extremely difficult to remove! Then again, if you miss like this I don't think Scorpion Venom is gonna help...

Here's Mike on his 50 yard shot that he missed... and here's his arrow!

It was a long morning with lots of shooting but boy was it fun! My arm was tired and we didn’t get lunch until after 2pm but I’d do it again in a heart beat! I think Mikey gave Mike a run for his money and I know that I could not be prouder of Mindy BEATING her dad’s score! Michigan’s deer heard had better watch out cause there’s a new Sheriff in town and she’s called Mindy!