Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Lastly, 2015 is upon us. As we close out 2014, I hope that you give it your all. That you check some things off the list and move them from the "To Do" to the "To Done" side of the paper. 2014 has been a year of firsts for me. I have never written professionally nor had I ever killed a deer until 2014. I am so excited for the coming year and all that God has in store for all of us. Ahh the stories we will be able to tell and share this time next year. I want to encourage you to set some goals. Work hard at achieving them. We hope to sign four sponsors in 2015 to Handicapped Outdoors and add a small team of writing contributors. We also hope to begin to market solutions for handicapped/disabled outdoors men and women in my store - AndersonOutfitters.com. If you would be interested in being a sponsor, a producer or manufacturer, please shoot me an email and we will be in touch.
- Scott Anderson
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
To my father, many of my uncles, cousins, former students and countless others who served this nation willingly so that we have the freedom to pursue our dreams and passions, we stand and applaud you on Veterans Day. May your sacrifice always be given the glory it is due and never be forgotten by future generations!
Tuesday, November 4, 2014
What is the magic water temperature? As soon as the water begins to cool, the fish will become more active with vicious strikes on the surface as well as hitting crank-baits, jerk-baits, swim-jigs, soft plastic swim-baits, etc. However, the giants like it when the water temperature hits 50 and below. Target flats that range between 3-6 feet or look for the big patch of water with shad rippling the surface.
Any last tidbits? Absolutely! Don't be afraid to experiment. This is an easy time of the year to get bit so try the weird or ridiculous bait to fine-tune your methods. Also be mindful of weather systems that are moving in and out. By timing your fishing excursion to the afternoon a front comes in, you can really catch some of the biggest fish of your life.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
At the end of August, I wrote an article on prepping your hunting site. At the time, our set up had sound logic and a lot of deer sign to make my friend Kyle and I confident in our decisions. Below is the diagram from that article that illustrates where we felt I had the best chance of making a good shot on a deer.
"Hey wait, in the diagram there is a big White-Oak right by your stand." Yes, you're right and White-Oaks are known to produce acorns every other year. There wasn't an acorn within 40 yards of that tree.
Once in the woods, Kyle discovered a myriad of deer trails that gave us a decent idea where they were coming and going. Several large scrapes were noted also. A scrape is a spot in the dirt that a male deer will paw up and urinate in it to tell all the ladies in the area that he is there. The does will follow suit by also leaving scent in it. It's sort of like a singles bar for deer. One scrape in particular was located on the equivalent to a deer stop light where different trails all connected at this one point - Bingo!
It is truly amazing when you pay attention...right? The deer were saying hey Bozos, it is the time of year where love is in the air. It didn't hurt that it also happened to be in conjunction with a buffet dinner of White-Oak acorns.
We set up 15 yards from the scrape and the intersection. The very first evening in the blind paid dividends. I thought this was a decent doe, however it turned out to be a button-buck checking the scrape. We typically do not like to harvest young bucks but it was simply a case of misidentification. One minute the coast is clear. The next minute you look up and wow, there is a deer right in front of me. Shoot Goofy, SHOOT!
The Barnett RC-150 Crossbow performed flawlessly. The Toxic broad-head passed completely through the deer and he was down within a couple of seconds. The wound you see in the picture is the entrance. The exit wound was identical. It looked as if the deer had been shot with a slug. These broad-heads are amazing and allow for a very humane death for the animal. Kyle is a Rage broad-head fan as am I. But, I like a fixed blade broad-head that flies straight and Toxic does just that. Check the video below for other shooting tests using the Toxic broad-heads.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
556 Tactical. There booth was a shooters dream. There were AR-15's and accessories all over their tables with plenty of people to answer everyone's questions.
My brief conversation with Colin that day led to an online interview to give this blog's readers deep insight into the scope and possibilities of what an AR-15 platform can do for you as a disabled or handicapped sportsman.
Colin - What is the best is a rather broad question, as each shooters abilities and disabilities will vary, what makes the AR platform unique is that it too can be modified to help adapt and be more comfortable to that shooter than some standard stock over the counter rifles
HCO - Why is the AR-15 platform so good for the handicapped or disabled?
|556 vs 22 Long|
HCO - What non-AR-15 weapons would you recommend as a gun smith for someone who is handicapped or disabled to give them excellent power to cleanly kill a deer while not having their shoulder severally bruised by the recoil?
Second, which was just made legal this year for hunting is a suppressor. While the movies portray these as quiet assassin killing mechanisms it's not quite the case (again it's the movies). Personally I hunt hogs with a suppressor, for two reasons, one is ear protection, with a suppressor I do not have to worry about my head getting rattled and the inner ear ringing from shooting within the confinement a of a deer stand which amplifies sound tremendously, the second is recoil management as it greatly reduces recoil (I use a 308, 6.5 Grendel, 300 blackout or 6.8 spc typically and in AR platform), let me add one more one of my shots is 300 yards from gun to feeder, at that distance with a suppressor the sound is dampened quite a bit and can allow me to take down more than one hog.
Impressive information from 556 Tactical and Colin Evans. If you would like to contact them directly, feel free to call them at 318-347-4855 or visit their website. He can help get your custom rig ordered, set-up and tuned to you.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
|Whitetail Hunting Calls|
Whether your an iPhone or Android user matters not. In both of their stores are many different call makers that you can download for free or pay for. After downloading 4-5 different apps and testing them, I settled on Whitetail Hunting Calls for my Galaxy S3. With the volume turned up, it is loud enough to get the right response. It is also available in iTunes store Click Here.
It is a simple and straightforward app to use. Each call is defined and gives you exactly what it says. I would encourage you to either research the best times to use each call or ask someone who is very knowledgeable on the subject.
One final note on the subject of calls, make sure that it is legal to use calls in your area. No one wants the uncomfortable visit from Mr. Game-Warden and the very pricey fine that comes along with his presence.
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
This weeks article features a break from the norm which I like from time to time. A friend and fan of the Blog shot me a link to this amazing woman who has a self-propelled wheelchair that functions underwater...mind-boggling!!!
Now to the fun stuff. She has taken a basic push chair and paired it with a propulsion system and two large Plexiglas wings which she manipulates with her feet and quite literally flies through the water. Add the scuba tanks and she is off and swimming at her leisure.
|Under Water Wheelchair|
For years I have dreamed of things like this. I love Cozumel and with 200 feet visibility you do not exactly want to be tethered to someone else. Safety is an issue for me as I could easily wind up in South America or Texas depending on the currents. So, a chair like this would just be amazing.
The Word of God says that "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." I like the fact that this woman has done something. She didn't sit around and wait for it. She got off her but (pun intended) and made up her mind that she was not willing to give up something she loves. You can tell by the photos that the experience is simply thrilling for her. And she compels all of us to go for it. Whatever is in your heart - chase it!
She is sharpening us. The next question is what about you?
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
One of my favorite former students bagged a big boy on the first day of bow season using the Barnett RC-150 Crossbow featured in a previous article on this blog. Great job Scotty and wow what a nice buck taken in a very public wildlife management area!
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
To a mosquito, I am the equivalent of a flesh-flavored Popsicle. If there is one of these holy terrors within an acre of me, I will get bit. Anyone else have this amazing talent? All over North America these buzzards of the bayous have wreaked havoc on hunters and fisherman alike. Tics and mosquitoes are typically more lethal than many apex predators when it comes to humans world-wide.
Let’s start with some facts! First of all a mosquito on average has a life-cycle of about 10-20 days. They get all their business on the reproduction end done quickly. The males feed on plant nectar and it is the females who do the real devastating as they require a blood meal to reproduce the 100-200 eggs they will lay. The females are attracted to your heat signature, your sweat and the CO2 you put off.
How many of you have heard someone say, “Boy, I sure hope we get a cold winter to kill the mosquitoes!” BAD ANSWER! Mosquitoes have the amazing ability to simply stop their development until conditions are more favorable whether being completely frozen or too dry. This is why in places like Minnesota or Alaska, snow pack does not equate to low mosquito populations. In the south when we have a dry spell, the mosquitoes seemingly go away. In reality, it only takes one decent rain shower and they are all back completing their process again.
So the real question is how can we protect ourselves without ruining our scent while deer hunting? Two schools of thought say go odorless protection or something that protects but also give off a natural scent. Let’s take a look at these two lines of thought.
Camp #1 – Odorless
|Coleman Skin Smart|
There are many different products to choose from when looking for a spray or squirt repellent but not many of these are odorless. The products I introduce here are known to work but I cannot guarantee success for you individually.
Cutter Skinsations Ultra Light says it is an odorless type of spray on repellent. It is non-greasy and allows your skin to breathe. Active ingredient is Picaridin which is nice due to the health concerns Deet has caused over the years.
Coleman makes a line of products called Skin Smart. It too is Deet free with the active ingredient being Picaridin. It is odorless but does have an aerosol smell as it comes out of the can but that goes away quickly. It too is non-greasy and boasts 8 hours of coverage.
Permethrin – This stuff is fairly amazing. You spray it on your clothes (NOT YOUR BODY) and let it dry before putting your hunting clothes on. It is designed to work for up to 6 washings. The warnings are quite frightful for Permethrin. Things like do not let it touch your skin, come in contact with any part of your body, etc. It doesn't repel see...it kills! As a father of a 2 year old, I simply cannot risk the hazards. If you have the ability to control the substance, this stuff works. Be diligent to follow the instructions. We don’t want stuff to start rotting off your body…right?
Camp #2 – Natural
There are a myriad of natural insect repellants. Some work better than others and you should test for yourself if all natural is the way you want to go. Most anything herbal is not going to be overly offensive to deer particularly if the smells are natural to your area already.
Cutter makes a Natural Repellent with theactive ingredients: Geraniol (5%), Soybean Oil (2%), Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (.4%), Potassium Sorbate (.1%)
A new-comer I found while doing the research is called Insect Defend Patch. It uses Thiamine (B1) technology to give you a shield of natural protection lasting a whopping 24-hours.
All Terrain makes a repellent called Herbal Armor with the active ingredients: Oil of Soybean 11.5%, Oil of Citronella 10.0%, Oil of Peppermint 2.0%, Oil of Cedar 1.50%, Oil of Lemongrass 1.00%, Oil of Geranium 0.05%. Not sure how the deer will take this concoction.
Another great option is Thermacell. This tried and true repellent uses a small butane chamber to heat a scented pad that mosquitoes hate. Hunters mostly use the earth scent to keep the deer from catching a strange scent. It gives 15 square feet of coverage and can run for 12 consecutive hours using the extra butane tubes and pads. One note of interest with Thermacell is that when in a ground blind you can begin to taste the stuff if you run for a good while. Be sure to turn it off and allow some fresh air in from time to time.
Be safe from the real predators and happy hunting!
References - Mosquito Facts – Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosquito
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
A deer has about 297 million olfactory receptors in their noses. In contrast, a dog only has about 220 million of these receptors(*). A deer can smell you long before they can see you if you are upwind. Since you cannot control wind direction, you are going to need some help to make yourself scent-invisible and maybe, just maybe, use their incredible sense of smell to bring them to you instead of pushing them away.
To, turn the table on the deer there is a wide array of scent blockers on the market today. Standing in the aisle at your local Bass Pro or Cabela’s can be overwhelming at the choices available on this one topic alone. They also offer entire clothing lines now that aid in masking your scent. I hear yah! I am not making the picture any clearer right? Sit tight and it will make sense.
|Scent-A-Way Family of Products|
Kyle likes to use a product called Nose Jammer. It is a botanical mix that causes a deer’s nose to go into over-load and not smell you. While his mind will be attempting to sort out the different flowers that he smells, your scent never get’s picked up. We spray it on my wheel-chair's wheels and frame so that wherever I go, they never pick up the smells my tires might have from the house. The stuff smells great even to me and I do agree with him on one use for it to draw the deer in - more on that in a minute.
To truly cover yourself you should really start with, wait for it.... yourself. Scent-A-Way makes a body-wash/shampoo that will get you clean without all the extra smell. I even bought their antiperspirant/deodorant which is also odor neutral.
|Arm & Hammer Baking Soda|
Okay so you have everything covered and the deer can’t smell you which is a good thing. Early in the article, I mentioned a way to use their sense of smell to lure them in…remember? I want to revisit that and give you a tremendous leg up. Deer can be conditioned like any other animal or human for that matter. In psychology class, I remembered the studies done by a famous psychiatrist named Pavlov. He placed a bowl of food down for a dog but would first flip a switch on a light bulb. The dog became conditioned that every time he saw the light even in the absence of the food, he began to salivate as if food was available right then.
|Nose Jammer Products|
In this way, we are readying the deer for the day that we are there for the hunt. They will have smelled this odor many times. Each time they have sensed this odor, it was a positive for them by way of something they needed. In short, I am gaining the edge on the wary deer.
Now, for everyone who would object to this method as not being a fair-chase practice, I would remind them that we are doing this in my hunting area on private property. As a wheel-chaired sportsman, I don’t have the luxury of chasing a deer all over God’s creation in a fair-chase format. I applaud all the hunters who do and wish you the very best in this deer season. Give me some grace too huh? This way we can all enjoy the great outdoors, together!
* Information on deer senses was collected from this Article
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Logs, rocks, ruts, mud, brush, the great outdoors can be demanding and the basic fact is the majority of wheelchairs offered in the mainstream simply do not cover the demands placed on them by wild nature. It is the jumping off point. To truly get off the pavement and to get into primal wilderness requires particular tools to make that jump. This week’s article will hopefully give you insight into some of those tools at a price-point you can live with.
Let me be frank, there are other options than the ones provided in this article; everything from home-made to uber-sophisticated international models. I recognize I am only giving you a slice and not the whole enchilada. However, what I am giving you is what some consider the best options available. So, take it for what it’s worth – ka’peesh?
|Scott and Stephanie Anderson on a BeachScoot|
At the lowest cost is The Beach Scoot. Priced at $7,900 it is your basic 4 wheeled (back wheel drive only) scooter with bigger tires that help you stay above the sand, mud and brush. I have personally used one of these at the beach and they do work. Battery life was limited due to the sand. Terrain and body weight will always dictate the length of a charge. On solid ground, I am certain that the length of the charge would have been substantially better. I did get stuck in the sand once or twice but at the price, it is a serious option.
Next up is the Action Track Chair and they offer a couple of options. As the name of the chair mentions, this is a tracked chair and can take on almost anything Mother Nature throws at it from the beach to the forest. They have a sit down model with a base price of $10,200 and a stand up version with a base price of about $15,000 that allows a paraplegic to raise up into a standing position. The chairs come with an awesome 5 year warranty on the frame and the tracks. I spoke with the dealer for my area, Mr. Doug Carlson of Carlson Mobility in Austin, Texas, about this chair and he is arranging for me to test it in the near future. Doug mentioned that one of the unique characteristics of this chair is that it has the ability to tilt backwards or forwards twenty degrees for riding on sloped terrain as well as for comfort. The company offers a mind-boggling 26 different accessory options that are available to add to the base price to help with any of your outdoor needs.
The next chair in the line-up is the Trac-Fab. The company offers two different models. The first which is 36 inches wide has a starting price of $12,000. They also offer an ADA compliant model which is 30 inches wide and can navigate through the vast majority of indoor obstacles as well as outdoor terrain too. Price of the ADA compliant chair is $14,000. They even show pics of it exiting a vehicle which is an interesting twist as most of the others simply will not fit into an accessible van comfortably.
Last up is a real monster! It’s called the RipChair 3.0. Yes it’s tracked but that is where the similarities end. You roll your wheelchair into the bay and lock in. You then crank the 30 horsepower, 4 stroke gas engine and away you go! Due to the fact that it is gas operated means you are guaranteed to not be limited by weight and terrain as in a battery operated electric chairs. They even have accessories like a snow plow or a mowing deck! Whuuut...are you kidding? No! Top speed is 17 mph. So, you are asking what this bad boy will run you, right? I couldn’t get them on the phone the day I wrote this article but I have been told that the base price is at or above $27,000. Hey if you have the cash, get the Cadillac. Know this though, the specs of this chair demands that you are going to have to put it on a trailer just like you would any other ATV. But, everything in a man says, “GIVE IT TO ME!” it will go where no one in a wheelchair has ever gone before. It truly is one small step for man and one giant leap for a person in a wheelchair.
I wanted to end this article by thanking all of you for your loyalty in reading it each week. Due to your diligence handicappeodutdoors.com is now in the number one position on Google when you search for it. Yes, that's a big deal and I owe it all to you – Thanks!
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Let’s start with a platform. It doesn’t matter if you are choosing to have your blind up off the ground a bit or directly on it, you need to think about the ease of moving your chair around and how much noise this may make. For the sake of the article, I am going to use the example of sitting at ground level.
A simple solution that is prefabbed, strong, and durable is pallets. These amazing structures are used by all kinds of companies in receiving products and can hold amazing amounts of weight. They are also FREE! That’s what I’m talking about right? We found a fresh looking pallet that measured 4ft X 6ft as the base for the shooting platform.
Adjustments and deer do not exactly mix. Deer have almost super-hero hearing and are rather skittish if they hear metal on metal. That isn’t exactly a natural sound you know? Solution, a friend had some old carpet from when his house was built. We placed it on top of the plywood pieces to add a layer of quiet between my chair and the platform. This also helps with any small gaps that irregular shaped plywood pieces may create and allows the wheelchair to roll smoothly without dipping into a gap. Go to a local warehouse that sells carpet and ask for remnants that have been cut. Many times they will give this stuff away and I love me some free!
Have you ever noticed tennis balls on grandma’s walker? They do this so that the walker is easier to move around. I added them for a two-fold reason. True, it does make the tripod easier to slide inside the blind. But, even more important is it gives your tripod some stealth because you can move it with almost zero noise. I asked the tennis coach at the High School where I teach if he had any old tennis balls. He gave me a whole bag...for free. Are you picking up on the theme yet?
- Scott Andersonhandicappedoutdoors@gmail.com
Monday, September 1, 2014
|Jeff Malloy before accident|
He started by going back to college to learn engineering (wow right?) so he could design things on an CAD software.
Back to the story, He and his friend Ray Kimball collaborated to create a shooting system
that he could use. So, they began searching to see what was already out there.
Ok, a quick side-bar here - Just for Jeff to do this part of his story is enough to make anyone want to stand up and applaud the guy. Engineering isn't exactly the program for the faint of heart. However, when you want to do something bad enough, is there really any obstacles that can stop you, him or me?
|Jeff Malloy after accident|
The good news was that there was a shooting system already created called the SR-77 for a quadriplegic to use. The bad news is that Bob Bowen, the owner and maker, had packed it in and closed production of the SR-77 platform.
I have noticed in life that this is usually that pivotal moment that separates the winners and the not so fortunate. Lesser people hit a wall and quit. Jeff is a champion and quitting was never an option! So what does a winner do? He goes straight to the source! He contacted Mr. Bowen directly and asked for permission to use the SR-77 as the base design for his new shooting system to which Bob graciously agreed.
|Equalizer Shooting System|
So what started out as a personal mission, quickly became something much, much greater. They took the old SR-77 design and transformed it from a Subaru to a Cadillac. Once a prototype was finished, Jeff and Ray knew they couldn't withhold this new system from other hunters who had suffered injuries that it could help. So the Equalizer Shooting System was born. It has a flat black anodized finish along with over 60 custom machined parts. All these things combined make this system very durable, reliable and user friendly. If anything does happen to break down, all of the parts are replaceable. There are also many different options available for customization including Sip-and-Puff shooting for those who require it.
The next generation of the Equalizer Shooting System happened when it was combined with an iPhone application called the iScope. This application allows you to use the camera on your phone to look through the scope and give you greater accuracy. It also allows a hunter to record their hunts which is incredible. It is made to fit both iPhone and Android smart phones.
Jeff admitted to me that he actually doesn't make much profit on the platform as the majority of the cost goes into the building of the application itself. So, not only is he brave and smart but he is also un-selfish.
Here is a video of the system in action:
Jeff Malloy, I salute you amigo. May you have an epic 2014 hunting season and thanks for your contribution to all of us who are mobility impaired to place the cross-hairs on not just an animal, but the memory of a life-time!
- Scott Andersonhandicappedoutdoors@gmail.com
Monday, August 25, 2014
This week’s article can mean the difference in whether you make a successful shot on that trophy buck or go through the remainder of the winter kicking yourself for what might have been. There are enough variables that go into hunting an animal that smells everything, hears very well and spooks as easily as a White Tail. Site prep can at the maximum slant some of those variables to your favor if not at least level the playing field for the wheeled sportsman.
The people who own the place offered to have it bush-hogged but we declined. A major change would have been too much for the deer to feel comfortable in continuing to move through these fields have been doing. The grass is about three and half to four feet tall. This was going to be impossible for my chair to move through and as mentioned in last week’s article, I did get seriously stuck. The flip side of this is the grass also showed very clearly where the deer had been moving through. It provided them the cover they needed to continue to range all over this property. Never take away the very thing that gives them that sense of security. You want them to feel secure and confident.
|Shooting lane with Decoy|
Anything else after we have created the trails and shooting lanes? Absolutely! For some strange reason, there always seems to be a difference when you move from the practice range to shooting with big trees, open fields. The different objects that you have become accustomed to where you have been practicing are all gone and so is yardage clues. It is critical to take a target to your hunting location and actually take some shots and see what subtle difference there may be. Range your shots and be certain of your distances. Is the ground rising or falling? Is it a side hill, uphill or downhill shot? All of these factors are variables in making great shots. The good news is these are all variables that can be known with some practice and diligence.
Lastly, it will be critical to give your area a break for a good week or two before season starts. It allows the deer to move naturally and lessens your scent in the area. This last point means you only have a few weeks left from the time of publishing to when the season starts depending on your State to get your site prepped. So, get to krack-a-lackin people.
So lets recap – Prepping a site is important but be sure to not over do it. Stage the area so that the deer are still moving naturally to a position you have ranged and have practiced shooting to so that you are completely comfortable with making THE shot. Leave your area quiet a good week or more before season starts. Go get‘em folks and please share your successes at our new Facebook Page!
- Scott Anderson