Thursday, November 20, 2014

What Some People Don't See...

Families Hunt Together
Good Memories

What some people don’t see in pictures like these...
Growing up hunting, I never quite understood how some people could look at my hunting pictures or hunting trophies and criticize them because they themselves don’t hunt.  Often times I would hear comments like, “Oh that is so sad” or “That poor animal”.  Even though I could explain how we used the meat and never let anything go to waste, I never felt like I was really getting my point across of why I viewed these moments so differently than some of those who don’t hunt.  Then it dawned on me one day that when I look at these pictures and trophies I literally see something different, something special, and something a person who has never hunted would ever see while looking at the same picture.
Girls Hunt TooPictures like these remind me of driving and laughing with my daughter, singing the songs from Frozen at the top of our lungs.  I remember us “sneaking” to get closer to the birds, when in reality we were standing out like a sore thumb!  I remember her jumping up and down thinking that she was the one who shot this bird and made her dad so proud.  This picture literally brings a tear to my eye thinking about how the moments when I recognize how much she just wants to make her daddy proud of her.  When I look at this picture I laugh at the memory of her wanting me to, “cook it for mommy, and baby, and grandpa, and grandma… and mommy”.  So when some people look at this picture and criticize it or make comments about how my daughter is a killer, it is clear they don’t understand. 

Idaho Bull ElkWhen I look at this picture, I see a memory of months of excitement building up to opening weekend.  I see the look on my wife’s face when she shot a rifle for the first time, the laughs she laughed when she hit a milk jug full of water at 300 yards away.  I see late nights talking about the ethics of hunting and what to do in every situation she could think up in her mind.  When I look at this picture I also see her excitement the night before the hunt which kept her from sleeping though the night.  I see us walking hand in hand down the trail at 4:30 am watching our breath float into the air on the cold morning of the hunt.  I can see the excitement in her eyes when she saw this bull elk at 300 yards away feeding up the canyon.  If I look at this picture for just a moment I can almost re-experience the moment when she fired her first shot, shaking, worrying, and anticipating what would happen next.  I see her disappointment and anxiety when I told her she missed and she should shoot again.  I remember the moment vividly of when she fired her last shot, watched the bull jump, and then watched him stumble to the ground!  This picture brings back the joy we felt when she put her hands on her first trophy ever.  I remember the words, “I never realized how big elk were” and her excitement when she called her family to tell them she had just filled her tag.  This picture brings back the memory of the long but exciting trips back and forth to pack out my wife’s bull elk.  So… no I don’t just see a woman with a dead animal, I see much more than that.

Family Deer HuntAnti-hunters, non-hunters, and those who just don’t understand, will never look at these pictures and trophies the same way a hunter will.  I can look at pictures and remember such good memories with my family and friends that I wouldn’t trade for the world.  Us hunters view these pictures the same way some families look at pictures of a trip they took, vacation they went on, or some event they did.  I can look at a picture of another hunter and see the talks they must have had with their children during this experience and appreciate what parenting is going on.  I see many talks about God, respect, values, and everything under the sun.  So the next time someone looks at a picture of a successful hunter and does not see the same thing you do, take a moment to explain to this person what YOU see in that picture and why it means more to you than it may mean to them.  

I want to clarify that I am not saying that hunting pictures and those memories are more important or better than other pictures of other memories such as a family vacation etc.  In no way is either situation “better” than the other and that is my main point to this post.  Any picture of any memory needs to be cherished and respected.  If people went on a criticized a families picture at Disney Land and chastised them for “wasting money and time” this would be completely inappropriate.   While I’ve heard these same remarks from people about my hunting pictures, I just hope that I can help them understand why these pictures mean so much to me.  
This is one of those pictures that means a lot to me that may not mean much to someone else!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

3 Rules to Follow With Online Purchases

I will share a quick story of why I feel this post is important and I hope you can learn from my bad experience of not following my own advice! 
I recently purchased a set of name brand camouflage online and based my decision of the information posted on the manufactures website.  I purchased the camo in a set sale that allowed me to get both the pants and jacket at a decent price which was a great deal for me.  I saw one red flag which I chose to ignore which I would eventually come to regret… On the website there was a link to be the “First Person To Review This Product”…  It was odd to me that this company which is well known wouldn’t have a single review posted on their website concerning this product. 

Upon receiving the gear I was completely happy with the camo pattern, material, and cut of the pants yet was concerned with the cut and style of the jacket.  The jacket did not fit well and the functionality of it was not built for hunting in my opinion.  The length of the jacket was very short which barely came to my waist line.  The jacket was also very wide at the bottom which compounded the problem about the jacket being too short in the torso.  Between being too short and too wide, every bend or reach I would do, lifted the jacket above my waist line which didn’t seem to convincing to be “Scent-Lok”-ing (and yes I am making a reference to the product I purchased).  The tags on the gear stated, “Guarantee Performance, Quality, Satisfaction” which gave me the assurance that if I tried the gear and didn’t like it within the proper terms then I would be guaranteed my concerns would be rectified. 

I used the gear twice which produced the results I had predicted, being completely satisfied with the pants yet completely unsatisfied with the jacket.  When I contacted the company they originally told me that the 100% Satisfaction Guarantee did not cover the decision on me “liking the product” or not and that there was nothing they could do for me.  When I wrote the exact words which were posted on the tag, the company then told me the only option I had was to pay to send the product back and then get a $50 credit toward another purchase.  I asked them about the cut and style of their jackets and they told me that all of their jackets all followed the same basic pattern and that if this jacket didn’t fit me right then more than likely all of their jackets would fit the same way…   Due to the price of their jackets  and clothing, the option to pay for the product to be sent back and only getting the $50 credit toward another purchase was not a reasonable option for me.  As upset as I could have been I decided that I really couldn’t be upset at the situation and just knew that I wouldn’t be buying anything else from this company due to the style not being made for hunting in my opinion.  Even though I wasn’t happy about it, I couldn’t get to upset with the company. 

BUT THEN… I decided that it would have been very useful for me to have a review which said how this jacket fit prior to me purchasing the jacket.  I got on their website and clicked their link to be the “First Person” to review this jacket.  I wrote about how I am 5’10 and 180 pounds (not to abnormally sized) and wrote about how the jacket did not fit well.  I wrote about how the jacket barely came to my waist line and how wide the jacket was at the bottom allowing the nice cool October breeze to flow right inside my jacket completely defeating the purpose of having a jacket on… I pointed out that if a breeze could easily flow up this jacket, that I felt my scent wouldn’t be successfully “Scent-Lok-ed” inside.  After submitting my online review a page came up thanking me for posting my review online.  The next day I visited the website to see if my review was posted but didn’t see anything… A few days later I got on again and realized that my review was never posted… I kept checking off and on over the next few weeks and was completely disgusted that the company chose not to post my honest review to help prevent a customer from having the same frustration as I did.  I am sure that this goes on way to often with companies, but I can’t tell you how disgusted I felt that this company gave me the impression that no one had written a review for this jacket when in reality there may have been one, if not many people, who wrote a similar review which could have prevented me from wasting my money on a jacket that is designed for the mall instead of hunting! 

Moral of the story is that I will never buy another item off line without researching reviews written about the product.  If there are not reviews on the company’s website I will be searching online reviews from other sources and hopefully finding useful information before making the same mistake twice.  I will admit that I usually do my research and look at other bloggers and their reviews, but when I saw a sale on some gear I needed, I acted impulsively and came to regret it… My advice is to not make the same mistake I did and do your research outside of the company’s website.  I know I myself have posted some reviews on some gear and this is not an attempt to push my own posts, but check out many different sources to make sure the information you find is consistent before making your purchase!  Here are my 3 quick rules to guide your online purchases based off my bad experience:

1- Do you research to find various reviews.


2. Call the company and clarify what their "Satisfaction Guarantee" really means and covers.


3.  Don't act impulsively... If its an amazing deal and you think you will miss the opportunity, make sure you still do your research before making the purchase!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Hawke Optics Endurance ED 20-60X85 Spotting Scope Reveiw

I am not going to lie, when I started this review I was nervous I was going to be a little biased just because I have become some a fan and believer of the Hawke Optic products.  I have used Hawke’s binoculars, rifle scopes, and their spotting scopes this last year and I have defiantly become a lifelong customer of HawkeOptics.  Just like all of their products, the price is the absolute first aspect I appreciate about this spotter.  When you compare similar spotting scopes with the same bells and whistles, the Endurance ED 20-60X85 comes in the lowest cost by a few hundred dollars.   On Hawke’s website, this spotter is listed at $899 which is rare to find a spotter like this for under (or even close to) $1,000.  I have also seen this same spotting scope listed as low as $629.00 on websites such as Ebay or Amazon.  I will assure you that the low cost of this spotter is not due to any short cuts or lack of ingenuity.  Even though I can’t begin to touch on all of the different qualities that make this spotter so great, I will point out the key points that made an impression to me.

I could try to explain lots of the different components or mechanical/structural factors that make this spotting scope so great, but I will admit that even knowing what fancy technology they use doesn’t make me like this scope any more than I already do.  If you want to read all about the nitty gritty details like the phase correction coating, roof prism, or BaK4 Glass, etc. then The Best Spotting Scopes Reviews website reviewed many different brands of spotting scopes including Kowa, Vanguard, Celestron, and Swarovski after which named the Endurance ED 20-60X85 this years Best SpottingScope of 2014.  This proves it's not just me and my review is not biased! :) Their article will go into all of the little details about the structure and other treatments that make this spotting scope so amazing while still being offered at such a great price!  Instead of repeating what their review shares I will focus on my experience with the Endurance ED 20-60X85 spotting scope and why I agree that it is the best spotting scope of 2014!

One of the most impressive aspects of this spotter is how light weight it is for its size and quality.  I am not going to act like this spotter is pocket size and is small enough to not even notice it, but even with it being a normal size spotter the fact it is so light makes it a great spotter to pack around on every hunting or scouting trip without bogging you down.  The body is built out of alloy of magnesium which not only makes it light weight but also makes it very durable.   The Endurance ED measures in at 15.4 inches long, 4.1 inches wide, and 7.1 inches tall which gives it a total weight of 56 ounces (3.5 pounds) most of which is the 85mm objective lens.   The fact that Hawke made this spotting scope as light weight as possible without sacrificing the durability really makes me impressed with the scope. The spotting scope also comes with a light weight soft shell cover which protects it from the elements. 

Of course we all know that many of the times the animals we are after don’t get up and move around until right before dark or early in the morning when the lighting isn’t always the best.  The Endurance ED is a great spotter for those low light conditions!  With the 85 mm lens, the Endurance ED gathers a lot of light which is then focused through the extra low dispersion (hence the ED in the name of the scope) glass which not only brightens the image but also increases the quality of the image.  Another quality concerning lighting that I found to be useful is that the Endurance ED has a sliding sleeve on the end of the objective lens which can be used to reduce glare as well as protect the lens when glassing in rainy or snowy conditions. 

Adaptability and Focus:
So the Endurance ED has a mounting plate which is attached to a metal collar that runs around the body of the scope.  This collar allows the Endurance ED to rotate 360 degrees to adjust/adapt to whatever viewing conditions you may be in.  After you are able to adjust to the viewing conditions, the collar can be locked into place to avoid unwanted movement.  The Endurance ED has two focus knobs which allow you to fine tune your focus.  The dual focus feature was one thing I really enjoyed especially when I was using the Endurance ED for digiscoping.  The fine tune smaller wheel is awesome to adjust the image to get exactly the right focus for pictures or other close up decisions that this spotting scope will help you make!

The last thing I will focus on is that this spotting scope has worked the same for me from the moment I took it out of the box, as it does now after putting it through countless back pack trips, quick hunting adventures, and a few unexpected two year old girl encounters.  My daughter thought she was helping dad put his hunting gear away and tried to carry my scope all by herself down the stairs… I won’t act like I’ve tossed this thing around carelessly or used it as a soccer ball, but the Endurance ED has been with me all over South Eastern Idaho this season and has performed perfectly every time I have used it.  Hawke does provide a Limited Lifetime Warranty for all of their products which gives you comfort that they stand behind their product and its durability!
Digiscoping the moon
I have used some other spotters which have been good and have worked great for me.  I have either been disappointed with how heavy and large the spotting scopes were or I was disappointed in the quality and power because the spotting scope sacrificed these attributes for size and weight.  The Hawke EnduranceED 20-60X85 is the spotter that I have been completely happy with regarding size, quality, weight, and performance as well as the fact that Hawke provides such an amazing scope at such a good price!  I couldn’t be happier with the scope and encourage you to check out the EnduranceED 20-60X85 if you are looking to get a spotter.  Be sure to check out any of the Hawke Optics products at their website!  You won’t be disappointed!  

Once again if you want to read a much more extensive and lengthy review of the Hawke Endurance ED 20-60X85 Spotting Scope and why it was named this years "Best Spotting Scope of 2014" you can visit to read why Best Spotting Scopes Reviews website agrees that this spotter is a great find!


As with all reviews on Idaho Pursuit, the following review is my honest opinion. I received the Hawke Optics Endurance ED 20-60X85 to review as a member of the Hawke Optics Field Staff.  Hawke Optics gave me open permission to review this product honestly regardless of the outcome.  Hawke Optics did not give me any instructions or guidance on how to review the products so everything written on this post is based on my experience and opinion with the product.