The Gun Safe Arrived

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I have long dreamed of this safe coming home and its finally here. All 700 pounds of the Cannon Wide and Tall safe came home the other day on the eve of a huge Christmas party we planned. Well, I wasn’t going to lift it by myself when I could have plenty of help! Half of my friends said it wouldn’t fit and the other half were sure it would. It took a few strong people but we got it in place with two furniture movers and a utility dolly. Wow 48 gun capacity! Lots of room to spare for my collection. No, a bigger safe is not an excuse to aquire more guns. Or is it? Ha!

A good rule I have learned in researching gun safes is this: Buy the biggest one you can afford and that will fit in your home. You will usually never need LESS secure space down the road, right! I am very blessed and thankful this holiday season. It just doesn’t get any better!

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The Oly Arms AR-15 is Finally Here!

 

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I just picked up the Olympic Arms AR-15 from my gunsmith who added a new adjustable butt-stock, a custom free-float tube,and a Nikon Pro-Staff scope. I have long dreamed of taking this gun home with these add-ons and the day is finally here. I couldn’t be happier! What an awesome early Christmas gift! Thank you to our friends at Olympic Arms for this awesome gun. I plan to go to the range next and sight it in and go hunting with it soon!

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Thanksgiving and Long Live the Brushy Creek Buck

It’s Thanksgiving today and I have so much to be thankful and grateful for as we all do here in our country. I celebrated a short work week yesterday but hunting my Brushy Creek bow stand pop-up and harvested my 4th deer of the season. So far, I have taken two does and a spike buck from this stand this year and I have been watching a nice 8-point buck which comes in about 5:30pm every so often to my set up. I have missed seeing him almost every time I have set out, which is usually on weekend evenings and mornings due to my work schedule. I saw this buck early in October and I have wanted to cross paths with him ever since then. Last night, it finally happened. He came into my shooting lane around 5:30 to feed and chase some does. One shot with my Barnett Buck Commander Extreme Carbonlite crossbow with LumenArrow Bolts and Grim Reaper broadheads and he was down less than 10 seconds later about 25 yards away.  What better is that I caught it all on video and I’ll have it up on my website soon. In the meantime, here are some pictures. For hunting property along Brushy Creek, a very urban part of Central Texas, this is the best buck to date I have been able to harvest. He is a monster in my book and taking him was something I have been dreaming about for almost two months.

Before I show you those pictures, let us pause for a moment. We all have something to be thankful for today. A few things on my list include my family, our freedom, my health, wisdom, outdoor skills, and so much more. I encourage you to celebrate  this day we call Thanksgiving all year long. Remember that over a billion people sleep on dirt floors and live on less than a dollar a day in our world. 80% of the world’s population will never use a cell phone. We have it pretty good here. Let’s be sure to thank God for all of our blessings and have a grateful heart in all we do. It’s easy to get discouraged by politics, the state of the economy, and more. Keep in mind, we have it pretty good when you look at the big picture.

Here are some pictures from my solo hunt for my Brushy Creek buck. Long live the trophy deer we all seek after out in the woods. As elusive as they are, the success when we do find them makes the journey that much better!

See videos, articles, podcasts and more at www.dustinsprojects.com

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Relax, It’s Just Camo!

I own several camo patterns in different types of clothing and other accessories. I think it is funny how many people make a big deal about the newest and greatest camo pattern on the market these days. While companies continue to make new headway in virtually turning you “invisible” in front of the game you are pursuing, I think many hunters lose sight of the main reason they  use camo in the first place.

No matter what you choose to wear when you go hunting, keep in mind that you do not need a whole new wardrobe to go into the woods. Camo is a crucial part of most bowhunting adventures but is less important for gun hunters. You want to choose darker colors and patterns that “break-up” your outline to suspecting game animals. You can even use your normal wardrobe for this purpose if you plan to rifle hunt and plan to be a fair distance apart from what you are hunting. This can be accomplished with a flannel shirt in some cases due to the crossing patterns of the fabric. Solid colors stick out light a sore thumb to game in the woods. In other words, you don’t need the latest 3D HD camo. Just stay away from light solid colors of your normal clothes where possible as you want to try to blend in with your environment. It is generally known that wild hogs have poor eyesight and deer are partially colorblind. You can still spook any game with the best and most expensive camo if they see you move or something doesn’t look right to them. This has happened to most of us at some point in our hunting career. What you want to do, as always, is stack the odds in your favor.

So the goal of wearing camo of any kind is to blend in with nature and keep a low profile. Keep that in mind as you shop. Try to find camo that best matches your terrain and don’t feel like you have to pay an arm and a leg for it. Deer, wild hogs, and other game don’t care how much you spend on your apparel and it amazes me when I see Texas hunters wearing camo clothing designed for the Alaskan tundra. Although camo in and of itself is a fashion statement in some ways, solidifying the message that we love the outdoors, it is important to be practical in what you purchase and why. It matters, but its really only part of the package.

Another point to make is to only camo where it counts. If I am hunting in a pop-up blind or deer stand where only the top part of my body will be exposed, I mainly concentrate those exposed areas where camo is concerned.It is needless to use camo on areas of your body that game can’t even see and this is the case many times with the exception of bowhunting in tree stands or tripod stands or spot and stalk hunting. If I am hunting with my pop-up blind where the background is black, I tend to dress “ninja-style” in all black or in a dark camo with a black face cover. To that point, I have tagged three deer already this season from that blind due to my choice of clothing. You want to match your surroundings.

In my humble opinion, One of the best camo brands on the market today is M2D Camo (M2D stands for Made 2 Deceive). Sparky Sparks is one of the owners of this company and is a good friend and colleague to our hunting show (www.macandprowler.com) and M2D camo has incredible properties that will blend in with many environments. Look them up if you get a chance and I think you will be impressed.

As always, thanks for reading my blog. Have fun out there!

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Varmint Lights is Tearing it Up in Sales!

One of my favorite companies and sponsors is www.varmintlights.com and owner Brad Selph is a good personal friend of mine as well. I recently stopped by his warehouse this week to see two large pallets going to Cabela’s online distribution warehouse and retail stores.

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Cabelas can’t seem to keep them in stock. Why? VL products are simply the highest quality and most value priced in the outdoor industry in my humble opinion. I have been working with Brad since the VRL-1 hunting light was in its infancy stages in development and it has been a blast to see this product line and company grow leaps and bounds in a very competitive market and industry.

Hats off to this company and an awesome product for hunting and navigating at night. Currently, I am on the staff product testing some new accessories and products that will be on the market soon.

Here is my video on the VRL-1 hunting light.

Learn more about Dustin at www.dustinsprojects.com

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Compound & Crossbows 101: Ask Dustin

From all of the videos I produced, the archery tech tip videos seem to attract the most questions. That being the case, I thought it would be a good idea to address a couple of points by answering a few questions I have been asked about about archery that should be helpful for beginners, old pro’s, and everyone in between.

What is the best brand of bow or crossbow? This is one of the most frequent questions I get. Due to lots of competition in a small market, the industry has weeded out the shady and poor quality manufactures of archery equpment for the most part so  are no brands I know of to avoid. Ask a bowhunter or target archery enthusiast what his or her favorite brand is and you will usually get an answer right away. I would consider a major name brand, however, as they tend to have better longevity and customer support. You get what you pay for as in any other purchase but you don’t always have to buy the newest or most expensive to get your money’s worth. As in most purchases, look for the best quality and value for your money. Both compound bows came to me used and are still are in great shape. Remember, newer doesn’t always mean better. For crossbows, I think Barnett makes one of the best products for the money.

Personally, I shoot a Barnett C5 Wildcat and Barnett Buck Commander Extreme Carbonlite (BCX) in the crossbow realm and a Martin Scepter II and an Oneida Screaming Eagle in the compound bow realm.  My new BCX Carbonlite has the features of crossbows costing over $1000 for a much lower price. It shoots fast and, due to the weight, packs super light.

For buying a used bow, check out my video below with me interviewing Red Hilliard from Tusker Archery. The advice works well for both compound bows and crossbows alike.


What are some shooting mistakes most archers miss when they start out? This is a great question. Most people do not want to make the same mistakes that others who came before them made. I have a whole video dedicated to this subject below. Here are a few things to watch for in the meantime:

1)Punching the Release. Many archers, myself included, have been known to punch the trigger of their release and jerk the shot off target in the processes. As I just mentioned, I used to be guilty of this but now have that part of my shooting controlled. Much like the trigger of a rifle, the trigger on the release should be treated with a smooth and easy stroke. I have tracked many wounded game animals as a result of  bowhunters punching the trigger too soon. Most  of the time, this happens out of rushing the shot. Take your time and make a smooth and solid press of your release trigger.

2) “Kung-Fu” Grip on the Bow Riser. The hand holding your bow should be relaxed when holding it, especially at full draw. One of the major recommendations for outfitting most bows these days is having a rope around the riser attached with a stabilizer. This prevents the archer from dropping the bow if the grip on the bow is too loose. Remember, the more you grip your bow, the more you will torque it off target when you release your string. Hold it lightly, especially at full draw. No kung fu grip is needed!

3) Re-Drawing the Bow off of Full Draw. Many times a bow can come down off of full draw due to the archer letting down pressure or a number of other things. The best thing you can do is let down from full draw completely and start over again. Redrawing a partially drawn bow can change the amount of energy stored in the limbs and affect your accuracy.

4) Looking at your sight, not your target. As we are taught in wing shooting and, if you concentrate on your sight and not your target, you will miss your shot. When shooting with sight pins on a compound bow or a red dot sight on your crossbow, concentrate on the intended target, not your sight pin. Let everything else be in the background. Focus on your technique. Aim small, miss small by picking out a small spot in the middle of your target to aim for and settle in on it. The experience should be almost like a meditation. Everything is smooth and calculated in your shot. You take your time. Your breathing should slow down and you should only be mindful of the target and making a good connection with it through your arrow. All other distractions disappear. This is what makes a good archer.

If you haven’t experienced the joy of archery, visit your local archery pro-shop today and give the mystical flight of the arrow a try. I am changed for the better being a target archer and bowhunter and think you will be as well if this is new to you. Have fun and be safe out there.

 

See Dustin’s articles and videos at http://www.dustinsprojects.com

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Mmmm….Deer Meat!

Today marks the start of gun season for deer here in Texas and many other states in our great country. Although I am mainly a bowhunter since I hunt in urban areas close to home for most of the season, I will soon be breaking out my rifle to prepare for my trip to Brady, Texas and film my annual deer gun hunt. In other news, last weekend I killed a nice 2 year old Whitetail doe with my crossbow. Video to soon follow after I get a chance to edit the footage. Many thanks to my sponsors as I believe I hunt with some of the best gear in the industry. Joining me on this hunt were the: Barnett BCX (Buck Commander Extreme) Carbonlite, Grim Reaper Broadheads (I am shooting 1 1/2 cut radius Crossbow broadheads), Thermacell, Lumenok’s LumenArrows (Crossbow Bolts), the Ergo Hunter knife from Buck Knives, and my trust VRL-X flashlight using the white LED module for nighttime navigation from Varmintlights.com. I could not ask for better equipment.

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I love deer meat. I sometimes feel like Forrest Gump with his love of shrimp when I start listing off all the things I make with deer meat. This doe was made into Bacon Burger by my friends at Brizendine’s Deer Processing in Bertram. While the Brizendine family will never share the recipe, Bacon Burger is basically venison burger with bacon pieces added as the fat instead of pork or beef. I would love to know the ratio of bacon to ground deer meat they use but its better to have them grind and package it for me anyway. The resulting burger meat makes great queso, meatloaf, casseroles, and more. There I go! Deer burgers, deer meatballs, deer patty-melts, deer tacos, and so much more! It is so universal. We hardly ever by beef or any other meat from the store due to the abundance of wild deer and pork in the freezer which I am blessed to be able to harvest each year. If only chicken was a wild bird! Otherwise, we eat from the field! For my next harvests, I am looking forward to deer tamales, deer salami, deer steaks, deer roasts, deer fajita meat, and, of course, deer sausages. It doesn’t get much better than that!

So cheers to the deer! I am grateful for each harvest whether it is for me or for on of the charities I work with like Hunters for the Hungry or True Grind Ministries. The more we as hunters can share how we use the meat we harvest for feeding ourselves and our families, as well as helping those in need, the better. Deer, anyone? I thought so. Have fun, be safe, aim small, and have fun out there!

See Dustin’s website at www.dustinsprojects.com.

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Black Rifles, Ammo, and Sighting in a New Gun

Thanks to my friends at Olympic Arms, I am now a proud owner of an AR-15 “Black Rifle”. This package just showed up at my gunsmith’s shop as he also serves as my FFL dealer. This is my first AR-15, believe it or not, although I own several other rifles, shotguns, and pistols, with a “black rifle” of another variety or two in the mix.

Oly-Arms

With a new gun comes new ammunition selections. As we talked about in a previous post, every gun typically has a preferred brand or load of ammunition whether you reload your own ammo or buy it from a commercial ammunition manufacture. Today I purchased three brands of ammunition. Winchester, Federal, and Monarch.

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Of these three, Winchester and Federal are the premium loads with Monarch bringing up the rear. Many people will not recognize Monarch as it is a foreign made ammunition sold by our local Academy sporting goods stores here in Texas. I shoot Monarch ammo in my pistols and rifles because it is a low cost alternative for plinking at the range or even hunting, in some cases, compared to shooting the higher-priced American made ammo. It is not a question of patriotism but, instead, one of economics. The reason I purchased a box of Monarch ammo is simple. My recipe for sighting in a rifle goes something like this:

1) Get on paper with the less expensive ammo, even if its a different grain weight.
2) Dial in your gun with the ammo you plan to hunt with or target shoot with full time.
3) If testing different brands of ammo, start by shooting a 3-5 shot group using the best ammo you have first, for comparison. Get the best starting point you can so you can judge POI (Point of Impact) and group size from a starting point.

Following this method, you are not burning up your premium loads to get your gun on paper but, instead, use them when it comes to fine tuning your gun. You also have a good basis for comparison when sighting in other brands of ammo for comparison to see which brand works best for your gun..

As we have covered before, don’t settle on the first ammo brand or custom load you put your hands on. Do your homework on your gun to squeeze the maximum accuracy potential out of the equation. By doing this, you, the shooter, become the biggest variable to success after you have the rifle, optics, and ammo dialed in.

When considering grain weights in your bullets, keep in mind that heavier grain bullets traditionally hit harder and heavier but can sacrifice accuracy and speed. Lighter grain bullets are typically faster and and more accurate but don’t pack as hard of a punch. As in many things in life, its a compromise to find the best combination. With .223, the spectrum of grain selection is small but this range widens when you move up to larger calibers. As you can tell from the photos, I am going to be ranging between 55 grains in the Monarch to 64 grains in the Winchester brand. Also, the Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) Monarchs are going to impact different from the soft point Winchesters and Federals. I would only consider hunting with the soft point bullets and target practicing with the FMJ loads. Again, it is vitally important to know what you are shooting. The differences may be subtle to the novice eye but the difference in performance is a very important consideration in the field.  Be safe, shoot straight and hunt hard out there!

 

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Crosswater Outfitters Rocks!

I love being a part of outdoor related ministries, especially those that honor our heroes in the military. Earlier this month, I attended an event with Crosswater Outfitters, one of the organizations who serves the Warriors in Transition Brigade (WTB) on Fort Hood. We held an event on Belton Lake at BLORA and it was simply awesome. While I cover the spectrum of music and worship leader, boat deck hand, and even fish-cleaner, it is awesome to give back to those who who give so much of themselves to protect our freedoms. This was a family event so giving the whole family a weekend retreat was a nice added touch!

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Shoot to Kill: Know your Ammo and Broadheads

It amazes me how many hunters fail in the field due to  simple preparation considerations before their outdoor adventure. One of the most important of these considerations is ammunition and broadheads, depending on whether gun hunting or bowhunting. Shoot to kill. Every time. This sounds like the most basic and trivial of advice but its true and I have heard of numerous unsuccessful shots because of basic fundamentals.

When preparing for hunting season or practicing during season between adventures in the field, use the ammo or broadheads you plan to hunt with. There should be no exceptions. If you are running low on supplies, get more. The worst thing you can do is use ammunition in a gun or a broadhead on and arrow in a bow that is different from your “recipe” for success. Most ammunition and many broadheads have a different point-of-impact (POI). Consistency is key here. Any deviation from that is a potential recipe for failure when everything counts the most. Most premium broadheads, such as my favorite, Grim Reaper Broadheads (http://www.grimreaperbroadheads.com/) come with a practice head. Many high quality mechanical and fixed-blade broadheads like Grim Reapers fly like field tips, making practicing with feild tips as most of use normally do very easy, but using the supplied practice head before showtime is still a good consideration to make.

Remember, as with most things in life, consistency is one major key to success. Practice with what you plan to use to kill your quarry. Shoot to kill.

I also cover this subject in a recent video I made this summer in preparation for hunting season.

 

Be safe and have fun out there!

Learn more about Dustin Warncke at www.dustinsprojects.com

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