NRA Show 2016 Highlights – Part 1

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This year’s National Rifle Association (NRA) Show was held in Louisville, Kentucky on May 20-22. Being a consumer show and open to all NRA members, it was a packed show to say the least but I had an absolute blast while I was there. I have written before about the people you meet behind of outdoor industry companies making the difference. This was certainly the case at this show this year. Here are some highlights of what I found at NRA.

Air Gun Range

I had the opportunity to shoot three guns from the Umarex series of firearm inspired air pistols at the Air Gun Range sponsored by Pyramyd Air and staffed by volunteer NRA Range Safety Officers. What a blast! The joy of Umarex’s line up is that they feel like the real full-sized handgun but you spend much less on  ammunition. As the Umarex brochure says, “Train More…Shoot Better!” I felt like a kid again with a range full of stationary and moving targets and an overall challenging but fun set up.

Airforce Airguns

Airforce Airguns continues to bring innovation and new strides of excellence to the air gun world. The Airforce Texan is the most powerful production air gun in the world. While Airforce initially came out with the .45 caliber series of guns, the new addition at SHOT Show this year was the addition of .308 and . 357 calibers. These offer even more versatility to an already incredible platform. The Texan series of air guns is a serious contender for hunting wild hogs, exotics, predators and more. If you haven’t considered owning a big bore air rifle or one of Airforce’s small bore air guns for hunting or target shooting, it’s a great time to get one.

Ogre Products

I started working with Ogre Manufacturing a few years ago after the owner, John, and I connected through a social media network. I love his products and it was great to see him at this show. I use his Enviroclean FA solvent for cleaning my guns. It is both a powerful and nearly scent-free solvent. This is important when you think of being scent-free in the woods, not to mention that Eviroclean is environmentally safe. Ogre Manufacturing also has some products for waterproofing your boots and other accessories as well as a fish attractant I am going to try next time I’m out at the lake with my son. Check this guy out!

Crosman Airbow, Bulldog and Center Point Crossbows

I recently authored and article about the game changing Pioneer Airbow from Crosman. It combines air gun power with archery, allowing the user to shoot a full-size arrow at over 450 feet per second. That has never been done before and it is an amazing innovation to behold. I also ran into the .357 Bulldog which is another contender for wild hogs, exotics, predators, or other critters. I also learned about Center Point Crossbows which are new for 2016. They are well-designed crossbows  with an amazing price tag such in the case of the Sniper 370 which has a price tag of only $349.99.

STI Guns

If you are looking for a serious precision made 1911 handgun from a Texas-based firearms manufacturer, check out STI Guns. Their STI 1911 series guns are a testament to the quality that goes into one of these precision made custom firearms.  The build quality and overall fit and finish of their handguns was impressive.


Survival Slingshot Review

There are some products that you come across and say, “Wow, I could really use that!” If you have followed my blog for long, you know that I like to review products I find interesting and useful in the woods or on the water. I am a fan of rugged and dependable over fancy and “tacti-cool” products. I have pretty high standards for what I review. I have been sent many products each year that do not make the cut. I engage in some rigorous outdoor activities that can be hard on the gear I use so my gear has to work as hard as I do an be capable to keep up with my pace. I recently came across a tool so basic but so useful.

When I came across the Survival Slingshot and the company that manufactures this tool, I was immediately impressed. Although I am not a true “prepper”, I see the need to prepare for the unexpected and have tools with me that I can rely on when and if I need them. The Survival Slingshot fits this build well. For one, it is compact and can break down into basic parts, meaning it can be easily transported in a very small space such as the front or side pocket of a backpack. Another feature I love was the storage capacity. You normally do not see a slingshot with a compass built in to the bottom end cap and a hollow tube built for storing ammunition, small survival tools, or a whole host of other things that can go inside the aircraft aluminum body. One of the tubes that comes with the model I have includes ammo and another includes fishing hooks, line, weights, swivel, needle, and thread. Both of these tubes can be stored inside the slingshot! What’s more is that the inner hollow tube is water tight when closed so your gear stays dry, no matter what mother nature throws at you. When I assembled my Survival Slingshot, I could tell that this was a well thought out tool, not just any garden variety slingshot. It was well so advanced compared to any other primitive tool of this type I have ever encountered.

The Survival Slingshot took an old world tool and enhanced it with extremely handy features you would normally find on a firearm. There are two mountable accessories built with the slingshot platform in mind; a red laser (yes, a laser!) and a CREE LED flashlight. Both of these are compact in size but they pack a lot of power. I would have never thought I would be shooting a slingshot with a laser but it really aids in aiming. The flashlight is bright and casts a fairly wide beam, making night excursions easier. Put these two accessories together and I get so I excited I can hardly contain it! Holy smokes this thing is awesome! Is it my birthday? Actually it was my birthday when I un-boxed this awesome slingshot. I felt like a kid again but with a much more powerful and useful tool. Another interesting feature is that this slingshot harnesses more power than your basic slingshots from other manufacturers. Power counts when your life depends on hunting, protection, or overall survival.

If you are into archery, there is more in store in this package. The Survival Slingshot offers an “Archers Model” but the base model I own came with everything you need to convert this into an archery tool. Yes, an archery slingshot! With a 1.25″ split ring and bands built for shooting standard length arrows, you also get a Trophy Ridge Whisker Biscuit. Now I have used a Whisker Biscuit on my compound bow since I started in archery about a decade or so ago. What a good choice! You can also use a caliper release with the archery bands so you can get even more kinetic energy behind your arrow.

Check out my video about this product:

Overall, this a well thought out package in my opinion. Assembly is easy and adding the extra modern accessories was a breeze. I never saw the benefit of a “tactical” slingshot before I encountered this company but now I do. It makes since. In a survival situation, you want something quiet like a slingshot to protect yourself and your family but also a tool to hunt with and this is a more than capable tool for both. This company’s motto for this product is “Bring a tool, not a toy” and that is exactly what they have done with this product. It is one of the most utilitarian products I have encountered. Literally every part of the Survival Slingshot has a purpose and it serves the user well. You can learn more about this product at Thank you as always for reading, watching, and listening!


Husky Liners are Tough!

There are some accessories you just have to have for your truck or other vehicle. This is especially true when you hunt and fish the way many of us do here in Texas. Up until recently, I have never owned a set of high quality custom fit floor mats for my truck. I recently purchased a Dodge Ram 1500 Quad Cab and decided it was time to give a set of Husky Liners a look. I ordered the WeatherBeater floor mats that are custom tailored for the truck’s floorboard.  Ordering was very easy and shipping was fast.

When I received the truck mats and went to install them, I was amazed at how well they fit and how the raised ribs and overall design of the mats were made to trap rain, snow, spills, or just about anything else to the containment of the mat, protecting your carpet or other floor covering from outside elements. Shortly thereafter, I was pulling out from a gas station and spilled a partial cup of soda and ice on the floor. The Husky Liners contained the mess like a champ. What would have been a major clean-up without the floor liners was a breeze to clean later that day.

I never knew how nice having a set of floor liners would be until I owned this set of Husky Liners. With the recent wet weather and resulting mud we have had in my area the past few weeks, these Husky Liners have held up to whatever I brought them. Husky Liners are made in the USA and are constructed with a chemical resistant material that is guaranteed not to crack. I received a set of Husky floor liners for my back seat as well since I have a 6-year-old boy who usually leaves a mess behind on the floor. The Husky Liners contains it all and keeps my truck’s interior like new. Clean up is as easy as taking the liners out, hosing them down, and re-installing them again. These floor mats are available in three different colors are made and for several models of vehicles. This product far surpassed my expectations and my “Texas Tested” trials. I highly recommend Husky Liners and especially their WeatherBeater series to protect the floor of your own vehicle. You can learn more about Husky Liners at


New Scope and a New Series – Sightmark Core HX Series

I ran into the Sellmark family of companies at SHOT Show this year and was impressed with their line up of companies and products to say the least. My custom FN-Mauser rifle chambered in .270 Win was in the market for a new scope. The scope it came with, an old Simmon’s 8-Point, had a history of getting “knocked off” when even slightly bumped and the focus wasn’t working correctly. It was time for a new scope and I decided to buy one from Sightmark, one of Sellmark’s brands. Their new series of scopes this year is the Core HX series with either a Venison Hunter Reticle or a Hog Hunter Reticle. Since Sightmark is a Texas company, I could tell they knew how market a scope for a Texan. We love our deer and hog hunting here!

I shopped long and hard for this one but finally decided on a 4-16×44 with a VHR (Venison Hunting Reticle). After receiving and unpacking this optic, I was very pleased and what I found. This was one of the best purchases I have made in a long time. Here are some photos of me mounting it on my beloved .270. I recently bore-sighted it and have a date planned at the range next. I am excited about this purchase and look forward to putting a few rounds down range soon.



Two Weekends and a Busy Month!

Earlier in April, I had two events with Cross Water Outfitters which is a men’s fishing ministry based in Central Texas. We headed out to Lake Buchanan for the first weekend of the month to Thunderbird Resort with the local Bridges Ministry . We hosted students from different faiths from 32 different nationalities and man did we have a blast. Spring White Bass action was hot on Lake Buch this particular weekend and part of our group was invited to go fishing on a private boat dock owned by a friend of the ministry’s supporting church. Here are some photos of the fun:


The following weekend we had our regular bi-annual soldier and family event on Fort Hood’s BLORA (Belton Lake Outdoor Recreational Area) on Lake Belton. This event was also well attended and staffed and we caught a lot of catfish – I mean A LOT of catfish. We fed a lot of people and had a blast serving those who served us. I was my friend Dennis’ boat and we hosted a 19 year old soldier. On Friday night, we caught a 4 1/2 foot 16 pound gar which we decided to release. Here are some photos from this event:

I love to serve and so do my CWO brothers. We only get together a few times a year but when we do, it is like we have been fishing together every weekend. God shows up and everything falls into place. God is good indeed.






My Timber Bass

There are some things you get in life that you never forget. Things you hold onto and cherish. Such was the case of The Timber Bass from Lake Conroe on a December 2014 fishing trip with Cross Water Outfitters. We annually do an event with CWO ever December and January. What once came aboard the boat of my good buddy Steve Gardipee while we were fishing looked to be a piece of driftwood but Steve saw something more. This gift, pictured below, was given to me during a presentation Steve did for me this past December 2015. If you have been following my blog long at all, you will remember Steve as a Vietnam veteran with a life after death story I recorded on this video. He turned a piece of drift wood into a true work of art. I love it! What character it has! It really is a Timber Bass!

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Thank you as always for watching, reading, and listening!


Arrows from Above! New Bowfishing Videos

One of the things I like to do besides filming and editing my own hunting, fishing, and other outdoor adventures is to edit and produce video from my friends. I just recently finished a new article for Texas Fish & Game Magazine entitled “Arrows from Above” about summer bowfishing. Here are a few videos from my friend Tim Jackson who is an avid bowfishing guide with my other friend Marty McIntyre and GARQUEST Bowfishing Adventures. Man, I get fired up watching these! I hope you enjoy!


The Outdoors is About Family – Don’t Can It!

I have often both written and spoken about the importance of spending time with your family in the outdoors. One of my favorite springtime and summer activities is going down to Brushy Creek Lake Park in north Cedar Park here in Central Texas with my son, Jackson, and go “perch jerkin'”. Finding a feisty nest of bluegill is a blast and provides hours of family fun with no more than an ultra light fishing rig and a canister of baby night crawlers. Here are some pictures from our latest adventure down at the lake last weekend:

Now these may not be trophy bass or monster catfish but the memories we make together are priceless. So many outdoorsmen I run into are all about hunting and fishing for their own means and desires. There is an old saying I heard from Korby Taylor of the Wild Game Hunting Podcast in one of his recent past shows. He was making the point of our sometimes selfish nature as outdoorsmen. The saying goes something like this:  “Get all you can. Can all you get. Then, sit on the lid.” Korby used this illustration to say that “canning” and not sharing all of our experiences in the outdoors, keeping them all for our own self interest, is shallow but many men and women are happy to do it. Hunting and fishing is a means to and end for them. I don’t see it like that.

I write and speak often about the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts needing the best possible examples of outdoor “champions” who model what it really means to live a positive outdoor lifestyle. There are more things than ever that compete for our kid’s time and attention in our world today. We need to teach values, conservation, good ethics, and other positive character traits in the outdoors in order for kids to “get hooked” on what so many of us older folks consider a life long passion of the outdoors.

I know it is easy to get caught up in who won the big money pot at the local bass tournament or who shot the biggest deer of their lifetime last season but if we don’t take time to share what went into making our love of the outdoors such a passion for us with the next generation of sportsmen, our youth will quickly get swept away from our sporting traditions we hold dear to our hearts. In order for the heritage of our sport to survive the changing times and atmosphere of our frantically paced world is to take time to share the gift of the outdoors.

I am thrilled to hear about hunting and fishing champions in our world who give outdoor experiences to kids that might not normally have them. One of my fondest memories when I was growing up was when my Dad and his fishing partner participated in a promotion with a local Texas Boys Town and took a young man our fishing on the boat with us. I will never forget how much that young man, who was about my same age at the time, enjoyed learning how to fish. We all had so much fun together. I am sure that young man, where ever he is today, will never forget that experience. I know that I won’t. That is giving back with a generous heart. That is what outdoors is all about.

In my advertising work with Texas Fish & Game magazine, I came across a new company with a portable fishing sonar system that connects to your smartphone or tablet called Deeper. It is a really revolutionary fishing product and I think it will catch on here in the USA, especially for those of us who do not have a fancy boat and maybe prefer bank fishing on many occasions. In working with this company on their ad campaign, they sent over a video that really touched me. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did:

The outdoors is about family and also about sharing our passion with others who will carry the proverbial torch into the future and preserve our legacy of the outdoor realm. There is so much beauty to behold, so much land and water yet to explore. There is so much “out there” yet to be discovered. Thank you so much for watching, reading, and listening.



After three years, I finally made it back to SHOT Show in Las Vegas! If you’ve never been to SHOT before, imagine the biggest gun show you have ever been to and think of roughly 62,000 people being there in a huge (I mean HUGE) space. Then imagine every gun manufacturer you can think of having a huge booth staffed with knowledgeable people who love the shooting and hunting sports. I have been to three SHOT shows now in total. I forgot how big SHOT is and how much walking there is to do there. By the end of each day, I was ready to crash into my bed at the Excalibur hotel. The Las Vegas strip is considered one of the main realms for vacations and conferences in the world. It is a wild place to host such a giant convention for a bunch of 2nd amendment fans and Sin City was full of many like minded individuals that believed in God, Guns, and Country. Few trips have been as memorable as my SHOT show expeditions. There are so many new products, companies, media folks, attendees, celebrities, and more. To quote one food service employee I overheard talking to another worker, “These guys are gun owners. They want two things: meat and beer!” That may be a bit of a stereotype but… I digress. Here are a few pictures from the show floor and a night shot of my hotel:

Who Did You See at SHOT This Year

Eva Shockey, Jim Shockey, Bruce Mitchell and Troy Landry (and sons) from the Swamp People TV Show, the cast from Duck Commander/Duck Dynasty (yes, including Uncle Si). No, I didn’t stand in line for hours to get an autograph from anyone but it was a star studded experience seeing all of these people I have watched on TV for years.

I did get to visit with a couple other TV celebrities that I hold in high regard. The first one is a fellow outdoor writer for Texas Fish & Game magazine and winner of Top Shot Season 3. Dustin Ellermann makes marksmanship and the shooting sports look easy. He is a true professional in many ways and I had the chance to eat lunch with him at a media event last Wednesday. I’ve been a fan of Dustin since he starred on Top Shot a few years ago and he is an awesome guy. In the picture below, you get two Dustins in one picture. Dustin squared!

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My apologies for the lighting of this photo. It was one of those quick, in the moment,  hurry up and take a picture, kind of photos. It was awesome to finally meet him in person.

The second celebrity I ran into was Mark Millis but you may know him better as “Uncle Millie” from the past show Deer City USA on Outdoor Channel and now Huntin’ the Backwoods TV show on Sportsman Channel. Mark was awesome to meet in person and I hope to stay in touch with him as we both are involved in many outdoor industry projects.

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So What was New or Super Cool this Year?

I’m glad you asked! I was at SHOT show this year with Elliott Donnelly, Chester Moore, and Ardia Neves from Texas Fish & Game magazine (notice a theme here?). Elliott is the digital publisher for TF&G. Chester is editor in chief and Ardia is our advertising director. We had a great time together. Ardia and I concentrated on advertising work for the magazine and Elliott, Chester, and the other Dustin walked the long hallways, ballrooms, and exhibit halls searching for what was new and awesome. Since I didn’t have a chance to cover the entirety of the show from a media perspective like they did, I wanted to post some to their blog posts from last week and this week:

Dustin Ellermann’s Range Day and Shot Show Blogs


Slideshow of SHOT Show Finds


Chester and Elliott’s SHOT Show Blogs

(Click on image below to open blog)

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One of the most unique tactical finds I ran across was this DP-12 double barrel bullpup shotgun. It holds 16 rounds and is a newer addition to the line up of tactical shotguns. Normally I am not very impressed by guns like this but this one caught my eye for sure.

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There are so many outlets that cover SHOT so this is certainly not all of the media coverage out there. Our team did pick some of the best of the best in new products though.

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I also picked up a styling SHOT Show long-sleeve shirt which I wore out on a trip to my deer stand right after I came home. Yes, I took a “selfie” photo of me wearing it! I pulled my ground blind, game cam, and other gear out of the woods for the season. I had a great deer season and have one more hunting video from this year which I am still editing and will release shortly. See my videos, articles, other blogs and podcast at Thank you for watching, reading, and listening!


A Day at the Range – Airforce Airguns “Texan”

It has been far too long since I visited my local gun range. A month or so ago, in a pinch for time, I visited a local Austin indoor range but they charge by the hour and I like a more relaxed feeling when I am immersed in the shooting sports. Like most people, I don’t like to be rushed by the clock doing something I enjoy. My normal range is an outdoor range located Northwest of Austin and they charge a daily rate for shooting time. This range is also where I cut my teeth at learning about guns, calibers, ballistics, and other working pieces in the realm of firearms. Formerly Stan Shooting Range, the Lone Star Range & Academy has undergone many transformations under its new owner and I was impressed, to say the least. at the new developments at this range.

I visited the range to sight in one of my beloved guns, a custom FN Mauser chambered in .270 as the scope had been off on its last outing with a friend of mine. The main reason for the trip was to spend some time behind the  “Texan” from Airforce Airguns, the most powerful big bore production air rifle on the market.

The Mac & Prowler TV show team came up with the name of “The Beast” when shooting the first prototype of this gun. It shoots a .45 caliber slug at around 1,000 feet per second which is impressive to say the least. This is a true big game air gun and I plan to film a hog hunting video with it very soon. So it’s powerful. How about accuracy? I’m glad to asked. Here is a picture of one of my groups. This was before I dialed it into the 10 ring later:

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It is most definitely one of my favorite guns and one of the coolest guns I own. Check out the podcast “Prowler” Bill Henson and I did on this gun and the other airguns available from Airforce:

My plan is to take this gun on a hog or exotic game hunt in the very near future. If you haven’t checked out airguns in the shooting sports realm, now is the time! It is fun way to enjoy the shooting sports and Airforce Airguns makes some phenomenal airguns. Thank you as always for watching, reading, and listening! Have an awesome day in the outdoors!


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