Part 4 “I’ve been shot!”

Before I get started with the next part of my story, I want to thank the staff at St. Mary’s hospital in Grand Junction, CO.  I do not remember all of their names but I do remember how well they treated my family and I. I was treated much more like a loved family member than a patient. Please enjoy the next part of my story.

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Life Flight plane similar to the one I flew in

Instead of harvesting a trophy buck on opening morning of the 2012 deer hunt, I took a $12,000 life flight to Grand Junction, Co.   As I lay in the plane anxiously contemplating my future, I asked the flight crew if I could say a prayer.  The flight staff agreed and I prayed aloud that we would be watched over, protected, and that my arm would be repaired at our destination.  I knew I was in need of serious medical attention but I was so thankful to be alive as the bullet missed ending my life by just inches.

After arriving at St. Mary’s hospital in Grand Junction, Colorado; I went into surgery to have my spaghetti bowl of an arm cleaned out.  My doctor removed dead and damaged tissue as well as bone and bullet fragments. They wanted to get it cleaned up quickly because the last thing I needed was to have an infection set in.

After the surgery, I awoke to see the doctor who had just operated on me.  He had recently served in Afghanistan and worked on our brave and  patriotic soldiers.  I am thankful for his service and the work he did on my arm.  He briefly visited with me and told me that I could lose my arm as a result of my injuries and possible infection.  I thought, “Take it easy on me, I was just shot!”  It was like Roger Clemens had just beaned me in the head with a 90 mile per hour fastball. My mind crashed like two cars in a high-speed head-on collision.  I wasn’t expecting this dire news and, unknowingly, I stopped breathing.  A fire alarm like shriek pierced the silence as a sensor screamed that my oxygen level was plummeting like a plane that had just lost both engines.  My doctor urgently asked me if I had heart or lung problems.  I replied “NO.”

Dr. Pareira, a cardiovascular surgeon, quickly entered the room to make sure my heart and lungs were okay.  I told her, “My heart and lungs are fine.  I stopped breathing because I was just told that I could lose my arm!”  I was devastated and probably in shock from the news.  Dr. Pareira could tell I was very upset, to say the least.  Dr. Pareira told me that she was in the operating room during my surgery.  She sincerely explained that although it was possible that I could lose my arm, my arm was truly a miracle.  As they operated on my arm, they were amazed to see my major artery and main nerve were still intact, although my nerve was “flapping in the breeze”.

Looking back, I know that I was truly blessed to have my artery and main nerve which allowed me to slightly move my fingers.  The staff at the hospital would regularly check my fingers and hand to see if I still had feeling in them.  At one point, I was asked to close my eyes while they tested the feeling in my fingers and hand.  I am guessing they wanted to really make sure that I could feel and that I wasn’t faking.  My family and I didn’t know what to do.  It was out of our hands and in the hands of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.   Many prayers were said by me and in my behalf by so many.  I am so thankful to all those that prayed continually and fasted for me.  Prayer works miracles!

One of the best nurses in Colorado.

One of the best nurses in Colorado.

As I laid in my bed looking at my hand, a serious case of anxiety set in.  I felt like I was balancing on a tight rope over the Grand Canyon—one bad move and I could lose my arm. My family and I kept asking the doctors what was going to happen next. No definite answers were available.  I had super talented people all around me but my arm had nearly been blown off.   The docs had to take one step at a time to determine what could be done.  They performed a second cleanout surgery which we hoped would pave the way to a definitive plan of action that would allow my arm to be repaired.  As was the case at the first hospital that I arrived at, my hopes were smashed like a mosquito on a windshield.  Once again, I was told that the trauma to my arm was so severe that I needed specialized treatment at another hospital.  I was disappointed to say the least!  An appointment had been set for me at the U of U Hospital for the following day in Salt Lake City, UT with a talented surgical team that specialized in the reconstruction of the arm and hand.

Although there was no end in sight, I was thankful to be heading to my home state.  As preparations were made for my departure from St. Mary’s hospital, I had high hopes that my situation would improve in the very near future.  At the time, I had no idea that things were going to get much worse before they got any better.  Part 5 Coming Soon!

I’ve Been Shot!!!! Part 3

Prior to starting the next portion of my story,  I want to say thanks to all of the medical personnel at the Memorial Hospital in Craig, CO.  You treated me very well.  Thank you for caring.  I started off posting with the thought of telling my story in 3 parts.  I hope you can forgive me for it taking more than what I originally thought.  Please enjoy the rest of the story.

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Bullet and bone fragments. The second set of bones belong to my paramedic, Jimmy. Thanks Jimmy!

As I lay down on the ER hospital bed the adrenaline was pumping through my veins.  Staff at the Memorial hospital in Craig, Colorado worked quickly to get me stabilized and determine the damage to my arm.  I laid there with what felt like a ravenous jackal gnawing on the live flesh of my arm.  I begged for painkillers.  I could not stop moving my legs because the pain was so intense.    Jimmy, a big tough paramedic, held my arm by the wrist with gorilla like hands.  As he did so, the hospital staff began cutting the clothes from my body to get to my arm.  I had several layers on because of the cold conditions we had been hunting in. As they removed my clothing, bone fragments from my arm fell to the floor like the last of the potato chips being dumped from the bag.   As they cut off the clothing I was wearing, my old USU soccer jersey was exposed; only this time it was saturated in scarlet red blood.  I did not dare look at my arm again after that moment.  My dad and cousin communicated with their eyes as they did not want to seem upset, but in their hearts they knew I was in deep trouble.

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As the bullet exited with extreme force and velocity it formed a crater that bulged from the normal shape of my arm.

It seemed like the narcotics they gave me were as effective as a fly swatter would be in stopping  a charging African elephant.  I needed some relief and I needed it now!!!!  I squirmed in agony.  At last, I saw a needle headed my way with a dose of ketamine, a high strength tranquilizer.  As they injected the liquid into me it spread through my body and I felt as if I was vibrating like the board game Operation when the tweezers touch the sides.  I did not like the feeling.  I looked up to my dad and said, “I think I am going to pass out!”  He responded, “Go ahead”.  When I awoke, some of the pain was still there but the jackal gnawing at my arm had taken a break.

My dad called my wife and broke the news to her that I had been shot.  He did not want to alarm her with the severity of my wound and told her I would be okay.  He handed me the phone.  I thought to myself, “My wife is pregnant, don’t let her know how bad it really is, I have got to break this to her softly.” All I could think of was a line from on old Monty Python movie.  I said, “Honey, I am going to be fine, it is a mere flesh wound!”  Stacie told me she loved me and that she was packing up and heading to be by my side.  I would lean on her strength more than I ever had over the next couple of months.  She is a true blessing in my life.

The arrow points to where the bullet entered my arm.

The arrow points to where the bullet entered my arm.

I looked to my left and saw the x-ray of my arm.  To say the least, it was unsettling as I could see my bone was decimated and in shards.  I could also see the channel the bullet created as it traveled through my arm.  I had hunted my whole life and was well aware of the effect a high powered rifle bullet has on flesh.  It is estimated that the bullet was traveling at approximately 2000 feet per second and hit my arm with 1500 lbs. of force.   As the bullet entered my arm it obliterated a portion of my ulna, the bullet and many of the bone fragments then exited my arm.  The entrance wound was so tiny and the exit wound was so large, my arm was in shambles.

The doctor working on me had recently served our great country on a stint in the Middle East.  Knowing his willingness to serve our country and that he had the talent to fix up our brave servicemen and women gave me comfort.  He was very familiar with gunshot wounds but told us there was nothing further that could be done to help me.  I needed major reconstructive surgery and the hospital was not staffed or equipped to make it happen.  My stomach sank as I was told I would be sent by life flight to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction, Colorado.  The doctor carefully bandaged my arm and I was off to the next stage in my journey.  No one around me told me but everyone was praying that I would not lose my arm.  The realization of that possibility would hit me like a 90 mile an hour fastball between the eyes after I would arrive in Grand Junction, Co.  Part 4 coming soon!

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I’ve Been Shot! (Part 2) Warning- Graphic Photos

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View from the shooter’s location.  The arrow marks my location when the bullet hit me.

Viewing the photos of the landscape in Colorado brought back some strong emotions.  I had not seen these photos in some time.  As I viewed the photo showing the shooter’s view I got a very eery feeling.  That said, I am so thankful I am still alive and able to move on in life.

As I motored up the road with “buck fever” flowing through my veins I saw a lone doe bound across the road.  That lone doe was the last image I recall seeing before I felt a brutally powerful energy tear through my arm between my elbow and wrist.   Almost immediately afterwards I heard the gunshot.  My mind went crazy!  I had been shot!!!!  I abruptly steered with my one good arm to the left side of the road as my dad and cousin, Jon, pulled up from behind me.  My fight or flight response was pounding out of my chest as I stepped off the wheeler and walked towards my dad and cousin as they arrived at my side.  As I walked towards them holding my limp right arm with my left hand I said, “Dad, I can’t believe it!!!  I have been shot!!!”  I remember thinking, “I wonder if this is how it ends?”  My stomach got a very sick feeling and I thought I was going to pass out, but I did not.  I looked to my left and saw the veins in my dad’s neck and head as he screamed at the hunter who had shot me.  Knowing how much I love my family, I can only imagine how my dad felt seeing his eldest son shot by a high powered rifle.

My view as I am riding in the direction of the hunter who shot me. My Dad went back to the sight to do some investigating.

My view as I was riding in the direction of the hunter who shot me. My Dad went back to the site to do some investigating. (details later)

My dad then turned to me and he and Jon performed like two veteran surgeons in a busy emergency room.  My dad asked my cousin to take off his belt and they teamed up to quickly but carefully use the belt as a tourniquet on my arm to prevent extreme blood loss.  The pain in my arm was as if a dump truck was parked on it.  I really don’t know how to describe it but it was the most intense, focused, panicked physical pain I had ever felt.  I was then led to the passenger side of the ranger.  They loaded me up, elevated my arm and we sped off.  My dad slowed the ranger and he quickly said a prayer asking for help, my health, and safe travel.   I urged him to press on but am so thankful he had the faith and confidence to ask for the help that we so desperately needed. photo 1We arrived at our camp, loaded into the truck, told the rancher what had happened, and quickly headed towards the hospital which was 24 or 25 miles away.  As we drove at speeds up to 70 mph on dirt roads not meant for that kind of speed, my cousin held my shot arm by the wrist with one hand so that my arm stayed above my heart.  With his other hand, he pulled steadily on the belt so the tourniquet would restrict the flow of blood to my arm.  Although I knew I needed the tourniquet, it hurt badly.  As we drove, my mind raced thinking about my family and I wondered if I would bleed out on the way to the hospital.  I unzipped my Carhart coveralls and began fishing for my iPhone with my good hand. photo 2 I proceeded to call 911.  I spoke with the dispatcher and told her what had happened and that we were on the way to the hospital.  The dispatcher asked where we were and dispatched an ambulance to meet us.  She wanted me to stay on the line and keep talking .  She asked me to apply pressure to my wound but I told her I didn’t think that I could.  Thankfully, I had numerous layers on and I could not see the extent of my wound.  We met up with the ambulance but because of our close proximity to the hospital we continued on in our truck.  We finally arrived at the hospital and I was escorted into the ER. Finally, I had made it to medical professionals but I was about to receive some news that would turn my stomach–how do you explain something like this to your wife?  Thank you Dad and Jon!   I am so thankful you were with me!  Part 3 coming soon.

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I’ve been shot! (Part 1)

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Bucks from the previous year

In the spring of 2012 my Dad and I received news that we were going to have the opportunity to hunt Mule deer on a private ranch in Colorado.  The tags we were to receive were 3rd season rut tags which would allow us to hunt big bucks during a time when the bucks were much easier to see because they were out chasing does.  The opener of the 3rd season was November 3rd when the weather is typically cold and if you are really lucky, it might even snow.  Leading up to the hunt, we were pretty dang excited as I had hunted on the ranch in 2011 with my boss and a customer and we had harvested some very nice bucks.

I figured that I had gotten my feet wet the year before and that we were really going to do well in 2012 as I had a much better feel for the lay of the land and where to hunt.  Needless to say, my dad and I couldn’t wait for the big hunt to arrive.    We invited my cousin Jon to come with us.  Jon has a unique zest for life and is always a blast to hunt with.  Additionally, Jon is a hard worker and always willing to jump in and haul a big buck back to the truck.   You can always count on Jon to come through for you.

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My boss, customer, and myself in 2011

For some time leading up to the hunt we packed our gear, sighted in our guns, and prepared for the big adventure.  On Friday November 2nd it was finally time to head out.  Things just weren’t going well that day.  Work did not go very smooth and I had a difficult time getting away.  At about 3:00 that afternoon, I finally made it home and hooked up our trailer.  As I did so, I noticed the lights were not working right.  I ended up taking an hour to rewire a portion of the trailer to make the lights work.  Just the thing you want to do before you head out on a big hunt.   As you can imagine, I was a little disappointed that my long awaited, highly anticipated trip was not starting off too well.  Little did I know, my experiences that day were but a small indication of what was about to happen.

I traveled 5.5 hours to our destination where I met up with my dad and cousin.   We camped in our trailer near the rancher’s barn.  The night before the opener of the hunt the anticipation was high.  I felt like a little kid on Christmas Eve.  I was not able to get a whole lot of good sleep that night as the buck fever had set in strong.  As many of you know it is very tough to sleep with big bucks running around in your head.

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In below freezing temps the mud freezes in a sheet to your truck.

We awoke early on the morning of Saturday November 3rd and eagerly left our camp and headed towards the area we would be hunting which was approx. 2 miles away.    The ranch we were hunting consisted of approximately 6500 acres but was spread out in several separate parcels with some public property and other private property mixed in between the parcels.   As we left out camp, I was in the lead riding a Polaris four wheeler and my dad and cousin followed behind in a Polaris Ranger.   It was 20 degrees out—perfect conditions for a great deer hunt.  We were equipped well and dressed appropriately for the conditions with multiple layers, our outsides layers being the blaze orange required when deer hunting.

We immediately began seeing numerous deer and were excited as it looked like we were in for a great time.  The terrain we were hunting consisted of rolling hills covered in sage brush, cut farm fields, and some deep washes.    I don’t remember there being a tree within a mile of me as I rode up the road. This was not the typical terrain I was accustomed to hunting.  Growing up, I had mostly hunted deer in the  heavily forested high country.

 

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Hunting the rolling sagebrush hills of Colorado in 2011

As we drove up the road I can remember thinking, “Man, there are a lot of hunters out here hunting the public ground surrounding the ranch” I hoped that these hunters would push the game onto the property we would be hunting.  We stopped a couple of times as we drove up the road and used our binoculars and spotting scope to inspect groups of deer for big bucks.   The deer were just as I remembered from the year before—plentiful.  We got back on our machines and once again headed toward the area we were to hunt.

Not knowing this at the time but about a half a mile ahead of me an excited fellow hunter was just getting ready to chamber a 7mm magnum round to prepare to shoot at a doe on this cold crisp morning.  As I rode up the road towards this hunter I did not realize it but my hunt was about to end dramatically differently than I ever imagined.  To Be Continued….. Part 2 Coming Thursday, May 29th. Warning: Graphic Photos.

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Custom Remington 700/age 6.5…Get a Kleenix to wipe your tears!

 

Ryan Parker. 20140520_204425A few years ago I bought a Remington 700 ADL Varmint chambered in .308 Winchester.  I bought this rifle as a platform to build a long range rifle that would shoot 1000 yards – Never knew I would end up with a rifle that shoots a target 2400+ yards.  I started by reworking the factory xmark trigger to about 2.5 pounds,  followed by a Choate Ultimate Sniper Stock.   I grew to love this rifle and even drilled the 1000 yard target at Spirit Ridge on my first shot, first time out. I started to see that anything over 800 yards with the .308 was a stretch.   After a few family outings of competitive shooting between my in-laws and myself, I wanted something better. The Custom Savage built 260 Remington that my family and friends had, were shooting harder and much flatter than mine. We’ve all heard that saying “If you can’t hang with the big dogs, then get of the porch.”  This was one of those times, a hunting must have, I wanted to be a “big dog” and I would need to build my own rifle to “hang”.

20140520_201829I started looking for Remington 700’s chambered in 260 Remington. I like the feel and function of the Remington.   I found that this rifle was somewhat rare and most are short barreled rifles, made for youth hunters.   I was just about ready to buy a Remington custom barrel and have it installed by a gun smith, when my father in-law, who has built several Savage rifles mentioned the Rem/age barrels made by McGowen precision barrels.

The Rem/age barrels are a Remington pre-fit barrel that uses the Savage barrel nut design, allowing just about everyone with the right tools the ability to re-barrel  a rifle without having to have a gunsmith.  My father in-law has the barrel vise, action wrench and Savage barrel nut wrench so  I ordered my custom 30 inch full bull barrel, chambered in 6.5 08 with a 1 in 8 twist. I call it this instead of 260 because we used a custom chamber reamer to make it a real tack driver.  As a result, it will no longer shoot factory 260 Remington ammunition.  The upside of this augmentation far outweighs the downside.

"Wow! This is COOOL" He says.

“Wow! This is COOOL” He says.

15 weeks after ordering, I received my barrel in the mail and it was worth the wait.   My father in-law Dan, Victor and I went to Victor’s house and set up the tools to remove the old barrel.   I do not know what Remington uses as their thread locker, but this barrel did NOT want to come off!  Even after we heated the barrel and action to 400 degrees, it still took about 300 ft/Ibs to remove  the barrel from the action.   We cleaned up the threads on the action, oiled the new threads on the McGowen barrel  and it went on smooth as butter.  The head spacing was quick and easy with the use of go and no-go gages.   One hour later, we had a perfectly head-spaced custom target rifle, along with a gigantic smile on my face.

This bad boy at 80 degrees will shoot a target 2400 yards away (I say this because this is the amount of MOA, thanks to my Leupold VX3 Scope and NightForce 40MOA rail).Watch the video of the Remage Barrel Installation:  

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Fried Feathers on the The Great Salt Lake Serengetti

bh ff 13I am a deer hunter at heart, but when the big game hunts are over I always find myself wanting more of the great outdoors.  It is then that I begin planning for the next year and dreaming of my next big hunt.  That said, dreaming just isn’t good enough for me!  On a late Saturday night back in 2011, I was watching one of my favorite shows, Adam Eakle’s KSL outdoors. Adam was participating in a guided airboat hunt out on the Great Salt Lake.  His guide was a gentleman named Rob Friedel, one of the two owners of Fried Feathers.  As they called in the ducks, I thought to myself “That looks like a freaking blast!”  There was no doubt after watching the show that I was going to be on his airboat in the very near future.

I contacted Rob and booked a hunt.  I told him I was bringing some clients and I really wanted to show them a good time.  Rob is an easy going guy that knows his stuff.   He told me we would get into some ducks and get some shooting in as well.   Rob followed up with me as the hunt approached and coached me on how to prepare and what to bring.   It was great to have this little bit of coaching as I was a bit of greenhorn duck hunter.bh ff 16

The day of the hunt was finally at hand.  We met up with Rob out at the Antelope Island boat ramp.  We arrived early and my clients were just drooling at all of the ducks flying overhead and in the water.  It was looking good.  Two of my clients had traveled from Hurricane, UT so I was feeling a little bit of pressure to come through for them.

Rob arrived and we piled into the airboat.  He fired it up and the deep sound of the motor cutting through the air really got the adrenaline pumping through my veins .  That thing has some serious horses behind it.  I can only imagine how it feels to drive that hog.  Rob gave it some gas and we were off and headed out of the marina to the main body of the lake.  Almost immediately, we began seeing loads of ducks as the airboat cut through a thin sheet of ice.  I remember looking out at the lake, taking it all in, and thinking “I can’t believe I have lived next to the Great Salt Lake for all these years and never experienced the true beauty of the lake and its inhabitants”  Looking at it from the shore, just doesn’t do it justice.bh ff 11  As we neared the fresh water flow we would be hunting, a cloud of ducks peeled off of the water.  I couldn’t believe how many there were.  I asked Rob how many ducks were there and he said he estimated 5,000 to 10,000.  As I rode on the airboat and then saw the huge swarm of ducks I thought of the huge herds of African wildebeest on the Discovery Channel.  Little did I know that we have the waterfowl equivalent right here in our back yard, The Great Salt Lake Serengetti.

Rob stopped the boat in the flow, to my amazement he stepped out of the boat but didn’t sink.  The water was murky but only 8-10” deep.  We began setting up about 500 decoys.   As we setup, the ducks were eager to get back to the fresh water they had just left.  The ducks were buzzing us just as Tom Cruise buzzed the tower in Top gun.  Finally, the decoys were ready to go and Rob staked the coffins into the shallow water that we would be hunting out of.  Rob told us to get our shells, guns, and snacks out of the airboat and into the coffins.  He coached us on how to shoot from the coffins and then he left to park the boat.  When he returned 15 or 20 minutes later we had already shot 14 or 15 ducks.  I couldn’t believe how good it was.  I was amazed at the beauty around me and the sheer number of ducks in the area.  Rob’s trusty dog began fetching the ducks. bh ff 10

The dog would sometimes bring back two at a time.  My clients, much more experienced duck hunters than me, couldn’t wipe the smiles off of their faces, nor could I.   I didn’t want to leave but we all shot a bunch of shells and had reached our bag limits. Rob is a stud and makes you feel safe, and treats you like a million bucks.  I highly recommend contacting Rob to book your own hunt.  The Fried Feathers experience is a true “Hunting Must Have” during the big game off season.  Don’t let your outdoor adventures end when the big game season is over.  Give Fried Feathers a call and get out on the lake.  You won’t regret it!  www.friedfeathers.com

 

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SCOPE CAM…The Biggest Buck I’ve Ever Seen!!

I scanned the mountainside for big bucks during the November rut near my home.  I had done this dozens of times over the course of many years and had seen some great deer.  As I glassed an area that typically held deer I came to an opening in the oak brush above a rocky cliff.  I couldn’t believe it, there before my eyes, the biggest buck I had ever seen.   This majestical buck, in an effort to pass on his genes, had presented himself out in the open.   I watched him for some time as he persistently followed a doe. What a beautiful sight! I estimated this heavy typical 4 point to be 36” wide and perfectly symmetrical.   I called my dad and a friend to come over and view the big buck as he was too beautiful to not share.  They were amazed just as I was.  This buck was a truly great specimen of an animal. Unfortunately, after many attempts,  I never saw him again.  To this day, I wish I had a photo of that big old mature buck as he followed every move of that doe in estrus.  He was definitely the king of the mountain!

Picture taken 600 yards, with Ziess Scope and Cam. Look at the Clarity, the video of this is beautiful. 600 yards

Picture taken at 600 yards with the Scope Cam and Zeiss Spotting scope.  Amazing detail and clarity.

Years later I had the great opportunity to help my dad harvest a deer on the famed Heaton Ranch in Southern Utah.  The ranch is also known as the Alton CWMU.  My dad had waited 17 years to hunt this unit and we were as giddy as a bunch of school girls to hunt this once in a lifetime unit.  The ranch consists of approx. 50,000 acres and my dad and two other hunters would have the whole place to themselves.  A true once in a lifetime opportunity for a public hunter!

When we arrived at the ranch, we were shown some video and photos taken by a piece of equipment that I now consider a “Hunting Must Have.”

This piece of equipment is the Scope Cam sold by Tines Up.  The Scope Cam point and shoot kit allows you to attach a camera to your spotting scope and take photos of whatever you are viewing.  If I had the Scope Cam kit years ago, I would be posting a photo  and/or video of a 36” buck as a great addition to this product review.   These photos/videos are stored on a regular SD card.

Tines Up sells kits that include the following:

1) Canon PowerShot A2500 16.0 MPX photos compact HD digital camera

2) Scope Cam base ring bonded and ready to go.

3) Scope Cam adapter specifically designed to fit your particular spotting scope.

4) Battery pack, wall charger, wrist strap and manual.

5) Warranty

The Scope lens and camera screwed into the viewer on the Zeiss Scope

The Scope Cam attached to my Zeiss Spotter

The kit sells for $230 and is worth every last penny.  It is easy to use and fits quickly on the eyepiece of your spotting scope.   While the Scope Cam is attached to your scope, the screen will show what you are looking at just as if you were looking through the scope with your naked eye.  My scope of choice is a Zeiss 85 T*FL and the Scope Cam fits like a dream.   Next time you see that big buck or bull, be prepared with a Scope Cam so you can not only describe that stud of an animal to your friends, but you can show them in the flesh what he looked like.  The Scope Cam definitely fits my requirements to be a “Hunting Must Have.”

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You can purchase the Scope Cam at http://www.tinesup.com as well as see a demonstration of how it works.

Best,

Tyler

 

 

 

 

 

Golfing with Guns…WHAT!?!

Yes, you can! Rifle Golf is challenging for even the most seasoned shooter. Ride on your ranger or four-wheeler to each bench rest station shooting at target silhouettes with steal gongs (so you can hear your bullet hit) 130-1200 yards away.

SPIRIT RIDGE BENCH REST STATION

SPIRIT RIDGE BENCH REST STATION

What could be more fun than egging your buddy on, proving truly who is the best aim? Just like at the Golf course, the driving range has targets 100-1000 yards away. While those that have no fear can attempt the “Mile Long” Target, a woping 1760 yards away.

Memories and records are made at Spirit Ridge Rifle Golf. Test your aiming skills while competing against your most die hard hunting friends.

1000 Yard Club Members

1000 Yard Club Members

You might be asking what gun we like to use? We recommend the 260 Remmington, a .300 Winmag or a .308. Two things you will need are: an incredible scope (see our review on the Zeiss 65mm) and have the know how to adjust for wind.
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For more info hit up http://www.spiritridgeriflegolf.com Like its says on their website, “Spirit Ridge Rifle Golf is the must see, must do shooting adventure for hunters and all outdoor enthusiasts!” If your up for the challenge, tell them: “Hunting Must Haves sent you!”

Zeiss 65 mm Spotting Scope….Seeing is Believing

A Zeiss Scope, See like you have never seen before!

A Zeiss Scope, See like you have never seen before!

A HUNTING MUST HAVE. 9 or 10 years ago I was bow hunting an area in Southern Utah around Monroe Mountain. We were seeing a lot of deer and a few good bucks. Opening morning, I had been sitting on a point that I referred to as the crow’s nest. From the crow’s nest I was able to view an open meadow, chutes, sage openings, knobs, nooks and crannies to glass with my Nikon 10×42 binos. With nothing worth chasing, it was time to head out. I met my Dad and friends about 3/4 of a mile away. I looked back to where I was sitting in the crow’s nest through my binoculars, and to my amazement, I saw a small herd of deer exactly where I had been. They were just far enough away that I couldn’t tell if they had antlers on them or not. One of the more experienced hunters in our group told me to try his binoculars to see if I could see them. I was a bit proud at first, because I thought my binoculars could do the job just fine. I held up my buddy’s Zeiss binoculars to my eyes. I couldn’t believe it! I could tell there were a couple of bucks in the small group. They were small bucks and not worth chasing but I could definitely see that a 3/4 mile hike back to the crow’s nest was unfortunately not going to happen that morning. The Zeiss binoculars made a huge difference. I went nuts! I was an instant believer. What a huge advantage to have a great set of glass at your disposal.

Carl Zeiss 65mm Angled Scope: Hunt like you Have never hunted before!

Carl Zeiss 65mm Angled Scope: Hunt like you Have never hunted before!

That same year, my Dad and I decided to go in on the first of many “Partner Purchases”. A “Partner Purchase” is a strategy we use with our wives to minimize the impact of any one purchase. To sum it up, you could say a partner purchase is strategical in nature, you end up getting twice the gear you would on your own and it is definitely a little easier for the wife to swallow. How can your wife say “No” when you’re getting something for 1/2 price! Anyway, back to the story. My dad and I discussed purchasing a Zeiss 65 mm spotting scope to help us locate the big buck that we always dreamed of harvesting. We briefly talked about whether to get a straight scope or an angled version. A day or two later I received a call from one of the greatest impulse buyers I know, my Dad. He had purchased us an angled Zeiss 65 mm spotting scope. I was disappointed to say the least, the only real spotting scope experience I had prior was through my Dad’s Redfield scope. It was straight and it seemed to work great.

Looking back, I shouldn’t have been surprised with my Dad’s actions. During my childhood he surprised us with all kinds of fun purchases. I can remember one year he purchased two Polaris snowmobiles and had them for some time before he let my Mom in on his unauthorized purchase. Nonetheless, I was a little upset with him but in his typically calm demeanor he told me not to worry about it and that it would be great. My Dad is usually right and this statement turned out to be right on the money.

The Zeiss 65 mm spotting scope turned out to be one of the greatest all time hunting purchases my Dad and I have made together. Initially, there was a learning curve, but soon I was locating bucks and does in areas that I had not seen them in before. I saw way more animals and more importantly, I was spotting some big bucks. My eyes were opened and opened very widely. I became addicted to sitting behind my scope for hours picking out animals. It was amazing. I couldn’t imagine hunting without a Zeiss ever again.

Zeiss Scope A "Hunting Must Have"

Zeiss Scope A “Hunting Must Have”

I became a huge fan of spot and stalk. I can’t say I have been super successful, but I have had some great opportunities to harvest some beautiful bucks. If you haven’t ever had the opportunity to sit behind a great spotting scope, I recommend you do it as soon as possible. Zeiss is top of the line quality and will help you find more animals and larger ones too. I definitely recommend the angled version versus the straight as it is easier on your neck and easily adapts to many different types of elevation and terrains. You won’t be disappointed. The fluorite glass developed by Zeiss allows your eye to better differentiate the spectrum of color, especially the blues and grays, so that in low light conditions such as in the morning and evening you are able to pick out the shape of a big buck at first light or just as the sun goes down. It is fun to hear someone say, “How did you see that?”

In my next blog I will recommend a spotting scope accessory that will allow you to enjoy your spotting scope success for years to come. Thanks for reading!

Clarity: Excellent

Low light performance: Excellent

Price: Expensive but worth every Penny. It will be the last scope you ever buy.

Warranty: Zeiss has an excellent lifetime Warranty as well as temporary replacement while your optics are being repaired.

Durability: well manufactured and of the highest quality.

Accessories: would be nice if they made a tight-fitting case

Ability to focus quickly: The general focus and fine tune focus are easy to operate and allow you to foucs in on your quarry very quickly.

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Check out http://www.zeiss.com to purchase one for yourself!