Bowflex Max M5

After waiting a month I finally got my machine. My wife paid for assembly but after learning it would take them 10 days to get here I decided to put it together myself. It was actually pretty simple and easy to assemble. Let me say this thing is awesome. If you use it you will get in shape. My first attempt at the MAX INTERVAL setting only lasted 6 minutes of the scheduled 14. It will give you a great workout in a short amount of time. It adjust intensity based on your age weight and heart rate. Oh yeah it comes with a heart rate monitor. On my first fitness test I scored 9.8. I have no idea what that number means it just said to compare it to my next test which I plan on doing weekly. Here is an answer provided by a reader. The Fitness Test uses the age and weight values from your user profile to calculate a maximum heart rate, then measures this against your power output to determine a fitness score. In this test, you build up to a Target Burn Rate Range that keeps your heart rate at close to 75% of the calculated maximum. Once your reach this stage, the Burn Rate is maintained for 3 minutes, after which your score is displayed on screen.The idea is that as your fitness level increases, you will require a higher Burn Rate setting to reach the same 75% heart rate level, which results in a higher power output. You can then use this score as a benchmark to measure your improvement over time.
On another note I put in for a New Mexico elk tag. If I keep working out on this thing I might just take a knife and run down my elk.


UPDATE 8/12/15

I’ve been trying to average 3 workouts per week. I can now do 20 minutes on the preprogrammed workouts and I can make it the full 14 minutes on the MAX workout. My fitness score is up to 20. Still have no idea if that’s good, bad, or average. It does show improvement over my initial 9.8.  I haven’t really lost much weight but my fat percentage has dropped almost 10%. I figure once hunting season starts my workouts will dwindle down to nothing.

Update January 2, 2016

As predicted I stopped using my bowflex the entire hunting season. I gained 15 pounds and I can only do 10 minutes. I’ve started counting my calories again using my fitness pal. It’s an awesome app I highly recommend it. I’ve already lost 2 pounds. My New Years resolution is to get healthy. It’s painfully obvious that being healthy isn’t something you can do part time.

UPDATE: November 12, 2018

I’m still using my bowflex on and off mostly off. My weight has been like a yo-yo. I lose 50 lbs and gain 30. I’ve got my son working out with me in anticipation of going on an elk hunt. I still haven’t drawn that New Mexico tag yet.

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Tight spot quiver review

Almost every review you read about the tight spot quiver will tell you how great it is. While I agree it is a great quiver it isn’t for me. If you take your quiver off when you get to the tree their are lots of cheaper quivers that will do the same thing. If you keep your quiver on the bow this one is heavier and makes more noise than a 2 piece quiver. It is probably the most versatile one piece quiver there is but for my purposes I prefer a 2 piece quiver. The tight spot is very adjustable and claims it will help balance your bow. True it will give you more options for balancing but the only way to really balance your bow is with a back stabilizer.


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How to keep your feet warm

The first thing you should do is throw away all your heavy socks. Why? Because heavy socks make your boots tight which causes your feet to get cold. So the real key to keeping your feet warm is wearing boots that fit properly. To do this put on a pair of normal hunting socks. The best socks I have ever worn are First Lite Mountain Compression socks. Trace the outline of your foot on a piece of paper. Hold the pencil parallel to the sides of your feet and don’t angle it towards the bottom of your foot. Compare the measurements to these charts.
Pay close attention to the width. For years I wore 10 regular width but after taking these measurements I found out a 9 EE was what I should be wearing. Let me tell you I was amazed at how good my feet felt wearing shoes that were actually the right size. After this it’s just a matter of buying boots with the proper amount of insulation to match what you’re doing. A new gadget I discovered this past year are the Thermacell heated insoles. I highly recommend these. They don’t necessarily warm your feet but they will keep them from getting cold. I have uninsulated, 600, 1200, and 2000 gram boots that covers from -40 to 90 degrees. If I had to pick an all around boot it would be 600 grams with the Thermacell heated insoles which can be removed for warmer weather. Some people have cold feet and others never get cold but the key is boots that fit.

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I couldn’t take it anymore. I finally fell for the hype and tried the Rage hypodermic this year. I was very disappointed in them.

Let’s just say I’m going back to fixed and I’m never going to try mechanical again. In fact I’m using a 2 blade single bevel head next year. I’ve done some research and found some interesting things about single bevel broadheads. First they continue to spin as they go through an animal second they penetrate bone like you wouldn’t believe. Here is a picture of a cow femur shot with a single bevel broadhead.


Try that with a mechanical.
Imagine how much damage a head will do spinning through an animal. The single bevel also helps the front of the arrow spin in flight so it is more stable. My motto is hope for the best but plan for the worst like hitting a bone.

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Ozonics update

I have come to the conclusion that Ozonics does not work. There is no arguing that ozone generators will kill scent. However in an open area like the woods it isn’t effective enough to make it worth $400. In fact I think it can make Deer wind you more often. Ozonics puts out a very strong smell and I think when Deer smell it they start trying to smell harder and they pick out your scent. There is no way to fool a Deer’s nose. I’m sure everyone has had Deer walk by downwind without spooking. I think this happens because a Deer isn’t trying to smell you. If something happens to put them on alert like a movement or sound their nose kicks into gear and if the wind is wrong they will smell you no matter what.
Bottom line is you have to hunt with the right wind and hope it doesn’t swirl at the wrong time. If that Deer isn’t on alert your chances are much better.

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Leuopold Vendetta bow mounted rangefinder

I have tried bow mounted range finders in the past and wasn’t very happy with them.  The Leuopold Vendetta proved itself to be a winner.  Make sure you read through the instructions and understand them completely because the set up is very important.  I went online and watched a couple of videos on how to set it up just to make sure I did it right.  It’s best to wait till 30 minutes before sunset that way the laser shows up better.  Basically what you are trying to do is align the rangefinder parallel to your 20 yard pin.  This allows you to range targets at full draw.  You simply draw and anchor then put your 20 yard pin on the target press the bow handle mounted trigger and it gives you the yardage on a large display.  That has always been the drawback to any rangefinder.  Deer are constantly moving and usually by the time you range him and draw your bow they move.  With the Vendetta you range him and shoot.  I used it on a deer at 22 yards and one at 42 yards.  I would highly recommend this product.

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Guided hunts from a guide’s point of view.

I have had the privilege of guiding for Illinois Trophy Bowhunters for the past 3 years.  I would like to share some insights I have gathered in the past 3 years.  A good guide can make or break your hunt.  If your’re hunting the best property in the world and don’t have a good guide your hunt will not be “good” even if you harvest an animal.  If you go on a hunt and you decide if its a “good” hunt based on harvesting an animal you probably will not have a good time.

A positive attitude is one of the best things a hunter can bring to camp.  This past season we picked a stand and called it the “slam dunk” stand because we were absolutely sure a client would get a shot from this stand.  We put a guy in it and for 3 days he only saw a few doe and a couple young bucks.  Not once did he complain or ask to be moved because he had faith in his guides and a positive attitude.  After doing some scouting including sitting in stands we located another good stand site and right before dark on the last day he took a 145″ 10 point the biggest buck of his ife.

Listen to your guides.  I tied a ribbon on a tree that I wanted someone with a climber to hunt.  I took a hunter to the tree and left him to hunt.  For some unkown reason he decided to move 50 yards to another tree.  You guessed it a booner walked within 10 yards of the tree I picked out.  I don’t care how many years you have been hunting I know more about “these” deer than you do.  I shed hunt, hang trail cameras and scout this property to the point that I know how the deer are moving.  These are things a “good” guide should be doing.  Forget everything you know about hunting whitetails “back home”.  You are probably hunting 2.5 year old deer and they will come to every grunt and smell there is.  We are hunting 4.5 to 6.5 year old bucks.  “Blind” grunting does nothing but cause that old buck to circle down wind and bust you.  You can grunt to a buck you see but once he turns and comes in your direction do not grunt any more.  The best scent is no scent.  These old bucks can tell the difference between piss thats been in a bottle for 6 months and fresh piss.

I don’t care what kind of equipment you use.  Fixed or mechanical heads makes no difference.  The key is shot placement.  A field point through both lungs will kill a deer.   Practice from an elevated stand with your hunting clothes on.  Don’t force shots or take quartering too shots.  As a guide there is nothing more frustrating than tracking a poorly hit deer.  I know bad shots happen but if you take “high percentage” shots your chances of making a quick clean kill go way up.  Don’t shoot past your abilites.  I recommend 35 yard max for whitetails.

Talk to your guide.  Let me know what you saw and be able to tell me using compass directions. If you don’t let me know what you are seeing I can’t make decisions on when or where you might need to move.  Information is very valuable.  When I set a stand it is based on the information I have at the time.  Am I always right; no, but without new information I can’t help you.

Be willing to work for your trophy.  As your guide there is only so much I can do.  I can’t make you sit all day.  I don’t give many guarantees but i will guarantee that you will not kill a deer sitting in camp complaining about not seeing any deer.  Some guys expect to sit 30 minutes and kill a booner.  This is fair chase hunting not a high fence operation.  You only have 6 days so you need to be in that stand daylight to dark because you never know when that buck of a lifetime might walk by.

How much should you tip?  I look at it just like any other tipping service.  If you didn’t get good service don’t tip.  If you got good service tip 10 to 20 percent.  If you feel your guide went above and beyond tip whatever amount you feel he deserves.

What about guides hunting?   I’m up front with my clients and tell you yes I will be hunting but I will be doing it to scout.  As I mentioned earlier we sat in stands that we were going to move the client that was sitting the slam dunk stand.  By doing this we saved him 2 days of hunting a cold stand and got him in a stand that gave him an opportunity at a mature buck.  Now if a 150 or better comes within bow range I’m going to shoot him and I don’t think anybody would pass an opportunity like that.

Update: May 5, 2016

Please read this if you’re considering booking a hunt with Illinois Trophy Bowhunters

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Ozonics HR200

I really wanted this product to work.  After using this product for an entire season I can not recommend it.  I initially reported the fan noise wasn’t an issue but I later discovered it was on low.  On the high or treeestand setting it is very loud.  Loud enough that deer will look up for the noise.  I used the Ozonics for several weeks without having a deer come downwind of me and I began to wonder why was I bothering with carrying this thing back and forth to the woods.  I never hunt a stand with the wrong wind so I quit carrying it.  Then i sat in what I call an observation stand and several deer came in downwind of me.  So now I have a use for the Ozonics when I sit an observation stand and I’m not sure of the deer movement.  A few days later I put up an observation stand and take my Ozonics.  About an hour before dark a group of 5 doe come out the ridge and are going to pass on the downwind side.  There was a very slight breeze a perfect test for the Ozonics.  Just as soon as the lead doe hits my scent she does a 180 and runs off snorting.  Over the course of the year I had deer pass downwind completely unaware and I also had deer blow for no apparent reason.  Although this isn’t enough evidence to prove Ozonics doesn’t work I have concluded that it isn’t for me.  My best advice is to use the wind.

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Hunting season 2012

My plan is to give you unbiased opinions of all my hunting equipment to help people make decisions about purchasing these items.  They are Bushnell Fusion 1600 Arc rangefinding binoculars, Ozonics HR-200, Leupold Vendetta bow mounted rangefinder, Bowjaws bow holder, Sneaky Leaf camouflage system, Camoflex 3-D cover system, Lone Wolf treestands, Millennium treestands,and Gorilla climbing sticks.  Some of these items I have been using for years and some of them are new.

Let me start with one I have used for years, CamoFlex. It’s basically a set of fake limbs attached to a block.  You buy one set of limbs and several mounting blocks for each stand.  The mounting blocks attach to the front of your stand and you attach the limb system to the block.  It is especially helpful on climbing stands because you always have to climb a limbless tree and thus it is hard to find good cover when using a climbing stand.  This system solves this problem.  I don’t think I have ever had a deer see me while using this system.  It is a bit cumbersome to carry but it is well worth it.  It seems like the deer don’t look past the limbs.  I have a block attached to every one of my stands.  Lone Wolf recently bought the company so that should tell you something.  Here is a before and after picture.

As you can see it makes a huge difference.  I highly recommend this product.

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Broadhead follow up

I recently ran across an interesting broadhead test.  If you look at the spreadsheet you can see the fixed heads dominated the test.  It was basically a test about penetration.  Using a 60 KE setup each head was shot into a “contraption” that consisted of plywood wrapped in vinyl, ballistics gel, and another piece of plywood wrapped in vinyl.  It was meant to simulate a shoulder hit.  In my opinion most people use around 60 KE.  If you want to use mechancials I would suggest at least 80 KE.  I think that is the biggest problem most people have with mechanicals they don’t use enough KE to get that pass through 100% of the time.  Without that exit hole your odds go way down in finding your game but thats another topic.

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