Meet Steve Hilliard – Xpedition Shooter
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I’ve been impressed with Xpedition Archery since I’ve earned about them. So much so that I reached out to them and asked if there might be a way to join their team. You may have read my interview with Blake Davis or even better, my follow-up interview with Blake.

I have an Xpedition Xception on the way, but in the meantime I thought I would catch up with some of the folks that are out there shooting Xpedition bows and loving them. Xpedition Shooter Steve Hilliard was kind enough to take some time out to answer some questions.

1) How long have you been shooting competitively?

I have been shooting competitively since 1984

2) How long have you been working with Xpedition?

I have been with Xpedition archery 3 years now

3) Who did you shoot for before?

I shot for Bowtech, Martin and PSE

4) What made you change?

I made the move to Xpedition because of the people behind the bows and where they were heading. Which is the best move I have ever made. These bows are the best shooting bows I have ever shot.

5) What do you like most about Xpedition bows?

Shootability. I like that all their lineup is built with precision with one common goal – “we don’t want to be the biggest, just the best ” with this in mind each and every bow is sent out to the dealer at exact specs and the cams are laser aligned out of the box making them a semi-custom bow straight from the factory. This results in quick and easy setup and with their R&D all these bows are forgiving and extremely shootable. To the consumer. You cannot pick the best model as they all are, and can be – the best.

6) What makes Xpedition (the company) different?

The company’s vision is to be the best not the biggest; they are passionate in regards to putting out the best bow possible. When you order an Xpedition it comes set to your draw length and cams laser aligned out of the box. They are the only company doing this. Your first impression is important to them.

7) What Xpedition bows do you like best?

I like every model! Honestly they all can be favorites. They have a bow to fit every archer.

8) What’s your favorite thing to hunt?

Whitetail deer is my favorite big game animal to hunt.

9) What’s on your bucket list when it comes to archery and hunting?

My bucket list is several different things. Regarding hunting, I want to take a P&Y whitetail one of these days. Most of all it’s to do all I can to help our sport and keep the next generation as passionate as we are.

Thanks to Steve for taking some time out to chat!

You can learn more about Xpedition here: Xpedition website

Talking to the Folks From Swagger Bipods
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A big shout out to Josh Kinser, the Marketing Director from Performance Plus Outdoors for taking some time to talk to me about Swagger Bipods.

1) What prompted you to go into bipods?
When our team first saw this idea and design – the versatility was unmatched by anything in the market. We had never seen something that could adapt to adverse situations in the field. We saw the opportunity to help hunters in a way that current bipods and shooting sticks currently cannot.

2) What makes your design different?
Everything – flexibility, maneuverability, change from flexible to rigid with a click, no “bipod hop”, the ability to adapt to the situation in the field as it happens and much more accessibility to a solid rest to complete the mission or fill the tag.

3) What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced, getting these to market?
We make a lot of this bipod in the United States but that is a huge challenge because we get compared to products manufactured in China in both quality and price. We are labeled as a “conventional bipod” and everybody thinks, “Oh, this is just a bipod or a cheap shooting stick.” We are a much higher end and versatile product than what most consumers are used to seeing.

4) For someone not familiar with your company, what would you want them to know?
Swagger Bipods is owned by Performance Plus Outdoors which also owns Big & J Long Range Attractants and The Given Right, a show hosted by Kenneth Lancaster and airing on the Pursuit Channel.

5) Whats next for Swagger?
Swagger is going to continue to be a leader of innovative products for the shooter and hunter. We are going to continue to bring more and more products and are currently working on prototypes for 2018.

6) Whats your favorite thing to hunt?
My favorite is whitetail hands down. I love hunting them in different environments and especially love to rattle down here in Texas. Outside of that I love the mountains – I’ve been on a couple of New Zealand tahr hunts, spike camping. I would do that every year if I could.

7) What’s the big dream hunt on your bucket list?
I can’t go with just one. For my mountain hunts, I really want to go after a Mid-Asian Ibex and a Dagestan Tur. For deer, high on my list is getting a coues deer in the Arizona mountains and hunting blacktails on Kodiak Island.

From their website: “Revolutionary Crazy Legs Technology gives you shooting agility and flexibility like never before, which will dramatically expand your shooting zone. Swagger replaces ordinary “stiff ” bipods and shooting sticks that have to be held to stabilize, must be carried, and are heavy, noisy and limited in how they allow you to shoot. Swagger is the all-terrain bipod and can do anything the others can do, and a whole lot more!

With Swagger, you can raise up, lower down, slide left , inch right, move forward, lean back, twist or contort as the shot calls for. All thanks to flexible, hyper-extending Crazy Legs. You can shoot prone, sitting or standing without the need to hold or stabilize. And, Swagger retracts into the chassis for easy, quiet transport.

Swagger’s legs retract into the chassis, where they are concealed and protected.

And when you sling your firearm over your shoulder, Swagger won’t dig into it like other bipods can!”

Learn more about the bipod on their website:

The ways it can move

Different shooting positions

Learn about the products

Watch Swagger videos

Learn about the Lifetime Warranty

Finally, you can SHOP Online

Thanks again to Josh for telling my readers more about these cool bipods! ~DesertRat

A Review – “Buck, Buck, Moose” by Hank Shaw
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I wanted to thank Kathi Johnson and Hank Shaw for getting me a copy of “Buck, Buck, Moose” to review. ~Desert Rat

From the Press Release:

Noted cookbook author and James Beard award-winning writer Hank Shaw has just released his third cookbook: Buck, Buck, Moose: Recipes and Techniques for Cooking Deer, Elk, Moose, Antelope and Other Antlered Things (H&H Books 2016).

More than a cookbook, Buck, Buck, Moose is the first and only comprehensive guide to working with and cooking all forms of venison – and it’s available just in time for hunting season and the holidays. In addition to more than 100 recipes, the book includes:

− Stories of the hunt and essays on why venison holds such a special place in society
− Instructions for butchering, aging and storing your venison and how to handle all parts of the carcass (including the odd bits)
− Extensive section on curing venison and how to make sausages, dry-cured salami and jerky
− And… venison beer and wine pairings

Shaw takes the cook/reader around the world from nose to tail, with recipes from six continents for every part of the animal. From the simple – Country Fried Venison, to the classic – Steak Diane, to the unexpected – Venison Tripe Neapolitan.

Released in September, this essential guide already has sold more than 10,000 copies and has received nearly 100 percent “5 star reviews” (179) on AMAZON.

About Hank Shaw: A former restaurant cook and journalist, Shaw is the author of three cookbooks: Hunt, Gather, Cook (Rodale 2011), Duck, Duck, Goose (Ten Speed 2013), and Buck, Buck, Moose (H&H Books 2016), as well as the James Beard Award-winning website Hunter Angler Gardener Cook (honest-food.net). He has been featured in numerous major media outlets ranging from the New York Times to NPR and Field & Stream, as well as on numerous television shows, including Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods and CNN’s Somebody’s Gotta Do It with Mike Rowe. His writings have appeared in Food & Wine, Organic Gardening, Garden & Gun, Petersen’s Hunting, The Art of Eating, among others.

So first off – to call this book a “Cook Book” is to do it a huge disservice; this is a coffee table book that happens to be full of amazing wild game recipes. It’s a manual on how to care for you game in the field. It is a primer on food safety. It’s part technical guide, part personal musings and partly a conversation with your butcher about what cuts work best for what.

The photography is amazing; the recipes are exotic and homey and comforting and zesty. At the time of the review I had an elk roast left in the freezer. I’m usually not too big on roasts, so I thought this would make for a good test case. I picked the Italian Pot Roast recipe.

As might be expected, this recipe is a “red-winey, tomatoe-y, oregano/thyme and rosemary-y” pot of goodness. The roast came out tender and nicely flavored with lots of accompanying sauce to drizzle over the meat.

The recipes in this book are amazing; literally a trip around the world. These recipes account for different cuts of meat and different types of game. From South African Bobotie to Massaman Curry to Icelandic Venison with Blueberry Sauce there is something for every taste. The book is smartly divided into sections of cuts – roasts, loins, primal cuts, stews, ribs, meatballs, etc. If you’re one that likes the “wobbly bits” as Hank calls them – heart, liver, kidneys, etc. – there is a whole section dedicated to those recipes. My favorite section is the section on sausage. I can’t wait to try all of those recipes!

My only concern with the book was that these recipes could be intimidating for the novice hunter-chef. Rest assured, these recipes are well-explained and easy to follow. Anyone with the most basic level of skill in the kitchen will now have the ability to table some amazing fare – well beyond grilled steaks or spaghetti sauce that had become the staples for many of us. Even better – if you have someone in your circle of friends or family that turns up their nose at wild game – I guarantee you’ll find a cure for that somewhere in this book. There are some amazing recipes in here and Hank does a great job coaching the cook through the why and the how as well.

If you like to hunt moose, deer, caribou or antelope – this may well be the last book you’ll ever need to buy. From the time the creature hits the ground, until it lands on your table – Hank has you covered. The book is well-organized with fantastic photography, clear instructions and lots of narrative which provides a ton of info besides the actual recipe.

I would absolutely, 100% recommend this book. Right now, you can buy it on Amazon for less than 25 bucks. It will be the best 25 bucks you’ll ever spend – especially when it comes to putting game on the table.

A Review – Rugged Maps
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I’d like to thank the folks over at Rugged Maps for sending me one of their maps to review.

They were kind enough to send me one in time for my Mule Deer Hunt in Unit 22 here in Arizona. I hunt 22 quite a bit, so this is a great map to review.

The first thing you notice about the map is the material.These maps are printed on a tarp-like material that appears to be almost indestructible. I can tell you with confidence that you won’t poke a hole in it, or tear it by accident. I was able to write on the maps with a ballpoint pen, pencil was a bit harder. I couldn’t find any of my Omnichrome or grease pencils to try on the map but I bet they would work fine.

I suppose you might be able to cut it with a blade or drive a screwdriver through it, but I guarantee that you would be hard-pressed to damage it through routine use.

Rugged maps prints maps of Game Management Units, Nautical Charts, Topo maps, NOAA maps, USGS 7.5 minute maps, RM Lite Quads/Hiking maps and even custom maps.

You’d think that they might lose some detail in printing on material like this, but the detail was great! Colors didn’t bleed, terrain was clear, lettering crisp. Everything was clear and identifiable.

The map I tested runs about 30 bucks and I think it is well worth it, particularly if you hunt certain units extensively. You’re not going to wear it out, you’re not going to damage it. The map is easy to refold/roll up and it comes with a carrying pouch.

I’d definitely recommend these maps!

Check out Rugged Maps’ Facebook Page here.

My 2016 Arizona Deer Season In Review
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Well, I can’t write better than Dickens, so I might as well borrow one of his phrases… “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…”

My deer season started off in Unit 18B where my friend John Greiss had organized a “Ladies’ Hunt”. The varied wives and girlfriends of the Weekend Warrior crew were encouraged to put in for the same hunt, the idea being that the menfolk would sit this one out so they could focus on helping the gals. This was a great effort by John and pulled off by a great group of folks who are accomplished hunters and just good “salt of the earth” people. I ran up for the day, hoping to help out. Goodness knows John and crew have helped me out a ton, and I wanted to be a helper for a change, instead of a helpee.

I rolled into camp just as a new friend named “Tiny” came rolling in, and he was kind enough to give me a ride out to where friends Ben, Kim and Josiah were trying to find a buck for Kim. As luck would have it we were seeing does and then finally, a previously spotted 2 x 1 muley reappeared. Kim has a knack for glassing, and found him on her own. Ben helped her get set up for the shot and the next thing you know, we were traversing the canyon to get Kim’s deer. She was so excited and it was a privilege to be a small part of her first filled deer tag! Of course, it was great to finally meet Jessie and Keekers in person, and to see old friends RL, Joe and Sherri too.

Next up was my mule deer tag in Unit 22. I was hunting with Kent Powell, my friend and co-worker. Kent is one of the most knowledgeable guys I know when it comes to hunting, and it was humbling that he burned a couple of vacation days to help me out. This is the 2nd year he and I have hunted together, and I love our trips. We sleep under the stars, essentially – and Kent is a pretty darned good cook too. Not only do I learn a ton with him, but I eat real good also.

Day One we saw nothing but does or spikes that were too far away, although we did pass a guy that was bringing a small 3×3 out on his side by side. We ate steak cooked over mesquite coals that night, and all was well in the world. Saturday morning we split up to cover more territory and soon I had a call from Kent saying he was watching a spike and 2 does. He asked if I wanted to try for it and I headed in that direction. By the time I had gotten there and we had crept together up over a small crest, they had moved but Kent quickly found them again. I hurriedly got set up on top of Kent’s tripod and “Boom”. The 1st shot was a clean miss. I chambered another round, picked up the buck again and fired another shot. I heard the telltale “whap” of a hit, and watched the buck stagger, spin around, take several steps downhill and immediately he laid down. He got up one more time took some steps and then snowplowed into a thicket of bushes. We watched the area for almost half and hour and with no movement, we headed over. To my dismay, one doe busted out of there, and then another deer. We couldn’t tell if it was a doe or the buck. There was blood on the ground, but no buck. While searching, the other doe busted too. The 2nd one had been the buck. Kent headed down into the wash, and I traversed the side of the small canyon we were on.

We tracked that deer literally for miles, and for hours. We tracked him through washes and across flats and through brush so thick we practically had to crawl through it. Finally, the sign disappeared. We were sure the buck’s wound was mortal, but despite our best efforts, we didn’t recover him. I must say Ive been hunting a long time, and that is the first time that has happened to me. To say I felt awful was an understatement. I was heartsick. After some conversations about ethics, shooting technique and personal choices, I decided to keep hunting – to keep learning, if nothing else. If another shot opportunity presented itself, I would decide then whether or not to take it. Alas, more does the next day and a half – so no shots. Despite my glum mood I was grateful to be hunting with a good friend in this beautiful state. I look forward to these trips every year. If there was a silver lining, I was pretty proud of my tracking skills. A couple of times I got us back on track by spotting – literally – a single drop of blood on the desert floor. Hopefully its not a skill I will need that often in the future.

My final trip had me spending the day with good friend Ken in Unit 34A looking for Coues. I love southern Arizona – it’s beautiful country.I hit the road early and we rolled out. This was the coldest hunt yet – I had to wear a jacket and everything!! In spite of being in prime Coues country, our best glassing efforts that day only yielded does.

Like every hunting trip, I always manage to learn something and this really is some of the prettiest country in Arizona. Ken didn’t fill his tag this year either, but I’m always grateful for his friendship and he’s a knowledgeable hunter too. We seem to have some pretty interesting conversations bouncing around a truck or sitting on a hill!

Grateful for another season where I got to spend some time outdoors with good people, see some of the most beautiful areas in t he country and always – keep on learning about hunting. Next year, I hope to be posting a success story!

Holiday Libations – from Desert Rat Outdoors
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Not that I am advocating the consumption of strong liquor, but…. I know that during the Holidays many of you like to entertain. Here are some great punch recipes, associated with my military background. These recipes were all pulled from the message board Army.ca

Artillery Punch

1 qt strong black tea
1 qt rye whiskey
1 bottle red wine
1 pint Jamaican dark rum
1/2 pint brandy
1 jigger benedictine herbal liqueur
1 pint orange juice
1/2 pint lemon juice

Combine all the ingredients in a large punch bowl with a block of ice. If found too dry, sugar syrup may be added. Decorate with twists of lemon peel.

and another..

Served by the Officer’s Mess of the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada:
ATHEL BROSE (loosely translated “nectar of the gods”

1 lb honey 2 1/2 c steel cut oats (NOT rolled)
2 c. water
1/2 gallon scotch

Mix all ingredients( but scotch), warm gently on low heat only until blended. Remove from heat, let cool and stir in scotch. Allow mixture to soak overnight w/ secure cover. Strain oat mixture from liquid and discard (or use for bread). Place liquid in glass jar and swirl (or roll) daily for 2-4 weeks.Several months if you can stand it ! Try not to open the container as you go to keep contaminants out.
The longer you wait the smoother it gets! Strain one last time and serve to all!

How about some “moose milk”?

Moose Milk My favorite!!

40oz Lambs Dark Rum
40oz Kahlua
40oz Vodka
4L Vanilla Ice Cream (the good creamy expensive kind)
4L eggnog

Mix all together, breaking up the ice cream a bit. Sprinkle nutmeg on top if you so desire. Stir occasionally as the ice cream starts to melt. Enjoy!

Bull’s Milk???

Both the Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess and the Officers’ Mess of The Lincoln and Welland Regiment serve versions of “Bull’s Milk” or Moose Milk on New Year’s Day. There are at least two recipes:–

Hot version. Heat slowly until warm:
• 80 oz Dark Rum
• 40 oz Brandy
• 40 oz Rye Whisky
• 12 qt Egg Nog

Cold version. May be kept cold by adding a block of ice after mixing:

• 120 oz White Rum
• 26 oz Brandy
• 26 oz Kahlua
• 3 or 4 gal Ice Cream (Chocolate, Vanilla or Neapolitan)
• 2 or 3 gal Milk or Egg Nog
• 1 qt Whipping Cream
• dash Vanilla Extract
• dash Nutmeg

Not so sure about this – not for the faint of heart:

“BOAT GAS”

What you need.

- 1 very big pale, or small garbage can ( clean ), or crock pot – and a ladle
- depending on the size of bucket used, buy about 4-5 frozen fruit punch mix – throw it in
- buy lemons, and limes, and strawberries etc and cut up and put in the bucket
- add about 1 bottle vodka, 1 bottle white rum, 2 bottles tequila ( basically whatever you want ) ( bottle generally 40 pounder)
- Stir up until the boat gas eats away at your ladle
- serve to a friend first and watch for negative effects. Usually let the “lab rat” sit for 5 minutes. If all checks out, go nuts. Enjoy the evening.

The fruit adds flavour, but also when all the booze is gone you can eat the alcoholic fruit, that way when your wife/girlfriend asks you if you actually ate anything healthy at the party ( or does that just happen to me? ) you can say “yes dear, i had fruit”

and finally…. “Windex”

“Windex” (later named “Prop Wash” by a rigged vote in the mess, damn those Air Force rotters … !)
- one part vodka
- one part white rum
- two parts Parfait D‘amour (a blue-coloured licquer by Marie Brizzard)
- dilute with Seven Up to suit your taste … while your taste buds are still functioning … (supposedly, 7Up is better than Sprite)
- makes a delightful, uniquely-coloured drink that will lift floor tiles (yup – I wouldn‘t make that one up) and will leave a mildly radioactive glow on your glassware (which we discovered at our wedding reception … )
- Theyd serve it to unsuspecting guests, and when they‘d ask about the blue colour we‘d explain that we‘d used Melita coffee filters and Windex … whereupon their faces would turn a shade of blue to match the drink!

Enjoy. I’m not responsible for you not drinking responsibly

Review – When Bears Attack
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A big shout out to Jake Klein from Skyhorse Publishing for sending me a copy of “When Bears Attack – Close Encounters of the Terrifying Kind” for review.

Nearly every outdoor enthusiast has an interest in bears. Whether its a mutual predatory respect, or an awestruck preoccupation, or a flat-out, paralyzing fear – most of us like stories about bears. Lots of us like bear encounters – when they are sane, and safe. Unfortunately, not all encounters end well.

This book, edited by Joseph B Healy is a great compilation of bear attack tales. Here is the release:

Bears are one of nature’s apex predators, gentle and magnificent to watch from a distance, fierce and unpredictable when aroused. If startled or frightened it’s often too late for humans to escape a dangerous, fearsome, or fatal bear encounter. In this collection, we gather the ultimate thrilling and frightening bear-attack stories, including classic stories of the past few decades.

Joseph B. Healy takes a closer look at some of the notable bear attacks of recent history in order to determine their causes, evaluate what happened, and appreciate the raw power—and danger—of mother nature. He tells tales of hikers enjoying weekend camping trips as well as workers going about their daily routines. Follow along as the victims’ lives are disrupted by bears, and see how survivors were forced to think and act in the moment to stay alive.

As modern life continues to encroach on the wilderness and as bears make a resurgence across North America and due to development are forced to live proximate to mankind, encounters between bears and humans will only increase. And while you’re still less likely to be attacked by a bear than you are to be killed by a lightning strike, any and all outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen will enjoy the raw power and potential lifesaving tips found in this ferocious account.

________________________________________

About the Editor:

Joseph B. Healy has spent more than two decades in publishing, editing outdoors magazines for much of that time. His editorial career began at Outdoor Life and continued in fly-fishing and lifestyle publishing. He currently is editor of Covey Rise, a magazine covering the lifestyle of international wing shooting. Healy is the author of Training a Young Pointer, and he has edited Jesus on Forgiveness and John Stuart Mill on Liberty. He lives with his wife, son, and bird dog in Vermont.

I enjoyed the book immensely and one of the things I enjoyed most was the diversity of the stories. Some were funny. Some were pretty scary. Some were informative, and some told a bigger story than that just of the bear. There were bears in Maine and bears in Alaska. There were bears in Canada and California.

There was a great tale of an alcoholic bear in Montana. Causing a ruckus, that bear was finally shot stealing beer. There’s a yarn about a fisherman’s wife who had two big fears – bears and bush planes. Her personal nightmare story included both. There are stories of fatalities, stories about cuts and bruises, and stories where someone’s pride was the only thing injured.

Regardless, the stories are all entertaining, all well-written and once you start a new chapter, it is really hard to stop until you finish that particular tale. You can practically smell the pines of the west or the dank forest floor in Maine. You can imagine the rancid breath of a puffing bruin as it chases you up a tree. It’s likely you’ll learn a thing or two about bears, and maybe a thing or two about people. You’ll probably chuckle a time or two, and maybe – just maybe – you’ll read something that will penetrate to one of those deep, shadowy corners within your brain – and stay there.

If you’re a camper, hiker, fisherman or hunter that is interested in bears – I’d really recommend this book. It’s a great one!

TriClawps Rifle Rest – A Review
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I grew up in the northeast where most shots at deer or moose were in cedar swamps or across clearcuts. Sure, some folks were adept practitioners of the long shot but realistically most hunters were happy to keep shots at 200 yards or less, and it worked. Hunting the west is a whole different ballgame where I would say many shots are at greater than 200 yards. Most hunters I know regularly shoot big game at 300, 400 even 500 yards – and that’s how they practice. They’re not simply lobbing lead around – they are proficient at the long shot.

Shooting at longer ranges means you need (or should) use every tool at your disposal – rangefinders, scope turrets, good optics, and sturdy shooting platforms. That’s where the TriClawps comes in.

From their website: “The Triclawps adapter clamps to your rifles, shotguns, crossbows, and even some handguns and lets you attach your firearm to any camera tripod. Doing so provides a stable rest regardless of the field conditions you’re hunting or shooting in. Sure, it’s always best to get prone, but in reality, that’s not always possible. Triclawps is the best alternative to situations where prone doesn’t work; and has consistently led to more hunters and shooters hitting more targets in difficult field conditions since we first started offering it.

Not too long after I started hunting in Arizona, my friends started telling me about Triclawps. Most people hunting in Arizona do a lot of glassing; they already have a tripod. Triclawps offers a device that securely holds your rifle firmly onto your tripod, providing a steady rest for those long shots.

My first real hunting experience with a TriClawps was my daughter’s 1st javelina. It was called The Claw back then, but it’s the same company, same product. My daughter was shooting a single-shot .223 using The Claw. We helped her get set up, got the rifle mostly lined up, and she took over for the shot. After that hunt, I saw it used successfully a number of times.

Since then I have taken a javelina and an elk with mine. The elk in particular was a pretty steep downhill shot. These are very well-made and are also equipped with speed clamps to get them on and off your rifle quickly. I have mine set up on an extra quick-change plate for my tripod. This makes it easy to swap binos for the rifle pretty quickly.

If you are helping new hunters, or are making shots in difficult terrain, or making long shots where you need an extra sturdy rest, I would highly recommend picking up a TriClawps. They retail for about 100 bucks and they are worth every penny. They are a sturdy, precisely made piece of equipment, of a high quality. If you need a tripod, the folks at Tri Clawps can provide those as well.

Again from the TriClawps website :

Triclawps is made of a high-density, glass-reinforced resin that is light weight, and tough enough to handle the recoil from the largest mangum rifles.

The standard 1/4″ 20 threading ensures your system will work on any camera tripod.

Triclawps comes with a lifetime, no fault, no questions asked warranty.

Check Out These Great Hunting Podcasts from John Stallone
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I don’t do podcasts. Maybe I should but I don’t seem to have the time. Writing and editing keep me busy enough. Friend John Stallone is an author, TV host, and you guessed it – produces great podcasts. Podcasts are terrific because you can download them and listen to them on the go, you can pick your topic or guest, and you can listen on your computer, mobile device, etc.

So what are you going to find, when you check out John’s podcasts?

John Stallone Host of Days in The Wild Interviews professional hunters , and hunting industry leaders on deer hunting, elk hunting, big game hunting, whitetail, mule deer, antelope, moose, bear, ibex and everything in between. to bring you the best tips and tactic to help you improve your hunting success. The goal of this podcast is to educate and inform by covering topics ranging from hunting, fishing, wildlife, elk, moose, bighorn sheep, mule deer and Coues deer, ibex, wild turkey, whitetail, tip and tactics, guides, outfitters, archery, bowhunting, rifle, and much more

So are you ready to give a listen? You can find John’s podcasts here: John Stallone – Interviews With The Hunting Masters

One more favor? If you like the podcasts, leave a review – they help big time with John’s rankings and would be greatly appreciated.

Replaceable Blade Knife Review – the Vixen from Wiebe
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I’d like to really thank Glenn Walker from the Providence Marketing Group and also the folks at Wiebe Knives for sending me a Vixen Folding knife to try.

Per the Press Release:

The Vixen Joins the Wiebe Knives Lineup

Lennox, SD — Wiebe Knives®, the replaceable-blade knife category leader in durability and value, has added the Vixen to its extensive and diverse category hunting, field-dressing and skinning knives.

Every aspect of the Wiebe Vixen is designed under one simple premise: Don’t fight the knife. The Vixen features a folding, replaceable-blade design sporting a surgical-grade scalpel for a long-lasting and consistent edge to work with. And when the blade does become dull, simply dispose of the old blade and insert a new, wicked-sharp blade.

No more wasted time sharpening afield, and no more messy precision work due to a dull blade. Wiebe’s replacement blades are designed to withstand the toughest field work by the most serious hunters, as well as the lightest precision work done by the most detail-oriented fur skinners.

When open, the Vixen measures 7.5 inches and sports a featherweight, ergonomic handle for comfortable use on long jobs, and the folding design makes the Vixen the perfect take-anywhere companion. The knife comes with 24 wicked-sharp replacement blades.

MSRP for the Wiebe Vixen replaceable-blade folding knife is $34.95.

About Wiebe Knives

The entire collection of products from Wiebe Knives—including hunting knives, field-dressing knives, skinning knives and an extensive lineup of fur-handling tools—were developed, tested and proven by hard-use hunters and trappers. Wiebe’s mission is simple: to provide tools of exceptional quality at an unbeatable value.

The knife comes with extra blades right out of the gate so that’s a good thing. The first thing I noticed is that although the knife is light, the handle is thicker than many of competitor’s knives handles and it is contoured with finger grooves. This handle is well-designed to be easy to hold when covered in blood, wet, cold, etc. The knife feels great in the hand.

The blade changes easily. With some replaceable-blade knives, this is a challenge. Not so with the Vixen. Blade changes are pretty easy once you get the hang of it. Some replaceable blades seem to be brittle and snap at the first bit of twisting. I pushed and twisted on these a fair amount with no blades snapped.

Finally, this knife just plain looks good. The wood handle is attractive, and the whole knife is well-designed. I couldn’t wait to get it into the field.

Typically when I do a review I like to really give it a good going over on my bench or at the table, then I like to use it in the field. This time, I had something happen that hasn’t happened in over 2 decades of outdoor writing. I lost the product. I don’t know if someone moved it, I don’t know if someone took it. I can’t explain it. I came home from a scouting trip and I had 2 knives on my belt, including the Vixen. I took them both off and put them on the counter in the regular spot. A week later one knife was there, the other one wasn’t. I literally tore the house apart trying to find that knife, to no avail. I was heartsick. I did use the knife enough to know that I want one and I will be purchasing one soon from their online store. Replacement blades are about 6 bucks per dozen – a very reasonable price.

If you are in the market for a replaceable blade knife, I strongly suggest you look at the Vixen, or one of the other great models from Wiebe Knives. The price at 35 dollars is reasonable for such a well-designed, sturdy knife. Blades are scalpel-sharp as you would expect, and the knife handles very well. The thick, contoured handle will come in handy when your hands are cold or covered in blood. Well done, Wiebe!

I’ll have another Vixen with me when I head out to chase Javelina in February. I’ll be sure to post a follow-up report, from the field!