Barnett is just a few weeks away from releasing its BCX crossbow and I was fortunate enough to get one in my hands to review it! The BCX is rated at 365 fps and some of the factory specs are as follows: Draw Weight 185 lbs Foot Pounds of Energy 118 Power [...]
It’s hard to believe deer season is over and turkey season is in play! Between seasons, we’ve managed to finish testing on some products good enough to be included into our Spring Hit List. We’ve tested so many products in the last 6 months, it’s hard to tell just how many we did! We did [...]
I just finished this mount for a friend of mine tonight. This is an Illinois head that was taken last November! Congrats Joe! If you want to see the images in more detail, you can click on them 2 or 3 times more for an enlarged picture.
Just a heads-up folks! We’re excited to be finishing the testing on some new products this year including some equipment and supplies from Bio-logic, GroudHog, Horny Buck Seed Co., Bear Empire bow, Bench Master, Polaris, Tru-Fire, Barnett and many more! Stay tuned for my Spring Hit List too! Some of these products will be tested all year, so check back [...]
Barnett is just a few weeks away from releasing its BCX crossbow and I was fortunate enough to get one in my hands to review it!
The BCX is rated at 365 fps and some of the factory specs are as follows:
Foot Pounds of Energy
The BCX was a breeze to assemble. In fact, there is just one Allan screw that fastens the riser to the stock. From there you’ll have two more Allan screws to mount the quiver, and the scope is fastened by simply tightening the two hand-screws after your initial positioning of the scope. That’s it!
When assembling the BCX, I couldn’t help noticing how well all of the parts were made. The CNC machined aluminum flight track and Picatinny rail stand out in comparison to the other brands we’ve tested and the scope is a very solid unit. In fact, the scope is water and shock proof and has elevation and windage adjustments too. The cast parts line up well and the quality of the finished product (and the camouflage) is top notch. Barnett does a good job with their manufacturing process too!
Post assembly, I used the Rope Cocking device (RCD) that came with our unit to cock the crossbow. The RCD will cut the amount of force needed to cock the crossbow by half through mechanical leverage. This crossbow is rated at 185 lbs, so you’ll only pull 92.5 lbs, which of course is still a firm pull but the trade-off for speed makes it worth the effort. This bow is also capable of a crank cocking device if you choose to purchase one.
After I cocked the bow, Barnett’s safety switch automatically activates and also prevents dry firing! This is probably the best safety in the business! Once I made sure the bolt (arrow) was installed correctly, I switched the safety off and fired this beast. The trigger pressure was perfect, very little recoil and the scope was accurate right out of the box. The BCX is balanced very well mainly due to the carbon riser that reduces weight by an estimated 43% and shifts the center of gravity back toward the user. It practically removes any feeling of being top heavy.
For comparison, we had to send a crossbow back that was made by a competitor of Barnett’s because of a poorly designed safety switch. They weren’t very happy and we weren’t very excited to have had to send it back. They refused to acknowledge a problem and we didn’t want our readers using such a dangerous bow. Bottom line: It’s refreshing testing well made and well thought out products with a company that is eager to listen!
We called Barnett twice to test their technical support and both times our call was answered the first time and by well educated technicians here in the USA. FYI, they didn’t know we were testing the BCX (but probably were a little suspicious because the BCX isn’t in the stores yet)! I think we let the cat out of the bag
We give the BCX a “Thumbs up”. The MSRP is $749.00 but since it’s not on the shelves yet, I would expect a little fluctuation in that price. By the time of this posting, it should only be a week or two away from being distributed.
It’s hard to believe deer season is over and turkey season is in play! Between seasons, we’ve managed to finish testing on some products good enough to be included into our Spring Hit List. We’ve tested so many products in the last 6 months, it’s hard to tell just how many we did! We did love the products that made our Hit List, and we are pleased to report them as top-notch.
The Watson Airlock
Who would have thought a bag would make a Hit List? I personally eye balled this bag, that really doubles as luggage, for several reasons. First, it has airlock technology. For people like me who have to bag hunting clothing to keep it as scent free as possible, it’s a real treat. Second, I use it when I travel to give seminars or to visit trade shows. I like the fact that it has wheels and a retractable handle on it which makes it easy to transport. Given the size of the bag, the wheels are a welcome addition especially if you fill it to its capacity.
The pink version shown, supports breast cancer research and offers the ladies a bit of spice too!
When I’m finished hunting, I simply place my Ghillie suit in the bag and zip it up. It will extend the lifespan of my Carbon Synergy scent control which is permeated in my suit. The bag also features numerous pockets, a separate shoe or boot storage section, removable pouches that are great for carrying all of the little things you need for hunting! To read more, please visit Watson Airlock.
Barnett BCX Crossbow
The Barnett Buck Commander “BCXTREME” is another example why I like Barnett’s products so well. Barnett has been in the crossbow business for over 50 years and know the ins and outs of crossbow development. With over a half of century of R&D, rest assured the BCX is a well refined product capable of years of dependability and performance.
I’m not always a fan of large companies with multiple products but I am a fan of track records that reflect constant improvement and innovation. I believe nobody sleeps at Barnett because each year they have newer products and fresh ideas already on the drawing board. I had the opportunity to meet with David Barrnett this year, the president of the company, in which he showed me designs that bust through anything I’ve ever seen before in the crossbow world. I was equally glad I didn’t have to listen to mass marketing jargon designed to program key words into my vocabulary! David Barnett showed me where he’s taking the company with their ideas and prototypes.
The BCX will rocket bolts at 365 fps and weighs only 7.1 pounds! It’s carbon head transfers weight back the the shooter for better control and stabilization. Here’s the specs:
Barnett BCXtreme Ultralite Crossbow Features:
- Finger Guard and Pass -Through Foregrip
- CNC Machined Aluminum Flight Track
- CNC Machined 7/8″ Picatinny Rail
- Custom Composite Laminated Limbs
- Crosswire String and Cable System
- Allows for the integration of a crank cocking Device
- Finish – High Definition Camo
Barnett BCXtreme Ultralite Crossbow Specifications:
- Draw Weight - 185 lbs
- Foot Pounds of Energy – 118
- Power Stroke - 13.375″
- FPS - 365
- Mass Weight - 7.1 lbs
- Length - 35.5″
- Width - 21.875″
- String Length - 40.063″
- Cable Length - 23.25″
- Trigger Pull - 3.5
- Arrow Length - 20″
- Arrow Grain - 400
It comes with a scope and 4 bolts too! Read more about the BCX at Barnett.
Foodsaver Gamesaver Bronze G300
Each year I make several pounds of summer sausage and snack sticks, in addition to cutting select pieces of butterfly chops and roasts. We like to save the chops for the warmer months when we grill outside and will use the roasts for all sorts of things. I try to rotate my venison to keep it as fresh as I can but it seems inevitable that some of it gets freezer burnt anyway. So what luck, I got the chance to test the Foodsaver Gamesaver Bronze G300!
The unit comes with everything you need to vacuum seal any of your food items. The Gamesaver will also speed the process of marinading your meats in a fraction of the time by connecting it to the marinade accessory that is available online for an additional cost.
This unit offers a couple of different settings for loose and dry material. It also has a removable tray that captures fluids, that is dishwasher safe. The Gamesaver is unique to the other vacuum sealers FoodSaver makes because of the Mossy Oak Break Up camouflage appearance. It appears they were thinking of everything when they designed it to store vertically to save counter top space too!
This unit is a must if you hunt deer! Visit FoodSaver for more info!
Bench Master Rifle Rest
If you’re looking for an economical bench rest, the Bench Master is for you! The front rest swivels to track varmints or quickly adjusts side to side. It is made with quality powder coated steel construction and is rock solid. The swivel front sight is protected and the recoil pouch protects your firearm while providing extra recoil absorption. It’s also made here in the USA.
Here’s the specs:
- Bench caddy shooting rest
- Ergonomic fine adjustment knobs
- Adjustable galvanized legs
- 4 Different adjustments on this model
- Front rest swivels for easy tracking.
- All steel construction, powder coated
- Genuine leather bag rest and butt stock pouch
- Measures 24”W x 12”H x 6”D
- Weighs 9 lbs
You could spend more on a rest but this will give you everything you could want in a rest and yet remain portable! It won’t corrode, it’s light and portable and easy to setup! Read more about them at Bench Master.
I had the opportunity to check out the Monster Raxx products at the ATA show this year. One thing that really stuck out was the attractants they had. Anyone who knows me will state that I’m not a big fan of cover scents, but when I opened the lid of Monster Raxx’s vanilla and apple attractant, I was really impressed. Now their scents aren’t supposed to be used as a cover scent, although someone may try to use them that way, but rather to be used as the title states; as an attractant. I’ve seen attractants come and go but this stuff is amazing! It’s so concentrated and real-like, I made sure we tested it.
Their attractants are oil based, which means they won’t wash off easily with water once applied to a tree, etc. If you need to examine a particular buck near a trail camera, this attractant will hold them there long enough to capture a solid image even on a slower, less expensive trail camera.
One bottle of this stuff will most likely last a couple of seasons because it’s so concentrated. Some people even spray it on food plots! Monster Raxx also makes minerals and bear lures too! Check them out at Monster Raxx.
This is probably the most innovative fixed blade broadhead ever! This blade flies as well as a field tip because of its offset blades, something nobody has ever done before. They still have the traditional Muzzy quality that you would expect from a company that has been around for decades. The blades are .035 thick and are fastened with a set-screw. It’s a rock solid blade that flies like a dream and leaves amazing blood trails! What more can I say?
Read more about the Trocar at Muzzy.
Nockturnal Lighted Nocks
Lighted nocks have been around for sometime now and each have their own design unique to them. Some are brighter than others, some are easier to install and others are cheaper but at the end of the day, you just want them to work well.
I’ve tested many brands of lighted nocks and have found that many of them work quite well. I’ve also tested some nocks that were so expensive, you would have to mortgage your home for them! An ultra-expensive lighted nock is not something a person needs, especially if you plan on losing an arrow for whatever reason. So ultimately, you just need a lighted nock that’s dependable and cheap enough to purchase. That nock is Nockturnal.
I like the nocturnal because it’s a self contained unit that doesn’t need anything outside of what it already has, to operate. The nock is activated by a small button that is installed inside the string groove when the bow is fired. It will stay lit until you retrieve the arrow and shut the nock off. The nock is deactivated by inserting a small pin-like object into the slot which is on the side of the nock, and pushed until the light is turned off.
They sell Nockturnals in packs of three and the come in 4 different colors. Visit them at Nockturnal for more information.
Polaris Ranger 900
Polaris made many changes to the Ranger this year and every one of them were excellent!
The new Ranger is quieter, rides better and steers even better than its predecessor. I was pleasantly surprised after starting it up for the first time to hear how quiet it was. The noise reduction was a result of Polaris moving the engine location. The suspension was completely redesigned which is the reason it rides so smoothly.
I used my test unit for all sorts of heavy duty farm-type work. The dump bed is a dream to have and the hitch receiver was greatly appreciated when I hooked my disks up, to plow a few acres in preparation for a food plot. I had so much reserve power left over, it wasn’t even close to its maximum capacity.
I’ve tested many different brands but it’s the Polaris I keep coming back to! Visit them at Polaris to check the Ranger out or any other product they offer.
Covert Black 60
Each year we test more and more trail cameras. One thing for sure; they’re getting better each year!
Our latest Hit List nominee is the Covert Black 60. We like this camera primarily because it will do nearly everything the best cameras will do but will do it with the “black” technology. That translates into no flash and no visible glow during the shot. Deer are smart and they know something’s up when they stare at a light on a trail camera! With the Covert Black 60, you get great reaction times, video with sound and a 60 + ft. of infrared flash range for less than half of the most expensive camera on the market.
- 12 MP Color CMOS = 3-5-8-12 MP photo resolutions
- 1.2 Second Trigger Speed with intervals set from 1sec to 60 min
- Photo bursts 1-3 images
- Date/Time/Temp and Moon Phase stamp
- Built in color viewer
- 60 ft invisible infrared flash range
- Takes pictures and video
- HD Video with sound!
- Password protection
- Overwrite Selection ( if selected will overwrite oldest photo on SD card with newest photo after card is filled to capacity)
- Operates on 4,8 or 12 AA batteries.
- Rated for up to a 32GB SD card.
- 1 Year Warranty
Check the new Covert Black 60 out on the Covert website.
Trophy Ridge React
The TR React is probably the most interesting sight I have ever laid my hands on. Because it’s tool-less, you can make fine adjustments on the fly! Another neat bit of technology is utilized in this sight with the ability to set 2 pins, which will then automatically set the farther distance pins with no additional calibrating! Add the fact that it’s lightweight and you’ll have yourself a real winner! Here’s a summation from Trophy Ridge’s website:
“ This is the new Trophy Ridge React sight with Smart Pin Technology, a revolutionary, tool-less sight system that once calibrated at 20 and 30 yards, makes your 40, 50, and 60 yard pins mathematically impossible to be inaccurate. Perfect precision. Season after season. In less than 10 minutes. It’s not just another bow sight. It’s a true innovation in a world of status quo”.
Read more about the React at Trophy Ridge.
Not everyone wants to purchase the flagship bow from a company that manufactures bows, but nevertheless they do want features and shooting characteristics of the higher end bows! The Bear Empire is that bow.
The Bear Empire was a treat to test. It shot so smooth and shock-free, I had it out of the box and setup within minutes. The very next day I shot a beautiful buck with it. It felt so comfortable and natural, it seemed like I had been shooting it for months.
The Empire has the perfect blend of speed and forgiveness! It’s absolutely quiet and a dream to shoot. Bear’s newest lineup, I believe, is their best group of bows ever developed by them.
If you’re looking for a top notch bow that is fast, forgiving and a treat to shoot, look at the Empire! You won’t regret it. See the Empire at the Bear website for more information.
This is a perfect tool for those of you who want to plant a food plot. There are so many good things to say about the Groundhog Max, I don’t know where to begin!
Let’s start with convenience. It’s lightweight, easy to install, doesn’t need weights added to it, inexpensive, great for tight spaces and only takes one man to use! This unit uses the weight of your ATV to till and disc soil to perfection.
A disc setup of an inner 10 inch, 9 inch, 8 inch notched disc with high speed bearings allows you to cut hard ground, grass, and ground clutter better. This plow does as good or better as any other if you have rocky conditions. The plow is half as wide but you can plow twice as fast (4-7 mph). Use looping circles and figure eights. For maneuverability it will plow in reverse.
Here’s its features in a nutshell:
- Weighs 46 lbs with a cutting width of 21″… half as wide as a pull behind but twice as fast. No need to add extra weight
- ATV and rider’s weight force disc into the ground with up to 800+ lb. of plowing down force. More down-force, less steel equals an aggressive cut
- Use in 2-wheel or 4-wheel drive… use 4-wheel drive for more aggressive cuts
- Use with independent rear suspension or straight axle setups
- Graduated notched discs plow faster and penetrates deeper
- Fully assembled plow with easy to replace bearings
- Adjustable height control, 1″ increments
- Trailer not required… transport with no hassle
- Plow in looping circles and figure eights for best results
- Allows the use of reverse with plow engaged (on most units) for small, tight places.
Check them out at Groundhog Max!
Just a heads-up folks! We’re excited to be finishing the testing on some new products this year including some equipment and supplies from Bio-logic, GroudHog, Horny Buck Seed Co., Bear Empire bow, Bench Master, Polaris, Tru-Fire, Barnett and many more! Stay tuned for my Spring Hit List too! Some of these products will be tested all year, so check back often to see the progress, especially from the food plots!
Looks like I’ll be heading up north to see my Wisconsin friends in July at the Wisconsin Deer Fest: http://www.deerfestwi.com/ It was a lot of fun last year and Hugh really knows how to put on a show! Don’t miss out on this 3 day event. Anyone who loves deer hunting will want to make the trip up there to see this show. Three days of deer talk, questions and answers, and so much more. I’ll be speaking at least 2 days and there will be many more seminars from others too! Hope to see you there!
Deer Fest 2013, Oshkosh, WI
Deer Fest is the Nation’s Largest All Deer Festival held July 26-28, 2013 in Oshkosh, WI.
Back in the old days, hunting predators was popular primarily because the pelts of raccoon and coyote were worth a great deal more than they are today. As the interest in hunting them slowly faded, an increase in pressure on our game animals climbed up the echelon. From the west to the east, predators are wiping out once thriving populations of turkeys, pheasants and whitetails. (I won’t mention the added destruction from the introduction of the wolf and how it has contributed to the disaster!)
Now outdoorsmen/women are more aware than ever of how to manage for quality game animals with food plots and selective shooting but what many are forgetting is the other half of the equation; predator control! With a predator population seemingly running out of hand, you can manage all year long and still have difficulty achieving your goals. Predators rob nests, hunt fawns and are always a threat to your wild game. Look at them as an unwanted hunting party that are always blowing opportunities for you and you’ll quickly see why they need to be harvested too!
The tools of the trade when I hunted coyotes in my youth, was a hand held “reed” type call that you blew into or a tape recording of a rabbit in distress. Thanks to better technology and innovation, several companies have created electronic calling devices that allow hand-free use in addition to giving the hunter total control of the device from afar. One of those companies is Cass Creek.
Cass Creek sent me 2 of their popular game calling systems to review; the Waggler and the Predator 1. The Waggler has three main functions. It shows motion, disperses scent and creates audio.
The Waggler is run by three “D” size batteries in the main unit and 2 “AAA” batteries in the remote control unit. It has several pre-loaded sounds in addition to several movement options. It also has a built-in fan, and with the command of a button, that fan will blow air through a scent pad (provided by the user) dispersing the scent of your choice. It gives the user three different modes, in the hand held controller, that will allow you to choose your “bait” in addition to allowing you to adjust the movement of the tail.
You can also hybrid the sounds and movements together to make it sound as busy as you want. I mimicked a total frenzy at one point and then dialed it down to a mere animal in distress. It’s a complete predator nightmare, that is, if you’re using one of these Wagglers! It retails about $100.00 online and is well worth it. Cass Creek, the manufacturer, is from Michigan and also sell an assortment of other game calls and accessories.
The Predator 1, which is also manufactured by Cass Creek, is a hand held device only with pre-loaded sounds. It runs on 2 “AAA” batteries and has a clip that will easily attach to your pockets or pants for convenience.
Surprisingly so, this little pocket-of-screams really reaches out there! In fact while I was testing it, I had several people drop what they were doing from about 90 yards away and look in the timber to see what what the commotion was. Even after I waved my arms letting them know it was me, they still had a hard time comprehending that the sound came from this little guy.
The Predator 1 retails online for about $30.00. It’s well worth the money too!
I give both products a thumbs up! If you would like to watch it in action, please feel free to watch the attached video. Now’s the time to get out and thin some of those predators from your hunting areas before the fawns are born and the birds lay their eggs!
This is an outstanding backpack for those of you looking for a durable pack with plenty of room. This backpack is designed to carry a bow on the back side or a gun on either side of the pack. It has 3 main zippered compartments and 2 smaller zippered pockets that drop down to allow your gun to rest inside the pocket while the straps hold it secure. It will carry everything we need in it for a good trip into the woods. It’s designed with great camouflage and will hold up in nearly all weather conditions. We have priced comparable backpacks in the $300.00 and up range, so we feel this bag is an exceptional deal at $95.00 and free shipping! Some hunters use this bag to carry their Ghillie suit in it while walking to their hunting site and others use it just to carry their equipment. It’s a bargain that just can’t be beat!
We sold these at a deep discount just to make room for the new Ghillie suits coming in last month and the response was amazing. Even though we can’t sell these at the cheaper price, we dare anyone to find a comparable price for the same type of bag! They’re hundreds more! Make no mistake, this is not a cheaply built pack!
Stay tuned as we bring more products online this year.
Hey guys and gals, we’re toying with the idea of starting a TV show on the Sportsman channel. If we do, it will probably be called “Non Typical Hunter” and will showcase hunting from from ground in our suits. We know there are numerous shows on now, but none of them show the “How to” like we can in addition to the level of excitement we get from taking big game from the animal’s eye level.
If any of you who hunt from the ground in a one of our Ghillie suits and self-film, we would be interested in putting your episode on TV! So start filming and let those arrows fly!
Just an FYI! If you want a “portable” blind without the blind, you may want to check out our green turkey Ghillie suits. I slaughter birds in these suits and have been for years. We have a limited number of them, so if you’re interested, let us know or simply go to our online store and order one. Good luck this year, I can’t wait!
We now have Ghillie suits in stock and our store is turned on. If you need assistance, please feel free to contact us fr help! Our store link in on the right side of this page or you can just click here: Ghillie store
Please pay special attention when ordering your size. We can help you with that too if you have any questions.