Wired To Hunt


MidwestWhitetail.com

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Now here is a cool idea. MidwestWhitetail.com is an internet only deer hunting show which is filmed and then uploaded only days after the actual footage is shot. But it gets better, this year there will be unique shows for every Midwest state! The upside of this type of show is huge because you can get from the field updates in your own hunting areas only a day or two after it actually happens. For those of us who can’t be out in the woods every single day, this kind of information can be incredibly helpful when planning your hunts. First and foremost I can see this type of semi-live coverage being really helpful when trying to figure out the progress of the rut.

There will be 10 unique shows this year covering all the “Midwest” states and they already have a  lot of great episodes from this fall’s early seasons. You can check out the home page at MidwestWhitetail.com and if you are a Michigan hunter like me, you can get to the Michigan online videos directly by following this link . This series covers the hunting season from preseason scouting all the way through the fall. I highly recommend checking out your own states videos as your season progresses. Who knows you might pick up a tip or trick that will help you out the next time you hit the woods!

Here’s a sample of a video from last season with the founder Bill Winke…

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ThermaCELL – A Mosquito’s Worst fear, A Hunter’s Best Friend
The ThermaCELL

The ThermaCELL

Last weekend in Western Michigan we experienced an unseasonably warm spell, which was a nice treat for everyone except for hunters. Temperatures in the 70’s and a near full moon kept the deer bedded down during the day, but brought the mosquitos out in full force. I have never experienced a more miserable time hunting, as the mosquitos absolutely swarmed me for hours on end. I was completely covered except for the area right around my eyes, but the skeeters still found a way to drive me nuts. So after enduring this for three trips into the woods, I realized I needed to deal with this mosquito problem. I headed to Gander Mountain and discovered the ThermaCELL.

The ThermaCELL is a small butane powered device which burns small wafers, emitting a scentless mosquito repelling smoke. All I had to do was insert a small butane can, and slip a wafer into the unit. When I arrived to my stand, I turned it on, clicked the starter button and watched as the ThermaCELL started to emit it’s smoke. Within 10 minutes the swarm of mosquitos had disappeared and I was finally able to hunt like a regular person, rather than a raving lunatic constantly fending off the newest blood sucking bug. Needless to say ThermaCELL was a lifesaver and I definitely will have it with me the next time I hunt in hot weather.

For more info about the ThermaCELL you can check out it’s website here.

As for my hunting succcess, despite the warm weather I still saw a decent number of deer early in the mornings. I saw a number of doe and 4 bucks came within shooting range. Unforunately all of these deer were a bit small, and I let the three spikes and forkhorn pass. Nonetheless it was still exciting to see some bucks up close, and I’m definitely pumped to get back out again as the pre-rut is heating up.



New High Tech Camo – GORE OPTIFADE

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Well it looks like the new digital pixelated camo has finally made its way to deer hunters. W.L. Gore & Associates, who also manufactures Gore-Tex, has recently introduced a new type of camouflage pattern that has been developed using new digital accuracy to provide the perfect break-up of  human shape, while also matching the color schemes to how deer see the world. This camo pattern was designed using the same technology used in the new military camouflages, but has been fine tuned for hunters. Up close it doesn’t look terribly impressive, but when you take a look at pictures of people wearing this camo in the wild, they do seem to become quite invisible.

In the press release, the idea and science behind OPTIFADE was summed up in this way:

Stalking predators, like tigers, have a macro-pattern of stripes that break up their body symmetry as they move through their environment. Ambush predators, like spotted leopards, utilize micro-patterns that enable them to blend with their environment while poised to attack,” says Retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Tim O’Neill, PhD, one of W.L. Gore’s advisors on the project. “Human hunters both stalk and ambush, so we’ve used scientific research and technology to combine the best practices of the animal kingdom. GORE(R) OPTIFADE(TM) Concealment Products is a whole new category of concealment. Interestingly, in the wild, mimicry patterns like those on more traditional hunting camouflage are most often employed by prey — not by predators.”

It looks like this new camo pattern will show up first on the Sitka Product line of hunting and outdoors gear. The science behind it sounds good, but only time will tell if this new technology will actually make noticeable differences in the way we conceal ourselves from deer in the wild.

While researching this topic, I found some great videos on Youtube that were produced by GORE to explain the science behind the development of OPTIFADE. Dubbed “The Science of Nothing,” this second episode of the three part series explains how the micro and macro patterns of the camouflage work to both break up the shape of humans, while also blending into the background. Although a little long, I found this video very interesting, check it out.

This next video, the last episode in “The Science of Nothing”, was especially interesting to me. In this clip, the science of how deer see their world is detailed, and I found this to be especially helpful. I think this video will prove helpful to anyone hoping to learn a little bit more about how this master of the woods sees it’s world.

Although these videos are obviously promotional videos developed by the manufacturer, but I was still very impressed with the depth of information provided and the science behind it. It has definitely peaked my interest, and I hope to give this gear a try in the near future. If any of you have a chance to wear GORE OPTIFADE in the wild, let me know how it works!

You can take a look at the original press release here.



BowCast.com: Bringing Bowhunting to an iPod Near You

New York City is quite possibly the greatest city in the world, but it definitely isn’t the place to be when you’re trying to prepare for deer season. The last three months I’ve had to improvise when it came to curing my hunger for the hunt. During my time here, one of the greatest discoveries I’ve made is finding out about BowCast.com. BowCast is a podcast that focuses on bowhunting tips and strategies, brought to you by hosts Anthony and Aneal. I’ve really enjoyed their podcasts, and found them truly informational. I found one of their first episodes to be particularly relevant to my current search for the right accessories to upgrade my bow with. Give this episode of BowCast a listen, as Anthony and Aneal talk about how to upgrade your bow and where to start when looking to buy a new unit.

Bowcast: Doping In/Buying A New Bow

You can listen to the rest of the episodes at their website www.BowCast.com. I will definitely be following their podcasts in the future as I gear up for the October archery season.



Tech Spotlight: Geotag Your Photos Instantly With the Eye-Fi Explore
The Eye-Fi Explore memory card

The Eye-Fi Explore memory card

Looking back at those pictures of that huge rub on your buddy’s land from three years back but can’t remember exactly where it was? That shouldn’t be a problem for much longer, the new Eye-Fi Explore memory card will instantly stamp your digital camera pics with the GPS location every time you snap a shot. This makes a ton of sense for deer hunters as we scout for sign and stand locations. It seems snapping a quick photo is a lot more useful and faster than messing around with a handheld GPS.

This technology actually isn’t GPS either, it is running off of something called Skyhook. Skyhook gets it’s position by using WiFi signals to pinpoint locations. As neat as this is, it also lends itself to one major problem for outdoorsman as of now. At this point many rural areas are not covered by this Skyhook technology, so the GPS stamping would not work everywhere, but it’s safe to say that these areas will eventually be able to use this service in the future. In addition to the geotagging ability, the Eye-Fi Explore also will automatically upload your pictures from your camera onto your computer or your favorite online photo album, like Flickr.

The Eye-Fi Explore looks to be a bit of technology that we should keep our eye on in the future. Being able to tag pictures instantly with GPS location is a real slick feature and automaticaly uploading these pics online is just the icing on the cake. Although this product might not work in all areas yet, it is definitely something worth checking out in the future, as it’s utility for hunters is pretty exciting.

For more information you can check out this article in the International Herald Tribune, or head over to the Eye-Fi website.



Tech Spotlight: iPhone Apps for the Outdoorsman

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The 3G iPhone release was one of the most hyped up and talked about events of this summer for tech geeks, business people and trendy pop culture fanatics alike. On July 11th, Apple released the second version of its acclaimed iPhone and over 1 million handsets were sold in the first weekend! But why should the everyday outdoorsman care about this smartphone phenomenon? Well it turns out that there is more to the iPhone than what meets the eye. One of the most exciting aspects of the launch of the 3G iPhone was that the iPhone application store was also launched on the same day. Containing over 500 applications at launch, the iPhoneApp store is filled with downloadable programs for your handset ranging from 3D games to social networking programs. I recently took a closer look at the iPhone App store to see if there was anything that the average hunter might find useful and I wasn’t disappointed. Here’s a couple of the more interesting iPhone applications I found, that hunters and outdoorsman might want to check out.

The 3G iPhone

The 3G iPhone

1. WorldWatchr: This is an application that allows you to monitor any online images transferred from a webcam or trailcam, right from your handset. It will cycle through your different cameras and update on a regular basis. I see this being really useful if you use a trail camera that automatically uploads it’s photos to a website. You can then check your trail camera photos from your iPhone, no matter where you are. Being able to check out your trail cameras from deer camp sounds like a pretty nice tool to me. Check it out here.

2. Gas Finder: This handy application will tell you where the cheapest gasoline is in relation to you. This is perfect for the road trip to deer camp or out west for a back country hunt. Not only will it tell you where the best price for gas is, but it ties into the Google Maps/GPS capabilities of the phone to give you directions straight to your gas station of choice.

3. Sunrise & Sunset and Moon phase Applications: These two applications are pretty self explanatory, but useful nonetheless. Moon phases are widely accepted as effecting deer behavior, so it can only be helpful to keep tabs on what phases are expected now and in the future. Knowing the time of sunrise or sunset is equally important when planning your hunting trip.

4. Pocket First Aid Guide: First aid is always important to keep in mind when enjoying a hunting excursion, keep this information handy with the First Aid iPhone application. It looks to be a great resource for dealing with most basic injuries or ailments. You can learn more here.

Other useful applications for outdoor use include:

Have any other useful mobile phone applications for hunters and outdoorsman? Let us know!



Get Your Deer Hunting Fix Online

MyOutdoorTV.com

If any of you are like me, you’re already counting down the days til deer season. Usually getting some target practice or scouting can hold me over during this late summer lull, but here I am in New York City with no way to get my outdoor fix and cabin fever is kicking in bad. Luckily, last fall I discovered MyOutdoorTV.com. This is a great website where you can watch dozens of great hunting and fishing shows streaming online. You can watch everything from North American Hunter to Fishing with Bill Dance. The video quality is great and the choices are endless. Last fall, while I was stuck on my college campus, I spent hours watching hunting videos to get geared up for the coming season. One of my favorites was “BuckEye Cam Fair Chase Encounters”. It’s an archery only, self-guided whitetail hunting show that is filmed primarily in Ohio and I found it to be one of the most educational and interesting shows I’ve seen yet. So if your dying to get outdoors, but don’t have the time or means, check out MyOutdoorTv.com to get your fix online.