Spot Hogg Tommy Hogg – Best of Both Worlds


Without a doubt, one of the hottest topics in archery is not only what sight you are using, but what sight configuration you are using. This is one of those things that in the end all comes down to personal preference and what style of hunting you are doing. Some people like multiple pins, anywhere from 3 to 7, while others prefer a single pin on a slider. I’m going to run through what I’ve found works best for me in my hunting, and also an additional tip or two on why my set up is the way it is.


This fall my main hunt is going to be mule deer above timberline Wyoming, and this is what my set up will look like:

  • Mathew’s Heli-m
  • Spot Hogg Tommy Hogg sight
  • QAD Hunter drop-away rest
  • Cabela’s ACComplice arrows by Easton
  • Grim Reaper Hybrid broadheads
  • Firenock lighted nocks
  • Carter Too Simple thumb release
  • Bee stinger stabilizer system with side/back bar

selfilmed-16I’d like to explain my stabilizer system and a couple of key reasons as to why I use it. Back when I was looking for a new bow I was also on the “light as possible” wagon so I went with the Heli-m, which at the time was about the lightest bow you could get. However what I had gained in shaving ounces I had actually lost in the ability to hold good groups beyond 50 yards because I just wasn’t able to get steady and settled in with that light of a bow, especially when it was windy. So to combat that I added some productive weight with a 12” stabilizer out the front and a 6” stabilizer out the back with the Bee Stinger sidebar mount, which made a world of difference for me.  I know feel more solid and settled in when I’m at full draw, and my groups tightened up immediately. They both have little weights that screw on and off so you can fine tune it to feel nice and balanced at full draw. selfilmed-10With the quick disconnects I can take the 12” off the front and replace it with the 6” from the side if I’m in a constricted space or don’t plan on shooting over 40 yards. Now, everyone is going to shoot a little different and you might be able to hold good groups without an elaborate stabilizer system at extended ranges but I can’t, and for my western spot and stalk hunting style hunting this set up is in the sweet spot for me. Now onto the sight.

selfilmed-12I’m shooting a Spot Hogg “Tommy Hogg”
sliding 5 pin sight. I contemplated switching to a single pin slider but I personally couldn’t wrap my mind around only having the one pin, and here is the scenario I think of, that talks me out of it. —  You’re set up off of a little clearing with a big bull coming into your call… You range the trail he’s going to come out on at 43 yards so you set your dial and draw as he’s coming out… all of the sudden he jumps at something and runs out to what you know is 60 yards and stands there looking back your direction… so there you are at full draw with your pin set at a distance the bull is no longer at with no way to adjust without scaring the bull off… where if I had a 5 pin I could move to my 60 yard pin quickly and shoot the bull. —  Now I know a large number of people who shoot a single pin and love them, and they may work for you so try them out, I just haven’t been able to talk myself into one yet and my previous little fable is why. But I still really like the idea of being able to dial to the exact yardage I selfilmed-14want to shoot. With the Tommy Hogg set up I can get both worlds, I can either leave it as a standard 5 pin or use it as a single pin slider. I set my 5 pins up pretty standard at 20,30,40,50 and 60, with my bottom 60 yard pin corresponding with my sliding dial. I feel this is the best set up for myself and the type of hunts that I do. When I have plenty of time and I know that animal isn’t nervous I can dial in a range, and if I feel things are going to happen quickly or change quickly I can leave my 5 pins in case I need to pick a different yardage. The sliding pin on my particular set up lets me shoot out to 100 yards during practice, or for a follow-up shot if needed.


Again in the end it all comes down to what fits you and your style of hunting. Spot Hogg offers a wide array of sights and pin configurations to accommodate every person and hunt, so drop over to their website and give them a look. All of us here at SELFILMED would be more than happy to answer any questions and give input on choosing your next set up.


Posted in Field Updates, How-To, HUNT | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

2016 Backcountry Gear List – WY Mule Deer


One of my favorite things to do as the seasons approach and the hunt preparations begin is


Around 55 lbs worth of gear. 4 days of food and 3 days of water.

to look through gear lists on forums like Rokslide and Archery Talk. It’s so fun to see what other “kits” look like and is also a great way to get new ideas for gear junkies like myself. One of the coolest aspects of my job is spending a lot of time in the backcountry, so I’ve got my system fairly nailed down for this year both for my personal gear and for camera gear. I’ll be heading on a solo backpack mule deer hunt in Wyoming this September (5 days) and, for what its worth, below is my gear list with a few explanations.


Backpack, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, pillow and tent

Backpack, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, pillow and tent

  • Kifaru Duplex frame w/ AMR bag

*Kifaru products are 100% made in the USA. Their frames are completely designed for custom fit, and any of their bags can be interchanged on your frame for different hunt applications. I run the AMR for extended stays and the 22 mag for day trips and camera gear.


  • Kifaru Slik synthetic down 0 degree sleeping bag
  • Big Agnes insulated Q-Core sleeping pad
  • Sea to Summit air pillow
  • Hilleberg Soulo tent

*For an all around good bag I decided to go synthetic. Synthetic down bags will retain a

I woke up this morning with a lot of heavy wet snow all over the tent. Performed flawlessly.

I woke up this morning with a lot of heavy wet snow all over the tent. Performed flawlessly.

warmth rating when wet, where as a down bags basically will not.  However, there are down bags with DriDown that claim to stay dry longer and dry faster than untreated down.

*My tent is a 4 season from Hilleberg coming in at 5 lbs. I know it’s a little on the heavy side for a September hunt, but it is practically bombproof and being by myself a lot of the time, it’s worth the extra weight for me.


  • MSR Pocket Rocket stove w/ 1 can fuel
  • GSI Minimalist cup
  • Sea to Summit long spork

 *There are a lot of good reliable stoves on the market today. I’ve been running the Pocket Rocket in this configuration for about 4 years now and haven’t had any issues or complaints.


1 day of food. Roughly 2100 calories.

1 day of food. Roughly 2100 calories.

  • Breakfast – Granola w/ choc. chips, craisins, protein powder, coffee
  • Lunch – Peanut butter, bacon, honey wrap
  • Dinner – Heather’s Choice or Mountain House
  • Snackage – Probar, honey stinger, rx bar, dried fruit, snack sticks
  • 2 Nalgene bottles w/ Hunt Force Nutrition and Mtn Ops drink mix
  • MSR Dromedary 10L water bag


Prepping a day's food in 1 gallon ziplocks makes it easy to grab and go in the morning.

Prepping a day’s food in 1 gallon ziplocks makes it easy to grab and go in the morning.

*Meals can be tough to plan, especially if your planning your first trip. I’m personally pretty comfortable right around 2,200 calories a day right now, but men especially will probably need more like 3,000 calories or more.

*I pre make all of the day’s food when I’m at home and put then in gallon zip lock bags, so I can grab one and go. I like nalgene bottles for water, then I’ll fill a Drom-bag to leave at camp so I don’t have to always be finding water to fill my bottles.


  • Swarovski EL Range 10×42

    Cover more ground with optics, instead of your legs.

    Cover more ground with optics, instead of your legs.

  • Alaskan Guide Creations chest pack
  • Swarovski 20-60×80 spotter
  • Slik 634 tripod w/ ball head
  • Thermarest z-seat pad

*A good binocular chest rig is very nice to have. I previously used the FHF brand but have been trying the AGC set up lately and am really looking forward to using it this fall. The binocular/spotting scope combination suites me the best, however other people prefer 15 power binoculars. A glassing seat is awesome to have, especially on cold or wet ground, and weighs almost nothing.

A backup headlamp is always a good idea. The InReach makes it very easy to check in at home, especially while solo.

A backup headlamp is always a good idea. The InReach makes it very easy to check in at home, especially while solo.


  • Huskemaw headlamp
  • Black diamond headlamp
  • Delorme InReach
  • Garmin GPS

*Usually instead of extra batteries I just carry 2 headlamps. The Huskemaw headlamp is very impressive and lights up like a torch with a few different brightness settings. The Black Diamond is the “Storm” model and has a red light option and also locks so it can’t be turned on, as easily, in your pack.

*The Delorme InReach is something I picked up mostly for work and absolutely love it. Basically like a SPOT, but you can 2 way text off of it as well as have the emergency SOS features. On this trip I am really familiar with the area but will still bring my GPS to mark locations such as camp, pack dropped, water, blood trail, glassing point, etc.


Using a quality layering system to regulate body temperature will make you more comfortable throughout the day.

Using a quality layering system to regulate body temperature will make you more comfortable throughout the day.

  • Kryptek merino t shirt
  • Kryptek ¼ zip merino shirt
  • Kryptek Valhalla pants
  • Scarpa Charmoz GTX Pro boots
  • Smart wool mid hiker socks
  • Ball cap and sunglasses

CLOTHING – Extra layers

  • Kryptek Sherpa fleece ¼ zip
  • Kryptek aquillo down jacket
  • Kryptek koldo rain jacket/pants
  • Outdoor Research gaiters
  • Gloves / Beanie hat

*I prefer merino wool for my base layers over synthetic materials, merino breathes really well, dries quickly and keeps the sweat smell down. For more info on merino, check out Calvin’s blog article (here).  I’ve got my clothing pretty well dialed in already from other hunts and trips I’ve been on already. If you don’t have some sort of down jacket already, I highly recommend picking one up, there’s nothing like throwing a sleeping bag with sleeves on while glassing on top of a mountain. Leg gaiters are really nice to have as well, however I may leave them at the pickup for this trip knowing I won’t be in taller grass above timberline.


  • Toothbrush/Toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Face wet wipes
  • Mtn Ops Women’s Muli Vitamin

*Pretty straight forward here.. mini toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, face wipes pack from walmart travel section. A good multivitamin will fill the gaps while your working hard.


My essentials go everywhere with me. Kifaru makes some great little pull outs perfect for organizing gear.

My essentials go everywhere with me. Kifaru makes some great little “pull outs” perfect for organizing gear.

  • Lighter/matches/flint and steel
  • Fire starter
  • Tenacious tape
  • First aid
  • 550 cord
  • Zip ties
  • Flagging ribbon
  • Benchmade pocket knife
  • Wind checker
  • Face paint

*My essentials go with me everywhere, no matter where or how long the trip. I always want to be able to start a fire, patch myself up and have some basic items to fix things. Tenacious tape is out of this world for patching about anything including sleeping pads… we put a piece of tenacious tape on holes for 2 different sleeping pads in Alaska and they both held up great. For fire starter I use cotton balls and Vaseline. I keep my first aid pretty basic with leuko tape, a few butterfly bandaids, disinfectant wipes, krazy glue and a pill bottle with some miscellaneous meds. Face paint helps keep glare down and keeps my tough image in check 🙂


*The saddle mountain skinner knife is a great all around mountain knife for caping, quartering and deboning. I favor synthetic game bags because they keep their shape with deboned meat and they let the meat breath while keeping bugs out. A contractor bag or two is great for laying deboned meat on to keep it off the ground as well as keeping the meat and blood away from gear in your backpack.


  • Mathews Heli-m @ 60 lbs
  • Pre-season practice is a must!

    Pre-season practice is a must!

    Spot Hogg Tommy Hogg 5 pin slider sight

  • QAD drop away rest
  • Cabela’s Accomplice arrows
  • Grim Reaper Hybrid broad heads
  • Firenock lighted nocks
  • Carter too simple thumb release
    • D loop material
    • Specific allen wrenches
    • Extra release
    • Couple extra nocks and field tips


  • Canon 60D DSLR w/ 24-104mm f4 lens
  • Rhode pro video mic shotgun microphone
  • Rhode wireless microphone set
  • Same tripod and head listed above
  • GoPro w/ ground stake
  • Goal Zero nomad 7 panel w/ venture 30 battery pack

*Filming with a DSLR solo is not the easiest task, however for the image quality it is worth it for me. Become very familiar with the camera you take, it will increase your odds tremendously of getting your shot on film especially in a high stress hunting situation. The 24-105 has always been a go to lens for me, with 104mm being nice for archery hunts, plus I still get a good photo lens and descent night photo lens. Other times I may take the Canon 70-200mm f2.8 lens however it is pretty heavy and a little hard to handle, so it’s staying behind this time. Rhode’s new wireless microphone set have treated me very well for their price point, in fact I haven’t had any troubles with them at all.

Goal Zero Nomad 7 panel with the Venture 30 battery pack.

Goal Zero Nomad 7 panel with the Venture 30 battery pack.

*I usually decide to go with the Goal Zero set up, instead of a bunch of extra batteries. This way I can keep my phone, InReach and GPS charged as well as my DSLR batteries. I got a dual DSLR battery charger with USB port on Amazon for about $15 and has actually lasted me quite a while.

*A good option for a back country video camera is the Canon G20. This camera is hard to beat when comparing price and user ease to quality and weight. Paired with a good shotgun microphone and a good set of tripod legs and head, you’ll be up and filming in no time.

For the most part this is what I carry with me. I’m a person to go with the more durable, while probably a little heavier, instead of ultra lightweight so I do know I could get a bit lighter than this.


Posted in Field Updates, HUNT | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ditch the Cotton, Merino Wool Is Where It’s At!

20160811_Merino1The start of elk archery season is just around the corner in many western states.  This has many eager hunters vigorously exercising, shooting their bow and pulling out the prior year’s gear in anticipation of that first bugle.  While some folks are interested in the newest gadgets, the latest camo patterns, or one of the thousands of scent control/cover products that are available, I highly advise you to take a look at some gear that is typically overlooked until late season; your base layers.

One item any elk hunter knows is you cannot fool; an elk’s nose.  You can get away with a little natural noise, and at times even a little movement, but if an elk smells you… he’s gone.  To complicate this matter, elk live in some demanding terrain that often makes strenuous, sweaty hiking a requirement for the job.   Even stand hunting can have you perspiring getting to and into the stand.  This would be less of an issue if one could easily wash their clothes (or carry the added weight of an extra set), but this is often is not an option in the places elk call home.

20160811_Merino5This is where the benefits of merino wool start to shine:  Not only does the moisture-wicking properties of merino keeps you cool in the summer and insulates in the cold, the natural antimicrobial properties inhibit the growth of odor-causing bacteria.  When most people think of wool clothing they imagine the thick, itchy and heavy sweaters from their childhood.  However, merino wool is incredibly soft, comfortable and lightweight, another added plus when every ounce counts.  The folks at Sitka Gear offer a superb line of quality merino next-to-skin layers in solid colors as well as their amazing camo patterns.  Once I don my Sitka Merino Core Crew Long Sleeve, Merino Core Boxers and Merino Core Bottoms at the start of the season, I wear them every time I hunt until the last frigid days of whitetail season.  I would put the fit and20160811_Merino2 feel of these under-layers up against my favorite t-shirt any day.  To complete the merino ensemble, DarnTough offers a bulletproof pair of merino socks that offer the same antimicrobial properties in a package designed to keep your feet dry and blister-free.Not to mention they offer a lifetime warranty…but I haven’t had a need for it.

While I will always encourage others to try new products, the one material that should be avoided at all costs; cotton.  If replacing your full base-layer system isn’t in the budget for this year, by all means don’t feel like you should hunt without gear you see as necessary just because it’s made of cotton.  However, as soon as financially feasible you should make arrangements to donate your cotton gear to a local charity.  Main reason for this is that cotton gets wet and stays wet; a potentially dangerous situation in certain climates/situations.  In addition, this wet environment is a perfect breeding ground for odor causing bacteria in sweaty conditions.20160811_Merino4
Even the best merino gear will start to smell of camp odors after a few days.  A tool I love using to keep my gear scent-free on extended hunts is Carbon Synergy.  20160811_Merino3
Brett Bueltel has a great instructional video on how to easily use Carbon Synergy to de-scent smelly hunting gear and clothing.  This lightweight and fail proof solution is so simple and effective to use, passes the cut to make it into my pack every season.  Click here to go directly to the video.

Posted in How-To, HUNT, Product Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Dead Cold – Nebraska Whitetail


I think we all have our own idea of a perfect shot, perfect angle, perfect lighting and just an overall perfect scenario. These situations are few and far between but they do happen, and usually in short order with things happening quickly. In 2014 I was able to get myself in one of these situations. With my camera set up and rolling behind me I pulled the trigger on my biggest whitetail to date, on my family ranch in Nebraska. While it was fairly textbook, I did come across a couple snags that took some on the fly adjustments. In this article I’m going to tell the story, while explaining camera set-ups and tactics I used.

I had just finished up filming a whitetail hunt in Iowa for the show, Best of the West, and then drove back home to spend Christmas with the family. I drove through a bad winter storm on the way back, dropping almost 6” of fresh snow on the ground. While it made for unfortunate driving conditions I knew the deer would probably be on the move and should make for a great morning hunt. Weather for the next day was looking fairly hopeful with a slight southwest breeze and clear skies, however I was a little shocked to see -10 degrees sfdeer2for the predicted temperature. I charged up my batteries, cleared the memory cards off and headed for bed.

At 4am the next morning I was up and getting ready to roll out. To say I never thought about going back to bed after stepping outside to start my vehicle would be a lie, but I sucked it up knowing I was going to see a lot of deer moving. With the temperature reading -8 at the house, I threw my bag in the pickup and drove out of the yard. When I got to my parking spot it was still dark as planned and I started making final organizational adjustments to all of my stuff. I clipped my Canon 60D DSLR with a 70-200mm lens onto the tripod, slung it over my shoulder, grabbed the muzzleloader and took off walking.

I arrived at my glassing point right as it was getting light enough to see little deer figures moving about the fields in front of me. I was going to hunt this the same way I’d been hunting it since I was little… glass up a good deer moving from the fields to the river bottom, determine which route I thought he’d take then grab all my stuff and do a sneak run to get in front of him. With a couple nice young deer coming right to me I fired up the sfdeer3camera and started filming, with the fresh snow on the ground it was looking awesome. After filming them, I threw up the binoculars and started scanning in front of me. Sure enough here comes a shooter, which was a deer we had been watching for the previous 3 years. Obviously wanting footage of him I flipped on the power switch to my camera… and nothing, black screen. After some choice words for the situation I determined that my batteries did not like the below freezing temperatures and weren’t actually dead but just too cold to function. Needing to move about 400 yards across a deep little canyon like right now, I threw the batteries inside my shirt closest to my body hoping they would heat up by the time I needed the camera, and took off towards the trail I thought he’d use. After reaching a point I thought I would be in range for, I peeked over the hill and sure enough he was slowly feeding right down the trail that would put him right below me.

I pulled the batteries out, threw them in the camera, said a little prayer and hit the power button… boom, bright screen showing almost full battery and I was back rolling. By this time he was down the trail a little ways about to cross a fence, ironically enough right where I had gotten my first picture of him 3 years prior. If he continued down the trail I sfdeer5was afraid it would put him at an awkward angle from me down the hill that would be close and hard to film and shoot, so I decided to set up and shoot him at the fence. I set the camera up and took mental note of how I had framed the shot, hit the record button, prayed the camera function Gods were on my side, and started crawling out in front of the camera to get a better angle for shooting prone. When I found a good angle, he was just getting to the fence that I had ranged at about 80 yards. I settled my crosshairs right on his front shoulder, exhaled and squeezed the trigger. With the large cloud of smoke I didn’t see the impact but I sure heard it. After the smoke cleared up I could see he was lying right where he was when I pulled the trigger. After a victory air punch I hurried back to the camera and was ecstatic to see it was still recording, which honestly I couldn’t believe after it had been running continuously for about 10 minutes in the freezing cold. Looking back briefly on the footage in the field I could see I got him in the frame for the shot. After about 3 years of solo filming my deer hunts and this was the first time I’d been able to bring it all together. Walking up to a deer like that on a place that means so much to me, with film in hand to share was one of the most accomplished feelings I’ve ever had.

Hunting any animal is tough, and then adding a camera into the mix brings a whole new world of challenges. It’s easy to get discouraged and want to leave the camera at home after failed attempts but as we say in the film industry, “if you don’t hit record, you don’t have it”. Stay determined with your filming and eventually you too will have a moment like I did. You can find the video here ->


Posted in Field Updates, Success Stories, WHITETAIL | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Wireless Trail Cameras: Changing the Hunting Industry

20160717_C3These days it is hard to make a trip to your local sporting good store without at least passing by a whole display of brand new trail cameras.  There are white flash, infrared, black flash, camouflage cams, brown cams, you name it.  The field is constantly changing with cameras getting less expensive, much smaller and compact, having unimaginable battery life, and not to mention a widely growing market for wireless trail cameras.  The way we scout today has changed drastically thanks in good part to these advancements in trail camera technology.

20160717_C2Twenty years ago, if you had mentioned to someone that one day your trail camera would send a text message to your cell phone when a picture was taken, they’d be looking at you like you had two heads on your shoulders.  Fast forward 10-15 years and the first commercially available wireless trail cameras started hitting the store shelves.  You would see thread after thread on Archerytalk and other website forums asking questions about them.  The topic of wireless trail cameras was, and in some cases still is, as polar as many political topics.  You have people strongly positioned on both sides of the debate with their heels dug in, refusing to change their opinion.  20160717_C1For the most part, your younger generation of hunters are more on technologies side, and then you would have your older generation of hunters falling in the more traditional hunting/scouting type camp.  I’m not saying this is only a young vs. old generation topic, but from my analysis, the split between the two was pretty apparent.

20160811_Covert1As the years have gone by, more and more hunters have opened up their eyes to the benefits these wireless cameras can have on their hunting.  Time has become a valuable commodity and not everyone has the necessary time to properly scout their properties as effectively as they should prior to their season.  I recognize that putting the boot leather to the dirt for some good ol’ fashioned scouting is hard to beat, but I have found that wireless cameras are becoming an invaluable asset to my arsenal.  I joined the “pro-wireless” trail camera group this past year when I purchased a 2015 Covert Code Black from Covert Scouting Cameras.  A year later, I added the 2016 Code Black 12.0. Notification ViewMuch like every piece of hunting equipment I buy, I read review after review before finally deciding on which camera to buy.  It must be the Engineer in me.

You might be asking, why did I join the wireless trail camera group?  As I alluded to earlier, time.  I’m sure you can all relate.  Working a full-time job, having a family, and several other hobbies all fight for my time.  This tug of war with my time leads me to having to be efficient in the time I do have to dedicate to scouting.  So how does time have anything to do with being more efficient with scouting?  The biggest benefit the wireless trail cameras offer me is the ability to remotely monitor an area and get almost instantaneous feedback.  If I set a camera out and I’m not getting any activity in a day or so, I can get back out there, move it to a new location and try again.  20160811_Covert2The prompt feedback of having a picture sent directly to my smart phone from my wireless trail camera is a game changer for me in being able to scout more efficiently.  I no longer leave a camera sitting in the same location for weeks at a time not knowing if there has been any activity in the area.  With a wireless camera, I know when I pull that memory card, I’m going to have some pictures to filter through.

If you have questions as to which wireless camera would be the best fit for you, reach out to the good folks over at Covert Scouting Cameras and they would be happy to assist you.

Posted in Field Updates, How-To, HUNT, Product Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Benchmade Hunt – Nestucca Cleaver

Nestucca_Cleaver02The Nestucca Cleaver is definitely a unique looking knife.  Similar in design to an Inuit Ulu, the Nestucca was made to be a versatile, all-purpose knife.  The Nestucca is a true piece of art with its unconventional hatchet like design, satin blade and skillfully sculpted orange scales.  The true beauty of this knife lies in its ability to perform just about any task thrown its way.

The Nestucca Cleaver is 6.58 inches in overall length making it the second Nestucca_Cleaver01shortest fixed blade knife in the HUNT. series.  The Nestucca measures a mere .26 inches longer than the Hidden Canyon Hunter.  However, don’t be fooled by its compact size.  Thanks to the tremendously large radius of the blade, it sports an overall cutting edge of 4.41 inches.  The longest blade length of any knife in the HUNT. series lineup, and a full .24 inches longer than the blade of the very popular Saddle Mountain Skinner.  Longer cutting edge equals greater edge retention, and therefore a sharper knife when you need it most.  The Nestucca is 2.15 inches shorter in overall length compared to the Saddle Mountain Skinner, and has an extra .24 inches of cutting length. It is easy to see why the Nestucca Cleaver would fit the bill for the back-country hunter who is looking for a compact, all-around knife.

Nestucca_Cleaver03Unlike the traditional Inuit Ulu, the Nestucca features a finger cutout in the center of the blade allowing for better blade control.  Like all of the other knifes in the HUNT. series, the Nestucca sports a satin CPM-S30V blade.  Not only will this knife feel good in your hand, it will also retain one of the best cutting edges you could ever hope for.  You can read more about the benefits of CPM-S30V in one of our previous articles (here).  Additionally, the Nestucca Cleaver features bright orange G10 handle scales which are rugged, provide the knife with an excellent grip, and will help you keep track of it when you happen to lay it down in the field.  Last but not least, the Nestucca comes with a custom leather sheath which fits over its rounded blade like a glove.

Nestucca_Cleaver05Whether  you are skinning or gutting a deer, cutting kindling to start a fire, or preparing food in the kitchen, the Nestucca can be used for virtually any cutlery application.  There is nothing worse than your knife letting you down when you are miles from civilization.  Thanks to the superior quality of Benchmade HUNT. knives, you would be hard-pressed to find a knife of better value.

If the time has come to upgrade your hunting knife, look no further than the Nestucca Cleaver.  Coming in at a retail price of $145.00, you won’t find another knife that can beat it in performance for the price.  More likely than not, you’ll quickly find out that the Nestucca is the most useful piece of gear you were missing in your hunting pack from seasons past.


For more information on the Nestucca Cleaver and other knifes in the Benchmade HUNT. series of knives, click here to visit the official HUNT. page.


Posted in Product Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stic-N-Pic Trail Camera Mounting System – Mini Ground Mount Review

20160717_SP6One of the biggest selling points of the Stic-N-Pic Trail Camera Mounting System is the versatility of their mounts.  Whether you choose one of their two ground based mounts (original or mini), or one of their three tree mounts (mini, screw in, or strap on), you are sure to find the perfect mount for your unique situation.

20160710_SticNPic_3I’ve had the opportunity to play with all of Stic-N-Pic’s signature mounts this spring, and by far my favorite is the Mini Ground Mount.  It always seems like I find that one location to put a trail camera and sure enough there isn’t a tree within sight that is suitable or close enough to the target area to mount a trail camera.  Whether that be with the traditional camera strap, a bungee cord or cable lock.  For example, camera setups along field edges, fence rows, or even creek crossings.  Sure you could strap your camera up to a tree 10 yards off the field edge, or somehow rig up your camera across barbwire or brush along a fence row, but then you are competing with the small undergrowth growing on the edge of the field while drastically reducing the effective range of your trail camera or fighting to position the camera exactly where you want it facing.  20160717_SP5_labeledBeing able to place your camera anywhere you want it will not only enhance your trail camera scouting, but will also allow you to hide your camera better from potential thieves.  No more big boxy cameras sitting on the side of a tree like a sore thumb.

20160710_SticNPic_1The Mini Ground Mount is made of durable powder coated steel and collapses down for easy transportation into the field.  To use the Mini Ground Mount, simply step the spaded end of the mount into the ground (making sure the shaft is straight up and down) and you have yourself a “tree” in the perfect spot.  Attach your camera to the pivoting “flag” that is welded to the top of the shaft using either the included 1/4-20 x 5/8″ thumb screw (if your camera has a threaded tripod mount).  If your camera does not have a 1/4 x 20 threaded tripod mount, you can still use Stic-N-Pic’s mounts by utilizing one of their universal brackets.  There is a Camera Guide on their website here that may be useful to determine what hardware you’ll need to mount your camera.

20160710_SticNPic_2After you have the camera attached to the flag, loosen up the thumbscrew on the coupler located on the spaded end of the mount, slide the portion of the shaft that is connected to your camera into the coupler and set to your desired height.  You can also rotate the shaft 360 degrees to face your camera the right direction.  Tighten down the thumbscrew on the coupler and you are set.  In addition to the 360 degree rotation and height adjustment, the flag is also adjustable using the thumbscrew on the side allowing you to tilt your camera up or down in relation to the shaft of the mount.  Having the ability to position your camera EXACTLY how you want it is what sets Stic-N-Pic apart.

20160717_SP8If you are ever in the situation where you’d like to mount multiple cameras, in one location to capture movement in several directions at once, Stic-N-Pic’s Add-A-Cam bracket can be easily added to the Mini Ground Mount to mount 2 or more cameras in the same spot.

Best of all, the Mini Ground Mount is made right here in the USA.  It is lightweight, portable, and with a resistant powder coated finish it should last you a very long time in the field.  Retail price for the Mini Ground Mount is $29.99 and can be ordered directly from Stic-N-Pic’s website.  For more information on all of the great products available from Stic-N-Pic, stop by their website and take a look.  Make sure you let them know that SELFILMED sent you!logo

Posted in Field Updates, Product Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bowhunting with a Thumb Trigger Release Aid

Carter Too SimpleWe as bowhunters are always researching the latest and greatest equipment. Anything we can do or buy that could potentially increase our odds at harvesting the trophy of our dreams gets evaluated each off-season. There are many ways to decrease your group size however one of the often overlooked variables is your release aid.

When I started bowhunting many years ago I quickly found out that using a wrist strap release was problematic for me. While in high school I fractured my wrist while playing football and though the injury never really affected my way of life I found out that the pressure from using a wrist strap caused me pain. After prolonged sessions of shooting I began to get the feeling in my hand that you get when you sit Indian style for too long, pins and needles as we used to call it. After pushing through for a few months I looked into other options.  After doing some research I settled on a thumb trigger release.

IMG_8700My first thumb trigger release was a Carter Chocolate Addiction 3 finger. Immediately the problem with my wrist was solved as now I could shoot endlessly without any pain. I found out however that I had to retrain myself with a new anchor point and release method because no longer could I use my index finger to fire the release from my old anchor point. It took some time to establish my anchor point and thumb release method but now over a decade later it still remains unchanged.

My personal path to using a thumb trigger release was out of necessity, however in my opinion there are advantages to using a thumb trigger over a wrist strap release for all bowhunters.

IMG_8690Consistency. Boom – I said it! The number one way to become a better archer is to have perfect repeatability and consistency. This should come as no surprise to most dedicated bowhunters but ask yourself this question, “How consistent is my anchor point?” A lot of us spend most of the off-season shooting on relatively flat ground. It’s easy to maintain a consistent anchor point with your release when shooting horizontally but what about when you start practicing uphill and downhill shots or hang a treestand in your backyard to mimic those whitetail shots? Is your anchor in the exact same spot? IMG_8698I feel like with a thumb trigger I can anchor in a place that regardless of body orientation or bow angle it can be repeated every shot all season long. I can rotate my forearm vertically and lock my first two knuckles of my release hand into the corner of my jaw so that my index knuckle and middle finger knuckle bracket the point of my jawbone. Using this anchor it is nearly impossible to be inconsistent regardless of your bow angle.

IMG_8689Second only to consistency is the ability to shoot your bow with a surprise release. Most hunters that are good shots with firearms possess the ability to squeeze the trigger until the gun fires. I have found that this ability is not lateral across weapon platforms. The problem lies in the fact that watching a reticle float around a target and watching a pin float a target are two different things. Also the fact you are using different muscles to steady the weapons also makes it a comparison of apples to oranges. You are probably thinking of why I even mentioned firearms in an article regarding bowhunting releases. The reasoning being, that a lot of bowhunters started out using firearms when they were young and transitioned to archery at an older age like myself. So they are using their foundation of how to shoot a rifle with their index trigger release aid and can’t seem to ever master the weapon transition and suffer from target panic and trigger punch. IMG_8691The way to start with a clean slate mentally is to change which finger you are triggering with, i.e. a thumb trigger release. Reprogramming your mind to squeeze with your thumb to trigger your release will let you start fresh with new body mechanics and a new thought process. I my opinion if an archer can conquer this principle you will be able to maximize your ability and in turn decrease your group sizes.

The final advantage to a thumb trigger release verses a wrist strap is the ability to leave your release clipped onto your string loop. Whether you are spot and stalk hunting or sitting in a treestand at the moment of truth its nice to have both of your hands free until its time to draw your bow for the shot. IMG_8692Personally I shoot a moveable sight which needs to be moved each shot depending on the yardage. Having my release clipped onto the D-loop lets me be able to hold my bow in a ready position while I range and adjust my sight to the correct yardage. While stand hunting during the whitetail rut its nice to have your bow ready to go at a moments notice. Having to look down for two seconds to clip your release onto your string will cause you to lose very precious time on a fast approaching whitetail buck. The ability to never break sight of your target as it approaches a shooting lane can give you a few extra seconds to correctly field judge an animal that will disappear as quickly as it appeared.

This off-season as you put together your archery wish list for next year ask yourself, “Could I benefit from a thumb trigger release?” Whether you are looking to break target panic, decrease your group sizes, or simply like the convenience of leaving your release on the bowstring, a thumb trigger release could be the new piece of archery equipment that increases your taxidermy bill.



Posted in How-To, HUNT | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brett Bueltel – 2016 Ohio Opening Day Gobbler

Covert Code Black PicAfter having a successful weekend hunting down in North Carolina, it was time to head back home to Ohio to prepare for the opener of the 2016 turkey season.  I had been running several trail cameras on the property I hunt, and had started moving my Covert Code Black camera around every weekend for the past month trying to locate where the birds were moving through on the property.  Several weeks had passed of not getting many trail cam pictures, not seeing birds, and not hearing any gobblers, so I really didn’t think I’d have a shot at filling a tag on opening day.  I have been fortunate in past years to have had some good luck on opening day, and did get a couple of pictures a few days before season, so maybe some luck would come my way again.  After getting all of my video cameras charged up for the mornings hunt it was time for bed.

That next morning came early.  I packed up all of my hunting gear, Double Bull blind, DSD decoys, camera equipment, and headed off in the dark of the night.  Not knowing if I was even going to see a bird that day, I chose to set up on a point in the field where I would be visible from 3  different directions.  I set up my blind under a small tree on the edge of the field, set out 4 decoys, and started up the GoPro 2nd angle cameras before hopping into my blind.  Darkness started to recede as the sun spilled over the rise behind me.  I sat up my primary camera to my right and slapped another GoPro on the blind rod to my left.  Mic check one…two…mic check.  Wireless mics were ready to roll and I began my normal morning interview when all of a sudden I got cut off mid sentence by a gobble off to the far North end of the field.

Gobblers in the DistanceI quickly pulled up my binoculars to try to locate the gobbler in the treeline.  He gobbled again…this time I pinpointed him in a tall sycamore tree.  I filmed him for several minutes up on the roost, semi-strutting, gobbling, until finally the sun had lit up the field enough for him to feel safe and pitch down.  A slight rise in the field hid his landing and all went quiet for a few minutes afterwards.  I gave him some time after landing to “do what turkeys do” before I pulled out the mouth diaphragm call and gave a few yelps.  “GOBBLE-GOBBLE-GOBBLE”  A bird fired off in the field behind me.  He was closer, so not knowing what the bird on the other end of the field was doing, I began to concentrate on calling this new bird in.  I’d call, he’d gobble.  I did this 2-3 times before shutting up to see if he’d make his way down to me.  I sat there in silence for several minutes, which felt like forever.  I look back up to the far end of the field 350 yards away and see two red heads emerge from the hidden rise in the field.

Motion Madness Decoy SetupThe dominant gobbler, in full strut, paced back and forth as the sub-dominant gobbler stood there and picked apart the decoy spread.  I reached for the remote control of the Motion Madness Decoys DIY kit I had installed in my DSD Feeding Hen a couple of months before, and turned it on.  The pecking and sweep motion of the decoy did the trick, the dominant bird to break strut and start heading my direction.  10 steps – blow up in strut…break strut to come another 20-30 steps – blow up in strut again.  The two birds slowly but surely made it about 150 yards across the unmolested crop field and then stopped for a moment.  I looked out the blind to my left and could make out another strutter about 100 yards away.  Did the new gobbler spook the pair and were they going to hang up?  About that time, the pair began to sprint my direction!

Strutter Sizing up the DSDOnce they reached the 80 yard mark, they slowed to a walk and the dominant bird began to strut again.  They looked like they were going to bypass my setup as they stood there now 40-50 yards out in front of me.  Trying not to make too much movement in the blind, I reached down to try to locate my rangefinder thinking I was going to need it to make this far shot.  I decided to give a few light clucks on my mouth call and that was all it took.  The dominant bird turned and started walking directly towards the DSD Jake.  It was game time.

Grim Reaper Strikes!The dominate bird struck the DSD Jake first.  A peck to the face, a wing flap and a spur to the body.  He blew up in full strut and passed in front of the decoy.  I took this opportunity to grab my bow and come to full draw.  I took one more peek at my camera LCD to make sure everything was in frame.  As he turned to face the blind, now on the other side of the Jake decoy, I settled the pin on my Hogg Father right on the base of his waddles and let the Grim Reaper fly.  The arrow hit its mark and he dropped like a ton of bricks.  His buddy had no idea what had happened.

Gobbler Looking OnI sat in that blind for almost 2 hours after I took the fatal shot.  Waiting.  Waiting for the other bird(s) to decide to leave. (3 jakes came in to investigate)  He didn’t, and honestly, I think I could have sat there all day and he wouldn’t have left that field.  Knowing I still had another tag left in Ohio, and unfortunately and not being able to fill more than one a day, I had to let him walk off.  If I let him see me get out of the blind, I’d never be able to kill him on another day.  So I sat there.  Finally, he worked off to my south just enough that I could close up the opening in the blind facing him and unzip the back of the blind.  Aerial View of SetupI was able to sneak out unnoticed.  I got about 90-100 yards away from the blind before deciding I couldn’t keep the blind in between the bird and myself any longer.  Finally…he saw me and tucked tail to run off.

My season had started off great, 2 birds down in 3 days.  Unfortunately, it’s like the birds completely disappeared after that.  I hunted the remainder of the Ohio season, every weekend possible, with only a few hens coming to the decoys.  Season has since long passed and I’ve now been busy running trail cams and freshening up mineral licks in preparation of whitetail season as well as training for this upcoming elk season.  Stay tuned for more SELFILMED action!


Bird Stats:

  • 20 lbs. (estimated)
  • 9-1/8″ beard
  • 1″ spurs

Brett’s Gear:

Make sure you subscribe to the SELFILMED Blog to receive all of the latest updates from the SELFILMED crew!

Posted in Success Stories, WILD TURKEY | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Turkey Decoy Setup Tips

With spring turkey season well underway in many parts of the country, most social media feeds are blowing-up with pictures of big birds, long beards and lengthy spurs.  How do these folks manage to get such magnificent birds?  While there are no magic recipes for bagging a wary old tom, there are some general rules of thumb that make the process a little bit easier. Aside from simply being where the birds are, one of the biggest items to consider is use and placement of decoys.

Strutter CloseupNow—from a distance—almost all decoys are going to look somewhat like a turkey.  However, to pull those wary birds in those last few, precious yards to get them within range, an ultra-realistic decoy pays for itself many times over.  Dave Smith Decoys makes the most realistic decoys money can buy and I can attribute many birds to the surreal, almost too-lifelike decoys they provide.

When setting up your decoys try to keep one thing in mind; visibility.  If they can’t see the decoy, that defeats the purpose of using one in the first place.  Having visibility will often play into what areas you can effectively hunt.  DSD Jake and Breeding HenA large, open field with a food source is ideal; provided the grass is not too tall.  On the other hand, hunting a 200 acre field will take more than just decoy visibility to draw in birds.

Early in the season there is typically a lot of competition between toms around receptive
hens.  This is when a breeding pair such as DSD’s Jake and Submissive Hen can make a deadly combo.  This combination can attract both older, mature toms as well as younger, aggressive gobblers and jakes looking for a fight.  If you are in an area with mature birds, your best bet may be to swap your jake for a Strutter decoy with a jake tail fan.  Territorial gobblers usually will not let a jake set up shop in his back yard.  Keep enough space between your Jake/Strutter decoy and your Submissive Hen that a strutting tom can walk between them, with your male decoy facing the blind at about 8-10 yards for a short bow shot.   Breeding PairI would not recommend placing them any closer to the blind as this can make for a tougher bow shot. With a gun you could stretch that range slightly, but I still like to keep the decoy within 20 yards.

Later in the season the number of receptive hens dwindles and toms will be willing to cover more distance looking for that lone hen.  They probably have been in more than one skirmish with other toms or groups of jakes by this point, so I’ll typically abandon the male decoy and go with one or two hen decoys.  My favorite is DSD’s Leading hen decoy.  Place her about 10-15 yards out from your blind with her facing or quartering towards the front of the blind.  Decoy SpreadThe idea behind this is the tom will cut her off trying to get her attention, putting him within 8-10 yards for an easy shot.

Regardless of which phase of the season it is, you can never go wrong with the Feeding and Upright hen combination.  I like to place the feeding hen within a couple of yards of the blind in order to ease the tom’s concern about the blind.  However, actual location isn’t all that critical as long as she is visible.  You can also add a little motion to the decoy by using a pull-string (fishing line) or one of the Motion Madness Decoys DIY assemblies and you’ll be almost guaranteed to draw the bird that has “seen it all” to your setup.  Upright hens are a great decoy for just about every situation or setup.  Feeding Hen 2Place your upright hen where you want your shot to be and get ready for action!

Keep in mind, there are multiple ways to skin this proverbial cat.  There is no fail-safe method to getting up-close-and-personal with these fickle birds.  If you find birds aren’t responding to your setup (even if it has worked in the past), switch it up!

Calvin Merriams

Posted in How-To, HUNT | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment