Gear Reviews

  1. Western Hunting Optics Guide - Picking the Right Binocular and Spotting Scope

    Dialed In Hunter-7127 hunting optics By Josh Kirchner When it comes to Western hunting it is undeniable the advantage that quality optics provide the modern-day hunter. Having the ability to meticulously survey massive amounts of landscape and study animals from what is sometimes miles away, makes us more efficient, and ultimately more effective. Continue reading →
  2. Preparing for Whitetail Hunting Season

    tractor on farm food plot for hunting By Kevin Weber A few months ago things were off to a great start here in Southeast Iowa to prepare for whitetail hunting season. We had a spring with plenty of moisture and food plots were in tip top shape heading into summer. We continued to get more and more rain which eventually led to some consequences. Between the amount of rain we received and what rain we received further upstream led to some severe flooding in our area. The rivers came out of their banks and were near record high levels. Some ag land was impacted, as well as a lot of my food plots.  Continue reading →
  3. Picking the Right Hunting Boot

    Sitka Gear Ambient Stalking By Josh Kirchner If one thing is true about hunting boots, they are not a “one style fits all” product. This is for a few reasons. We all have different feet, we hunt in various types of terrain and weather, and “to boot” hunting styles/methods vary from person to person. Because of this, the options are many in hunting boots. And because of this, based on extensive experience in the field, I’m going to break down these different styles of hunting boots. The end goal is to paint you a clear picture of what is going to work best for you and your style of hunting. For the purpose of this article, I’m going to refer to the Crispi lineup of boots, because that is what I use and prefer. With that said, this information can be applied to ANY boot company, so run with it. Also, I’m not a podiatrist. Just a hunter with real-world experience who has burned a ton of boot leather. What’s Your Style of Hunting? Continue reading →
  4. Layering with SITKA Gear for Western Hunting with Josh Kirchner - 2024 Kit

    By Josh Kirchner Sitka gear on BlackOvis If you are not utilizing a layering system for western hunting, you are severely missing out on a way more efficient way of doing things. For the 2024 hunting season, I’ve put together a solid layering system from Sitka Gear that is going to get me through I’d say 95% of the year. I say that because there might be some specialty items I bring in here and there as the weather changes. Things like puffy pants, base layer bottoms, or switching out my insulation layer for a thicker insulation layer. Continue reading →
  5. Stealth and Comfort: Whitetail Hunting in Crispi Hunting Boots

    If you go back several years, some might look at you funny and wonder why in the world you are wearing hiking boots in the whitetail woods. For many of the older generations, the only type of hunting boots that comes to mind are the old classic rubber gumboots. For the winter time you may even throw on an insulated pair and you would be good to go. Boy, but if you had any walking to do, you were destined to have a soaking wet sock by the end of your jaunt. Fortunately, innovation and technology has brought more and more advanced footwear into the hunting community and it’s spread to even us whitetail folk in the midwest. Continue reading →
  6. Peax Storm Castle Gaiter: A Comprehensive Hunting Gear Review

    Peax Castle Gaiters gear review A good set of hunting gaiters can be a game-changer if the conditions are right.  Gaiters do a great job at protecting your lower legs and feet, keeping them dry when you’re busting brush and things are wet, and they can also be beneficial for creek crossings if the water isn’t high enough to go over your boots.  When I first got a hold of the Peax Storm Castle Gaiters, it could not have been at a more opportune time since my tried-and-true Outdoor Research Crocodile gaiters were finally starting to give up the ghost after several years and many, many miles. Continue reading →
  7. Guide to Hearing Protection for Hunting: Protect Your Ears and Enhance Your Hunting Experience

    ear muff for big game hunting To hear or not to hear, this is the question. When I was in Hunter’s Safety, they stressed the importance of wearing eye and ear protection when using a firearm. Even when at a shooting range, safety is always Number 1. In a sense, safety should be equally important while hunting, more specifically, hearing protection.  Continue reading →
  8. Swarovski ATX 65mm vs 85mm lens comparison

    A spotting scope can be one of the most valuable pieces of equipment in your pack.  Whoever coined the saying ‘let your eyes do the walking’ was a wise person.  A spotting scope can and will save you countless miles of hiking to evaluate animals, see what that flash of movement was under a tree across the draw, or count rings on a ram’s horns to determine their age.  The number of situations where a spotting scope is beneficial are too many to count, and if you hunt anywhere that requires spotting animals from a distance, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Continue reading →
  9. Big Country with Big Glass

    - Swarovski NL Pure 12x42 - As a hunter who spends several weeks per year pursuing big game from the vast expanses of the Alaska tundra to the cactus laden desert flats of New Mexico, I am always looking for more efficient ways to accomplish my goals. This year, I had an urge to reduce my optics footprint from a dual binocular 10x/15x system to a hybrid one binocular approach.  With this concept in mind, my thoughts and curiosity constantly wandered towards an optics system utilizing the newly released NL Pure 12x42 in tandem with the modular Swarovski ATX/BTX.   Continue reading →
  10. “Sitka Tool Bucket” - a Whitetail Pack Dump

    As a whitetail deer hunter, when I hit the woods I like to be silent and organized. Fortunately, the Sitka Tool Bucket has been the perfect tool for the job my last 5 seasons of hunting. When I first began bowhunting everything I took to the stand with me got tossed in an old camouflage backpack that only had a couple pockets. All the jiggling and rattling that took place, it’s surprising there was even a deer left in the county when I reached my treestand. As my obsession and attention to detail has grown as a whitetail hunter, it was time to take things to the next level and the Tool Bucket did just that. I will take you through my pack setup and some of my favorite features about the Tool Bucket. Continue reading →
  11. Grading the Mystery Ranch Guide Light MT Frame

    As a mountain hunter, I am constantly searching for gear that works and I am not opposed to buying different brands and designs to find out what works best for me.  This approach can get expensive, but it’s the only way I know to find solid gear that truly meets my requirements.   Continue reading →
  12. Our Favorite Multi Use gear

    Good, quality gear is supposed to make our outdoor pursuits more comfortable, easier, and more efficient.  Most hunting gear is designed with a specific use case in mind, so as we embark on different adventures and our needs vary slightly (or drastically) from one trip to the next, we’re going to accumulate lots of different types, brands, sizes, and weights of gear items.  One of the huge benefits of modern gear is that it does what it is designed to do very well, but it may only be good for accomplishing that one task or filling that specific niche.  Finding gear that can be useful in multiple scenarios for different situations and tasks can save you money, space, and weight in your pack. Continue reading →
  13. CBE Sight Review

    My search for a new hunting sight was intentional but what I ended up with was a result of not being able to get the original sight I thought I wanted.  I had a spring Alaska bear hunt coming up in May and I needed an immediate solution. The sight I wanted had been on order for 4 months and got delayed again due to supply chain issues.  I was explaining my dilemma to a good friend and hunting mentor, and he told me to check out the CBE Trek Pro Sight.  I’m glad I did.   Continue reading →
  14. So, You Got a New Bow Huh?

    I have been intrigued by archery since I was a little kid. My first few setups were recurve bows and mismatched arrows. The birds, squirrels, and hay bale targets in my yard were generally pretty safe but I didn’t care. I just loved watching the arrows fly. As I got older my desire to hit what I was aiming at gradually caught up, so at age 10 or 11 I finally graduated to a compound bow with a set of matched, store-bought arrows! That first setup was a pretty simple flipper-style rest and single-pin sight, but it was the start of a journey with bows and arrows that has led me throughout life. Watching arrows fly is still a thrill for me.  Continue reading →
  15. Hawk Tree Saddle

    By now most modern hunters have heard of a tree saddle or understand the concept of one. There are still some though who definitely looked confused when you throw the term “tree saddle” out there. The past couple of years they have grown a lot in popularity, especially for those who are into mobile hunting. Dive in with me as I talk about my first experience trying one out and what my initial thoughts are of the Hawk Tree Saddle. Continue reading →
  16. Kill Kit Essentials

    The purpose of a kill kit is to have all the essential items organized in one place to process an animal in the field.   This list can vary a bit based on personal preference but in my opinion, there are some critical items that should be considered for every kit.  Here is a breakdown of what is in mine. Continue reading →

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