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Shoot Your Heritage: Taking Photos in the Field
Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Shoot Your Heritage: Taking Photos in the Field

by Heritage Hunters Staff

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We’re not ones to criticize any hunting related photo, regardless of where or how, it’s taken (ie; back of a pick-up or hanging in the garage).  We figure it’s all part of the hunting heritage so our hats are off to all of you that snap those pictures during your seasons.  However, we’ve been asked from time to time about what to consider when taking a photo in the field.  As a result, we thought we would compile some pointers on taking good quality photos of your hunting heritage.

The Setting: Whether you’re taking a game photo with the animal in the shot or you’re just capturing a shot to remember the day afield, you’ll need to consider the background of your picture.  We’re not telling you to forget the pick-up and garage photos, by no means! On the contrary, snap those candids too.  However, you’ll generally want a nice picture simulating the area you made the shot or recovered the animal.  In which direction is the Sun? Do I want the shot up hill or down? Do I want the stand in the background? and Do I want to reposition the animal?  are a few of the questions you should ask yourself.

Cameras: The general rule of thumb is that the higher the megapixels a camera has, the higher picture quality you’ll get.  There are an array of cameras out there that produce fantastic quality shots for around $100.  Think about it, is it worth spending a $100 for a camera to capture not only your hunting heritage, but that of your buddies as well?  These cameras are small enough to put in a pocket or pack if you’re worried about weather proofing, stick it in a zip-lock bag.

Lighting and Flash: Give some thought to the Sun.  If you have it, work with it.  A general rule is that the subject in your photo should be facing the light source but be careful of shadows.  If you’ve got a ball cap on, we still want to see your face instead of a dark shadow.  Use the flash on cloudy days to fill in those shadows caused by your clothing.

Digital Means “Shoot, shoot, shoot!”: Today’s digital Cameras, equipped with LCD Screen allow you to not only see the picture your just took, the media card memory in the camera can store 1000’s of pictures.  Why not take more pictures now and sort them out or delete some later?  You may get home and decide that some look better than they did in the field.  Be sure to take the close ups as well as the wide shots, both at various angles.  We’ve been in that situation before and even though we’re tired, we’d rather spend the time taking various photos in the field, than to wish we had later.

Keep an Album: Once the season is over, take the media card to your local photo place and print out your favorites.  After just a few years, you’ll have a blast looking through the album.  Better yet, start one for your hunting buddies and give it as a gift.  It’s a great way to preserve your hunting heritage and watch it evolve at the same time.

Campbell Outdoor Challenge DVD Slideshow Software: 

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A great program for creating a sophisticated slideshow of your field photos is the Campbell Outdoor Challenge DVD Slideshow Software.  This program allows you to drop your photos easily into the program’s interface and customize a slideshow incorporating music, titles and a host of effects.  After your slideshow is complete, simply save it and burn to a DVD to enjoy over and over with friends and family.  The best part about this program is that it was created by hunters for this very purpose and contains many outdoor related effects.   For an initial investment of $60, you can enjoy your hunting heritage in pictures on the big screen for years to come.  This program, as well as the DVDs you’ll be able to create with it, are truly the gifts that keep on giving!
For more information on the Campbell Outdoor Challenge DVD Slideshow: https://www.campbellcameras.com/p-408-campbell-outdoor-challenge-dvd-slideshow-software.aspx

Review of i-Kam Xtreme Eyewear Video system
Sunday, April 25th, 2010

Review of i-Kam Xtreme Eyewear Video system

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Falling under the heading of “Cool as Hell” are the i-Kam Xtreme Video Glasses from www.predatoroutdoorproducts.com  We video a ton of stuff throughout the season but don’t always capture those moments during the “pre-hunt” or “post-hunt” that we wish we had footage of after the season.  The i-Kam Xtreme is a product that will allow you to capture a variety of situations without even realizing you’re the cameraman!

The i-Kam Xtreme is a combination of stylish eyewear and a video camera rolled into one product.  The glasses are camouflaged in Realtree AP and comes with a set of interchangeable lenses.  When we first heard about this product, our interest peaked, but to be honest we didn’t expect the resulting video to hold much water.  We were wrong.

Here are the Specs on i-Kam Xtreme:

Product Size: 170 x 160 x 40mm (folded)
Physical Weight: 39g
Speed Read: Read – 700kbs / Write – 500kbs
USB: 2.0 (HS)
Power Supply: Embedded 550mAh Li-polymer Battery
Power Duration: 2.5-3 hours
Power Adaptor: 5V DC / 500mAh
Memory: Built in 4GB, Max 8GB, Support Max 8GB Micro SD card
Resolution: 736 x 480 Video Playback
Video Format: AVI
Audio: Stereo
Recording Speed: 30fps
Working Temp: 23F – 104F
Storage Temp: -4F – 176F
Player: Windows Media Player, Quicktime, Real player, Storm codec
Operating System: Easily Connected to Your PC, for Viewing, Saving, and Sharing

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Now there are obviously a myriad of situations in which one may utilize the i-Kam Xtreme, but from a hunter’s point of view, they’re simple to operate and they’re always pointing toward what you’re looking at!  As I mentioned previously, we had our concerns about the quality of audio and video.  From the pinhole 3 megapixel CMOS camera to the stereo microphone, our expectations were not very high. 

Video Quality: The quality of the video produced by the I-Kam’s is pretty good.  Let’s be honest here. You’re not going to get HD quality video from a pinhole camera.  But the resulting video isn’t bad for capturing a second angle, a point of view shot, or those times when you’re the cameraman and still have to manipulate equipment (ex. Fishing)
Audio: Here’s where the i-Kam Xtreme dazzled us.  The microphone on these glasses is much better than expected.  I remember plugging the USB cable into my computer for the first time to preview the video that I had taken and thought “Wow, I didn’t even know there was a microphone on these things!”

Here is a sample of some of the video we shot with this product during our 2009 Season.  As is always the case, the quality gets distorted on a YouTube upload but you’ll be able to get a sense of how we used it.  This product is great for those Point of View shot angles:

 

The Down Side: There is no way to preview the video you take without hooking it up to a computer. 

The Up Side: The biggest plus of this product is that it is a “Hands-free” way to video and you still can look cool wearing these at the same time.  From hunting to fishing and all the outdoor activities in between, these babies will allow you to relive the fun.

i-Kam Player: Media Player for download and playback of video (on PC) can be found at www.predatoroutdoorproducts.com

 Our Marks on the i-Kam Xtreme Video Eyewear:

Style: 5 out of 5: These glasses look stylish to the point where you could wear them without the video component

Production Quality: 5 out of 5: The i-Kam eyewear appears to be constructed well, are lighter than we expected and the camouflage finish did not have any flaws.

Video Quality: 4 out of 5: Up close shots in good lighting were the best but unless you’re James Bond videoing a matter of national security, a pinhole camera can’t be expected to do much better.

Audio Quality: 5 out of 5: We were impressed with the microphone capabilities on this.

Overall Value: 4 out of 5: We were able to find these for $160 on Amazon.com.  If you want the “Hands Free” video capabilities, these seem to hold up quite well.

For more information on this product, which also comes in colors other than camo, CLICK HERE

MAGNET Gun Caddy Review
Friday, April 16th, 2010

MAGNET Gun Caddy Review

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Once again, falling under the heading of “I wish I thought of that” is the Magnet Gun Caddy.   This Handy device is simple, small enough to fit in any pack or vest and works with a variety of gun configurations.  When is the last time you needed to lean your gun against something while getting ready for a hunt?  The Magnet Gun Caddy provides an instant and secure gun rest against anything metal.

First Impressions: We found the Magnet Gun Caddy to be smaller than we expected.  These things are compact and the foam that secures the gun barrel is more rugged than we imagined.  You can also have a logo or website address imprinted on these things which of course interests the crew here at TheHeritageHunters.com

Our uses: We used this product primarily in two ways.  The first, as already mentioned, was to secure our guns at our vehicle while getting ready to go into the field (or upon returning).  The second, which I personally feel is not just unique to us was for securing our guns the night before a morning hunt.  Time is always at a premium it seems during those “O’ dark thirty” moments when you’ve got hunting gear strewn all over and you’re trying to get out the door.  In the past, I’ve always had issues finding that safe place with just the right groove to lean my gun (unloaded of course) for the morning hunt.  Believe me, having all my gear for that hunt in one place and being able to access it quickly and quietly makes a world of difference in my house.  The Magnet Gun Caddy allows me to secure my gun next to my gun cabinet or anything metal with ease.

Specs and Tips: The Magnet Gun Caddy measures roughly 2 1/4 inches by 2 1/4 inches and the foam area fits a wide range of barrels.  Larger gauge barrels may require a break-in period for removing with one hand (thumb pushing one side of the foam) but we experienced zero issues with barrel removal with all of our firearms (410, 20, 16, 12 gauge) as well as our over/under shotguns.  Double barrel (side by side) guns can also be used but with a side entry instead of vertical.

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Inexpensive: For less than $10 (Buy Here) you can keep your guns from falling, scratching, scarring and otherwise avoiding getting beat up from careless placement. It’s a smart investment for any avid outdoorsman.

Our Marks on the Magnet Gun Caddy:

Function: 5 out of 5: The Magnet Gun Caddy has a specific function and works exactly as advertised.

Quality: 5 out of 5: The magnet is strong, won’t damage what it attaches to and the foam is rugged enough to withstand our abuse.

Value: 5 out of 5: This product is inexpensive and small enough to keep in your pack, vest or the glove compartment of the vehicle you attach it to.

For more information on the Magnet Gun Caddy click HERE

For Purchase, click HERE

 

Swhacker Broadheads
Friday, April 9th, 2010

Review of Swhacker Broadheads

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Dan and I have been using mechanical broadheads for several years now and have had success with them.  This review is not a debate on mechanical vs. fixed heads, but rather to provide some information about the Swhacker Broadhead itself and our subsequent experience with them.  If you’d like to create a post on the mechanical vs. fixed debate, feel free to do that in our forum. 

The Swhacker Broadhead is a mechanical head with 2 stainless steel blades and a chisel tipped ferrule point.  The blades are held closed by a piece of rubber or shrink tubing and upon entry, provide a 1 ¾ inch cutting diameter for 100 grain and 2 ¼ inch cutting diameter for 125 grain.

Until testing the Swhacker brand heads, I was a tad skeptical of 2 blade designs.  I had always thought 3 blades are better than 2 for more cutting surface when passing through tissue.  Our results however, have given us a better appreciation for this 2 blade design.

One thing the Swhacker did have that seemed to be a constant in all of our favorite broadhead designs was the chisel tipped, cut-on-contact point.  The chiseled angles are tight and slightly recessed resulting in an extremely efficient entry into the animal.  All of this minimizes any sort of deflection since the tip enters so quickly and efficiently that by the time the main blades start to open, the head is ½ to ¾ of the way into the animal. The blades are a thick .032 inches which allow them to hold up under contact with solid material in the animal.

The Swhacker is rugged, simple and efficient.  The blood trails we encountered with these heads were as if the Kool-Aid man was stumbling through the woods, spewing all manner of red liquid from his cranial orifice (always wanted to use that phrase and it seemed quite appropriate with these heads)

Two Disclaimers should be mentioned when discussing broadheads.  One lends itself to mechanicals specifically and the other is in reference to ANY broadhead on the market. 

Disclaimer #1:  It is our opinion that mechanicals work best when used with archery equipment capable of generating maximum kinetic energy for the set-up.  Both of us shoot around 70 pound / 29 inch draws and this past season, my arrow speed was in excess of 300fps.   We’re not saying that mechanicals do not work with lower KE setups, but we do think you’ll experience fewer problems with an arrow that generates greater KE.

Disclaimer #2:  Broadhead results are always relative to the particular situation and we’ve been bowhunting long enough to realize that the worst broadhead will do the job if placed correctly in the animal.  Likewise, the best broadhead may not yield the desired results depending on the situation.  The bottom line is that it’s rarely the broadhead that is the culprit in a less than typical recovery.  We’ve heard all the “It didn’t open” stories.  Sometimes it’s the hunter and sometimes weird stuff happens.  It is truly up to you to determine the proper broadhead for your set-up, your shooting ability and to choose the correct shot angles accordingly.  With all that being said, two or three awesome blood trails do not make a very scientific conclusion on these heads.  However, the fact that those trails were so spectacular will cause us to continue testing these heads in 2010.

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