Although I did not get drawn for my go-to unit, I bought an over-the-counter javelina tag in a unit closer to town. While quail hunting there over the past couple of years, I have kicked up a couple of herds of pigs and figured I could get lucky. I put some miles under my feet and looked at a bunch of country but could not find the pigs that I know are there somewhere. I made it back to the truck around noon and decided to check out another area a little farther out of the way. Bumping along I heard the unmistakable hissing of escaping air which also deflated my spirit. After getting the spare squared away, I figured without cell service, continuing on would not be in my best interest. So I headed back to town to get my blown tire replaced with hopes of getting back into the field a little later this week. Hopefully, I can get these pigs figured out and get lucky enough to get an arrow off before I head back to school next week.
I usually stay away from the introspective look at my blog and stay pretty focused on the hunting and fishing here in Arizona, but it is the season to take a peak at what has been accomplished in 2011.
1. The Arizona Wanderings Shop – With the help of my brother, I was able to launch The Arizona Wanderings Shop and it has been amazing to watch support grow for my hand tied flies, AZW shirts, and my quail hunting e-book. A big thank you to everyone who has purchased gear from the shop and for all of the great reviews and kind words.
2. The Quail Hunting Forum – With a passion for hunting quail, I spent a good amount of time perusing the already established upland forums on the internet and found that most bird hunting sites put most of their focus on pheasants and chukar and generally leave the scraps to the quail hunting guys. In order to change that, I again teamed up with my brother to start the Quail Hunting Forum and give these birds the respect they are due. The response in this first season has been great and the discussions have ranged from firearms to dogs to weekly reports throughout the season. I am really excited to see this resource grow and connect quail hunters across the country.
3. Hunting Gambel’s Quail: A Beginner’s Guide to Hunting Southwestern Birds – In the off season, I wrote a 29 page ebook on the basics of hunting Gambel’s quail. In this book I cover all the essential information that a brand new hunter will need to know before heading into the field to chase these beautiful birds. The ebook has had a great reception with a couple of quality reviews written about it, and for its sale price of 5.99, it’s a steal.
4. The Backcountry Journal – The concept behind The Backcountry Journal is to showcase the written work of new and seasoned outdoor writers. Aside from the established periodicals, there did not seem to be too much in the way of an artistic literary outlet for authors who were just trying to get their foot in the door.
The Backcountry Journal
I will say a general thank you to the many people who have supported Arizona Wanderings through word and in deed, but there are four people who have been instrumental in supporting my humble efforts here at Arizona Wanderings.
The first person I would like to thank is my my brother Joel, from JSumner Designs, who patiently and graciously takes my frantic phone calls and emails and can fix just about any mess I get myself into on the web. He is responsible for the building of the different sites, forums, and storefronts and it never ceases to amaze me to watch his talent grow. The second person is Eric Davis of Hooked Up Films. Eric came down Thanksgiving of 2010 and really encouraged me to start doing something with Arizona Wanderings, and he has been a good friend and mentor ever since. Third, my good friend and fishing partner, Jason Jones has a real talent for design and has helped me out with logos for the different projects I have been working on. Finally, the most important person in my corner is my beautiful wife, who seeks to understand my love for the outdoors. Michelle is always my number one fan and at the same time has a compassionate way of letting me know when I’m straying off course.
Many thanks to all my readers and followers and may 2012 find you breathing the fresh air of the outdoors.
On my Pennsylvania whitetail hunt in November, I was lucky enough to be sitting in the tree stand right in the middle of the rut. It is important for the bow hunter to have those few items to help get the edge on those older wily bucks that are slipping through the woods. A grunt tube is one of those essentials that can bring a buck in to shooting range. Pocket Call Game Calls has a unique line-up of deer, predator, bear, pig/javelina and squirrel calls to choose from. This review is specifically for the DG-1 and DG-1A deer grunt calls.
The Size – The DG-1 grunt call is only 3 inches long and can fit nicely in any pocket you have. The DG-1A is essentially the same call except with a long tube which makes it hand free and really convenient. the tube folds or wraps around the call which again makes this device really handy to store.
The Sound – Although both calls have a deep rich sound to them, I am a little partial to the DG-1A. The long tube allows the caller to pull air through the call and create those bold sounds of rutting whitetail bucks.
The Science - The Pocket Calls are different than most grunt tubes because instead of blowing air through the call, the DG-1 and DG-1A calls both are designed to draw air through the call. By drawing air through the call, it reduces the amount of moisture left in the call and helps to protect it from freezing in really cold weather.
I carried both calls in my pack, but spent the majority of my time using the DG-1A. The number one reason that I preferred this call over the DG-1 was because it was truly hands free. Trying to stay warm and still, I would clip the Pocket Call to my coat pocket and run the mouthpiece up under my neck gaiter. By moving my head slightly I could pull air through the call and make the desired sounds I was looking for.
Although I did not have a shot at a big buck and ultimately came home emptied handed, I was successful with getting a few younger deer into my stands which in and of itself I saw as a victory. After grunting a couple of times in the course of the morning, one young three point, came in a string to my stand trying to check things out. After not finding the buck that he heard, he hung around for a little and browsed the undergrowth before leaving.
I have always been a skeptic of calls, scents, and gimmicks said to pull deer into a hunting stand, and feel that time in the field and patience are the hunters best friend. Having said that, having a quality call, like one of the Pocket Calls, ready to go, can be crucial in convincing a buck to come in and investigate.
Low soft sounds
Inhalation protects against freezing
Prognosis: The DG-1A will always have a place in my pack during deer season. You never know when a soft grunt will bring that big buck a little bit further into range.
The reviews at Arizona Wanderings are my honest opinion. The Pocket Call Game Calls were provided by Pocket Calls for the purpose of this review. 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. 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.
Staying warm and quiet while hunting in the cold is extremely important. Certain synthetic fabrics and denim today often do not do the trick when the temperatures start to drop. Remaining comfortable and warm on the stand is key for those long days waiting for deer to move through the woods. On my recent deer hunting trip, I was fortunate to have a set of Natural Gear Windproof Fleece pants and top to help keep me warm while I sat patiently waiting for the big buck to show up.
Micro-Fleece is Quiet – Treestand hunting is a whole lot of patience. When that deer finally does show up, it is imperative that your limited movements are quiet. Fleece, unlike many other material on the market, is extremely quiet and Natural Gear’s 400 gram micro-fleece is pretty much silent.
The fit – The Natural Gear Fleece products run a bit on the big size. Even though I usually would wear a large, I ended up needing a medium in the pants and the jacket and found myself comfortable and able to layer.
Four days in Pennsylvania’s cold November woods provided the perfect opportunity to test Natural Gear’s Fleece. Walking to a from the stand lead me through briars, brush, and all other types of foliage that can become noisy and bothersome to the hunter trying to remain quiet. The micro-fleece is soft and quiet and in all types of situations. One concern I did have was durability. For still hunting, the Natural Gear Fleece is perfect because it is so warm and quiet, but if the hunter was on the move or in a harsher, briar/cactus-filled environment, I do not know if fleece would be the best option.
The real prize was the warmth of the pants and jacket. On the coldest days with the wind howling, I bundled up nicely with a couple of layers underneath, and the Natural Gear Fleece did a pretty decent job of blocking the wind and keeping me warm. Amidst a short rain shower and a light flurry, I stayed warm and more importantly dry.
Another thing I really like about Natural Gear is their camouflage patterns. The basic job of hunting clothing is to break up the human outline and I think that Natural Gear has done a great job developing their different patterns to do just that. The camo patterns they use are not “stick and leaf” patterns but based off of natural colors and are suited to blending in to many different landscapes. I hunted mostly hardwoods in Northern PA and the Natural Gear pattern looked like it had been made for the trees I was sitting in.
Not true to size
Prognosis: Having basically lived in a treestand for four days, I was extremely pleased with the performance of the Natural Gear Fleece in the cold woods of Pennsylvania.
The reviews at Arizona Wanderings are my honest opinion. The Natural Gear Fleece products were provided by Natural Gear for the purpose of this review. 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. 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.
Don’t forget to head on over and add your comments to the RedRam Giveaway Post. Only a couple of more days to put yourself in for your own pair of RedRam Merino Thermals. The giveaway ends on December 26th with the winner announced on December 27th. All entries must be made on the original giveaway post.
My friend, Mark Domsher, had a great Arizona Coues Deer hunt and sent me some photos to salivate over. We had talked about this great tag that he had pulled a couple of times and I was glad to hear he sealed the deal on such a great looking buck. Congrats Mark, and I look forward to hearing the nitty gritty of the hunt soon.