Rambling Review: Jim Matthews Signature Quail Calls

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Jim Matthews Signature Quail Call
Jim Matthews Signature Quail Call

Rambling Review

Why:

Since I’ve moved to Arizona, I’ve been hunting Gambel’s quail without a dog. On the rare occasion, I can meet up with a buddy who has a dog, but most of my hunts are on my own. I’ve found that Gambel’s are very huntable due to how vocal they are, between their clucks, putts, and unmistakable assembly/locator call, “Chi-ca-go-go”. For the past few years, I’ve been playing around with a couple different locator calls with limited success. I recently had the opportunity to get my hands on a couple of handmade chamber calls from Jim Matthews and believer they are some of the best sounding quail calls on the market.

First impressions:

Chamber call – Jim Matthews’ unique call design features a hollowed out chamber on the inside of the call right behind the rubber band. This creates a rich resonate tone that makes for an extremely convincing Gambel’s call.

Handmade quality – Each call is handmade by Jim Matthews from a wide variety of woods. Jim was kind enough to embed a shotgun shell on the face of each call, which give them a really unique look.

Jim Matthews Signature Quail Calls
Jim Matthews Signature Quail Calls

Field Use:

I’ve been toting the Jim Matthews Signature Calls in my vest for most of the season and have seen real success in using them. I have one made from walnut and one from mesquite. Both sound great, but I found great success with the mesquite call. I can usually find birds early in the morning without much difficulty, but as the morning wears on, it can be tough to locate birds after breaking up a covey or two.

Each Jim Matthews Signature Call is built to receive a specific size rubber band which are available in bulk from your local office store. Right out of the box, each call sounds excellent, but by applying pressure with your fingers to the call can change the tone of the call and give a change in pitch if needed. Both of my calls sounded perfect without any adjustment.

Pros:

Beautiful handmade craftsmanship

Rich resonate sound

Multiple varieties of wood to choose from

Durable construction for years of use

Cons:

Cost – the calls aren’t cheap, but are a great addition in your bird vest.

Prognosis:  I can’t say enough good things about Jim Matthews Signature Calls. Put your order in for next season. You won’t be disappointed

* Disclaimer:

The reviews at Arizona Wanderings are my honest opinion. Arizona Wanderings is not sponsored by or associated with any of the stated companies and is accepting no compensation, monetary or otherwise, in exchange for this review.  Two calls were provided by Jim Matthews for the purpose of this review. My independent status may change in the future but, as of the date of publication, no relationship other than described above has been pursued or established.

Javelina Hunting: Stickbow Edition

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Javelina Hunting
Stickbow Javelina

While gulping a cup of coffee, I scrawled a note to my wife and kids telling them I was planning on morning javelina hunting. Little did I know as I threw my pack and bow into the truck, that it would turn into a full day hunt. I met up with a few buddies and spent the morning glassing the sunny slopes in search of pigs. When we finally found them, they were a good mile and half hike away, but after formulating a game plan, we made our way over to them working in to about a 100 yards. From there, we silently made our final stalk into a big herd of javelina, where at 6 yards, my arrow found it’s mark. When the dust settled, my friend David and I had been able to harvest pigs.

The sun was already headed deep into the western sky by the time we shouldered our heavy packs and started to make our way back to the truck. It turned into a long day in the field, but it was a good day javelina hunting with friends that I won’t soon forget.

Javelina Country
Javelina Country
Vortex Viper 15x50
The Vortex Vipers doing some work
Arizona Javelina
Javelina for dinner
Arizona Sunset
Success Sunset

Arizona Quail Hunting: Field to Table

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Gambel's Quail
Fistful of Birds

I planned to do a little bit of scouting for the 2016 javelina season, and on a whim I decided to bring the shotgun along just in case I found a covey of Gambel’s. After hiking up the first hill, I busted the first of 6 coveys for the day. With birds plentiful and very vocal, I didn’t spend a whole bunch of time glassing for pigs, and instead spent the rest of the morning chasing Gambel’s quail. By the end of the morning, my vest was heavy with a half dozen birds, and I headed for home.

After putting gear away and cleaning the birds, I deboned the breasts and legs and got out the fixings for quail nuggets. Within minutes, my little sidekick had pulled a chair over to the kitchen counter picking at the tasty fried morsels and honey mustard. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as completing the circle and taking game from the field to table.

Arizona Desert
Desert in the Winter
Fixings for fried quail
Fixings for quail nuggets
Someone loves quail nuggets
Someone loves quail nuggets

 

Arizona Quail Hunting: A day in the field

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Arizona Slam
Arizona Quail Slam

Mearns season opened here in Arizona and I headed south with a couple of buddies on our annual pilgrimage to hike the southern hills and see how the Mearns quail faired over the winter and summer. We had an action packed day with plenty of birds on the bag and an epic tailgate lunch. By the end of the day, all three of us had completed the Arizona quail slam with Mearns, Scaled and Gambel’s quail in the game vest. Arizona quail hunting at it’s finest.

Tacos
Kyle’s famous tailgate tacos for lunch
Mexican Coke
Cane sugar goodness
Jim Matthews Signature Quail Call
Jim Matthews Signature Quail Call
Chase
Chase
Arizona Slam
Arizona Slam
Stanley Pint Glass
Mearns
Scalie
Arizona Scaled Quail
Pile of Arizona Quail
Pile of Arizona Quail

Top Ten Christmas Gifts for the Outdoorsman

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I had a conversation with a good friend the other day about gear that has stood the test of time. It prompted some further reflection and I thought it would be appropriate to put together a list of gifts for the outdoorsman.

WingWorks

1. New Upland Bird Hunting Vest – I get quite a few emails about bird hunting vests and generally it comes down to two: The WingWorks Upland Vest or the Q5 Centerfire Upland Vest. Both strap vests are made in America and bulletproof.

Q5 Centerfire Upland Vest
Q5 Centerfire Upland Vest

2. K-Pump 200 – Accept no substitute. There’s no pontoon boat pump out there better than the K-Pump 200.

K-200a
K-200

3. Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener – The Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener is a solid sharper and I always carry it in my big game kill kit.

4. Sage and Braker Bore Snake – The Sage and Braker Bore Snake is the perfect stocking stuffer for the active hunter or shooter on your list.

Sage and Braker Bore Snake
Sage and Braker Bore Snake

5. Jim Matthews Signature Quail Call – I just got my hands on my Jim Matthews Signature Quail Calls and haven’t posted a full review yet. But let me tell you that these beauties sound so good and I’m very impressed with the quality and sound. More to come on these calls.

Jim Matthews Signature Quail Call
Jim Matthews Signature Quail Call

6.  Stanley Brand – The Stanley name long been synonymous with quality and I’ve had the opportunity to get my hands on a number of their products. My favorite as of late has been the Stanley Vacuum Pint. Stanley products always make for a good gift.

Stanley Classic Vaccum Pint Glass
Stanley Classic Vaccum Pint Glass

7. Lowa Renegade LL – Nothing is more critical than a solid set of hunting boots and the Lowa Renegade LL (leather-lined) fit the bill.

Lowa Renegade LL
Lowa Renegade LL

8. Sierra Nets – Handmade by my good friend Greg Madrigal, a Sierra Net is a work of art. If you have a fly fisherman on your Christmas list, make his year and have Greg make him a net.

Sierra Nets by Greg Madrigal
Sierra Nets by Greg Madrigal

9. Mountainsmith Day TLS – This little lumbar pack goes with me on every fishing trip into the mountains. Can’t beat the Mountainsmith Day TLS for comfort, durability, and utility while fishing.

Mountainsmith Day TLS
Mountainsmith Day TLS

10. A new bamboo rod – Treat yourself. I recently commissioned my good friend and rod builder Mike Johnson, owner of Agua Fria Alchemy to build me a new bamboo rod and it is a dream to fish with. Do yourself a favor and put a bamboo rod under the tree for yourself.

Agua Fria Alchemy Bamboo Fly Rod
Agua Fria Alchemy Bamboo Fly Rod

 

Mule Deer, Chukar, and Good Friends

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Arizona Mule Deer
Arizona Mule Deer

My good friend, Austin, spent the better part of two weeks looking for a giant mule deer in northern Arizona in one of the premier mule deer units. I headed up the last weekend with my other buddy, David, to see if we could help out. Although we never found the big one that Austin was after, we spotted this old buck that was past his prime near the end of the hunt. After some consideration, Austin opted to pull the trigger and put his tag on this old warrior. We celebrated with tenderloins and libations, and woke late the next morning to start breaking camp.

On the long way out from camp, we set up a couple of unsuccessful coyote stands but our luck picked up when we busted a covey of chukar. We gave chase, and I was lucky enough to knock down my first Arizona chukar. I felt quite fortunate to put this trophy in the game bag and couldn’t have had a happier ending to the weekend.

Arizona Mule Deer
Teamwork
Processing
Processing
Arizona Chukar
A trophy of my own – Arizona Chukar

Rambling Review: Coleman Fyrechampion Hyperflame Stove

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Rambling Review: Coleman Fyrechampion Hyperflame Stove

Coleman Fryechampion Hyperflame Stove
Coleman Fyrechampion Hyperflame Stove

Why:

Although many times I’m looking for the lightest equipment for backpacking into the backcountry, there are plenty of times where I’m truck camping and space and weight are not an issue. When it comes to stoves, I have several compact camp stoves that are ideal for those backpacking trips where all that is needed is to boil water for dehydrated meals, but these compact stoves are limited in the amount of any real cooking. For my fishing and hunting trips, where I’m camping next to the truck, I’ve been using the Coleman Fyrechampion Hyperflame 2-Burner Propane Stove which has been a pretty solid stove for me.

Coleman Fryechampion Hyperflame Stove
Coleman Fyrechampion Hyperflame Stove

First impressions:

  • Dimensions – This stove measures 26.8″ x 6.6″ x 14.9″  and weighs in at 17.1 pounds.
  • Coleman’s HyperFlame burner technology cuts boil time in half compared to a standard burner at 3 m/sec. windspeed
  • The Coleman Hyper Fyrchampion Hyperflame stove boasts 12,000 BTU from each of the two burners
  • The Fyrechampion comes with two griddles, for use as a two-burner stove, griddle, or stove/griddle combo
  • Uses a standard 16.4-oz. propane cylinder
  • The Coleman Fyrechampion Hyperflame Stove is covered by a 3-year limited warranty
Coleman Fryechampion Hyperflame Stove
Coleman Fyrechampion Hyperflame Stove

Field Use:

After a couple months of use, the Coleman Fyrechampion Hyperflame Stove has proven to be a great piece of gear for my truck camping trips. It’s seen several fishing and hunting overnight trips, as the two burner top really comes in handy when cooking up the main course and a side.

The removable griddles are an interesting touch on the stove, and to be honest, I was a bit skeptical if I would even use them and thought about leaving them when I first packed the stove for a trip. But the first time I cooked up scrambled eggs and toasted the tortillas on the griddles, I was sold. They are great for warming tortillas, cooking eggs and sausage, but unfortunately the the short sides of the griddles make them too short to contain bacon grease. Regardless, I’ve realized how nice the griddles are to have in the field.

One of the standout features on the Coleman Fyrechampion Hyperflame Stove is how much heat this stove puts out. Between the Coleman Perfect Heat Technology and Perfect Flow Pressure Control System, this stove puts out high, steady heat, even at 9000′ in the White Mountains on a chilly fall morning. The recessed cook top, lowered burners, and high intensity flame make for a fairly wind resistant unit. Although high heat is a positive when talking about a stove, I have found it a bit difficult to find the sweet spot for low heat and simmering.  While  the stove is capable of putting out, it takes a bit of playing to find the lower end of the flame without causing the flame to snuff out.

Coleman Fryechampion Hyperflame Stove
Coleman Fyrechampion Hyperflame Stove

Pros:

A solid stove for vehicle camping trips

Two 12,000 BTU burners 

Bulk propane tank compatible

3 year warranty

Wind resistant

Cons:

The griddle sides are a bit short. Perfect for everything but bacon.

Made in China

Prognosis:  The Coleman Fyrechampion Hyperflame 2-Burner Propane Stove is a solid stove and worth your consideration if you are in the camp stove market.

* Disclaimer:

The reviews at Arizona Wanderings are my honest opinion. Arizona Wanderings is not sponsored by or associated with any of the stated companies and is accepting no compensation, monetary or otherwise, The Coleman Fyrechampion Hyperflame Stove was provided by Coleman for the purpose of this review.  My independent status may change in the future but, as of the date of publication, no relationship other than described above has been pursued or established.

Arizona Quail Hunting: Gambel’s Quail

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Male Gambel's Quail
A hard earned bird to get the day started

I made it home late on Friday evening from the latest Pig Farm Ink BarFly, and morning came much earlier than I had anticipated. After hastily gathering gear, DJ and I made it into the field for an early morning of hunting Gambel’s quail. The desert was pretty quiet for the first couple hours and we opted to change up locations and look at a different piece of desert. The change paid off and we ended up flushing a couple large coveys onto a sprawling flat which gave us an hour or two of hunting singles.

I haven’t had this productive of a morning all season, and it was nice to see such a so many birds. The desert in this area was healthy from our frequent summer rains and there was plenty of undergrowth, feed and cover that has obviously helped this particular area. With a solid morning like this one in the books, I’m looking forward to getting out these next few months and putting more miles under my boots.

Gambel's quail hunting
Listening for that tell tale Gambel’s quail call
Female Gambel's Quail
DJ with a beautiful female Gambel’s
Male Gambel's
Male Gambel’s Quail
Gambel's Quail
A fine pile of Gambel’s after the morning hunt