Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Gear Review - Brunton Eterna Binoculars

On my last week of elk hunting in Wyoming, I was able to take along a brand new set of binoculars from Brunton. There's no better place to test the clarity, durability and functionality of optics than on a western big game hunt. I was able to use these binocs in a variety of light and weather conditions. 

Having grown up in Wyoming, I have been aware of the Wyoming-based Brunton Group for some time, but honestly it wasn't until I met up with Cody Winward from Brunton at a show in Raleigh, NC that I really started to find out what the company was about. Brunton makes excellent optics for hunting, but also navigation tools, solar power equipment, lighting, and a host of other products. In addition, their sister company Primus provides top-notch camping and adventure gear. Both of these are companies that have been around a long time and are committed to making quality gear for the adventurer and hunter.

The binoculars I have are the Eterna 11x45 in Mossy Oak Treestand camo. My first impression when taking these binoculars out of the box was how sturdy they felt. They do have a little weight to them, and that was my only concern heading on my trip out west to try them out. That proved not to be a problem when using a bino-harness system.

Here's what Brunton's website has to say about the Eterna binoculars:

The big-glass viewing power of 45 mm objective lenses, in a rugged, ergonomic polymer frame. Available in 8X and 11X, equipped with BaK 4 prism glass, state-of-the-art phase coating, well-armored waterproof frame, and nitrogen-filled fog proof barrels. When the going gets tough, this is the bino to go with.
- BaK-4 prism glass
- State-of-the-art phase coating
- AL reflective coating
- Emerald Fire full multi-coating
- Multi-step eye relief system
- Waterproof
- Nitrogen filled/fog proof
- Ergonomic body armor
- Tripod/monopod compatible
- Power: 8X, 11X
- Weight 28 oz.

During my week long elk hunt the last week of September, I encountered jut about every weather condition Wyoming has to offer. Varying temperatures and humidity levels can make using optics frustrating, if not impossible, but these Eternas held their own and were usable through all the conditions I faced. They are crystal clear and offered great definition when picking apart distant cover looking for the tips of antlers or an elk hide. 

The heft of these binocs let you know they mean business but they were never heavy or awkward feeling on my bino-harness. The Eterna is a great bino for the outdoorsman looking for quality glass at an affordable price. They definitely give you a lot of bang for your buck. If you're looking for a mid-prices binocular that is heavy on features, rugged and dependable but won't cost you your whole savings account, give the Brunton Eterna a shot. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Georgia Whitetail Deer Hunting

Man, there's nothing like the feeling of getting the monkey off your back. After misses, near-misses, and just not getting anything on the ground, I was finally able to relax a little about my season after an awesome morning of hunting with my buddy Roger Flynn.

"Movement up on the hill" was the first text Roger sent me. Without responding I stuck my phone back in my jacket and looked up the hill. Out stands are a few hundred yards apart, but we both have a view of the same hill, just different angles. Out of nowhere, a doe had appeared. I raised my rifle and watched her through the scope, waiting for a shot opportunity. I felt my phone vibrating as Roger sent me more texts, but I didn't check my phone. Next thing I heard the crack of his .243. The deer I had been watching never flinched. I pulled out my phone and he had several deer come out in front of him, so he picked out a doe and shot her. At the shot, one of the deer came toward my stand. She passed me broadside at 30 yards and I dropped her in her tracks. That time the first doe I had been watching ran off a ways. Two deer down, I'm thinking. 

BOOM! Roger shoots again and kills another doe. This time the first deer I saw runs toward me and gives me a shot at 60 yards! She ran maybe 10 yards and crashed. 4 deer down. 

Roger says he's coming my way. I almost told him we should just sit a while with this much deer movement going on. When he gets to my stand I begin climbing down, and as I make my way down we are recounting the fastest 5 minutes of hunting either one of us had witnessed. 

"Look, look, look, look!" was all I could get out to whisper as another deer walks past us 40 yards away, oblivious to our presence. Roger spins around with his rifle and shoots, and the deer runs up the hill and piles up. 5 deer down. 

This all took place in about 18 minutes, and made for some serious work getting them all field-dressed, hauled out and off to the processor. It was a fun kind of work though. It took breaking out the boom stick to finally have some success, this year, but it's been a huge pressure release for me. I've got some venison in the freezer, and now I'm free to hunt good bucks with my rifle or bow. The rut is just around the corner, and we're starting to see signs of bucks chasing, along with some scrapes popping up. It's a great time to be in the woods. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Hunting/Life Parallel

I had just got out of the truck and started to get my gear together when I heard the bugle of a bull elk on the ridge behind me. 

"He's right there!" I whispered to my dad as I hurriedly threw on my pack and grabbed my bow. It wasn't quite daylight yet so I used the cover of darkness to work my way up the hill to try and get into position, cow-calling as I went. As day started to break and I approached the clearing where I was sure the bull was, he was nowhere to be found. My gut instinct told me he was working his way down the ridge, so I took off through the timber, still cow-calling and hoping for a response. 

I came to another clearing, and heard him bugle just on the other side of it. I scrambled to find some cover to set up in, and had no sooner got settled when he came out of the timber headed straight toward me, bugling like crazy. At about 60 yards away, he turned and began walking parallel to the timber patch I was in the edge of. He had been expecting to see a cow elk, and when one wasn't visible where he thought it should be, he hung up. Just like an old turkey gobbler will do so many times. 

I was able to range him at 57 yards, and waited for his head to turn the other way. As soon as he turned his head, I started to draw. He caught my movement somehow, and just as he did, he let out a warning bark and bounded away without presenting another shot. 

My dad and I had a conversation a few days before about how hunting often parallels life. Successes, failures, almosts, lessons learned, sacrifices made. I believe the natural types the spiritual, and there is nothing more natural than...well, nature. And not only that, but many lessons learned in the field can be applied directly to our lives. One of the greatest skills a hunter can learn is patience, and that's something we all need to learn and apply to our lives as well. Apparently, I still need some work in that department, because the Teacher keeps administering the same lesson to me over and over in the deer woods!

On every hunt, as in life, there are peaks and valleys. On my elk hunt, I was literally hiking up mountains and down into valleys to chase the elk. The scenario I described above came toward the latter part of the hunt, and in the end I still didn't fill my tag. Time and the weather both played a role, and the whole hunt played out like life itself. There were sunny days when all was quiet. There were times it was so windy when I couldn't have heard the elk, even if they were bugling. There was one amazing morning when I had 4 bulls bugling at one time in response to my calls, I saw a huge mule deer buck, and one bad shot at an elk brought me from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. Then it rained. Then it snowed. 

And it was possibly the best week of hunting I've ever had. That may sound strange considering I still have an elk tag to make a sandwich out of. But I spent time with my dad in beautiful country, got to interact with nature on it's own terms, was into elk almost everyday and I learned some lessons. If I'm blessed with the opportunity to hunt the area again, I know the lay of the land better, I know the elk better, and I'll have another year of practicing with my bow to make me a better hunter. Just like life, it's not all about getting "stuff" or a trophy animal to hang on the wall. It's enjoying the time you have, with people you love, in the world our Creator have us dominion over. If you keep it all in perspective, you can take as much away from the failures as you can from the victories. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Michigan Plans Wolf Hunt

After a long review period, the Michigan Natural Resource Commission announced the approval of a wolf harvest in the state's Upper Peninsula. The goal is to harvest 43 wolves from an estimated population of 658 animals. The state has established 3 wolf management units, with different harvest totals in each, and the season will from November 15 to December 31, or until the total harvest quota is met. They will be issuing 1200 wolf tags that cost $100 for residents and $500 for non-residents with a limit of one wolf per hunter, per year. Firearms and archery hunting methods are legal.

I've posted before about my views on wolf management. And while I don't feel they need to be eliminated like they were many years ago, a comprehensive management plan, like the one Michigan is adopting, that involves hunters is a step in the right direction.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Wyoming Elk Hunting - Part 1

We had a plan.

The plan was to go back to the exact spot I had several close calls with good bulls last year. This year I knew the pattern. I knew the location. All I had to do was hike up the mountain and stick an arrow in a bull.

As my dad and I were driving toward Dubois, WY on Saturday evening, we began to smell smoke. The closer we got, we began to see smoke a ways off the highway to the north. Knowing the smoke was in the general direction of my hunting area gave me an uneasy feeling as we neared the turnoff to Horse Creek. Sure enough, as it began to get dark and we drove farther, you could see the orange glow of a raging fire in the sky.

A forest ranger stopped us to inform us that the road was being closed. The fire had started the day before and grown from 4 acres to 400 in no time. It wasn't burning in the area I intended to hunt, but was closing in on the road, and homes and ranches in the area. Evacuations were in progress.

So with some disbelief that a fire had started the day before I landed that prevented me from getting to the area I wanted to hunt, we began to scramble to come up with a plan C. Plans A and B were out at this point. We stayed that night in Dubois and planned to find a new camping spot the next day.

We spent the first couple of days hiking some trail heads and looking for elk or elk sign, to no avail. As for our camping plans, there were signs posted in several areas that no tent camping was allowed due to recent bear activity. Tuesday night outside our room, my dad ran into a local who gave him directions to a few spots to check out. The next morning we headed out to one of the areas. Unfortunately the directions weren't crystal clear and we ended up trespassing for a while. Once we got out bearings, we got into a decent looking area and began to see some signs of elk.

About 6:20 that evening, I heard a bugle a few hundred yards away. I cow called but didn't get a response. I decided to head back down the mountain and try to locate him in relation to the logging road I had been on. I bugled and didn't hear anything. After waiting a little while I cow called. Within two minutes, I caught movement coming up behind me on my right. I could see the body of a dark animal coming straight toward me and thought it was a moose. As it broke out into the open, I realized it was an elk! If I had realized sooner, I would've had a shot at 5 yards! As he went behind a large spruce tree, I drew my bow and waited for him to come out. Instead he walked directly away from me behind the tree. When he came out, I guessed him to be about 45 yards away. I tried grunting to stop him, and when he hesitated fora second, I rushed the shot and punched the trigger. I heard the unmistakable smack of an arrow hitting a log as the arrow went right under him. A clean miss. Turns out he was closer to 60 yards away. A full blown case of bull fever had taken hold on me.

That proved to be my only encounter with a bull all week. I did get into some cows feeding in the middle of the day several times. I found a wallow that at least one bull had been using, and plenty of well-used game trails. In the end, the battle against the calendar and starting from scratch in a new area prevailed.

The good news is this was a bonus hunt for me. It was the earliest I've ever hunted elk and I'll be back in a few weeks to try and fill my tag. Hopefully by that time, there will be a little more bugling going on as the rut kicks in. A hidden blessing is by being forced into a new area this trip, I'll have more to work with when I come back. I'll put in some time with a topo map and between now and then and give it another go.

Can't wait to get back in the elk mountains!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Product Spotlight - Body Guard 360

While at the World Deer Expo in Birmingham, AL a few weeks ago, I met Ken Stewart, the innovator of a new product in scent control that I believe may be a big hit in the outdoor industry. The product is called Body Guard 360 and it's made by Herd Guard. Body Guard 360 is a scent eliminator that also repels ticks, chiggers and fleas. This makes it handy not only for big game hunting, but also for turkey hunting in the spring, or anytime you're out in the woods. The product is sold in a concentrated form that you add water to. In it's concentrated form, it's extremely lightweight, which makes it great for traveling. 

Friday, August 2, 2013 Testimonial

I was recently honored to be featured in this testimonial video from If you haven't checked out their products, you're missing out on a valuable tool. HuntingGPSMaps not only allows you to scout your hunting grounds from afar the way I do, but also helps you find property boundaries and other info that can be key on your hunt.

Check them out!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Gear Review - Bowtech Carbon Knight

Tradition has been, at least in the past few years, for major bow manufacturers to release their new bows in January corresponding with the ATA, though several manufacturers have been pushing that date earlier and earlier into the hunting season. Several of the major manufacturers 2013 offerings were available during the 2012 hunting season. Bowtech was one of few who held the release of their new flagship bow, the Experience, until the ATA show.

This year, they introduced a new bow in July, which is pretty radical by archery industry standards. The Carbon Knight, with its carbon riser and limb pockets, represents a new direction for Bowtech, and also a few new innovations for carbon bows in general. Hoyt's Carbon Matrix and Element bows have been the only viable forays into carbon risers. High Country produced some carbon bows a few years back with limited success. The Knight features carbon limb pockets as well, and Bowtech has shaved the weight of this bow down to 3.2 pounds! When I first held the Knight next to a Hoyt Element, the weight difference was very noticeable. 

The Carbon Knight is rated at 330 fps and is only available in BlackOps finish. The bow also features BowTech’s binary cam design, a 7-inch brace height and is 32 inches axle to axle. BowTech offers the bow in 50-70 pound draw weights.

I jumped at the chance to pick up one of these new bows and give it some range time. The cam system is similar to the one used on Bowtech's popular Assassin bows, with a few improvements. The draw cycle is similar, and is smooth. The wall is extremely solid due to its limb-stop design. There didn't seem to be much of a valley, but it's very easy to hold at full draw if you're pulling against the wall. 

At the shot, this bow is very quiet! This has been one of the major selling points for carbon risers, and this bow is whisper quiet. I used a Trophy Taker Xtreme rest, which is also quiet, and with an Octane stabilizer there was very little noise. The only negative I've noticed on the bow is somewhat subjective. There does seem to be more handshock than what I'm used to. Keep in mind that my current Bowtech Insanity setup weighs a great deal more than this one, and the mass of heavier bows tends to soak up more vibration. Lighter bows have some inherent handshock due to the fact that they are, well, light. 

The Carbon Knight is going to retail for $849. In the world of carbon bows, that's a pretty small chunk of change. So what we have here is a lightweight bow, which is great for hunting out west in the mountains, while still keeping the price in check. Other than the carbon parts, the features of the bow are very similar to the Assassin, which has gotten great reviews the past few years. 

Speculation is that Bowtech will be introducing a carbon-riser flagship bow this coming year, and that this bow is ushering in that new era. Whatever the case, the Carbon Knight is a great bow in its own right. It's super lightweight, a great shooter and very smooth, at a price far below that of its competitors carbon bows, and that's sure to make it a winner. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

4th of July Giveaway!

Hunting GPS Maps is giving a way a new Garmin Oregon 600 GPS! All purchases made through their website during the month of June will be automatically entered to win this GPS. More purchases will only increase your odds.  After your purchase, like their page on Facebook if you haven’t already to get an extra entry.

Hurry, the contest ends June 30!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


My posting has slowed down over the last month or so, but I've still been enjoying the outdoors. Turkey season has finished up here in Georgia, so other than hogs and coyotes, there isn't much to hunt right now. I have been doing some fishing though, and also getting back into fly fishing. North Georgia is full of some great trout fishing and I might a well take advantage of it! I'm also going to be doing some bow fishing hopefully as the water continues to warm up.

I've been shooting my bow as much as I can, and I'm just about ready to pick up some new arrows. I'm planning to use Easton Injexions this season. There are a lot more broadhead companies making heads for the Deep Six inserts so I've got some options there. Hurry up September!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A New Domain

I recently had one of those "learning experiences" that I had read about and thought "they just need to pay better attention." Well, I let the credit card I had on file with expire, and to make things worse I didn't have current contact info on file. So when my card expired before my domain registration renewal, GoDaddy had no way to contact me to update my card. In the time of the 5 days from the time my domain expired until I figured it all out, a "squatter" had picked up my name and registered it. After looking into buying my own domain name back, I decided to just get a new domain.

So as of now, my blog has officially become "Up and Adam Adventures." I'll be making some changes to the logo and all that stuff. It kind of stinks to have to start over and regain some of the traffic I had with my previous name, but I have definitely learned my lesson here!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Gear Review - Under Armour Droptine Boots

I was super excited to get a pair of Under Armour's new Droptine hunting boots to review before they are available on the market. I was actually in the market for a new pair of hunting boots in the 400 gram insulation range where these boots fall. That seems to be about the perfect insulation level for me for hunting elk and deer in the high country in late September Nd October.

My first impression of the boots is they seem well made, and fairly light weight compared to similar hunting boots I have owned and worn. They feature Realtree's new Xtra pattern and 400 grams of Primaloft insulation.

The weather is warming quickly here in Georgia but we've still had some cool mornings in the mountains. So I decided to head to the mountains to chase some turkeys and give the new boots a rest drive. Turkey hunting in the Cohutta Wilderness is much like elk hunting the Rockies, with steep mountains, seemingly endless logging roads and cool nights and mornings.

After plenty of walking and climbing in pursuit of thunder chickens, and readjusting the laces a few times to find the sweet spot, these boots have proven very comfortable. They provide good support when climbing but don't feel too stiff. They also feel light on my feet which should also help with fatigue. The temps warmed up too much during the day to really give a fair analysis of the Primaloft insulation. The waterproofing seemed adequate, and wading an ankle deep creek multiple times to get to a sweet turkey hunting spot didn't get my feet moist at all.

All in all, the Under Armour Droptine 400 seems like a boot that is going to fill the mid weight, western hunting boot niche very well for me. I imagine that after some break-in the comfort is o my going to improve. I'm looking forward to taking these boots out west this fall.

Georgia Turkey - Bow 'n Go

A week ago I read an article in Petersen's Bowhunting magazine titled "Bow & Go Gobblers" that addressed hunting turkeys with archery tackle without a ground blind. Prior to reading the article, that was something that seemed far to difficult to me to even try. But the way the article broke down the tactics it started to seem a lot like archery elk hunting. So two days later while chasing turkeys in the Cohutta Wilderness of North Georgia (which is also much like elk hunting) I decided to give it a try.

I had hunted with a shotgun the two days prior and been on a few birds but couldn't get a shot. The evening before, I found a nice clearing about a 30 minute hike from the truck. Sure enough, I spooked a bird off it as I eased into the open. After a quick scout around the edges I knew where to be the next morning.

Through the clearing were several good size trees and I started to think about the article I'd read. The real challenge in Bow & Go turkey hunting is the right setup. You need to be in a position where you will be completely hidden from the gobbler when you draw your bow. Those trees could help me do just that if I positioned my decoys just right.

The next morning I took my Bowtech Insanity into the woods instead of my shotgun. During the 30 minute hike I visualized where I was going to setup so by the time I got to the clearing it was simply a matter of setting up the decoys and waiting for daylight. I put out 2 hens and a jake between two large trees. My hope was that if the Tom came from either side, the tree trunks would hide me long enough to draw my bow.

Just after first light I made a few soft yelps on my slate call. Immediately I heard a gobble. After a few minutes I helped again, and again he answered, closer this time. That's exactly what you want to hear!

Before long, the bird came out into the clearing, and that's when time started to move very slowly. I noticed right away that he was a jake, but I decided if I could pull this whole thing off, I didn't care how big he was. The jake decoy was probably the reason he took so long crossing the field, but he literally backtracked every few steps. It seemed like it took him an hour to get to the first tree but it was really more like ten minutes. He would take a few steps, stop and strut, turn around and go back, then turn and strut again, then inch forward again. And as luck would have it, he stopped behind the tree to strut again as I drew. I was starting to shake when he cleared the tree and I was able to release. I never found the Easton FMJ after it zipped through him. My only thought at the time was nocking another one just in case. It wasn't needed as he ran a few yards and toppled over.

A jake isn't a huge trophy to be proud of but I am proud of what I accomplished in taking him, and the fact that it's my first bowkill turkey. So rarely does a plan actually come together the way you envision it, that I can't helped but feel blessed and happy to pull this off, no matter the size of the trophy.

Monday, April 15, 2013

North Georgia Turkey Hunting

The perks of hunting in the north Georgia mountains...awesome views!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Gear Review - Bowtech Insanity CPX

A while back I traded my Hoyt Maxxis for a 2012 Bowtech Insanity CPX. After setting up the new bow with my trusty Spot Hogg sight, QAD rest and Doinker stabilizer, I took it out to a 3D range for a test drive. It didn’t take long to realize that it’s a shooter.

My first bow was a Hoyt ViperTec, a 2004 model. I spent countless hours shooting that thing and it served very well as an introductory tool to the wonderful world of archery. From that first bow, I was a Hoyt “fan boy.” To me, Hoyt bows just felt right, and I saw no reason to change. I shot a few other bows, but none of them impressed me enough to leave my beloved Hoyts. Hoyts aren’t the fastest, but I grouped pretty good, and took a few animals and a 3D trophy plaque with a Hoyt in hand.

After shooting a Bowtech Insanity CPXL at an archery shop, I began to feel like I could up my game by shooting a faster bow. Before you think I’ve jumped on the speed bandwagon, I want to clear things up a bit. I have a 27” draw length, and my Easton Full Metal Jacket hunting arrows this year had a finished weight of 426 grains, and the Hoyt I hunted with this past season was shooting about 270 feet per second at 70 pounds. It doesn’t take much math to realize that I’m not really in the speed game for speed. I’ll never be able to get close to the advertised speeds that today’s bows are capable of creating with longer draw lengths, and I won’t sacrifice kinetic energy by going to a super light arrow. All that said, there are still advantages to shooting a faster bow.

Most “speed bows” have a brace height of about 6 inches. On the other hand most flagship bows on the market have a brace height closer to 7 inches. What this translates to is the power stroke of a 6’ brace height bow keeps the arrow on the string for a longer period of time than the 7” brace height. It creates the same effect as extending your draw length by an inch. The tradeoff is that the longer the arrow is on the string, the more flaws in your form and torque from the bow can affect the flight of the arrow as it leaves the bow. For this reason, 6” brace height bows are said to be less “forgiving” of mistakes and form flaws.

After the trade I went from shooting 270 FPS to about 295 FPS. Now this number might be laughable to guys with 29 or 30 inch draw lengths, but for a guy my size, these are strong numbers, especially with a heavy hunting arrow. The real key for me is my kinetic energy also increased.

I'm really happy with how this bow is shooting, and I believe it will be my main hunting bow for quite a while. It will take a heck of a bow to knock this one out of first place, in my opinion. Plans for the spring include a custom string and trying it out with some new Easton Injexion arrows.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

North Carolina Coon Hunting

A few weeks ago I had an eye-opening experience. For one thing, I was invited on my first coon hunt by my buddy Nate Greene in North Carolina. As a bonus, we would go to a coon hunting show as well.

The first night we were supposed to hunt, we got rained out. A storm moved in a lot sooner than it was supposed to and it foiled our plans. Early the next morning, though, Nate and I met up with a few other guys, Chuck Melton, Austin Andrews and Mitchell Bass, and headed toward the show. The "show" turned out to be the 40th Annual Southeastern Treeing Walker Days in Salisbury, NC. This turned out to be a bigger deal than I initially have it credit for!

There were plenty of coon dogs for sale, contests and all sorts of coon hunting gear. And the gear was a lot more specialized than I imagined. Head lamps, briar-proof clothing, dog boxes, GPS tracking collars and hip waders by many brands were available. Later on when we went hunting, the briar-proof gear made perfect sense!

That night we were able to go out for one drop before I headed back to Georgia. Austin, Mitchell and Nate turned their dogs loose and we hoped for the best. The dogs treed a coon but it found a den and got away. After wading creeks, hopping barbed wire fences, crashing through brush and a small rodeo rounding the dogs up, we spotted a coon in a tree as we were walking out of the woods.

Although it wasn't a successful hunt, I had a great time with some good friends, and found out that coon hunting is something I'd definitely like to give another shot. Nate is convinced after a successful hunt I'll be buying a coon dog. We'll see how that works out!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Product Spotlight - Big Game Black Widow Trail Camera

Trail cams have been a real game changer in the area of scouting for deer, turkey and other big game. Over the past few years the market has exploded with new cameras and new technology far superior to cameras of the past. These modern cameras take great quality photos and can really give you a sneak peek at the critters roaming around your hunting land when you're not there.

Big Game Treestands debuted their EyeCon camera line last year, and the Black Widow model is garnering lots of attention for it's best-in-class features. The other models are the Storm, which features a built-in viewing screen, and the no-frills QuickShot.

Features of the Black Widow:

- Thin, low-profile design
- Completely undetectable flash
- Daytime: 1.3 - 5.0 MP photos; Nighttime: 1.3 MP photos
- Flash range: 50" (40' night range)
- Color in daytime; monochrome at night
- 1.2-second trigger speed
- Takes 15, 30, or 300-second videos (30 fps)
- Backlit LED screen
- Time, date, and moon phase
- Molded ABS construction with non-reflective finish

With an undetectable flash, 5.0 MP photos, and a 40' night range, the Eyecon Black Widow captures color in daytime and monochrome at night. Other features include 1.2-second trigger speed, 15, 30, or 300-second video clips and time, date, and moon phase. The Black Widow requires an SD card (not included) and six C-cell batteries (not included) or Eyecon Extenda-Life Battery Pack (not included). Covered in Big Game's exclusive Epic camouflage pattern.

The easy-to-use menu on this camera and great photos have made the Black Widow my favorite trail camera. No other camera offers blacked out LEDs in this price range. Look for a more in-depth review on this camera in the future.

NWTF Convention

Last week I attended the National Wild Turkey Federation Convention in Nashville, TN. The event took place at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and it was my first time to visit Nashville since the week before the flood of 2010.

The Opryland resort has been rebuilt as good or better than it was before an was an awesome venue for the show. The convention included calling contests, taxidermy contests, drawings, raffles and concerts, providing something for just about everyone.

Over the two days I was there I was able to meet several hunting celebrities like Mark and Terry Drury, country singer Chuck Wicks, a host of turkey call and gear makers, outfitters and regular folks alike.

Some of my favorite mounts from the taxidermy competition...

I was also able to finally meet several people that I had previously only been friends with through Facebook and Twitter and all of them were as genuine as they seemed trough the Internet. There is nothing better than getting together and talking about hunting, whether it's with guys you've watched on TV, or people like me who hunt for the pure enjoyment of it.

While in Nashville I was also able to see a friend I've known most of my life. Tim Surrett, who is part of an awesome bluegrass band called Balsam Range, and crew were performing at the historic Station Inn in downtown where many bluegrass legends have played over the years. I was able to go and hear some great music and catch up with an old friend.

The Bone Collectors

Mark and Terry Drury

Lee and Tiffany Lakosky

This was my first time at the NWTF show and I thoroughly enjoyed wandering the many aisles, checking out new products and chatting with folks about turkey hunting. There were several events that I missed out on due to scheduling, but perhaps I'll get to attend those down the road.

If you enjoy turkey hunting, or hunting in general, or you're just up for a good time, the NWTF Convention needs to be on your must-attend list!