By Wireshots Team / Featured NewsOutdoor News / / 0 Comments

Chances are the avid outdoorsmen reading this right now already live and die by a checklist that they abide by before heading into the woods. But that trusty checklist may be missing a few critical items.

Whether you’re new to the outdoors or a seasoned hunter, take a look at this essential checklist. You may be surprised to find items that you’ve overlooked.

Bring a Fire Starter

A fire starter is a man’s best friend in the woods. Basic and reliable fire starting tools, like the Rothco Aurora Fire Starter, should be in every woodsmen’s pack. Waterproof matches are also essential.

Pack a Day’s Worth of Food

When it comes to food and water, always pack more than you think you’ll need; you never know when those hunger pangs will kick in. That’s why it’s wise to have an emergency supply of snacky items and drinks packed in your vehicle. And, when you’re away from your vehicle, remember to include a day’s worth of food in your pack. Cheese, nuts, chocolate and seeds can keep you sustained.

Include an Emergency Shelter in Your Pack

The weather can turn. The sun can set. You can get lost. A lot can happen in the woods. Don’t set yourself up to fail. Be sure to pack in an emergency shelter for unexpected situations. In most cases, an ultralight shelter can keep you protected from the elements in undesirable situations.

Remember Sun Protection

In severe cases, a sunburn can lead to itching, blistering and welting. Worse yet, it can even cause fatigue, headaches and chills — and no one wants to experience that in unfamiliar terrain. Thus, keep your skin protected by wearing a hunter-friendly sunscreen. You can also opt to wear sunglasses, a sun-shading hat and SPH clothing, the shirts and pants sold by sportswear retailer Columbia.

Always Carry a Cellphone or Satellite Phone

A trip to the backcountry means your chances of finding a strong cell phone signal will be slim. Avoid a potential emergency by packing a satellite phone, along with your cellphone, just to be cautious on your next trip to the woods.

Check Your Tires

A quick inspection of your vehicle is always wise before heading out on your excursion. Check your tire tread and look for any signs of dry rot. If you need new tires, look for a brand that offers optimal traction and braking, like Cooper CS5 Grand Touring Tires.

Pack Headlamps, Flashlights and Extra Batteries

Night can creep over you in an instant, so don’t be left in the dark. It’s not unheard of for an afternoon wood’s trip to turn into an after-dark adventure. Make sure you are prepared for whatever happens when the sun goes down by having flashlights, headlamps and plenty of extra batteries on hand — not only on your person, but in your vehicle, too.

Don’t Forget Your Altimeter and Maps

Altimeters are considered by experts a worthwhile tool. These devices use a barometric sensor to measure air pressure, while also providing an almost perfect estimate of your elevation. And both are valuable pieces of information that not only will help you keep track of your progress, but can also help determine your exact location. Likewise, it’s always a smart idea to include a topographic map in your pack for those sticky situations where an altimeter or GPS device may fail you in the woods.

By Wireshots Team / Featured NewsOutdoor News / / 0 Comments

The fastest way to turn a hunting trip into a chore is to come unprepared. Whether you’re a hard-working bachelor or dad in serious need of some quiet time, you know how tough it is to get away, so make sure you get the most out of your time. Plan ahead and make sure you don’t leave out these essential, yet all too often overlooked, items:

1. First Aid

Blood clotting powder, emergency blanket, poncho, iodine tablets and bandages all make sure you are ready for the unthinkable. While it’s not likely that something will happen (not everything is like “Naked and Afraid” and “Dual Survival”), it’s better to be prepared. Bring extra first aid and survival gear to ensure you won’t end up having to come home early, injured and empty handed.

2. Sleeping Pad

You want to enjoy your trip just as much as you want to bring home a trophy. Just because you’re out in the great wide open all alone doesn’t mean you have to rough it. In fact, investing in a few luxuries can make all the difference. A supportive sleeping pad is the way to go if you’re staying overnight. The newest versions are lightweight, self-inflating and insulated. This way you’ll be warm and comfy after a long day in the wilderness.

3. Baby Wipes

Yes, baby wipes. These let you clean up and feel like a million bucks for the rest of the day. They are especially useful if there’s not a port-a-potty around for miles.

4. Sunglasses

Make sure you bring sunglasses even if the weather calls for cloudy skies or storms. Even an overcast sky can deliver powerful rays and exhaust your eyes after a long day of tracking. This can greatly effect your accuracy. Invest in a good pair that are comfortable enough to wear all day, have UVA and UVB blocking, and are polarized.

5. Smartphone Apps

Smartphone apps can increase your success rates no matter what you’re hunting, from white tail deer to largemouth bass. Some useful apps include weather prediction, location specific camo guides, knot tying tutorials and recommendations for choosing the right bait for the stream you’re fishing. But remember, you won’t be able to use map or location services unless you invest in a personal hotspot, which still may only give you spotty service. Download maps, videos and tutorials ahead of time or take screenshots of important info you may not be able to access in the bush.

6. Walkie-Talkies

Speaking of spotty Wi-Fi, you need to be able to communicate with your hunting buddies or call for help. Beartooth Radio, for example, is a smartphone case that turns your cellphone into a walkie-talkie, even if you don’t have service. It can call within a 5-mile radius and text within a 10-mile radius. So whether you want to check on others in your group or you need to call for help, this gadget is a good investment.

 

For the right price, nearly any animal can be hunted – an African lion permit costs most than $50,000; a polar bear permit goes for $30,000. However there are a handful of hunts that make the aforementioned look like hobbyist hunts. Here are the four most expensive and difficult permits to obtain. Anybody who can check off all of these hunts will most likely be the only hunter in the world to ever do so, making this a dream grand slam for the well-off and super dedicated hunter. If you’re headed out on one of these trips, don’t forget pack mosquito repellent, your passport and a good pair of boots.

Antelope Island State Park Mule Deer

Only two mule deer permits are issued each year to hunt in Utah’s Antelope State park, which makes this an elite hunting experience. The hunting is so good that Canadian hunter Troy Lorenz has spent $800,000, at two separate auctions, to be able to hunt the biggest mule deer in North America. In 2015, he bagged a massive 231-inch buck.

If you are lucky enough to get to a permit for this hunt, park officials will guide your stalk in November. Bring along warm clothing — we like SITKA Big Game Systems — since the average temperature hovers between 28 and 50 degrees that time of year.

Namibian Black Rhinoceros

Each year, Namibia’s Ministry of Environment and Tourism issues three to five permits to hunt the critically endangered black rhino. It’s part of a very scientific herd management program. Permit holders are allowed to take one of a handful of male black rhinos that have been designated as dangerous and/or non-productive to the health of the black rhino population. Last year, Corey Knowlton, an affluent Texan who lives a Hemingway-esque life, used a permit he won in a Dallas Safari Club for $350,000 (for just the permit). The proceeds from the auction went to anti-poaching efforts, which didn’t stop people from sending death threats to the Texan.

With the help of guides and Namibian officials, Knowlton stalked his 3,000 pound black rhino through dense, thorny brush for hours a day. He donated the rhino’s meat to a local village.

Hunting Pakistani Houbura Bustard with Falcons

This is a status hunt and probably the hardest hunting permit in the world to secure. Unless you are an Arabian Gulf Sheikh, chances are slim you will ever get the opportunity to hunt the endangered Houbara bustard. Since the chicken-sized birds, that many believe are an aphrodisiac, have nearly been hunted to extinction on the Arabian Peninsula, wealthy sheikhs pay Pakistani officials to hunt their houbara population. While permits are good for 10 days and 100 birds, a Saudi Prince killed more than 2,100 of the endangered species over a 21-day hunt in 2014. You see where this is going, right? You need connections, clout and a vault of cash if you want to go on one of these controversial expeditions. If you do manage to go hunting for houbara in Pakistan, you will be one of very few westerners to have completed the hunt.

Montana Big Horn Sheep

While resident permits for Montana bighorn sheep only cost around $200, they are so hard to get that permits are routinely auctioned off for $300,000 at the Wild Sheep Foundation’s annual convention. The owner of Jimmy John’s, James Liautaud, has dropped nearly $600,000 for two separate Montana Bighorn Sheep hunts. While this sounds expensive, Liautaud actually got a bargain. In 2013, an anonymous bidder paid a record-smashing $480,000 for the same tag. After spending that much money on a single hunt, you’ll want to make sure you hire the best possible outfitter to guide you and that your marksmanship skills are well above average. You’ll also need to bundle-up for this chilly fall hunt and bring a high-speed field bag like the American-made, special operations tested OAF -96 Jumpable backpack for stalking.

Going to the field for a week or three? Quality gear is essential — your life depends on it. While good equipment isn’t cheap, an investment in the following gear will improve your outdoor experience while keeping you safe and comfortable.

OAF-96 Backpack

You need a high-speed bag if you are going to carry high-speed gear. The OAF-96 was built for people who are serious about what they do — hunters, survivalists, military contractors, etc. Designed and field-tested by combat veterans from the U.S. Special Operations community, this American-made bag comes with all the bells and whistles you need to remain offline for an extended period of time.

The bag boasts the following features, which differentiates it from the typical hiking bag: two side pockets for 100 oz. water reservoirs, a laptop compartment, cut-to-fit RF welded antenna ports built to accommodate various sized VHF/UHF/HF/SATCOM antennas, a detachable waistband that is similar to a repel seat and the strongest silent pull zippers on the market. Remember, you can’t afford to have your gear fail.

Bonus: OAF is owned and operated by a group of young veterans.

Satellite Phone

Think your iPhone is going to get coverage in the middle of the boonies? Think again. Sat phones, which once cost an arm and a leg to operate, are now affordable enough that anyone can (and should) carry one into the field. There really isn’t any excuse to not have a sat phone on an extended trip into the backcountry as this communication tool could a save your life and will allow you to keep your family and friends updated on your whereabouts and condition.

Like any other phone, prices and plans vary. Subscriptions, rentals and prepaid phones are available. Iridium Communications is a great place to start your search as they carry a large selection of sat phones and satellite access points.

ATN PVS7-3 Generation III Night Vision Goggles

You’ll be ready to conquer the dark (up to 225 yards of it) with a pair of ATN PVS7-3 Generation III night-vision goggles, which are identical to the AN/PVS-7 NVGs U.S. troops use in combat. Features include a sacrificial filter for objective lenses, additional mounts and a run time of 10 to 20 hours on two AA batteries. They are also waterproof to 39 inches for 30 minutes.

AquaLink Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)

From March 1995 to July 2003, the U.S. Government only authorized PLB use in Alaska. It was a test period to gauge the effectiveness and capabilities of the technology. The program saved about 400 lives and there were very few false calls, proving to the government they were worth allowing in the rest of the U.S. Now, you can get them at just about any retailer that sells outdoor gear. While there are several models and manufacturers to choose from, a model like the AquaLink PLB is a solid choice as it is waterproof. It also floats, making it a great piece of gear for your boat, too.

How does it work? The AquaLink PLB should only be used as a last resort since once it is activated it will fix your position within 100 meters and then relay a distress call, via satellite, to the nearest search and rescue unit. Each owner is assigned a personal ID so that rescuers will know whom they are searching for. Features include: a powerful 406 MHz signal to relay your signal and a separate homing signal and integrated LED strobe light that will guide rescuers to your location.

Sylvan Sport Go

Anybody who takes a motorcycle or ATV on extended outings should consider the SylvanSport GO. The lightweight pull-behind camper (it’s more of a tent on wheels) can go just about anywhere your ATV can. It is a few steps up from roughing it, but you won’t feel too much like a “glamper” because of the practicality of this camper. The trailer has room for all of your extras, such as fuel, and will allow you to bring back any bounty you may harvest while in the field. With this, you can find a spot, grab your OAF-96 Backpack and then head out for the day. You’ll be happy knowing you have a comfortable spot to return to at the end of your day.

5 Hacks for the Frugal Camper

You can spend big bucks on state-of-the-art tents, camping stoves and clothing. However, you can enjoy the great outdoors even when you’re on a budget. Get out on the trail, into the mountains, atop the peak or just go car camping with these tips for frugal campers.

Be a Mooch

Take it from college students at a tailgate party, mooching can save you a lot of money. While tailgate moochers look for beer and free food, don’t be afraid to learn from their fine frugal art. After you assemble your camping gear, make a list of what you don’t have. Don’t buy this equipment. Instead, call up your trusted friends and ask to borrow their equipment. While you’ll be responsible for any damages to it, treat it well and you’ll save big — and your friends won’t treat you like a moocher.

Find Tent Alternatives

Tents are overrated, but tarps are not according Active.com’s creative tarp tips. You can stay just as dry and sleep just as well with a hammock and tarp. Just make sure you take enough rope. Strong trees are a must for tying the tarp above the hammock. Make sure the tarp’s corners are lower than the middle, or if it rains, your tarp will collect water, potentially tear and leave you drenched.

If you have a tent but no ground tarp, old shower curtains work just as well to keep you dry. They will ensure no water seeps through the bottom side of your tent. Just make sure the old shower curtain is clean before you take it camping.

Buy Secondhand Equipment

You can find some decent camping gear at garage sales and even better deals at secondhand outdoor shops. A company like REI (Recreational Equipment Inc.) has a yearly garage sale to sell all returned items at significantly reduced prices. Some of these items may have been lightly used, but they’re also discounted and in good shape. Larger urban areas often have secondhand outdoor shops, so check local listings. If you can’t find what you need from these places, check online. Both Ebay and Craigslist offer secondhand equipment.

Don’t Go Hungry

What you eat on your camping trip is completely up to you. You could load up on PB&J sandwiches, an inexpensive option. U.S. News and World Report’s Frugal Shopper suggests you can get the rest of your food by scavenging off the barriers and fishing in nearby lakes. However, pack some extra Clif bars or similar energy snacks in case of emergency. A Google search will provide a list of all the edible plants in your area as well as a cook’s guide to outdoor eating.

Plan Ahead

You’ll save the most money (and pain) when you plan your meals and create a daily and nightly menu for your trip. You can even prepare meals at home, like salads and trail mix snacks. This way you won’t go hungry or jeopardize your safety from a lack of healthy food.

If you’re car camping, stock an ice chest full of your favorite meat. Most car campsites have grills, and you can cook over an open flame (weather permitting). Outdoor grilling saves you big if you don’t want to buy expensive freeze-dried meals.

You have your vehicle packed with tents, sleeping bags, a camping stove, your backpack and you are ready for your retreat in the wilderness away from the hustle and bustle of civilization. With the focus on your backcountry adventure, preparations for the road trip there are easily overlooked. Here are some last-minute items that can make or break the first leg of your excursion.

Schedule a Check-Up

Whether you decide to take your vehicle in for a check up or do it yourself at home, checking all the loose ends before starting your trip will give you peace of mind while on the road. Check the fluids in your vehicle. This includes the oil, coolant and brake fluid levels, and replace or refill any as necessary. If you’ll be doing a lot of driving at night (or even if you’re won’t be) check that all your lights and signals are functional. Have another person stand outside your vehicle while you press the brakes and engage the blinkers. Replace any bulbs or fuses as needed. Tighten your lug nuts, which often come loose because of tire rotation or from the stress and vibration of driving. Check your owner’s manual for more details related to the appropriate torque wrench for your vehicle’s make and model.

Find the Owner’s Manual

With the accessibility of the Internet, carrying your owner’s manual around throughout day-to-day driving may seem unnecessary. However, if you might be losing service on your trip, throwing your owner’s manual back into your glove compartment is a good idea. You might not know what that new light indicates on your dashboard, but your owner’s manual will.

Read the Rubber

Use the old penny trick to check on your tire wear to avoid blowouts on worn tires on the road. It is always a good idea to replace or upgrade to an all-season and fuel-efficient tire before a big trip. This can make the difference between arriving to your destination with ease or never arriving at all. Check the air pressure in your tires and adjust as necessary. Don’t forget to check the pressure of your spare to avoid turning a bad situation worse if you have an usable tire.

Give Her a Good Rinse

Although you might eventually be traveling through some remote roads filled with mud and dust, give your vehicle a good rinse and start the trip off with maximum visibility. If rain is in the forecast, at least give the windows of your vehicle a clean to ensure clarity on the road. And don’t forget about those wiper blades! If it’s time for a new set, this is a better time than ever.

Map Out the Trip

Most people rely on their cellphone GPS to map their drive. What if you lose service? A GPS is a good back-up. But if you’re going remote, a back-up to your back-up is necessary. Bring along a large paper map of the areas you’ll be travelling through. A good old fashioned paper map will include more remote and secluded roads compared to a GPS.

Prepare for the Worst Case Scenario

Pack your vehicle with all emergency equipment and make sure it’s all working properly. This includes your spare tires, a set of jumper cables (especially if your vehicle’s battery is older), emergency tools, first aid kit, a siphon hose to ease gas infusions from other vehicles (if you’re going remote) and a flashlight. Consider packing flares and a fire extinguisher which will come in handy in the worst case scenario.

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The key to a fun and successful cold-weather camping trip is typically described in two words: stay warm. A long day of ice fishing, hiking, hunting or backpacking will come to an uncomfortable and potentially hazardous end if your sleeping quarters do not provide enough warmth for you to rest easy.

Shivering and chattering teeth are the first signs of mild hypothermia. This spasmodic reaction is your body trying to warm its core while reminding you to get somewhere with more heat as soon as possible. If the contractions stop before you warm yourself up, it’s a sign of more advanced and dangerous hypothermia. These three tips will ensure a comfortable camping excursion in freezing temperatures.

Layers

All the tricks and technology in the world can’t beat good old-fashioned layering as a first line of defense from the elements. Put your long johns and thermal shirt on before the sun goes down, so your body keeps the heat it already has versus trying to warm itself up when the temperature drops. Wool socks are best, with a second pair of cotton socks underneath for extremely cold nights.

A long-sleeved shirt and fleece sweater will provide warmth and comfort while sleeping. Camouflage pants made of fleece-like Microtex material are the perfect all-purpose pants for your daytime activities and for sleeping at night. A wool stocking hat and water-resistant fleece gloves should also be worn to prevent heat from escaping your body. Lauren Greenway of Wilderness Medical Center in Salt Lake City told Live Science that eating a large meal before bed helps the body stay warm longer. Proper hydration is also key to maintaining heat.

Mr. Heater Little Buddy

Never burn propane in an enclosed area. This is especially true for stoves and hot plates that emit a lot of carbon monoxide. The Mr. Heater Little Buddy is safe to use indoors because of its 99.9 percent burning efficiency, which allows very little waste to escape into the air. The unit also has a low-oxygen sensor that will automatically shut down the heater if levels drop below 18 percent.

The Little Buddy will produce heat for upward of five hours on a one-pound propane cylinder. They are safe to use right in your tent. Despite all the built-in safeguards, it’s best to partially open the roof vent or windows in your tent for ventilation. A cheap CO detector is also a good just-in-case safeguard.

Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XTherm Pad

No matter how well a sub-zero rated sleeping bag is made, it still has to lay on a hard, freezing cold ground. The best part about Therm-a-Rest’s NeoAir XTherm Inflatable Pad is that it weighs less than a pound and takes up very little space in your backpack.

The XTherm provides four layers of heat-trapping reflective barriers that insulate you completely from the ground. The stuff sack doubles as a pump sack to help inflate the pad quicker and more efficiently. Those who don’t mind carrying the extra weight can get a separate battery-powered pump for even faster inflation. The XTherm comes in four sizes and includes a repair kit for emergency fixes.

Your mind is also an effective tool for keeping warm. Think warm thoughts and focus on the positive aspects of your surroundings. Cold-weather camping will eventually becomes second-nature for those who prepare properly.

Extended Hunting Trip Packing 101

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There are few things better than an extended hunting trip, whether heading out on your own or spending some time away with your friends or family. Getting out of the hustle and bustle of hectic city life, enjoying the peace and tranquility of nature and the excitement involved in tracking and bagging your trophy are all great reasons to pack up and hit the woods. Just remember that extended hunting trips can take a toll on your equipment and accessories, so here’s a few things to remember when packing so that you don’t find yourself in a fix halfway through the trip.

Batteries

Today everything is portable, so make sure you are covered. Even if you are set up at camp with a generator or additional power, make sure you have enough batteries to operate things like flashlights, headlamps or GPS devices.

Repair Kits

Be sure to include a variety of items, everything from a standard sewing kit to repair clothes to a gun repair kit, to a personal repair kit to fix and address any minor injuries that might occur as you are trekking through the wilderness.

Sun Glasses

Eye protection is crucial regardless of where you are hunting or what time of year it is. Winter snow can harm your eyes as easily as summer glare. Having a pair of sunglasses like the Oakley Flak Jacket are a good option for the outdoors. The Oakley frames are compatible with both polarized and non-polarized replacement lenses. Be sure to select lenses with 100 percent UV protection to keep your eyes protected and nano coating to repel dust.

Scent Prevention

Scent control is one of the biggest factors of successful hunting, and one of the things you can’t really control about yourself. Using items like Under Armour Scent Control can help, but having a stockpile of sprays like Nose Jammer can keep your scent concealed when you’re in the woods.

Clothes

Make sure you have the right clothes for the right situation, and plenty of them. You can never go wrong with packing extras of items like socks, especially if you are going to be in damp or cold weather. Also, don’t necessarily trust the weather report. It never hurts to back an extra rain poncho or hat.

Water

Staying hydrated can be key, especially when out hiking or tracking your prey all day. Having access to plenty of clean water will help to make sure you stay healthy throughout your extended trip. Make sure you bring enough for everyone, and just to be safe, pack along a water filtration system to ensure you have a safe water supply, even if you run out.

Takeaway

Take into account everyone who is going and where you will be going. If it’s just you, you know your limits and abilities, but if you are with a group they may not be as tough as you. If it’s cold, bring plenty of hand warmers. For warm weather, make sure to pack items like sunscreen and bug repellent.

Don’t be afraid to over pack with necessities. It’s always better to have too much than to find yourself in need.

GoPro: Why Every Hunter Should Have One

 

GoPro action cameraNick Woodman earned his bachelor’s degree in 1997 and started a marketing company called FunBug. The business was unsuccessful, so the California native decided to travel the world and do what he loves best, surf. While surfing, Woodman wanted to find a way to capture his wave-riding exploits without having to depend on someone on shore to take photos from a distance. He founded GoPro in 2002 for sportsmen and others to “capture and share your world like never before.”

The GoPro Hero4, the company’s latest model, is the ideal camera for hunters to chronicle their activities. It can record that perfect takedown shot as it is happening, then use its Wi-Fi capabilities to instantly download the footage to your mobile device so you can share it with friends and family. The video also can be used as a teaching tool, as you can re-watch your hunts, to correct flaws.

The truth is, many hunters are old school and not keen on incorporating technology into their favorite pastime. But, even the most hardcore fundamentalists will be fascinated by the GoPro’s capabilities once they give it a figurative shot.

Pheasant Hunting

Eric Pickhartz, writing for hunting and fishing website Wide Open Spaces, stumbled upon a video entitled “Rooooster” on Vimeo. It showed a first-person viewpoint of several birds being taken down by superb marksmanship. He contacted Jake Farmer, the creator of the video, to find out how he captured such high quality footage.

Farmer admitted he is not a hunter himself, but a videographer who has several hunters in his family. He bought two GoPros and a shotgun mount from a third-party retailer to film their hunting trips. The video makes viewers feel like they’re right there, something he said would be impossible to capture without the GoPro. He compared the vantage point to first-person shooter video games like Halo.

GoPro makes a roll bar mount that fits most shotguns, for those who prefer to use a product made by the company. Although the cameras are durable enough to withstand shotgun reports, some hunters prefer to use the chest harness, which can be found at any retailer that sells the cameras. The head strap mount is another option for first-person viewpoints.

Deer Hunting

Jeff Hesketh showed the possibilities of a GoPro for deer hunting by filming his November 2013 hunt in Maine, which he uploaded to YouTube. Hesketh appeared to get what many hunters would call a gift. A spike appeared to be only a few yards from him when he took action. It wasn’t a perfect shot, but the harvest netted him 120 pounds of meat, according to his account.

Zoom Capabilities

You must purchase a separate telephoto lens to have zoom capabilities on a GoPro. RageCams makes a 16 mm lens that fits inside the waterproof casing of the camera. Back-Bone is a another third-party company that makes a product called the Ribcage. It’s a kit that modifies the GoPro Hero3 and Hero3+ Black to accept several interchangeable lenses.

Keep in mind these companies are not affiliated with GoPro, and using their products may void any warranties you have on your camera.

Final Analysis

A common complaint from hunters was that the GoPro has too many flashing and blinking lights while recording, which can obviously have a negative impact on your hunts. The company responded by introducing a polycarbonate GoPro blackout housing unit for the camera to remedy this issue.

Rifle hunting season spans only a few weeks every year in most states. The GoPro will enable you to re-live your hunting expeditions anytime and share them with the world. It’s well worth the investment.

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I’m not ashamed to admit it. I’ve hunted stands in the past simply because the location was close or convenient, or “my favorite.” I don’t think I’m alone here either. Hunters sitting in stands “just because” is a chronic epidemic, and it’s resulting in a lot of unfilled tags.

Since the early days of my hunting career when I hunted locations on a whim, I’ve come to realize that every time I sit in a given location there should be a myriad of clear reasons. At a minimum, I select three specific reasons for being there. I’d recommend using this “3 Factor Process” when choosing your own stand sites this season. Every time you find yourself trying to decide where to hunt, list out as many specific reasons for hunting your preferred stand. If you can articulate at least three clear reasons for hunting it, you get the green light. If not, it’s time to explore a new option.

Here’s an example from my opening weekend archery hunt in Ohio this year. When choosing my stand site for Sunday night, I ticked off the following three factors:

1. My game camera had captured daylight photos of a mature buck within the past week near this stand.

2. The stand was located on a ridge covered in oaks that were dropping acorns. The ridge also connected a major bedding area to large crop fields beyond.

3. The West wind would blow my scent away from the ridge-top travel corridor and out over the valley below and behind me.

All of those factors combined to create some pretty compelling evidence. This season, don’t hunt a stand “just because.” Instead, use this “3 Factor Process” to ensure you’re hunting with a purpose, and get ready to notch your tag.