2022 Is Here! What’s on your list this year?
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Wow – I haven’t posted since June 2020! I apologize – work has been crazy, I’ve had some Writer’s Block, reviews had slowed down, and the world id just different lately.

Normally I might do a “Best of 2020” post, but I think I will forego that. Winter and Spring of 22 look to be be busy. Archery deer tags for January are OTC here in Arizona and I hope to get out a few days. I have a General Javelina tag for the middle of February, and I hope to go striper fishing in Texas this spring. I expect to pickup some cool interviews here and there, hopefully a review or two also.

Besides that, it’s good to be back, and wishing you all the best in 2022!

Product Review : DrySee Bandages
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If you spend enough time outside, sooner or later you’ll have an injury. Burns, cuts, scrapes – you name it. Similarly, if you hunt, fish, camp or hike – you’ll eventually encounter wet conditions. Rain, snow, sweat, lake water – and we all know how hard it is to keep bandages on and healing wounds dry. Sometimes you have a wound or injury that really needs to stay dry..

That’s where DrySee comes in.

“Our waterproof adhesive bandage consists of a waterproof covering that protects the wound and a liquid indicating gauze which visually confirms the integrity of the bandage. The water invasion indicators run along the perimeter and comprise the center island of the bandage. Patients and healthcare professionals will quickly see if the waterproof bandage or wound site has been compromised.

DrySee seals out water and germs with a clear, flexible, non-latex adhesive and non-stick absorbent pad.

DrySee’s color changing liquid intrusion perimeter and pad provides visibility that the wound is protected.

Available in multiple sizes, DrySee’s patented long lasting wound protection promotes healing and alerts you if water gets in.”

Thanks to Laura at Asylum PR for sending me some samples to try. Luckily (or not) my wife happened to have a small wound on her tummy that was perfect for trying the DrySee bandages. I don’t think she knew I took a pic, so don’t tell her…

The bandages worked exactly as advertised. They adhered well and were watertight. After 2-3 days I lifted a corner a little so water would intrude and the indicating strip indeed changed color. For as well as the bandage stuck to her skin, it didn’t hurt when it was pulled off.

You can buy these bandages on the DrySee website. A box of six 2″ x 2″ bandages will run you about 20 bucks.

It’s always cool to find products like this that actually work as advertised. For sure I would recommend them and plan on having a couple in my pack!

Reviewing the Jwp Shell M Jacket from Jack Wolfskin
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A big shout out to my friends at Purple Orange PR for letting me know about some cool products from Jack Wolfskin and sending me a jacket to review.

From the release: This 100% recycled 2L hardshell is built to withstand wind and rain. The shell is built with stretchy, windproof, breathable material that keeps you dry without constricting movement. Part of the Jack Wolfskin Pack and Go collection – the jacket conveniently stuffs into a small stuff sack, making it ideal for stowing in a fishing pack or clipping to a vest.

“This jacket is part of our PACK AND GO! collection, created for commuters, urban nomads and weekend city-hoppers. All of the products in this innovative capsule collection are ultra light and packable and ideal for lightweight travel.

The JWP SHELL is made of our environmentally friendly TEXAPORE ECOSPHERE which consists of 100% recycled polyester. It is light and stretchy – perfect attributes for total travel comfort. The detailing is stripped down to the basics: a hood and two hand pockets. One of the pockets doubles as a stow pouch for the jacket. Just stash the jacket in your pack or waist pack and you’re good to go.”

*Weight: 400 g (size M)

*TEXAPORE ECOSPHERE STRETCH 2L: 100% recycled, stretchy, very waterproof, windproof and very breathable outer fabric with twill look (water column rating: 20,000 mm*, MVTR: > 15,000 g/m²/24h**)
(testing method: * JIS L 1092 ; ** JIS L 1099 B-1)

*fixed hood with adjustable volume

*2 hand pockets (one of which doubles as a stow pouch for the jacket)

*adjustable hem

Out of the box the first two things I notice about the jacket are a) how light it is, and b) how tough it feels. I think you would need to work at it to rip, tear, scuff or otherwise damage the fabric on this jacket. The jacket looks sharp; it is very stylish. As stated, it really compacts nicely and is a great jacket to carry in my truck. In Arizona, cool weather, wind and rain come unexpectedly, often when we aren’t carrying a jacket or rain gear. This water-proof and wind-proof jacket is ideal to carry with me, just in case. Perfect for cool spring mornings or summer monsoon storms. On the other hand – the jacket looks great and is sturdy enough for every day wear.

What may be the coolest thing about these jackets – is the amount of recycled material incorporated into the fabric. Sustainability is becoming more and more important these days and this jacket has some cool green technology built in to it.

If you’re interested in a durable, windproof and waterproof jacket that even incorporates some sustainability initiatives = look no further than the Jwp SHell M jacket from Jack Wolfskin. There’s a bunch of places you can buy this jacket, including the Jack Wolfskin site. One of these jackets in XXL will run you about $135 on Amazon.

What a great jacket, and a testament to the company that is Jack Wolfskin. Learn more about them HERE.

Fishing, hiking, casual wear, business wear – I’d absolutely recommend the Jwp SHell jacket.

Saying Goodbye To A Friend
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I attended a memorial service yesterday. The time had come to say goodbye to one of my best friends, Greg McBride, who had finally lost a long, tough battle with cancer. He’s been gone a month. At least twice a week I pick up my phone to call him or text him, then remember that I can’t. I do believe that this will be the first draw deadline in a decade, that I didn’t consult with him prior. There’s a big ol hole in my life – a man like Greg leaves a big gap when they leave.

Greg’s service was nice – I had planned on speaking during the open mic portion but honestly, the other folks had really told in a much better manner, what I had intended to say. “Besides”, I thought to myself, “you’re a writer. It would come out much better if you wrote something.” Between you and me, I’m not sure I could’ve gotten it all out anyway. My daughter and wife came along and I think it shook my adult daughter to see me crying that much – it was a rough day for me – I don’t know how Greg’s wife Carol and his daughters Bethany and Ashlyn did it with such grace. That’s a tough crew, right there…

A number of the speakers talked about hunting with Greg. I too, have been both the benefactor and victim of hunting with Greg. We hunted together several times, and I think my 2019 Coues hunt in 36C was one of his last hunts. In typical Greg fashion, he drove down in the middle of the night, got us up and going, and in what seemed like 20 minutes, was seeing deer everywhere. He still had his chemo port in, but was looking and feeling pretty decent. I was really worried he would overdo it and Carol would be upset, but Greg really only has one speed when it comes to hunting. Greg managed to get me onto a weird, suicidal little 2×1 Coues with eye guards by the end of the day – you can read the story here: My 2019 Coues

That hunt actually went better than most of my hunts with Greg. You see, Greg was a master hunter, and I am not. Greg almost always found game when we hunted together, and then would get frustrated at my bumbling around. I would get frustrated at his frustration, and so it went. I recall a December Coues hunt in Unit 33 where he was so agitated with me not getting set up on a shot quick enough that before we were even down off the mountain, he had called a friend to discuss my ineptness (he didn’t call it that lol) and together they had come up with the requisite shooting drills for me to practice, so this wouldn’t happen again. On an elk hunt in 6A I missed so many times he and another friend dubbed the area the CSR – The Canadian Shooting Range lol

Our adventures in the field aside, Greg was an amazing teacher. I learned more from Greg and another friend John Greiss, than I could ever quantify. Greg taught me reloading, shooting and scope mounting. We talked about cooking and smoking a lot. Greg prepped all of his own meat, and smoking may have been the one thing in life that he asked me advice on. I was pretty handy at it, and he was always bouncing his ideas off of me. We aligned politically on most things, and for much of our friendship, I worked for the University of Arizona – which Greg seemed to like. Greg was a highly skilled taxidermist – whose business waned because he wouldn’t lower his standards. When competitors are taking shortcuts in both their work, and regulatory matters – it is hard to compete. Greg was not a man to sacrifice his values. He was an accountant too, and a good one, doing my taxes for years and in true Greg style, charging me barely enough to cover his costs.

It is so cliché when remembering a friend or family member, to go on and on about what a “good man” they were. For Greg though, he was a good man. And well into our friendship of over a decade and a half, what I grew to admire most about Greg wasn’t his skill at hunting or taxidermy, or his knowledge of reloading and fieldcraft. It was his goodness. You see, Greg was a Christian, as am I, albeit I’m not a very good one. And when you’re a Christian, regardless of denomination – you’re called to live a “Christ-like” life. I would offer, with no embellishment – that Greg lived a Christ-like life, more than anybody I know. It was wrapped in camo, sarcasm, and a wry smile – but it was there.

Greg was astoundingly kind, and would help anybody. As a matter of fact, that’s how we met. Many, many years ago I decided to take a crack at being a Booking Agent, booking hunting and fishing trips for outfitters. I was going to have my first booth in my first outdoor expo, and I thought some mounts would add credibility. We didn’t have Google back then so I must’ve used the yellow pages, but I called a few taxidermists, letting them know I was trying to borrow some mounts for a few days. Greg didn’t know me from Adam, but he didn’t hesitate. He thought it over and said, yeah – I have a caribou mount here, and a deer you can borrow. I failed miserably as a Booking Agent – I’m too much of an introvert to sell anything. That was however, the beginning of a long friendship. Over the years I saw Greg help a ton of people, with nothing expected in return.

Greg had more bad luck than anyone I know. So much so that it became a bit of a ritual that whenever I returned home from visiting Greg, my wife would ask how Greg was – always with a bit of trepidation. Invariably, Greg had encountered some more bad luck since our last visit, and as usual was taking it in stride. His house was built wrong. His property went through imminent domain. He had customers. some of whom were “friends” – rip him off – sticking him for thousands of dollars in taxidermy work. He had a new flock of chickens killed by a dog. He bogged his 5th wheel in the mud up north and had to leave it until he could get back and haul it out. And of course – the worst luck of all – that damned mass they found on his stomach. I remember the day he told me – I was dropping off taxes or something and while investigating another health issue, they had found something on his stomach. Greg took it all in stride though – a perfect example of resiliency, faith and good nature. What would have broken most of us, Greg just shrugged off, and moved on to whatever was next. It was only when he started to ask me to help him move stuff did I begin to figure out just how sick he was. Until that point he always downplayed whatever he was going through – always shifting the conversation to whatever I had going on, and how my family was doing.

Greg loved his family beyond description. Even in sickness he worried more about his wife Carol and he was tremendously proud of his girls – but also he was always just a bit concerned too – as they are both in law enforcement. As agitated and fervent as he would get about politics, he was never mean or hateful. I’m sure his family has seen him mad, but I sure as heck haven’t – even when he had every right to be.

Greg had impeccable values. Although our hunting skills were on opposite ends of the spectrum, we wholeheartedly agreed that hunting was way more than killing. It was about rules and ethics. Fieldcraft and good sportsmanship. It was about sharing your knowledge and treating game with honor and respect. Together we often lamented today’s hunters and anglers – who often seemed to obsess with quantity and quality – not ethical harvests gained through hard work and wisdom gained afield. We were saddened by what social media has done to hunting and fishing, and what greed has done to the lifestyle we love.

So – a man who was a teacher. A man who lived life’s hurdles with faith and resiliency. A man who was kind and loved unconditionally but was always willing to speak up for the rule of order and the folks who were wronged. A man with ethics and morals. Sure sounds Christ-like to me. Those are the things I learned from Greg, and were affirmed after nearly every conversation. Sure I’m grateful to know how to reload, and I’m a better shooter and hopefully (Greg may argue lol) a better hunter – but I learned, no I saw – what it was like to live a Christ-like life. I’m deeply, deeply saddened that my friend is gone. But I’m so grateful for his friendship, and everything I learned from him. Especially the important stuff.

Best of the West Long Range Shooting Class – Check It Out
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A long time ago, I was a pretty good shot. When I was in the Canadian Army our service rifle was the FN C1 in 7.62 Nato and we qualified in Basic Training and every year out to 1000 meters, With open sights. In those days, it wasn’t unusual to be one of the top three or four shots in the Regiment. The years have taken their toll and I’ll be honest – my shooting isn’t what it used to be. I’ve battled flinches and bad technique. Deteriorating eyesight and muscle tone play a part I’m sure. I’m certainly not in good shape any more. All that to say when Paul Bourgeois from Best of the West Arizona offered me a chance to attend their Long-Range Shooting School, I was all over it.

This particular course happened to be held at the Tucson Rifle Club. The classroom was great, and we were greeted with some coffee and doughnuts, along with some swag. We covered the house rules and got down to it. There was a full agenda to include:

*Long Range Hunting Defined
*Long Range Hunting Ethics
*Long Range Hunting Tips
*Safety Overview
*The Shooter/Spotter Relationship
*Understanding MOA
*Introduction to Huskemaw and BOTW Long Range Shooting Systems
*Internal/External Ballistics
*Doping the Wind
*Shot Placement

First off, Paul is a great Instructor. He and all of his Staff are very professional, and extremely knowledgeable. There is no fluff, no bravado; just practical knowledge presented in easy and understandable terms. Paul has a great manner and while the class is fun, it is serious too. Best of the West Arizona sells BOTW custom rifles and Huskemaw Optics exclusively. No other weapons or optics. It will be clear that part of the intent of the class is to familiarize you with the BOTW Long Range Systems and thus – will want to buy them. Make no mistake though – this is indeed a long-range shooting class, it is not an all-day sales pitch. If that is what is holding you back – forget about it and go. You use BOTW systems on the course only – this is not a BYOG course. All of that being said, Paul and his Staff were extremely professional in that never did I hear during the entire day – trash talking or disparaging companies. That’s just not how these guys operate.

I thoroughly enjoyed the entirety of the class. Note that this is a hunting class. Not a long range competitive shooting class, nor a tactical class. The entire body of coursework is to make you a better hunter, at ranges you never dreamed possible. I especially enjoyed the work on target acquisition – I always struggle when moving from binos to rifle, or when increasing magnification after I’ve picked up the animal. The instructors stressed throughout the concept of being “rock solid” – having two points of contact supporting your weapon. We had a discussion on the ethics of long range shooting also – and the importance of getting as close as possible and not making “trick shots” just for the purpose of doing it.

Roughly speaking, the course is laid out as follows: Some classroom work and then out to the 500 yard firing point for some dryfiring, practice in setting up, practice in target acquisition, and in the spotter and shooter working together. Then you shoot. At 500 yards. That’s where we started. Again, we used BOTW shooting systems along with BOTW ammo, custom-loaded for their systems. 500 yards is a hell of a poke for a lot of people, including me. Currently, one of my hunting rifles is more than capable of reliably shooting that distance, but I am not. Add that to the variability in my rifle, scope, bases, technique and ammo – 500 yard shots are not in my comfortable, confident range. 350, yes. 400 maybe. 450 and beyond – for me is a Hail Mary most times, and not ethical. Those are the shots I pass up.

Throughout the class, Paul and his staff touted two main concepts – “rock solid” and “Range, Dial, Shoot”. I am here to tell you, no BS – it was that easy. 500 yards, no warm up, no practice – settle in, get comfortable – Range, Dial, Shoot. I put 3 rounds (out of 3) within an inch of the center (12×16 steel plate). It was that easy for most of us.

We headed back in and had lunch, chatted about some more stuff while we ate and headed back out to he 1000-yard line. I gotta tell you – especially with these old eyes – stuff is small at a thousand yards. Went through the same drills and then went live. By now winds were pretty brisk, gusting up to 20-25 MPH or so, and even worse, swirling. I put 4 or 5 rounds down range and just missed the plate each time, except for the first round, in which I used the wrong hash mark for the wind. Other than that I was literally dancing on the edge of that plate at 1000 yards in the swirling wind. I was bummed at no “clang”, but still better than I have shot in years. Maybe ever. And to be fair, it was all on me. Some of the students were having a similar experience (close but no clang) and several were ringing steel. My partner Matt had some target rounds, thanks to the work of his amazing spotter (me, of course).

If I owned one of these rifle systems (and I intend too, someday) I would be confident right now, today – shooting out to 850 yards or so, and with some familiarity – 1000 yards. Again, shots would always be made as close as possible, but if needed – I could make those long shots with these systems. It really is as easy as “Range, Dial, Shoot”.

I am extremely grateful to Paul for inviting me. It was the most fun I’ve had, and the most I’ve learned, in a long time. We ended the day with a class photo and a BOTW tshirt, and a lot more confidence than we had when we started that morning. A one-day long range shooting class with Best of the West Arizona will run you about $525 and if you want to become a better long-range hunter, it will be the best money you’ll ever spend. I can’t stress enough how friendly and professional that he and his staff are. This is a hands-on class using BOTW rifles and ammo, figure on 3 or 4 students to each instructor. I think Matt and I pretty much had an Instructor all to ourselves. The only drawback to the course is that unless you have no soul, you will come away wanting a new rifle. I guess that’s not such a bad thing either. Most of their shooting courses are held at the Cowtown Range in Peoria or the Tucson Rifle Club.

You can learn about the Best of the West Custom Rifles HERE

You can also check out Huskemaw Optics

They frequently have some rifles all made and Ready to Ship

If you’d like to get near-BOTW performance out of your own rifle, check out their Accurizer Service

They also have some wicked cool accessories to help with your shooting HERE

And finally, checkout their Facebook Page and their YouTube Channel