Blog Entries from the WeHuntSC.com blogging crew
As we all are aware SCDNR is hosting public meetings around the state to discuss the deer management legislation (Senate Bill 454) that’s up for vote. If you haven’t attended a session I encourage you to do so to let your voice be heard. I support the bill and think it will be a good thing for the state given the condition of our deer population and tendencies of some of our state’s hunters.
Last night I attended the meeting held in Lancaster, SC. I really didn’t know what to expect as far as how many people would attend and what the discussions/comments would be like. I know that hunters feel differently about the legislation and for some it gets pretty personal and emotional. I was interested to attend and hear the data from DNR as well as the reactions from the crowd.
I met coyote slayer Gavin Jackson there and upon arrival it was obvious that DNR had a heavy presence at the meeting. I bet there were 25 to 30 DNR representatives and officers present. There were also some gentlemen wearing business coats who sat down at the front. I assume they were politicians, but am not sure as they didn’t say much, but seemingly were just there to observe.
Charles Ruth was the presenter for DNR. Charles is a Wildlife Biologist at SCDNR and he is over the turkey and deer programs. He went through several PowerPoint slides pretty fast to start the presentation. He gave some background on the current state of deer hunting and regulations within the state. One thing he pointed out early on was that buck limits are not a function of SCDNR, but rather it's voted on at a higher level in government. DNR simply enforces the laws that are adopted by government. Even though he stated that fact, some obviously didn’t understand it, but more on that shortly.
In the “Background” section Mr. Ruth highlighted a lot of information. He noted that the declining deer population in our state was due to several factors. The factors he noted were:
Regarding the lack of a reasonable bag limit Mr. Ruth pointed out how much of an outlier SC is. He noted that just about every state has some type of tag program and the states that don’t have tag programs have “antler restrictions”. South Carolina and Hawaii (which Hawaii doesn’t have native deer) are the only ones with really no type of regulations, tag programs, or antler restrictions. From that perspective it’s easy to see that SC is an outlier.
Mr. Ruth also noted that while we have fewer deer now and deer harvest numbers are down… we still lead the southeast in terms of harvest per square mile. Since he went through his slides quickly I wasn’t able to jot down all the data points, but I did capture a few that I thought were interesting:
Mr. Ruth also noted that DNR conducts surveys and polls + they have worked with independent agencies to conduct surveys over the last few years. From the polls and surveys they have been able understand both quantitative and qualitative data as it relates to deer hunting across the state. Some of the sentiment and data they gleaned was:
Current Status of Bill 454
Senate Bill 454 was filed on DNR's behalf in January and has passed the senate. It’s up for vote in house shortly in the upcoming session. Mr. Ruth noted that the proposal may not please everyone, but DNR had to come up with 1 proposal that attempts to please everyone. If the bill is passed in the next session it will still take a year to implement. If it doesn’t pass then the process will have to start over.
The legislation would provide the following:
Open Forum Q/A Session
After Mr. Ruth’s presentation he wanted to get to the questions from the audience and he also wanted to conduct surveys both via raise of hands and via paper. During this session I was reminded that I was in Lancaster as several of the audience members were interrupting each other, complaining that DNR was trying to “Help the rich man and hold the poor people down”, and just not being courteous to one another in general.
Some audience members asked about reviving the check-in locations, rolling big-game license cost & tags into same fee, call-in harvest reporting, and wanting punishment for people caught with illegal deer. Mr. Ruth answered the questions as best he could. As the session went on the environment became more animated.
I was glad that I attended the meeting and got the info and am up-to-date on the current state of Senate Bill 454. I was also disappointed in some of our fellow outdoorsmen that were present and I think we collectively owe Mr. Ruth an apology. Several audience members were disrespectful to Mr. Ruth during his presentation. They made snide comments, interrupted him, asked him questions and then didn’t let him answer before interrupting him again. Even worse some crowd members were essentially holding Mr. Ruth solely responsible for the way the government works, the way the legislation is written, and how laws are interpreted. It was as if they didn’t understand how our government currently works and what DNR is trying to do. Mr. Ruth and DNR are trying to help the deer population and hunters across the state, but the way some interacted with him you could tell they didn’t understand.
It was also obvious, at least to me, that everyone came and voiced their own unique perspective, but yet didn’t consider the scope of the greater task at hand for DNR. Whether it was a bow hunter that was mad about when the season starts in various game zones, or a processor worried about tagging deer in his cooler, a person who wants to blame coyotes for everything, or just a redneck in general who changed positions on a question half way through his response… all attendees had an individual perspective and concern that was voiced. There seemed to be a disconnect in that DNR has to collectively consider all of the unique perspectives, but yet the audience didn’t care about other hunters perspectives, rather they only considered their own. I did not envy Mr. Ruth’s position on stage last night, but I do respect him for delivering the info and taking the misdirected heat. It was impossible to please a room full of 60+ hunters from one area of the state so I can’t imagine trying to please all hunters across the entire state in 1 bill. Though, even though the crowd was animated during the survey session the majority of the crowd was in support of adopting the new legislation, which was a positive.
I thought Mr. Ruth handled the increasingly animated crowd very well and was very professionally even when some members hurled insults at him and his organization. Kudos to the DNR team for hosting the event, remaining professional, and working to get this bill passed. I think the future of deer hunting in our state will benefit from it for years to come. I for one appreciate your efforts and recognize that the challenge before you with this legislation is not an easy one to get across the line. Thank you!
About 3 years ago I heard about and eventually went and met Chris Melvin of Pin Oak Taxidermy. Pin Oak Taxidermy is located in the Great Falls, SC area and is not too far off I-77. I first met Chris when I was seeking out the person behind the “Camo Skulls” that you may have previously seen here and here. Chris does a really good job with the camo skulls and his taxidermy skills extend beyond the camo skulls.
When I originally visited Chris he was doing Taxidermy part time and his business has been growing such that he’s gone full time and now taxidermy is his livelihood. Chris has turned his hobby and passion into his daily work due to the success of his business. One thing that was unique that I vividly remember from my first visit to Chris’ was that he had a small buck that someone brought to him that they had picked up on the side of the road. Chris took the deer in and has been raising him and studying the buck as he grows to help him with his art and taxidermy. This time when I went back to visit the little button buck has turned into a very nice buck! Chris had increased the size of his pen and also has a few does there to keep “Moonshine” company. At this visit Moonshine was in full rut and was very active moving around. It was really neat to be that close to a very large buck. Chris noted that if anyone wants to come by and check out the buck to feel free to stop by.
Chris showed me some of the latest mounts he’s done and the line of work he’s got awaiting him. I interviewed Chris and we talked about his process and various other items. I’ll let the below video finish out the story.
Thanks again to Chris Melvin for having me stop by and giving me an update on his business and services. Pin Oak Taxidermy has also been a supportive sponsor of the competitions that we host here on WeHuntSC and we are greatly appreciative of Chris’ support. So if you want to go and pet a huge buck, get a camo skull or any other mount, and/or also pick up some new WeHuntSC.com stickers, check out Chris Melvin at Pin Oak Taxidermy.
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.
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.
SCDNR would probably have wished for a little nicer weather but my son, Riley, and I didn't let the rain put a damper on our time at the 27th Annual Palmetto Sportsmen's Classic. If you're like me these events are an adrenaline rush. I guess it's just being surrounded by things that get me fired up and this year the rain couldn't put out the fire on this event.
As noted earlier, I had Riley with me so I didn't have too much of a plan for how we would explore the event. He is 4yrs old, so I figured we would play it by ear. Just a few minutes into our journey through the vendors we came up on a pop gun that Riley had to have. I thought this was a good idea because it would keep him occupied. Well, after a few pops from this thing I was searching the vendors for a silencer! He was in heaven, so I didn't stop the popping, although we got some evil looks. Riley made sure he gave those evil eye lookers an extra pop. Oh boy!
As we made our way down the isles of vendors, I had my eyes peeled for products that not only caught my eye but ones that would make me a more efficient hunter. A few of these that I noted were as follows:
McNett Camo Form
This protective camouflage wrap caught my eye as I am always looking for ways to conceal my gun, camera, and stand. This is a stretch fabric wrap that reminded me of an ankle wrap or ace bandage. It is not tape so it doesn't leave a residue and it can be reused. I found this product at the Shooter's Choice of West Columbia stand and after the gentleman with them wrapped my arm with it I was sold.
If you've ever hunted on the ground you know that the ground is not so forgiving. Well, when I sat in the Hammock Seat I was ready for a nap. This thing was very comfortable and swiveled to allow a shot at any angle. I've killed a couple deer from the ground and I wish I would've had this seat then.
As I stopped to take a picture with Riley and a wild boar, I caught a whiff of a deer scent that put me in search mode. Man this stuff was strong. I finally found the source and it was a scent called Buck Smoke. It was a wax looking substance contained in what looked like a shoe polish container. I was intrigued because this was a no liquid and therefore no mess scent. This scent was being sold at the Big E Outfitters stand. They had some amazing animals displayed at their stand.
Mckenzie Scent Fan Duffle Bag
Scent control is a must in the deer woods and I am definitely going to try this bag out this coming season. I often find myself searching on the way to the stand for some pine or cedar to rub on my clothes before a hunt. That is definitely not an efficient way to control my scent. For me this bag is going to make it much more easy to seal my clothes up and control my scent before a hunt. Definitely a must have for me. The Mckenzie Scent Fan Duffle Bag vendor stand also was displaying the Jake Intimidator and Crossover Camo. A dangerous looking combination.
Gator hunting has been the new rage in South Carolina the past couple years and this vendor caught my eye with the gator skull mount sitting ready to chomp. Not that talking gators could get any better but they also were displaying custom truck seat covers. This was a pretty neat looking set up that I'll have to check out this coming gator season.
A couple other vendors that caught my eye were Pin Oak Taxidermy with the Camo Skulls and Hunter's Comfort with the Rack Shack hunting houses. I was also impressed with the versatility of the Hunt Pac and the guarantee made by the X-Factor crew on their bow sound and vibration dampeners. Riley got a picture with Brad Hoover of the Carolina Panthers at the Buck Yum stand. I also picked up a Winn Tuck t-shirt and hat. Winn Tuck had a really neat set up as you will see in my video. I am also a sucker for things that are handcrafted. A couple that stood out were the longbows made by Saluda River Bows (Doug Warren (803) 924-4285) and the kayaks made by Pledger's Craft. These looked like works of art made for the great outdoors.
Overall, we had a great time. We closed the day with some cotton candy and a few more pops from the pop gun. Did anyone else get out in the rain and check out the Classic? Check out the recap video below.
As hunters we?re always looking for new products, ideas, concepts, and gear. I guess it?s just our nature to want to know what the ?next best thing? is or to be able to see trends just around the corner because we want to better ourselves and be well rounded outdoorsmen. Having a lot of hunters on one site allows us to learn from each other and to share information. Through information sharing we make the most out of our time in the field. And on the information side of things?I?ve got some info on a new camo that is just coming out that I would like to share with you in case you like to try out new products.
CrossOver Camo is a new camo that has a really neat pattern that I think will mesh well in some of the outdoor backdrops of South Carolina. CrossOver Camo is a Christian based organization that aims to take the Gospel around the world and share in its fellowship. CrossOver Camo is based out of Delaware and is already making a splash in the outdoor industry.
CrossOver Camo?s pattern is based off a design called ?Reactive? Camo. I took a quote off their web site to explain a little bit about their ?Reactive Camo? pattern? ?Hunters know nothing hides like a deer. The deer?s hair absorbs and reflects light to aid in their ability to blend so well in the environment. Our New Reactive ®Camo pattern evolved from two and a half years of research and field testing. Designed utilizing five different deer hides which provide various colors, sizes and patterns, enabling you to be disguised in the environment like never before, getting close and staying undetected.? One neat thing that I like about the camo is that the cross is integrated into the pattern. Also, the pattern has some dark, vertical lines in it that are similar to the lines in the bark of a pine tree.
I've been checking out CrossOver Camo for a little while and have been testing it to see how it blends in with a couple different backdrops here in SC and its done well. I?m going to wear it turkey hunting this spring and see how it goes and will try to keep you posted via future blog entries. You can decide for yourself after you see the below video.
If you?re interested in seeing the pattern up close for yourself then you can find it this coming weekend at the Palmetto Sportsman?s Classic in Columbia at the McKenzie Scent Fan Bag booth. Be sure to stop by and check it out. If you?re not going to the classic then check out CrossOver Camo?s web site at www.CrossoverCamo.com.
I?m relatively young in my turkey hunting career, but I?ve got enough experience to know that turkey hunting is fun and exciting! I?ve been looking forward to this coming turkey season for some time now and I?m ready to get out and take a shot at calling one in, getting the hunt on video, and getting one on the ground! This year I?m also excited to try out a really neat new decoy called the Jake Intimidator by Countrymen Innovations.
The Jake Intimidator is a unique decoy that uses motion to simulate a Tom puffing up and strutting. The action and motion it creates is pretty cool looking. When I opened up the box and took the Jake Intimidator out I immediately started trying to figure it out and began putting it together. It?s really easy to assemble and is pretty fun to play with. The turkey body on this decoy is really life like and has Velcro on the back to which you attach the fan-tail. The material of the fan-tail is really thick feeling and durable, but yet flexible. As you would imagine, the fan-tail came wrapped up in the box too?so I had to spread it out and give it time to flatten out to give an accurate representation of a turkey?s tail.
The Jake Intimidator has kind of a spring-loaded base that you drive into the ground with stakes that are attached to the base. The tail connection piece of the decoy attaches to the two rods on the base and you clip the string to the connection on the base and pulling it makes the decoy stand up and lay down. It?s kind of difficult to describe in words, but you?ll understand it better from the videos below.
Imagine that you?re turkey hunting and you?ve got 2 ? 3 hen decoys out and you?ve got the Jake Intimidator lying flat on the ground just out front of the hens. You?ve got a big gobbler talking back and forth to you in the distance and he?s on his way in. You give him just enough sweet talk to coax him closer and the decoys have him strutting his stuff out there showing off. You let him get a little bit closer. Just when he thinks he?s got all these ladies to himself you pull the string on him and just like that he thinks there?s another male already there talking to his ladies! Who knows what will happen at this point, but whatever comes next is bound to be fun.
I shot a quick video working with the Jake Intimidator and I went about attaching mine differently, but either way will work I guess :-)
What?s even better is that the guys at Countrymen Innovations have offered a discount price for anyone from our site audience who wants to purchase a Jake Intimidator. If you use the code: WEHUNT11 you?ll get a 10% discount when you order your Jake Intimidator?and if you do, be sure to video your hunts and post them to the site!
Counting down until turkey season!
As many of you are aware, this past hunting season has been a little cooler than normal. I?m interested in knowing what you to do stay warm. You?ve probably got some good, wind-breaking, waterproof, insulated camo pants, jacket, or suit along with some nice insulated boots and thick socks?and you probably even base-layer it with Under Armor?s ?Cold Gear?. At least that?s the approach I take, but when temperatures get really low (like they have been lately) the cold still seems to find a way to cut right through all that stuff and grab me.
I usually put my gear on inside the house and by the time I?m through getting it all on I?m sweating so I rush outside to cool off. Then by the time I walk to the deer stand or to the duck blind I?m sweating again and you all know what happens next?the sweat eventually dries and you are even colder! In attempt to counter this sometimes I?ll leave my gear unzipped or untucked until I reach my location. This helps a little, but doesn?t eliminate the situation completely.
With a few weeks remaining in hunting season I was talking about how cold it was and my mom said ?You ought to just get some of the heat wraps and put them on? because that?s what they used when they had back pain or something. At first I didn?t give it much thought, but after I went on a hunt and sat on a chair covered in ice for 3 hours I decided that I would take the time to find out. When I returned home I asked her about them and she explained a little more. Later on I went to the Springs Wild Game Center where I picked up some ?Toasty Toes? and then I went to Wal-mart and got about 3-4 different brands of those Thermacare?s Heat Wraps?.and the next morning I was so glad that I did! I guess they say ?Mama?s know best? for a reason.
I started off putting my base layer of Under Armor gear on. All of the warnings on the heat packs say ?Do not apply directly to skin? so I put them on after the base layer. Back in the day you had to shake those things to make them warm up, but now all you have to do is open the package and the oxygen makes them heat up. Got to love technology! So I took the ?Toasty Toes? and stuck one on my chest (where I pressed the camera against to keep it warm) and I stuck the other one to the other side of the camera so that it had heat coming from both sides. The "Toasty Toes" are unique in that they have adhesive on them which helps them stick to your clothing.
After applying the ?Toasty Toes? I took the Thermacare Heat Wraps and put one on my lower back and one on my neck. Within minutes I could feel small pockets of heat start warming up all over me. I knew I didn?t have long before I would be sweating on the inside of the house so I hurried up and got dressed. By the time we got to the duck swamp those heat packets were even warmer.
I was so glad that I had investigated, purchased, and used the Heat Wraps and Toasty Toes because those things saved me. I could lean back in my chair and the rail of the chair would press that heat into my lower back and it felt so good. Of course I didn?t tell anybody that I was wearing them?after all, I?m a man and can endure the cold!
You may laugh and give me a hard time, but next time you have a hunt in cold weather plan ahead and give some ?Toasty Toes? or Thermacare Heatwraps a try and see how your hunt goes.
What other methods, tips, or products do you use to keep warm during your hunts?
Over Christmas break I traveled a lot spending time with family?probably similar to what you may experience during the holiday season. Since I got married a couple months back this year was the first year of incorporating another family into the schedule. Since my schedule was a little more filled, I was unable to hunt during the snow that fell the day after Christmas, but I was able to hunt the day after the snow fell when some snow was still on the ground. I?ve always wanted to deer hunt in the snow, but I also didn?t want to mess up the schedule on the first year with the in-laws either!
Though, the first chance I got I rushed back to the house to get my stuff together and slipped down to one of our stands in a nearby field. Since I was late and rushed this stand was a good fit because it?s relatively easy to get to, I can be quiet on the way in and it?s a box stand so it wouldn?t be too cold. I finally got situated in the stand and I sat in the box overlooking a field covered in snow. It was a unique site and one that we don?t get to see too much during deer hunting season in SC.
One of the gifts I received during Christmas was a book titled ?The Christmas Sweater? by Glenn Beck. Early in my life I hated to read, but as the years go by I?m finding myself reading a little bit more and not hating it so much. During the free time I had in between visiting family, opening presents, eating, and traveling I started reading the book that I had received. Reading a book about a Christmas sweater didn?t really seem to appealing to me, but I had some free time so why not check it out. I would have been scolded if I had pulled the computer out in front of the wife!
I read about 2/3 the way through the book during the Christmas break and I brought the book with me in my bag in case I decided to read some more. I sat in the box looking at the field and snow and in between looking out the windows I read the rest of the book. The book actually turned out to be very good! As I mentioned, I wasn?t too pumped about reading it at the site of the title, but once you get into the book then you understand why the title is what it is.
In case you like to read I won?t ruin it for you, but the book tells a vivid story that?s symbolic of Beck?s life and childhood. He changed some names and locations around and combined some concepts for symbolism to embolden the meaning of figures in his life. The Christmas sweater was a gift from his mom that symbolized a lot for Beck and throughout the story he uses a lot of allegory to talk about life, relationships, faith, and hope. I really like the conversations that Beck had with his Grandfather in the story because I feel like I?ve had some of those same conversations with people in various times of my life.
Through this short story of a kid?s Christmas experience one can gain knowledge, insight, and wisdom about life in general. If you?re into reading I would give it a look. Very rarely do I finish a book in 2 days, but I did with this one. The story was good and kept me engaged the whole time.
Do any of you read while hunting or am I the only nerd out there?
As you read from my previous blog entries, I?ve been duck hunting in a couple different swamps the past few weekends. I took my camera to record the hunts and I also took my tripod to steady the camera for various shots. After looking at my videos and pics, I realized that I need to camouflage my tripod a little because it was sticking out like a sore thumb. When I?m deer hunting, I usually have my camera behind some burlap, camo cloth, or clamped to a piece of wood. In those settings it usually works out well, but in more open settings like duck hunting it would be better if I could camouflage the tripod some.
The legs of the tripod go inside each other so I don?t want to bother the lower sections for fear that they would not extend smoothly or become tough to deal with. Many times I?m sitting on the ground or in a low spot and don?t need to extend the tripod out the whole way anyway. My first thought was to spray paint the top section of the tripod with black, green, brown, and grey paint which I guess could work, but I?m not sure if it would hold up over time with as many scratches and wear & tear that I?ll undoubtedly put it through. Would it be sticky, smell, rub off on clothing or my hands??? These questions were running through my mind when I thought about painting the tripod. It could work, but I didn?t want to risk messing the tripod legs up so I held off.
Later in the week I went to Dick?s Sporting Goods and found something that was the perfect fit. I picked up two rolls of camouflage tape. I used both kinds, but it was obvious that Hunter?s Specialties camo tape product called No-Mar Camo Gun & Bow Tape was the one to go with. I?d never tried any camo tape on anything before, but this stuff got the job done. I used both kinds of tape, but the No-Mar tape holds a lot better than the other (which I can?t remember the name of now), is more durable, and tears better. One roll cost $7 and I came home and covered the non-moving parts of the tripod and it looks really good. I went in circles on the first leg then realized that going vertical gave a better, smoother presentation. So on two legs it looks really good and not as good one the other! Though, I was really pleased with the overall outcome. I shot a short video and sent it to a couple people and some of them thought that I had bought a tripod that was painted camouflage! Obviously that is a good sign as it had them fooled! Hopefully it will also confuse any deer/ducks in the woods or swamps in the hunts to come.
Below is a video of the tripod after applying the Hunter?s Specialties No-Mar tape
Get you some Hunter?s Specialties camo NO-Mar tape and cover whatever you?ve got that?s making you stick out!