Is battery powered hunting gear the natural evolution in keeping you warm in the deer woods? Is it just a passing crazy? Or is it somewhere in between? On this episode I dive deep into the world of battery powered hunting gear to give some perspective and recommendations. Also, get your free 14-day trial of Aura, the sponsor of this episode: www.Aura.com/NHG

Heated gear is all the rage today, and many companies are beginning to produce it. However, battery powered gear is not automatically a game changer. There certainly are benefits, but there are cons too. First and foremost, not all heated gear is good. The quality of many things on the market is questionable. The quality of the garment and the quality of the heating system must both be considered. And with new brands popping up overnight trying to get on the bandwagon, this can be hard to judge.

You need to understand what makes good, heated gear and what are the traits of poor-quality gear. The most important thing is the garment construction. You want the gear to be warm, comfortable, and effective when it is off. Too often people are compromising their gear setup for a particular hunt in order to find a way to make their new fancy piece of heated gear work. But if you use the wrong layers just because they are heated, you will not end up further ahead than wearing proper normal gear.

Another big issue with heated gear is the battery life and heat output. Every brand gives you a range of times, temperatures, and power levels. Most of the time it is just marketing nonsense. The most important number is the amount of power the batteries hold. That power directly translates into the amount of warmth the gear is capable of generating. The more powerful the battery, the more capable the gear. Do not settle for tiny little batteries on a piece of brand x gear that promises you the moon.

I have used a heated jacket, vest, socks, and gloves, and had the opportunity to use more still. I would say each of these pieces of gear has a place when they are helpful. But often, if I am being honest, regular gear performs better. Heated gear works best in certain niche situations and in very specific conditions. For most hunters and most new hunters, it is not a priority to get some. But once you establish a complete set of gear, it is worth augmenting that gear with some powered pieces that fit your situation and location well.

Listen to the whole podcast episode to hear it all.

As a note, Heated Hunter and DewBu sent me gear to test which helped me do this show. Thanks to them for their support.

If you are looking for what may be the biggest innovation in waterfowl hunting ammunition this year, you’ve come to the right place. On this episode I am reviewing and diving into the nitty gritty with the BOSS Warchief bismuth shotshell. Ther performance and cost to benefit ratio of this ammo may be the best of any waterfowl hunting shell on the market. 

Check out my full comprehensive written review on the BOSS Warchief.

Disclaimer: This review and podcast are not sponsored by BOSS.

In this detailed review, I talk all things Warchief from the specifics of the buffering material to the newly engineered wad, to the special agents added to the plastic shot cup to make it biodegradable. I go in depth discussing pattern density, ballistic gel penetration, recoil, pattern efficiency, shell cost, and comparisons to other types of ammo.

The BOSS warchief is an improved version of their Legacy copper plated bismuth load designed to provide extended range capabilities with potential pattern performance that is off the charts. This ammo works so well at holding tight patterns at range that it may enable hunter with the right setup to be able to reach out knock down ducks and geese as far as 60 yards away.

One of the big issues with long range hunting however is the skill of the shooter. Most hunters are not practiced well enough to hit birds at these ranges consistently. However, if you are up for it, this ammo will certainly do its part of the job. Where this ammo shines is with jump hunters, looking for ways to extend their range on stationary targets sitting on a pond or the shore.

The Warcheif is capable of pattern efficiency as high as 100% at 40 yards in a 30″ circle with the right setup. This is practically unheard of in the world of waterfowl hunting ammunition. But I have had patterns that good with this ammo. Check out some of my test videos using this ammo as well.

Very surprisingly the Warchief not only provides improved pattern performance, but it also provides more ballistics gel penetration. For the details you will have to listen to the episode. But I think this is one of the most impressive improvements in an ammo I’ve seen.  The Warchief seems to improve on the BOSS legacy loads in just about every area.

If you are looking for the best balance of cost and performance, I think the BOSS Warchief is it. 

Listen to this entire podcast episode to hear all of the details about this new ammo option for waterfowl hunters. As a note, BOSS provided me with some of the shells used in my testing, thanks for their support.

Are you tired of hauling a lot of heavy gear into the woods? There is a false perception that you need a ton of gear to hunt waterfowl successfully. In this podcast episode I am going to cover five minimalist duck hunting setup that are low cost and light on equipment.

Waterfowl hunting is one of, if not the most equipment intensive types of hunting. There are so many things to buy and use that you can spend your life building out the perfect set of gear. For new hunters especially that just isn’t practical, but diverging from the norm is not welcomed by the establishment. People with decades worth of gear accumulated don’t love the idea of new people heading out into the woods with minimal gear and being successful. So other ways of hunting are often suppressed by the culture. But that’s crazy and there are lots of great ways to hunt ducks and geese with minimal gear.

When I say minimal, I think looking at it from both the standpoint of hauling that gear in and reducing the needed investment to successfully hunt waterfowl. If you are able to get a handful of items and still take ducks, that is a big win for a new hunter, and it is very possible. In fact, there are many ways to do it.

An obvious approach is the conventional hunting strategy with minimal gear. A set of waders, a half dozen decoys, a call, and a shotgun can be all that you need to be effective and bring home birds. Sure, 6 dozen decoys may work better, but one person can easily carry 6 singles into the woods with a pair of waders, improvise a blind and get shots at ducks. 

Jump hunting is another great way to hunt, as long as you are not in an area that is overrun with other hunters. You do not want to be walking around and messing up other people’s hunts. But provided you can get away from most other hunters, you can have a great time sneaking through the woods trying to get to the edge of streams, creeks, lakes, ponds, and puddles looking for unsuspecting birds. All you need to do this is a gun and a way to retrieve the birds from the water, typically a backpack with breathable waders stuffed inside works great.

Listen to this full podcast episode to hear all the five minimalist duck hunting strategies and which are a good fit for you and your hunting style.

How do you maximize your time spent in the woods? The answer depends on your goals, but if your goal is to take the most deer per hour hunting then this episode is for you. I am going to cover five strategies to help maximize every minute you spend in the woods. Also, get your free 14-day trial of Aura, the sponsor of this episode: www.Aura.com/NHG

Everyone has limitations for hunting, some are limited by time, some by opportunity and others by desire. If you don’t have the time to hunt dozens of days waiting for the largest buck in the area, you shouldn’t use the same tactics as the big buck hunter either. You need to stack the deck in your favor to maximize the chances of hitting your personal goals.

If your goal is to take a grown deer on as many hunts as possible then you need to create a strategy focused on that. In this podcast episode I give five strategies to help you accomplish that goal. First and foremost, you need to hunt the best times of day for each part of the season. People often hunt the time of day they prefer to hunt. And while that isn’t necessarily bad, it may hinder your ability to get more opportunities on the average white tail.

Generally speaking, deer tend to move more in the evening most of the season. If you love hunting the mornings, you need to weigh your enjoyment of the morning vs. your enjoyment of taking more deer to figure out what is the best fit for you. I personally used to be a morning hunter for years, until I realized I was about twice as successful on evening hunts. Now I hunt the evenings almost exclusively and I have actually grown to appreciate the benefits of evening hunting and I prefer it.

You should also hunt the best weather days for deer movement if your time is limited. Not all days are equal by any means. Days that have a significant relatively temperature drop compared to previous days are likely to prompt deer to move more during daylight because the lower temperatures refresh the deer and make it easier for them to be comfortable while moving during the warmer daylight hours. If you focus on the best weather days and the best time of day for that part of the season it will go a long way towards improving your chances for success.

Listen to the full podcast episode to hear the other strategies to help you take more deer in less time.

This is a very important announcement for waterfowl hunters. I was not going to do this review episode but you guys requested it because of how good the deal is on these waders. They are maybe the best deal on the market right now in terms of value. The cost for these waders, with my 18% off discount code GK18 is $90 shipped. You can find them on TideWe’s website here:  TideWe MAX5 Neoprene Hunting Waders. Enter my code GK18 at checkout.

You can also find my full written and video review here: TideWe MAX5 Neoprene Wader Review | The Best Cheap Hunting Wader?

As a note, TideWe gave me these waders to do this review. Thanks to them for their support. 

Everyone has a worst hunt story, but I hope mine can keep you from ever going through something this bad. Learn from this bad deer hunting scenario and keep from making the same mistakes I did. Also, get your free 14-day trial of Aura, the sponsor of this episode: www.Aura.com/NHG

Deer hunting, especially in archery season is never a sure thing. Human error plays a part of everything we do and is magnified when the tolerances are tight, and the margins are slimmer.  However, there are many mistakes we can avoid by just knowing better.

This terrible hunting story is not one that resulted from imperfect execution or one bad decision, it was a series bad choices that were all completely avoidable. And hopefully you will avoid them all because of this episode! 

 

Donating a deer is important and can make a big difference in the lives of many people. But on this episode I am going to share some stories and guidelines for how to NOT donate a deer to a feeding program like Farmers and Hunters Feeding The Hungry or Hunters Sharing The Harvest.

Donating venison is an honorable thing. Foodbanks often supply people in need with canned goods, non-perishables, and carb rich foods but meat of any kind may be rarely available due to the cost. Venison is able to provide people who are food insecure with high quality lean protein. People will often wait in line or check back constantly with hopes of venison becoming available. If the meat portions they receive are lousy because the hunter was careless, we’ve hurt a person we could have helped.

Proper field care is a huge part of bringing back quality venison to donate. But simply being considerate as a human being is needed first. You must not leave a deer over night or for several days in the woods and bring it to donate. These carcasses are unfit and unsafe for human consumption and a good butcher will throw the entire thing away. You cannot bring animals that have been half eaten by coyotes. The bacteria and disease present in these situations makes the meat unsafe almost instantly. 

Just because you’ve eaten questionable meat and been ok does not mean its ok. Children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems can become seriously ill by eating something that your body seems to process ok. And people who are food insecure and nutrient deprived may be at elevated risk levels. You are providing meat to people who due to their poverty may have compromised health.

The deer that we donate should be the best deer we can take out of the woods, not some scheme to get a butcher to cut off the antlers for us for free. In fact the deer we donate should be better than the venison we put on our own tables. Keep in mind someone is paying to have that deer butchered and given to food banks, soup kitchens etc. These are often individual donors, local churches, small businesses and others who pay the financial cost of deer processing, so the hunters do not need to pay money when they donate their animal.

We need to strive to provide the best possible meat for families in need. If you are going to donate a deer, donate your best, not your worst.

Listen to the whole podcast episode for so much more.

 

 

 

Are high end hunting base layers like Sitka, First Lite, Smartwool, and Icebreaker worth paying big money for? What makes expensive base layers better? These are big questions that deserve honest answers from someone who is not selling base layers. So, on this podcast episode I tackle these questions to provide the pros, cons, and recommendations on how to realistically budget for base layers. 

There are several significant performance areas that base layers compete in.

  1. Warmth – This is how warm a particular layer can keep you. Different thicknesses of material can achieve almost any desired warmth level from something paper thin to something as thick as a parka. Yes, some materials are warmer than others but you can achieve almost any warmth level you want with enough material.
  2. Warmth When Wet – This is how warm a layer stays even when soaking wet. Many cheap warm layers begin to suck the heat out of you when they get wet, their materials are not insulating once moisture hits them. A good layer keeps you warm even when it gets wet.
  3. Thermal Regulation – This is a layer’s ability to keep you warm when it’s cold but not overheat when it’s hot. Certain materials like merino wool do a great job with this, while certain cheap synthetic base layers become your enemy as temperatures fluctuate throughout a hunt.
  4. Drying Speed – This is how fast a layer dries. People often talk about moisture wicking which is one half hype and one half highly complex science. I lump that into how fast a layer can dry and keep you dry. This makes a huge difference when it comes to keeping you warm and comfortable through changing conditions.
  5. Comfort Of Material – This is how the fabric feels on your skin, how it breathes, stretches, and causes or protects from chaffing and other issues. Comfort matters a lot, so long as other areas are in good shape.
  6. Cut & Fit – This has to do with how the garment is designed, is made to move, walk, climb, run, etc. If the layer is cut and fit for hunting, it will give you full range of motion, not bind up around your joints. And it will be tight enough for good articulation but loose enough for comfort and warmth.
  7. Odor Control – This is how well or how long a base layer can resist stinking. Some fabrics are naturally odor resistant, like wool, and others are treated in a variety of ways to make them odor resistant. Cheap base layers will more quickly develop perma-stink, an unfortunate condition where the layer pretty much always smells bad within a few minutes of putting it on and warming it up to body temperature.
  8. Durability – No base layers last forever, but they should last for a while at least. This has to do with how they resist wearing out from use, as well as snags, washing, and other gear rubbing against them. Thicker layers tend to last longer but there are numerous technologies being used now to improve durability across fabric types. A good set of base layers should last many hunting seasons. 

Listen to the full podcast episode to hear about how expensive base layers are better and if they are worth paying high prices for. 

 

Every year millions of people are excited to go duck hunting. However about 86% of hunters do not wear hearing protection. How dangerous is this? What are the risks? What really happens to your ears, hearing, brain, and future when you do this? To answer these questions and more, I have invited. Dr. Bill Dickenson, a lifelong duck hunter, doctor of audiology, and founder of the company Tetra Hearing to give us some expert insight. 

Here is the code mentioned in the show: Tetra Hearing protection – Get 10% off with the code: NHG2410

Every time you fire a shotgun without hearing protection you blast your ears with volume that drastically exceeds the limits of what is safe. Many people experience some ringing in their ears or other short term hearing effects that fade away. They assume that because they do not notice any permanent damage that they are ok, and they continue on. What they do not realize is twofold.

#1 The next shot they take could be the one that causes major permanent hearing loss. Or the next shot someone next to them takes, especially when it comes to shooting at flying birds that can cause the muzzle to move closer to your hunting partner’s ears.  You may be one shot away from major issues.

#2 The other thing is that every shot you take could be costing you an imperceptible amount of hearing loss. After one or two shots you may not notice anything. But after many hunts and many seasons, the cumulative effect of those shots adds up and people realize, often unexpectedly years later, that they have a major problem.

Couple both of these scenarios with the fact that waterfowl hunting is the most punishing form of hunting on your ears and your risks multiply. The average waterfowl hunter, in my experience, hits a bird with about 1/3 of their shots or less. So, to fill a six-bird limit, they will likely shoot 20 shells. These are often magnum shells, and often used with a ported choke tube that increases volume levels behind and beside the muzzle.

Then consider waterfowl hunting is a team sport, so if you have 3 people in your hunting party, you may have 60 shots fired within inches of your ears in one day. That is more abuse to your ears in one day than many hunters will experience in a lifetime of turkey hunting or deer hunting.

Simple hearing loss however is not the full extent of the problem. Often times people experience constant ringing in their ears, pain, static, and other damage that lasts for life. These effects are correlated with higher suicide rates, depression, and self-isolation. And then moderate untreated hearing loss in mid-life may impact your risk of Altheimer’s and dementia by as much as 900%. 

So how dangerous is hunting ducks on your hearing? It is one of the most dangerous things you can do to your ears. And the long-term effects of it can be brutal. This is why I implore you to wear hearing protection while hunting waterfowl. About 86% of hunters do not wearing hearing protection of any kind.

It is absolutely critical that you protect your hearing. Cheap ear plugs can do the job for $1. Entry level digital hearing protection devices can enable you to still hear some of the hunt and are often available for the price of a box of tungsten ammo. But by far the best options I have ever seen on the market are those made by Tetra Hearing.

Tetra provides a one size fits most option called their AlphaShield, you can learn more about them in my Tetra AlphaShield Written Review. They also provide a custom fit option for maxiumum comfort and effectivness called their CustomShield. You can read more about those in my Tetra CustomShield Written Review.

Both of these devices compensate for hearing loss and enable you to hear everything going on around you and all the sounds of nature as if you had nothing in your ears at all. They then become instant hearing projection every time you pull the trigger to protect your years and keep you safe.

But perhaps the biggest thing they do is identify and isolated the sounds made by the animals you are hunting and amplify those sounds. This enables you to hear the sounds that ducks and geese make louder and more clearly from further away than you could even with perfect hearing, giving you a distinct advantage in the woods. 

They are rugged and powerful digital devices that fit right inside your ear. They filter out sounds you do not want, like wind noise, and enable you to set them for whatever you are hunting that day, such as waterfowl, turkey, deer, elk, and much more. I have not found anything better on the market.

They are not cheap, but Tetra has been kind enough to provide a discount code to help you save 10% at checkout. Tetra Hearing protection – Get 10% off with the code: NHG2410

In addition to the discount, Tetra’s can be purchased with HSA (Health Savings Account) funds. They have a great warranty, can be repaired if broken, can be used in the rain or in the marsh, and enable you to retain all the joys of hearing the hunt with instant hearing protection and provide you with advantages. to hunt more effectively.

I have been using Tetras for coming up on three years at this point and they are what has enabled me to continue waterfowl hunting without compromising anything. This episode is not sponsored, and I paid for my Tetra CustomShields with my own money. I highly recommend you give them a try. I also did a podcast review: Tetra AlphaShield Review | Critical For All Hunters

I also highly recommend you listen to this podcast episode. It may be the most important podcast you ever listen to because I believe it can illuminate your understanding and empower you to make changes that can redirect the trajectory of your health, family, and future. Dr. Bill provides some of the most outstanding insights into how our ears work and he breaks it down into simple terms that anyone can understand. We share numerous hunting stories as well, it was a lot of fun! 

If you want to hunt ducks, you need to be able to hide. But how can you do that cheap? Are there cost effective approaches to waterfowl hunting blinds, or do you need to spend big money? On this episode I cover four strategies for hiding on the cheap.

Hiding is synonymous with waterfowl hunting. You must have cover if you want birds to voluntarily come into shooting range. And you need to have cover even more if you are trying to sneak up on the ducks.

The hunting industry has answered this fundamental need with a great many expensive contraptions such as A-Fram blinds, lay out blinds, dog blinds, and many more. Generally speaking, these options all work in the right situations. But are there cheaper ways?

Not long ago, none of these hiding options existed. They were nowhere to be found. All hunters built or improvised their own blinds, most often temporary ones, used for just one hunt. Occasionally they had the luxury of using one a couple of times. Setting up a blind was as much of part of the morning routine as putting on your waders or setting out the decoys. But today, much of this has been lost, replaced with expensive alternatives.

In this podcast episode I harken back to the days of waterfowl ingenuity, empowering hunters to hide for little or no budget at all. Some of these options are clear cut, while others are unorthodox, but each one works in the right situation. If you want cheap options for concealment while hunting waterfowl, you need to listen to this short episode.

Spoiler alert, a lot of expensive blinds you can buy save little to no time, are not less work, and do not hide you better than many of the strategies in this episode. There are times when purchased blinds are very helpful, but more often than not, they provide comparable effectiveness with increased complexity.  You do not need that to get started. You can go into the woods tomorrow, and setup a good hide for cheap or free and hunt ducks.

You can save your money for other waterfowl hunting necessities like waders, call, decoys, ammo, shotguns, camo, boots, gloves, sleds, etc. Buying a blind is always something you can do later. But you do not need to do it to get started. In fact, many expert waterfowl hunters never do it all. They hunt every day of their season, year after year, following the simple strategies I detail in this podcast episode.

If you want to buy blinds, great, go for it. But you should also know these simple strategies to help you in uncommon hunting scenarios when purchased hunting blinds are not as effective or you just cannot get them to the spot you are hunting.

Listen to the whole episode to hear the details.