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A Few Product Reviews

Buck Yum Trophy Feed and Supplement Mixture

On an afternoon in late September, I pulled my truck into a nondescript warehouse in Waxhaw, NC.  Waiting for me inside was my childhood friend Robert Burns, co-owner of Buck Yum.  I hadn't seen Robert in at least a half-dozen years.  The last time I saw him was over in our old neighborhood in Charlotte, which he was using as a base of operations for selling tree stands.  Robert and I spent an hour or so catching up on the events of the past few years, telling each other about our families and reminiscing about some of the old times we had spent together hunting while we were growing up.  I left his warehouse with a couple of hundred pounds of Buck Yum in the back of my truck.

The first time I used this new feed, I scattered a fifty pound bag around a small food plot on my lease, taking note of the extremely strong scent of peanuts that was present in the feed.  After pouring it out, I quickly got in a box blind for the evening hunt.  Before long, an extremely strong storm system passed through the area, and my food plot was soon a mass of mud and muck, and no deer appeared.  The feed washed away in the rain, and I was extremely disappointed as I headed home - not in the product itself, but in the fact that I'd wasted fifty pounds of it.  

The following weekend, I went back down to my club and used two more bags to fill up a pair of feeders that I had in different spots on the property.  I chose to wait a week before hunting those stands.  When I returned the following week,  I was amazed at how different the ground around my feeder looked.  Before Buck Yum, there had been some obvious signs of animals feeding, but the difference now was quite distinct.  The ground around the feeder had been swept clean of pine needles, as you can see in the picture below.  A week after that, there were green shoots coming up where some of the smaller elements of the feed had taken root and had sprouted, adding yet another reason for deer to come to the feeder.

My trail cameras showed a variety of deer coming to both feeders, and I knew that Buck Yum was a hit.  Last week, I went to a stand that has not had a bit of Buck Yum near it all year, and I poured ten pounds out on the ground seventy yards from the feeder.  Literally twenty minutes after I poured it out and got in my stand, a doe appeared and went directly to the feed.  She started eating it, and within another five minutes she was dead on the ground, victim of my 7mm magnum.  My experience with Buck Yum has been extremely positive, and I'll be replenishing my supply at the first opportunity.  Congratulations to Robert Burns and Brad Hoover on an excellent product.

 

Garmin Montana 650 GPS

Over the last decade, I've owned a steady stream of Garmin GPS units.  My first experience with Garmin's products was an iQueue 3600 Palm Pilot GPS unit, which did an extremely good job providing directions on the road, but it did not have any off-road maps available and was thus useless in the deer woods.  I replaced it with a Garmin Colorado, which I liked quite well.  The screen was extremely readable in broad daylight, and it was very accurate when it came to marking waypoints. 

The unit's software was somewhat lacking, and when the Oregon product line came out, Garmin did not provide any firmware updates for the Colorado for quite some time.  I liked my Colorado, but wanted some of the features of the Oregon, so I sold the Colorado on eBay and upgraded to an Oregon 400T.  This was another great unit, and was well supported by the Garmin team.  The main issue with it was that the screen was much harder to read in daylight.

When Garmin announced the Montana lineup, I sold my Oregon and ordered a Montana from the REI store up in Charlotte.  It took a couple of months to arrive, but when it did, I had found the GPS that I was looking for.  The unit has an extremely solid feel, and the large touch screen is easily visible in the daylight. 

This GPS is not, however, for everybody.  It's quite bulky when compared to some of the other units on the market.  I like the bulkiness of it myself; it's very rugged and fits well in my hand.  It's got a built-in camera, but I would only use that when I don't have my normal camera with me.  The pictures that it takes are fine, but I'm more interested in the GPS itself rather than the camera.  Another downside is that there have been at least six firmware updates in the last three months.  That's quite a lot, and it indicates that there are several bugs in the software.  However, it also shows that Garmin is serious about supporting the unit, and is actively developing fixes.  Most of the issues that have been fixed involve Geocaching, which I don't do, and I personally have not experienced any problems with the unit.

Having said all of that, I'm extremely happy with this GPS, and hope to get many years of service out of it.  I carry it in my backpack every time I go hunting, and have used it to mark all of my stands and all of the roads on my lease.  I'm using Energizer Lithium batteries, and I am on my second set after 4 months of average usage.  The unit also functions well for on-road navigation provided that you purchase the appropriate City Navigator maps.  If you buy the auto-mount base, you'll also get voice directions with the unit.

 

Fenix Flashlights

When it comes to flashlights, I'm something of an enthusiast.  For the last ten years, I've carried a Surefire 9P light in my Jeep, and whenever I've gone hunting I've stuck it in my backpack for easy access.  A week or two ago, I went to get my oil changed.  As always, I took the Surefire from the little slot that it fit perfectly in on my Jeep's shifter area and stuck it in the center console.  When I went to get it out later that night, it was gone, likely stolen by an employee of the oil change place.  After calling the York County sherriff's office to ask them how to proceed, they said to go back over and talk to the oil change place along with a police officer.  I did this, and we failed to recover my light.  Fortunately, the owner of the place was more than willing to pay me for it, so I left with a check to cover the cost of the 9P along with the LED replacement head that I had installed.

When I went to order a new one, I found that the 9P was no longer in production.  I decided to shop around.  I've got a Fenix headband light which is incredibly powerful and flexible, so I decided to give them a try on their handheld lights.  I ended up ordering three lights... an E-20 for my wife, an E-21 for my Jeep, and a TA-20 for my backpack.

I 've been using the lights ever since, and thought I'd share my findings.  The E-21 has a max output of 150 lumens.  While not as bright as my old 9P, it uses standard AA batteries and fits pretty well in the same slot that my Surefire did.  It's a good enough replacement, and does the job that I need it to do.  Turning the head of the light slighty will select beween the bright and dim settings.  I've got a stanard set of Duracells in the light right now, but the instructions do suggest using a high quality set of rechargable batteries.  I'll be giving that a try in the near future.

The TA-20 light has a really solid feel to it, and at 220 lumens is 10% brighter than my old Surefire, even when I had the high-output head attached.  It's got 4 times the life at full power than the Surefire did.  The light uses CR-123 batteries and has an easy-to-use selector ring to adjust the output from four lumens up to the full 220 lumen mode.  The low level mode is great for use in the dark in a deer blind.  It gives you just enough light to see without being bright enough to alert the deer of your presence.  This light is definitely going to be a keeper.

 

 

 

 

 

 




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