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June 23, 2019

Long week. Many letdowns.

Lots of anticipation for the card pull and it was a total letdown. Batteries dead on the new Bushnell Core Cam. Those batteries didn't last long. Squirrels chewed up my antenna on the Link Dark and chewed a hole in the PIR cover. That's a new one. Half a tree fell less than 20 foot in front of one of my Browning cameras. Whew! AND I forgot to pull the card on a camera. No decent horn pictures or videos either. Dang it! And one last thing, I am getting some audio interference on the night videos fr9om the new Browning Apex. I don't remember hearing the interference a few weeks ago. I think the issue is new.

Put new 60X strings and cables on my RX-3. Flo green and black. Things seemed to go smoothly. I was burning the very last knot on my peep sight and I nicked the string with the flame. Damn it! Cut a strand. Where's my backup string?

After months of jacking around with the RX-3 I have realized that my bow's draw length just reads long. I want 30-inch max. The draw board reads 30.25 inches. That's too long. I did try twisting the string to get my draw length. Ten twists shorter (lots of twists) I achieved my 30-inch draw length but the peep was out of control. Unwound that option. I moved the mods and draw strop pegs to the 29.5 inch slots. Draw board read 29.75. Best I can get. Don't have jumpy cams either. I hate jumpy cams. I've read many articles that say shortening up the draw length a smidge should tighten up the groups....unless your draw length is already too short. We will see. So how do I do I get a 30-inch draw length? Not sure I can without sacrificing something else. I know there are options for the 30-inch just do not like the trade-offs.

Ordered some new Easton Hexx 330 (6 mm) arrows from Lancaster. Cut those to length yesterday and installed a 75 grain brass insert. Will decide soon on fletching color and layout. Most likely 4-fletch AAE Max Stealth. Love those vanes. My Archer's Advantage software says the spine is OPTIMUM for my setup. I am right around 500 grains with the final setup. The lighted nock seems to always put me over the 500 grain limit. I like the extra FOC when I twist a 125 grain head onto the arrow. Seems to work for me. I also order an arrow spinner to check for arrow wobble. Inexpensive tester. Had one of the new arrows show a slight wobble. Marked it. Will see if I can find the issue later. 

Sent my QAD MXT back to QAD a couple of weeks ago. Lifetime warranty on QAD rests. They couldn't fix it. QAD returned a refurbished replacement. Let's hope the refurbished replacement doesn't need refurbished again.

Not sure I will return to check the forgotten camera. It's in a totally new spot. Never had a camera there before.

Here's to hoping next week goes better than last week.

Have fun. Be safe. GP out.


June 16, 2019

Checked cameras yesterday. Seems like the antler growth is picking up as one would expect. The Moultrie M4000i sure seems like a cheaply made camera (maybe it is?) but the picture and video quality are decent. Surprising to me. The Browning BTC5HDPX and BTC5HDAPX work like all the past Browning BTC5 cameras....Solid. The Spypoint Force 20 is a decent camera for under $100. Comes with a card reader and SD card. I don't think it has a microphone for the video files. Documentation doesn't say anything that I can find. Not sure I like videos without audio. The Spypoint Link Micro keeps sending me pictures. Awesome for a $150 cell camera. The Bushnell Core DS is a really nice camera. Above average quality in my opinion.

Moved cameras around to test them in different lighting and background setups. Weather has turned warmer, the heat of the sun and the brome grass result in a lot of empty photos and videos. Sensitive PIR sensors.

Worked with the bow again all week. The RX-3 Ultra was purchased with 85% let-off modules. The dump-over wasn't very comfortable so I ordered some 80% and 75% modules. The 75% is a draw stop kit of some sort. After the 5-minute install the 80% mods feels better. Never did like that sudden, big drop to the holding weight with the 85% mods. Hope it helps the grouping. Only problem I had with the new modules was jumpy cams at first but think I resolved that. 

Still haven't got the draw length to work correctly. I think this bow is a quarter-inch long on the length. I can reduce the length by quarter-inch by twisting cables but something else always gets out of spec. Anyway, long story short. Been working with strings and cables all week. Learning a lot about the bow's reaction to twists/untwists. Ordered a new string/cable set from 60X. Hopefully will help. I like green. Can get about any color I want from 60X. Fuse doesn't make the green/black.

Lots of vultures in the air yesterday. With the hay harvest and the fawn birth the last few weeks I'm sure many-a-fawn have succumbed to the hay cutting and baling. It's that time of year. That's a deer's life in the midwest this time of year. A fawn has a lot of obstacles right now....coyotes, bobcats, hay harvest, etc.

Do you know it's only three-and-a-half months to opening day? Lots of antler growing to happen and lots of camera deployments to do in that time.

Have fun. Be safe. GP out.


June 9, 2019

Poison ivy is growing, mosquitoes are relentless and anything over 80 degrees seems hot to me. After yesterday's trip will probably get a case of West Nile. Darn little harpoon carriers were relentless.

Redeployed a cell camera that was infested by ants. Little bastards. Double bagged the camera last week and gave them the 24 hour freezer treatment. Camera still works. Have been using a lot of the Combat gel for ants to treat my cameras but for some reason the little suckers still invaded this camera. Stepped up my game this week and ground up some mothballs. We had a debate during supper last night as to whether the naphtha or naphthalene or whatever is in those things will kill me. Probably. But I'm not dealing with the ants again if I can help it.

May have also got a touch of poison ivy. Leaves of three were everywhere by the one camera. Calamined up this morning. Hopefully will arrest the spread if it is ivy.

Fawns are dropping. Little critters right now. The coyotes know it too. Lots of coyote pictures where I am getting fawn pictures. I also captured a bobcat picture in a spot I haven't before. Predator competition. Will be interesting to see if fawn recruitment is decent this year. Long winter, hungry predators. Maybe. Maybe not.

The bucks are coming along. No pictures of anything that appears jaw-dropping. Have a Picture of one buck that's been around a few years. Full shoulder, definitely mature, but hasn't seemed to taken any big antler growth steps the last two years. He usually vacates in September/October. Will be interesting to see if he hangs around. Feed is decent.

Deer finally appear to have shed the winter hair. They seemed to carry it a long time this year. Understandable. Cool weather up until last week. will the rainy weather give us a little break please. It's OK to rain just prefer if it wasn't every day.

Dr. Grant Woods mentioned on Growing Deer TV that ragweed has 20% protein in it. Wow! Who needs alfalfa or soybeans? That's why I see big bucks hanging out in fields or draws full of ragweed. He was discussing the growth of the plants after a prescribed burn.

The cameras seem to be working well for the most part. Will be somewhat of a slow period the next month or so. Deer spread out. Feed everywhere. Big bucks seem to like open ground this time of year. Don't really need any thermal cover except of shade.

Spending time almost nightly tuning on my bows. Learning. Educating myself. It's interesting to see what affects certain changes have. Lots of string and cable twisting, lots rest adjustments and lots of D-loop tying.

Sent my QAD MXT rest back to the factory. Something wasn't right with that rest. Will be interesting to see what they tell me. Spent some real money for that rest.

Have fun. Be safe. GP out.


May 26, 2019

Well. Same thing different day. Rain and more rain. Finding a time-window to mow the lawn is challenging. Washed the floor of my garage after the winter from hell. Floor was gross. Got out to check the new cameras after two weeks. Road back to the farm was kind of dry. I made it back anyway. 

All the cameras seem to sense well and take decent pictures. One setup gave me a lot of false readings (i.e. empty pictures). The location for that camera will most likely need changed. Sun on swaying grass in the heat of the day leads to lots of false triggers.

The photo quality from the $150 Spypoint Link Micro (Verizon model) is good. Better than expected. Thumbnails are OK. Do not like the micro SD card. Easy to lose. Phone app is the only way to change settings. No onboard menu screen or menu buttons. Fit-n-finish seems good.

The Bushnell Core DS seems rock solid with very good night photos so far. The Spypoint Force 20 is a darn nice camera with a price point under $100. The Moultrie I'm trying seems to take decent photos. The case is below average. Door is flimsy. Limited menu options. Cheesy looking display too.

Still doing lots of tuning with my bows. YouTube University has been my friend the last few months. Trying to find the "perfect" tune. My bow tune is always close. It shoots a bullet hole within a few shots of new strings/cables or changes to my setup but I am striving for perfection. What is center shot? What is the power path of the bow? Why 13/16ths from the face of the riser? It seems to be common knowledge but published proof is limited. Hoyt is very cryptic about many of their recommended settings. "Talk to a dealer!" Still haven't figured a trusted way to measure from the face of the riser to the center of the arrow. The rubber shelf pad is in the way. I've purchased some smaller rulers and and other measuring tools but nothing works as perfectly as this engineer wants it to work. 

Currently trying to figure out why my sight pin doesn't line up with my arrow on the RX3. My sight pin has always lined up with my arrows on other bows. My assumption has been that my center shot was off. The grip on this model is below center. That major change is the only thing I can think of that might be causing me issues. Could be hand torque.

Working on my grip, left shoulder and release arm. Getting closer to a consistent shot. Focusing on fewer arrows during practice and more on form and release.

Purchased an annual subscription to Archer's Advantage. Love it so far. It's a tool for pros and archery geeks. You input your bow and arrow setup and the software tells you how close to an optimum spine your arrows are. It is pretty darn accurate in my limited use. I've compared my actual measured weights and other comparable parameters and are definitely in the ball park. Learned my FMJs with 125 grain points/broadheads are definitely on the weak side. My long wingspan and long arrows are the problem. My overall arrow weight get's pretty high plus I don't like to shoot a lot of pounds. If I want to add a lot of point weight for high FOC, I need to go a 300 or 260 spine arrow. My overall arrow weight gets pretty lofty then. Need to decide how important a high FOC is to my setup. Have also been trying lots of different fletching setups including a short length, short height 6-vane setup. Arrows fly great but there isn't much room on a 5 mm shaft to set all the vane bases. Think I've decided that option is a no go.

Lot's of velvet on camera so far. Only one buck seems to be growing rapidly. Might be an early bloomer or might be something special. Who knows? Have three months to figure that out.

Have fun. Be safe. GP out.


May 12, 2019

Last day of turkey season. Yes I did buy a tag but only got out a couple of times. Lots of work and family stuff going on that limits any significant effort at chasing a bird. Exchanged calls and gobbles with a tom yesterday afternoon but he never closed the distance. It was great to listen to him respond.

The two new Browning cameras are sensing machines. Lots of pictures. Deployed a Spypoint Link Micro yesterday in a remote location. For a $150 cellular camera the fit-n-finish and photo quality doesn't seem too bad. Could be a game changer in the trail camera world. Only thing I don't like about it is the micro SD card. Those little cards are difficult to deal with in the woods with cold fingers.

I bought a subscription to the on-line version of Archer's Advantage last week. Been plugging and chugging lots of arrow/bow setup scenarios into the software. Think I learned my arrows are not optimally spined for my hunting rigs. The 340 FMJ's seem to tend towards a marginally weak spine. My 30-inch draw length usually throws me to the next heavier spine (340 versus 300) and those arrows weigh quite a bit more. I've never purchased a set of 300 or 260 spine arrows but have been thinking about it. I like my 200 grains of weight setting on the business end of the arrow.

Also purchased a Alaskan Guide Creations binocular pack last week. Wanted my go-to stuff a little more accessible in the stand. Man are there lots of choices for this type of pack.

Do you believe it is only four-and-a-half months until Iowa bow season? Seems like we just turned the corner from 2018 to 2019 and that was four-and-a-half months ago. Velvet is growing.

Have fun. Be safe. GP out.


April 28, 2019

Not much time to chase turkeys so far. Busy with work. Have a decent number of bucks going by the cameras. Many of the bucks appear mature. I assume they will disperse once the soybeans start growing. 

Put new strings and cables on the backup bow. The tuning process seemed to go better this time compared to last. Hard to get outside and shoot at any distance. It's been windy every darn day.

Been trying to decide on a binocular pack. Have it narrowed down to two or three. Each one has a different item I like better than on the others. Prices about the same on all of them. 

Sent one of the cellular cameras in for repair. The LCD stopped working.

Three months and we will know if we have any shooters or even better yet a buck of a lifetime.

Have fun. Be safe. GP out.


April 14, 2019

No I'm not dead. Just dealing with the winter from hell. As you get older it takes more to recover from nasty winters. All my tree stands are down except for the ladders. They will stay. Found a few sheds. Nothing big. Checked two new cameras for the first time. Both Browning cameras. Been tuning my new RX-3 Ultra. Fighting some nasty tendonitis. This darn bow uses different muscles than I'm used to. Been a long two months to deal with that.


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