Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Whitetail Deer Season Prep Starts Now: June

© 2009 Albert A Rasch
Scouting for Whitetail

Last month I started scouting for sign of the wily whitetails here in the suburbs of Lakewood Ranch. They are around; the trick is actually seeing them in the flesh.

Image Credit: Caranx Latus
Whitetail doe

Hand in hand with that I have been going hat in hand to the landowners that I have found, and tried to get permission to bow hunt this coming fall. So far I'm at zero luck. But not to fear my faithful readers, I have only met up with about 50% of the people I'm looking for.

I've narrowed my search to a few promising spots. I must admit though, that I haven't seen a single live deer yet. Fortunately I have seen sign, some of it fresh enough to be only a couple of hours old. Now how did I determine that? Easy, it rained but good the previous night, and I was out early. The prints were still sharp and damp. I haven’t found any sheds though, which I think is to be expected in this area. Antlers tend to be small and the terrain filled with tall grass and low growing shrubs and palmettos. Find any might require the same kind of luck you need for the proverbial needle in a haystack.

Scouting in the summer can really take its toll on you. It’s been hot, some days in the low nineties. The sun will bake the moisture right out of you. Make sure you take it easy, carry water, and let someone know exactly where you are heading. I haven’t bumped into those ornery little pygmy rattlers yet, but the black racers are all over the place. I’ve tried to go out early to see if I could bump into some deer that might be out feeding, but other than a few unfriendly armadillos, no luck yet.

I have several trees that look like they are in good spots, with game trails within 25 yards. Two in particular seem to me to have the most potential. They are relatively straight, strong, and tall enough to put me at least twenty feet in the air. I’m a big fan of altitude. I figure deer have been shot at so often from 10 or twelve feet that they have figured out where most stands sit, so a few more feet may give me an edge. I’ve checked for clear lanes of fire in all directions, though I expect deer to travel in the quadrant to my front. But deer being deer, they might come in from any direction. So I trimmed a few limbs and cleared some brush.

I also made some stakes and placed several 15 and 25 yards markers to help me judge distances when the time comes to draw my bow. I bring a small (but heavy) 100’ steel tape to measure with, a few 16 penny nails, and a hammer head to hammer with. When I am done with the tape, I wiggle the nail back and forth until it comes free.

I've been using my Browning Compound bow to get my muscles back into shape. I'll be switching to a primitive bow later this summer, but for the time being the compound is my exercise machine. It is very important that you take the time to keep your muscles and your skill in shape throughout the summer. Shooting bows requires a multitude of decisions being made by your mind for your body to follow through on. Much like shooting firearms the more you practice, the more subconscious your control is. This allows you to focus on the most important aspects, your aim and release.

Right now, when I draw, I concentrate on a smooth clean draw without any hesitation. I also work on a consistent anchor point, and a relaxed grip on the bow. Later on when I feel a bit stronger, I’ll start shooting arrows into a target, but for the time being all I am trying to accomplish are strength gains and a good form.

Next month I'll probably have my spot picked out and set up. Then no more visits until opening day. Until then I'll be working out, refining my technique, and wringing out any new gear.

Now a couple of questions for you:

Does anyone else do any summertime scouting?
What do you look for?
How do you prep for the season?
When do you start trying out new gear?

The Hunt Continues...

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Range Reviews: Sawfly TX by Revision Eyewear

© 2009 Albert A Rasch

"The Revision Sawfly-TX: Proven to be the top performing impact eyewear system available. Designed for fit, function, and comfort, this unmatched level of protection is specifically designed for the military. The curved lens provides an unrestricted field-of-view and maximum ventilation, while the adjustable arms and head strap ensure a perfect fit, every time."

That comes straight from the Revision marketing department. But how close to the truth is it? As it turns out, pretty darned close.

Your eyes and vision are probably the most important sense you have, and likely the least defended. Revision Mission Critical Eyewear have redesigned their very popular Sawfly to improve the already impressive optics with better ergonomics and superior equipment compatibility.

Sawfly-TX Shooter's Kit by Revision Eyewear with Solar, Clear, and Vermilion lenses.

With my oldest son (The Bear) now in the United States Army, and with the distinct possibly of heading off to Afghanistan, I want him to have quality eye protection. He is young and quick, but that won't save him from the effects of shrapnel, spall, blast, and all the other flying debris that he might be subjected to from the cowardly use of IEDs by the slimeball, Al-Queida and Taliban terrorists. So this is now an issue of utmost importance to me.

Here are the technical specifics for the eyewear:
  • High-impact protection certified to ANSI Z87.1 and Military Requirements (MIL-V-43511C clause 3.5.10 and MIL-PRF-31013 clause
  • Optically correct curved lens for unrestricted field-of-view.
  • Interchangeable lenses for various light conditions and specialty lenses available.
  • Polycarbonate lenses offer 100% protection from UV-A, UV-B and UV-C rays.
  • Two sizes with adjustable arms ensure perfect fit.
    • Regular: fits most head sizes
    • Large: hat sizes 7.5+
  • Retention head strap provides security.
  • Optional Prescription (Rx) Carrier available (also compatible with Desert Locust and Bullet Ant goggles). Click here for more.
  • U.S. Army Authorized Protective Eyewear List. (Solar and Clear lenses only are approved for use.)
I tried them out first for a few days. Though I am nowhere near as rough on things as the boys are, I wanted to make sure that the basic needs were addressed, and that fit and comfort were sufficiently good so that there would be no desire to remove them. While working as a Safety Professional, discomfort was the primary reason why guys would not wear their safety glasses. I wanted to make sure I wouldn't hear that as an excuse.

I'll say this much, the frames weigh next to nothing. Even with the lens on the weight is negligible (1.25 ounces). The thin arms at 2.75mm, fit nicely behind the ear, and are adjustable. I used them in conjunction with the TriSquare eXRS TSX 300 two way radios, and found that both fit comfortably behind and above my earlobe without causing discomfort. The soft rubber overmolding ensures that the Sawfly-TX remains in place during any activity including the most extreme operations.

Frames with removable head strap.

This is top of the line optical polycarbonate lens material, and I saw no distortion in any direction I looked. Distortion will fatigue your eyes, potentially give you a headache, as well as disorient your coordination. It is most obvious in clear lenses and less so in dark ones. I found no discernible distortion on any of the lenses from Revision. This is an important detail to remember.

The Sawfly-TX Shooter's kit comes with clear, vermilion, and solar (dark).
Replacement lens are $19.99

Jordan has has them for a couple of weeks now, and think that they are the cat's meow. He says that the clarity is excellent, they don't fog up, and he doesn't even realize he has them on.

Unfortunately, these glasses will not work for me. As you may have noticed I have an aquiline profile. That's a fancy way for saying that you have a hawk's nose. Mine got that way from sticking it in places I thought it belonged and having someone else, and at least on one occasion several, vehemently disagree, not just once, but three times. Anyway the bridge of my nose sticks out, and is rather wide so glasses tend to stick out well away from my face. This abrogates two things, light off the ground reflection protection and spall protection. This is something very important to consider when fitting glasses to your face. The nose piece needs to sit up on the bridge of your nose so you can breath, and the lens need to clear your cheeks enough for air circulation but no more than necessary. My tough luck.

I actually use a Z87 rated all polycarbonate set of safety glasses. If I told you how cheap they were you would laugh at me. But they have the rating and that's what matters with respect to protection. These also have very good optics quality, but nowhere near as good as the Revision's.

Overall I like the quality and thought put into these glasses. The price is well within bounds and the availability of replacement parts makes it even more reasonable. When you are talking about your eyes, it is after all, pretty cheap insurance.

In case you are wondering about the claims of eye protection from shotgun blasts, Borelli Consulting put three rounds of 12 gauge #8 shot from 45 to 21 feet into the glasses. No penetration. See the results here. Let's just say you'll have more to worry about than your eyes!

Revision Eyewear
7 Corporate Dr
Essex Junction, VT 05452

Sawfly-TX Shooter's Kit

MSRP: $119.99
Street: $99.99

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Hubert on Hunting

© 2009 Albert A Rasch
Hubert on Hunting, at Rabbit Stew

I'm busy making a pot roast here at the house.

In between I'm also keeping up with my Blogging friends. So I see that Hubert Hubert over at Rabbit Stew has a new post. I always, immediately, click on anything at Rabbit Stew. Hubert mixes Art with literature, throws in a measure of philosophy, anthropology, with the occasional sprinkle of theology, etymology, and herbology, saluted and simmered over low heat with a glass of red wine, and serves it up as high entertainment.

If he doesn't syndicate his strip... Let's just say he needs to!

Let's start with Rabbit Stew: 1

And then proceed to Rabbit Stew: 2

Hubert has a way of stating it all succinctly and directly, I love it!

Best Regards,