Thursday, March 28, 2013

Media Influencing Hunters

During the hunting off season I often spend a lot of time thinking and dreaming about hunting.  I am sure I'm not the only one who does this.  One of my thoughts this off season has been about my gear.  I often catch myself thinking, "Man I need a new rifle" or "I wish I could get those optics, that camo, that pack, etc...".  Every once and a while I catch myself feeling that if I only had this or that it might make a difference this year while hunting.  Then I take a step back and ask myself who is controlling my hunting experience?

Way to often people, including myself, allow media and other influences to create a materialistic outlook on hunting and the outdoors.  It is not their fault or their intentions, it is just good marketing!  After watching the a few hours of hunting shows I am convinced that if I was to have the same brand of bow those hunters have I would be able to harvest the same type of animals they do, or if I had their gear I could hunt the same way they hunt and have the same type of success.

Recently I have heard a lot about Colorado's recent gun laws and how many outdoors men are boycotting the State because of the new legislation.   I don't want to take either side on this sensitive issue, but items like this make me wonder how much of the media controls this sport which we/I love?  If I was hunting Colorado this year would I be making the decision myself to go or not to go on my hunt or would I let the media control what I did? I know that the marketing item and the legislation item are two very different topics of discussion, but the one thing they both have in common is that they both influence hunters and their decisions and behaviors.

I understand the importance of having nice gear compared to having cheaper, lower quality gear.  I am not suggesting that it is a bad thing in any way to have the nicest gear possible for your outings, but I am wondering how much of these decisions are based upon media's influence or on our own experiences in the field? What are your thoughts?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Ice Fishing Basics

I know it is late in the season for a post about ice fishing, but I have a friend who wrote a post on his site about some ice fishing basics that I thought would be good to pass along.  You can check out his website at  I found his post helpful for anyone interested in starting out ice fishing. The following post is his writing not my own.

I’m not really sure how I feel about ice fishing. I believe I have come to the conclusion that it is just what you do when you want to get outside and there is snow everywhere you look! I didn’t grow up ice fishing, but over the years many people have been willing to get me started on the basics. Last year was the hardest I had ever hit the ice fishing scene. I was graciously invited several times by Kevin Jones to go ice fishing with him and his family. Before this I usually just roughed it out on the ice with temperatures often times dipping below zero and the relentless wind howling at 25 mph! The first time I met up with Kevin on the ice he had what I considered to be beautiful, an ice fishing tent! The giant red Eskimo Quick Fish 6 posed on the ice like some camp from an arctic research team. When I entered the tent the warm air from the heater inside welcomed me. This was ice fishing! If i was going to be out fishing all day in the nasty winter conditions I was going to be warm doing it. I simply had to have one! Little did I know I would soon get my chance. Kevin and I fished pretty hard all day and caught many trout in the 14″ range. While sitting in Kevin’s “new that year” ice tent, I started to admire the new blades he had put on his ice auger. Sitting on a bucket, pole in a stand, I picked up the auger to get a closer look at the blades. Bad move! Kevin continued to fish as a looked the auger over, but when I went to put it back disaster struck. While I carefully and strategically went to place the auger back to its spot one of the blades barely touched the side of the tent! Ouch! Instantly a 4″ slit appeared in the tight wall of the tent. How do I fix this? Maybe Kevin won’t notice? There was no getting around the fact that I had just cut a hole in a $250.00 ice fishing tent. the only words that could come out of my mouth were, Kevin, I just put a hole in your tent. Kevin’s response, ya right, haha. As soon as his eyes met the light coming through the hole no words were needed. Uh………..that sucks. Interestingly enough Kevin shared the same thoughts I did. Well, I said to Kevin, looks like I’m getting an ice tent earlier than expected! I was not happy with myself that I had made such a dumb error, but it is a beautiful thing to have such a great excuse to give your wife about buying new gear! That day of ice fishing was one of mixed emotions and learning, but the important thing is that we got out and caught fish. Since my day of hard lessons learned I have used my “new” ice fishing tent to protect myself from the elements and I am happy to have it as part of my fishing arsenal. Make sure that when you go fishing that you keep your hands to yourself and to your own gear! Obviously these were some of my fathers words that fell on deaf ears.

Here is a quick video of some ice fishing basics:

I hope this information is helpful for anyone starting out with the sport of ice fishing, and I would also like to encourage you all to check out Earl's website at  Thanks Earl for letting me share your post.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Teton Sports Summit 1500

Teton Sports Summit 1500
Teton Sports Summit 1500

I recently received the Teton Sports Summit 1500 backpack for a review.  When I first opened the package I was a little concerned with how small the pack looked to be honest.  The pack only weighs in at 2.4 pounds, which may have added to my mind thinking the pack was so small.  The pack was light, yet it had a sturdy internal frame which gave the pack great structure.  Before I went any further, I got online to read a few reviews on the same pack to see what others thought about it.  I noticed that I was not the only one with a concern about the size of the pack.  A few people who reviewed the pack noted that they ended up passing it onto a younger family member or friend rather than using the pack themselves.  After doing my own review on the pack, all I have to say is that those other individuals may want to consider getting that pack back from whoever they gave it to!

For part of my review, my wife and I were able to get an awesome deal on renting two snowmobiles from Island Park Adventures, which is only about 40 minutes from where we live.  My wife had played around on a snowmobile a few times growing up but had never really gone on a snowmobile ride.  Even though a snowmobile trip wasn't what I would normally use a pack like the Summit 1500 for, I decided I would take it along on the trip to see how I liked it.  The night before the ride, I loaded it up with the following:

Teton Sports Summit 1500
Teton Sport Summit 1500 and everything I fit in it

- 2 bandanas
- 2 extra pair of socks
- 3 sandwich size bags of food
- 1 bag of cashews
- 1 bag of jerky
- 3 candy bars
- 1 box of granola bars
- 1 bag or dehydrated apples
- 1 32 oz Gatorade Bottle
- 1 16 oz water bottle
- 2 extra beanies (snow-hats)
- 1 extra pair of gloves
- 1 flashlight
- Emergency fire supplies
- Toilet paper
- Extra pair of contacts
- My SOG Flash II (Pocket Knife)
- Taurus 40 Caliber Pistol

I didn't really need all of that gear for this trip but I wanted to make sure I packed the Summit 1500 the same way I would (or close to it) as if I was going on a hike.  Another disclaimer is that I was not only packing all of this stuff for me; my wife didn't want to have a backpack on during our trip so I got to carry what she wanted as well.  This helped me cope with my doubt that the pack was too small.  I filled my pack with this gear in no certain order or fashion and it all fit with ease in the main compartment.  I even had some room to spare and hadn't even filled the pockets on the side or the hood of the pack.  The pack has six different pockets and two pouches, as well as multiple straps and loops which can be used to attach and secure gear.

Teton Sports Summit 1500

For those of you who may not know much about snowmobiling, riding a snowmobile for a whole day is quite a work out.  The ride is usually always bumpy and is full of ups, downs, and lots of leaning to one side or another.  I figured if this pack could stay on without sliding all over my back while I was attempting to toss a snowmobile around in the powder of the Rocky Mountains, then the pack would be fit for a good hike or two.  My wife and I started our ride around 8:30 am and took off to a scenic byway called Big Springs.  Later on, we decided to take off on a long ride to the top of a local mountain called Two Top.

Teton Sports Summit 1500

All together, my wife and I rode around for close to eight hours.  We saw lots of great scenic views and had a wonderful time together.  The only time the Summit 1500 ever got in the way was when my wife got her snowmobile stuck and I had to get her out of a four foot snow pit she dug.  Even then, the only reason I realized I had the pack on was because I was rolling around in chest deep snow trying to dig out a thousand pound machine. 
Snowmobiling with the Teton Sports Summit 1500
Me riding with the Summit 1500 on my back
What I liked about the pack was that it fit very securely to my body and it did not bounce around no matter what terrain I was on.  I did adjust the pack a few times to get it just right.  I had a little bit of a difficulty centering the pack to where the load was mostly on my waist instead of my shoulders.  The pack is only 22.5 inches long which was a little short for my torso.  If I adjusted it all the way to carry the load on my hips, then the pack would pull away from my shoulders because of the slack in the shoulder straps.  Once I played around with it for a while I found a happy medium for the load I was carrying that was just right for me.

Two Top Mountain and the Teton Sports Summit 1500

The pack does have two adjustment straps which I thought helped tremendously when I was trying to get the right fit.  The first strap is from the top of the shoulder strap and attaches to the top end of the pack itself.  You can adjust this strap to take out any slack from lengthening your shoulder straps.
Teton Sports Summit 1500
Shoulder adjustment strap

The second adjustment strap is on the waist belt which cinches the pack securely to your waist strap.  This also helps the pack from bouncing around or tipping from one side or the other.  These are only a few of the features I quickly learned to appreciate about this pack.  I also enjoyed the double draw string enclosures to the main compartment which allowed me to expand my load capacity as well as ensure my gear was secure in my pack.  Another feature I liked was how the hood fit around the top of the pack with two heavy duty clips and an elastic bungee sewn in the hood to create a snug tight fit.  I never had to worry about snow getting down into my gear or anything randomly falling out of my back while I was jumping or climbing my snowmobile up the side of the mountain.  

Teton Sports Summit 1500
waist adjustment strap
Teton Sports Summit 1500
Draw-string enclosures

I wanted to make sure that this pack was not only good for snowmobiling, but also other activities. Because of this, I also took it on a quick snowshoe trip to hunt coyotes.  I loaded the pack similarly, with less food and more hunting supplies and adventured out on a quick trip.  Overall, during this hunt, I enjoyed how comfortable the pack was and how well I could adjust the pack for the different load I was carrying.  I was unlucky on the coyote hunt but I was just as happy, if not more so, with the pack on my second small adventure as I was on my first adventure.

Cool view of the sun between the trees
The description of this pack says that it is great for an overnight or full-day trip.  I would completely agree that it is a great day pack and that it would be able to meet all of your expectations for this type of outing.  I, myself, would have a hard time trying to use this pack on an overnight trip.  If I was just hiking, and that is it, I may be able to make this work. Most of my over-night trips involve me packing in hunting and or fishing equipment on top of all my hiking gear.  For an overnight trip, I would probably consider Teton Sports' Summit 2800 or their Hiker 3700.  My overnight gear is a little large to fit onto or into the Summit 1500 but I could see if you used Teton Sports' over night gear, this would definitely be a possibility.  

Passing Big Springs Idaho with the Teton Sports Summit 1500
Me riding past Big Springs
 In conclusion, I would highly recommend the Summit 1500 to anyone interested in a great day pack and a possible one-night adventure pack.  I feel with the different straps and loops on this pack you would be able to fit the gear you needed for either one of these type of trips. You can pick up this pack on Amazon and Sportsman's Warehouse for under $60 bucks or you may be lucky enough to win one here on my blog! Teton Sports is confident enough that you will like the pack that they have decided to offer this pack to a lucky winner by following the instructions on RaffleCopter below! (Please note that this contest is limited to the lower 48 states)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you are ever in the Island Park area and want to rent some snowmobiles or any other type of toy be sure to give Island Park Adventures a call and see what they have to offer!

As with all reviews on Idaho Pursuit, the following review is my honest opinion. I received the Teton Sports Summit 1500 free of charge and agreed to provide a review in exchange. I am not sponsored by or associated with Teton Sports and am not accepting any  compensation, monetary or otherwise, in exchange for this review.  My independent status may change in the future but, as of the date of publication, no relationship other than described above has been pursued or established.