Monthly Archives: September 2018

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Quit Caffeine and Thank Me Later

Category : Miscellaneous

I certainly hope this is the least technical and most hypocritical article I will ever “have” to write.  I say least technical because it can be simply summed up with “quit caffeine”; I say most hypocritical because I am addicted to caffeine and I’m about to tell you to quit caffeine.  Now that we have that out of the way, seriously, quit caffeine for hunting season.  Whether its a daily cup of light roast, or its a big gulp energy drink, you’ll do yourself a favor by cutting it out before hunting season and here is why:

1. You’re going to have withdraws: Caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive drug, and it is addictive.  If you can’t get your daily dose before you head to your treestand in November, you very well may end up sitting there trying to figure out if your nagging headache is due to lack of sleep, dehydration, caffeine withdraw or all of the above.  You’re probably hunting to get away from life’s headaches, so its a good idea to quit caffeine well before season starts.

2. Caffeine makes you go:  Along with being a stimulant and increasing heart rate, caffeine increases other bodily functions as well.  Caffeine has some diuretic effects and although I’m not really concerned with the scent left behind after taking a leak in the woods, having to go No. 1 numerous times within the first couple hours of daylight gets pretty annoying.  Even worse, depending how that large cup of coffee hits you, it might send you down the tree to take care of other business.  Who wants to be caught, quite literally, with their pants down when a big buck comes strolling in? So, it’s a good idea to quit caffeine before hunting season starts.

3. Caffeine pumps you up: Caffeine might provide a great boost of energy to help you function early on Monday morning at your monotonous job, but if you need caffeine to get yourself going before a hunt, your doing something wrong.  The days which I get up early to hunt are literally the only times during the whole year that I can function as a ‘morning person’.  Now, I’ll also admit that I don’t love walking into the timber in the pitch dark during a new-moon phase and my heart rate is usually a little heightened to begin with.  Who of us hasn’t about jumped out of our skin when a varmit makes a racket in the leaves just ahead of us in the dark?  Side effects of caffeine include a raised heart rate and jitters; afterall, it is a stimulant.  Getting yourself buzzed up on caffeine makes those morning walks to the treestand worse. Do yourself a favor, quit caffeine before hunting season starts.

4. Caffeine makes you sweat: First comes that quickened heart rate and soon after comes the sweats.  For some reason I always seem to sweat more in the morning heading to my stand than in the evening heading out of my stand.  That natural adrenaline rush is enhanced by the caffeine and the sweats start quicker.  As mentioned, caffeine is a drug that stimulates your central nervous system; it raises your heart rate, your blood pressure and activates your sweat glands.  Add in the temperature boost you experience from ingesting caffeine and you can all but count on sweating on the way to your stand. Sweat stinks, sweat makes you cold after you stop moving.  Sweat is bad for deer hunting…

So, like I was saying, quit caffeine before hunting season. You can thank me later.

-Reuben Dourte


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Testing Garment Noise of Technical Hunting Aparrel

I conducted a casual testing of several pieces of techincal layering apparell from a few different manufacturers to determine if significant differences were noticeable in terms of face fabric noise.  Below is a video showing the test and the results.

 


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A Game Changing Quiver

Category : Bowhunting , Gear

Reviewing the Apex Gear Game Changer Quiver

Enter any online archery forum and you well might find yourself caught in the crossfire of heated gear debates about brands of bows, types of rests, arrows, shooting techniques, etc.  One piece of gear that seems to come to the forefront of conversation far less frequently is the bow quiver. Generally, bowhunters seem to be less particular about the quiver they put on their bow.  Most of the time, it seems like quivers are marketed in much the same way as many stabilizers, i.e. based on their fashionable appearance rather than any superior performance offering. So, you can hardly blame a bowhunter who might place high value on the aesthetics of their bow quiver and fail to consider much else in their selection process.  

For a long time, the quivers I used were selected either because of their price point, or because their camo pattern matched that of my bow.  I’ve used quivers of varying degrees of quality, and always have felt that each one had its own attributes as well as shortcomings. While the quivers I used were adequate for my hunting application, each came with some level of inconvenience and were often found to be lacking performance in certain critical areas.  When I ordered a new 2018 Quest Thrive bow, I knew I needed to find a quiver that would add to the performance of the bow and not reduce it. Finding a quiver that was rigid, and manufactured with quality components, was very important to me. The Thrive bow is very dead in the hand after the shot, and it was imperative that the accessories I would put on the bow would not cause any reduction in that performance.

After scouring as many manufacturer websites as I could find, and browsing the shelves of the local pro-shop, there was one quiver I kept coming back to.  I was previously unfamiliar with the brand and so I decided I needed to take a closer look and dissect the product, its construction and its specs. The Apex Gear Game Changer had all the features I was looking for, (and some others that weren’t even on my radar), all packaged into the product with precision and flawless quality.  I decided I would need to break down my evaluation into four categories that represented the most important things I expected out of the quiver that would find its place on my new bow. After usig the Game Changer quiver for several months, I came to the following conclusions:

  1.  Vibration and Noise- 4.7 out of 5- Quivers have the potential to add noise to your bow after the shot.  Depending on the materials used, they can also be a liability in the tree stand if a hard plastic hood accidentally bumps against a metal stand or bow hook.  Likewise, certain arrow clip designs can make silent arrow removal anywhere from difficult to near impossible. The Apex GameChanger excels in the areas of vibration dampening and noise reduction.  The hood of the quiver sports a rubber Tru-Touch coating that has a great feel to it and offers some vibration dampening qualities. The rail is made from high quality machined aluminum and its rigidity further reduces the possibility of after-shot vibrations.  Lastly, the rubber used for the dual arrow clips is supple enough to allow for silent arrow removal.
  2.  Attachment System- 5 out of 5- Manufacturers are constantly innovating new and different methods for quiver attachment.  Some are better than others, but the system that is employed with the Apex Game Changer is hands down the best in the industry.  The attachment system uses a precision machined aluminum post and channel system that allows the quiver to slide on and off the bow silently.  This also provides the additional benefit of some forward and backward adjustability which helps with bow balance. The quiver is secured into place using a threaded cam lever clamp that can also be operated silently.  With the Game Changer quiver, the days of snapping a quiver into a bracket, sliding it into a loose fitting clip or securing it with a cheap plastic clamp and bracket are over! This feature alone is of significant enough benefit to earn this quiver a spot at the top of the marketplace.
  3.  Arrow and Broadhead Security- 4.5 out of 5- Since I began shooting small diameter arrow shafts, I’ve encountered problems with my arrows maintaining a secure fit in the quivers I used.  With a loose fit, arrow shafts are left to vibrate and create additional noise in the quiver. It was a necessity for me to find a quiver that provided a tight fit for the Gold Tip Kinetic Kaos arrows I was shooting, while still allowing for easy and silent arrow removal.  The arrow clips on the Game Changer quiver are design to accommodate a variety of arrow diameters, all the way down to micro-diameter shafts. The shape of the arrow clip and the soft rubber material provide a solid connection while maintaining ease of operation. Dual clips keep arrows more secure, and even after target shooting for several rounds, the arrows did not migrate out of the hood insert.  The rubber hood insert provides a secure fit with any broadhead design, both fixed and mechanical.
  4.  Construction-  5 out of 5- As previously mentioned, the Game Changer quiver is constructed of high quality, CNC machined aluminum.  The quiver is rugged and tough and maintains its aesthetics via a skeletonized off-set rail. The machined mounting bracket allows for mounting adjustability both forward and backward and can also be attached with a bit of tilt to aid in bow balance.  The bracket even features additional adjustability, allowing the quiver to be moved in closer to the bow’s riser in order to reduce both torque and the need for as much counter balancing with stabilizer bars. The Tru-Touch rubber coating is a nice feature and adds to the quality feel of this bow accessory while the coated, machined aluminum loop allows for the quiver to be silently placed on a tree hook when it is detached from the bow.  

Total: 4.8 out of 5

The combination of ingenuity, careful design considerations and high quality materials results in a rigid, rugged, bow-mounted quiver that has the look, feel and performance that one should expect when buying a high quality archery accessory.  When durability and functionality are high priority, it is hard to look past the Apex Gear Game Changer.


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Is Hunter Density as Bad as We Think?

     When discussing hunter density, it’s important to note that statistics don’t tell the whole story.  For example, hunter numbers could be in decline at the same time that private land access is dwindling.  This could disproportionately push more hunters to public lands while overall numbers continue to experience attrition.  Likewise, the diversity of the data collection methodology employed by different state agencies can make comparisons difficult at best.  Sometimes one state agency is collecting and reporting different or more granular data than another, and thus some generalizations or assumptions need to be made in order to convert the data so that it can be compared.  I will do my best to describe my methods and logic and I will provide the links to the data I used for this article.

The QDMA Numbers

     The QDMA has released hunter density numbers by state in the past.  For the sake of a clear and concise article, they utilize the total area of a state divided by license holders within that state.  The QDMA’s numbers do not take into account individual state’s licensing procedures, nor do they factor actual participation rates.  If 1 out of 10 license holders doesn’t enter the woods in the fall, they haven’t technically contributed to any pressure or “felt” hunter density.  Additionally, some states may sell general hunting licenses which come with deer hunting privileges.  They also come with small game hunting privileges, and so small game hunters may end up being counted as participating deer hunters, even if they don’t pick up a rifle or a bow to pursue whitetails.

     The QDMA’s numbers are a simple, high level overview of hunter density numbers across the country.  But they really only tell part of the story.  A well known hunter has gone on record, (on numerous occasion), disputing those density numbers, particularly for the state of Michigan.  Much of the state is underwater, and one argument is that water area should be excluded.  I agree, although marshlands and swamps can still hold deer.  The claim was made that Michigan is the most heavily bow hunted state in the Union, and I decided to try to find out.

Michigan by the Numbers

     The following is very important, so read carefully.  Michigan sold 634,021 deer licenses in 2016, however, based on surveys of licensed hunters, the DNR found that the actual hunter participation number was only 554,143.  In other words, about 80,000 licensed hunters stayed home, or 12.6%.  Michigan sells a “deer license” which can be used with any weapon, the exception to this being early and late anterless season tags.  They do not have a specific archery privilege tag.  Based on the Michigan DNR’s survey, they found that 322,353 license holders bowhunted in 2016.  Michigan’s total land mass is 56,614 square miles.  On average, the deer hunter density, based on participating hunters, is 9.79 hunters per square mile.  322,353 archers in the state put the bowhunter density at 5.69 hunters per square mile.  The state has 4.5 million acres of public lands with a deer population of 1.75 million.  Average deer density in the state comes out to 30.12 deer per square mile.  Obviously there is some variation to these numbers depending on the area, but we will get to some of that in a bit.

Here are the quick stats on Michigan:

Deer License Holders: 634,021

Participating Deer Hunters: 554,143

Participating Archers: 322,353

Land Mass: 56,614 square miles (Lower Peninsula=40,162 square miles, Upper Peninsula=16,452 square miles)

Hunters per square mile: 9.79

Bowhunters Per Square Mile: 5.69

Public: 4.5 million acres

Deer Herd: 1.75 million

Deer Density Average: 30.91

Pennsylvania by the Numbers

     Data for Pennsylvania’s actual hunter participation rates was not readily available, so to control for a potential over calculation of participating hunters, I’ve applied a 12.6% correction (same as Michigan) to the total license holder number to get an estimated participant figure.  So, of Pennsylvania’s 914,244 general license holders, we will estimate that 12.6% elected to not participate in deer season.  This brings the number to of active deer hunters in PA to 799,049.  Archery license sales totaled 341,637 in 2016, so corrected for non-participation, the active bowhunters would be 298,590.  Pennsylvania has 44,817 square miles of land mass.  799,049 deer hunters spread over this area gives you a hunter density of 17.83 deer hunters per square mile!  However, it is important to note that small game hunters in Pennsylvania purchase the same general hunting license as deer hunters, even if they don’t deer hunt.  It is hard to know what proportion of license holders “plan” to deer hunt, but since we don’t have that data, we can instead use the Pennsylvania Game Commisions estimated number of deer hunters that participated in the opening day of firearm season.  That number is 550,000.  550,000 hunters across 44,817 square miles still equates to a density of 12.27 hunters per square mile!  It’s worth noting that a certain portion of the 59,550 bowhunters who harvested a buck during archery season would not be participating in opening day.  Other archers may take still take to the field in order to fill an antlerless permit, depending on their Wildlife Manage Unit. Speaking of bowhunters, an even distribution of participating archers gives you an average of 6.66 bowhunters per square mile in the Keystone State.  Pennsyvlania hunters can take advantage of approximately 4 million acres of public land and the state supports a deer herd of around 1.3-1.5 million, resulting in an average deer density of approximately 31.24 deer per square mile.

Here are PA’s quick stats:

 License Holders: 914,244

*Participating Deer Hunters (adjusted by 12.6% factor): 799,049

Opening Day of Firearm Participation: 550,000 (PGC Stats)

Participating Archers (adjusted by 12.6% factor): 298,590

Land Mass: 44,817 square miles

Participating hunters per square mile: 17.83

Opening Day Firearm Hunters per square mile:12.27

Bowhunters Per Square Mile: 6.662

Public: 4.0 million acres

Deer Herd: 1.3-1.5 million

Deer Density Average: 31.23

New York by the Numbers

     We’ll apply the same logic for hunter participation rates to New York as we did PA.  Using the Michigan participation ratio, we find that of New York’s 569,247 license holders, we can expect 497,522 to participate in deer season.  Out of 175,461 archers in the Empire State, adjusted for non-participation, 153,352 will actually spend time pursuing whitetail deer.  New York has a land mass of 47,126 square miles.  The average density, (adjusted for participation), of deer hunters across the state is 10.56 per square mile.  153,352 archers distributed evenly equates to a density of 3.25 bowhunters per square mile.  New York has a population of approximately 1 million whitetail deer, giving it an average deer density of 21.22 deer per square mile.  Interestingly, the New York DEC also notes that of the state’s half million deer hunters, 90% will hunt on private lands.  Private lands make up 85% of the state.  This means that ten percent of hunters in the state chase deer on the near 4.5 million acres of public lands available.  It also means that the average hunter density on New York public land is lower than the overall average hunter density across the state.  Before you get too exercised, it’s important to note that New York public land is widely diverse and receives unequal amounts of pressure.  The remote portions of the Adirondacks have significantly lower deer and hunter densities, much like the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  Counties within the southwestern portion of the state readily lead in deer harvest numbers, yearling buck exploitation and hunter density.  All this tells us that both public and private pressure is not evenly distributed across the state, and it is important to acknowledge that fact.

Here are New York’s quick stats:

 Deer License Holders: 569,247

Participating Deer Hunters: 497,522

Participating Archers: 153,352

Land Mass: 47,126 square miles

*Participating Hunters per square mile (adjusted by 12.6% factor): 10.56

Participating Archers Per Square Mile (adjusted by 12.6% factor): 3.25

Public: 4.5 million acres

Deer Herd: 1.0 million

Deer Density Average: 21.22

The Breakdown

     So, is the hunter density as bad as we think it is in this infamous three state “pressure trifecta”?  That is for you to decide.  Which one of these states is the “toughest” to hunt?  That question can’t be answered with statistics, either.  Topographical features and habitat play a roll in the hunting opportunities an area can provide.  Which of these three states is the most heavily bowhunted?  Well, unfortunately that depends on how you slice it as well.  You see, on average, Pennsylvania ranks the highest of the three with 6.662 bowhunters per square mile, besting Michigan’s 5.67.  However, the Michigan DNR has gone out of their way to provide us with more detailed statistics as to how many bowhunters spend time hunting in the Lower Peninsula.  The total they came up with is 315,105.  The lower peninsula of Michigan is 40,162 square miles, which means that the bowhunter density in the LP can be calculated as 315,105 hunters/40,162 square miles=7.85 bowhunters per square mile!  This certainly makes a strong case that Michigan deserves a spot near the top of the high pressure list.  But then, how would Pennsylvania’s or New York’s regional stats change is you started to break out lower hunter density areas?

     The truth is, you can slice up statistics to show you what you want to see.  Parts of every state have a certain amount of high pressure.  Without defining the parameters of your argument, and the methods of your calculations, it becomes really easy to claim one state is more highly pressured than another.  Hunting deer in Michigan is tough, I’ve done it before.  How about hunting in PA or New York?  Yea, I’ve been there too, it’s not easy.  In any of these states you are going to have to put in your time, scout hard, go where others won’t, find overlooked spots and just keep-on-keeping-on.  On any given day any of these states could be the king of high pressure hunting; and if you are putting down deer in any one of them, walk tall, because you’ve undoubtedly earned it.

Data Compilations:

-By Reuben Dourte

Resources:

https://www.michigan.gov/documents/dnr/2016_deer_harvest_survey_report_575841_7.pdf

http://www.pgc.pa.gov/HuntTrap/LicensesandPermits/Pages/HuntingLicenseSalesReport.aspx

http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2017/11/michigan_deer_hunting_season_2.html

http://www.dec.ny.gov/permits/26368.html

https://www.qdma.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/WR-2017.pdf

https://www.realtree.com/deer-hunting/antler-nation

 

*This article originally written for and appeared on HuntingtheEmpire.com

Feature Image Credit: Tim Bunao


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Product Review: Tru Glo HyperStrike

Category : Miscellaneous

TruGlo HyperStrike Review

Spending some time with the TruGlo Hyperstrike bow sight has given me appreciation for the finish, design and functionality of this economical bowsight.  Aside from the great price point, this feature-rich sight offers plenty of other aspects to appreciate such as 2nd and 3rd axis leveling, multiple site radius mounting positions, micro adjust and a three stage sight light. Let’s break it down:

Construction:

The site is constructed from a lightweight carbon-aluminum composite, making it both light weight and durable.  This site is rugged enough to take a beating while light enough so as to not affect the balance of your bow as much as some other sights in its class.  A bowhunter who prefers accessories that don’t add significant amounts of mass weight will appreciate the design and construction of this sight. The sight bracket is coated, so it creates less noise if it comes into contact with other metal accessories.

Features:

DDP-

One of the best features on this site is the decreasing diameter pins.  The last 2 pins are .010 diameter fiber optic. This is especially helpful for those long distance shots when larger diameter pins can block too much of the target to allow for pin-point accuracy.  

3 Stage Sight Light-

The 3 stage sight light is a nice added feature.  Often sight lights make pins too bright and create a halo effect around the fiber optic.  This adjustable sight light avoids these problems and provides the shooter with more options to match the shooting conditions he or she is in.  The sight is marked for all three stages, it is easy to use and conveniently located. Of course the negative of a sight light is that in some states it may need to be removed and hunters should be aware of the regulations for the area in which they are hunting.

Micro Adjust Windage and Elevation-

Micro adjustability is one of the most important features on a bow sight.  Fine tuning is made so much easier when a sight has this feature and the Hyperstrike has wingnut style knobs to allow for quick adjustments at the range without the use of an allen wrench.  These can be tightened down with a wrench after sighting in to make the sight rock-solid. The micro adjust dials have a great, quality feel and the hashmarks on the windage dovetail bracket make precision simple.  These same marks would be helpful on the elevation adjustment, which is not marked, but the pin channels are marked in this way to aid in minute adjustments.

Maxamount Bracket-

The three position Maxamount bracket allows for three sight diameter options.  The sight housing is generous at 1.9” and is highlighted by a glow in the dark 

shooters ring for consistency in low light situations.  Matching the sight housing with a large aperture peep sight is no problem and is another reason why this site is a great option for the bowhunter.  The site level is positioned inside of the housing, allowing for easier peripheral monitoring. The Hyperstrike comes with the Sight Line option, which helps archers to see any small imperfections in form that is leading to torquing their bow.

Price:

The 5 Pin Hyperstrike in black comes with a suggested retail price of $121.00.  The Hyperstrike with sight line option retails at $148.00. Considering the amount of features packed into this sight, the price is certainly fair.  

Conclusion

The TruGlo Hyperstrike is a great sight that outperformed both my expectations and its price tag.  It offers many features which more expensive sights fail to include. It is designed with bowhunters in mind and leaves little on the table in terms of performance.  It proves to be a great choice for beginning and experienced hunters, alike, and should be on the short-list of any archer looking for a quality, durable, lightweight, multi-pin bowsight.  


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3 Minute DIY (Public Land Legal) Bow Hanger

I had trouble finding public land legal bow hanger options that were compact and quiet to carry.  I also wanted something that would allow for the incorporation of the 1″ webbing strap I was already using to lash my back pack to my stand platform so as to cut down on the amount of gear I would need to carry into the woods.  After trying many different things, I stumbled upon a composite rafter square I no longer was using and it ended up being exactly what I was looking for.  I drilled holes to make a slot for the webbing strap to thread through and finished this off with a carpenters knife.  A simple band saw did the trick for the rest of the cutting and the hanger is wide enough to accomodate split limb bows and sturdy enough to support even the heaviest models.

Here is a time lapse of the 3 minute project: