Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Seven Sisters Trail Wytheville VA *Completion*

A couple of weekends ago I finally decided to go back to the Seven Sisters Trail here in Wytheville VA. I’m continuing to try to get in shape and I figured there would be no way better to prepare for the rigors of the upcoming hunting season than getting out in to the mountains. I didn’t want to soil any place that I was thinking of hunting with my scent so I figured the SST would be a great place to get some work in. The trail is listed, as being 4.8 miles but the way I went it was unofficially 5.6 miles. I started at the Seven Sisters day use area and traveled around to the campground at the other end of the trail and just took Krenning Road back to my truck. The round trip was unofficially 8.1 miles to my best estimations. Below is the official description of the trail from the DGIF website.

Elevation: 2578 ft. The 4.8-mile Seven Sisters Trail passes through a variety of terrain including mature white pine stands and rhododendron thickets. Early in the morning, the mossy forest is often cloaked in a mist, giving the area the feel of an uncharted, foreign world. As one explores the trail under the massive white pine, be on the look out for birds such as ruffed grouse, wild turkey, woodpeckers, flycatchers, warblers and other woodland passerines”

The DGIF description starts off wrong because as the picture here shows the elevation actually goes to 3310 ft. With that being said, I had a great hike/walk/run and some of the climbs were incredible work for getting hunt ready! I kept telling myself on every huge uphill “No Burn, No Earn” and it kept me going every time I wanted to stop. If I was not hurting, I would not be getting stronger, thus my “No Burn, No Earn” motto! I knew that if I quit and rested then I was not getting the kind of work I needed to conquer the hills while hunting. Along with the sheer effort of getting to your stand, you have to climb up to it, and the biggest work out of all is getting the deer out of the woods. While the hiking I was doing was no picnic I knew dragging a deer out by myself could often times be twice as demanding. While the trail was tough some of the time it was beautiful all of the time. In less than a month now I’ve lost 10lbs and I’m convinced that I lost 5 of it on this hike alone. I don’t want to sound like this is a hike for sadomasochists only, because it’s not, but someone in less than optimal shape would have to walk it slowly instead of trying to jog through as much of it as I did. Truth be known though, I certainly did more walking than jogging myself. Another great aspect of the trip was that it was a great chance for me to try out my new running shoes! I had just bought a pair of Adidas Falcons and they held up awesomely. I’ve been having a big problem with shin splints and I never had the first leg problem through the whole journey.

Seven Sisters, as stated above by the DGIF, does feature a variety of terrain. From flat ground, to shale rock pathways, to seemingly huge climbs up steep banks, you really do get to test yourself. Also, I heard a turkey, saw a snake, and had various levels of encounters with a variety of wildlife. I really want to go back next year after hunting season has wound down and take the trail slower so that I can really appreciate all of the beauty that it has to offer. However, I also plan on running it as fast as I can and really using it as a training ground as well. It’s a great area to enjoy nature and get in to hunting level shape at the same time and I hope to become a regular visitor. So, if in the future you see some bald fellow with a Mossy Oak backpack come whizzing by, don’t be offended I’m just training for my favorite sport!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fieldline Backpack Review

Glenwood Canyon Internal Frame

• Two internal removable aluminum stays included
• Top flap includes zippered compartment
• Vertical front entry opening for easy access to gear
• Two large zippered side pockets
• Equipped with Buddy-Lok™ Modular Locking System
• Articulated padded shoulder straps with adjustable chest straps
• Cool mesh padded back
• Hydration compatible (bladder sold separately)
• Four compression straps to secure your load
• Large front pocket with vertical zipper opening
• Two quick access pocket on waist belt

• 3325 cu.in. : 21in H x 15in W x 8.75in D
• 54.4 liters : 53.3cm H x 38.1cn W x 22.2cm D
• Torso fit: 15in to 18in (38.1cm to 45.7cm)

I recently purchased a Fieldline “Glenwood Canyon Internal Frame” backpack from K-Mart. I needed a large backpack to carry extra gear in this year. I have a smaller backpack and a fanny pack but sometimes you need a larger pack to haul bulky items. In the past I haven’t always been able to pack enough clothes with me and would get cold in the treestand. The pack was around $30 and seemed ideal for me. It seemed large enough to carry extra clothes and organized enough to allow me to sort my other gear. However after I had the pack home I was a little disappointed and realized I probably should have spent a little more time with the pack in the store. There were not as many pockets as I had thought and the pockets on the outsides are not sewn enough outside of the main pack to allow them to be easily accessed when the main area is packed full. In the store the pockets seemed well made but, it would seem that way when it is empty. With that being said though, this backpack is perfect if you need to carry bulk gear more than you need quick access to gear such as calls, rattle bags, food or things of that nature. I normally keep various things in my bag with the pockets open though for quick and easy access to different items. I may be able to rearrange things though to make this pack work for me but more pockets would certainly help.

As a running/hiking backpack though this pack has been great! I have to take steel toe boots, work clothes, my lunch for the day, as well as various other things with me when I run/bike to work. I’ve had trouble in the past finding a pack big enough to hold all that comfortably at a decent price before I found this pack. Camouflage may not be the smartest thing to wear while being on the roads as a brighter pattern would help me stand out more but I like the fact that I’m showing hunting pride while working out and combating the stereotype of hunters being lazy slobs who just set in a treestand all day. Where does that image come from anyway? Anyone who’s done much hunting at all can testify to the physicality of walking hills all day, hanging treestands, and pulling out large animals. You can be out of shape and hunt but I can tell you it’s not nearly as much fun when hunting is taking your maximum hunting effort. Ok, soapbox moment over, this pack has worked out perfectly for my “commute” to work and I will be using it for that for a long while to come! If this pack goes on sale during the season I would consider buying another one for hunting because at a good enough price I would go ahead and rearrange things to make this pack work. The bulk capacity would make it worthwhile at a reduced price. If you’re considering buying a new pack I hope this review has given you enough information to decide if the Glen Canyon pack is the right one for you. If you have any additional questions feel free to leave them in the comments or to email me at tnunley@gmail.com.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

One more week!!!!!!!!

One more week! Wow, I’m so excited! Today is a big day for me. Today I pull out all my gear again and make sure everything is good to go, buy backup batteries, get the rest of my clothes washed and hung outside, and all the other preparations that I need to get done. I wish I had more money to spend this year as there are a lot of new things I would like to have bought and would like to have replaced on my bow but in my heart I believe everything is ready to go. I wish I had been able to work harder this off-season but I definitely feel that I’m much better prepared this year than in years past. While I may not have had the time and energy to do everything I wanted to I’ve worked much harder than I have in the past and I’m only going to get better in the future. I’m just so excited, nervous, and everything else that I dream about hunting every single night now! Oh well, one more week and I’m in the woods and on a stand!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Hunting and Fishing Expo Abingdon VA Wrap-Up

What a blast! I can truly say that this was the most fun event I’ve attended as a Mossy Oak ProStaffer! My fellow ProStaffer, Travis Dalton, and I ran a youth shooting booth at the show and I never imagined the turn out we would get! Travis brought a Matthews Genesis bow and a life size deer target and nearly everyone at the show seemed to stop by to shoot a few arrows! We had everyone from knee high young ‘uns to well aged adults stop by and chat with us and fire off a few aluminum arrows! The poor deer was shot up from nose to tail and it never went down. I hope I never see that sucker in the woods, talk about a confidence killer lol! We met so many people today and I believe we made some new archers and hunters. Many women stopped by as well who were thinking about starting to shoot but weren’t able to pull their husband/boyfriend/dad’s bow back and wanted to try it out with the Genesis. Well let me tell you, from young to old, man to woman they all loved it and most came back multiple times! After today I’m truly thinking about investing in such a rig and setting up at any kind of shows I can because it brought happiness to so many people including myself… heck, we even had one boy Robin Hood an arrow while we were there.

The show itself was a huge success and was very well attended. I spent most of my day outside and not knowing that I didn’t bring sunscreen. I can truly say now, that if I wasn’t before, I am truly a redneck. A bright, bright, shiny redneck. Anyway, I did find time to go inside and they had a little bit of everything. From James Vance of Mossy Oak and X-cape Outdoors scoring deer, to QDMA, to the VDGIF, to various dealers selling items, to different games, seminars, and events there was truly something for everyone! I was really excited to be there and really proud to be representing Mossy Oak and the outdoors. I think Travis and I really opened some people up to some new things today and I couldn’t be happier about it!

After the show, despite having walked about 40 miles retrieving arrows, I went and bought myself a new pair of running shoes. I’ve been having a real problem with shin splints and I think it may have something to do with the $20 Wal-Mart shoes I’ve been wearing. I stopped by one of Abingdon’s shoe stores and tried on about every running shoe they had before settling on the Adidas Falcon M 4E. It wasn’t my favorite looking shoe, although it is pretty nice, but it was certainly the most comfortable of the shoes. I can’t wait to get out today and start putting some miles on them! After that I went and picked up Harry from my parents and didn’t wrap up my running around until after 9. After I got Harry tucked in safely and taking care of some internet business I shot my bow for a few minutes, caught up on college football, and then crashed out. It was a really great day all around, well except for Notre Dame losing.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Abingdon VA's Hunting & Fishing Expo...

Don't forget to come out this Saturday and Sunday for the Hunting & Fishing Expo! It's packed will cool things for hunters and fishers, and for young and old! See you there!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Leupold RX-II Review

For full disclosure I will admit from the start that I’ve not yet hunted with my Leupold RX-II rangefinder and I’ve only had it two weeks… however, I’m already head over heels in love with it! It came in a preset easy to use mode that just happened to be set perfectly on my speed of bow. It comes with 3 bow modes that sets to different speed ranges. It has a built in inclinometer, which is awesome for treestand hunting and/or hilly terrain. It also has modes for hunting in the rain, different rifle model’s, different crosshairs and everything else a hunter could ever ask for.

Before I bought the Leupold I read some reviews online and some of them mentioned that this model was difficult to use and complicated. However there were enough good reviews that based on its price and features I couldn’t resist taking a chance and I’m so glad I did. I will admit that the two-button model that I have does come with a slight learning curve but between reading the booklet and some hands on experimenting I feel that I can now easily do all that I need to with this model! While I haven’t had it for a long time I have had a chance to test it out on some marked range targets and it is DEAD on! I mainly bought this unit for bowhunting as my yardage guessing is not quite as good as I would like. It is already improving my overall ability with a bow as I can now practice from a variety of yardages and elevations with increased confidence! The RX-II is a fixed 6X power and that also helps view where you placed your arrows as well. I think the display screen is set up nicely and the lenses are clear and useable as well.

As I have more hands on time with this model and get to use it while hunting I will update this review but as of now I’m sold on Leupold!

Below is the official write-up from Leupold –
RX-II Digital Laser Rangefinder

The Leuopld® RX®-II digital laser rangefinder is a valuable long-range shooting tool. Accurate range in the field can mean the difference between a hit or a miss. The RX-II does more than deliver the straight line distance…you get the True Ballistic Range® to your target, based on your rifle’s ballistics.

* With a built-in inclinometer, the RX-II calculates the ballistics range to your target, then displays it as a holdover aim point, an MOA adjustment, or the equivalent horizontal distance.
* 6x magnification gives you plenty of power, with a wide field of view to track movement.
* Rugged, weatherproof construction.
* Scan mode continuously updates the range as you track a target or scan an area.
* The precision thermometer gives you digital readings in ˚C or ˚F.
* Accurate to 750 yards, with measurements in feet, yards, or meters.
* The Quick Set Rotary Menu® is easy to use, for fast customization of your RX-II. Also includes the Quick Start Mode.
* Available with Mossy Oak® Obsession® camo, Mossy Oak Treestand™ camo, or two-tone black/gray finish.
* Battery power indicator for easy battery level checks.
* The common CR2 lithium camera battery is easy to change in the field.
* Multiple Ballistics Settings…RX rangefinders with True Ballistic Range (TBR®) provide accurate aiming information matched to the performance of your rifle or bow. By calculating the incline, line of sight range to the target, and a projectile’s ballistics, your RX provides rifle hunters using Leupold Ballistics Aiming System™ reticles as well as bow hunters the correct equivalent horizontal distance for precise shooting on an incline. In other words, aim using the True Ballistic Range, not the line of sight range. Rifle hunters can also get this data as an MOA adjustment or a holdover point. With practice, long distance/steep angle shooting will become second nature. Dial in your RX to one of seven TBR ballistics settings for the rifle and three for the bow for incredible accuracy. TBR is effective to 800 yards for most rifle cartridges.
* Multiple modes…with the RX Series, you can do something you can’t do with any other rangefinder: use multiple modes at once to tailor your readings to the conditions. For example: scouting a whitetail in the rain? Use Rain Mode and 1st Target Mode at the same time to achieve the most accurate range possible. Only RX rangefinders give you the ability to adapt to changing conditions like this. Leupold’s exclusive Quick Set Rotary Menu is intuitive and easy to use, giving you fast access to all the incredible performance modes of your new RX rangefinder.
* The Match 13® Reticle System…one of the most useful customizable features of your RX rangefinder is the Match 13 Reticle System…you’ll always have fast access to each of the 13 reticles, so you always have the right reticle for any situation. Each reticle is available with the Leupold Plus Point™, for an added level of accuracy in pinpointing a target.
* Accessories included: The useful carrying case features a bungee/hook closure for silent operation in the field, a battery, a dog clip for attaching to your pack, and an internal pocket for carrying batteries, instructions and other items. Also includes a lanyard. Tripod thread included, allowing steady mounting for accurate target acquisition.

*Review updated here*

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Finally my team looked pretty good in a game!

Notre Dame 35
Michigan 17

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hunting and Fishing Expo Abingdon, VA

Be making your plans now to attend the Hunting and Fishing Expo in Abingdon VA September 20th and 21st! It's going to be a great time and I will be there along with Travis Dalton, a fellow Mossy Oak ProStaffer, running a kids archery game! If you have kids be sure to bring them out as there will be plenty for them to do and see.

Also, don't forget to be practicing and getting all of your gear ready as bow season will be here SOON!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Virginia's Hunters and Anglers Have a Significant Impact on the Economy

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Virginia's 857,000 hunters and anglers are among the most prominent and influential of all demographic groups, spending more than $1.3 billion a year on hunting and fishing, according to a new report.

The new report, "Hunting and Fishing: Bright Stars of the American Economy ~ A force as big as all outdoors," spotlights the immense impact hunters and anglers have on the economy at the national and state level.

In Virginia, spending by hunters and anglers directly supports 24,000 jobs, which puts $683 million worth of paychecks into pockets of working residents around the state. Of course, government coffers also benefit -- spending by sportsmen in pursuit of these outdoor activities generates $128 million in state and local taxes. These latest figures demonstrate that season after season hunters and anglers are driving the economy from big businesses to rural towns, through booms and recessions.

"Because sportsmen enjoy hunting or fishing alone or in small groups, they are overlooked as a constituency and as a substantial economic force," stated Jeff Crane, president of the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation. "When you compare spending by hunters and anglers to other sectors, their impact on the state's economy becomes more tangible."

* Sportsmen support more jobs in Virginia than Northrop Grumman in Newport News and Virginia Tech University combined (24,000 jobs vs. 23,000).
* Annual spending by Virginia sportsmen is more than the combined revenues of Southside Oil, Uppy's Convenience Stores, Apex Systems, and Lumber Liquidators - the state's four fastest growing companies grossing over $100 million ($1.3 billion vs. $932 million).
* Sportsmen spend more in Virginia than the combined cash receipts from broilers, cattle and dairy products - the state's top three agricultural commodities ($1.3 billion vs. $1.2 billion).
* Virginia sportsmen annually spend $175 million on outboard boats and engines to get out on the water and around the marshes for fishing and hunting.
* Virginia sportsmen could fill both Richmond International Raceway and Martinsville Speedway nearly 5 times (857,000 vs. 177,000).
* The economic stimulus of hunting and fishing equates to an astounding $3.6 million a day being pumped into the state's economy.

"Spending by sportsmen benefits not only the manufacturers of hunting and fishing related products, but everything from local mom and pop businesses to wildlife conservation," noted Doug Painter, president of National Shooting Sports Foundation. "And because most hunting and fishing takes place in rural areas, much of the spending benefits less affluent parts of the state."

On the national level, 34 million sportsmen age 16 and older spent more than $76 billion in 2006, supporting 1.6 million jobs. If a single corporation grossed as much as hunters and anglers spend, it would be among America's 20 largest, ahead of Target, Costco and AT&T. And if all hunters and anglers had voted during the last presidential election, they would have equaled 31 percent of all votes cast. If all hunters and anglers living in Virginia voted, they would have equaled 38 percent of all votes cast in the state.

These statistics are impressive and, if anything, they underestimate the impact of sportsmen since they do not take into account the millions of hunters and anglers under 16 years of age or people who were not able to get out and hunt or fish in 2006. When sportsmen's spending is thought of in business terms and compared to other sectors of the economy, it is quite remarkable. From small rural towns scattered across our country's landscape to the bottom-line of Fortune 500 companies located in major cities, if you take away hunting and fishing you take away the equivalent of a multi-billion dollar corporation.

"It is a fairly simple equation – hunters and anglers mean jobs in states and local communities that have made the effort to maintain their hunting and fishing opportunities," said Crane. "The economic impacts that sportsmen have on state economies should be a wake-up call to state governments to welcome and encourage hunting and fishing in their state."

The report, "Hunting and Fishing: Bright Stars of the American Economy ~ A force as big as all outdoors," was produced by the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation with support from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, National Marine Manufacturers Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation and SCI - First For Hunters. The report uses the results from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation and statistics provided by the American Sportfishing Association and Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

The report: "Hunting and Fishing: Bright Stars of the American Economy ~ A force as big as all outdoors" along with STATE FACTS are available on the Web at
www.sportsmenslink.org and www.nssf.org

For more information or questions contact: Melinda Gable 202-302-4794 or at Melinda@sportsmenslink.org


About CSF
CSF is the most respected and trusted hunting and fishing organization in the political arena. With support from every major hunting and fishing organization, CSF is the leader in promoting sportsmen's issues with elected officials. CSF works directly with the bi-partisan, bi-cameral Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus in the U.S. Congress, as well as affiliated state sportsmen's caucuses in state legislatures around the country.

About NSSF
The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the shooting, hunting and firearms industry whose purpose is to provide trusted leadership in addressing industry challenges. NSSF concentrates efforts on measurably advancing participation in and understanding of hunting and the shooting sports; reaffirming and strengthening their members' commitment to the safe and responsible use of their products; and promoting a political climate supportive of America's traditional firearms rights.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Seven Sisters Trail and Getting Ready for the Season

Sorry I haven’t written much lately but I’ve been extremely busy getting ready for the upcoming Whitetail season! Last weekend I did some scouting and hiking. The scouting was pretty unproductive but I hiked about a mile and a half back in to Seven Sisters Trail and it was a great trail that I look forward to returning to and hiking the whole way, 5 miles I think. I noticed the acorns are starting to fall as well while I was hiking.

As well as that I’ve been exercising nearly every day and shooting every day! Well, I actually didn’t get to shoot last night but it was the first night in a long while it seems! My shooting is definitely more consistent but I’m going to have to keep at it to be completely ready for the season. I’m working hard and I’m loving doing it as the big day gets closer every second! The biggest news for me is that my article in the paper actually netted me a great new place to hunt! A buddy of mine didn’t realize I had started hunting again and when he found out he offered me the chance to hunt on his family’s land! It’s a big piece of land that he and I will be the only ones hunting. I went yesterday and hung a stand and I feel really good about it! I haven’t fully had a chance to scout it out but he took me through the biggest part of it on 4-wheelers yesterday. The plan is to help take down the doe population unless a really nice buck comes through, or a bear! Yup, there are bears on the property! I’m really excited about the possibilities! I’ll just have to get in there and see how it goes though as there are no guarantees in life.

I also ordered a Leupold RX-II that should be in tomorrow. I’ll post up a review after I’ve had a chance to get used to it! I hope you all are doing well and that you are having as much fun getting ready as I am!

Should have mentioned it earlier but I hung the stand about 75 yards off of a field that the deer feed in. The area is a flat spot on a slight slope leading down to the field and there are 3 or 4 trails leading in and out of it. There is decent sign in there and I really feel like I have a good shot of seeing something there in a couple of weeks!

I hope this post makes sense as I can not get my brain going this morning… well my brain isn’t 100% ever so it’s probably not a big deal lol! Anyway don’t forget about the Hunting and Fishing Expo coming up in Abingdon VA, on the 20th and 21st of this month!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Reception & Hunters For The Hungry Banquet

Here are two new events I just got emailed about. I don't think I'll be able to attend but I thought I would pass the info on to you all as they sound like a great time!

The Blue Ridge Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is holding a Conservation Reception this Friday evening at Ashley Plantation. This is a wonderful chance for you to learn about the organization and how you can help to preserve our wildlife and land. It's also a chance to meet some wonderful people who love the outdoors just like you.

The Reception will start at 6pm this Friday (9/5) at Ashley Plantation. Tickets are $30 for individuals, $50 for couples, and $10 for kids. Ashley Plantation will be catering heavy hors D'oeuvres. For more information about the RMEF or to purchase tickets to the September conservation reception, call Brandy Vassar at 556-6998 or 992-2172.

Hunters for the Hungry Banquet

A Sportsmen's banquet to benefit Hunters for the Hungry will take place on Saturday September 27, 2008 at Dave Sarmadi Mitsubishi in Salem, VA. The event will include dinner, dessert, and beverages, a variety of raffles as well as live and silent auctions of donated merchandise. Ticket prices are as follows: $20.00 Single; $35.00 Per Couple; Children 12 and under eat for FREE. For tickets or other information contact Jeff Fletcher (540)985-6523 or Fred & Phyllis Wells (540) 992-3874. Other entertainment includes trick archery by Byron Tabor, Bob Duncan of the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries and a kids activity area.