Gameplan Gear’s Treestand Support System

Gameplan Gear’s Treestand Support System

One of my main goals for the 2015 season was to start developing a silent-mobile treestand system.  The main objective was to find a treestand, climbing sticks and any needed accessories that allow me to move quietly and quickly from one hunting location to another.  My research led me many places and I was able to put together a silent system that worked great for me in the 2015 season. There is definitely room for improvement however the one item that I will continue to use within my system is Gameplan Gear’s Treestand Support System.  treestand

 

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Covered Buckles

The Treestand Support System (TSS) is padded for maximum comfort around the hip, back and shoulder area.  I carried my treestand, climbing sticks and backpack full of hunting and camera equipment all season without any problems.  There are adjustable straps for the shoulders, hips and torso area that allowed me to implement solid “pack framing” technique.  By tightening the strap around my hip area I am able to centralize the weight I am carrying.  Instead of my shoulders taking on the majority of the weight, my core and lower body receive a good part of the workload; ultimately making it a lot easier for me to maneuver.  The total weight I usually carry ranges from 50lbs to 60lbs, but with the well thought out design of the TSS I feel the weight is cut in half.  IMG_0600

Additionally, the TSS has some features to ensure it makes minimal noise.  The mesh covering on the back pack pads and the overall material of the TSS optimize silence.  Most of the buckles on the straps are covered to prevent twigs or small limbs hitting the plastic.  One modification would be to cover the larger buckle that goes around the waist.  I may use Stealth Strips or just simply glue wool fabric to the area of the buckle I want to cover.  I like to pay attention to the details when it comes to gear and equipment.  If the little things are ignored there can be major consequences.

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Lastly, the TSS’s durability is excellent.  I haven’t had any issues with any of the straps or the sewing. After a season’s worth of hauling up and down hilltops the overall status of the TSS is “like new”.  It even survived a thorough washing in my washing machine.  Some backpacks will fall apart after being washed just once or twice, but I did not notice any defects after washing the TSS.  


I really enjoyed using the TSS this season as it has become one of my essential pieces in my silent assassin arsenal.  You can check out the Treestand Transport System at www.gameplangear.com.  I would like to hear what other people use to enhance their mobile hunting systems. You can comment below or leave a post on Facebook.  Thanks for reading!

3 Reasons to Join the Nation Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF)

3 Reasons to Join the Nation Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF)

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I have been an advocate of conservation ever since I could understand the concept.  As hunters we pursue animals for many reasons, but mostly for food and the experience.  A long time ago someone figured out that we needed to not only protect wildlife population size, but also preserve the precious habitat these animals live in.  The stories of Theodore Roosevelt and Aldo Leopold are intriguing to say the least and they create great inspiration for many people.  But what I find most important is acting and carrying on their efforts towards conservation in my own way.  It does not take a lot to make a positive impact; as hunters we do quite a bit already.  I joined the National Wild Turkey Federation at the end of the year in 2014 as an effort to further my contributions to conservation. I found out that I could (and eventually would) make a significant contribution than just my $35 donation to the NWTF organization.  In this article, I have listed the top three reasons to join NWTF if you are a hunter in search of improving your hunting and habitat. 

 

1)Habitat Improvement

They primary reason I joined the NWTF was because I wanted to help improve the habitat.  My goal was to involve myself with at least one or two projects that involved helping improve existing or new wild turkey habitat. I had the opportunity to join one of the members in my chapter on his food plot project on his hunting property.  This felt like I was not only aiding in habitat enhancement for the local turkey population, but I also felt like I was improving the hunting opportunities on this property. The benefits of contributing in this way are so gratifying, which is why I strongly recommend asking you chapter’s senior members what you can do to help in your neck of the turkey woods.  As a member you get discounts on food plot tools and seed through the NWTF member catalog.  Additionally, some chapters even buy food plot seed in bulk and distribute it to their members at a small cost; saving the members a lot of money in the long run. 

 

2)Financial Contribution

 

An individual donation for an annual membership starts at just $35.  There are two higher levels of membership: NWTF Sponsor ($250) and Major Donor (see Major Donor Giving Levels).  Just as a regular member there are great benefits. 

 

                -Eligible to join NWTF Conservation Rewards

                -Eligible for NWTF Hunt Club Insurance

                -Eligible for NWTF Travel Insurance

                -Eligible for Rams Trucks- Chrysler Affiliate Rewards Program

In addition to accessing the aforementioned benefits, there are annual conventions held for each chapter that are a lot of fun.  The conventions will often have raffles and giveaways of NWTF merchandise, guns, wildlife artwork, turkey calls, hunting trips and much more.  I can recall at my first NWTF convention a fishing trip that cost about $1500 auctioned off for $300.  That is not a typo. 

 

3)New Friends and Connections

About a year ago I moved from the east side of Michigan to the west side, so meeting new people and making friends was something I wanted to do considering that all my friends and family lived nearly 4 hours away.  When I joined my NWTF chapter I felt like I was right at home.  I had no idea what to expect, but after the meeting I remember feeling like I really connected with this group of guys.  They think the same way I think about conservation and turkey hunting.  They enjoy the sport, the conservation efforts and the comradery turkey hunting builds with friends and family.  They understood my passion for hunting and conservation, and provided information on how I can contribute towards NWTF’s conservation plans.  What is great about NWTF is that you can be involved as much, or as little as you want.  If you are okay with just contributing $35 a year and attending a convention or two- that’s fine.  If you want to be involved with hands-on projects then you can volunteer your time to do a number of things, such as help the DNR post “Public Hunting” signs, or help a fellow member with habitat improvement projects on his land.  Either way your efforts are appreciated.  Lastly, if you’re lucky enough maybe some of your fellow members will hook you up with a hunting spot or two.  Based on personal experience, if you offer to do some work and build a relationship with the other members you may end up with a few new hunting spots for the spring. 

 

Going into my second year as an NWTF member I am excited to meet new people and recruit new hunters.  I strongly believe in the NWTF’s principals and their mission as a conservation organization.  With this in mind, my personal goal is to help others learn more about what the NWTF is and if anyone is interested in joining I would love to be a part of their onboarding process.  Many hunters take conservation groups for granted and they have the mentality that those people are always going to be there to speak for them.  The truth is most of the leaders within these organizations are getting older; and in the near future they will need someone to fill their roles as conservation leaders.  This scenario holds true in my chapter currently, and when the time comes I would be honored to step up and take on the commitments of a committee leader.  My challenge to you- find a way to give back to the sport that gives its life to you.  Think about what hunting has done for you in your life, and think about what you can do to improve hunting for the next generation and keep our traditions growing stronger.    

 

Learn more at www.nwtf.org 

Fierce Outdoors Friday Blog-Feeder 01/08/2016

It’s a new year with new plans, new hopes and new hunting adventures.  Optimism is at it’s highest even for those of us that had a challenging 2015 season.  Now is the time to start prepping your property, scouting for new deer hunting spots and looking for sheds.  Also, turkey season is right around the corner and I cannot wait for my trip to Nebraska this year.  Anyways, below I have a few articles and links that you will enjoy to help fuel your upcoming hunting endeavors.  Additionally, there are some interesting blogs or articles across the web that I thought would be worth sharing with you.  Enjoy!

 

“Hinge Cut Bedding Guide”, by Jeff Sturgis.  Great article for anyone looking to improve their property this year. 

“Should Non-Hunters Pay for Conservation Through the “User Pay” Model? Maybe Not”, By Tony Hansen writer for Outdoor Life Magazine.  Interesting concept for conservation funding efforts. Your Thoughts???

“Deer Hunting Small Property”, by Hunting Network.  Like many people I hunt on small acre private land, and with that comes many limitations.  This article has some helpful tips to give you the best odds of success when hunting smaller properties.  

“7 Things Obama Hid in his Gun-Control Plan”, by Clay Turner a writer for the National Rifle Association.  If you haven’t done any research on Obama’s movement on gun control then you can start your reading with this article.     

Huntervids.com is an awesome site to see some of the best film making there is.  I have used this site as a great resource myself for everything from videoing to hunting tactics.  Not to mention some of the short films are quite entertaining.  Click the link to check it out! 

 

I hope this week’s news-feeder was enjoyable for you.  Please take the time to navigate www.fierce-outdoors.com and if you like what you see subscribe to our newsletter or RSS feed.  I will be working diligently to provide you with strategies, tips and tactics to improve your filming and hunting skills.  Stay tuned and thank you for reading!

My Hunting Gear Christmas List 2015

My Hunting Gear Christmas List 2015

With Christmas quickly approaching, I can’t help to think about what I would REALLY like to have under my tree on Christmas morning.  A lot of great products and gear come to mind, but I have managed to narrow my selection down to my top five items.  I believe that I have made the “nice” list this year, but that is just my opinion.  Minus all the hours spent in a tree as opposed to keeping up with the maintenance around the house – I would say that I was pretty good this year.  It is tough for any hunter to make the “nice” list, especially when the “honey-do” list is a mile long and you have monster bucks beckoning you to the woods.  With thoughts like this, I question my eligibility but hopefully Santa is feeling extra generous this year.  I’m an optimistic guy, so let’s just say I made the “nice” list.  Given my wishful thinking, here is my top five hunting products that made my Christmas for 2015.  Full disclosure:  I am most definitely not sponsored by or paid by any of the products or companies mentioned in this list.  I simply bring their features to light because of the extensive research I have done on the product, or because I have had such a great experience with the product.  Enjoy!

 

1)Ozonics

Have you ever been to the Ozonics website? If not, make it a priority to read about exactly what the Ozonics machine can do.  The science behind Ozonics is quite fascinating, which is why tis scent killing machine makes the top of my wish list.  From what I gathered at the Ozonics website, oxygen molecules are introduced to electricity which transforms the oxygen molecules into ozone molecules.  Ozone is used as a purifier and oxidizing agent that helps clean or sterilize the air or objects.  Apparentl430938_L1y, ozone is used to sterilize hospitals and clean drinking water.  I have heard a lot of good things about ozonics, but given the scientific proof of the ozone molecule’s capabilities, I am definitely looking forward to having this in the tree with me next fall.  I will be saving my pennies and nickels because it most certainly is not a cheap product.  However, I see it as an investment and anyone that makes deer hunting a priority can understand that.

 

 

 

 

2)Nose Jammer

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Can you tell I want to build on my scent free system?  Truthfully, I am willing to try anything that will help me fool a whitetail’s nose.  It is a difficult obstacle to overcome, which is why it is so important to have all the odds in your favor.  I read some reviews about Nose Jammer, and what I found is that a lot of hunters like that it helps cover up ground scent.  Many hunters have had in the field success by spraying Nose Jammer as they walk to their stand, especially as they get closer to their stand.  From what I understand, the chemical contents of Nose Jammer simply overwhelms or masks a deer’s sense of smell.  This can weaken human scent making it difficult for deer to pick up your scent trail.  I am definitely willing to try this product out and test its effectiveness come deer season.

 

3)Covert MP8 Black Cameras

I have used Covert cameras for 3 years now, and I am very happy with their ability to continually manufacture a reliable camera.  I can remember buying my first supposedly “high quality” trail camera, and my experience turned out to be the exact opposite of what I had expected.  I had spent nearly $250 on a trail camera that quit working only a few weeks after I took it out of the box.  Needless to say, I never went back to using that brand of cameras. I am willing to try new things, however if I find something that exceeds my expectations of performance, I turn loyal to that product.  Covert trail cameras have proved to me that they can last through even the toughest of winters and other abuse from the weather.  I will say the night time video quality on some of the lower end models, such as the MP Black 6, are not the greatest.  There are definitely other cameras out there that provide higher picture quality.  However, if I can get an approximation of a buck’s antler and body size that is all I am really trying to accomplish.  The day I want to count the hairs on a deer’s nose (or the day I have the money) I will gok2-_93dcb6ea-b839-4fec-b47f-22e7810781a2.v3 buy a Reconyx.  But for right now, I am overly impressed by the reliability and simple functionality of the Covert line of Cameras.  Moreover, the Covert MP8 Black takes exceptional video and pictures with 8 megapixel capabilities.  This is why the Covert MP8 Black makes my 2015 Christmas wish list.

 

 

 

4)First Lite Sanctuary Insulated Jacket

I researched this hunting jacket a lot and found that it is one of the more elite deer hunting jackets being manufactured.  From what I gathered, this jacket is designed for the tree stand hunter.  Meaning that it is designed to keep you warm for long periods of time.  This seven layer garment has proven to work in sub-zero temperatures and is also rain resistant.  I must admit that I have been guilty of underestimating the weather a time or two, and naturally I don’t like to wear a heavy jacket when I am bowhunting.  With that said, I was really excited when I read about the amazing flexibility and comfort of the Sanctuary jacket.  The product engineers at First Lite understand the needs of a bowhunter, which is why they completed the Sanctuary jacket with biomechanical accurate Shooter’s sleejohn_hafner_36predator_sanctuaryves, shoulders and hood.  This helps make shooting easier and more comfortable.  Not to mention, the material they use for this garment is very quiet, which aids in making a silent, deadly draw during the moment of truth.

 

 

 

 

5)Wicked Handsaw

Wicked Tree Gear

I am an owner of the Wicked Tree Ultra Light Pole Saw, which is an extendable (out to 14 feet) pole saw made and designed for the toughest jobs.  If you bowhunt enough, you know how important tree trimming and lane clearing is.  One branch or twig can make the difference between a shot opportunity or a missed chance.  My Ultra Light Pole Saw has been great, it has helped with clearing limbs that are way out of reach.  The saw is actually detachable, so I can use it as a regular handsaw as well.  However, for the amount of trimming and lane clearing that I do, I would really like to have the Wicked Tree Gear Handsaw with the magnetic sheath holstered on my hip while using the extendable pole saw.  When trimming shooting lanes with just the pole saw I find myself adjusting the height of the pole saw frequently.  This makes some of my projects in the woods a little more time consuming than I would like.  Ideally, I would like to keep the pole saw extended and use the handsaw for any foliage that needs trimming at ground level.  Wicked Tree Gear has made a great hand saw that will make my trimming process much more efficient.  On top of all that, I truly love the Wicked Tree Gear products.  If you visit their website, you will find that their saws are designed to endure the toughest of jobs and are built to last a long time.  Todd Pringnitz puts a lot of time in the deer woods, and he knows what the die-hard whitetail hunter needs when it comes to kill sight preparation. He puts just as much time and effort into building his products as he does his hunting.  I am truly a big supporter of companies that focus on building high quality products that bring special value to their customers.  He also has outstanding customer service.  If you have any questions or concerns he is very quick to respond back to you.  I can’t tell you enough how awesome these saws are, so I highly recommend you put the Wicked Tree Handsaw on your Christmas list this year.

 

Truthfully, I could go on and on as there is always a need for new gear and equipment.  I am a nerd when it comes to whitetail hunting gear and it intrigues me to learn about the new technology that they have now in the hunting industry.  With this in mind, I also know how expensive all this stuff can be and it definitely helps to save money.  I have included links for each product within the article and below here so you can check out their prices.  I use Amazon frequently and I find that they have great deals on many hunting products.  Thanks for reading and I hope everyone enjoys their Christmas!

 

 

5 Things You Need to Know for Filming and Hunting

5 Things You Need to Know for Filming and Hunting

When I started out filming and hunting, I did not have a lot of knowledge surrounding photography and videography.  Nor did I take any classes or had a professor to answer my questions. Truthfully, I learned most of what I know through personal research.  With this in mind, I am by no means an expert in the field of photography or videography.  I do not claim to have extensive knowledge in either fields.  Which is why I have referenced a few articles written by experts to compliment the subject matter. Below is a list of things you need to know and understand before you dive into the art of filming hunts.  Having a solid understanding of these definitions, ideas and concepts will establish or reinforce a solid foundation of knowledge for yourself.

Aperture

In short, Aperture is the measurement of the amount of light that is allowed to pass through the lens’s diaphragm or hole.  The diaphragm can be adjusted to large or small diameters.  The smaller the hole of the lens’s diaphragm, the less light that is allowed to pass through.  The larger the hole of the lens’s diaphragm, the more light that is allowed to pass through.  Playing with the aperture can create different effects with the depth of field and the shutter speed (more on shutter speed).  To learn more about aperture, read the article, “Understanding Aperture” by Nikon.

ISO

Simply, ISO is used to adjust a camera’s sensitivity to light.  The normal ISO range is about 200 to 1600.  The lower the number, the more light that is required for the image.  Lower ISO is great for bright light situations.  If the camera is collecting too much light at 600 ISO, then one would want to lower the ISO to create a less overexposed picture. The opposite goes for low-light situations.  The ISO needs to be increase to give a lighter effect during low-light situations.  You can learn more about ISO and how to use this feature by reading,“Understanding ISO- A Beginner’s Guide” written by Photography Life blogger Nasim Mansurov.  He does an excellent job of breaking down the fundamentals of using ISO, and does a much better job of explaining the concept than I ever could.  This would be a great starting spot for anyone looking to learn more about ISO and its capabilities.

 

Shutter Speed

High shutter speed has the ability to freeze a fast moving object, and a low shutter speed can create a blurry image effect often referred to as “motion blur”.  Think of the shutter as to double doors, and the faster the door opens and closes, the less exposure the camera sensor has to light. Having a rapid shutter speed can be used to capture an image instantly, and the object looks to have been frozen completely.  On the other hand, a slower shutter speed allows the camera sensor to collect more light, and with the added time to collect light exposure, this creates the motion blur effect.  Motion blur is used to give moving objects in the picture a sense of speed, which ultimately tells the viewer that the burred object is moving in the picture.  If done properly, the play with shutter speeds can create some pretty cool effects when working with high quality DSLRs.  A great article to read about shutter speed would be the “Introduction to Shutter Speed in Digital Photography”, by Darren Rowse of Digital-Photography-School.com.

Low Light

In your typical hunting scenarios, the majority of action occurs either early in the morning as the sun is rising, or later towards dusk as the sun is falling.  When it comes to filming your hunts, the understanding of how to handle low-light conditions is pivotal.  You really need to know your camera and how it can adapt to these low-light conditions.  It would be nice to have every monster buck encounter in perfect filming conditions, but as we all know that doesn’t always happen.  Moreover, you really need to study the manual and understand what helps brighten the picture on your camera when you’re losing light.  We talked earlier about the aperture and ISO, which both can help improve the quality of the image.  When you’re filming with a certain HD digital camcorders, the feature to adjust aperture is often referred to as the Iris.  Adjust the aperture (Iris) or ISO once it starts to get dark, and check it periodically until you lose camera light. Be sure to practice this prior to the start of the hunting season, especially if you are using a new camera.  You don’t want to be fiddling around with your camera and not know what you’re doing once “Mr. Big” walks by at last light.

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Know Your Equipment

To compliment what we have previously talked about in this article, it is so important to know what each button does on your camera.  The experimenting and creativity comes when you’re in the field and you know how each feature performs.  The best way to understand your camera is to break out the manual and start reading.  Locate and study the function of each button on your camera, so you know exactly where everything is. Additionally, you can find a lot of “unboxing” and camera tutorials on Youtube.  One of my favorite Youtube resources for DSLR tutorials is Michael the Mentor, he provides a TON of videos and articles on so many different DSLRs available.  He even does a lot of camera comparison videos that help with making a decision on which camera to purchase.  Another great resource isCampbell Camera’s.  Not only do they have a number of great products available, but they also provide videos or articles on how to use their camcorders.

 

There are so many terms, phrases and concepts to know in the art of filming hunts, and obviously this article has covered all of the essentials. My goal is to provide more articles that explain concepts and explain ideas that will improve your game.  Additionally, you will be seeing plenty of tech talk and equipment reviews following this article.   However, I think that this is a great starting point for anyone that is new to the game.  I encourage you to check out the resources I provided and email me if you have any questions.  I hope this helps you on your journey to mastering the art of filming and hunting.

 

 

 

Intro to the Whitetail Journal:  Update on the 2015 Season

Intro to the Whitetail Journal: Update on the 2015 Season

This season is holding many “firsts” for me as a hunter and outdoor writer.  I have proudly launched this hunting blog to provide quality information to the die-hard deer hunters and outdoor videographers. Recently, I acquired my first hunting lease. There are a few new properties that I was granted permission to hunt that I will be hunting for the first time. Lastly, I missed my first deer for the first time in a long time.

 

The reason I am bringing these events to light is to NOT make excuses, but to talk about the roller coaster that hunting whitetails really is.  The highs and lows.  The monster buck encounters, and the long, quiet struggles of uneventful stand sits.  And oh are the struggles real.

With all of that said, I am excited to introduce to you the Whitetail Journal.  This will be an ongoing series of updates, observations and insight that I (or fellow hunters) have in the field.  This will definitely be a blog series that I would like you as a reader to participate in. It would be great to get feedback and/or here about your hunts as well.  My favorite part about being a hunter and living this great lifestyle is seeing others succeed.  Please enjoy and interact with me here in the Whitetail Journal and with other blog articles as well. I truly look forward to swapping stories with everyone.

One word to describe the start of my deer season would be “scrambled”.  I had acquired some properties at the last minute, in addition to acquiring a new lease as well.  I was excited to have these opportunities, however I had so much to do in so little amount of time. Like many of you, I still work 40 to 55 hours a week and hunting just doesn’t get the attention it deserves from me.  I quickly had to speed scout these properties and development a game plan before the season started.  All the while, I was confined to my office for hours on end during my most opportune times to prepare stand sites due to additional work related obligations.  On the other hand, I made the most out of the time I had and managed to develop a plan that is very different from what I have done in years past.

 

My plan overall this season was to be more mobile than I have been in years past.  The idea behind this was to attempt to have more “1st time sits”, and to be able to capitalize on opportunities during the season. Additionally, I needed to be more mobile to make up for my lack of stand preparation during the off season.  I did plenty of scouting (but definitely could have done more), however I just did not have the time to hang tree stands in the areas that I scouted.  Prior to the season, I chose to purchase a Lone Wolf Assault II, with the climbing sticks, in efforts to help me with my goal of being mobile. I will say that this has been one of the best investments I have made during my 16 years of buying hunting gear.  I chose Lone Wolf for several reasons, but the primary reason I went with the Lone Wolf system was because it is very light-weight, quiet and portable. It was exactly what I was looking for to become a mobile hunter.  Full disclosure: I am not affiliated with Lone Wolf in any way.  I studied reviews and experts’ advice from resources like “huntingbeast.com” with Dan Infalt, and the Lone Wolf Treestand creator himself, Andrae D’Acquisto from Whitetail Addictions.  There are other systems out there and I am definitely going to try others out, but I knew I couldn’t go wrong with Lone Wolf.

 

So far this season, I have been able to position myself into several shot opportunities on deer.  Unfortunately, the RIGHT deer haven’t been giving me the opportunities.  This has been a trying year for me as a deer hunter, and once again proving to me that as a deer hunter there is always more work to be done- regardless of the time of year.  At the beginning of October, I managed to miss a doe at 25 yards, completely broadside AND looking away.  Additionally, I passed a few smaller bucks in Ohio and Michigan to hold out for a more mature buck.  I have been on a three year quest to harvest a whitetail buck on film, and I am not looking for just any buck.  I want it to feel like it is the right buck.  Age structure is important to me, however I enjoy the story or experience behind every hunt.  With that said, I am hoping that with my continued hard work I will be able to finally put one down “on film”.

 

Lastly, I have been seeing a lot of good bucks being put down in my home state of Michigan, and I love seeing all the success other hunters are having.  I can remember when I first started having success in the whitetail woods I asked myself, “Why doesn’t everybody at least try this once in their life?”  I have always enjoyed hunting as my own passion, but I find more enjoyment in seeing others succeed and find pleasure in this great sport. With that said, I have been able to introduce a special person in my life to whitetail hunting this year, and I plan to accompany one of my younger cousins this season on a few hunts. More to come on those stories.

 

Stay tuned everyone for more from the Whitetail Journal, and if you are interested in getting updates on the Fierce Outdoors website, please subscribe to our newsletter.  Our goal is to provide valuable information to aid in your hunting and filming adventures.  Thanks for reading the Whitetail Journal and I hope to see you again!

 

 

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