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Field Tips & Tricks

  • Communication in the Backcountry

    Garmin inReach

    As the upcoming season approaches many of us are planning hunting trips, scouting trips, shed hunting and spending time outside. I spend a lot of time by myself on solo trips. Communication has become essential for my safety and peace of mind for my family. Luckily with the rise of modern technology satellite communicators are affordable and practical. Garmin inReach is at the forefront of handheld communication devices. 

    What is the Garmin inReach

    The inReach devices have become an essential piece of gear for myself and hunters around the world. In this article, I will mainly be covering the inReach Mini and briefly talking about the Explorer+ and the SE+ models. The Garmin inReach is a two-way satellite communicator with pole-to-pole coverage. The three models have the same basic functions with different options offered by each model. 

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  • Turkey Hunting -Top 3 Gear Choices for Beginners

    Turkey Hunting in Utah

    Well, springtime here in Utah is just around the corner. For some this means nicer weather, rainstorms, and getting out of the winter funk. For others, it means to have the opportunity to get out in the woods and chase after turkey. There’s something about being in the turkey woods during the early spring. Maybe it’s the smell. Maybe it’s the sound of the birds chirping in the early morning hours. Or maybe it’s hearing that first gobble of the day echo through the trees. Whatever the reason, it makes for an exciting time in the turkey woods.

    Turkey hunting has been around for a while in Utah. There are two sub-species here in Utah, the Rio Grande and the Merriam’s. There are two seasons to hunt turkey in the spring - the Limited Entry and the General Season that includes a youth hunt the first weekend. The Limited Entry runs the last couple weeks in April. The youth (hunters 17 years of age or younger) then has 3 days to hunt before the General Season runs for the month of May.

    Hunting during the spring season can be exciting but very challenging. Utah wouldn’t be Utah if you didn’t experience all four seasons in a day. Depending on the day and where you’re hunting, you may have to deal with existing snow, mud, rain, or other obstacles Mother Nature may have in store for you. With all of that being said, you still can’t beat the time, experience, and the memories you get to have while in the woods. 

    My intention of this article is to highlight what I would consider my Top-3 preferences for turkey gear to help someone wanting to start into chasing after turkey. Like trying anything for the first time, some really don’t want to break the bank before knowing if this is something they enjoy. These three items could be considered basic elements to get you started while still trying to be budget minded. Just keep in mind, what works for one may not work for another.

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  • 2019 State Hunter Orange Requirements

    Shop Blaze Orange

    Here's a quick look at the information we've gathered on if and how much blaze orange you might need in the state you're hunting:

    State Required? Rule
    Alaska No Not required but encouraged.
    Arizona No Not required but encouraged.
    California No Not required but encouraged.
    Colorado Yes Orange or Pink 500 square inches and a hat solid no camo, rifle and muzzleloader hunts.
    Idaho No Not required but encouraged.
    Kansas Yes 100 square inches front and back and a hat.
    Montana Yes 400 square inches for hunter and anyone acompanying.
    Nebraska Yes 400 square inches Head back and chest.
    Nevada No Not required but encouraged.
    New Mexico No Only required on the White Sands Missile range 244 square inches/ Fort Bliss or McGregor Hat and Vest.
    North Dakota Yes 400 square inches and hat above the waist.
    Oregon Yes under 18 Hat or other garment must be visable from all directions.
    South Dakota Yes More than one garmint above the waist.
    Texas Yes On National Forest and Grassland 144 square inches front and back and a hat.
    Utah Yes 400 square inches must be worn if an any weapon hunt is open in the area.
    Washington Yes 400 square inches above the waist during firearm seasons.
    Wyoming Yes Must wear either vest, jacket, or coat.
  • Water Purification

    BlackOvis offers a variety of water filtration systems. The goal is to find the one that works the best for you. Water filtration pens, bottles, gravity bags, and pumps are a good option because there is a physical filter that removes material from the end consumed product. Some can even remove or reduce the number of chemicals in the water. However the filters on all of these have a limited lifespan and require cleaning and eventually replacement.

    Water filtration systems at

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  • How to Select the Right Sleeping Bag

    A sleeping bag that helps you sleep well can be a game-changer while spending time in the outdoors. If you don’t get some quality sack time at night, not only will you not be at peak performance the next day, you could end up pretty miserable. But not just any old sleeping bag will fit the bill; you need the right sleeping bag for you based on how you sleep and the conditions you plan to encounter (climate, weather, available shelter, etc.). It’s not a one-size-fits-all formula for selecting one of your most important pieces of gear; there’s several factors that you should take in to account as you look for the right bag for you. Often times, finding the right sleeping bag can be a trial and error process. I can tell you from experience that it is worth the time, effort and money spent finding the right bag that lets you sleep your best at night in the mountains.

    There are several styles of sleeping bags: rectangular, mummy, quilt, hybrid, etc. And within each of those categories, you can usually get down or synthetic in most models, left or right side zippers, extra length and/or width, wide vs narrow foot boxes, hood styles, and the list of options goes on and on. While I do own and use a very plush and roomy rectangular style bag that gets paired with a cot and foam pad when the occasion allows, the bag weighs something like 14 pounds and only gets used if I’m sleeping in a trailer or driving right to where I make camp. Since these situations are very uncommon for back country hunters, this article will be geared more towards how to pick the right sleeping bag based on backpack hunting/back country intended use where weight and size are at a premium.

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  • How to Choose the Right Trail Camera in the West

    Stealth Cam Header

    There are many different models of trail cameras these days, all with different specs and megapixels that may make it confusing when trying to choose. It’s hard to know which one is right for you and your situation. You might be new to trail cameras and just want to get something going to see what's in your area, or you might be a seasoned pro looking to upgrade your cameras cameras for higher quality images.

    Typically you want the most megapixels and the most LED bulbs for the best price. On all Stealth Cam models, the number in the model name represents how many LED bulbs are in the camera. If it says "NG", it stands for No Glo bulbs which eliminates the flash at night so it doesn’t spook the animals. No Glo LED bulbs are great for security cameras as well.

    Stealth Cam Utah Moose

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  • Sleeping Bags - 101

    Synthetic VS Down

    This is a topic that has been covered extensively and there are a million write ups explaining the differences and pros and cons of different types of insulation. For the purpose of this write up I will give a broad overview of Down and Synthetic insulation.

    Synthetic insulation is generally heavier and will not compress as small as down. It also tends to pack down over time and lose loft. Loft equals warmth. On the plus side, synthetic insulation is generally cheaper than down and will hold loft and provide some warmth when wet. It also tends to dry faster than down. Down insulation is lighter and will compress extremely small. The downside is it is more expensive and will not insulate when it gets wet. It also takes longer to dry out. Marmot uses Hydrophobic down or synthetic insulation in most of their bags with a couple of models using both synthetic and Down. Hydrophobic treatment is a method of covering down with a waterproofing agent that helps it repel water. This along with mixing in a small amount of synthetic insulation gives users the best of both worlds in one bag.

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  • 5 Things to do Before Your Archery Hunt

    1 - Get Familiar With your Bow

    Getting familiar with your bow is the number one most important step when you're getting ready for your hunt. From learning to make adjustments on your bow to knowing what components work best with your set up.

    When you’re learning to make adjustments to your bow, some great things to know how to do include: changing the draw weight, adjusting the draw length, and adjusting your sight and rest. If you are out hunting and an accident happens that moves your sight or rest loose, knowing how to adjust both is going to save your whole hunt.

    Another part of getting to know your bow would be knowing what arrows and broadheads work the best with your set up. A great option for finding the perfect arrows is the Custom Arrow ID. This allows you to completely build your arrows from top to bottom making them the perfect match for you and your bow.

    BlackOvis Arrow ID

    2 - Practice, practice, practice

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  • Badlands Magnetic Binocular Pouch Review

    I take my binoculars anywhere and everywhere outdoors every time I go. It doesn’t matter if I’m scouting, hunting, shed hunting, driving through the canyon, or even on a walk with my family in the foothills, I’ve always got my binoculars handy because you never know what Mother Nature has in store for you! When I started out hunting, I used/borrowed a pair of $50 binoculars that my dad kept in his closet but seldom used. I did my best to take care of them, but looking back I think I was actually pretty careless. I’d carry them around my neck on a strap with nothing more to protect them than a set of flip-off covers for the objective lenses and nothing covering the ocular lenses. Those binoculars took a beating, bouncing around on my chest all day and suffering whatever the elements had in store from sun, wind and dust, to rain and snow.


    When I decided it was time to get serious about my optics and that I needed an upgrade in the binocular department, I knew that before I ever purchased a high end set of binoculars, I needed to figure out a good carry system for them. I had to have the carrying system selected and purchased before I purchased the new binoculars or else I’d be too tempted to take them out and use them just once or twice or maybe twenty times before I got around to purchasing the carrying system. I had made up my mind to not let that happen. One reason I was so adamant about having the carry system before buying the binoculars was that I’d had a friend who bought new binoculars and took them out into the field before getting a carrying case. Long story short, he ended up dropping them while coming down a wet hillside when he fell and actually cracked one of the lenses. I did not want to chance ending up in that situation!

    When I first began researching the options available for binocular carrying cases, I was a little naïve in my selection process. I knew I wanted 10x42 binoculars, a pouch that rode on my chest, and something that offered complete protection when shut. That was about the extent of my criteria. I looked up different options online and read about them, but what eventually helped sway my decision was some input from close friends to get the Badlands Magnetic Binocular Pouch.


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  • Scouting for High Country Mule Deer

    Scouting season is upon us and the opening season is just around the corner. It is time to dust off those trail cams and make sure they still work, and stock up on batteries (more than you expect!)

    When scouting for a big mature mule deer you need time, patience, focus, and a good set of glass.

    Let’s face it, trail cameras are just another fun hobby.  I look forward to putting out trail cameras every year but I am not convinced that they will help you kill a mature buck. There are plenty of great trail cameras out there on the market. Honestly, I personally can’t choose one brand. Unless you are hunting private ground, my opinion is buy a camera that you can get a smoking deal on, that way when you place your camera on public ground you won't be stressing about your $400 trail camera you just put on a heavily used trail. Remember, when putting out trail cams, you alway risk getting your cameras messed with, broken, or even worse, stolen. For me, I can't beat the value of  Stealth Cam, Bushnell trail cameras, or even the Wildgame Innovations and Cuddeback Trail cameras. If you are in the market for a higher end camera make sure to check out Spypoint and Covert trail cams. They definitely help on finding bucks and what size of bucks that are in the area. Unless you have the same buck on the same trail or same water hole consistently than it’s all just a crap shoot. Now personally, if I do find a good buck on one of my cameras I will than pull cameras from other areas that are not doing so good and flood the area with the good buck to try and find the bucks favorite path.

    Alright, so you have placed your cameras and been able to pattern a few really nice mature bucks, now it is time for homework.You really have to do your homework on when you get the pictures back from your cameras. It will seem as if you are enrolled in law school for deer hunting. Check how often he is coming in and what times of day. Checking the times of day is so crucial, make sure you plan your hunt accordingly to when he is using what trails/watering holes. If legal in your state try and use a salt lick if you can in your state. I prefer the Trophy Rock brand. This will slow the buck down so you can get some good pictures of him, and also get him to keep using the same trail more frequently instead of using a trail that’s 20ft up or 20ft downhill from the trail you put your camera on.

    This is so important! DO NOT check your trail cameras too often, or else you can leave so much human scent the bucks will vacate the area completely. Give the area at least 2 weeks (3 weeks is better) before you check on it. I know it’s really hard to wait, but if you can’t wait, than get a few more and spread them out in different areas at different days of the week so you are constantly checking different cameras to keep tabs on your deer.

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