Friday, June 28, 2013

Make Sharpening Easy

Work Sharp has a pair of outstanding knife sharpeners: a field sharpener and a power sharpener. The field sharpener includes a coarse and fine diamond plate, two ceramic rods, a leather strop, and 20-and 25-degree sharpening guides to keep a consistent sharpening angle for knives and camp tools.

Strong, rare earth magnets secure the interchangeable diamond plates and provide coverage for a broadhead wrench and small storage compartment. It also sharpens serrated knives, fish hooks, broadheads and many common camp tools.

The power sharpener uses a narrow, flexible belt with a guide to hold the knife at the optimum sharpening angle. There are three belts – coarse, medium, and fine – that are easy and fast to change. I was able to turn a dull kitchen knife into a very sharp blade within a couple of minutes using only the medium and fine belts. I sharpened a dozen knives in less than half an hour, without undue wear on the blades from the power belt. The flexible belt matches the shape of the blade, creating a perfect convex edge. There are two guides: one for kitchen knives (20 degrees) and one for outdoor knives (25 degrees). The power sharpener can also be used without the guide to sharpen mower blades and garden tools. For more information visit

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Hog Hunting at 4 Amigos

Dan father, Robert Vogt,75,  shot his first hog with a
Browning X-Bolt in .25-06.
Some time ago, Whitetails Unlimited and the Double C Ranch signed an agreement to promote hunts for feral hogs in Texas. Over the years WTU provided the opportunity for almost 4,000 hunters to have a quality hunting experience at the ranch near San Antonio – a result that far exceeded the expectations of both organizations. Well, all good things must come to an end, and Jeff at the Double C has moved on to a new venture, involving the mineral rights under his land. It’s just no longer safe to have hunters in the same area as drillers, and we part as friends.

However, the popularity of the hog hunts is firmly established in the WTU membership, and we’ve been lucky to find a new partner – the 4
Amigos Ranch in South Texas. WTU Missouri Filed Director Dan Vogt recently hunted the 4 Amigos Ranch; this is his first-hand report on the experience.

4 Amigos is a wonderful place for family and friends. At the beginning of October, I made my way down to South Texas with my father, brother-in-law, and a few of my close friends. We had
an absolute blast.

Dan (right) and Robert Vogt shared a great time hunting
a variety of animals in south Texas.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by Daniel and Cameron, two of the four amigos. We sat through a short briefing on the ranch and safety, and then we were off to the shooting range to make sure our trip halfway across the country hadn’t knocked our scopes out of alignment. After we settled into our rooms and knew our guns and bows were correctly sighted in, it was time to get into our luxurious box blinds for the afternoon hunt.

The boxes were strategically placed from 20 to 100 yards away from the feeders, and they can accommodate any hunter’s comfort level. Most were very high quality two-man box blinds, but there were also ground blinds as well as a few pop-up bow hunting blinds. Everything was very comfortable as well as super safe, with the boxes having full stairways with handrails all the way into the stand.

The first evening, my dad and I spent an unforgettable three hours in the Lone Star State. I didn’t know that this was my dad’s first trip to Texas, or that it was also his first time chasing hogs. There are just some things that are a true bonding experience for a father and son, and sitting in a blind watching the bounty of mother nature is one of the best ways I can think of to spend time together. We talked about old times, and just sat together in total silence. It was a very special time. When dad squeezed the trigger on his first wild hog (a beautiful red boar) we just about tore the blind down.

I had never seen him so shook up, in a good way, and I felt like I did when my son shot his first deer. I thank God for giving us that moment in time, and I’m never going to forget it! When we returned from our successful hunts, the guides took great care of the harvest, giving us a chance to get cleaned up for eats. Whether it was breakfast, lunch, or dinner, every meal we were served was outstanding, and we wanted for nothing. From breakfast through dinner, the food and beverages were great. And when the hunting day was over and the guns were put away, the 4 Amigos even had us covered with after-dinner adult beverages.
Dan Vogt took this nice south Texas hog at
4 Amigos just before sunset.

The ranch was spectacular, with a huge common area and a pool table for a warm, homelike feeling. The bedrooms are semiprivate, with an average of four people to a room and a nice bathroom with warm shower in each room.

Overall, I had an outstanding trip to South Texas. The food was good, the stay was very nice, and they have hogs out the wazoo. It was a blast whoopin’ it up with my friends, but having my Dad in camp was super special. We hear and see in magazines and on television shows every day that you should take a child hunting. I am all about the youth and love getting my son in the woods, but let’s not forget
the people that took us into the field when we were young, and got us hooked into the lifelong passion of hunting and fishing.

Thanks Pop for showing me the way!

Hunt safe and hunt often!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Hooker Deer Drag

The Hooker Deer Drag is an innovative answer to the chore of moving your deer through the woods, and even loading it into a pickup or trailer. A set of two long hooks (rated at 1000 lbs. each) are constructed from solid 3/8-inch diameter steel, powder-coated in blaze orange or neon pink, and are made in the USA. Each hook has a large, comfortable handle with a thick foam grip that accommodates bare hands or even thick gloves, and a heavy-duty 1-inch wide nylon web looped strap. The straps can be attached to a buck’s rack, or the hook ends can be easily attached to the hind legs of an antlerless deer. These hooks enable a single hunter to move a deer through the woods, across fields, and even lift the deer into a vehicle – and it’s all the easier if you have a buddy to help with the second hook. A set of Hooker Deer Drags are $49.99, and can be ordered from the website More information and videos of the Hooker Deer Drag in use are on the website.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Make Starting A Fire Easy

Grate Chef Fire Starters are packets of uniquely developed material that burn hot and clean with no harmful toxins, so they are perfect for starting charcoal grills, camp fires, and fires in your fireplace. They are simple to use: just place the packet under charcoal, wood, and so on, and light one corner. It will burn at 1,500 degrees for about 10 minutes – long enough to light your grill, fireplace, and even wet wood. It burns clean with no smell or taste, and is safe for transport (it won’t self-combust like other petroleum based starters). While Grate Chef Fire Starters are new to North America, they have been the lighter of choice in Europe and other countries for years. Even when wet, these fire starters will light with ease. A set of three packs of Fire Starters (six starters in each pack) is $8.99. They are available at major hardware and outdoor stores, or order from their website at

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Should You Start Reloading?

Most hunters will not save money by
reloading, but that is not the only
reason to reload. Customizing ammo
to fit your firearm or hunting situation
can be an important part of
your hunting experience.

The recent rise in the cost of ammunition, and the scarcity of some calibers, led one friend to ask if I thought he should start reloading. Since he is still using the same box of .30-06 ammo he bought three years ago, and he only shoots 4-5 rounds a year, I told him that I thought he’d be OK staying with factory ammo.  Then I got the same question from someone else I know. Reloading is a great hobby, but not for everyone. Let’s take a look why.

What is Your Motivation?
Reloading can offer a number of benefits, but if those benefits don’t apply to you, there is no reason to reload. Forget what I do, or your neighbor, or some guy at the range. If it doesn’t help you, it’s a waste of time and money. Remember that saving money may not be the best reason to reload.

Penny Wise, Pound Foolish?
The “pound” in that old saying refers to British money, and reloading can be a great way to spend dollars to save pennies. It all depends on volume. I started reloading decades ago because I was shooting a lot of handgun ammo and couldn’t afford to shoot as much as I wanted (that hasn’t changed over the years). I was able to ‘pay’ for my reloading gear with money saved on ammo in the first year. Unfortunately, I didn’t really put that money in the bank. Overall, I’ve just shot more, and spent more money on other guns and additional reloading gear. You will find that you will either become overwhelmed, bored, and find reloading too much trouble, or you will gradually get more involved, start loading more calibers, and need more gear.

Do The Math
After you start reloading you will discover that there is
a plethora of additional gear that is helpful, necessary,
or good to add to your process. This can result in
you spending more money, and reduce the amount
you save on ammunition. 
If you think you will save money, first put a pencil to paper. A very basic starter kit, plus supplies and one set of dies, will run you $500-$700. A decent setup with some additional gear will add $300-$500. So let’s say $1,000 to get going (and you will spend more in the future). You can expect to save 30-70% over factory ammo (perhaps even more right now, with the recent shortages and price increases), depending on the cost of primers, powder, and bullets (and whether or not you have to buy brass), but let’s say you can save 50%. Let’s assume factory ammo is $1.00 a round. At a bare minimum you’d have to reload 2,000 rounds to make the breakeven point. A serious shooter can do that, but I know a lot of hunters who won’t shoot that much in a couple of decades.

Other Reasons to Reload
When you reload you will be able to
select components to achieve
specific performance objectives
 from your firearms.
But don’t be discouraged, because saving money is not the only motive for reloading. You can fine-tune your ammo to produce the most accuracy possible from a particular rifle, produce ammo to meet specific performance requirements (very light or very heavy loads, for instance), produce ammo for hard-to-find calibers, or have the satisfaction of using ammo you manufactured to take that trophy animal. You can use different powders and different weights and styles of bullets to make your deer rifle suitable to take anything from varmints to elk, and you will receive an extensive education on ballistics.

Is Your Personality a Match?
A single-stage press can produce perhaps 50 finished rounds an hour. Do you have the patience and attention to detail to do the same thing, exactly the same way, hour after hour? You have to be careful, precise, and methodical – there is no margin for error. If you leave the powder out of one case, fail to properly seat one primer, or double charge one round, the results can range from problematic to catastrophic. You must keep careful records, compare loads, examine spent cases for signs of stress, and fully understand what you are doing, and why you are doing it. All of this will take a lot of time. You will also need a clean, dry, well-lit area in which to reload, with a solid, secure bench where you can bolt the reloading press. Make sure you can safely and securely store components when not in use. Be honest with yourself – if this is too much for you, stick with factory ammo. If this is a good fit for you – then get some catalogs, save some money, and start reloading.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Dan Vogt Passes on The Hunting Heritage

By Brandon Butler

Dan Vogt is a field director for Whitetails Unlimited, covering Missouri and Arkansas, and he pretty much eats, drinks, and sleeps whitetails 365 days a year. So when Dan told me he had experienced the hunt of his life last season, I knew I had to hear about it.

The story wasn’t what I expected. He didn’t tell me about a double drop tine booner closing inside 20 yards. It wasn’t a story about a state record, or some big nasty freak animal. In fact, it wasn’t
about antlers at all. The story of Dan’s best hunt ever was of his 8-year-old son, Jacob, killing his first deer.

Jacob Vogt with his first deer.
Jacob Vogt, who is now nine, is your average boy. He enjoys spending time with his daddy, going to school, and playing video games. Deer hunting doesn’t consume him (yet), but since it is so important to his dad, Jacob has gravitated toward it. When he recalled to me the story of killing his first deer, a big healthy doe, there was excitement in his eyes, especially each time he looked up at his father as if to reconfirm the admiration being bestowed.

Like many young folks, and quite a few of us older guys too, Jacob doesn’t like sitting still for long. So when Dan and Jacob decided to call it quits on their ground blind hunt, they figured their chances of success were over. But on the way back to the truck, they jumped a group of deer from a ditch. They formulated a plan to sneak up on them and it worked.

“I was like 50/50 on whether or not I should take the shot, but I did, and I got her,” Jacob said.
Dan said it was really a pretty close shot and Jacob made it count. To young eyes, 60 yards is a mile. Consider buck fever and shaking hands, and it’s easy to understand how the youngster was hesitant to pull the trigger.

“I was so excited because I shot and I thought right away that I got it. I started calling all my family. I called grandma first because she’s the closest, just across the street,” Jacob said.

Dan said it was hard to put into words how much it meant to him to pass the tradition of hunting on to his son. Here’s a guy whose career is based on turning people into deer hunters and deer hunters into conservationists, but his ultimate reward was passing the flame to his own son. “When I grow up, I might work for my dad, maybe. If I’m not a professional swimmer,” Jacob said.

Well, whether or not Jacob ends up working for Whitetails Unlimited really doesn’t matter much. What matters is that at 9 years old, he’s an advocate with a story to tell. A story he’ll recount to his friends that may create a desire in them to venture into the deer woods. Hopefully, they’ll create their own stories too.

Each of you has an opportunity to connect with a child through nature. It doesn’t have to be deer hunting. Take your child fishing, or squirrel hunting, or just for a long nature hike. You don’t have to ban them from video games to inspire a love of being outdoors. Encourage a balance. You’ll be giving a child the gift of a lifetime, and you’ll never be more satisfied with yourself than when they look up at you and smile about nothing more than the pure joy of being outdoors.