Thursday, October 12, 2017

Shot Placement for Less Tracking

Handicapped Outdoors
Welcome to bow season America!  Ahh, it's fall again with crisp mornings, clean air and pumpkin spice in every beverage known to mankind.  Today, I want to give some insight on shot placement so that you won't have to track a deer all over the countryside in a wheelchair.  This will be effective whether you are shooting a bow or a gun, so dig in and enjoy.

Courtesy of Realtree.com
Courtesy of Realtree.com
To aid in our understanding of shot placement, it is important to know the anatomical features of the target species which in this article happens to be deer, so please refer to the diagram.  A Whitetail is an amazingly resilient creature.  Trailcam pictures have shown deer who were not shot correctly walking around with the arrow sticking out of them the next year, seemingly unharmed by the hunter's miscue.  As hunters, we have a tremendous responsibility to be as humane as possible.  It is just good conservation to only take a shot when you are as certain as possible about the outcome.  As a handicapped, disabled or elderly hunter, we also have our own limitations to consider when taking the shot.

Some hunters want to show off by hitting only the heart while others try to go for the neck or head.  All of these shots can go horribly wrong in a millisecond and should not be taken.  Try to use the trick shots on species that are not wanted as much like hogs or coyote.

Courtesy of DailyMail.com - not cool!
So what is wrong with a heart shot?  Incredibly, deer can run for hundreds of yards even when struck in the heart.  Watch any number of hunting shows and you can see deer run even when hit by a rifle in the heart or neck.  Spine shots take them down quickly but the animal is not dead immediately either.

So what is the answer?  LUNGS!  You can't run without them and neither can a deer.  Just a few days ago, I had a smaller buck come in.  He had a badly deformed left antler and needed to be culled.  I made sure to wait until I could punch both lungs before firing my crossbow.  The shot drove him backwards and although he tried to escape, he didn't get 30 yards before collapsing and expiring quickly.

Courtesy of Bowhunter.com
I practice double lung shots religiously.  The hump on a deer's back is a dead giveaway for the shot placement.  The lungs are located immediately behind the hump.  I imagine a line going from front to rear side of the animal so I can mentally picture the arrow going through both lungs before I release it.  I rarely have deer run out of sight when I make the correct shot.

The other benefits of a lung shot are there is minimal meat wasted.  You are punching through the rib cage saving all the best meat for consumption.  Lastly, your margin for error is much larger due to the lungs being so large in Whitetails.  If you can hit a six-inch target consistently, you can make a lung shot and be eating venison this winter.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Easy Deer Attractant - Peanut Butter

Courtesy of Jif
Courtesy of Jif
Pungent, odorous, strong, memorable, great tasting - these are just a few words that you want to keep to the forefront when selecting a deer attractant for this upcoming season.  There is one product that fits all of these descriptors - Peanut Butter!

Now before you say, "Anderson's cheese has slid off his cracker," understand that peanut butter and products with peanut butter in them have been used for a long time in the hunting community.  Today, I hope to show you an easy and inexpensive way to utilize this amazing wonder attractant.

First, we need to start with the right sized jar.  Too big and it will quickly fall off the tree, so think smaller which is better here.  In many Dollar type stores, they carry a perfect sized jar of peanut butter.  Short, squatty, and sturdy, this thing is like it was made with deer hunters in mind.  Use the above picture as a reference.  This is not the time to drop major dollars.  Get the generic version that is cost effective for you.  We are not inviting people for dinner, it's deer.

Courtesy of Pinterest
Courtesy of Pinterest
So the setup is pretty basic, you take the lid off the jar and using two wood screws, drill it into a tree close to a natural deer trail.  Once the lid has been properly secured to the tree, screw the jar of peanut butter back onto the lid.  Then, simply cut a segment of the jar away so that the deer can get to it.

I like to cut the top at an angle leaving some of the jar on the bottom so that the peanut butter does not fall out so easily.  This method is so effective that I have seen jars licked so clean, it looked as if they had gone through a dish washer.  You couldn't even smell the peanut butter in the jar any longer.

The downfall of this is that plenty of other wildlife is attracted to the rich aroma of peanut butter too.  Racoons love the stuff.  I even have a Fox on trail camera licking at it.  This is why you should buy the cheapest stuff possible.  The deer absolutely love it and will stand and lick at it a while.

Hope it helps!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

New Electric Spinning Reel From FishWinch

Handicapped Outdoors
FishWinch Spinning
3 years ago, I wrote an article on Electric Fishing Reels that is still the most popular article from this blog...ever!  At the time, the great people from FishWinch were the leaders in large, open water, deep water, baitcasting style reels.  These are reels that you use to land stuff like trucks, submarines, T-Rex...you know just your typical day on the ocean.  Well, the great news for us is that they have taken their expertise from the big water and delivered on a design for the masses who love freshwater and inshore saltwater fishing.

The FishWinch Spinning reel uses custom components to deliver a high-quality, uncumbersome design that is light-weight, efficient and tough.  It is designed to handle anything in freshwater as well as some of your favorite inshore fish species like Speckled Trout, Redfish, Flounder, and Snook.
The design is simple and effective.  The aluminum casing houses the motor on one side and the battery on the other while also doing the best job possible at keeping the corrosive salt-water out.  They went out of their way to make sure there are no running cables along the butt of the rod to get you tangled up.  It is the closest to the feel of a regular rod and reel experience you will ever have.  The only cable runs from the reel to the power button which zip-ties to the rod.

The reels are Shimano Syncopate 4000 which gives you more versatility in going from freshwater to inshore saltwater environment.  When you purchase a reel, everything is all set up on arrival.  All you have to do is add your line of choice be it mono, braid or fluorocarbon.

FishWinch Spinning
The reel comes in three different speeds which are named the 65, 80 and 95 for three different fishing scenarios.  The lowest speed is for crank baits and swim baits.  The fastest speed is for spinnerbaits and other lures that require a super quick retrieve rate.

A better way to understand the different speeds is to think in terms of turns of the handle.  The 65 complete one handle turn per second.  The 80 completes 1.25 turns per second and the 95 turns the handle at 1.5 turns per second.

FishWinch Spinning
A good rule of thumb to remember is you can always slow the retrieve down of a quicker reel by simply staggering the touch of the power button.  But, you can never add speed to a slower reel.  A truly serious fisherman likes to have a rod with everything set to only do one application like crank baits (slow speeds) and a separate rod for fast fishing with spinner baits.

What type of battery does this use? 9 volt Lithium battery is recommended.  Lithium batteries run with the same power throughout the life of the battery and then dies suddenly.  Standard 9 volts will work but you will see a gradual decline in performance and power.  Rechargeable also is not recommended as they rarely last as long as they are supposed to.

Line capacity is standard Mono 8/240, 10/200 and 12/160.  Of course, braided line is also welcomed on this reel.  At $299.00, this is an excellent Christmas present selection!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Parker Self-Cocking Crossbow

Handicapped Outdoors
Handicapped Outdoors
Coming to a freezer near me!
Hello, gang!  I know it has been a minute since my last article and I want to thank you for your patience.  Last January, my wife and I adopted our second child, a baby girl and we have been a little swamped since then.

So, it is late July and already my mind is on the upcoming deer season.  In fact, I want to share a picture of the big guy who is invited to our freezer right around the beginning of October.  Man, he is going to taste great - w00t!

As a disabled hunter, a crossbow is a consistent tool of choice.  It is undeniably lethal as well as convenient.  It is quiet and doesn't scare the neighbors like the crack of a rifle.  It is also undeniably in its inconvenient in certain areas as well.   Crossbows are difficult to cock and even more dangerous to de-cock if you do not get a shot at that 8-point, pig or gobbler.

Concorde Crossbow by Parker Bows
Courtest of Simmons Sporting Goods
These dilemmas have been addressed by the Concorde Crossbow from Parker Bows.  First of all, it is self-cocking.  That's right, you push a button in the butt of the stock and it cocks itself in less than 2 seconds using CO2.  What is even more amazing is that it can be decocked in the same manner with a smooth silent release of the tension of the bow.  No more decocking bolts and rummaging around in the leaves for the errant decocking shot.

No more worries about having to make your one shot count either.  Finally, you can reload the bow while in the stand yourself.

It shoots at a decent 300 feet per second which is plenty of power to kill a deer, pig, coyote, etc.

Their website did not give the weight of the weapon which I would assume would be a bit heavier than the typical crossbow due to the added CO2 tank.  So, a disabled hunter may need some assistance getting the weapon up onto a shooting mount or rest.

I was very impressed with the scope choices that come standard on the bow.  Most of the time, the scopes that come on a crossbow is just to the left of pure junk. These, however, are high-quality crossbow scopes with a very nice reticle picture and dot system to quickly sight in your target.  Your choice of standard or illuminated scopes is available.  The illuminated scope comes with both red and green lighting and the brightness is adjustable to your liking.

When the bow was originally created around 2011, the price-point was a bit high, but it is now available from Parker Bows at $550 for the standard sight and $600 for the illuminated sight.

Check out the videos below:

Monday, June 5, 2017

Book Your Travel Through Handicapped Outdoors

Handicapped Outdoors
I am so excited to unveil what I have been working on for these past months.  We are now offering travel planning for handicapped/disabled travelers and adventurers.  The company is called Adventures to Geaux (geaux = go, it's a Louisiana thing).  After traveling quite a bit in my life, I wanted to serve you, the avid readers of this blog in a much larger way.  I can even help you find a guide for fishing or hunting if that is going to be part of your vacation plans.

Check out the website and shoot me an email if you would like a price check on a vacation or an adventure.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Deeper Sonar - For the bank fisherman

Handicapped Outdoors
I am always on the lookout for truly breakthrough, game-changing gadgets that make a fisherman or hunter's quest more successful.  This week's article is on just such a device.  The Deeper Sonar is a true game-changer for the bank fisherman.  What used to be strictly a feature for boat enthusiast can now be experienced from the bank.
Deeper Sonar
Courtesy of Deeper Sonar
This glorious ball can be cast out from a rod and reel and then sends images back to your phone via wifi/Bluetooth.  So, now the guy or gal on the bank or at your favorite pond can target those crucial anomalies that hold many fish or monster fish.

Deeper Sonar
Courtesy of Deeper Sonar
Not only a sonar but it also boast a GPS device so that you're also mapping an area instead of just getting a picture of the bottom of your favorite piece of water.  It has a staggering range of 260 ft max depth and can be cast to great distances using a standard rod and reel.  The range of the wifi is also 260 ft for data transmission back to your phone.

An app is downloaded to your mobile device that allows the Deeper Sonar to communicate with your phone and gives easy to read information about depth, structure, and even water temperature.

There are two models at the time of this article.  The standard model is priced around $119.99 while the Pro+ Model is priced at $233.99 on Amazon.

Check out the video:


Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Incredible Senses of Deer

I absolutely love it when readers of the blog reach out and share stuff that is amazing.  Recently John Lewis shot me an email with one of the neatest infographics I have laid eyes on for Deer.  He offered to write up the intro and this is his guest article.  Be sure to shower the love on him in the comments section below!

 - John Lewis - Author

When hunters hunt for deer, a lot of us face the same problem; trying to outsmart them. Most of the time, hunters are able to spot one but trying to get close to it? Chances are most of the time; it will run away before we even get close to it. It’s not necessarily that their senses are better than ours; it’s just that they are different and simply much more developed than ours.

Deer have to rely on their senses in order to survive and hence, that is why they are active in focusing on their surroundings for any future attacks. How are bucks able to dodge arrows quick enough? How can whitetails smell us even from miles away? An image can speak a thousand words; Epic Wilderness has made an infographic that helps us to explore the wonders of deer’s senses.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

WetWheels - Accessible Boat

As you know, we are always on the hunt for new stuff to get the handicapped, disabled or elderly back on the water and in the field.  Well, I received a tip from a reader of the blog by the name of Jeff.  He said that Cheetah Marine of the United Kingdom has a fantastic boat that is accessible.  I jumped on it like a Bass on a shad.

Courtesy of York Press
The boat is built for an organization called WetWheels in England and is a catamaran design.  The design element is important as a catamaran being a dual-hulled offers more stability on the water which is very nice for someone with accessibility needs.  What is even better is that they designed the boat so that someone can operate it from their wheelchair.  It features a video monitor for when you have it in reverse.  The entire front windshield is waterproof giving you protection with excellent visibility.

Courtesy of Earsay
What I like most of this boat is the floor space in the aft area.  This thing would give someone who likes to fish plenty of room to maneuver in a push or powered chair and still have an ice-chest or two hanging around.

With twin engines to power through fresh or salt water, this vessel is a beast.

Check out the video:

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Buddy Buggy - An Off-Road Solution

Courtesy of buddybuggy.net
As always, we are on the hunt for the very best in off-road capability for the physically challenged.  How to get off the blacktop and into the bush is a quest.  Recently, I was given a tip from someone commenting on an article here on the Blog.  I followed there lead and was I ever impressed.

The BuddyBuggy is an ATV with a wheelchair lift built into the back of the vehicle.  Once inside, the person can move up and assume controls of the buggy.   Very Exciting! Each one is custom fitted to meet your needs, so the price point can fluctuate depending on your situation.  Starting price for this amazing product is $21,500 per their website and can be modified to your liking.  Check out the Specs on this all electric beauty.

The company has information for grant help and other veteran's allowances that are available. They also offer a trailer for transporting it to wherever you like to tromp in the woods, which is a nice option.

Courtesy of buddybuggy.net
The real issue for anyone in a wheelchair is getting to a blind or fishing spot and then enjoying the comfort of the chair you are accustomed to.  Most all-terrain wheelchairs are not very comfortable because they are built for durability.  So, finding a solution that will allow you to get to your hunting blind or favorite fishing spot through the bogs and over the brush but then affords you the ability to roll off and be comfortable is a big bonus in my book.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Finding the Bass in the Grass

As Spring deepens and the spawn is going full blast, big females will move into grass to rest, recover and eat after laying eggs.  A great article from Mystery Tackle Box talks about just this adventure:

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Spring is Lizard Time


With spring already invading here in the south, it is time to turn our focus toward the lovely ladies of spring.  The very largest Bass can be caught easiest as the females prepare for the spawn and that time is right now.

Already, monster bass are being caught on area lakes in Louisiana and Texas.  No greater lure can be used than the plastic lizard.  Check the article below from Bassmaster.com to gain the edge for this spring:

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Emergency Power from Solar Bank

Photo Courtesy from drawception.com
There is nothing like being out in the field or on the water and suddenly the realization hits you that your phone is near death.  Phones have become our tether to safety in the event of anything unfortunate happening while we are on our adventures.

Recently, my wife shot me a link to a new incredible gadget that can provide for you an emergency amount of power to charge that dying phone or if you are into recording your actions, a GoPro or it's equivalent.  It is called the Solar Power Bank.


That is right!  It's solar based, meaning as long as our closest star is pumping out radiation it will work.  It is a very simple, clean design that delivers a constant power backup to charge the pesky dying cell phone.

Cost is at a great price-point also.  At $18 per unit, you can pick multiples to keep with different gear and not have to think about packing it.  You almost cannot afford not to have one around.

Just by walking with it exposed to the sun will give multiple charges if necessary throughout the course of another epic day in the field or on the water.  The peace of mind that a device like this can bring you is worth gold.  Just  knowing that you will remain in connection with those that truly need to know your whereabouts and your estimated time of arrival back home is priceless.  For everyone else, you can still say your phone was dying and you will only be lying a little.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Adaptive Sports - Crested Butte, Colorado

Handicapped Outdoors
Happy New Year and welcome to 2017.  I have been conspicuously absent of late and there are many reasons for that.  But, never fear, I am here!

I am so excited to share this article with you.  After a year of planning, a dream of my father-in-law's came into being during this past Christmas season.  He has had a bucket-list trip that he has wanted to give his kids for a long time and 2016 was the target year.  So, off to Crested Butte, Colorado the entire gang went.
Crested Butte
Crested Butte (affectionately known as CB), as well as many other ski destinations, has an Adaptive Sports Program that helps the handicapped and disabled ski.  My father-in-law has been going to CB for many years and had been an eye-witness to all sorts of people skiing via this program.  He desperately wanted me to try this and I was eager to give it a go.

With ski clothes and base layers packed, we excitedly adventured to this fabulous destination.  CB is absolutely gorgeous.  We flew into Gunnison, CO and picked up an accessible shuttle bus to make the 45 minute trip up to the Lodge.

I found a fantastic company by the name of Grand Mesa Medical who rented me a power wheelchair comparable to mine at home.  So my time on the mountain was rather independent...which I like very much.

*Pro Travel Tip - Never attempt to let an airline handle your expensive power chair.  They will kill them!  Always rent from a local source near your destination.

Grand Lodge
We stayed at the Grand Lodge which is located just a couple hundred yards from the ski areas and lifts.  It was close and convenient.  The room was a suite and laid out with plenty of room to maneuver around in a powered chair.  The bathroom was complete with a roll in shower and the Lodge offered several shower seating options which was a nice touch.

Now we get to the good stuff.  How does someone who is in a wheelchair and cannot walk, ski?  Each person is fitted with an apparatus that will work best for their situation.

In my situation, having limited use of my arms, it was a Bi-Ski, affectionately called, "The Bucket."  The seat is fitted to a set of skis to which out-rigger skis are placed for stability.  All of this is adjusted to fit your specific body and frame for as much comfort as possible.

Each skier is assigned an instructor that trained.  I had the privilege of hanging out with Colleen Farrell as my instructor for the first two days.  She has been with Adaptive Sports since it's inception and this was her 20th season as an instructor.  She was very good at teaching me exactly what we were doing and how to do it to the best of my abilities.

After a few practice runs, she let me out on the tethers and called out turns and we were having a blast.  Day two we even did a "Blue" run or two which was fun and exciting.
Day three, I was introduced to a different instructor - Gabe Robins.  I requested to take longer runs the last day as I was only skiing a half day and I wanted to go on more Blue slopes.  Gabe delivered.  We skied just about the entire mountain except for Black runs which are off limits to Adaptive Sports clients.

I also wanted to mention the volunteers that assisted because without them, the instructors really cannot do their jobs.  Two of the three days, my volunteer was Steve Otero.  The man was amazing.  I want to give his military service a shout out and he is also credited with taking all the video footage you see above.
Handicapped Outdoors
Gabe Robins - left and Steve Otero - right
The other person that deserves some credit is an intern, Meagan Broker.  A recent graduate of Purdue University, she was amazing in giving me excellent customer service as well as assisting in vital ways while on the mountain.

I must say that you have got to give this a try as it was a thrilling adventure.  If you cannot make it to Crested Butte, no worries.  There are Adaptive Sports programs all over.  If you go to Disabled Sports USA site and look under Chapters and pick your state, you can discover the nearest program to your home.  It may not be skiing but whatever is popular for you to do near you is always a great thing.