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What you take as shooting fact – may be fiction. Click and read to find out if you’ve been duped by these long-standing false truths. Then, go tell your friends and look smart.

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GUNS OF VORTEX – .408 CheyTac

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Meet the Noreen ULR. It’s a big gun… Scratch that… It’s a Really big gun. In fact – when the time came to bring this thing into the photo studio to get some beauty shots, we realized that we had almost forgotten the real name of the firearm because we normally find ourselves referring to it as “The Howitzer”, “That Massive Thing”, or “Black Stallion” among a whole host of other names that we probably shouldn’t mention here in order to keep the article “Family Friendly”.


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Introducing two-super rad dudes – John Whipple and Casey Dinkel – from AK who know how to hunt, survive and capture our 49th state’s beauty via still photography and video like no other.

When it comes to nature’s bounty, Alaska can be the most generous place in the world – but she’ll make you work for it, too. Alaska doesn’t care if your cold, tired, wet, hungry or all of the above. Just hauling yourself, the gear it takes to survive and game harvested out is about as taxing as it gets. Add 20lbs of electronics you not only have to carry, but care for, in what can be the wettest, most rugged place on earth, and you’ve upped the difficulty ante considerably. Oh, and now you have to get your camera’s out and use them – during times when it is the last thing you want to – or should be doing. But that’s how you get those one-in-million shots. The ones that capture raw emotion and the true essence of the hunt at its most intense. That’s what these guys do.

If you aren’t following @60thparalell (Instagram) – You should be. Their content rocks and shows up in our catalog, Web site, Social and trade show booth graphics. On the video side, they are regular selections for “The Hunting Film Tour,” another cool thing you should check out.

But that’s not all! You get the juicer, the steak knives, the yogurt maker…Ok you aren’t getting a juicer, steak knives or yogurt maker for reading this, but if you continue, you’ll get 13 sweet Alaska-hunting-related tips from some of the best in the business.

13 Tips for Hunting in Alaska

1. Be mindful of the weather, it can change in a heartbeat – literally, seconds. I have personally experienced a sunny blue bird day while stalking a Dall ram; just when I thought I had him dead to rights, the clouds socked in around me so thick I could not see more than a few feet. The wind began to blow and rain fell harder than I had ever experienced before. Between the fog, wind, and rain; I was pinned high in the alpine for two full days. Thankfully, I had brought my tent, sleeping bag, and a few protein bars for just such an emergency.

Casey and his Razor HD 27-60×85 Straight Spotter getting a little Alaskan soak

2. Pick a good pilot!! Choosing a good pilot is no easy task, but I recommend doing a lot of research in this area. Make sure he or she has a good flying record, several years of experience and specializes in hunting charters. Not only will you feel safer, but a pilot well versed in Alaska’s weather and rough terrain will be able to get you into locations most other pilots won’t.

3. Bring Multifunctional Gear. When hunting the remote back country of Alaska, you won’t be able to jog down to the local store if a piece of gear fails. So bringing tough rain gear that can double as your secondary shelter if your tent is destroyed or trekking poles that can replace a broken tent pole may just save your bacon in scary situation.

4. Test your gear out before a big expedition!!! For example; don’t wait to field test that new water filter out on your two week fly in moose hunt. If the filter fails for any reason and you don’t have a backup plan you’re probably going to be drinking sediment laden giardia infused agua. Instead test your new gear out on several day hikes long before your dream adventure.

Sighting in the Razor HD LH 3-15×42

5. Hike, Lift, and Run. I can’t stress enough the importance of getting into shape before your Alaskan dream hunt. Alaska is steep, rugged, and big, and you often have no choice but to pack your trophy out on your back. Plan on carrying a lot of weight over long distances for any adventure in the last frontier. Preparing physically for your adventure can be the difference between bringing home that trophy of a lifetime or not.

6. Know your Quarry. Simply put; don’t rely on your guide or hunting buddy to help you find that trophy of a life time. The big game animals in Alaska are very different than those of the lower 48 states. Research the animal you are pursuing as much as possible. For example; when embarking on an Alaskan moose hunt, study their biology, communication, and seasonal habitat. Doing your homework will only put the odds in your favor for a successful hunt.

7. Know your landscape. Alaska is home to some unique land features and vegetation that are found nowhere else on the planet. A good example is sphagnum moss; this thick layer of tundra mat is known for growing across swamps and bogs. Many hunters have set foot across what they thought was solid ground, only to fall in up to their arms while they struggle to rescue themselves from the bottom-less bog.

8. If you can’t see it, you can’t hit it. Any experienced hunter can tell you how important a good set of optics is, so I won’t beat this drum too hard, but Alaska is hard on gear, so you want something that will keep working after a lot of abuse. Here is my little optics plug; I run Vortex because it works…plain and simple! As fanatical AK hunters, we run our gear through the ringer day in and day out. We spend thousands of dollars and countless hours researching, training, and preparing for every adventure. So when that hunt of a life time finally arrives, we are confident that we have the best optics in our arsenal to get the job done.

Left – John is rocking the Viper HS LR 6-24×50. Right – Casey spotting with the Razor HD 27-60×85 Straight Spotter

9. Beware the Ice. If you have the desire to ever hunt Dall Sheep or Mountain Goats in the Last Frontier, you may find yourself having to trek across or even camp on a glacier. While glaciers are stunningly beautiful, make no mistake they are notoriously dangerous. Some basic tips to keep in mind; never jump a crevasse wider than you and your pack are thick, bring crampons especially for when it rains, avoid moulins (Whirlpool of melted glacier water), don’t forget your shades, and bring a warmer than normal sleeping bag……. Remember you are sleeping on an ice box!! Finally, if the ice is covered in snow to the point where you cannot see the bare ice, it is probably best to find another way – unless you have expressly brought proper ice climbing and traversing kit (ropes, axes, repelling gear, ski’s, etc) for such a purpose and are familiar with their use. Snow can conceal fissures and crevasses that can ruin your day in a hurry!

10. Give yourself plenty of time. For most, an Alaskan adventure is a once in a life time experience; be sure to allow enough time to pursue your quarry. As a rule, we usually plan for no less than 10 days in the field. Since you can’t hunt the same day airborne, you’re already down to 9 days and you can usually count on 3 to 5 days of bad weather. So, your 10 day adventure can easily end up only being 5 or less days of actual boots-on-the-ground hunting.

11. Test your gut. I am not talking about your grit here, although that is also important. I am speaking about your menu while in the field. Be sure to acclimate your digestive system to the freeze dried, high protein, calorie-packed foods you’ll be eating several weeks before your dream hunt. It’s not a laughing matter when your stomach starts doing flips in the middle of nowhere due to an extreme diet change.

12. Every ounce counts. For high mountain backpacking trips, pack the lightest, toughest gear you can possibly afford. This may seem like a no brainer, but I am here to tell you that ounces make pounds and pounds add up fast. A 40lb pack may not sound heavy, but you may change your tune on day 5 of a 10 day hunt when you can barely feel your legs anymore (or feel them too much!). Every year, I seem to shed more and more weight from my pack; constantly replacing older heavier gear with new lighter tougher gear, taking only what I need to survive and get the job done.

13. Pace yourself. If your adventure leads you north of 70 degrees during the month of August, Alaska will grace you with 24 hours of daylight. It can be tempting to hunt through a whole 24 hour period, and if your body is not use to the long daylight hours, you may not even realize how long you have been up. Some folks find it hard to fall asleep when it is still light outside, this is obviously much needed shut-eye after a hard day of chasing critters in rough terrain. This physical and mental exhaustion can catch a person off-guard if you are not careful, which can lead to poor decision making while in the field.

Behind the Making of the Bullet-Cam.

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If you didn’t see the Bullet-Cam video. You can check it out here.

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Take something as iconic and American as Apple Pie and mix in a little Communist Red Army – What do you get? Let’s not get too political here… What we were hoping you would say is the almighty VEPR Kalashnikov, chambered in the bleeding-red-white-and-blue, .308 Winchester. For those of you who may be wondering – Yes – this is the perfect rifle for the firearm enthusiast who watched American Sniper and hated Mustafa’s guts, but secretly wished they had his gun. While this isn’t a true FPK/PSL or SVD, it’s a clone that gives you much of the feel of shooting one of those bad-guy classics in a newer, more refined, and better-chambered package.

The most obvious modification we made to this VEPR was removing the awful wood furniture they give you out of the box. Because the VEPR’s are a Russian-manufactured firearm (born in the Legendary Molot Factory), the only way to bring them into the states for sale is to make them a traditional “Sporting” rifle with all the fun bits left out… We immediately replaced the thumbhole stock and chunky forend with a much more acceptable “SVD-Style” set from Ironwood Designs. If you’re looking for some high quality wood furniture to go on a variety of AK platforms, check those guys out – they’ve got some really cool stuff!

Much like an AR-15 being chambered in any other rifle cartridge, there are subtle differences inside this .308 VEPR, but it’s ultimately a familiar AK platform. Unique to the VEPR rifles, it uses a beefy receiver much like that of an RPK, resulting in an inherently much stronger platform than traditional AK-47’s

Side note – See those two flat head screws towards the back of the receiver? Well, after waiting four months on this custom wood furniture set (we caught them right in the middle of moving their shop – it’s much quicker now) it finally arrived, and, much to our dismay – there were no holes drilled to accept those screws! In a tizzy, we called up the folks at Ironwood Designs to ask what could be done. Their customer service was excellent as they explained that due to the nature of Kalashnikov’s and their extreme range of tolerances – If they pre-drill any holes in their furniture sets, the chances of it actually lining up with your particular receiver are slim to none… Truly shocking after coming over from the precision rifle and AR market. Regardless, we nervously drilled the necessary holes in the gorgeous wood to install the set and it came out just fine – no vodka needed.

We can never do a “Guns of Vortex” without discussing the sights. There’s nothing groundbreaking about the tangent-style sights present on all out-of-the-box VEPR’s. The one thing we did find truly unique about this Kalashnikov, though, was how surprisingly accurate it was with just irons! On day one (Pre-Optic), we were consistently smacking steel rams at 540 yards using only the irons and match ammo. That was a pleasant surprise and also a promising indication of how well she would do when we got some magnification up top.

Now for the real fun – We’ve played around with a number of different optics atop this Midwest Industries GEN 2 AK-47 Optic Mount. First, it was a Gen I PST 1-4×24 with the tall turrets. That made for a fun setup and also looked closest to a true FPK/PSL or SVD setup, and while 4x certainly helped more than plain Jane iron sights, we still felt like we could push the limits just a little further. Consequently, for a brief period of time, the SVD clone wore a Viper HS-T 4-16×44. That ended up being too much optic for our application, so it has since worn a prototype PST Gen II 2-10×32 FFP. Much like Goldilocks and the three bears, we found this combination to be just right for stretching the capabilities of the semi-auto .308, without sacrificing too much on the low end. Rings – Precision Matched 30mm, 1.26 inch height rings.

AK-Optic Tip – Zeroing without the ability to bore sight like a bolt gun is certainly tricky, but if you start close (25 yards) to get on paper, and then adjust as you move back and fine-tune your zero to 100 yards, you’ll be all set.

Should you decide to get one of these beauties, keep in mind you can use a Dremel to remove the pesky, factory-installed and welded thread protector. In this case, we replaced it with the Lantac Drakon, which threaded onto the end of the 23 inch, hammer forged and chrome-lined barrel, just like any other AK with its reverse threading. A much needed improvement in our opinion.

For many enthusiasts – one of the biggest downsides to collecting unique firearms is the huge variety of ammunition used over the course of history. If you’re a hand-loading fanatic or enjoy buying bricks of mil-surp ammo by the truck load, then that’s perfect. On the other hand, if you’re like Jimmy H here (the owner of this VEPR), it can be too much to handle. Any time you can get a cool and unique firearm in a cartridge that many of your other guns already shoot, and one that’s readily available both store bought and for hand-loading, that’s a huge plus. In the case of this VEPR, it’s also nice to take something so blatantly communist and inject a little freedom into it with the .308.

As always, we hope you enjoyed checking out one of the many unique firearms here at Vortex. What cool and unique guns do you have in your collection? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below! Stay tuned for more “Guns of Vortex” to come in the future.


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It’s March. Let’s face it – when it comes to North American big game, we are doing one of three things – Looking back at last fall’s hunts, looking forward to next fall’s hunts, or hopefully planning a super sweet spring bear hunt. Whatever non-actual hunting thing you are up to now, you can curb your shakes by analyzing your current gear set and buying more. That’s exactly what I did last spring and it worked out great. Below are three essential pieces of mountain hunting gear I had never used before, but most certainly will again.


Black Diamond Whippet SKI Pole:

I’ve confessed my love affair and pronounced the benefits of trekking poles many times. The Black Diamond Whippet Ski pole is a next-level item – adding even more security, safety, and confidence on the mountain. Simply replace one of your trekking poles to make the ultimate mismatched set – or carry as a single. It is essentially a high-quality trekking pole with a small pic built into the handle. Works great for plunging into soft earth for increased purchase, or heaven forbid, stopping in a self-arrest scenario. Even if you’re conservative when it comes to sketchy spots (like I am), the reality is, we just sometimes end up in places we would rather not be in. I found it super handy, easy to pack, and relatively lightweight. And it still worked to erect my emergency shelter. I’m not saying it is a replacement for an Ice Axe, but it will be a lot better than your fingernails if you end up needing it.


Pop Tarts:

Hell yeah, I said Pop Tarts. I was chatting with Remi Warren prior to heading up to POW last August for an Alpine Sitka Blacktail hunt. He has much more mountain-hunting experience than I – which is why I was peppering him with questions. While talking food options, he recommended Pop Tarts. They make sense. It’s no secret – Calories are key for any high-output, multi-day activity. Lucky for us, Pop Tarts are loaded with them, taste great (if you have a sweet tooth) and fall right in line with many bar-type choices more commonly associated with backpacking. Averaging more than 100 calories per ounce, they aren’t the only thing to keep in your pack, but do provide a welcome break from more standard choices. They do tend to crumble over time, so maintaining their structural integrity can be problematic. Now I’m not recommending them for your pre-hunt fitness regimen, but they are dang solid choice on the mountain.


The Razor HD LH Riflescope:

If you haven’t looked through one – look through one. Better yet, just get one and hunt with it. You won’t be disappointed. I’m that confident. Now I know I always sit in my “Vortex Chair”, but these scopes flat out rock. They are optically off the charts, lightweight and tough as nails. Essentially, they are the best mountain scope there is. They aren’t cheap, but when you consider what you are getting, they are more than worth the cost. They are the perfect complement to any mountain or sporting rifle. I mounted the 1.5-8×32 on a Kimber Montana in .308 for the same POW hunt referred to earlier. After getting my ballistic data and confirming it at the range, I was consistently using the BDC drops to make lethal hits on steel out to 540 yards. I ended up shooting a buck right at 200 yards. The target dot is super intuitive. Pin that baby in the pocket and your confidence is through the roof. The HSR-4 Reticle available in the 2-10×40 and 3-15×42 is ideal for those who want to get exact ballistic data and hold more precisely off their reticle for longer shots. I used the 2-10×40 on another deer hunt later in the year. I ended up killing a buck on that hunt at 80 yards, but it was nice knowing I could have executed shots at much greater distance. Any way you go, it will be a lethal combination.

Spring is a great time to evaluate gear, confirm what worked great, what didn’t and make additions. If you don’t currently use any of the items mentioned in this article, I suggest you consider them. They may just become some of your new favorites too.

by Mark Boardman


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Every gun has a story – Whether it’s a classic lever action, passed down through generations, a battle-torn rifle responsible for defending our Nation’s freedom, or perhaps it’s the first gun you ever shot. Whatever it is that makes you a gun fanatic, we completely understand, because we’re gun crazy, too! In “Guns of Vortex”, we’ll be highlighting some of the firearms owned, used, and/or collected by our crew in-house. What we like about ‘em, what we don’t, and the stories they all carry with them.

The Carl Gustav Model 1896 Swedish Mauser:


The Carl Gustav Model 1896 Swedish Mauser – just saying the name is enough to drive any rifleholic crazy. Many of you are probably already familiar with the Mauser family of rifles. They are perhaps one of the most iconic rifles in history – one on which many of today’s rifle actions are based. The Winchester Model 70, Ruger M77, CZ-550, and Kimber’s family of bolt actions are just a few of the many models out there, still using much of the same design and technology to date. With that said, this particular example is a beautiful looking rifle, but what makes it so special? We certainly can’t deny that over half a million were made almost exactly like this one for the Swedish Army, not to mention the millions of other Mausers made all over the world in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. That said, this one is particularly interesting, because not only is it an entirely numbers-matching example, over 100 years old, but of all the models built, this one is only #613.


To find a gun of this age and history, in this fine condition, and with such a low serial number is no easy task.


With a number as low as #613, and stamped date on the receiver from 1898, that can pretty easily lead us to believe that this rifle was manufactured as a model 96. However, the shorter-than-normal barrel leads us to believe that it underwent some kind of change in its lifetime. Conveniently, many of these rifles were converted to what is known as a model 38, or “Short rifle” in their service life. The model 38 consists of both factory models with turned down bolts, and converted 96’s, which featured the shorter barrel, but a straight bolt handle. This rifle is most presumably a converted m96 because of its straight bolt knob, and serial & date of manufacture numbers on the receiver.


Ever wish your rifle had a spot where you could record important data about it? I mean, the Vortex Defender flip caps with a “Dope Disk” are a great way to keep dope handy, but what did the Swedes do when they needed to know their “DOPE”, or the condition of their bore? Well, they used this – the “OG” of DOPE disks. There are 3 sections on this version of brass disk, each indicating vital info about the rifle. The first section shows the bore’s actual diameter, and at the time of inspection, it was marked to show if the barrel needed to be replaced. The 2nd section indicates bore condition with a 1, 2, or 3; 1 being good bore condition, and 3 meaning it was on the brink of needing replacement. Because the Swedes didn’t see much battle, they were generally a bit pickier about bore condition, so even if you see a bore with a 2, or 3 marking, it will probably shoot pretty darn good. Finally, the 3rd section of the disk indicates if your rifle is shooting high, or low of your point of aim. Yes, even without an optic, the Swedes knew the importance of your zero distance.


All Swedish Mausers were chambered in the 6.5x55mm cartridge. Clearly they knew what they were doing by going with a 6.5mm cartridge – who ever said 6.5’s were just the latest fad? This aerial view gives a perfect shot of that classic Mauser style action with the iconic claw extractor. Rifles like these lack the third safety locking lug at the rear of the bolt and feature “Cock-on-closing”, rather than “Cock-on-opening”. Lifting the bolt handle might surprise you as it is spring loaded to assist the bolt moving backward. This causes it to feel and function quite similarly to the Lee Enfield rifles which many are also familiar with.


Nothing too out-of-the-ordinary about the tangent-style sights on this Swedish Mauser. The neat thing about the “T” marking on this converted 96’ is that, while these rifles were originally intended to fire 160 grain ball ammo, they got a new rear sight when the 140 grain spitzer round came about in the early 1900’s. This new rear sight kept soldiers from hitting too high when issued the new ammo. Whether it’s optical or iron, you could say that we are geeks about sights. Funny to think that the adjustments in sights like this ultimately do the same function that the adjustments in your riflescope do!


Easy now – a modern shooter might think we tampered with this muzzle to thread it for a suppressor. While you may be able to fit one on here with a proper adapter, this threaded muzzle was actually used to attach a device called a “Shredder”, which was used for training purposes. Wooden blanks were used in training by the troops, and the shredder was attached to ensure the bullets would dissipate upon exiting the barrel, thus avoiding injury to anyone downrange. Rifles with threaded barrels were then known as “B” models, and referred to as such in any military documentation. Later on, these rifles were fitted with flash hiders to both – you guessed it – hide flash, and to also protect the threads.


It’s always hard to imagine what scenes this rifle saw when it was in use. It traveled all the way across the world to get here, and all we have to see for its stories are the scars and marks from its previous owners. Now, even though Sweden remained neutral through both WWI & WWII, this rifle might have seen the heat of battle in one of a couple ways.
  1. It MIGHT have been sold to the Finnish government and used to defend Finland from the USSR during the Winter War of 1939-1940. Or
  2. In the Continuation War which lasted from 41’ to 44’, again between the Finns and the Soviets.
The model 96 & 38 Swedish Mauser stayed in service with the Swedish Army until 1962, at which time it was replaced by a copy of the HK G3. Either way – scarred from battle, or just from logging the last 100+ years of range time, this cool piece of history is near and dear to the heart of our very own Reuben Aleckson. He’s proud of his Scandinavian heritage, over ½ of which is … you guessed it, Swedish. He found it in the garage of a small auto service shop in the heart of Minnesota, and after a couple of years of pestering the shop owner, made it his own.
Hope You enjoyed checking out one of the many unique firearms here at Vortex. What cool and unique guns do you have in your collection? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below! Stay tuned for more “Guns of Vortex” in the future.


VIPeek – New Product 2017

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Meet the Razor® AMG® UH-1, affectionately known in-house as “Huey.”  The UH-1 is a completely new force in weapon-mounted holographic technology, and you’re the first to see it. Inside its durable aluminum chassis, the UH-1 features rugged internals with fewer moving parts than traditional holographic sights, all equating to maximum durability. One CR123A battery powers the sight, with the option of running rechargeable LFP 123A’s, which can be recharged using the on-board, waterproof, micro-USB port. Lastly, because the shooter is the only one who should be able to see the New EBR-CQB reticle, the entire system has been engineered to virtually eliminate all traces of forward signature, unlike any other red dot or holographic sights on the market.


Stay tuned for more on the new “Huey”, and future exclusive VIPeeks.


On a side note – if you like this paint job, check out our last newsletter article!  Our very own Jimmy H rattle canned this rig for about $25!

5 Tips to Make Y-O-U a Better Pistol Shooter.

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1)  Your  Trigger Pull.

Trigger pull is more important than sight alignment.


 2) Your  Sight Alignment.

No one can hold perfectly. Accept what you see and let the shot surprise you.


3)  Your  Stance.

You should always try to have your weight forward. This will aid you in recoil management, and help you stay on target for your follow-up shot or when transitioning to other targets.


Accept what you see and let the shot surprise you.“- Jerry Miculek on sight alignment.


4) Your  Grip.

Try to keep as firm a grip as possible. Just to the point of shaking. This will help you be more accurate on both your first shot, and your follow-up.


5) Your  Posture.

Try to stand as tall as your stance allows. This will keep you looking through the center of your glasses, allowing for the biggest field of view as possible.


About the Author:

Jerry Miculek is one of the best all-around shooters on the planet. His accomplishments during his more than thirty-year shooting career include 52 National titles and 45 World titles. Although best known for his amazing feats of revolver speed shooting, Jerry is also one of the top Multi-Gun competitors in the world, demonstrating equal prowess with pistols, rifles and shotguns.

3 Cave-Man-Style Meals: Sure to have your mouth watering.

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I grew up wanting to be a mountain man. As training, I spent much of my youth cooking various sorts of wild meat over a fire. While I never managed to fulfill my youthful fantasy (I was born about 150 years too late) I developed a skill set that serves me handily as a back country big game hunter. Here are a few cool and interesting meals to keep you busy and well fed in the woods or mountains. I call it caveman cuisine.


1) Beaver Tail

That’s right, the tail of a beaver. Historians often cite this meal as a mountain man favorite, but it took me years to figure out what exactly they did with it. Turns out that it’s pretty simple. Poke a hole in the end of a beaver tail and slip in the end of a green, thumb-sized skewer about as long as your arm. Prop the tail close to the flames of a fire, but not touching the flames, and gently roast it until the skin of the tail bubbles up and turns crispy. Peel the skin away and you’ll be shocked by what you find. The inside is like beef fat and gristle, snow white. It might not be the best meal to serve to your mother-in-law, but when you’re calorie starved in the wild it is mighty satisfying.

“If this seems too far out, consider that the finest French restaurants serve marrow bones on their menus.” – Steven Rinella


2) Bone Marrow

It’s been proposed by anthropologists that early humans probably scavenged the remains from kills left over by lions, wolves, and saber-toothed cats. It seems that they specialized in extracting the marrow from femurs. Try this once and you’ll see why. Bury the femur from an elk, moose, or caribou (whitetails are a bit too small, but can still be worth the effort) in the coals of a fire and let it roast for ten or fifteen minutes. Pull it out and give it a smack with a rock or hatchet, careful not to shatter it too violently. Pull out the slugs of marrow and sprinkle with a bit of salt. If this seems too far out, consider that the finest French restaurants serve marrow bones on their menus.

3) Ribs

For a group meal, roast up a rack of ribs. I learned this trick from a Dall sheep guide named Lance Kronberger. Start by building a three-walled, open-topped box with river cobbles or boulders. Make it about the size of a big microwave oven. Start a fire inside the box and let it cook down to a thick bed of coals. Now take a rib rack of a deer, sheep, or whatever and place it like a lid on the box. Flip it every five or six minutes and add wood as needed to keep things very hot. Cook it until its dripping fat and getting nice and charred. Then you and your buddies can stand around and start slicing off ribs and meat. Have a little Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning on hand if you want it to be really good.


About the Author:

Steven Rinella is the author of five books about wildlife and hunting. He hosts the MeatEater TV show and the MeatEater Podcast. Find him at


Summer is the New Fall. Three August Big Game Hunts that will Change Your Vacation Plans

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Extend your hunting season by starting early. Obtainable tags and large tracts of public land make these hunts shine like the August sun.


August Sitka Blacktails in Alaska

One of the coolest hunts in the world, but you better have your $%*! together. South East Alaska, Kodiak Island, and some of its surrounding islands are home to these beautiful, small-stature deer. In August, you can find them high up in the alpine. I’ve actually spotted them above the mountain goats, so that should give you some perspective.  Travel logistics, remoteness, rapidly changing weather and extreme terrain demand you and your gear are up for the challenge. This is a true mountain hunt, and ranks right up there with any sheep or goat hunt. The reward for your effort – some of the most spectacular country you will ever see, high adventure, and if you tag a buck, quite possibly the best game meat to ever hit your palate. Consult state regulations for details.


August Black Bears in Arizona 

In August, the bear hunting can be just as hot as the daily high in AZ. Big bruins can’t resist the sweet temptation of prickly pear cactus fruit and come out somewhat predictably to feed. This primarily is a morning and evening hunt. Get up high, glass bears from afar and make your stalk. If you can’t make it to a bear before the sun goes down, or before he retreats for cover as the sun makes its way over the horizon – mark the patch of pears and be ready for him the next day. Bears will often hit a productive patch for multiple days. A mix of archery and rifle hunts begin in August. Strict sow quotas can shut units down in short order – so be mindful of that when planning – as well as during your hunt. Consult state regulations for details.


“The reward for your effort – some of the most spectacular country you will ever see, high adventure, and if you tag a buck, quite possibly the best game meat to ever hit your palate.” – Hunting Sitka Blacktails in Alaska



August Archery Antelope in Wyoming

Public land abounds in Wyoming – and so do antelope. Take advantage of the August archery hunt and get the jump on a big buck coming in for a drink. Finding a good water hole to set your blind up will take some scouting – or an inside tip. Another plus, it will be so hot, it’s one of the few hunts you can do in your underpants. Just make sure to cover up upon exiting your blind. Rain can make sitting water a challenge, so pray for hot weather and adjust tactics if needed. Glassing up a buck and putting a stalk on him will add a degree of difficulty – and satisfaction. Either way you do it, you’re in for a good time. And if you don’t notch your tag, you can still hunt the gun season – so make sure you have a few vacation days on tap to come back if needed. Tags are issued by drawing, so research the unit you want to hunt and get your application in on time. The number of points needed to draw will vary by unit. Some units will likely go under-subscribed. Leftover tags can be purchased on a first come-first-served- basis until they are gone. Make sure to get the on X Maps Wyoming chip for your GPS. It will be an invaluable tool when deciphering public Vs private land – which can be a bit tricky. Consult state regulations for details.

Depending on how you look at it, you have a month to scramble a plan, or a year to prepare. Regardless, give one of these hunts a shot and have a great summer!




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Here are a few exercises you can do at the office or on your lunch break in the name of better hunting.  A few rounds of these movements can get you a quick spike in heart rate, as well as improve your overall mood and productivity.  Making time for a little training here and there can add up to major fitness gains when fall rolls around.  We all are extremely busy and things will continue to be hectic, so take five and try this quick and easy office workout.  Every unwanted pound left on your body is not going to improve your overall hunting experience, rather it could negatively effect your ability to move through the mountains and recover day to day.  Stay motivated and let me know how it goes!

Perform each exercise for 5 Reps, then move on to the next without resting.  You can do this circuit for 5-15 minutes continuously right at the office.  Don’t mind the strange looks you get from your coworkers, they probably have never heard an elk bugle anyways and wouldn’t understand.

Air Squats

Air Squat

Air Squats – Knees out and chest tall, descend into the bottom and drive through your heels as you stand up.  We’re looking for control on the way down and speed on the way up.




Burpees – From a standing position lower yourself to a push-up position in one smooth controlled fashion.  Once your chest touches the ground, push yourself back up and get to your feet with a small jump at the end.  Nobody likes burpees.

Chair Dips


Chair Dips – Position your hands at the end of the chair and keep your feet out in front, lower yourself with your arms into a dip position while keeping your elbows near your mid-line.  Keep your chest tall and move through an appropriate range of motion for your body.


Chair Step Ups


Chair Step Ups – Maintain strong posture while you alternate legs stepping up and down with the same leg per repetition.  The leg on top is the working leg so avoid pushing off with your back leg.  This isolates the working leg to ensure muscle balance and will transfer over to your long hikes in the fall.  Happy training.




Dan Staton holds a Master’s degree in exercise physiology and owns CrossFit Spokane Valley.  He’s an avid out West bowhunter from Washington state.  You can follow him on Instagram @danthefitnessman or check out his YouTube Channel ElkShape.



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You would think loading a backpack would be as simple as stuffing a bunch of gear into a bag, but this type of thinking will make for a painful hike in to your hunting area. There’s actually a method behind the madness, and getting the most comfort from your backpack has a lot to do with how and where your gear gets put inside.


Most backpack hunts and hunters will require roughly the same type and amount of gear, so I will try and generalize how and what gets loaded with a step by step process.

1 — Make sure to put your light and bulky gear at the bottom of the pack; my sleeping bag normally goes at the bottom, but you can also pack jackets or clothing to fill the void if needed.
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You might be a gunsmith, you might be an engineer, and you may have been mounting scopes on rifles since a date that borders on ending with B.C. You might be doing it wrong. “It’s not your fault,” (Good Will Hunting, 1997). There’s more to mounting a riflescope than commonly thought. Overall, it is a simple process, but must be done correctly for proper optic function and reliability. Save yourself time, frustration, and ammunition by doing things right on the front end.



1. Start with good rings and bases—you’ll thank yourself later

Often overlooked, many people highly underestimate the importance of quality rings and bases. They become an afterthought in the rifle/riflescope purchase process and get skimped on. Remember, these are the components that connect the riflescope to the rifle. If they are not up to the job, you’re stumbling out of the gate.

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1. Confidence

Using the LRBC provides ultimate ballistics knowledge, which in turn results in unparalleled shooting confidence. Essentially, it’s the equivalent of hosing yourself down with AXE body spray and walking into a frat party at 12 a.m. Chances are, you’re going to hit your mark. I should know. I use the LRBC and I was at that party.

2. Rifle Selection

How the heck is a ballistic calculator going to help me pick my rifle? Well, I’ll tell you. Instead of just walking to the gun counter and asking for a rifle based on the opinions of myriad people who are no longer with us, use the LRBC to do some pre-purchase ballistics research. The results may not only astound you, but drive your rifle selection in an entirely different direction. Even if you’ve narrowed your cartridge candidates down to a select few, the LRBC will assist in deciphering which will be the most effective for your intended applications.

3. You Owe it to Yourself and the Animal

Our lives are often strongly dictated by two very important, but increasingly finite factors – Time and Money. Whether heading out as a weekend warrior, or on a hunt years in the works, getting the most out of your experience is paramount. Using the LRBC to gather accurate load data just might make the difference between a hit, a miss, or a crippled animal. Now I’m not saying the success of any trip is defined by the presence of hooves and horns in the back of your pickup, but I’m not going to say it doesn’t make the experience a whole lot sweeter either.

Give the Vortex LRBC a try >

by Mark Boardman