Page 1

July 2016

Volume 12 Issue 7

A Winning Experience By Al Schultz “


ello, Al?”, the voice on the other end of the phone said, “This is Mike Deming of Sportsman’s News, congratulating you on being selected. You are going to Canada to catch trophy northern pike!” A hundred different emotions hit me like a freight train! I was incredulous, ecstatic and surprised to name just a few. I was just returning from a SWAT callout and a call from the Sportsman’s News team had been the furthest thing from my mind. I am just a regular guy and had been on one local guided fishing trip in my life. Prize trips and

winning drawings never seem to happen to regular guys, unless it’s through the Sportsman’s News writing competitions or their ProMembership Sweepstakes that is. I found out personally that it can and it does regularly occur through Sportsman’s News! I first became aware of Sportsman’s News on the racks by the entrances and exits of the Sportsman’s Warehouse stores I frequent. The stores are conveniently located near me and they always seem to have what I am looking for when I want it, depending upon the season. The ‘News’ continued on page 2

Winning a trip with Sportsman’s News and one of their endorsed outfitters provided me an experience I never thought possible.


Accuracy has never been so simple. PAGE 6




continued from cover is free and always has honest gear reviews and articles about destinations that regular outdoors guys can afford and would enjoy going on. I read Sportsman’s News as much for the insightful gear reviews as the articles about “dream” destinations. Little did I know the impact this “freebie” newspaper would later have on my life. Fast forward to the phone call from Mike Deming and just like that, the groundwork was laid for one of the most epic fishing adventures of my life! Mike explained he would be going with me to film the trip for Sportsman’s News Television. We would be traveling approximately 50 miles north of La Ronge, Saskatchewan to Ruffo’s Sportsman Lodge, with our quarry, trophy northern pike of Jurassic proportions. The trip was to occur the first week of July and once all of the travel arrangements were made, I was like a kid waiting

I had only spoken to him on the phone or via email. Meeting in person, I instantly liked the guy. He’s competent and professional. What’s more, he is really down to earth. We drove in a rental car from Saskatoon north to La Andrew has been guiding at Ruffo’s Sportsman’s Ronge where Lodge for most of his adult life and always knows we were schedwhere to find the big ones. uled to connect on Christmas. The dates couldn’t with a float plane. The drive was apcome soon enough. My partners on proximately three hours and we had the SWAT team probably got sick of to take some detours due to forest hearing about the trip. Here in the fires that happened to be occurring northwest, we don’t have northern in the province. pike and certainly none as long or During the drive, I had ample as thick as a man’s leg! opportunity to talk and get to know Finally, the day arrived. I trave- Mike. I learned that we had trodden led via Air Canada from Seattle to some of the same dirt in the Marine Saskatoon, Saskatchewan where I Corps back in our day and both of us met up with Mike. Up to this point, had participated in the Team Spirit exercise in 1986. He as a Sgt. and I a Corporal. I was pleased. Normally, I am the kind of guy that would prefer to go on a trip alone, rather than spend it with someone I can’t stand being around or doesn’t share the same enjoyment and respect I have for the outdoors. Mike definitely loves the outdoors and he is passionate about hunting and fishing. He is a total outdoorsman first, who

happens to manage a major outdoor news periodical and TV show. It would become apparent to me throughout the trip that he is serious about providing regular folks like me with honest, wonderful outdoor experiences where we would get the most bang for our hard earned buck. Having been “burned” before many times by guides who were all hype and false promise, Mike is driven to vet the best guides and outfitters and put them out there for his reading and viewing audience as well as those folks who have entered the Pro Membership Sweepstakes. As I would observe and learn over the course of this trip, Mike and his team personally book with various outfitters, guides and lodges and they ask the tough questions, take honest notes and make insightful observations. They weed out the flyby-nights versus the quality experiences and they have the experience to know a quality experience versus a shoddy one. Someone like me, with nothing to compare to, wouldn’t know what to expect or even what I should realistically expect. What I experienced at Ruffo’s blew all my expectations out of the water! We arrived at Ruffo’s Sportsman’s Lodge the following day, via a short float plane trip. As the plane pulled up to the rustic dock at this wilderness retreat, I observed two figures onshore waiting. In the background continued on page 5

Sportsman’s News President and videographer on this trip was able to take a break from the camera to land this whopper 46” pike.


Words From The Publisher

By Michael Deming


ith summer in full swing and half of 2016 already in the books, we are starting to plan, scout and execute our fall experiences. This time of year is one of my absolute favorite times because the sky is the limit. What I mean by this is that the bucks, bulls or in my case, the bison of my dreams are all possible! That next world record just might be ours. These visions become goals and give us the drive to shoot hundreds of arrows each day, spend countless hours at the rifle range, hike to the top of the mountains to train and get up early to catch that glimpse of a trophy animal we hope to put a tag on in the fall. Each and every year, the Sportsman’s News Team enjoys tremendous success in the field. Many people say that we are lucky and I would chalk some of our success up to luck for sure. Everything does need to come together to make it happen and there is definitely some luck involved. However, dedication, commitment and a lot of hard work go into our preparation for each and every one of our team members. Long days and lots of time away from our families is the name of the game to get this so called “luck” each and every year. However, I wouldn’t change a thing about what we do. It is very rewarding in the end.

The byproduct of what we do here is that we get to test just about every piece of gear in the outdoor market. Some of it is just fresh lipstick on an old pig, but there are often some new and innovative products that not only revolutionize the industry, but also change the way we do stuff. With over a thousand man days in the field, we get to see what will succeed and what is just marketing fluff. Whether you’re looking to get a new knife for hunting season or thinking of spending a small fortune on a rifle setup, you should tap into this resource and knowledge. We have years of archived articles on our website at and just by subscribing to the digital edition of Sportsman’s News, you will be eligible to win a world class fishing trip to Canada next summer for huge lake trout and pike with one of our endorsed outfitters. This will also get you the digital copy of Sportsman’s News each and every month with all of the product testing we do. This is at no cost to you. Another resource available to you is the Sportsmansnewstv YouTube channel. We do about 60 video product reviews each and every year and they are all posted on this channel. Whenever we post one, you will get it sent to your email automatically if you are a subscriber. We are going to give away a Browning X-Bolt rifle

in 300 Win Mag topped, with a Swarovski X5i riflescope in the future to one of our subscribers. This setup is worth over $5,000 and this rifle is a tack driver. You won’t want to miss out. We have established a win/ win scenario for everyone with the Sportsman’s News publication and our YouTube channel. We will present you with a lot of great information at no charge and give you an opportunity to win some great stuff in the process. If you are one of those people that believes in the philosophy that you get what you pay for, the Pro Membership Sweepstakes is right up your alley. For $27 a month or $297 for the year, you will get a lot of great perks, but one of the most important is the five tickets in our drawings every 10 days for over $300,000 worth of trips, guns and gear. The next 12 months’ giveaways are in the center spread of this issue. Another Sonora desert mule deer trip, worth $9,500, is available this month and next month the largest giveaway of the year will take place, with a $50,000 Sonora Desert Bighorn sheep hunt. Don’t miss your opportunity to win one of these great trips. Details at Good luck.


3 Words From The Publisher 6 Leupold CDS 10 Platinum Approved Outfitters 14 Browning Speed Camo 16 Waders & Boots 26 Pro Member Sweepstakes 28 Pro’s Tip: Trophy Photos Member Update: 32 Pro Backcountry Hunts 36 Video Product Reviews Outdoors: Rat 42 PacWest Squeaker’s Cast & Blast 44 Business Directory New Diamondback 46 Vortex Binos 48 Pro’s Pick: Ford Super Duty Thinker: Top of the 50 Fishful Food Chain Game Recipe: Gravlax 52 Wild Writing Contest: Work Isn’t 53 Work In Paradise On A Budget: 54 Adventure Wisconsin Dells Sagas: Ultimate 56 Barebow! Heart Shot 57 AMK Adventure Dog First Aid sportsmansnews Become a Fan of Sportsman’s News for Fan Only contests and post comments about Sportsman’s News. Tell your friends.


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Al Schultz Dave Domin Eric Boley Gary Lewis Chad LaChance Steve Mayer Chandler Jade Mellon Michelle Scheuermann Dennis Dunn



SPORTSMAN’S NEWS 2322 W. Industry Way Cedar City, UT 84721

PRESIDENT/PUBLISHER Mike Deming President/Publisher 435-669-4624

SENIOR EDITOR Kent Danjanovich 801-231-9838 MANAGING EDITOR Dan Kidder 435-865-1680 EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Lisa Deming PRODUCTION MANAGER James Dansie

Subscribers should contact Managing Editor for changes of address.

Sportsman’s News is published monthly. The entire content of this newspaper is Copyright 2016 © All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without written consent of the Managing Editor.

SPORTSMAN’S WAREHOUSE 7035 So. High Tech Drive Midvale, UT 84047



I wish I could describe in better detail that first fish I caught and continued from page 2 hooked, but the truth is I was overwere several others waving a greet- whelmed and that first day was a ing at us. The two on the dock were blur of spoon tossing, fish catching Ruffo Schindler, the owner and pro- mayhem like I’ve never experienced prietor of Ruffo’s and his right hand in my life! Despite our late start at man, Stefan Schroder. Stefan was approximately 10am, Mike and I quick to grab everyone’s luggage and still managed to boat literally 100 gear and transport it to our respec- fish before 5pm. And that was even tive spacious cabins where we would after shutting down for an hour and be staying. Ruffo shook all of our a half while guides Andrew, Johnny hands welcoming us as we stepped and Les prepared an exquisite shore off the float plane. I learned that the lunch consisting of fried potatoes others in the background who were and onions, fresh caught walleye also waving were our guides. fillets and pike. Come on now, this Within an hour after we arrived, was only day one and we had just we had assembled our gear and were arrived. I still had five more days headed out with our own guide, to fish. I expected to catch maybe a Andrew. In talking with Andrew, I hundred fish over the course of the learned that most of the guides be- trip and would have been thrilled. longed to the Cree Indian Nation and This was beyond my wildest dreams! nearly all had lived their entire life That evening Ruffo, his wife Maxin this region. The grandfathers and ine and the staff treated us to a wonfathers of many of them had been derful steak dinner. Over dinner I got guiding in this area and Andrew had to meet some of the other guests, 13 grown up doing the same. Andrew others in all and great people every was amazing. He had a quick wit and one of them from all walks of life. The smile, was a very competent boat- trip for me seemed exotic. Granted, man and knew the Churchill River we were still in North America and system we would be fishing like the Canada is an English speaking neighback of his hand, seriously. How he bor, but for a guy like me from the could take us miles and park the boat northwest, pike are as exotic a species over submerged “cabbage patches” as peacock bass. The float plane trip without GPS amazed me! He would into a remote wilderness destinatake Mike and I out every day and I tion, just added to the experience can honestly say he never stopped in and traveling with the guides up the a place we didn’t catch fish. Walleye, winding Churchill River system to Pike, Lake Trout, he knew where to go. the various lakes, portaging over and around rapids just contributed to the whole experience. Every day was a grand adventure for me. Our worst day, Mike and I boated 63 fish and on our best we caught and released 121. We observed bears, bald eagles, otters and pelicans. On day three the winds had picked up and Andrew took us to a spot where the wind and water had pushed baitfish up along the shore of an island. Shore lunch is something all the guests enjoy Reeds were subeach and every day. All the fresh walleye and merged and closer pike you can eat.

to the shoreline, weed beds were exposed. I tossed a large, weedless Les Johnson Silver Minnow spoon with a yellow, “5 of Diamonds” pattern towards shore and began my retrieve. It was instantly struck with a savage fury that coursed through the cork grips of my rod handle and into the soles of my feet like an electric shock. As I set the hook, I knew I was into a heavy fish. Mike dropped everything to make ready with his camera equipment and Andrew was positioning the boat and offering advice based upon years of experience fishing for these behemoth flesh eating machines. After several drag screaming runs the pike, all 40 inches of him, rolled near the surface by the boat and Andrew deftly scooped him in the net, just as the hook broke off my spoon! I was breathing heavy because I was so excited. This was by far the largest fish I had caught and it was a tremendous experience for me, shared with men who had fast become my friends. All due to one man’s vision to provide regular sportsmen and women with quality opportunities with trusted and vetted guides and outfitters. How could I have been so lucky as to be drawn? By the end of the trip, the largest fish brought to our boat had been 45 inches, but larger fish had followed our lures up to the boat as well. It was an incredible experience. I don’t know how else to describe it. “Epic Adventure” seems too tame a phrase. The fishing had been spectacular. The fish were of truly trophy proportions. They had tackle wrecking strength and teeth. Mike and I literally had to replace wire leaders that were frayed or damaged and I had large metal swivels bust. The soldered hook had been wrenched out of my spoon by a large pike and the lure end of my 50lb braided line needed to be trimmed back approximately 18 inches daily, due to the fraying from the teeth of the large pike above the wire leader! One pike we caught and eventually had for lunch had a whole adult duck in its stomach! But, what impressed me most was the people I was surrounded by. From the guests to the guides, everyone shared the same passion and love of the outdoors. Most of all, I was impressed with Ruffo Schindler, the proprietor. It was his genuine


concern and priority that all of his guests have a wonderful experience and no stone was left unturned to that end by him or his attentive staff. While we were there, Saskatchewan was being ravaged by forest fires. No less than 115 of them raged across the northern half of the province. Mike and I literally photographed fires that were burning right to the shoreline along the waters where we were fishing. Every morning we’d awake to a fog-like shroud of smoke from these fires, like the campfire smoke from a thousand voyageurs centuries before. Because of this, supply planes were unable to fly or had been re-routed to assist with the efforts to fight the fires or supply those who were. It is said that adversity “builds” character. I disagree. I believe adversity “reveals” character, and in this regard, I observed the true nature of Mr. Schindler. Despite waning supplies due to the lack of flights, to include fuel for his generators and fleet of 16 ft. Lund boats and motors, food stuffs and water, etc. Ruffo continued to be optimistic. The staff managed to provide quality, home cooked meals for us despite the lack of supplies. They worked diligently to provide us with a continued quality experience. Ruffo is a man of faith and integrity and he has surrounded himself with a staff that share the same qualities. That and the caliber of fishing that I experienced from his lodge made this one of my greatest experiences. The accommodations were wonderful. I would highly recommend Ruffo’s Sportsman Lodge to anyone. Go to to reserve your trip now. I can’t think of a better fishing experience for you or your family. Additionally, having now personally observed the effort that Mike Deming and his staff put into vetting the various guides and outfitters, the questions asked and answered, I would trust anyone Mike and his team have determined to meet their “Platinum Approved Outfitter” standard. In fact, before I ever book another trip to anywhere for anything, I will consult with him or his team to see who they would recommend. My experience as a “winner” with the Sportsman’s News team has been nothing short of incredible, truly!



The Leupold Custom Dial System By Dave Domin


eupold’s Custom Dial System or CDS is the last word in long range shot placement. When the CDS is coupled with Leupold’s latest generation of RX rangefinders, shooters are afforded the best possible combination to achieve long range accuracy. Unlike other systems that use generic ballistics information to generate equally generic drop data, 100 or 200 yard zero in most cases the CDS uses the shooter’s unique (determined by the customer), then ballistics and environmental condi- read in 50 yard increments out to tions to calculate true custom drop the maximum yardage that can be values that are laser engraved onto reached on the dial. The CDS dial the dial. The first step in getting itself can be a one turn dial with this done is to determine the best zero stop (14.5 MOA), a two turn load for the rifle. Since no two guns dial with Zero Lock (29.5 MOA), will shoot the same load identical- or a three turn target dial without a stop (45 MOA), ly, it is important depending on to get the most the scope model. accurate ballisThe Leupold tic data possible. Custom Dial Since the CDS System is availsystem will only able in three be as accurate as scope lines, the the information first of which is the shooter supthe VX-2. The plies to Leupold, latest generaloads should be tion VX-2 redechronographed Leupold RX1200 fines high perand the elevation and temperature, +/- 2000 feet and formance. Leupold uses carefully +/- 20 degrees Fahrenheit respec- selected lead free lenses with Index tively, should match the intended Matched lens coatings that are use area. Leupold will need the precisely positioned with each following data; cartridge, bullet other to deliver up to 94% light type, bullet weight, ballistic coef- transmission with the highest levficient, muzzle velocity, average els of optical clarity. The addition altitude, average temperature and of DiamondCoat on the exterior sight height. The CDS will have a lens surfaces provides the utmost

Leupold VX-3i in abrasion resistance. The VX-2 also utilizes other updated design features including an externally threaded fast-focus eyepiece for quick and easy reticle focus. To keep this scope fog proof for life, it is filled with Leupold’s industry leading second generation A rg o n / K r y p t o n blend. This blend is drier and more resistant to thermal shock than the traditional nitrogen filled scopes. The VX-2, with CDS, is available in six magnification ranges and feature the Wind-Plex reticle. The sleek, classic lines and that iconic

est level of abrasion resistance. The next step is the elimination of glare. Although not often said, this step actually lowers overall light transmission by removing or absorbing stray light, only transmitting useful light to your eye, creating an improved sight picture. This is accomplished by first precision machining the VX-3i’s interior and then by blackening the edges of key lenses within the scope. Leupold engineers didn’t stop at light management on the VX-3i. The VX-3i, with CDS, is available in 5 magnification ranges and

Leupold VX-6 Golden Ring means that you will be buying a scope that is as durable as it is aesthetically pleasing. The second line of Leupold riflescopes available with CDS is the VX-3i. The VX-3i is built around Leupold’s new Twilight Max Light Management System which balances all available light wavelengths, eliminates glare, and pushes resolution to the limit. Beginning with lead-free lenses, Leupold applies Twilight Max lens coatings. These coatings optimize the red and blue frequencies of light, those found at the very first and last moments of the day, while maintaining a high transmission of the light at the center of the spectrum, delivering exceptional contrast and low light performance. These lenses are then topped off with Diamondcoat 2 for the high-

feature the Wind-Plex or Duplex reticle. This newly redesigned riflescope has models that are ideal for virtually any hunting situation. Rounding out the features of the VX-3i is an aggressively redesigned power selector which is easy to grasp and turn, larger and brighter magnification numbering, match grade dual spring adjustment and Argon/Krypton waterproofing. Finally there is the VX-6, all of which are CDS equipped. Leupold has been developing cutting-edge optics since the 1940’s, so it is no surprise that they have done it again with their top of the line VX-6 riflescopes. As with all of Leupold’s Gold Ring products, the VX-6 is designed, machined and continued on page 8




WITH THE LEUPOLD® CUSTOM DIAL SYSTEM® (CDS®), ACCURACY HAS NEVER BEEN SO SIMPLE. CDS delivers unprecedented accuracy because each CDS dial is laser cut to the specific ballistics of each individual shooter. Once installed on your Leupold riflescope, simply range the distance to your target, dial to the corresponding yardage, hold dead on, and squeeze the trigger. Extend your range with the Leupold Custom Dial System and shoot with total confidence. © 2016 Leupold & Stevens, Inc.

See how easy it is at LEUPOLD.COM/CDS

ZERO LOCK (ZL) DIALS CDS-ZL dials eliminate accidental rotation, and quickly compensate for ullet drop with the push of a button. Available on select VX®-6 models.




LEUPOLD CDS continued from page 6

assembled at their state-of-the-art facility in Beaverton, Oregon. Leupold didn’t pull any punches when designing this line of riflescopes. They began with a onepiece maintube crafted out of aircraft grade aluminum for unrivaled durability. Available in 30mm and 34mm diameters, they offer plenty

of windage and elevation adjustment for the longest of shots. From there, lead free, edge-blackened lenses with Xtended Twilight and DiamondCoat ™ 2 lens coatings optimize light transmission in low light conditions, provide unparalleled scratch resistance and offer a crystal clear image throughout the magnification range. While the extreme fast-focus eyepiece makes reticle focus easy to achieve and maintain in the field. Select models offer the WindPlex™ reticle and the CDSZL (Zero Lock) elevation dial. The Wind-Plex reticle has hash marks spaced at 1 MOA intervals along the horizontal stadia which aid in windage holds when it is blow-

ing outside. While the CDS-ZL elevation dial allows the shooter to return to zero without overrotating and when zeroed it locks into place preventing inadvertent dial rotation in the field. The illuminated VX-6 scopes feature Leupold’s exclusive FireDot® illumination system. The one button, low profile design gives the shooter 12 illumination settings to choose from, plus Motion Sensor Technology (MST) that deactivates

the illumination after 5 minutes of inactivity and instantly reactivates it as soon as movement is detected. Should the VX-6 be a long-range model, the side focus dial is placed around the illumination control for fast and simple one handed operation. VX-6 is also filled with Argon/Krypton for waterproofing and, as with all Leupold Gold Ring products, is backed by the industry leading Gold Ring Full Lifetime Guarantee. All Leupold scopes equipped with CDS come with a coupon for a free custom dial. For those of you that use multiple loads or switch scopes between rifles, additional dials can be purchased through the Leupold Custom Shop. For more information about this truly custom shooting solution, visit your local Sportsman’s Warehouse or visit today.

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The Sportsman’s News Platinum Approved Outfitter is an outfitter that has excelled in every aspect of their business. They put people and customers before profit. They do what it takes to make sure that they will be in business for the long haul and ensure that they have repeat customers. They practice good game management, which will ensure a top quality ALASKA FISHING

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new camo hunting apparel line is hitting the shelves this fall - Browning’s Hell’s Canyon Speed. Branded simply as “Speed”, the series is geared towards mobile hunters who appreciate layering options. The Speed garments’ proprietary camo is actually A-TACS, with two variants. There’s the A-TACS AU (Arid/Urban) for those hunting in drier, western climates and A-TACS FG (Foliage/Green) for hunters in forested areas. The line gives both archery and rifle hunters alike a complete offering of apparel that provides unmatched durability, mobility and comfort.

Designed as a system, Speed garments are sized to comfortably layer over one another to retain the fit while adding protection from the elements. With Hell’s Canyon Speed you can hunt harder, faster and in greater comfort than ever before. Not only are Browning’s chosen fabrics for the Speed line light and sleek, but the fit is as well. What they call “HeroFit” tailoring trims weight and bulk from the garments, also making them slightly more fitted when compared to often bulky camo options on the market today. Browning’s “Body Mapping Technology” means the amount of PrimaLoft insulation is heavier in core areas for crucial warmth and lighter in other areas to maintain maximum mobility. Windproof, breathable and water-resistant are all terms used throughout the line which includes jackets, vests, pants, rainwear, base layers, hats and gloves. Here’s a quick peak at a couple of main-stays of the line, the Hellfire Jacket and Pant. The 3-Layer soft shell construction of this combo is comprised of a stretch woven outer fabric that is 100% windproof, breathable and water-resistant and laminated to a soft, stretchy fleece lining. Body Mapping technology varies the amount of PrimaLoft insulation in strategic areas throughout the body, sleeves and hood to provide maximum warmth without affecting mobility. The hood is fully adjustable and removable. Handwarmer pockets have zipper closures and the two chest pockets feature one pocket with one zip closure and one with hook and loop closure. The Hellfire Pants feature two front hip pockets, two thigh pockets and one rear pocket with zipper closures. The Hellfire Jacket and Pant are available in A-TACS AU and A-TACS FG camo in sizes S - 3XL. Do yourself a favor and check out the new Hell’s Canyon Speed Camo line at your local Sportsman’s Warehouse. That familiar ‘Buckmark’ logo will catch your eye on each piece, so you will know you are dealing with the best in the business – Browning.







Waders, Boots & Accessories By Kent Danjanovich


hen you are around the water, casting a line as much as I am, you need to know as much as possible about wading equipment. A good pair of breathable waders and wading boots are a must and your local Sportsman’s Warehouse carries a great selection to choose from. Not all stores will carry all of these offerings, so if you can’t find them in your local store, check online at


G3 Guide Waders If you spend more of your waking moments submerged midthigh in a river casting out to a sipping fish than anywhere else, then invest in the Simms Men’s G3 Guide Stockingfoot Waders. Built with Gore-Tex Pro Shell fabric and Gore taped seams, the G3 provides unbelievable waterproof protection and breathability to ensure the ultimate comfort while you fish. Simms’ exclusive 5-layer Gore-Tex Pro fabric is found in the seat, waist and throughout the leg for rugged durability and absolute protection and there’s 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro in the upper part for greater comfort and breathability. Its nylon YKK zippers minimize corrosion and provide high-performing, durable wear for years to come. Simms also gave the G3 its patented front and back leg seam design which allows for an unprecedented amount of mobility and leg articulation in the wader while eliminating seams f ro m t h e i n n e r leg critical wear zones. The G3 Guide is designed to easily convert to a waist-high wader for versatility in any fishing environment while articulated knees ensure maximum comfort and mobility as you reel

in your catch. Adjustable elastic suspenders with opposing buckles and built-in low-profile belt loops also ensure a comfortable, secure and just-right fit. Built-in gravel guards feature 2-millimeters of high-density, abrasion-resistant neoprene with stainless steel boot hooks and a reinforced attachment design while anatomically-engineered, hourglass-shaped, 4-millimeter neoprene stocking feet offer a better, more comfortable fit. To help keep your small essentials readily accessible, Simms incorporated a removable flip-out tippet tender pocket with dual-entry zippers and retractor docking station, a zippered chest pocket and integrated utility tabs for convenience. In addition, a reach-through handwarmer pocket with storm flaps and micro-fleece lining furnishes incredible comfort when your fingers are icy cold. I will be putting the G3’s to the test this summer on my many trips to Alaska.

G3 Guide Boots Simms’ G3 Guide Boot has blazed more miles than any other wading boot in existence—and it’s just warming up. Advancements to this year’s incarnation include the guide-approved performance of a RiverTread platform featuring proprioception, which minimizes rigid underfoot materials for enhanced feel whether on the trail or in the water. Vibram Idrogrip outsoles add to this great-grip equation thanks to multi-directional lugs—compatible with all Simms’ AlumiBite and HardBite cleats and studs. Additional features include a TPU molded heel clip for a positive, locked-in fit, as well as neoprene internals that deliver cushioning where it counts for superior wading warmth, comfort and easy on/off activation. The Simms Men’s G3 Guide Boot provides a lighter weight with more durability for wet trails and all-day wading (as compared to the signature Guide Boot). Its waterproof Nubuck leather and TPU-coated textile uppers offer protection, durability and abrasion

resistance while you wade, hike down a steep ravine to the water’s edge or bushwack through the woods to your secret spot on the river. Partial neoprene lining provides wading warmth, cushioning and an easy on-and-off while the G3’s traditional lacing helps ensure a just-right performance fit. Simms also gave the G3 a CleanStream design which includes features and materials (less exposed stitching, fewer ridges, non-absorbent materials) that are more resistant to hitchhiking organisms—all to make the boots easier to inspect, clean and dry faster. Designed with Simms RiverTread platforms, the G3 delivers maximum comfort, performance, and slip-resistance so you can concentrate on making that perfect cast. In addition, the RiverTread is both trail-ready and wading-ready, thanks to its molded 3D footbed with arch support and ball flex that align your foot for all-day comfort and optimal bio-mechanics. The molded dual-density EVA midsole provides cushioning for hiking comfort enhanced proprioception. Simms also equipped the RiverTread platform with molded, minimal, and hidden TPU retention plates for lightweight cleat retention and enhanced proprioception. And for long-lasting traction on trails, slip-resistance in water, and toe protection you can rely on, the G3 has a molded Vibram Idogrib rubber outsole with 4-millimeters of self-sharpening, multi-directional lugs. G3 Guide Jacket And I just had to mention the G3 Guide Jacket. The new model is 25 percent lighter, while ratcheting

performance thanks to rugged, rip-stopping 3-layer GORE-TEX Shell fabric. Guide-tested including 2-large top-loaded fly boxes pockets and zippered chest, internal stash and micro fleece-lined hand-warmer pockets. The stowable 3-point Storm Hood adjusts to fight the fiercest downpour. And proven Dry Cuffs keep water out of the sleeves when tailing and releasing, fish. Whether or not you spend upwards of 300 days a year on the water, you want gear that won’t let you down when you do get to spend some quality time on the river. With its three-layer Gore-Tex shell, the Simms Men’s G3 Guide jacket handles everything from drizzly days in Alaska to storm days in the Rockies. A burly 70-denier face fabric resists the wear and tear only a river can dish out, while its fully adjustable hood lets you hunker down when the rains fall on a slant.

Caddis Wading System

Deluxe Breathable Waders Caddis Deluxe Breathables are the number one selling deluxe wader in North America. Caddis ensures that every second you spend in the outdoors is done with maximum comfort, warmth, confidence and a hefty dose of good looks. P o c k ets right where you need them, reinforced knees for those frequent occasions when you’re releasing







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fish, technology that keeps water out, warmth in and condensation a non-issue. Well I think you get the picture! Caddis Wading Systems is guided by a simple mission: To continuously develop new innovative wading solutions for angling, hunting, work and play. Caddis goes the extra step to fully tape and seal all seams on stocking foot waders from both the inside and the outside. Caddis waders are sized to fit right without bunching up or constricting during most common movements. In short, because they understand the wading environment so well, Caddis is able to offer products that deliver improved performance and function. Northern Guide Ultralite Wading Boots The wading boot environment is changing and caddis is leading the way. Like it or not, wading boots, specifically felt-soled, are coming under increasing regulatory pressure. Concerns over the transfer

of invasive species and non-native plants have p ro m p t e d several states to enact felt-free wading boot laws and it’s likely the list of participating states will grow in the coming years. In response, Caddis has introduced a comprehensive new line of environmentallyfriendly, felt-free, EcoSmart Soles. Available on the new Northern Guide Ultralite, lightweight and traditional wading boot models, EcoSmart soles provide all the grip, support and security without the concern of unintentional transfer of matter. It’s forward-thinking innovation for the reality of our world. As material technology continues to advance, Caddis is first to incorporate the most proven fabrics to gain maximum advantage. At a scant 1lb. 1oz., the Northern Guide Ultralite is their lightest

wading boot ever. Caddis Northern Guide Lightweight wading boots are a mere 1lb. 5oz. Both feature nylon uppers with reinforced toes and heels, a little extra padding on the ankle for comfort and new EcoSmart soles approved for feltfree zones. Wear them for miles. Wear them for days. As hard as you try, they’ll never wear you out.


Sonic Pro Waders Redington’s Sonic Pro Breathable Nylon Stockingfoot Wader is ergonomically designed for fit and comfort with exceptional results. Constructed from extremely durable, waterproof DWR-coated nylon, this wader is completely fortified with 3-ply fabric, with additional 5-ply fabric in lower leg and seat areas where waders take the most abuse. High-tech, double-taped, sonic welded seams (adhered together with sound as compared to being sewn) provide greater durability, comfort and increased mobility. The Redington Sonic Pro is out-

fitted with multiple pockets for ample storage. External pocket is both roomy and waterproof. Custom internal flip-out pocket has plenty of places to attach hemostats, retractors and other necessary gear. Fleece-lined hand warming pocket provides much needed relief for frozen fingers and zips shut to prevent snagging. Strategically placed additional belt loops keep adjustable elastic belt snug and securely fastened so you don’t lose it. Other highend features include adjustable X-Back nylon suspenders with several attached D-loops; h i g h d e n s i t y, ergonomically shaped neoprene booties; and gravel guard molded lace hooks that stay put and








keep your fly line from tangling up on your boots. You will love the full range of movement without binding with these driftwood/basalt colored waders, while there is ample room to layer up if needed. Freedom of movement is exceptional whether scrambling up or down steep banks, jumping over boulders or in fast moving water. The Sonic Pro Waders by Redington are truly a winner. I love their features and fit and you will love their durability. Skagit River Wading Boot The Redington Skagit Wading Boots are a top-of-the-line boot built for comfort, durability, and support. Made with lightweight and quick drying materials, the Skagit Wading Boot is built for a long day on the river. Mesh panels on the body of the boot allow for easy drainage and quick dry times. Redington Skagit Wading Boots offer the full support and durability needed for a great day of fly

and off and deep draw lacing with molded, non-corrosive metal hardware. If that’s not enough, Redington even made this boot to be compatible with studs for added versatility. Rich with features and performance, Redington’s Skagit Wading Boot looks great, feels great and, most importantly, fishes great! fishing, with the good looks and great price you’ve been looking for. The Skagit Boots are quality wading boots that guarantee solid footing and comfort, which is essential to providing a more enjoyable fishing experience. These Redington boots are extremely durable with a rubber rand and toe cap, making them resistant to wear; they are also equipped with a DWR coating that makes the boot’s fabric water-resistant. The Skagit Wading Boot also features neoprene padded ankle support, mesh panels for quick drainage, webbing pull loops for easy on

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Rustic Ridge

Rustic Ridge LX Breathable Wader Designed by fisherman for fisherman, the Rustic Ridge LX Breathable Wader is Sportsman’s Warehouses’ top seller. Made from a 100% Polyester Out Shell and a 100% Nylon Inner Shell, the LX also features a reinforced seat and lower leg while being treated with the fabric protector Teflon for repellency. Attached, stretchfit gravel guards are standard. With an internal flip-out zippered front pocket and a fleece lined handwarmer pocket on the front and also a few more organiza-

tional pockets on the immediate front of the bib, the Rustic Ridge LX Breathable Wader is a great choice when heading out to your favorite waters. Each fabric is carefully selected for the best combination of breathability and durability at an affordable price. Take the Rustic Ridge Breathable Wader down the river on your next trip out fishing and decide for yourself. Every Rustic Ridge Wader is thoroughly tested before leaving the factory to ensure the waterproof integrity of the product. When you buy a Rustic Ridge wader, you are assured of high performance, great value and most importantly, a dry fishing experience.





Frogg Toggs

Pilot II Breathable Wader With the guidequality lightweight nylon shell material and exclusive DriPore C3 technology, the Pilot II wader is 100% waterproof and breathable and built to last. Patented swing leg protection panels and articulated knees make the Pilot II extremely comfortable and terrifically durable. The Pilot II’s are fully taped and sealed, with 6-ply swing leg protection. They also offer 4mm, form-fitting neoprene booties that are made of 100% ‘CR’ neoprene that are double-taped for added waterproof protection. Durable nylon/Dura-Span attached gravel guards, with non-slip rubberized elastic openings are another standard feature. Frogg Toggs Pilot II incorporates an adjustable, X-back elastic suspender system with attached D-ring supports as well as a zippered flip-out security chest pocket and adjustable locking cord for added convenience. Anura Wading Boots Frogg Toggs Anura Sticky Rubber Sole Wading Shoe features a durable, lightweight mesh upper with non-shrinking PVC outer skin. The Anura wading shoe upper is fully surrounded by a reinforced, rubberized base for extra durability and excellent foot protection.

The specially designed sticky rubber sole gives superior traction and stability on slippery surfaces and cleans up easily. Other features include an extra stable wide footbed, comfortable neoprene tongue with padded mesh collar and an easy-on heel pull. The Frogg Toggs Anura Sticky Rubber Sole Wading Shoe is camel, olive and stone in color, with sticky, black rubber sole.


Whitehorse Wading Boots Korkers Whitehorse Wading Boot combines traditional styling with new construction design and technology to offer durability, high performance, comfort and fit. Fabricated with new, innovative outsole technology, the Whitehorse features Kling-On soles and Korkers’ OmniTrax Interchangeable Sole System that allows you to adapt traction with your performance needs by easily switching rubber or felt soles. This functional, yet versatile cleat system has taken boots to another level. The Whitehorse boot gives you the ability to maximize performance, despite any water condition. Whitehorse Wading Boots are constructed with hydrophobic materials that reduce water absorption, aid with quick drying and resist the spread of invasive species. Midsole integrated drainage ports channel water out of the boot, allowing them to dry faster and maintain their light weight. Oversized, molded rubber toe and heel caps add extra durability and protection. Korkers Whitehorse boot sports the M2 Boa lacing system that sets it apart from traditional lacing systems on the market. The lacing system provides a glove-like fit with custom comfort, smooth even pressure and no pressure points. It continually micro-adjusts both in and out of the water. An easy, one-handed adjustment, with a quick turn of the Boa dial and the Boa closure sheds water, mud and ice. The Boa system is quick on and quick off and once it is locked in place, Boa reels and laces stay that way. Korkers is the only wading boot manufacturer to offer interchangeable soles. The OmniTrax Interchangeable Sole System is a revolutionary



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new concept changing the way people think about footwear. The soles of Korkers wading boots and cold-weather performance boots can be easily changed and customized for a

variety of different activities. This innovative technology was created with 3 simple design criteria in mind: ease of use, reliability and durability. Make sure you check out this great wading boot at your local Sportsman’s Warehouse.


STREAMtrekkers Traction Cleats STREAMtrekkers will help keep you upright when fishing in fast moving rivers and streams. They can be worn over rubber and felt-soled fishing shoes as well as wading boots. The patented Diamond Bead design has hundreds of biting edges that grip in all directions for sure traction on slick rocks. The beads, made of case-hardened steel alloy, a re s t ru n g o n e x t re m e l y durable steel aircraft cable. The tough rubber outer band adapts to all types of

footwear and provides a secure fit. The simple to use design can be easily cleaned to stop aquatic invasive species transport. DryGuy Force Dry DX Boot and Glove Dryer From rain soaked soccer cleats and sweaty ski or hunting boots to soggy gloves filled with melting snow, the Force Dry DX dries a variety of footwear and gloves in a snap, leaving you to start your day with dry, comfortable hands and feet. Utilizing gentle forced air and heating to around 105°F, it quickly removes moisture and helps prevent the growth of fungus and bacteria that cause odors and deteriorate your footwear over time. It is completely safe to use and will not shrink, warp or otherwise harm delicate garments and custom fit liners. The DryGuy Force Dry DX can dry two pairs of boots, shoes or gloves in about an hour and with the extra-long attachments, you can turn it into

a great wader dryer as well. Remember, it is just as important to dry the inside of your boots as it is the outside after a long day on the river!

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Taking Quality Trophy Photos By Michael Deming


unting season is once again almost upon us. The excitement of planning, preparing, conditioning and shooting will all soon be over and the day of the big game will be here. Many of you have drawn that supreme, once in a lifetime tag, while others will just hunt their regular general season to enjoy and pass on the tradition. Whether you are a extreme trophy hunter or just a guy who enjoys the hunt, chances are, you will be taking pictures of your success in the field. Each and every year, we get hundreds of pictures from excited men, women and children wanting to share their trophies with us and fellow readers of Sportsman’s News. I enjoy looking at the pictures and sharing in all of your success, especially when you take along the kids. Each year, we see happy people enjoying the outdoors, but there are

literally thousands of pictures in our archives that could have been much better for publishing and for your own trophy wall. So, in this article, I am going to share some tips on how to get the best photos possible. Preparing your trophy for a great photo is the biggest part of the battle. After all, this is the funeral service for one of Gods’ great creatures and you just sent him to his demise. You owe it to the animal to make sure that he is remembered by all and bring his majestic beauty to life in his final photo session. This is a very time consuming process and not something that I take lightly. Rushing a photo session will insure that you have bad photos in the end. It won’t matter if you get back to camp an hour or so late, so just be sure to prepare and do the job right. Let’s assume you made a great double lung shot on a beautiful buck. You walk up and recover your

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trophy in the tall grass or a creek bottom. You will have a very bloody deer around the nose and mouth and the foliage around your trophy is going to be very thick and overgrown. Unless you go out of your way to make for good photos, this is going to make for a bad end result. If the sun is still up, you want to identify an area that still has good lighting, with the sun at the photog-

photographed pretty much where they fall, unless you have horses to relocate them. You will first need to clear out any foliage that will get in the way of the picture. I always have a small saw

raphers back. If it is getting dark, the flash on the camera will usually do the trick, but a good setup is essential for a good end result. The great thing about deer and smaller game is they are relatively easy to move and you can usually get them to a position to take a good photo. Elk, moose, bears and other extra large game are going to be

and some standard garden pruning shears in my bag for just this purpose. You can make short work out of just about any obstruction that will interfere with your picture. The next thing to be done is to situate the animal into a somewhat natural position. I like to prepare my animals in a natural sort of pose, just like they are lying down

Pro’s Tips





with their feet tucked underneath themselves. This makes for a very natural look and gives you a great end result. Now you must deal with the situation of the great double lung shot. If you want a great photo, you will need to clean off the blood and deal with that tongue sticking out of the animal’s mouth. I always carry several bottles of water in my pack for just this reason, along with several clean white rags and a package of wet wipes. Make sure that you get all of the exposed blood removed from the animal. You can deal with the tongue in a couple of different ways. I usually just remove it by pulling it as far out of the mouth as possible and cutting it off, but I have also taken fishing line and a needle and sewn the mouth shut with a few stitches. Whichever works best for you and you have time for will suffice, but if you don’t deal with the tongue, it will be sticking out in the majority of your pictures. Now that you have your animal cleaned up and positioned, you are

in good shape to start taking pictures. I am usually thinking about where the sun will be in an hour, because this is often the amount of time that it takes to prepare for a photos session and I do my positioning according to where things will be. If you miscalculate, don’t be afraid to reposition the animal. It will be too late once you get home and the animal is in the freezer. During a photo session, we usually take between 200 and 300 photos and out of all of those photos, I am usually happy with about a dozen or less. If you take only a couple of photos, chances are that you will be disappointed in the end. The great thing about the digital camera era is that you can view each and every picture before you ever leave the site. Try to leave the site with at least a hundred pictures that you are happy with there and I assure you that there will be a select few that are perfect when you print them out at home. Where do you want to be in the picture? This is the million dollar

question with many different answers and each situation has a different answer to that question. The one thing for sure is somewhere behind the animal, but to the left, right or directly behind will be determined by the animal itself, terrain setup, lighting and antler configuration. You probably won’t know the answer to that question until you actually get home and see your pictures on a computer monitor in large size.

This is why the photo session takes so long and is not to be rushed. So, take photos in all the positions: way behind, left holding the head, right holding the head. Put the head on a rock and sit behind the animal, sit next to the animal with your hand under the chin and do it on both sides. Get the family and the hunting party in the picture. continued on page 44

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Primos Timberline Elk Calls By Michael Deming


ill Primos has been designing and producing calls for the majority of my life, so it’s pretty easy to say that he is an expert when it comes to developing the sounds animals make in the woods. Turkeys and elk are some of the most vocal critters which we like to pursue in the woods and being able to replicate these sounds is essential to your success. The new Timberline series of calls is capable of doing just that. They come in both an open reed model, as well as a closed reed model. For those of you not familiar with the two types, the open reed style has the reed visible. The pressure you put on the reed with your lips allows you to change the pitch and get the different sounds you so desire. The closed reed version has no reed visible and the pitch is controlled by biting on the reed portion of the call, which regulates the amount of air which flows through the reed. The closed reed is a great call for beginners because it is very easy to master with limited practice. Simply biting onto the reed and blowing will allow you to make the various mews and chirps required to locate elk. It will still require some

time to perfect the art of talking to elk and if you would like to stay in the good graces of your friends and family, make sure you do this while alone in your car! It comes with its’ own lanyard and a lifetime service guarantee. The open reed call is a bit more complicated, but provides you with the ability to make louder mews and chirps. The volume which this call produces makes it a great call for locating and getting that bull to respond. It makes very good sounds at higher volumes, however we found it to be very difficult to get good and repeatable sounds with lower volumes. When a bull comes looking, you don’t want to give up your position or make a bad call. Attempting to do a low volume call with the open reed Timberline or calling at the volume to give you a good sound could definitely be the result. This call has a great place in your arsenal and it is definitely a good one for locating the herd. Having both the closed and open reed Timberline calls around your neck come elk season will be your key to success. The versatility of having a high volume call to locate elk and then being able to speak softly to them when getting close will have you punching tags come September.




Barbary Sheep With A Bonus By Eric Boley


t was the first morning of my Aoudad or Barbary sheep hunt and I had already blown it. I couldn’t believe it. I had an incredible opportunity and now as we trudged back up the hill, I was devastated. We had spotted the sheep from almost two miles away, using good optics and tripods. We’d made a long drive in the trucks to close the distance and then had stalked to within 250 yards of the ram, when a ewe we hadn’t seen busted us. In an attempt to take the ram before he dove into the deep canyon he was standing near, I rushed the shot and ruined the opportunity. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and after spending a couple of hours looking and finding no sign of the ram, I realized I should have taken that extra few seconds to get rock steady on the shooting sticks, settle in to the rifle and squeeze off the shot. I vowed that if I was presented another opportunity, I would make it count. I was hunting the Chinati Mountains in west Texas with Backcountry Hunts. The owner, Steve Jones, had allowed the Sportsman’s News team to give the hunt away in their writing contest and I was the lucky winner. I was joined on the hunt with the President of Sportsman’s News, Mike Deming and the camera crew that would be recording our hunt for a fu-

ture DVD. When Mike called me around the first of the year to let me know I had won the hunt, he told me that this hunt was one of his favorite ever and it would be his seventh trip to hunt Aoudad. Needless to say, I was stoked to have been chosen as the winner and couldn’t wait to chase freerange Aoudad in the rough and rugged country of west Texas. Even though I was disheartened by screwing up my first chance at a sheep, I was also encouraged because it was only the first morning of a 4-day hunt. We were hunting the 40,000 acre Nopolosa Ranch and it was crawling with game. I was confident my guide, Dave Callaway, could get me on another good ram and when he did, I would make it count. During our hunt we glassed up javelina, desert mule deer, Carmen Mountain whitetail deer, elk, coyotes and tons of sheep. Aoudad are beautiful, regal animals that were introduced from the Barbary Coast of Africa and have thrived in their new environment. Mature rams sport long hairy beards and chaps with huge horns that sweep back instead of around like our bighorn species. A 27-28 inch ram is a true trophy with the 30 inch mark being the ‘Holy Grail’. The amount of game on the ranch was incredible and it seemed every time we stopped to glass, we found something new to look at. The timing for the

hunt couldn’t have been better, with temperatures in the low 70s. The desert was alive with cactus blooming. Everywhere we drove, we saw huge coveys of scaled quail. It was an incredible time to be in the field. Late in the afternoon on day one, we decided to take a look in a deep and secluded canyon. The wind was perfect, blowing straight up the canyon as we started side-hilling our way down the canyon, glassing carefully as we went. As we worked our way about halfway down the canyon and around a little outcropping, we noticed a sheep feeding on our side of the canyon, about 500 yards away. As we hunkered down behind a big yucca, we carefully and methodically glassed and discovered three rams, with at least one shooter. They were feeding and moving through the thick brush and we would catch glimpses of them as they moved. We decided to try and close the distance and get above them to set up for a shot. We were able to work our way up to the rim of the canyon and then work our way down to where we would be directly above them. We had to sky-line ourselves as we crept over the rim and luckily the sheep didn’t see us as we settled into some rocks above them. Well, they must have sensed that something was amiss, as all of them all headed down to the brush-choked bottom of the canyon. Dave kept glassing them as I got a solid rest on the shooting sticks. We caught flashes of their tawny brown bodies as they moved through the brush. They finally decided they were leaving and made their way towards a small opening in the bottom of the canyon, where they could drop off into the dry creek bed and disappear around the bend. With the smaller ram leading,

Dave pointed to the small opening and told me to get ready for a shot. The small ram walked through the opening and Dave said the shooter ram would follow right in his trail. As the big ram got close to the opening, he decided to move quickly and get back in cover and as he trotted out I had a split second to squeeze off my shot. I settled into the gun and squeezed off the round as the sheep trotted across the opening and we were elated to hear the thump of the bullet and see the ram stagger out of sight in the creek bottom. As we made our way down the canyon in a manner that we described as “walking on bowling balls set atop marbles” because of all the loose rocks, I was hopeful my ram would be piled up close to where we had last seen him. As we got to the spot where the ram had been at the shot, we found no blood and doubt started to creep in. We took the trail in to the creek bottom and again, there was no blood. As we started down the draw, a ram came running towards us on the other side of the canyon and stopped at about 30 yards. Dave glassed the sheep to see if it was my ram. But quickly determined it was the smaller ram. He said that was a good sign and that my ram must be somewhere close. We continued down the bottom and about 50 yards down the creek, we noticed the tawny brown color of a sheep in the bottom of the wash. With our binoculars we quickly determined it was a sheep and as we moved closer, we could see my ram lying on his side. I can’t describe the sense of relief and exhilaration as I placed my hands on those magnificent horns and admired my prize Aoudad ram. Having the whole hunt captured on video so I could share with friends and family only added to the experience.


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With the sun setting on the first day of my hunt, we took time to take photos of my sheep and memorialize the adventure. We caped out the sheep and got the ram out of the canyon just as the sun sank behind the Chinati Mountains to the west. If this had been the end of my adventure I would have been completely satisfied and had the memory of a lifetime, but it wasn’t the end. Included with the hunt, I was able to hunt and try to take a javelina or Collared Peccary. Javelina are a unique game animal and are a blast to hunt. I had brought my bow along, just in case I got a chance to chase the little desert dwellers. We spent the entire next day looking for the little rodents. Dave indicated that they saw javelina everywhere and it was rare to go an entire day without seeing them. That wasn’t the case and we spent the entire day glassing, driving and scouring the ranch for a pig. Finally, with about an

hour of light left, we glassed a herd about 1000 yards away. They were up eating before dark and were working their way through a prickly pear cactus and cat claw infested flat. We grabbed our gear and quickly dropped off the top to try and intercept the herd before dark. It took a while to get close and as we got into the draws that had looked like minor depressions from above, it took us a while to get close and relocate the herd. The wind was perfect and we slowly closed the distance. As is the case with javelina, they blend in with their surroundings and as we closed the distance, a pig we hadn’t seen busted us. The herd began to get nervous and move away from us. There was a nice pig standing broadside at about 50 yards. I was hesitant to take the shot because of the distance and the size of the little rodents, but went ahead and came to full draw, anchored my string and released an arrow. Unfortu-

nately, my shot missed, sending the herd into a panic, with pigs running everywhere. Javelina are much like quail. The herd scattered, but then started woofing at each other, trying to regroup. By staying still and because they have poor eyesight, the pigs began to regroup and before I knew it, I had a nice sized pig walking by me at about 15 yards. I already had another arrow knocked and quickly came to full draw, settling my 20 yard pin a little low as I released the arrow. At the impact of the arrow, the javelina gave a distinctive growl and sent the herd scattering in all directions again. We watched the pig for as long as we could, but lost light quickly and could never really get on the blood trail. The night was supposed to be cool, so we decided to back out and come back in the morning when we could see. As we were making our way out through the cat claw, we stumbled across a rattle snake and decided

that was another good reason to come back when we could see better. The next morning found us back in search of my prize pig. We found very little blood and commenced a grid search. We had all but given up and I was devastated. I knew my shot was good and quickly said a quick prayer asking for help in recovering the javelina. I had the impression to check an area about 300 yards from where we had last seen my pig the night before and was humbled and happy when I looked under a cedar tree and found my west Texas javelina. This was an incredible experience and I plan on a return visit to hunt with Steve Jones and Backcountry Hunts. I was honored to have hunted with Mike Deming and the Sportsman’s News crew. Mike took a beautiful ram on the last day of our hunt as well, giving us 100% success. I’m already looking forward to a return to the Chinati Mountains.





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2016 New Video Product Reviews

Camp Chef SmokePro SE Pellet Grill


ust because the SmokePro SE from Camp Chef has fewer features than its bigger brothers, doesn’t mean it is lacking in capability. The SmokePro LE offers the same self ignition, self feeding pellet hopper, and internal temperature sensor as the larger Camp Chef Pellet Grills. With the ability to heat up to 500 degrees, the SmokePro LE offers the ability to work as a smoker, or a pellet feed barbecue grill. It will automatically keep the desired temperature from 160-500+ degrees. Just set the dial, and let the auto feed system maintain the perfect cooking temperature for you. A built-in grease collection system keeps the grill clean over multiple uses, and an ash bucket

collects burnt pellets so you don’t slow smoked flavor, or turn have to clean the ash out after it up to quickly smoke your favorites and get them on each use. A heavy-duty auger feeds pel- the plate faster. At 106 pounds, this smalllets from the large hopper directly er version is lighter and easinto the combustion chamber for ier to transport to hunting worry-free cooking or smoking. camp or the cabin. Wheels The hopper will hold up to 18 help with moving it around pounds of pellets, so you spend once you get it to your smokless time refilling. ing location. A large 19.5-inch by 22-inch For the money, this featuregrilling area is large enough for packed smoking powerhouse most applications, and additional is a great portable optional jerky racks are pellet smoker or easily inserted to give perfect for those you even more smoking who want to get area. started with pellet You can smoke meat smoking without on both low or high heat settings for more versatil- Scan this QR Code with your losing out on the phone to view the functionality found ity and longer smoking smart Sportsman's News YouTube in larger grills. Channel. times for that amazing

Sig Sauer Romeo4C Red Dot


he Romeo4C from Sig Optics provides everything you expect from a highend red dot scope with a few extra features. Providing a quick detach Absolute Co-witness mount that easily attaches to your standard

rifle rail, the Romeo4C also comes with a low profile mount that allows you to attach it to shotguns and AKMs. The aircraft aluminum housing is a two-tone gray with black accents and makes an attractive accessory to your rifle. I n s i d e , Spectracoat coated glass, and a parallax free 2 MOA red dot with adjustable brightness, let you quickly get and stay on target. Pressing both the brightness buttons adds a 65 MOA aiming ring with four hash marks. The Romeo4C is the only model in

the Romeo4 line tops and carry handle ARs. that features an inTwelve levels of brightness tegrated solar panlet you use the Romeo4C in el on top to extend full daylight and at night, the battery life and even with night vision. from 5,000 hours T h e 4 C c o m e s s t a n d a rd this QR Code with your to around 50,000 Scan with flip caps that can be smart phone to view the hours. That is five Sportsman's News YouTube e a s i l y r e m o v e d a n d a l s o and half years of Channel. allows you to use the inconstant run time cluded bikini covers. It is on a single CR2032 battery. The submergible in up to 3 feet of addition of Sig’s MOTAC mo- water for 30 minutes (IPX-7) so tion sensitivity means that the you don’t have to worry about optic turns off during inactivity the electronics getting wet in a and instantly comes to life when downpour. moved. To top it off, the electronics A n d b e c a u s e i t i s p a r a l l a x are covered by a five-year limf r e e , a n y w h e r e t h e r e d d o t ited warranty and the glass and appears in the 20mm aiming housing feature the Sig Sauer window is where your point of Infinity Guarantee, which ofimpact will be. fers no-question-asked lifetime Protected adjustment turrets repair or replacement for any have the adjustment tool built reason. All of this is available in to the top of the caps, so you for about half the price of simican just flip them over to adjust lar optics on the market. elevation and windage without Check out the entire line of Sig an additional tool. With +/- 50 Sauer Romeo4 red dot scopes at MOA of adjustment, the Ro - your local Sportsman’s Waremeo4C will work with both flat house optics counter.





ROMEO4 is the ultimate red-dot sight when fast, accurate target acquisition is a must. Whether it’s a moving target, dangerous game at full charge, or a fast-breaking tactical situation at close quarters. No matter the lighting conditions, weather conditions, or terrain, the extremely rugged ROMEO4 red-dot sight has you covered. Shoot with confidence with both eyes open, when it counts.

DUAL RETICLE SYS TEM Advanced LED illumination system toggles between a 2 MOA Red-Dot for precision aiming and a 65 MOA/2 MOA Circle-Dot for rapid target acquisition.

SOLAR POWERED ILLUMINATION SYSTEM Always ready with both battery and solar, the ROMEO4c is up even if your battery is down. 50,000+ hour battery life.


Includes both M1913 Picatinny low profile and 1.41” cowitness riser mounts.




2016 New Video Product Reviews

Leupold RX-850i – TBR Rangfinder


ith so many choices today in rangefinders, it is hard for the consumer to decide which one is right for them. Leupold has helped you make that decision by introducing the new RX-850i TBR. Leupold has gone above and beyond by introducing the RX-850i featuring their (DNA) or Digitally eNhanced Accuracy Technology, True Ballistic Range and Trophy Scale capabilities.

The Leopold RX-850i is a revo- cally adjust to changing distances to lutionary, range-finding device the target. that incorporates advanced digital The True Ballistic Range for bows electronics with a state of the art is designed to provide the equivalent ballistics algorithm. Featuring six horizontal range for arrows. As an times magnification, three selectable example, if you have a 40-yard shot reticles to choose from, four differ- line of sight and a 40-degree incline, ent True Ballistic Range correction the RX-850i adjusts automatically methods, and a long-lasting battery, telling you to aim as if the target was all housed in a durable and water- at 30.6 yards. This feature also works proof body. for rifles. Whether you’re hunting giant elk The Leupold RX-850i, with its in Arizona or mule deer in Colo- Digitally Enhanced Accuracy, gives rado, the Leopuold RX-850i you an almost instant range readTBR lets you instantly and ing within one tenth of a yard, accurately judge the against any background or width and height of color. The TBR calculates a target using their the range out to 800 yards Trophy Scale technolaccurately. After 800 yards, ogy. Once the basethe rangefinder will proline value has been vide you with a line of sight saved, the Trophy Scan this QR Code with your distance out to 1,000, givScale bracketing sys- smart phone to view the ing you true line-of-sight News YouTube tem will automati- Sportsman's and angle compensation, Channel.

Bushnell Trophy Binos and Rangefinder


u s h n e l l k n o w s w h a t i t at finding that trophy animal. t a k e s t o m a k e q u a l i t y The rubber exterior gives you optics. But, the thing that added protection against the I like most about them is that e l e m e n t s a n d t h e o c c a s i o n a l they are super affordable. drop or bump. New for 2016, Bushnell has Bushnell’s Trophy Binos are introduced their Trophy Bin- water-proof, giving you fogo c u l a r s a n d Tr o p h y X t r e m e free performance and can withR a n g e f i n d e r. T h e b i n o c u l a r s stand complete immersion in feature a smooth center focus water while staying dry inside. nob, diopter adjustment, fully They have a field of view of 330 multi-coated lenses and a du- feet at 1000 yards and the twistrable rubber exterior. The fully up eye cups give each user a m u l t i - c o a t e d l e n s e s w o r k t o custom fit, even for those that give you that bright, clear im- wear glasses. They are light, age, while the textured weighing in at only 25.3 rubber exterior make ounces, making it easy them very comfortable to take them on any to hold. Having an ertype of hunting trip. gonomic pair of binT h e Tro p h y X t re m e oculars makes it easier Rangefinder pairs pert o g l a s s l o n g e r. T h e Scan this QR Code with your fectly with the Trophy smart phone to view the longer you glass, the Sportsman's News YouTube B i n o c u l a r s , m a k i n g better chance you have Channel. them a lethal combina-

tion. This great rangefinder is extremely easy to use. Simply put the aiming circle on the target, depress the power button and hold it down until the range number appears. When you depress the power button, center c ro s s h a i r s will appear, meaning that the rangefinder is working and the laser is active. When the c ro s s h a i r s disappear, the correct yardage will app e a r. T h e Tr o p h y

depending on the angle of the shot. The RX-850i TBR feature provides settings for seven different rifle cartridge groups. This feature allows you to choose your weapon, bullet of choice and enter the information into the rangefinder. The display will account for the shot angle and provide the proper distance for holdover based on the weapon you are shooting. This amazing feature allows you to have precise shooting with any change in elevation or distance, vastly improving your confidence in making that shot during any hunting situation. Another great feature is the continuous measurement of a moving target or multiple targets. The Leupold RX-850i with its Digitally Enhanced Accuracy, Trophy Scale capabilities and True Ballistic Range, make it a perfect choice for today’s trophy hunter.

Xtreme features ARC (Angle Range Compensator) which will take into account the uphill or downhill angles and calculate the corrected range for you to aim at. Simplicity is the name of the game with this rangefinder. There is only one button to push, so you don’t have to worry about switching through complicated modes. Check out the new Trophy Binoculars and Trophy Xtreme Rangefinder today at your local Sportsman’s Warehouse.


Under Armour and respective logos are registered trademarks of Under Armour, Inc. All Nikon trademarks are the property of Nikon Corporation.


With double the adjustment range of your typical one-inch tube riflescope, the 30mm tube PROSTAFF 7 puts a new level of longrange capability on your “can-do” list. PROSTAFF 7’s precise instant zero-reset turret system, versatile 4-time zoom range and legendary Nikon optics won’t back down from any challenge in the field—whether long distance, poor light or impossible weather. Available in six models—each with a choice of reticle: Nikoplex for dialing-in your shot or BDC reticle for precise holdover aiming.


Shown: PROSTAFF 7 3-12x42 Side Focus with 120 inches of windage and elevation adjustment travel. Also available in: 2.5-10x42, 2.5-10x50, 4-16x42SF, 4-16x50SF, 5-20x50SF


15128_PROSTAFF_7_RS_AD_9.75x10.5.indd 1

Nikon is dedicated to quality, performance and total customer satisfaction. If your Nikon Binocular, Riflescope or Fieldscope requires service or repair not covered by our Limited Lifetime Warranty, just send it to us and Nikon will repair or replace it. For complete details, visit: *Excludes products with electric components, lost or stolen products and intentionally caused damage.

1/7/16 3:47 PM



2016 New Video Product Reviews

ALPS OutdoorZ Commander X Frame and Pack


etting into the backcountry and away from the crowds is usually a recipe for finding trophy animals. Getting all the necessary gear in and out is usually on your back, unless you want to hire a guide or own some hay burners. Having a pack that can handle the load in as well as your game and gear back out and doing it comfortably is usually a problem. The Commander X Frame and Pack assembly provides all the answers for that hard core backcountry hunter. The base of this pack is the detachable frame. Its’ strength comes from the dual aluminum stays, with the channeled high density polyethylene frame. It has an adjustable molded foam suspension and Lycra shoulder straps with load lifters. The waist belt is extremely comfortable and the two, well-placed,

large pockets will accommodate items you only need a few items once you get you need quick access to. This waist belt to your destination. Oversized external is also designed to accommodate a clip- zippers give you the versatility to comon pistol holster. Most importantly, the pletely detach the pack bag or keep it frame is designed to carry heavy loads. on if needed. We personally tested it by carrying a Through a series of compression load of over 150 pounds. straps, you may also utilize the lashing The 4,000 cubic inch pack has all the system while still securing the pack capacity you might need for a full week bag to the frame. The padded spotto ten days in the backcountry. This ting scope pocket not only protects pack uses heavy duty zippers as well your spotting scope, but keeps it easas a lashing system to secure ily accessible. It also comes the pack to the frame. The with its own rifle/bow sleeping bag compartment at securing system, which the bottom of the pack keeps gives you the opportunity your sleeping system sepato use trekking poles or rate from the main bag. The go hands free. The builtpack is hydration compatible in rain fly tucks into the this QR Code with your and it also has water bottle Scan bottom of the pack and is smart phone to view the pockets on the sides. The top Sportsman's News YouTube totally out of the way until Channel. lid seconds as a fanny pack if it becomes needed.

This is one of the best packs we have ever tested for the all-around hunter. The Commander X gives you the ability to carry all of your items with room to spare and when you punch your tag, you will have everything you need to haul out a super heavy load, with the weight distributed throughout your frame. ALPS OutdoorZ builds affordable high quality gear that won’t let you down and best of all, won’t break the bank.

By Shane Chuning

tom laser-etched turret that is matched to your specific specs to keep you dialed in at all downrange distances and is offered in most of the Tango and Whiskey model scopes. SpectraCoat is a highly efficient, ultra-wide broadband and antireflection lens coating that reduces surface reflections to extremely low levels across the entire visible spectrum, providing superior light transmission. This gives you extreme comfort when looking through your scope during those long days at the range. through motion sensing technolWhether you’re a tactical shooter ogy. MOTAC immediately powersor a hunter packing in the back- up illumination when it senses country, Sig Sauer Lens Armor motion and powers down when gives your optics an abramotion is not present. sion-resistant lens coating This will definitely extend for extreme durability, enyour battery life. Another suring the lenses on your cool feature is the extra scope will stay sharp, storage space for an extra bright and clear. battery, so you will never Sig Sauer Tango4 has Scan this QR Code with your be left stranded without phone to view the a system they refer to as smart illumination. Sportsman's News YouTube MOTAC. This is activated Channel. With the Sig Sauer In-

finite Guarantee, the Sig Sauer Electo-Optics are guaranteed forever. With an unlimited lifetime guarantee that is fully transferable and does not need a warranty card, nor does it need a receipt, no time limit applies and at no cost, this is one package that is tough to beat. As Sig Sauer makes this leap into the optics market, I am quite sure this is a long thought out plan to gain a fairly large following in the years to come.

Sig Sauer Tango4


ho would of thought, back in 1853, that three guys looking to start a successful wagon factory, above the Rhine Falls in Switzerland, would have such a successful business in the firearm Industry today. The name Sig Sauer definitely stands out in the industry for quality, dependability and reliability. This same ingenuity is getting propelled into the optics market and looks to be a real winner. For this test run we are mounting the Sig Sauer Tango4 on an AR platform in the .308 caliber. The Tango4 with a 4:1 zoom first-focal plane design with illuminated glass reticles, 30 mm tube and the revolutionary LockDown Zero System turrets, make it an ideal choice for tactical engagements, designated marksmen and hunters looking to improve on their down range accuracy. The Sig Ballistic Turret is a cus-





Rat Squeaker’s Cast and Blast

plastic birdie whistle. “When I filled the whistle with water, it sounded like a squirrel,” Franklin said. With his whistle, little Seth Franklin found he could squeak sage rats out of their holes and pop them with a BB gun. And when he lost the whistle, he learned to make the rat sounds with his mouth. “I learned it was something I could do when I could just see the top of a head and wanted him to show himself,” he said. Anyone paying attention soon learns that sage rats make a number of different noises. “The babies’ kind of chirp at each other,” Franklin said. “That’s Coaxing sage rats with a one kind of call. It’s a motherless whistle and largemouth bass to juvenile whistle, a one-note kind of chirp.” the surface with frog patterns. Another sound is the disgruntled By Gary Lewis mother’s insistent chirping - a series very spring we shoot vermin of six chirps. to protect alfalfa and keep The babies start to show in midthe agriculture organic. Steve to late April. When the babies are McGrath and Jesse Riding drive wrestling, they make a smooching west from Utah and I drive east. We sound, which is also the sound the meet in Crane, Oregon, where the adults use, calling to each other dursage rats are hard at work to wipe ing the mating season. out farmers’ crops. “The rat-in-distress sound,” We hunted with Nikki and Justin Franklin said, “I make with a lip Aamodt’s Diamond A Guides and squeak. The stuttered warning Seth “Rat Squeaker” Franklin, a whistle, I make with six or more 29-year-old guide who speaks the chirps in series.” language. To coax a rat from its Franklin tries to coax the females hole, Franklin chirps to mimic the out by appealing to their maternal motherless juvenile. He smooches instincts. “If you can coax them out the mating sounds and calls up with the sound of lost juveniles or a the big females with the mews of a deadbeat dad coming with the child deadbeat dad skipping out with the support check, you can get a shot.” child support check. These are sounds that can be heard He learned to call because a Sunanytime between March and June day School teacher gave him a little in the fields of Photo by Gary Lewis eastern Oregon. With my muzzleloader and my possibles bag along for fast reloads, Franklin and I walked away from the shooting platform in the long grass. A rat popped up from one hole and scampered down another. I looked at Steve McGrath with his 17 HMR.


Franklin and Photo by Gary Lewis saw him purse his lips. He gave a quick, onenote chirp and the rat popped back up and exposed its head. I found the blade front sight in the notch of the re a r, c l i c k e d the trigger and stroked the set trigger. Boom. Franklin figured it was a A 32-caliber Traditions proved the undoing of many l u c k y s h o t . sage rats on the fields near Crane last spring. “Prove it,” he which was quite a bit lower than it said. I proved it. Over and over. We made a pretty good team. would have been in a normal year. Franklin squeaking up rats and me There was a big weed patch close putting them down. For good. For to the dam that promised the best the good of farm crops and alfalfa action. I tied on a Warpath’s Olive Whammy Craw on a short leader. prices and the price of beef. When the wind picked up, I held I cast and stripped it hard, but “Kentucky Windage” and shot the bass didn’t want to eat it that them. Ask Franklin. He’ll tell you if way. One charged in, missed and streaked away. you can get him to quit whistling. Steve McGrath walked around Dan and Debbie Goetz, of Warne Scope Mounts, were along for Deb- to the far end of the weed patch, to bie’s first hunt of her life. She did the other spot that seemed like it not shrink from the work. By her might hold a good fish. I watched count, she fired over 500 rounds in him make searching casts in sevone day. We took a break at noon eral directions, but it seemed like and Riding grabbed clippers and he didn’t work the water close to went out and harvested tails to tie his feet. When he walked away to streamers. McGrath whipped out go explore other water, I went and the Camp Chef single burner stove stood on the same rock and pitched with a grill box and after a few min- the big olive streamer five feet away. utes he served up chicken cordon A fish appeared, swung a semicircle, opened a wide bucket mouth, bleu sandwiches. We might have shot till dusk, but expelled water out through its gills Riding, who is general manager for and the fly vanished inside. When Rainy’s Flies, had brought fly rods I set the hook, nothing moved, like I’d stuck my fly in a log. Then and a box full of bass bugs. stung, in disbelief, the fish tried to get back into the weeds. My leader Fly-rodding for Largemouth Bass Late in the afternoon, Franklin was strong enough that I was able pointed the way deep into those to turn it. The fish streaked out to hills north of the Steens Mountains open water and danced on its tail. I don’t know how much it and we found ourselves on his aunt and uncle’s doorstep. The water weighed. I was more concerned was low, they told us and they had with getting it back in the water, just driven their cattle down and but it could have been the biggest the creek was muddy. They didn’t largemouth I’ve caught on a fly. inspire a lot of confidence in our Maybe I should have eaten it to save it from the drought, but I hoped prospects. We stopped the truck on a high there would be enough water to get spot and looked down on the water, the big fish through the summer.


Fly fishing for largemouth and fly fishing for trout do not have a lot in common. Bass are reaction biters and the bigger the bug, the better. Keep in mind, a largemouth will eat a duckling. Once, I watched a bass consume a bird it plucked off a rock. It took a few minutes for the wingtips and legs to disappear inside its mouth. A bass angler that wants to tie into a largemouth with a streamer or Jesse Riding, of Logan, Utah, lifts out a largemouth popper doesn’t that ate a swimming frog pattern. have to know Photo by Gary Lewis

a lot to start. And a bass fisherman doesn’t have to be a pretty caster. There is nothing graceful about a bass fly. In Skip Morris’ new ‘Survival Guide for Beginning Fly Anglers’, (Frank Amato Publications) he breaks underwater flies into two categories: small fish imitations like the Zonker or Clouser Minnow and general use with a heavy bead or cone, like Whitlock’s Scorpion or Skip’s Brown Trout Minnow. Floating flies are divided into two types. The first are the hair bass bugs with a brown, yellow, tan or green body (not including the tail) about 5/8-inch long. Morris likes a white or yellow face on these bugs. Diving flies include the Dahlberg Diver and Umpqua Swimming Frog. Diving bugs have a head or body that tapers from narrow in front to broad at the rear. Sometimes a diver is the bug the bass want. When the rest of us were finished, Riding wanted to fish five more minutes. Clever. He didn’t say five more casts. We watched


as his five minutes turned into 25 minutes, the wind died down and the water turned to glass. He worked his way along the shore with a Meade’s Gutless Frog. He stripped slow, rhythmic, with long pauses. The imitation kicked its legs, it rested, then kicked again. Bass watched it, hypnotized, then they attacked it. Later, Riding explained what he has learned about fishing any frog pattern to bass. “Once the ripples have gone away, you can start stripping or animating your popper.” The retrieve depends on the water condition and the preference of the fish. “You have to try them all to figure out the right speed. The important thing is the pause. You MUST pause, and sometimes for 15 or 20 seconds.” It’s like whistling a rat up from its hole. You have to hold your mouth right. To contact Gary Lewis, visit www.

2016 New Video Product Reviews

Green Mountain Grill Daniel Boone WIFI Edition


ow many of us, while grill- the positive pressure hopper fan that ing, experience ambient prevents burn-back. This “fan only” temperature woes? I can’t mode with automatic shut-off, blows speak for everyone else, but I know ash out of the firebox after you finish I like to grill year round. However, grilling. This will insure clean burndue to the varying temperature ing with each and every use, also changes throughout the year, it can eliminating build-up. be frustrating to get everything just The Daniel Boone has a 27”x16” perfect during the different seasons. stainless steel grate, which gives Green Mountain Grill has come you 458 sq. inches of grilling area up with a solution to some of these and 13.5 inches of clearance inside. issues. The WiFi Edition has Sense- Overall weight comes in at 155 Mate, a thermal sensor which con- pounds. With a wide range of adjuststantly monitors the amable temperatures, you can bient temperature. When control your grill from 150temperatures fluctuate and to 500-degrees Fahrenheit, get cold outside, the therin 5-degree increments. mal sensor kicks the grill Whether you are smoking into “Turbo Mode” so you or searing, you can count don’t have to wait long for Scan this QR Code with your on your Green Mountain smart phone to view the the grill to heat up. Grill to give you unparalSportsman's News YouTube Another great feature is Channel. leled accuracy, regardless

of the weather. Add the sensor probe that plugs into the jack on the controller with the opposite end plugging right into your meat, and you will then be able to enjoy very consistent prepared meats, every time you go to grill. You simply push the “Food” button on the controller and it will instantly display the internal temperature of the meat you are grilling with consistent accuracy. With the firebox and its vertical grooves cut evenly on its sides, the air flows completely around the meat when you are grilling. This “cyclone” effect means more efficient pellet usage. With a greater efficiency in your grilling, it will also equal long term savings in its consumption of pellets. With the ability to use IOS or Android Apps to monitor grill tempera-

tures, monitor meat temperatures, set a timer/stopwatch or run a food profile, you will have perfection available each and every time you grill at the tip of your fingers. This works in the Point-to-Point mode (connect directly to the grill) and home WiFi (connect and monitor from your home network).



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TROPHY PHOTOS continued from page 30


Every animal that you harvest will have that one perfect angle that gives you the best look at what he has to offer. By perfecting this talent of picture taking, you will have a photo album of great pictures to share with others for life. Take the time before your hunting season starts to look at as many outdoor publications as possible and see the photos that have been published. This will help you to see exactly what we are talking about. Eastmans’ Hunting Journal and Eastmans’ Bowhunting Jour-

nal publish stories written by everyday hunters just like you instead of professional writers. Most of the pictures displayed in these publications have utilized the exact ideas and examples that we have talked about here. These publications are great resources for the western trophy hunter as well and we highly recommend them to our readers. We look forward to sharing your success this year. So, please send us all your photos for our braggin’ board. If any of you have personal questions that you would like answered, please feel free to send me an e-mail at mdeming@




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Vortex New Diamondback 10X42 Binos


ne might say “NEW”, but the Vortex Diamondbacks have been around for a very long time. They have been referred to as “the workhorse of price versus performance” for years in the Vortex line. However, a top of the line company like Vortex hasn’t made it to the top by resting on their laurels. They have made it to the top and intend to stay on top by getting the very most out of each and every optic they build at every price point. So, they have taken what is already one of their top sellers and improved on it. Best of all, they have been able to do this without a huge price increase. Side by side, you wouldn’t even consider the old Diamondbacks to be in the same family or price point as the new ones. The new version has an extremely sleek design which is very similar to the higher price point optics. The open, single hinge design allows for a good portion of the barrel to be used to

grasp onto. The thumb grooves on the bottom of the barrel also allow for a good form fit to your hand. If you like putting your binos onto a tripod for long hours of glassing, you will be happy to know that these come tripod adaptable, with the 3.8” screw fastening right into the hinge assembly. The viewing experience with these binoculars is nothing short of spectacular, especially when you consider that the binoculars are less than $300. They have roll-up eye cups which have specific stops. They are very smooth and the mechanical feel to this new design is usually only found on higher end optics. The large focus wheel is very smooth and precise as well as the diopter adjustment on the right barrel. Many binoculars of this price often have very stiff adjustment mechanisms, but that is not the case with the new Diamondbacks. The fully, multi-coated and dielectric coatings provide a bunch

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of fancy words on how these roof prism binos allow light in and how much is to pass through these optics. From a layman’s standpoint, this equates to a quality set of optics that will get you identifying your target well before and after legal shooting light. The new Diamondback binoculars from Vortex are hands down one of the best price vs performance binoculars we have had the ability to test. They are backed by the absolute best warranty in the industry. It’s called

the VIP Unconditional Lifetime Warranty and we have tested it over the years with other products and it is the most dependable, hassle-free warranty in the business.





Ford F-250 Super Duty


uilt Ford Tough. It’s synonymous with the rugged capability, outstanding performance and dependability of Ford F-Series trucks. Whether it’s hauling a big load or getting you to a job site, count on the lineup of versatile, hardworking F-Series trucks to work overtime and get the job done. Sometimes when searching for a new truck, you just need a little bit more -- something with more kick, more muscle. Well, look no further than the ever-popular Ford F-250 Super Duty. Thanks to a mind-boggling variety of body styles, powertrain options and trim levels to choose from, finding a Ford F-250 Super Duty that suits your needs is pretty much guaranteed. Another reason that Ford’s heavy-duty hauler is a favorite is that it can handle massive payloads while also being easy to drive and comfortable to ride in. Recent improvements have yielded a stronger turbodiesel V8, even better ride and handling dynamics and a redesigned cabin with higher-quality materials. The current generation of the Ford F-250 Super Duty debuted for the 2008 model year. Compared to earlier F-250s, it had revised styling, a stronger frame, better handling dynamics, a nicer interior and an improved turbodiesel engine. Initial engine choices consisted of a standard 5.4-liter V8 (300 hp and 365 lb-ft of torque),

an optional 6.8-liter V10 (362 hp and 457 lb-ft) and the optional 6.4-liter PowerStroke turbodiesel V8 (350 hp and 650 lb-ft). Transmission choices were a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic. The following year saw a wealth of new features become available that included the SYNC Voice Control System. This was also the first year for the Harley-Davidson package, complete with plenty of chrome badges and black leather trim and the off-road-oriented package as well. The current 385hp gas V8 and 400-hp turbodiesel engines debuted for 2011, as did updated exterior styling. Other changes were minimal until 2013, when upgraded brakes, the posh Platinum trim level and the MyFord Touch infotainment interface all debuted. The previous-generation Ford F-250 Super Duty ran from 19992007. The debut of this version marked the first time that Ford gave its heavy-duty pickups their own style. Compared to the soft contours of the F-150 of the time, the angular Super Duty with its massive grille looked every bit the square-jawed brute that it was under the skin. Providing the power is either a 6.2-liter gasoline V8 engine or a diesel 6.7-liter V8, the latter having been updated just last year to boost its output to a stout 440 horsepower and 860 pound-feet of torque. Towing capacity with

either engine remains robust, maxing out at 15,900 pounds with the gasoline V8 and 16,600 pounds with the diesel engine, when hitched to fifth-wheel or gooseneck trailers. The F-250 Super Duty also returns in a wide array of body styles and trim levels, ranging from no-frills regular cab work trucks to top-of-the-line four-door crew cab models with interiors packed with luxury, convenience and technology features. The 2016 Ford F-250 Super Duty is available with two- or four-wheel drive in three cab styles: two-door regular cab, four-door extended cab (aka: SuperCab) and four-door crew cab. Other than the special design cues, many of the features that are standard on upper trims levels such as navigation and the tailgate assist step are available as options on lower trims. Other options (depending on trim level) include different axle ratios, a stowable bed extender, a transmission power take-off (for powering accessories like snow plows), heavy-duty alternators, fifth-wheel/gooseneck mounting points, roof clearance lights, dropin or spray-in bedliners, a sunroof (crew cab only) and integrated accessory switches. New for 2016

are amber LED warning strobes and a rearview camera prep kit for trucks with the bed-delete option. The available Ford Work Solutions package adds an in-dash computer that’s customizable to suit commercial users and fleets. Also available is the FX4 Off-Road package (4WD models only), which includes an electronic locking rear differential, all-terrain tires, hill descent control, skid plates and Rancho shock absorbers. The 2016 Ford F-250 Super Duty comes standard with four-wheel antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, trailer sway control, hill start assist, side curtain airbags and the SOS post-crash alert system. Now let’s take a little peek at the all-new 2017 Super Duty, which was introduced at the 2015 Texas State Fair and will be available this fall. It’s the toughest, smartest, most capable Ford Super Duty ever. Why? Because the weight savings from the high-strength, military-grade, aluminum alloy body have been reinvested in the places that matter most. continued on page 51





The Top of the Food Chain

Chad LaChance


all it old school, un-PC or connecting with my inner Paleo, but I still believe that anglers should eat some of their catch. After all, the circle of life in undeniable and besides, there has been a resurgence in interest in both fishing and hunting as of late due to consumers desiring to know where their food comes from. I, for one, am all for it! Eating our catch is at fishing’s very origins; sport fishing is a recent development. “Catch and release” sport fishing is even more recent and the trend went mainstream as a direct result of bass

tournament fishing. Event organizers in the 1970’s realized that for their fledgling sport to succeed, conservation would have to be a theme. These days, competitive anglers get a penalty if they kill a fish and hardly anybody keeps largemouth or smallmouth bass regardless of the circumstances. I believe the right - and delicious - answer lies in selective harvest. Selective harvest is the concept of choosing which fish to eat and which to release based on a variety of factors including the population dynamics, age/condition of the fish, stocking program, etc. I won’t preach to you; make your own decisions on which fish to keep. But I will ask nicely that you consider each fish you keep carefully rather than wholesale harvest just because you caught it and can. In my personal case, how soon I can consume the fish is also a major factor. I’m not a fan of frozen fish, so if I want to eat fish, I better catch a suitable specimen. Furthermore, if I’m not prepared to adequately handle a harvested fish, I’ll release them all regardless. If you are planning to harvest fish, a little forethought goes a long way towards quality table

fare. My strong preference is to have a cooler with ice on hand, in which case I immediately dispatch the fish and ice it. If it’s a trout or some other fish that I’d cook whole, I’ll remove the gills and entrails prior to icing. In lieu of a cooler full of ice, my second choice is to keep them alive. That’s easy in the big Ranger boat - simply flip on the livewell pumps. Without a livewell of some sort, it’s admittedly tough; a stringer may be your only option, but that is not a great one unless the water is cold. Speaking of cold water, all other things being equal, fish harvested from cold water are the best eating. Trout harvested from 70 degree water will not be as tasty and firm as the same trout harvested in 45 degree water. If I’m grocery shopping, I’ll seek out cold places to fish. Anything harvested from an 80 degree pond somewhere is not likely to taste great or have firm texture unless it is immediately killed, filleted, and iced, immediately! When you fillet a fish, prepare by putting ice and water in a large bowl and adding a tablespoon or two of salt. Fillet the fish and remove the ribs, rinse with cold water and place immediately in the salted ice bath for about 1520 minutes. This will firm up the meat and draw out any remaining blood. Afterw a rd s , r i n s e again in cold water, lay flat, pat dry, cover and refrigerate until use or freeze it, but we already talked about my disdain for frozen fish which stems directly from knowing how much better fresh fish is in both taste and texture!

Removing the dark red meat that occurs along the lateral line just under the skin of some fish like white bass, is a source of debate. Personally, my rule is to carefully remove it if I’m planning to encase the fillet in something like breading/batter or if I’m cooking it in liquid as I might in a soup or chowder because it can add a muddy taste and odd texture. If the fish fillet will be cooked with direct heat like a grill or seared in a cast iron skillet, the red meat will render and char, yielding a tasty bite. Removing the red meat, which is dark red because it contains more fat and is higher in certain amino acids, means loss of some meat, so I leave it in most cases. It is important to note that the red meat goes rancid faster than the surrounding flesh; remove it if you plan to store your fish very long. What are some of the best fish to harvest both for food value and conservation? Well, fish that reproduce extremely fast is the obvious answer. White bass and bluegills are good examples, as are crappie in some areas of the country. All of them are super tasty. Land-locked stripers are another good option where they’re found. Brook trout from high mountain streams are prone to over-population and also taste fantastic. I most often cook the little gems whole, minus the head and entrails. Since we started airing cooking segments on Fishful Thinker TV, we get a lot of questions about stocked rainbow trout. It seems many folks don’t like their taste, but want to eat them. Their taste stems from being fed “trout chow” in hatcheries, so if they survive for a few months on a wild diet, they lose that taste. Regardless, I tend to brine or generously rub them with some sort of seasoning or cook them sealed in foil along with other flavorful liquids/ herbs/fats. Hopefully a few of these concepts will resonate with you the next time you earn your place at the top of the food chain!


FORD SUPER DUTY continued from page 48

The frame is fully-boxed, with through-welded cross members. And engineered for extremes, with six times more high-strength steel and up to 24 times stiffer. Bigger, stronger and more capable axles. Upgraded suspension and steering for better ride and handling. Upgraded powertrains with more torque than ever. Bigger brakes for better stopping. And the hitches are bigger and stronger to handle larger loads. Like the light-duty F-150, the new Super Duty uses militarygrade aluminum alloy body panels. Ford says the aluminum alloy panels and high-strength steel frame help reduce weight by around 350 pounds, weight that Ford says has been redistributed to other areas to increase towing and hauling capability. Whether toy hauler or horse trailer, a backyard’s worth of mulch or a vintage Airstream, a Super Duty is built to pull and haul big stuff. Like the current model, the 2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty will continue to offer a 6.2-liter V8 gasoline engine or a 6.7-liter V8 diesel. The former will pair with an allnew six-speed transmission. Both powertrains will be available in rear- or four-wheel drive. Ford hasn’t revealed tow ratings for the new Super Duty, but expect them to surpass the current ratings. That means up to 15,900

pounds for the gasoline V8 and 14,000 pounds for the diesel engine when using a conventional trailer setup. Configured for fifth-wheel or gooseneck towing, the diesel maxes out at 16,600 pounds. The 2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty will offer two-door regular cab, four-door extended cab (a.k.a. SuperCab) and four-door crew cab configurations (a chassis cab version is also available for commercial up-fitting). The extended cab has rear-hinged doors, while the crew cab has four full-size conventional-opening doors. All will feature longer cabins, more legroom and a new interior design. SuperCab and Crew Cab models will also offer flat secondrow floors to make it easier to load large items into the cab. Cargo beds should remain available in either 6.8-foot or 8-foot lengths. Trim levels will include base XL, mid-level XLT, upscale Lariat and luxurious King Ranch and Platinum. The Sportsman’s News Team has nothing but good things to say about our F-250 Super Duty that gets us where we need to go on the mountain and its exceptional towing ability gets the job done for us as we travel around the country to outdoor shows and store visits. There’s a reason why F-Series have been the bestselling trucks for the past 39 years and counting. Why not try one out for yourself.


BIG&J®’s protein-based, nutrient-rich, moisture-tolerant formula attracts deer from farther away thanks to our powerful and intense aroma!


ttractants are only as good as the distance deer can smell them. The farther away an attractant can be detected, the more deer will come. BIG&J® long range attractants draw deer from far and wide. Even humans can smell BIG&J® from a relatively long distance. Once they arrive, deer can’t get enough of BIG&J®’s protein-based, nutrient-packed, moisture-tolerant formula. Their bodies crave what BIG&J® provides so they stay longer and come back more often!

“Instead of spending so much time scouting, I let BIG&J do it for me. With the long-range smell it will attract deer that you’d normally not see. You can create spots to hunt deer and put them where you want.” – Kenneth Lancaster

Legit - The only true mineral (not glorified salt) that’s also a long range attractant.

BB2 - The granular attractant that brings the big bucks out!

XX Enhance Concentrated attractant designed to mix with corn in feeders. The Cube Compressed block that lasts longer in the field.

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Liquid Luck The long range attractant you pour on logs, stumps, or on the ground.

Meltdown Just add water and this mineral mix melts down sending off vapors.

The aroma is super strong. The range is super long!



Digital Edition Only Special Content

Presents Wild Game Recipes of Steve Mayer "The Wine Guy"



ravlax is a Nordic dish of Salmon cured in salt, sugar and dill. It differentiates from lox, which is usually the belly of the Salmon cured with a higher salt concentrated cure. It is not smoked, but cured in the spice mixture. I have made this numerous times over the years and found this method to be not only the easiest, but having the best result.

Ingredients • • • • •

1 large whole side salmon fillet 2 bunches of fresh dill 2 cups sugar 1 cup kosher salt 2 tablespoons freshly cracked black pepper

Optional Items • • • • •

2 tablespoons Aquavit or Gin (sprinkled over the fish prior to salt/ sugar mix) Add some aromatics to your salt/ sugar mix 3 bay leaves chopped finely, and added to mix 2 tablespoons fennel seeds 2 tablespoon crushed coriander seeds

Preparation Method

This is one of the simplest recipes I have ever done. You can make it straight up with the basic recipe or try the added ingredients. They add some superb flavors, but the basic recipe is wonderful on its own. Use the freshest fish that you can.

Fresh frozen Salmon will work well if you have frozen your own catch for shipping. I find large fillets of Silver or King Salmon to be optimal for this method, but a store-bought Atlantic will also be quite tasty. Remove the pin-bones from the fish with needle-nose pliers. You can feel these bones with your fingertips as you run your hand down the fillet. Grab the end of them with the pliers and pull them out. They can be a couple of inches long in a big fish, so be aggressive, and be sure to get them all. No one, I mean no one, likes a pin bone in the throat. Use the freshest dill you can find. It is the key to this recipe. Chop the dill, stems and all, finely and put into

a medium sized bowl. Mix in the sugar and salt. If you want to add the optional spices, do so at this time. Stir well until everything is evenly mixed. Place the salmon skin side down on a large piece of plastic wrap. You may want to line up a few sheets to have enough to fully wrap around the fillet when you are done. Sprinkle the flesh side of the fish with aquavit or gin if you are doing so. Cover the fish with the dill and salt/sugar mix. Make sure you cover the entire fillet; there should be plenty for a generous coating. Wrap the fish tightly with the plastic wrap, place in a glass baking dish in case of leakage, and refrigerate 24-36 hours. The longer the salmon cures, the more the spice will flavor the fish and more moisture will be drawn out of the fish. After 24-36 h o u r s , re m o v e the fish from the refrigerator. Unwrap and rinse off the cure. Pat dry with a paper towel and transfer to a cutting board. Using an extremely sharp knife, slice the fish on a bias into thin slices. You are ready to enjoy your tasty concoction! Try it with a bagel and cream cheese, garnished with lemon and capers. This is a great way to do something different with your catch. Experiment a little with it, you will not be disappointed!


Work Isn’t Work In Paradise

By Chandler Jade Mellon


woke up to the warmth of sunshine on my face. It was only 7 a.m., but it was time to throw on my cowboy boots and get to work. As I opened my door, the brisk South Dakota air brushed my face and let me know it was going to be a great day, not too hot and not too cold. It didn’t take much to make me mentally ready for work, because my work day was spent outside in my own little paradise. South Dakota is usually only known as the state with Mount Rushmore. People see it as being full of nothing and more nothing. I know I didn’t expect much when I accepted a summer job there in 2012; however I fell in total and complete blissful love with its windy roads, vast open spaces, friendly faces, lightning storms and extreme amount of wildlife. I spent two summers on Robbs Flatt Road, a winding dirt road following the path of the nearby Cheyenne River. It is 70 miles away from any civilization. I guess you could say that I was in the middle of

nowhere. The first summer I didn’t know if I would be okay being away from everything I knew for so long, but as the weeks went on it became refreshing. My job was to raise mule deer fawns, feed adult deer, observe adult does and clean various things around the ranch. It was hard work – and not exactly the type of thing you see a nineteen year old, 5’6” and 130 pound girl doing. But, I did it and I enjoyed every moment. I grew in more ways than one that summer. The time I spent there was ultimately a time of self-discovery. I think that the open spaces and ability to be far away from everything made it easy for me to enjoy life instead of worrying about petty life events that will not matter in 20 years. Before I went to South Dakota I was always worried about time, what people thought about me and how I should act instead of how I actually wanted to. After three months there I was happier than I had been in years. I was so happy that I went back for three more months during the summer of 2013. A day of work at the ranch consisted of me waking up at 6:30am


Digital Edition Only Special Content

every single day to go and feed the mule deer fawns their milk. Of course, first I had to make the bottles and that itself was a twenty-minute process. After making the milk, I headed out to the fawn pen with a crate full of nineteen, 16-ounce bottles, each labeled with an individual fawn’s number. Also in tow I had baby wipes and a garbage bag for the fawn’s waste, which I was also responsible for monitoring. As I entered the pen, all nineteen hungry fawns ambushed me. Fawns may seem like very cuddly creatures, but I can tell you first hand that their hooves are quite sharp and can be painful. The fawns would jump on me in order to retrieve their meal and they issued more than their fair share of bruises to my poor legs and back. Even so, I still adored them. After I had finished cleaning the fawns bottles, I fed myself and shortly after that headed out to the deer pens to do a “deer check,” which consisted of me and my coworker counting all of the deer and observing them to make sure they were healthy. In addition, we were to walk all of the doe pens in an orderly fashion to look for any fawns that may have been born in the past twenty-four hours. Usually after the deer check, I went out to cut fresh alfalfa from a nearby meadow for the fawns. It was healthier for them and they enjoyed it very much. Then around that time it was mid-morning, my boss and the other intern would head out for the day to do farm work, check the cattle and sometimes just do scouting of the wild deer that surrounded the ranch. I was expected to independently do my chores around the ranch while they were gone for the day. My chores consisted of filling feeders for the adult deer and cleaning water bucket’s if need be. In addition, I was expected to clean any messes that may be on the ranch, for instance in the lodge or in the shop where all the tools were held and if the lawn needed to be mowed you can bet I was expected to do that as well. My main job though was to feed and socialize with the fawns. So at

Sportsman’s News Outdoor Writing Contest Winner See pg. 4 for entry details.

7am, 12pm, 5pm and 10pm, I was out in the fawn pen feeding the babies, making sure they were all healthy, giving them fresh alfalfa and being the best mom I could be. Not only did I feed the fawns in the pen, but also when we first took the babies from their mother in order to make them tame. They were kept in my house for a few days before they got used to the bottle. It was my job to start the fawns on the bottle and it took a good 24-48 hours before they finally got the idea that I was the only way they were going to eat. There were many sleepless nights where the fawns were crying, but would not drink from the bottle. This in itself made me feel like a true mother; waking up every few hours to a crying baby. This made it even more rewarding when the fawns did begin to drink. Even though raising fawns was the main reason for me being in South Dakota, my experience would not have been the same if my environment hadn’t been as beautiful and people hadn’t have been as wonderfully generous. I still to this day keep in contact with the neighbors who lent me a truck for the summers and brought me food when they thought I needed it and not just that, but just being good people made my time better. I now look back at my time on Robbs Flatt Road as one of the best experiences of my life. I will admit it was not all fabulous, however, I remember the good parts more than anything and I wouldn’t change my two summers spent there for the world. Every once and awhile I find myself wishing I could go back just to see one more lightning storm or stand outside in one more rainstorm or maybe to go for one more run on the flat windy roads where I could see for miles. South Dakota may not be much to many people, but for me, it is where I found who I wanted to be and it has my heart.



Digital Edition Only Special Content

Wisconsin Dells By Michelle Scheuermann


f you are familiar with Wisconsin Dells, then the first image that comes to mind is waterparks. And tourists. And those little fudge shops. Located just north of Madison, Wis., “the Dells” is definitely all of that – but its also located near three state parks, on two lakes, a major river system and two wellknown state bike trails, which are all ingredients for what my friends? Adventures on a budget. My best friend and I first came to the Dells a number of years ago as we were drawn to the vast amount of recreational activities located in a scenic area – both during winter and summer. You see, if you’ve ever done one of those “duck tours” here, then you’d know Wisconsin Dells is made up of limestone that is only found in ONE OTHER PLACE IN THE WORLD; Germany. And that limestone, which is soft by its limey nature, has been carved into fantastic rock formations over the years that are best seen when cruising on the water. With that said, I’m diving into the best adventure in the Dells during the summer months, which is by kayak or canoe. Luckily, you can pick up a kayak for around $300 at Sportsman’s Warehouse. Spend a little more if you want increased seat comfort (planning on being on the water for longer periods of time) and more options like dry hulls for

your gear. And if you are on a tight budget, no worries, talk to my friend Easton at Vertical Illusions. For a minimal fee, one of his guides will offer a perfect afternoon of kayaking. Beginner Paddlers: Mirror Lake Paddle No motorized boats on this smaller lake! This is a quiet and easy paddle that’s full of wildlife. You will need a state park sticker to put in and park your vehicle. After paddling, be sure to stop at Ishnala Super Club, which overlooks on the Lake. (see more on this restaurant below)

Beginner & Intermediate Paddlers: Lake Delton Paddle Beginner paddlers should put in at Ravina Bay Bar & Grill. Once in, head to your left and go under the Adams Street bridge. This narrows as you travel back towards the dam and is very quiet; teaming with small wildlife. When finished, be sure to get a bite to eat at Ravina, where you can watch the Tommy Bartlett’s Stage, Ski and Sky Show from their deck. Intermediate paddlers can put-in and park by Wilderness Lodge & Resort on the corner of Adams Street and Canyon Road. Motorized boats put in here too, so be careful. You can watch Tommy Bartlett’s Stage, Ski and Sky Show from the comforts of your kayak. If you have an anchor, drop it in the ‘safe zone’ (just follow line of pontoon boats in the area). If you don’t have an anchor, ask a pontoon if you can tie to them. Most are more than happy to do so. Lake Delton is rather large, so you can continue downstream to where it turns into the Wisconsin River (you’ll have to portage Rock formations inside “Witches Gulch,” which is around a dam just a little inlet off of The Narrows on the Wisconand highway), sin River. This limestone is only found in one other but be careful place in the world; Germany. of speed boats

Cruising along Witches Gulch. during high traffic hours. Cruising close to the shoreline is best and most interesting for house viewing. Intermediate to Advanced (depending on time of year) Wisconsin River Paddle (Upper Dells) To access the Upper Dells, launch at the city boat ramp at the intersection of River Road and Illinois Avenue. Built for boats, (aren’t they all?) but I’m hearing talks on modifying the docks to include easier access for kayaks and canoes this year! Flush with history and logging lore, this part of the Wisconsin River, known as The Narrows, can be an easy trip or a very tricky one. In early spring, give Vertical Illusions a call to check the water conditions. Dangerous eddies can form, sucking you in and spitting you out downstream. Many a logger in the 1800’s feared this area, as the wide river of the Upper Dells quickly narrows around high cliffs with zero shoreline, which instantly created logjams and turbulent water. (Stop by the H.H. Bennett museum (small fee) in downtown Dells on a rainy day to check out his innovative photographs of this time period. Did you know he was the first to photograph fireworks?) After the spring flooding recedes, The Narrows becomes safer and calmer. Time it right. Go early morning or dinnertime, when jet boats and Ducks aren’t out, is the quietest, making for fewer wakes to navigate. Where to Stay Thankfully the Dells provides everything from posh spas to budg-

et motels and campgrounds. Bonus – most now offer free passes to a waterpark. So if you are keen on traveling down a water tube for thrills, you can still do that for free. Motel 6 in B a r a b o o ( o ffers free passes to Chula Vista Resort’s Waterpark) Clean, reasonable and right off the ramp for I-94. If you want waterfront, go for Baker’s Sunset Bay Resort (offers free passes to Kalahari’s indoor park and free kayaks to casually paddle around Lake Delton). Or Cliffside Resort & Suites is on the same road and same side of lake. They offer Noah’s Ark tickets to their guests (the largest waterpark in the Dells). Bonus for both of these is you can put in on Lake Delton for a sunset paddle before cooking your marshmallows. There are a variety of options for camping too. But the motels are so reasonable and offer free waterpark passes, so money-wise, it’s a better deal. Where to Eat I like to eat breakfast in my room, which is why I like the Sunset Bay Resort on Lake Delton if you get a Suite room with a small kitchen. And I usually pack a lunch for my afternoon paddles to keep costs minimal. But for dinner, I want a good meal, which is why there is nothing ‘budget’ in my suggestions below. If you are truly pinching pennies, then get a burger and custard at Culver’s (a Wisconsin fast-food burger place). High Rock Café – located on the main street in downtown Dells. Perfect for people watching if you wait for a table along the windows on the second floor. Their specials change with what is currently in season, but start with the garlic tots and finish with either the Strawberry Poprocks Cheesecake or Kit Kat dessert.


the keyboardist play polka. Best Brunch – Tr a p p e r s Tu r n G o l f Course – if you ate at Ishnala the evening before, you might see the same keyboardist here for brunch. The mashed potato bar and omelet staView from the queen suite at Sunset Bay Resort. tions are my Note the kayaks along the shoreline are free to use favorite, plus on Lake Delton! the included mimosa. Have Ishnala Supper Club on Mirror kids? They even have a shortened Lake – Open seasonally. While ‘kids table’ with selections for the High Rock offers the best people little ones to get their own bites. watching, Ishnala offers the best wildlife/scenic view with its perch If Kayaking Isn’t Your Thing: above Mirror Lake. You will wait Into Biking? Make sure to bring for a table here, but you can sip your bike with Elroy-Sparta Bike on your brandy old fashioned at Trail and 400 Trail just a short the 70’s chic bar while listening to drive away. Some paved, mostly


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Adventure On A Budget limestone and very scenic. Into Wine? Wisconsin is not immune to the winery craze sweeping the nation. Stop by Fawn Creek Winery in the Dells, Baraboo Bluff a short drive away in Baraboo or Wollersheim Winery and distillery in Prairie du Sac (the most wellknown winery). These offer either complimentary or minimal charge tastings. Like any vacation spot, the Dells can nickel and dime your family if you only insist on doing the touristy attractions. But if you are into “taking it outside” like the Sportsman’s Warehouse motto, your adventure will be that much more memorable and that much lighter on the pocketbook.

Cruising around Blackhawk Island on the Wisconsin River in a kayak is the best way to see truly phenomenal rock formations.



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The Ultimate Heart-Shot!


n the final story of Chapter 27, taken from my award-winning book, BAREBOW!, I recounted how — at long last — on May 18, 2004, I was able to dispatch Mr. Murphy’s ghost with the same shot that secured for me the new Pope and Young World’s Record Grizzly Bear. That true tale was titled “Two Monsters with One Arrow.” The sweet victory left me only an August hunt in California for Tule elk and the harvest of a brown bear in Alaska before I would finally be able to claim completion of the first-ever, North American (barebow) archery Super Slam. While I was waiting over the long, tedious summer for the fall bear-season to arrive, the fear developed in my mind that Murphy’s assassination might not remain permanent. Or at least that he might find a way to resurrect himself before my September 15th hunt for brown bear ever got started. The fall bear hunt, however, arrived at last and — in three, short, unbelievably thrilling days — proved my worries to have been groundless. All the bad luck, that had so plagued me during one “close encounter of the furry kind” after another over the previous five years, suddenly just melted away in the space of a few seconds on the night of September 17th. Read on for the details. Actually, in the fall of 2003, I had also hunted brown bear in southeast Alaska — but to no avail. Though I had had a truly excellent hunt with outfitter Brad Dennison (Alaska

Coastal Outfitters) on the southeastern coast of Chichagof Island, I wasn’t quite able to get within bow-range of either of the two large males we located. In the course of the 10-day hunt, nonetheless, we did count 67 bears and there were several sows, unaccompanied by cubs that I could have taken at close range — had I been willing to take a female. As for the 2004 fall hunt, I flew into Sitka on September 14 with high hopes, renewed confidence and a feeling in the marrow of my bones that this was going to be the last brown bear hunt I would ever need to go on. I guess somehow I knew that by switching to a different island within the so-called ABC group, my luck was due to change. I had had enough of Chichagof! Once on the ground in the old Russian capital of Alaska (founded in 1804), I immediately hopped a floatplane for the extreme southern tip of Baranof Island and landed in a tiny harbor right in front of outfitter Jim Boyce’s Cape Ommaney Lodge. After a great dinner and evening of watching bear-hunting videos, I headed for bed so pumped up about our pending departure the following morning that the night turned out to be much longer than usual. But morning did come, bright and early, along with perfect bluebird weather. Our base-camp vessel was to be the all-aluminum-hulled GUNSMOKE — built for speed and for handling heavy seas. Jim had been guiding hunters for brown bear on Baranof for more than 20 years and the name of his boat reflected the fact that he always found bears and (I suppose) that most of his clients had been rifle hunters. I believe I was just the second or third bowhunter to try for a brown bear with Jim. By mid-morning, all the fuel, gear, grub and crew were on board, so we left the cape and immediately headed north up the eastern shore of the island. Because of an odd quirk in the Alaska hunting regulations, the bear tag in my daypack would allow me (opportunity permitting) to harvest a second grizzly or brown bear within that same calendar year

of ’04. Most Game Management Units in the state allow a hunter to harvest a grizzly/brown bear only once every four years. My May grizzly, however, had come from a one-bear-every-year area in northwestern Alaska and my second tag had been issued for the new “regulatory year,” which runs annually from July 1 through June 30. So I knew I was legal and I was more than eager to finish up my Super Slam within the next 10 days. Our first evening’s hunt found Jim, myself and Alfredo (our “camp cook” and assistant guide) wading up the edge of a small river, just teeming with salmon. As is usually the case on a calm evening, the air currents were moving down the valley, following the flow of the water and the gentle breeze in our faces was reassuring. As much as possible, we kept our feet in the water, so that our rubber hip boots could not leave any hint of human scent on the gravel or the bank. There’s a common saying: “If you don’t want to leave scent in the woods, wear rubber boots.” I can tell you, however, from having learned the hard way that this bit of popular wisdom doesn’t apply to bears! Their sense of smell is beyond incredible! Jim told us he knew of an old boar that frequented this river during the autumn salmon runs and that he had seen him fishing several times over the years about a mile-and-ahalf up from the mouth of the river, just below a beautiful waterfall too End of the Run by Hayden Lambson

tall for the fish to negotiate. The falls were our destination that evening and although we spent nearly two hours there, very well hidden, the old boy never showed himself. As dusk began to merge with the shadows and we began the trek back downstream, Jim said, “Well, if he’s not up here, then he’s almost certainly going to be down near the river’s mouth.” The footing along the edge of the streambed was quite treacherous in places and by the time we reached the estuary part of the river, the darkness was bordering on total. Yet, Jim was convinced his hunch was right. Taking a detour away from the channel and cutting across a grassy flat to the backside of a huge clump of bushes on the edge of the next bend in the river, Jim motioned us to get down on our bellies and crawl forward with him to the upstream side of the clump. As we reached his chosen target and I pulled my head up even with his as he whispered, “Look down and across! Do you see him there? That’s him! That dark blob against the yellow grass bank! I told you he’d be here! And he is big!” I was, indeed, amazed at Jim’s ability to make good on his prediction. His next one was also right on the money. “The evening thermals are going to give him our scent any second now. Just watch!” Sure enough, no sooner had the words escaped his lips than the dark blob disappeared into the inky forest.


On the final walk back to our skiff, I kept thinking to myself, “This guy really knows his stuff! He’s going to get me a shot at a dandy brown bear!” The next afternoon, Jim took us back to the same river. His plan was for us to climb up into the spacious limbs of a huge, old, rain-forest maple tree that stood within 10 yards of the rushing water, straight across from where we’d briefly spotted the monster bruin at last light. Getting off the ground and up to the first massive crotch in the tree was the biggest challenge, but a huge, leaning, semi-rotten log lay in just the right position to be of help and once one reached the crotch, further ascent was pretty easy. Every major branch of the maple was covered with thick moss, but there were a number of large openings that gave excellent visual access to the rocky beach below, as well as to the bank across the river. It was, at most, 22 yards away. Once I had found the best perch in the tree, with a separate limb right underneath it for my feet, I proceeded to use my brush-clippers to put some finishing touches on all the shooting lanes I figured I might need to use — depending on just where the old boar decided to make his appearance. We’d been up in the tree not quite 15 minutes, I suppose, when my hunt suddenly — but for the Grace of God — almost came to a tragic end. I was returning to my “seat,” clippers in hand, after a third and final pruning session and as I tried to regain my perch by sliding my left foot forward and down off the patch of moss where I’d already been seated several times, the heel of my hip boot hung up in the deep moss and caused me to lose my balance straight backwards! Jim was standing a few feet away on a slightly lower limb. Seeing the disaster start to unfold, he made a desperate effort to grab me as I flew past, but he missed getting a hold on any part of me and the effort almost caused him to fall out of the tree himself. A second or two later, I crashed onto the river rocks below — 22 feet straight down! Well, to everyone’s utter amazement (most of all my own), I immediately picked myself up off the rocks (no, it wasn’t grass and

it wasn’t dirt) and began — as if in a daze — to climb back up into the tree! It took Jim shouting at me and ordering me to sit down on the log to bring me to my senses enough for the question to begin percolating through my brain as to why I wasn’t already dead! After all, I was 64 years old at the time; I had just fallen 22 feet down onto a surface made of rocks and backwards, at that! As I sat on the log contemplating why I was still breathing, the answer suddenly came to me. With the help of a big bruise developing on my backside, I remembered that, about a third of the way to the ground, I had struck a glancing blow off a large limb which reversed my rotation! Instead of breaking my back or cracking my skull open on the rocks, I had been pitched forward to land face down on my hands and knees! The fact that, within 10 minutes, I was back up on my perch in the maple was a major miracle, indeed. No one will ever convince me that God does not, upon occasion, take a hand in the affairs of men. Not surprisingly, the near-tragedy introduced considerable noise pollution into that otherwise-peacefuland-tranquil environment. Also not surprisingly, Brutus the Boar did not reward our continued vigil-tilldark with a second appearance. As is the case with so much of hunting, a change of scene often brings a change of luck. Thus it was with our third evening of this bear hunt. During the day, we had followed the coastline a little farther north and had anchored the GUNSMOKE in a little fjord near the mouth of another small stream that Jim knew would be full of spawning fish. Going ashore shortly before sundown, we spied a mother bear and twin cubs swimming and fishing in the estuary part of the river. Upon seeing us, they quickly exited the scene, and within five minutes or less a young male entered the same fishing hole all by himself. Alfredo and I were watching him and waiting for Jim to return from anchoring the skiff out of sight and in a location where the falling tide that evening would not leave us high and dry, with no way to get back to the Gunsmoke after dark.


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A paw as big as my head! The young boar eventually crossed the stream and wandered over to within 15 yards of our hiding place. Then — all of a sudden — hearing something he didn’t like, he started running back across the river and into the woods whence he came. Minutes later, Jim rejoined us and our slow journey upstream got under way. Once again, the reassuring breeze was in our faces and we kept our “tracks” in the water as much as possible. We had progressed only a couple hundred yards upstream when I spotted what looked to me like a superb ambush location for an archer. The river at that point had narrowed to a rather uniform width of about 10 yards and what attracted my attention was a good-sized logjam, with a really nice holding pool directly above it. The stretch of water wasn’t more than about two feet deep, but it was just alive with salmon thrashing around, not to mention well-used bear trails coming out of the brush from every direction. With fish scraps strewn about everywhere, this was obviously a major feeding station. Looking upriver in the direction of the sunset, we could see that the right-hand bank was a wide, open, flat gravel bar for about 80 yards.

The left bank was more vertical than horizontal, about six-feethigh, closed-in, and brushy for the first 40 yards, but then — above that — it opened up to another low, flat gravel bar. I suggested to Jim and Alfredo (who was carrying my camcorder) that we cross the stream to the cut-bank right above the logjam, hunker down up against it and just wait for a boar to arrive on the scene. Jim agreed it sounded like a good plan. After everyone got settled into position, it was perhaps no more than 20 minutes before a bruin suddenly appeared some 70 or 80 yards above us and began to fish his way down the middle of the channel, splashing up a storm as he made quick work of one unlucky fish after another. Almost immediately my guide flashed me the thumbs-up signal, indicating it was a male and one that would go at least seven and a half feet. The relatively bright light still reflecting off the river’s surface had allowed Jim to pick up through his binos the silhouette of the boar’s pendulous private parts. Though Baranof certainly has many bears that will measure over eight feet and even a few over nine, I had told Jim that I would be more than happy to settle for any mature



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male, but, conversely that I had no interest in taking any female, no matter how big. Thus his signal was something that put joy in my heart instantly! With any luck, this was going to be my Alaskan Brownie — at long last! The developing situation looked promising, indeed, as the boar kept coming closer and closer. All at once, while standing on the left gravel bar with a flopping salmon dangling by the tail from his mouth, he jerked his head around, stared intently across the river for a few seconds and then tore madly off into the brush. Having witnessed this kind of bear behavior many times, I assumed a larger male was approaching. When the second bear showed up a minute later, however, it seemed about the same size as the one that had just departed. I kept looking back at Jim to see if he had been able to “sex” the new arrival yet. Each time I checked, he would simply give me a shrug. The drama began to get much more interesting when the first bear suddenly re-emerged from the bushes. He walked slowly right up to the edge of the current, paused for a few seconds to study the other bear, then waded across, right up to it, while bear #2 stood its ground. I wondered if we were about to become spectators to a real donnybrook of a bear battle! My guess couldn’t have been further off! What happened next was that they kissed!

Their noses touched and they just stood like that, muzzle to muzzle, for a good 15 seconds. We were flabbergasted! After all, this wasn’t the rut! I had seen rather similar behavior between sows and boars during the spring mating season, as they pursued their mating rituals, but this was the fall. A new thought came to mind and later that night back on board the big boat, Jim said the same thought had occurred to him: Was it possible we had witnessed the chance encounter and reconciliation of two siblings that had lost track of each other a few years earlier, after being kicked out of their mother’s company as she prepared to be bred again? What else might explain such behavior at that time of year? Today I am fully convinced that’s exactly what it was we witnessed. If any reader has another plausible idea, please get in touch with me. I’d love to hear it. In any case, the drama soon began to involve us more directly, as the two bears started fishing together and heading downstream in our direction. At about 40 yards away, the male placed himself clearly in the lead, never seeming to take his eyes off the water in front of him. The air movement was still perfect and when Mr. #29 was about 12 yards away, still quartering toward me, I slowly began my draw. Jim was crouched just inches behind me and Alfredo was hiding in a log-

Author’s seventh try finally pays off.

Assistant guide Alfredo with hide and heart of Dunn’s bruin pile about 20 yards behind us, with my camcorder running. Being lefthanded proved to be a great boon to me in this situation, because I was seated facing upstream on a rock outcrop of the steep left bank. That meant my bow-arm (my right arm) was extended toward the river. The shot would have been impossible for any right-hander. By the time my quarry reached the point of being straight out in front of me, fully broadside, the distance was no more than five yards, and the big boy still didn’t have a clue that there was any danger around. As he pulled his right front leg forward, I let the arrow fly. In a nanosecond, it disappeared through the “sweet spot” and out the other side into the river, never to

be seen again. Forty yards away and fewer than 10 seconds later, he was stone dead and I learned later what is meant by “a dead run.” Without any sign of slowing, he had simply plowed into the gravel like a big semi hitting a concrete seawall. We found him still in an upright position, but with not one leg visible. All four were stove in underneath his massive body. We all sat there for a few seconds, stunned at just how swiftly and perfectly the drama had unfolded. Nary a twitch nor a sound emanated from the departed bear, who just moments before had seemed so strong, so fearless, so near and so threatening. All of a sudden, I realized my heart was jumping for joy and that an enormous weight had just been lifted



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from my shoulders. Six, previous, unsuccessful bow hunts for this species! Now, at last, a most improbable victory! A weight built up over many years of strenuous effort, sacrifice, frustration, enormous patience — and (at times) bitter disappointment — was suddenly gone. The Super Slam was finally mine!

It was actually behind me now, instead of right there in front of me, just beyond reach! I had done something which, thus far, only six other bowhunters had accomplished before me. Yet, by aiming from pure instinct and never using any sightpins attached to my various bows, I had gone them all one better and

achieved a (first-ever) barebow Super Slam. Sometimes, reality has a way of making it hard for you to get your brain around it. I still can’t quite believe it happened, that it’s really true. that I still don’t have to go on one more bear hunt, leaving my wife and mother back home to worry themselves silly about me. As things happened that night of September 17, 2004, we decided to wait till morning to skin out my brown bear. There were simply too many other bears in the area at that time of year to take unnecessary risks. Consequently, we all three relieved our bladders in a circle around the carcass, piled some extra pieces of clothing on top of it and then headed downriver for the skiff. The next morning, under sapphire skies and brilliant sunshine, we found Mr. #29 undisturbed. Ninety minutes later, with the help of three sharp knives, we had him all skinned out and decided to open him up and see just what internal path the arrow had taken. There was no doubt in my

By Dan Kidder Managing Editor

The same holds true for your dog. Adventure Medical Kits, makers of the best first aid kits for the outdoors, has created their Adventure Dog Series of first aid products for your canine companion. The kits come in three sizes, The Heeler, The Trail Dog, and the Me and My Dog and all contain hospital and veterinary quality supplies. The Me and My Dog kits provide a good selection of products that will serve double duty for patching up both humans and dogs and is large enough for a group of people and dogs. It can be carried in a pack, vehicle, bicycle, camper, or stored at home in case of a mishap with your furry or furless friends. It contains a pet first aid guide, as well as Dr. Eric Weiss’ Comprehensive Guide to Wilderness and Travel Medicine, which is a gold mine of medical knowledge.

Two waterproof medical pouches contain bandages, tapes, elastics, and other medical supplies that you might have need for in the outdoors and they store inside a durable nylon pack with heavy-duty zippers and carry handles. The Me and My Dog kit also includes basic instruments like shears, an irrigation syringe, forceps, and a tick remover. The Trail Dog and the Heeler are both strictly for canine use, but the supplies are sterile and would be suitable in an emergency for use by a human if there was nothing else available. The Trail Dog contains a single waterproof, resealable pouch inside of a nylon bag and contains products for wounds and sprains, as well as a pair of forceps for removing ticks and thorns. It also has the Pet First Aid Guide. Both the Me

The geometric center of the heart!

Adventure Dog First Aid Kits


othing beats exploring the outdoors with your best four-legged friend. But even the most intrepid explorers are likely to run into the occasional accident. Having a properly stocked first aid kit can help you keep exploring, or even stabilize an injury until you can get back to civilization.

mind that it had passed through both lungs, but because I had been about four feet in elevation above the closein bear at the supreme “moment of truth,” the arrow had angled down rather sharply. It had also traveled a path much more quartering-forward than I realized. As a consequence, we found a gaping triangular hole right through the precise geometric center of the heart. It truly seemed to have been the “ultimate” heart shot. What a truly fitting conclusion to my quest! And, when one considers the odds of my surviving, not to mention, without injury, the 22-foot freefall out of that maple tree the previous evening, it is certainly more than the word “lucky” that comes to mind. Does divine intervention, perhaps, seem a more apt description? It certainly rings true for me. I submit that only by the Grace of God was I able to get up and walk away from that fall, living to hunt again and complete my Super Slam the very next night! For so many reasons, I am surely the luckiest man I’ve ever met.

and My Dog and the Trail Dog kits also contain pet safe aspirin and antihistamine. Never give your pet acetaminophen or ibuprofen. The Heeler is a resealable waterproof pouch that will easily fit in a cargo pocket, or better yet, in your dogs hiking vest. It has antihistamine for allergic reactions and basic wound and sprain/strain care. Take care of your best hiking companion on your next trip and check out the Adventure Medical Kits Adventure Dog Series of first aid products at your local Sportsman’s Warehouse.



Profile for Sportsman's News

Sportsman's News July 2016 Digital Edition  

The official publication of Sportsman's Warehouse and the largest free outdoor publication in America.

Sportsman's News July 2016 Digital Edition  

The official publication of Sportsman's Warehouse and the largest free outdoor publication in America.


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