Monday, October 27, 2008

Leupold RX2 Update

Now that I’ve had a fair amount of time in the woods with my Leupold RX2 I wanted to give a quick update to my original review. Spending time in the field with a product will usually highlight things that you do and don’t like about it and the RXII is certainly not an exception to that. Some things that I’ve now noticed about the RXII are that it fits really nicely in your hand, the rubberized top helps keep you from dropping it and it truly does a great job at giving you the correct range of the game you are ranging. I’ve had no problems whatsoever out of the rangefinder and the battery life has been outstanding. I’ve yet to use it in the rain but I have used it in various other conditions and I have nothing but good things to say about it! The only negative thing I could possibly say about it is not a complaint against the actual rangefinder but about myself, the rangefinder sometimes bumps up against my binoculars. A simple solution to that problem is to lower the binoculars and raise the rangefinder but I haven’t gotten around to doing that yet. I hope this review gives you the information you need to make a purchase, if you need more please let me know!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Benefits of Hunting (From the VDGIF)

News Release
For Immediate Release

Julia Dixon, 804-367-0991

Fall Hunting Underway, Benefits All Virginians

Five things that hunting has been doing, and can do, for you

Richmond, VA — Recent economic downturns have many people thinking about how to simplify their lives, how to stretch their dollars, put food on the table, let go of stress, and still somehow give to others. Reports on obesity, concerns about what food quality and the footprint we are leaving on the planet, has people wondering what to do. An activity that addresses all that and more is hunting.

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, hundreds of thousands of sportsmen and women are gearing up for the hunting season. Many are already afield archery hunting. The general firearms season for deer opens on November 15. What benefits do all those hunters enjoy and what benefits do we all get from their activity? What benefits can you expect when you take up the tradition of hunting?


1) Boost the Economy

Affordable for the Hunter — One deer can yield approximately 50 pounds of nutritious venison. Virginia's abundant wildlife provides opportunities for hunters to dine on venison, duck, goose, rabbit, turkey and more — the ultimate in organic, free-range food. For a small fee of $18, a Virginia resident can purchase a Hunting License good for one year from the day of purchase (or the ultimate investment, purchase a lifetime license with the cost depending on the age of the purchaser). This allows the individual to hunt a variety of small game such as rabbits and squirrels. For another $18, that resident can purchase a Bear, Deer and Turkey License, good from July 1 through June 30, and good for cutting the food bill.

Putting dollars into Virginia's Economy — Each year in Virginia, hunters spend more than $480 million in trip-related and equipment expenditures, according to the U.S. Fish &; Wildlife Service 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation. It is estimated that hunting and fishing generate $128 million in state and local taxes and directly support more than 24,000 jobs in the Commonwealth. Hunters contribute to the Virginia economy in the form of food, lodging, gasoline, dog food, kennel supplies, veterinarian care for hunting dogs, and equipment purchases. Hunting attracts visitors from out-of-state eager to experience the great hunting the Old Dominion has to offer and those visitors spend a lot of money here in that pursuit.

2) Contribute to Conservation

Hunters are proud of their conservation heritage — More than 50 years ago, the Pittman-Robertson Act designated federal funding for wildlife conservation by establishing a special excise tax on firearms and ammunition, and hunters were all for it. By purchasing hunting licenses and paying special taxes on equipment, hunters have largely funded wildlife conservation in North America. Hunters are acutely aware that their dollars fund wildlife conservation in Virginia and they pride themselves on supporting valuable habitat and population management work. Contributions to and membership in sportsmen's groups like Ducks Unlimited, Quail Unlimited, the National Wild Turkey Federation, and others provide hunters another opportunity to support states' wildlife management efforts.

We all gain from conserved land — Hunting license dollars contributed significantly to funding the acquisition of thousands of acres of land for hunting and habitat. Over the years, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has acquired more than 200,000 acres of land available to the public for hunting, fishing, wildlife watching, hiking and other recreation. The Department manages habitat on its property not only to support game species such as bear, deer, turkey, rabbits, and waterfowl, but also to support a variety of non-game species such as eagles, songbirds, butterflies, snakes, and turtles that benefit from the same habitat improvements. Ultimately, conservation of land due to hunting license dollars is protecting precious habitat and watersheds and giving everyone a cleaner environment.

3) Wildlife Population Management

Abundant population equals ample opportunity — Hunting is an important wildlife management tool. This time of year in Virginia the deer population is up around one million animals. Hunters harvest about 250,000 each year, but deer are a renewable resource and the population rebounds. Hunters enjoy liberal seasons and abundant game here in the Commonwealth: archery, muzzleloader, general firearms seasons, fall turkey hunting, waterfowl hunting, hound hunting, mounted fox hunting, special late seasons and urban programs. There's good hunting in Virginia!

When deer are not dear — Farmers, landowners, drivers, and outdoor recreationists all benefit from hunters harvesting the white-tailed deer population in Virginia. Hunting reduces pressure on crops, protects expensive landscaping, cuts down on deer in the roadways, and prevents deer overgrazing an area and destroying habitat needed by other wildlife such as songbirds. Hunters help maintain that balance for Virginians.

4) Healthy Minds, Spirits and Bodies

Hunters get huge rewards from time spent in the outdoors — Spending a day afield, whether still hunting alone or following a pack of hounds in pursuit of their quarry, releases hunters from their day-to-day stress. Being outdoors and active builds strength and improves your overall health. Nothing clears the mind and brings on a better sense of feeling alive and part of the environment than a day in the woods. Hunting builds self-esteem as you gain outdoor skills and the satisfaction of being able to participate in the age-old need to pursue and to provide food.

Anyone can learn — The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries offers outdoor skills training for beginners to learn safe firearms handling, game identification, hunting techniques and more. The Department also offers special hunts designed for youth, women, and people with disabilities. The Apprentice Hunting License allows someone who has never had a hunting license before to "test drive" hunting. The apprentice license holder can go afield with a licensed hunter age 18 or older immediately upon purchasing their license and has up to two years to complete the Hunter Education requirement. To learn more about hunting licenses, license requirements, seasons, game species, etc., visit or call 1-866-721-6911 (Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.).

5) Sharing the Bounty

A tradition of stewardship — Hunting is a tradition that is often passed on from one generation to the next creating a special bond between family members and friends. Many hunters enjoy mentoring others in the pleasure of and importance of being good stewards of our natural resources. For most hunters it's not the killing of game that's key to hunting, but the experiences and life lessons they gain. People who hunt have a special connection with the outdoors and an awareness of the relationships between wildlife, habitat, and humans. With that awareness comes an understanding of the role humans play in being caretakers of the environment.

Helping others by putting food on their tables — Food banks need donations now more than ever. Hunters are providing much needed protein to Virginia's needy families by donating a deer or a portion of it to Hunters for the Hungry ( Last hunting season, more than 363,000 pounds of venison was distributed in the Commonwealth through this program. Since Hunters for the Hungry was founded in 1991, more than 3.5 million pounds, equal to 13.5 million servings, of venison have been distributed in Virginia. In tough times, hunters continue to share the wealth of their harvest. Hunters can also contribute by donating $2 to Hunters for the Hungry when they purchase their hunting licenses. The non-hunting public can donate money to Hunters for the Hungry to off-set the cost of processing that donated meat.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Poaching Makes Me Angry

Why do people poach? It’s a question I too often find myself asking and it makes me angry that I have to do it. Poaching is never “right” to me but if a person has a legitimate reason for it such as they are starving and truly need the food to eat then that I can understand. However, when people spotlight, or otherwise hunt illegally for no real reason, it just stuns me. How can you take pleasure in killing a trophy buck when you cheated to get it? Not only do you cheat the deer, you cheated other sportsmen, and you cheated yourself. Part of the fun of hunting is challenging yourself against an animal that is smart and cautious and to take your prey down you have to be on top of your game. When you cheat you take the fun out of it. Anyone can take a spotlight out in to a field and kill a nice deer or any deer for that matter. For me, when you cheat, it stops being hunting and becomes shooting or killing. If I want to shoot I’ll go to the range, and the killing part of hunting is not what gives me my greatest satisfaction. To me the kill is just the finality of all that came before it. Anyway, this rant came about because I found out that on the property I’ve been hunting the most, one of the neighbors has been spotlighting deer at night and to make matters worse he’s not even taking the meat. He’s killing these deer and just letting them lie. If the deer were bothering his crops or something I could have a little more sympathy for the situation but he has nothing like that and as far as I can see he has no justification for shooting the deer aside from just target practice. It’s some family owned land and he better be glad it’s not my family because if I owned the land he would not like what I would have to say to him. It’s people like him who the anti-hunters use to try to make real hunters look bad but anyone who would do something like he is doing is not a real hunter.

Sorry for the rant, I hope I’m the only one of you having a problem like this. My best to you and yours!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Virginia Hunting 2008 *Update*

Just a quick update, my hunting season still has not worked out the way I was hoping for but I'm enjoying the little time I’ve had in the woods and I know that things are going to be coming together soon! On a related note I have been talking with Kevin Renwick from Traditions Firearms and I will be ordering a new Pursuit II XLT on Monday. I'm really excited, as Traditions have really put a lot in to making some of the best firearms on the market today! I've been hearing some really great things about the new Pursuit II's and I can't wait to get mine in and try it out for myself! I think the challenge of muzzleloading is going to be something I really enjoy. I'll be sure to post a review as soon as I can. I hope you are all having successful seasons and that you and yours are doing well!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Running With the Deer

Just this evening I had my coolest running experience ever… about 1.5 miles in to my 4 mile run I spooked a deer. The deer was about 10 steps ahead of me when it spooked, and I picked up my pace when I saw it run and I tried to grunt at it and then whistled at it to try to get it to slow or stop. When I saw that it had no intention of stopping I then just tried to keep pace with it as best as I could and then proceeded to talk trash to it. I let her know that I too was out running and in the woods every chance I got and that I was coming for her and her kind. We ran together for about a ¼ mile or so before she ran in to the woods, and my legs were pumping fiercely as I matched her stride for stride. She kept sneaking peaks back in shock that some guy was running with her like I was. After she disappeared in to the woods I kept on running until I reached my workplace, which was the 2-mile mark, with a huge smile on my face! I couldn’t believe that I had just had the privilege of running with a deer. As I returned down the road, the deer had snuck back out and was nearly in the same spot I had jumped her the first time. This time we were running in different directions but I yet again let her know that I was going and going and her kin might have defeated me to this point this year but I was never going to stop and that eventually my dry streak was going to end. It was the best run I’ve ever had and I could not wipe the smile off of my face the entire run. I hope you all are having great seasons, my luck has not been to great so far but I’m enjoying every minute I have in the woods!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

All Day Bowhunting

Thirteen hours, two asian giant hornets, one squirrel, one raccoon, and two does later I got skunked yesterday. I sat on stand all day, probably a bad idea when the days are still this long, and I saw only two does, I would have been glad to take one of them but as deer sometimes do they came by me in an area I never thought they would and the cover was to thick to have a good shot. It was really nice to be back in the woods though and as of now I’m planning on hunting Monday after work. I hope you all had better luck than I did!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Virginia Bowhunting 2008

Am I ready? Did I learn all I needed to learn? Is my fitness level good enough? Am I shooting well enough? These are all questions that run through my mind every day now, and tomorrow they start getting answered. I do know for sure about one thing though, I made a commitment at the end of last season to do something every day to become a better hunter, and I did it! I committed myself to trying to get in better shape, trying to become a better archer, and trying to learn as much about deer as I could. I don’t feel like I did as much as I could have but I do feel like I made gains on every goal. I’m sure I could have done more, and I will in the future, but I know I did do something no matter how small every single day to become better. I don’t know how much this work will pay off this year but I believe if nothing else it will make my time in the woods more enjoyable! I’m really excited about kicking off archery season tomorrow and I’m sure you all are as well. I wish you all a safe and successful season!