I love Camp Agape. It is a Christian bereavement summer camp that I work with all year long in a few roles. I have done videos, website work, and served as a “Buddy” AKA camp mentor over the past few years since I started with them in 2012. This is a bereavement camp for children 7-12 years old who have lost a loved one close to them in their lives. Although the circumstances that bring us all together each year are sometimes tough, we have a lot of fun. It is a life changing experience for both the volunteers and the children.
There are a few fundraisers Camp Agape does every year and this event in late April was the 2nd Annual Clay Shoot. Here are a few photos my father-in-law, Mr. Joe Vogel took of the event. Mr. Joe has two brothers from East Texas that have come to shoot this event both years now, Uncle Edward and Uncle Arthur. Both of them can out-shoot me on any given day but I never claimed I was an expert at shooting sporting clays!
Joshua Creek Ranch hosted this event again this year and they did a great job. The course is world-class. The food is incredibly good and even better than what you might expect at a place like this. All of the participants and volunteers had a blast at this event.
Here is a video I did for Camp Agape last summer. What a great place to learn about the love of God and Christ. Thank you as always for your support and for watching, reading, and listening.
I love archery and promote the sport often in my writing, podcasting, and videos. One group I have a lot of respect and admiration for is Legacy Outfitters. Legacy is a Christian men’s organization and has several chapters here in Texas and focus groups within those chapters for the shooting sports, archery, and more. I was invited to speak at a Temple/Belton Legacy chapter meeting in early 2015 and met Bryan Rugh.
Since then, I have helped Bryan promote their big annual 3D archery tournament fundraiser which happens every May. This year, I took my son Jackson and he insisted on being the camera man with my iPhone 5 so I let him take pictures of the 3D wildlife targets. There were many flying arrows at this 30 target archery event and we had a blast.
I try to get donations every year and was blessed to receive a large bag target from Double G Archery and a pack of Grim Reaper Broadheads from my friends at Grim Reaper for this event this year. Thank you to both sponsors! Here are some photos of the targets, people, and prizes. I must say, for only 6 years old, Jackson is a pretty good photographer!
I had to throw in one selfie photo while we were at it. Jackson and I had a fun time and look forward to this event each year. Thanks to Bryan for having us as a guest. If you live in Texas, be sure to check out a Legacy Outfitters chapter in your area. As always, thank you for watching, reading, and listening!
I have been active in the archery sports, especially bowhunting, for over a decade now and the innovations in this industry keep getting better. I am blown away by Grim Reaper Broadheads. Out of all of the companies I represent as a Pro-Staff or other position, Grim Reaper is one of my personal favorites. They keep pushing the envelope on what is possible in broadhead technology.
Grim Reaper Broadheads have worked for me time after time in hunt after hunt. With no exception, Grim Reapers have worked for me, even with marginal shot placements. As long as a Whitetail Deer or Wild Hog, our main big game quarry here in Texas, has been hit in the vital area with a Grim Reaper, I have recovered the animal and done so in a short amount of time. This may just be my personal experience but I have the video proof to back it up since I started filming my hunts back in 2012. In 2013, I even filmed two deer I shot with a crossbow dropping 7-10 seconds after they were hit with one of the GR crossbow broadheads I used. You can see all of my bow hunts on my YouTube Channel.
If you are a bowhunter and have never tried a pack of these broadheads, check out Grim Reaper and just buy a pack of their broadheads on your next archery purchase. I can assure you that you will not be disappointed at the results.
Here is a video about some of the innovations that Grim Reaper has come out with for 2016. This is Matt Bateman, National Sales Manager for Grim Reaper, talking about some of the new products this year. I have known Matt for many years now and he is a great guy with a great product line. As always, thank you so much for reading!
While I was cruising around the exhibit hall floor, I ran into a familiar company. Will Hawkins started Recoil Rifle Slings back in 2011 and I met Will through a mutual friend back in 2013. I met his parents, William B. Hawkins and Linda Hawkins at the NRA show and got some pictures of Mrs. Hawkins showcasing some of their latest creations. What is special about this company is that not only is it US military veteran owned, all of the slings are handmade by US veterans here in the USA. What’s even more incredible is that the slings are made from durable paracord (parachute cord) with which you can use in an emergency situation to do a number of things. Recoil Slings come in three sizes: Diamond Back Pro, Viper 2-2-1, and Big Mamba. I own one of these handmade slings and it is among my most cherished firearm accessories. You can see the first blog post I did for this awesome company here and a follow up post with a video of my personal sling here.
I am always looking for new innovations on existing platforms and I found just that at SHOT Show this year where I was introduced to the Cobalt Kinetics AR-15. I visited this booth again at NRA just to get the detailed scoop on what they have to offer. They have designed a system that drops the magazine out of the gun upon loading the last round out of the magazine, allowing you to feed another magazine into the gun and keep going without missing a beat. What’s more is that if your bolt stays open after the last shot, it will automatically close again and load the first round into the chamber upon simply loading the magazine into the gun. Talk about innovation! Nothing like this has ever been done before and the technology is impressive to say the least. This eliminates about three steps needed to change out a magazine on a traditional AR-15. While this may be perfect for a gun competition, I got to thinking how practical it would be on shooting wild hogs here in Texas if you didn’t have the time for traditional firearm reloading but had a target rich environment of pesky swine you needed to eradicate. I have actually been in some situations while hog hunting where we had hogs left to shoot but no available ammunition left in our guns. Just a thought.
I ran into one of the reps from Desert Tech at the hotel I was staying at and decided to pay their booth a visit. I have never seen rifles like this and I thought I would write a short piece about them. This modular bolt action platform is built with both the big game hunter and long range shooter in mind. So what’s so interesting about a bullpup-style bolt action rifle you might say? Here’s the fun part. You can change out barrels and go from a .308 Win to a larger caliber in a minute or so! These guns are compact, convertible and accurate. It is hard to find rifles that will meet all three of those criteria as well in today world of firearms.
I have been impressed by the strides Daniel Defense has taken with the AR platform. Along with the great rifles chambered in .223/5.56×45 and 300 Blackout, new Ambush rifle in .308 Win was quite impressive. The ambidextrous controls on this rifle make it easy to be handled by left and right-handed alike. You can drop the magazine, release the bolt, or operate the safety from either side of the receiver. Also new this year is the DD32, an AR-15 magazine that broke the mold on what an AR magazine should be with its lightweight but strong build and increased ammunition capacity. This magazine was built with a carbon fiber reinforced polymer making it the lightest but toughest AR magazine I own and it hold two rounds more than any of my other AR magazines.
I have written about that fact that we are in the “Golden Age” of the outdoor industry many times in the past. My goal in this trip to the NRA Show and with this blog series was to cover what was most interesting and unique this year. Competition between outdoor industry companies can be fierce but the winners and the end of the day are you and I, the consumers. New strides are taken every year to come out with what is bigger and better or even simply something that is unique and practical that we have never seen before. My point is that it all just keeps getting better for us in this hunting and shooting industry and I am blessed to have the opportunity to share some of it with you. Thank you, as always, for watching, reading, and listening.
There are many companies who make a great AR-15 rifle but ADCOR Defense has a revolutionary gas piston system built into their AR platform. This rifle features an ambidextrous forward charging handle and is available in 5.56×45, 7.62×39, and 300 Blackout. What a cool idea! I have often thought there should be a design alternative to the traditional rear charging handle which can be awkward at times. I look for innovation when I look at what is being done in the “black rifle” part of the firearm industry and I think ADCOR is onto something here. I first ran into ADCOR at SHOT Show this year and ever since then have been impressed with their rifle platform.
I ran across G2 Research from a press release that came through from a PR company that I work with at Texas Fish & Game Magazine. What impressed me about both their Civic Duty, R.I.P., and Trident ammunition was the controlled expansion. G2 Research is producing ammunition in popular calibers for both handgun and rifles. If you are looking for a serious self defense round, check these guys out.
I have been thoroughly impressed by holographic optics over the years the leader of that field has been EOTech. I wrote an article back in 2012 on the Mac & Prowler TV Show website about the EOTech XPS3 sight I own and it is still among by favorite optics. What’s new for this year is the model 512 XBOW optic which is built with the crossbow hunter in mind. The venerable Model 512 has been called the “meat and potatoes” of the holographic sight family as EOTech’s most popular model. To make a holo sight for the crossbow with a specialized reticle for hunting? I think this is a brilliant innovation! Add to the list some night vision accessories for night hunting our Texas wild hogs and it just keeps getting better. Also new is the Vudu line of precision rifle scopes which should be available by September 2016. It is hard to not get excited when you are surrounded by such incredible technology that allows us to be better hunters and shooters.
Blue Force Gear
I met the folks at Blue Force Gear at SHOT Show this year and it was great to reconnect with them again at this show. This company makes some of most durable military-grade gear I have ever encountered. I own one of their Vickers Slings and it is one of the highest quality firearms slings I own. They also have a huge list of practical and tactical gear such as MOLLE Pouches, Chest Rigs, Belt Pouches, and so much more. I highly recommend you check them out for a great overall gear selection.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 http://survivalslingshot.com. Thank you as always for reading, watching, and listening!
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 www.huskyliners.com.
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.
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.