Dog Bone Game Recovery System
By Jim Draper
The great folks at Dog Bone dog training systems have done it again with another great training program for us hunters. This time it’s the Game Recovery System, a do it yourself training kit to teach your 4 legged friends how to assist in recovering your wounded or lost game. As most hunters have encountered, sometimes you can make a not so perfect shot, and tracking and finding your deer could be a very long process or the deer could be lost forever. With trainer Jeremy Moore’s Game Recovery System and easy to follow training instructions, you and your dog could greatly increase your chances of recovering that trophy buck or doe. I know some people think that they shouldn’t need a dog to trail a wounded deer but I can tell you from experience that a rapid recovery is necessary in most places. For instance, in the South you run the risk of the heat spoiling your meat. Also, with our ever-growing coyote population, there have been many instances where a deer left over night can be completely ravished. The Game Recovery Systems comes with every thing you need to successfully train your dog to track and find your wounded game. The kit comes complete with a piece of 100% real deer hide, Blood Trail training scent, drag line, ez-clip, and a very easy to follow training manual. Dog Bone also offers some additional items that you can purchase to assist in your training such as a tracking leash, replacement hide patches and scent, as well as a great DVD by trainer Jeremy Moore that really aids in training and is very informative. Jeremy states that with this program you can train virtually any dog of any age, and so far I have no doubts because I am in the process of training my 5 year old Chocolate Lab “Hank” as well as his 1 year old son “Max” and both are doing great. I have no doubts they will be ready to track deer without a hitch this coming deer season. Tracking dogs are legal in a lot of states, including most of the Eastern states, except a couple like WV and PA, so make sure you check your local game laws. For more info on the Dog Bone Game Recovery System check out their website at www.DogBoneHunter.com or give them a call at 920-615-5788.
By Jim Draper
Just about anyone who has been hunting or shooting for any amount of time has most likely used one or more of Hoppe’s gun care products, and with good reason. Hoppe’s has been making exceptional gun care products for more than 100 years and continues to improve their products to keep up with the changing times. Hoppe’s new line, Hoppe’s Black was specifically designed for today’s MSR’s (Military Style Rifles) and other high-round count firearms, but works equally well on all types of firearms. Designed to withstand a wide range of temps from -65°F to 540°F – it will prepare your firearm for any situation. Hoppe’s Black is comprised of a Gun Cleaner, Precision Oil, Copper Cleaner, Grease Syringe, and Lubricating Cloth. The new line-up includes –
Hoppe’s Black Gun Cleaner is an advanced cleaning formula engineered specifically to remove high carbon levels from high round count firearms. Hoppe’s Black Copper Cleaner is engineered specifically for modern firearms, but is also safe to use on any firearm bore, and is designed to remove high levels of copper.
Hoppe’s Black Precision Oil is formulated to manage the high heat temperature conditions created in high round count shooting situations. With an extreme temperature range from -65°f to 540°f, it will not freeze up and will not break down in high heat situations. It includes rust inhibitors.
Decreasing the wear and tear on your firearms is very important and by using Hoppe’s Black Grease Syringe it will help keep your firearm performing in extreme conditions. Hoppe’s Black Grease has the same extreme temperature range as the other Black products and is a synthetic polymer formula, and the syringe applicator allows for very precise application in hard to reach areas.
And something that should be in every backpack or shooter’s bag is Hoppe’s Black Precision Oil and the Hoppe’s Black Lubricating Cloth. It is safe for any type of stock including wood and synthetic and comes packaged in a re-sealable bag.
Check out Hoppe’s complete line of gun care products at www.hoppes.com
By Jim Draper
After many years of trying to get by with cheap back packs, I decided that this year when it was time for a new one I was going to spend the extra money and get myself a pack that would last. Tired of noisy zippers that always seem to fail, I chose to go with the Badlands Reaper, which is zipper free. The Reaper is a smaller pack with a storage volume of 990 cubic inches, making it perfect for the tree stand hunter. Although it is a smaller pack it can easily accommodate all your gear for an all day sit in the stand. This pack is constructed of a proprietary fabric developed by Badlands called Mutex™, which is guaranteed to stay soft and quiet in even the most extreme hunting conditions. The Reaper uses a slide buckle type closing system, which allows you to easily open and close the pack with one hand. The Reaper also comes equipped with plenty of external tie down points to allow you to strap extra hunting gear to it, such as a heavy jacket or rain gear. The Reaper also has Badlands Airtrack technology, which allows air to pass between the pack and your back during warm days or long hikes. The Reaper is also water bladder compatible so you can stay hydrated in the stand quietly. Badlands Packs have been around for many years and stand behind their products; thus their “Fix it For Free Forever Warranty”. Check out Badlands Packs full lineup at www.Badlandspacks.com
By Jim Draper
If you are anything like me you have to work for a living. But hunting is your passion and you like to take every opportunity that you can to get into the field; but sometimes after a long vigorous week it’s hard to find the energy. I have recently stumbled upon a company that develops a line of products to boost energy, keep you hydrated and increase your mental clarity, while still keeping your body’s nutritional values in mind. It’s called Wilderness Athlete. Mark Paulsen, founder of Wilderness Athlete and University Director of Athletic Performance for more than twenty-five years started the company based on one simple question… “Why hasn’t the science of mainstream sports nutrition been applied to the specific needs of the outdoor athlete?” I must admit that as I was pouring my first packet of Energy and Focus into my water bottle, I figured it was just another energy drink. But to my surprise I got the energy I needed without the crash I get from most energy drinks. After that experience I had to do some research and found out that Wilderness Athlete Energy & Focus is a notably different type of energy drink, uniquely formulated to feed the energy producing mechanisms in the body while boosting mental clarity and increasing physical output. I also have had the opportunity to try their Hydrate & Recover, which is a precisely balanced electrolyte and mineral composition to support proper hydration, energy metabolism, and physical endurance. Anyone that has hunted or scouted early season in the south can benefit from Hydrate & Recover. Either one of these two products can be bought in tubs or individual serving packs. I personally found the individual packs very handy because I can easily keep a few in the truck or backpack. So if you are looking for an energy boost or to rehydrate, check out the full line of products that Wilderness Athlete has to offer specifically for us outdoorsmen and women. WWW.WILDERNESSATHLETE.COM
By Jim Draper
As archery hunters we are always looking for new accessories for our bows to make us more confident and better shooters. As for myself I believe that we owe it to the game we pursue to be the best shot we can and make clean and efficient kills. I ran across a product at this year’s ATA show that really intrigued me; the Steady Form torque eliminator. The Steady Form mounts to the bow, and the c-cuff rests against your arm, which makes it almost impossible to put any torque in your bow. This process gives another anchor point from your bow to your body, which will increase accuracy and consistency. For a lack of better terms it is a rear stabilizer for your bow. I’m not one to buy into hype from manufacturers or paid sponsors, so I had to get one and try it for myself. First off I can say that it is extremely easy to install and set-up. As I’ve gotten older and don’t shoot my bow anywhere near as much as I should, my form has suffered slightly. I was looking forward to getting a little assistance from my Steady Form. I was not disappointed at all when I hit the range; I have always considered myself a pretty good shot but the Steady Form tightened up my groups quite a bit, especially when I got out to the 60-yard mark. All I can say is if you are looking to improve your shooting give Steady Form a try. The owner Nick is a great guy and stands behind his product, which is made 100% in the USA. Check out their products and videos at www.steadyform.com
Tenzing TP14 Turkey Vest
By Jim Draper
Tenzing Packs has gone and done it again with their new turkey pack/vest the TP14. As with all Tenzing products, they spent tons of time designing and creating a top quality product. The first thing that made me take a liking to the TP14 was how unbelievably comfortable it was to sit in, and as an aging hardcore turkey hunter it seems that comfort is more important than it was when I first took to the woods 25 plus years ago. The TP14 is loaded with features such as a full aluminum internal frame structure, spring loaded adjustable legs to fit every hunter, offering a comfortable and steady shooting position, a fold down padded seat with a generous amount of padding, a padded backrest that is channeled for cooling, a dual waist band strap, specially designed pockets for all your calls, from a box call pocket with paddle silencer, two padded slate call pockets, locator call pockets and a detachable mouth call pouch. The TP14 also has plenty of other pocket space for whatever you carry to the field with you. It also is designed to add a water bladder for those late season hunts when the temps can get pretty warm and hydration is a must. The expandable turkey pocket with a hunter orange safety pullover makes carrying out that gobbler safe and easy. Not only is the TP14 great for turkey hunting, it is also a great crossover pack for the spot and stalk hunters or the hunter that enjoys hunting from the ground and wants to be comfortable and steady for that shot of a lifetime. I filmed several turkey hunts this past season and I loved having adequate room in the pack for all my camera gear. It also allowed me to be very steady with the camera without being trapped to use a tripod that can sometimes make getting the birds on film difficult. I am also planning on taking the Tenzing TP14 out west with me this year on my Elk hunt, and I believe it is going to be a huge advantage being able to get set-up quick and be steady for a good clean shot. So if you are in the market for a turkey/hunting vest that will give you years of service and make your hunts more comfortable, give the Tenzing TP14 a look you won’t be let down. You can check them out at www.tenzingoutdoors.com
Boker Arbolito/Optima Knives
By Jim Draper
Every hunter knows the importance of a great hunting knife, and if you have ever looked into purchasing a quality knife and done any research, I am sure the name Boker has come up and with good reason. Boker has been around for over 145 years making hand made knives that not only look great, but also are extremely functional in the field. Recently I picked up a couple of Boker knives myself. First I got the Boker Optima Hunting set which is a great all around folding blade knife with an interchangeable blade system. The Optima comes with your standard blade but also comes with a gut hook, saw blade and a premium belt sheath. The other Boker knife that really caught my attention was the Arbolito Hunters Combo, which is a 8 1/2″ gut hook blade knife and a 5″ caper knife that are both constructed of high quality 440A stainless steel and finished off with a beautiful stag handle. Both come in a handcrafted leather sheath. When a company has been around as long as Boker you can count on quality that will bring you many years of dependable use, not to mention Boker stands behind their knives with a lifetime warranty. So make sure when deciding on your next hunting or all-purpose knife that you check out Boker’s complete lineup at www.bokerusa.com.
Nature Blinds Stalking Shield
By Jim Draper
I have always been the type to use all techniques when it comes to hunting, whether it is sitting in a tree-stand or ground blind to the occasional spot and stalk. Well I will be the first to admit that I have not had the best of success over the years with spot and stalk, but thanks to the folks at Nature Blinds my chances may have just increased. Nature Blinds, a company out of Texas created the Stalking Shield, which is not just a portable blind but a piece of artwork to say the least. It actually looks like you peeled part of a tree right off and started using it. The Stalking Shield is just as the name implies. It is a lightweight shield ( 8lbs.) that is easily carried in one hand while your gun or bow is carried in the other, allowing you to use it as camouflage as well as to hide your movements while making a stalk on your quarry, whether it be deer, turkeys or any other game throughout the country. The Stalking Shield has a well centered comfortable handle that makes it very well balanced while carrying, and it is also equipped with a prop rod so when it’s time to make the shot you can stay concealed and not have to worry about the Stalking Shield tipping over. So if you’re ready to increase your odds of a successful spot and stalk, check out the Stalking Shield and all of the other products from Nature Blinds. www.natureblinds.com
By Jim Draper
Each January I look forward to attending the ATA (Archery Trade Association) show. It’s a great time to catch up with old friends, and of course, to see what new products are coming out. One of my favorite booths to visit is the Yeti booth. Over the years they have become a household name in the cooler industry. I have really enjoyed my Tundra, so of course I was excited to see their new line up. Although the Tundra series of coolers is great, they are heavy and bulky and therefore not always a logical choice for short trips or taking it with you on the beach. One of the new products I was interested in getting my hands on was the Yeti Hopper. The Hopper is Yeti’s solution to the flimsy soft-sided coolers out there. Yeti’s DRYHIDE shell is extremely durable, puncture resistant and leak proof. The shell is made from the same material as high performance whitewater rafts, so you can bet that it will hold up to just about whatever us outdoorsmen can throw at it. The great folks at Yeti also took into consideration that we may spend days or even weeks afield without being able to give it a good cleaning so they used a liner that was anti-microbial and resists mildew. It also boasts a HYDROLOK zipper, designed to prevent leakage. Combined with the COLDCELL insulation, the Yeti cooler will keep your beverages cold for days. I chose the Hopper 20, which using Yeti’s 2 to 1 ice ratio, holds 12 cans of whatever beverage your prefer, and 20 pounds of ice. I have taken the Hopper 20 on the road with me a few times now, and was impressed with its portability and ice retention. While at the ATA, I also picked up a couple of Yeti’s other products, the Rambler Colster, which keeps your bottle or can icy cold for quite some time, and the Rambler Tumbler, which will maintain your hot or cold beverage’s temp for hours. I absolutely love my Tumbler. Be sure to check these and Yeti’s other products out on their website, www.yeticoolers.com.
Exodus Trail Camera
By Jim Draper
When I am planning a purchase for new gear I have to do my research to ensure that I get the most for my hard earned dollar. So when it came time for a new trail camera things were no different. I have tried several brands and have had one issue or another. In my search for the best bang for my buck I ran across a fairly new trail camera company, Exodus. Matt and Chad started the company out of frustration, with many of the trail cameras on the market, and increasing poor customer service. What caught my attention was their incredible warranty. Exodus offers a two-part 5-year warranty, a normal warranty against failure or manufacturer’s defect, as well as a 5-year Theft/Damage Replacement. With this part of the warranty, if your camera is damaged due to bear attack or such, or if it is stolen, Exodus will give you a 50% discount on a replacement camera. Another plus of Exodus is the fact that they are sold directly to the consumer, thus keeping the price down. The Exodus Lift model is packed with features that rival high price point cameras, such as the 60’ IR flash module, Aluminum Alloy Reinforced Shell with a durable All-Weather finish coating, 2” color LCD viewing screen, 4 Camera Modes, 4 image resolution settings, video settings of 720p or 1080p with audio, Cable Lockable, Lockable SD card slot and password protection. Add a price of $229 to these features, and I personally will be using Exodus cameras from now on. I suggest you check them out at www.exodusoutdoorgear.com.
Dog Bone Shed Antler Retrieving
By Jim Draper
With deer season over and turkey season still in the distant future, this is the time of year when we all tend to get a little cabin fever and are ready to get back out and enjoy Mother Nature. Here’s a great idea; why not teach your best friend and hunting companion a new trick? It’s called Shed hunting. Shed hunting not only gets you and man’s best friend off the couch, but also helps you keep in shape, as well as keeping you updated on your deer herd. You will know who made it through the winter and put your hands on some of those antlers that you had on trail cameras. If this sounds like something you would enjoy then you need to check out the Dog Bone Shed Antler Retrieving System from Moore Outdoors. It is a very simple system that will work with virtually any breed. The system is an inexpensive way to get more time in the field with your hunting dog or family pet. It is a three piece kit that includes a very detailed, yet easy to understand training manual, a soft retrieving antler, and a 2 oz. bottle of antler scent. The system was developed by professional Dog Trainer and Shed Hunter, Jeremy Moore. Jeremy has worked with some of the top names in the hunting industry. He has trained “Jeb” which is Nick Mundt’s puppy and the newest addition to the Bone Collector TV show family. The Dog Bone Retriever Training System is also the system used to train “Tank”, Lee and Tiffany Lakosky’s black lab which will be appearing on their show “The Crush”. Now you don’t have to be a professional trainer to use this system, because Jeremy did the hard part for you! He made the system very easy to use for you and your dog. In the instructional manual he breaks in down into six easy to follow steps that will have your dog ready to head to the field and get you a mess of antlers to collect or sell. Jeremy even gives you training tips on how to deal with shed-shy dogs. If you would like more info or to purchase the Shed Antler Retrieving System check out Moore Outdoors at www.mooreoutdoors.net or give them a call at (902)-615-5788.
MAVEN B.2 Binoculars
By Jim Draper
One thing I have learned over the years is that you can’t cut corners with your optics. I believe the person that first said “You Get What You Pay For” had to be referring to Scopes and Binoculars. Well a fairly newcomer to the Binocular market that definitely does not have to worry about being accused of cutting corners is Maven Outdoor Equipment Company, based right here in the good ol’ USA in Lander, Wyoming. Maven officially opened for business on September 22, 2014 while launching their B-Series Optics. When my Maven B.2 9×45 binoculars showed up at the door, (which only took a couple days) I was extremely impressed with the looks of them. But the real wow moment happened when I picked them up. All I can say is trust me that even when you first put the Maven’s in your hand you will feel the quality and know they will be the last set of Bino’s you will need. Maven designed their binoculars to compete with the best and most celebrated names in the optics industry, but at a fair price. Maven’s B-Series full-featured optics feature ED (extra-low dispersion) glass that makes them great in low light at any distance. The frames are constructed from incredibly durable and lightweight magnesium. This feature combined with a high performance non-PVC rubber armor coating and aluminum accents make the Maven B.2’s nearly indestructible. Now for one of the coolest things about Maven Binoculars… You can build your own custom pair!!!!! Because Maven sells direct to the public this allows them to let the customer go on their website and build their own custom set of binoculars. You can start by choosing your frame size, then move on to magnification and then the fun starts. You get to choose from seven different color options for your body amour, and then you get to choose your own colors for the neck strap rings, focus wheel, ocular lens rings, objective lens rings, tripod cover plate and labeling. You can even go as far as having custom engraving done on them to add an even more personal touch. So with all the premium features, the ability to customize your binoculars to your taste and Maven’s NO Questions Asked Warranty, I think that if you or someone you know is in the market for a new set of binoculars you owe it to yourselves to check out Maven’s full line up at www.mavenbuilt.com
By Jim Draper
When first hearing about Yeti I was thinking, “What makes a cooler worth so much money? ”Well, I can honestly say that if you ever bought one you would never ask that question again. After the Yeti cooler showed up on my front porch I was anxious to get it out of the box and start abusing it to see if it stood up to their slogan “Wildly Stronger – Keep Ice Longer”, because in my mind a cooler is a cooler. Boy was I wrong! The first thing that I noticed was how sleek it looked, and then felt how indestructible. After checking out the Yeti website, I found out that they had actually tested them against wild Grizzly Bears, and the bear lost! “Well ok they are tough” you say, “but will they keep my stuff cold?” you ask. And to that I have to answer “yes” and with ice to spare. I can tell you that at the time of this write up I have had ice in mine for five days, and most of the ice is still there. My tests are still ongoing at this time, but if you are interested in the final results when I am done please feel free to email me at Jim@JimDraperOutdoors.com, and I will be more than happy to share my complete test results with you.
What makes a Yeti a Yeti? It could be its one piece rotational-molded construction (the same process used to make whitewater kayaks). It has a minimum of two inches of polyurethane foam through out the body, as well as three inches in the lid to provide superior insulation. They also use freezer style sealing gaskets to lock in the cold, T-latch keepers that are molded into the body of the cooler so they can’t fail, a full length integrated hinge system that can’t hyper-extend and break, and marine-grade nylon rope handles with rubber grip that are almost impossible to break. The drain plug is a screw-in style with a gasket that is leak-proof, rubber non-marking no slip feet, padlock holes that are also molded into the cooler body to keep out unwanted guest, and the Yeti also has tie-down points molded in to help you keep your Yeti in place even in rough conditions. In closing if you believe that a cooler is just a cooler then you need to give a Yeti a try and you will see that there is a difference. Check out Yeti’s website at www.yeticoolers.com to see their full line up and all the great accessories to make your Yeti the last cooler you will ever need.
By Jim Draper
Just like many of you I spend a lot of quality time in my tree stand. So comfort is a major factor in being able to sit for long period of times. And as many hunters know, the longer you can sit in your tree stand the better your chances of being successful. As I have found out over the years no matter which tree-stand you have it doesn’t take long to wear out the factory seat cushion, and it is too expensive to buy a new stand. Also the replacement seats the manufacturers sell just don’t hold up. Thankfully for us hunters there is a company out there that is looking out for us. Cottonwood Outdoors makes replacement seats for just about every stand, not only as a replacement but also as an upgrade from your original. Cottonwood makes their entire replacement cushions out of a completely waterproof fabric and weatherproof construction, with a significant amount of extra padding over factory cushions. They have a quick release buckle system for easy installation and it is removable as well. Cottonwood offers a few different choices so you can customize your seat to your needs. There is the standard style, which is just a basic replacement, which is constructed of the same durable waterproof construction all the way up to the Supreme, which has accessory pockets, kidney warmer pocket, dual water bottle storage and the “Ventilator” channel which provides air flow under you for a cooler sit on warm days while also providing a firmer feel. I upgraded the cushion on my Summit Goliath a couple of years ago and it was one of the best decisions I have made when it comes to my stand. I would also like to point out that Cottonwood manufactures other products to make your tree stand exactly what you have been looking for, like a Weathershield tree stand cover to keep rain, frost, snow and sun off your stand to keep it dry, therefore extending the lifespan of your seat and accessories. They also offer replacement rail pads and accessory bags for extra storage to keep your gear close and protected. Another one of their products I added to my stand last year was the ADA blind system, which will not only hide any movement from weary game, but also help protect you from the wind on those cool crisp mornings. I have my stand all decked out with Cottonwood Outdoors products and they have performed flawlessly. I can’t imagine hunting without them. So if you are looking to replace some parts of your stand or just simply want to make it more comfortable, Cottonwood Outdoors has everything to fit your needs. Visit them at www.cottonwoodoutdoors.com
By Jim Draper
As hunters we are always on the look out for new gear to give us the upper hand on our quarry. I ran across an interesting product that may just help tip the odds a little more in our favor, the HECS STEALTHSCREEN. The HECS STEALTHSCREEN is a revolutionary new material that allows you to get closer to animals in their natural, undisturbed state and experience life in the wild like never before by blocking the body’s faint electric signal with conductive carbon fiber. When first reading about a product that blocks the faint electric signal that our bodies emit and game can detect, I have to say I was a little skeptical but also very intrigued. So I started doing my research and found that several studies have been done in the animal science field and they have made significant discoveries in the ability of many animals to sense very minor changes in their electrical environment. HECS effectively creates a Faraday Cage (a conductive grid that can block EM signals) for your body that is quiet, flexible, lightweight and comfortable. After spending some quality time on the HECS website reading all of their scientific proof they have gathered and the studies done I am going to be giving the HECS STEALTHSCEEN a workout this year in the woods. The STEALHSCEEN is sold as a complete three-piece suit, which includes long sleeve shirt, pants and head cover. It is lightweight, breathable, machine washable and durable and the conductive fiber won’t wash out. There is no way I could include all of the information that they provide on their product so I would strongly suggest that you check out the HECS website at www.hecsllc.com and possibly add the HECS STEALTHSCEEN system to your gear bag.
Our Main Objective
Our main objective here is to let our readers know the good and bad about hunting and outdoor related products. We are going to do our best to stay on top of the new products and ones that are trending in our sport. We are completely non-biased and are not paid or on prostaff with any of the manufacturers that we do product reviews on. With that being said we do try and build relationships with the manufacturers in order to provide them with our and our readers feedback to help and improve the products. Most people probably do not believe it but the majority of manufacturers care greatly about getting feedback from the average hunter and outdoorsman to help and improve on their products. So feel free to give us feedback on our reviews and the products you see here. This is not a place to come and bash manufacturers or products because we believe that by working together all of us can make the products and industry better.