Where Do I Start With Shooting As a Hobby?

Shooting can be an incredibly rewarding hobby. Refining your marksmanship skills and learning more about firearms can support other goals (like hunting or home defense). Still, no matter how you choose to employ your skills, shooting is an activity that consistently offers new challenges in fun environments.

Not sure where to start shooting as a hobby? This guide is here to help. Whether you’re looking to build up to hunting or simply incorporate a range day into your routine, we’re here to help you get started.

1. Get familiar with the basics

If you aren’t familiar with firearms or have never shot before, start by learning the basics. Today’s new shooters can employ one or more of the following methods to get their bearings in the world of firearms:

  1. Finding a community at a local range – We’ll explore more benefits of finding a local range in the next section.
  2. Taking a course – Consider signing up for an Intro to Shooting, Concealed Carry Permit, or Hunters’ Safety course to learn more about shooting, firearms, and safety.
  3. Finding information online – Doing online research can help you learn more about the basics, find an in-person community in your area, or prepare for an organized course.

2. Find a shooting range near you

The best way to practice shooting as a newcomer is to visit a local range: a facility where shooters can discharge their weapons in a safe, supervised setting.

But a range serves a few different purposes: You can visit to practice your skills, meet people with similar interests, and learn more about local resources for shooters in your area.

Meeting other hobbyists is an excellent way to learn more and get feedback and support as you develop shooting knowledge and skills. Perhaps the best part of learning to shoot is getting to know other shooters: people who can connect you with resources, provide tips, or even let you try out their firearms.

3. Source a firearm

If you’re interested in shooting, you’ll need access to a firearm.

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6 Tips For Hunting in the Snow

Every year as fall rolls around, a new hunting season begins. The early season can be a mix of hot, warm, and cool temperatures but eventually, as the calendar flips into November winter and snow are inevitably on their way. This will give many hunters challenges that they haven’t had to face yet this season. There are even many hunters that opt to stay home instead of braving the colder weather.

Here are our six top tips for hunting in the snow.

1.           Research Ahead of Time

You do not want to wake up the morning of a big hunt just to discover it has snowed several inches overnight. This will lead to panic, and you are sure to forget something essential.

If you have checked the weather forecast ahead of time and know the snow is coming, you can get all your essential gear gathered up and ready to go.

2. Dress to Stay Warm

Dress in layers. I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but this is so important that it cannot be overstressed. Having the versatility to add or remove a layer can make the difference between spending all day in the field or coming in hours ahead of time to get comfortable.

Wear a hood. I always make sure my mid-layer or jacket has a hood of some type on it. There is nothing worse than having snow down your neck. On really cold or extra windy days, I opt to wear a balaclava. By covering my head, neck, and face, the warmth is kept against my body.

3. Break Out the Blind

Many times, when it is snowing, the wind is also blowing. Being in an open, elevated stand may not be the warmest option. Being in the cover of a blind will likely extend your bow hunting session.  The blind will block out the snowfall and wind, helping to shield you from the elements.

A small, portable heater may also be used to aid in staying warm.

4. Pack Extra Food and Snacks

It is always important to keep your body fueled but never more than when hunting in the snow.  Consuming the extra calories will help your body stay warm. I am sure we all have our favorite hunting snacks but mine are jerky, trail mix, nuts, and snack cakes.

Another food hack is taking some hot soup in a thermos. It is amazing how a cup full of warm chicken noodles can make you feel. It can really knock the shivers off.

5. Hand Warmers

Are you noticing a pattern here? Anything you can do to stay warm and comfortable is a plus when it comes to snow hunting.

I have used both the hot hands and the newer rechargeable style, as well. Both have their applications. I like the disposable ones for my boots while the rechargeables work well in my pockets and hand muff.

 It is important to moderate these if you can. If you plan to stay out all day, you don’t want to use up all your hand warmers in the first two hours of your sitting.

6. Still Hunting

This is one of my favorite things to do in the snow. You can dress lightly and still be pretty comfortable while walking.

Many times, game will hunker down in the snow. They will also be easier to spot with snow on the ground. A good tactic is to slowly walk old trails or roads while scanning out ahead for spooked or bedded game.

I have two particular favorite spots for this type of hunting. One is where I can sneak along and watch the hillside below me. Many times, I have snuck up on a bedded herd of deer that had no idea I was there. The second is a lower trail where I can not only watch out ahead of me but also on both sides of the hollow. This allows me to cover more area at one time, but many times it will involve jumping the deer and hoping they stop at some point to offer a shot opportunity.

Take What Nature Throws at You

I hope some of these tips will help you to be successful the next time you have the hunt in the snow. Anything you can do to not only get out in the snow but also stay out there will help increase your chances of having a successful hunt and season. Being able to take what nature throws at you will make you a better hunter and improve your chances of success.

5 Tips for Hunting Day Trips With an Air Gun

Airguns are exploding in popularity around the country. From the gun’s precision to its relatively muted sound when fired, it’s the perfect alternative to a traditional rifle.

The best part? You can use airguns as a hunting weapon. In fact, airguns are the ideal option for small game hunting because they are slightly less powerful and have lower recoil than traditional rifles. This not only means you’ll have better accuracy, but it also increases the likelihood the animal will remain intact after you’ve taken it down.

If you’re planning on taking an airgun out on your next hunt, here are a few things to keep in mind.

1.  Understand Airgun Hunting Laws in your State

Before doing anything else, be sure to check your state’s laws for airgun hunting.

While it’s true they are a bit less powerful than conventional firearms, many modern,  technologically-advanced airguns can pack a major punch. Laws and regulations vary from state-to-state, with different species of animals typically having different caliber requirements.

Thankfully, there’s no shortage of resources available detailing state airgun laws. As you plan your hunt, check your state laws and make sure your gun meets various caliber requirements.

2.  Choose your Pellets Wisely

Believe it or not, you can hunt big game with airguns. If you’re planning to challenge yourself with hunting deer, though, you need to make sure you have the right ammo.

There are three broad categories of ammunition: pellets, round balls, and cast bullets. If you’re planning to hunt small game, you should almost certainly use pellets. Pellets are generally more accurate and fly faster, which makes them a solid choice for small game hunting. Pellets come in four shapes, including:

  • Round Nose
  • Pointed
  • Flat Pellets

Round balls and cast bullets, on the other hand, are intended for big game hunting. They need to be at least 30 caliber in diameter and weigh at least 150 grains. Unlike pellets, round balls and cast bullets slow down much less slowly than pellets when fired from a powerful airgun. The higher velocity (at least 800 fps) increases the chances you’ll bring down the bigger animal.

3.  Consider your Distance

In many ways, airgun hunting is a refresher in one of the most basic laws of physics: force equals mass times acceleration. As time passes, acceleration (and force) gradually decrease.

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How to choose a kayak for fishing

Kayak fishing is a great way to get out on the water, explore new areas, and catch some fish. However, choosing the right kayak for fishing can be a daunting task. There are so many options available, it can be difficult to know where to start. In this blog post, we will compare and contrast general use sit on top kayaks versus those built specifically for fishing. We will also provide a list of the best accessories to add to your fishing kayak.

Part 1: General use sit on top kayaks

Sit on top kayaks are a popular choice for many kayak anglers. They are easy to get in and out of, and they are very stable on the water. They are also usually less expensive than kayaks built specifically for fishing.

One of the main benefits of a general use sit on top kayak is that they can be used for a variety of activities, not just fishing. You can use them for recreational paddling, exploring, or just enjoying a day on the water. They are also usually lighter and more maneuverable than kayaks built specifically for fishing.

However, there are some downsides to using a general use sit on top kayak for fishing. They usually have less storage space than fishing-specific kayaks, which can make it difficult to bring all the gear you need. They also often lack the specialized features that make fishing easier, such as rod holders, fish finders, and tackle storage.

Part 2: Kayaks built specifically for fishing

Kayaks built specifically for fishing are designed with anglers in mind. They have more storage space, specialized features, and are often more stable on the water than general use sit on top kayaks.

One of the main benefits of a fishing-specific kayak is that they are designed to make fishing easier. They often have multiple rod holders, built-in tackle storage, and fish finders to help you locate fish. They also have more comfortable seating options, which can make a long day on the water more enjoyable.

However, fishing-specific kayaks can be more expensive than general use sit on top kayaks. They are also usually heavier and less maneuverable, which can make them more difficult to transport and maneuver on the water.

Part 3: Best accessories to add to your fishing kayak

No matter which type of kayak you choose, there are some accessories that can make your kayak fishing experience even better. Here are some of the best accessories to add to your fishing kayak:

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What Features To Look For in an Outdoor Knife

You can pick out some things in a store or online on a whim, but an outdoor knife shouldn’t be one of them. Look for these features in an outdoor knife.

Every camper, hunter, and outdoor adventurer understands the importance of a good outdoor knife. It can help you cut down timber, prep food, and save your life in a pinch. You want to avoid picking out a bad one because you could end up with a broken knife before you know it. So, what features make an optimal outdoor or survival knife? Here are the features to look for in an outdoor knife.

Find a Comfortable Ergonomic Handle

A good handle should fit comfortably in your hand. None of the ridges or shapes should poke your palm or fingers, nor should it slip out easily. Look for materials like wood, rubber, and Micarta. Micarta is excellent because it provides an optimal grip and won’t slip when wet.

Handles made from natural elements, like bone and wood, will provide a visually pleasing aesthetic but are prone to breakage and cracking. It’s something to think about as you’re looking at outdoor knives.

A Thick Blade

The thicker the blade, the more stress it can handle without bending or breaking. This feature means it can tackle a variety of tasks with ease. The advantage doesn’t come without a disadvantage. Of course, a thicker blade means a heavier knife, which affects usage and carrying.

Fixed Blades Are Better for Outdoor Knives

Folding knives are perfect for everyday carry (EDC), but a fixed blade will be valuable for many outdoor tasks, especially in survival situations. The joint of a folding knife makes it weaker than the fixed blade. It will help you chop, pry, pound, thrust, and rigorously cut through almost anything. It’s a knife you’ll want to have when you’re out hunting, cutting wood, or doing other outdoor tasks.

Look for Knives With a Full Tang

A full tang knife means the knife maker constructed the blade and handle using a continuous piece of metal. A full tang knife will perform better and be more durable than partial tang options. These styles include:

  • Rat-tail tang
  • Half tang
  • Push tang

Knifemakers add grips and scales to create a comfortable grip for the user.

Size Does Matter

When it comes to an outdoor knife, size does matter, but it’s important to note that bigger isn’t always better—a large blade sacrifices effective usage for detailed tasks, like carving precision and dressing small game.

On the other hand, small blades won’t perform well with rugged outdoor tasks like chopping. Look for knives nine to 11 inches long. This measurement includes the handle. So, you could have a six-inch blade with a four-inch handle, equaling 10 inches altogether.

Now that you understand what features to look for in an outdoor knife, it’s time to purchase one. Start by looking at survival knife sales because you’ll find excellent options at discounted prices. If you can’t find what you want, move on to the regularly priced knives to continue your search.

How To Prep Your Subaru Vehicle for Off-Roading

Are you looking to take your Subaru off the beaten path and into the great outdoors? Get your Subaru ready for off-roading with our handy prep guide.

Subarus are excellent vehicles for off-roading, but they’re not ready to tackle the great outdoors in Texas immediately. Before you take your vehicle off the beaten path, learn how to prep your Subaru vehicle for off-roading with added clearance, new tires, and armor.

Add a Lift Kit

If you plan on traversing dirt, mud, gravel, and rocky terrain, your Subaru will need extra clearance. A lift kit is essential for any vehicle you plan to take off-roading because it helps protect the crucial components of the vehicle’s undercarriage.

Even a small lift kit could make a difference on Subarus, and if you’re planning on navigating exceptionally rocky terrain, you may want to consider more lift. Better ground clearance means better protection, giving your Subaru better departure angles while driving.

Get New Tires

You can’t venture into the great outdoors on the same normal tires built for streets and paved roads. If you want to prep your Subaru vehicle for off-roading the tough Texas terrain, you will need to upgrade your tires.

Every off-road vehicle needs quality, durable, and capable tires to tackle the dirt, mud, and rock it’ll come across while off-roading. Texas mud can be especially treacherous. Off-road drivers have a few options, but if it’s your first time, some typical all-terrain tires are likely the best option for your Subaru.

Pro Tip: If you plan on navigating extreme off-road conditions, such as heavy mud, dirt, and boulders, consider using heavy-duty mud-terrain tires to gain better traction.

Install a Skid Plate

While the extra ground clearance will help protect your Subaru’s under-chassis, it’ll still face potentially damaging brush and boulders while off-roading. Every off-roader should install a skid plate to protect the critical components of your Subaru’s undercarriage.

A skid plate defends the crucial components and parts of your Subaru’s undercarriage, like the drivetrain and engine pan, from damage caused by rocks and other obstacles. Skid plates are relatively affordable, easy to install, and worthwhile for your Subaru.

Mount a Bull Bar

Speaking of armor for your Subaru, it’s also beneficial to mount some protection to the front end of your vehicle. When off-roading the great outdoors of Texas, you’ll likely come across a lot of brush, dirt, dust, gravel, and who knows what else.

All this debris can significantly damage your vehicle’s front end, so a bull bar is an essential protection for many off-roaders. Like skid plates, bull bars are easy to find and mount, and these additions go a long way in protecting your Subaru. If you plan to off-road at night or early in the morning, consider a bull bar with lights attached for better visibility.

Essential Items To Include in Your Survival Kit

You never know when you’ll be in a situation of survival, so it helps to prepare. Here are a few essential items to include in your survival kit.

When you are preparing to survive an emergency, it is essential that you have a well-stocked survival kit. This kit should include all the necessities for keeping yourself safe and comfortable in a variety of environments. This comprehensive checklist helps provide peace of mind knowing that no matter what happens during an unexpected event or disaster scenario, you have access to all the items needed to stay alive. Here are the essential items to include in your survival kit.

First Aid Supplies

Access to a small emergency medical kit can be invaluable during an unexpected event. This kit could include antiseptic wipes and creams, wound dressings for minor cuts and abrasions, burn relief ointment or lotion, antihistamine tablets to combat allergic reactions or insect bites, and a thermometer for taking temperatures. Tourniquets, scissors, and medical tape can also be beneficial to have. You will be ready for any potential accidents or injuries with the right items in your first aid kit.

Food and Water

You will also want to have a long-term supply of food and water. This supply could include protein bars, dehydrated meals you can rehydrate with boiling water for quick nutrition, and canned goods such as tuna or salmon. Snacks such as nuts, trail mix, and beef jerky are also beneficial as they provide essential sources of fat and protein on the go. You will also need a supply of safe drinking water. It’s helpful to know how much water you should stock for an emergency so you have as much as you need.

Clothing and Shelter

You cannot overlook the importance of proper clothing and shelter when planning for any type of survival situation. We recommend having pieces you can layer for warmth during cold nights. In addition to warm clothing, you should include a tarp or tent in your survival kit, as these protect you from wind, rain, and other outdoor elements.

Hunting Gear

In a survival situation, you never know what you might run into or how long your food supply will last. Therefore, it’s helpful to keep hunting gear on hand if need to look for other food sources. Ensure you keep a weapon, such as a firearm or a crossbow, and the appropriate ammunition nearby. You must also ensure you know how to safely and properly handle these weapons to avoid potential accidents. Therefore, taking a firearm safety course to learn the procedures can be beneficial.

Now that you know what items to include in your survival kit, you can begin collecting supplies today. Make sure you check all the necessities off your list, so you’re ready for anything.

Your Comprehensive Guide to Recurve vs. Compound Crossbows

With so many crossbow options out there, it can be challenging to find the right bow for your needs. Check out this guide to learn more about the differences between recurve and compound crossbows to make a better choice!

Basics of a Recurve Crossbow

A recurve crossbow is the simplest style of crossbow. They have two horizontal limbs on a basic stock and barrel. Their name comes from the shape of the limbs, as they curve away from the front of the bow before curving back in an “s” shape.

Most recurve crossbows are on the larger side with incredibly high speeds that can reach over 300 fps – with minimal mechanical add-ons like cables or cams.

Pros of the Recurve

Most people who hunt with a recurve crossbow prefer it because of its reliability, light weight, and straightforward design.

Because the mechanics of this type of bow are so simple, there’s not much that can go wrong. Even with wear and tear over thousands of shots, a recurve crossbow is much less likely to break down in the field. If it does break, they’re super easy to fix. From restringing to basic maintenance, you can do it all yourself; you almost never need to take it to a specialty shop.

Even though they’re physically bigger, recurves are lighter than their compound counterparts. They’re just the limbs and the bowstring, which means less material to carry over long, multi-day hunts.

And, for hunters on a budget, recurve crossbows tend to be less expensive due to their simple design. More premium options with more features will obviously increase the price, but you can get basic models far below the prices of compound crossbows.

Cons of the Recurve

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What Are the Benefits of Carrying a Firearm?

People might want to carry a firearm with them for many reasons. These items are more than just a weapon; they’re tools that provide many services.

Those who own firearms begin to realize the worth of these tools the longer they have them. Due to their usefulness, it’s wise to have at least one firearm secured around the house.

But when you carry a firearm on your person, it becomes even more of a utility you can use in real-time situations. Here are some benefits of carrying a firearm to further explain.

Self-Protection as a Vital Skill

Most people who carry, whether open carry or concealed carry, do it for the sole purpose of self-protection. While this might seem aggressive to some, individuals might have difficulty protecting themselves if they were ever in hand-to-hand combat. There is also the issue of the police being unavailable during a crisis where the individual has to defend themselves until the police arrive.

Allows Gun Safety Awareness

One of the greatest reasons to carry is to make an awareness of gun safety. Responsible individuals who keep their firearms concealed unless necessary provide a great model to the youth and others who may need guidance.

An example is training individuals on which carrying position is safest for those curious to know. With due diligence toward an awareness of firearm safety, we will have a much safer world with more responsible individuals.

Can Provide a Source of Food

If people need to hunt for food, a firearm is a great tool. If you’re stranded in the wilderness and carrying a firearm, you will stand a much better chance at survival than you would without. A firearm helps you practice self-defense and keep yourself fed.

With the right perspective, training, and awareness, people can better understand the many benefits of carrying a firearm. It’s an important topic to address because handling a firearm is a big responsibility. With a little information and discussion, more of the public can see the usefulness of having this tool on your person and how it can help you in everyday life.

What You Need to Pack for a Weekend Camping Trip

Camping is one of the best ways to get away and reconnect with nature. Before you head off, make sure you pack these essential items for a relaxing trip.

Everybody loves a good camping trip. It’s one of the best ways to relax in nature and escape the daily grind. It’s important to go through the checklist and make sure you pack all the essentials to ensure that you have a good trip. Here’s what you need to pack for a weekend camping trip to get the most out of your getaway.

Tent (and Accessories)

Unless you plan on sleeping under the stars or building your own shelter, the first thing you want to pack is a tent. Before packing it, we recommend setting up the tent and checking for any damage. One of the most common forms of damage is dirt or debris causing problems with the zipper, so we recommend protecting your outdoor zippers and fixing any problems from home. Aside from the tent, ensure that you have stakes, poles, and other accessories.

Enough Clothes

Many people just pack enough clothes for the weekend. However, we suggest bringing at least one or two extra sets of clothes in case the items get wet or especially dirty. Extra socks might prove especially crucial.

First-Aid Kit

Something you always need to pack for a weekend camping trip is a proper first-aid kit. These kits are essential if there’s any accident or injury. Your first-aid kit should include bandages, splints, disinfectants, tweezers, gauze, and pain medication.

Flashlights and Lanterns

If you live in an area with many streetlights, you may forget how dark it can get at night. Make sure you always have a flashlight with you or a lantern to provide light when you don’t have a fire going. Make sure you bring enough batteries to last through the weekend.

Sleeping Bags and Pads

Remember to pack a sleeping bag and a cushion between you and the thin fabric of the tent if you want a good night’s rest. While some campers may choose just to bring a blanket and pillow, it feels more like real camping when you crawl into a sleeping bag for the night.

Necessary Tools

There are several tools that are handy to bring with you on any camping trip. You should always have some form of pocket or hunting knife in case you need to cut anything. Many campers bring a multi-tool or a small hand-axe to address any potential obstacles out in the woods.

Laguna Custom Rods

The popularity of high-end fishing rods has continued to evolve through the years. In the past, you were forced to choose mostly between mass-produced rods and custom-built rods. My Dad had a nice workbench where he built up custom rods on Fenwick blanks with decorative thread wraps. Now, the serious angler on the Gulf Coast has a number of great options. Today, we take a look at Laguna Custom Rods.

We were looking for new rods to be used primarily wade-fishing for trout. I am familiar with a number of professional guides who use Laguna so I decided to visit their shop in Katy to check them out.

Laguna Custom Rods
Laguna Custom Rods

Laguna Custom Rods is a cool shop founded by two hard-core professional tournament fishermen who wanted the best. The blanks are manufactured in a separate facility but the final production work is all done at this location. The showroom is through the front door with the shop on the right. You can see for yourself first-hand how the rods are assembled.

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Bart’s Bay Armor Protective Wading Boots

As an avid wade fisherman on the Texas coast I am always looking for gear that can up my game. Sometimes that means the shiniest new lures that don’t really work better than everything else in the box but we all know how that works! Sometimes it is about comfort out on the water or in this case, a little bit of comfort and safety rolled into one. If you have spent much time in the water you know about stingrays and the danger they present. I grew up fishing Rockport down to the Laguna Madre and was taught to always shuffle your feet to avoid stepping on a stingray.

I never really gave a whole lot of thought to the boots I had seen at Academy made by Everlast until one day at Estes Flats about 5 years ago and we were drifting and I touched the back of a stingray with my rod tip, holy crap that thing EXPLODED! I expected like a rattlesnake strike, a quick jab and that was it. NOPE. This thing thrashed it’s tail for several seconds. Before my next trip out I went to Academy and bought a pair of Everlast boots. I felt much more protected from not only stingrays but also underwater hazards like oysters and I have seem all kinds of debris that could cut you up. With the apparent rise of Vibrio which is a flesh eating bacteria in the hot months, protecting your feet and shins against cuts is a damned good idea as well. Growing up we used to go into the saltwater if you got a cut, but that stuff is scary. It’s not going to prevent me from going fishing or wading but I am also not going to knowingly put myself at risk. We carry antiseptic soap on the boat that is used for surgeons should someone get a cut.

While I liked the protection the Everlast boots provided I also rather hated them. They were heavy and a pain to put on and off. First time out my shins got shafed badly too. Fast forward a few years and I hear about the Bart’s Bay Armor boots made of soft kevlar. No buckles to mess with and made of a soft impenetrable kevlar. There was a video of the owner stabbing them with a knife while wearing them! I ordered a pair as did my brother Mike. We both immediately fell in love with them. Lightweight, easy on and off and VERY comfortable. I don’t even feel the need to wear socks with them on shorter wades.

I waited a year to write this review as I wanted to see how they held up and I am happy to report they are doing great and I like them so much I am ordering a pair for my son for an upcoming trip and will retire his old Everlast boots for guest use.

Highly recommended 5 stars