August 11, 2009 by  
Filed under Gear & Reviews

logo_main_196Trophy Takers Shuttle T-lock

s7_417041_imageset_01The most important part of all archery equipment is arguably the broadhead. Achieving success while archery hunting requires a fast, strong, accurate, quiet broadhead that cuts a big wound channel.   The Shuttle T-Lock by Trophy Taker is my broadhead of choice.

Over the last four years my archery equipment has gone through many changes.  However two things have stayed constant with my gear, my Hoyt bows and the Shuttle T-Lock broadheads.  When you find something that works, stick with it.  I have never had a T-lock broadhead fail me. From their thick non-vented, stainless steal blades to their patented T- Locking blades, they are guaranteed not to fail. These broadheads are bullet proof and fly as true as field points.

From the smallest of big game to the largest, these blades cut wide wound channels and get 4 to 6 inches deeper penetration than expandable broadheads.  When it comes to the fast bows of today, the shuttle T-lock is the perfect fit.  They have a smaller over all blade diameter with thicker shuttle cut blades and they slice thought the air with ease when shot through the high speed bows of today.

Like I said earlier, I have shot Shuttle T’s for a number of years and have been blessed to harvest some quality animals.  Even when the shot was a marginal hit, the blade did its job and the game was recovered.  My 2006 elk was quartering to me as I shot at 20 yards.  The bull ran 40 yards and fell over dead.  When I approached the elk, I was shocked to see a five inch wide cut into the front shoulder.IMG_0242

Idaho Archery elk 325 inches, 20 yard quartering to shot

My Alberta mule deer was my first mule deer with a bow.  It was a sixty yard shot.  The broadhead went clean through the front shoulder and stuck in the off side shoulder.  The buck ran 70 yards and expired in the cattails.   When we open the deer, I found myself shocked to see that the shuttle T  went through the shoulder blade and both sides of the rib cage before lodging in the offside shoulder and that was at sixty yards!  My arrow should have been 6 inches further back, but the broadhead still did its job.  Pretty impressive for a marginal shot!


The Alberta #2 Pope and Young mule deer,  195 4/8 net inches. (hard horned).

Trophy Takers Shuttle T-lock broadheads

  • Pro’s- Toughest, quietest, most accurate broadhead I have shot.  The proof is in the pictures.
  • Con’s- Shooting the vanes off of my arrows at 80 yards.  Who would have thought a broadhead could be this accurate.
  • Company- Great people.  I have spoken with Jerrod Lile on the phone on a number of occasions.  We got along like two old college buddies.

IMG_0075A cool Texas double dropper white tailed deer harvested with the Hoyt and A Shuttle T-Lock.

IMG_0221A Pope and Young black bear from forty yards with the Hoyt and a Shuttle T-lock broad head

Dan MarrowGood Friend, Dan Morrow, with his #2 Oregon Non-Typical Elk.  Harvested w/ a Hoyt and the Shuttle T broadhead.

I can’t wait to try out the new Terminal T-lock broadheads by Trophy Taker, due out this summer!  They look like one wicked little broadhead.

Steve Alderman



August 10, 2009 by  
Filed under Gear & Reviews

Thompson Center Arms

Endeavor 50 Cal. Muzzleloader Endeavor 1

When I started this web site, it was for the easy money. Why not be techie?  How hard could it be to make millions on-line? Well, after several months my focus has changed from the millions of dollars, which never showed up, to just plain old enjoying writing about what we experience in the great outdoors. Pretty cool job, huh? I think so! However, I am still waiting for the Wells Fargo truck to show up at the front door with a pile of money, but I’m not holding my breath.

When Thompson Center Arms sent me their new Endeavor to put through the ringer, I was shocked.  So I won’t make millions, but I get to try out some pretty neat gear!  I’m all for that.  Who wouldn’t be?

Right out of the box this gun has all the bells and whistles with a  Flex tech Stock, Speed Breach XT, Energy Burners, Power Rod, and the QLA Quick Load Accurizor.  But can it shoot?  It sure looks pretty but I had my doubts.5724 I’m a simple guy  who likes simple things.  The more simple the better when it comes to muzzleloaders has always been my motto.  However, the older I get it seems that easier  just might be better. Easier, like the Speed Breech XT.  It doesn’t get any easier than this.  No need for tools, just a 90 degree turn with your fingers and your breech plug is out.  The QLA eliminates the need for a ball starter because the bullet starts with ease.  The  new ergonomic power rod provides a more comfortable and less painful grip when seating the bullet.  No more sore palms at the range.  The Flex Tech Stock with Energy Burners is a shoulder saver.  It takes over 50 percent of the felt recoil away from your shoulder and dampens the sound by up to 20 percent.  We all know muzzleloaders kick harder then modern rifles and the new technology in this stock keeps us at the range longer and helps dramatically with shooters pull (flinch). But, can it shoot?


endeavor 5Right off the UPS truck I headed to Cabelas to purchase the recommended shooting supplies.  TC recommends a sabot through their fast twist barrel.  So I went with the TC Shock Waves in the 300 grain weight and triple seven FFG loose powder. I drove out to the property and began to shoot.  Initially I set the target at 100 yards for the first three shots to gauge the guns accuracy.  To my amazement the first shot hit 2 1/2 inches high of the bulls eye.  Beginners luck, I mean right out of the box and the gun is sighted in? Second shot 1 inch high of bulls eye and the third shot touched the first shot.  Ok maybe this gun with all this fancy new stuff can shoot and right out of the box. Needless to say, I stuck around till dark shooting my new Endeavor just enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells that come with hunting and shooting a front stuffer. This gun is a shooter!!!!

So there might not be millions of dollars in the web-site business, but the fringe benefits are worth a million dollars to me. Now, if only I could turn this into a full time gig!

Making the TC Endeavor Legal in Idaho’s muzzleloader hunts

What a challenge this turned out to be.  In Idaho you can only use a muzzleloader in a muzzleloader hunt that meets the following requirements;

  • Loaded with loose powder.  The Endeavor can be loaded with loose powder.
  • Loaded with a projectile that is within .010 inch of bore diameter.  The Endeavor will accept this projectile.
  • Must use round ball or lead conical.  100% lead, non-jacketed.  Can the Endeavor handle shooting a conical?
  • Equipped only with a musket or percussion cap! The Endeavor does not use either.
  • The cap must be exposed or visible to the elements when cocked.  The Endeavors breech is not exposed.
  • Open or Peep sights only. The Endeavor has open sights.

Off to the gun smith

“ The Thompson Center Arms alteration I am posting is purely experimental with INSUFFICIENT TESTING data to determine “no risk of injury” to the end user. Therefore in the interest of SAFETY and liability, please be informed that if you construct and use any altered guns or parts,  you do so at your own risk and responsibility, and I assume no liability or responsibility should injury or death occur in their use.”

To get the Endeavor to shoot a number 11 percussion caps, the Endeavors breech plug will have to be drilled, tapped and re-milled.  Drilled and tapped to accept the number 11 nipple, then re-milled so the cap is exposed to the elements.  In the picture below, the left breech plug is an original and the right breech plug is after the gun smith worked it. (NOTE….  Thompson Center Arms does not recommend altering their breech plugs or firing pins.)  I just wish that Thompson Center Arms would offer this breech and firing pin as an option to the Endeavor.  The gun would then be legal to use in Idaho, Oregon and Washington right out of the box.

Endeavor breech

After drilling, tapping, and re-milling it was time to focus on the firing pin.  It need to be altered so that it would fire number 11 percussion caps.  The firing pin needed to have a 1/4 inch flat striking surface instead of a normal firing pin that comes with the Endeavor.  Again the gun smith got to work on the Endeavor.  A couple of days and a number of firing pins (strikers) later and the gun smith had my new and now legal in Idaho Endeavor firing 100% of the time. The cost for this procedure is around $200.00 to $250.00 dollars.  After all of this time and money would my new gun even shoot a lead conical consistently?

breechThe new breech shown in place, the cap is now exposed!

Back to the Range!

The big question now was is this gun going to shoot lead through it?  For me patch and round ball is out of the question.   I want a muzzleloader that will preform out to 100endeavor 2 yards and beyond.  Round balls lose way to much kinetic energy and their foot pounds of impact down range and are not, in my opinion, sufficient enough to ethically harvest an animal out to 100 yards.  Most patch and round balls should never be shot at  large game animals any farther than 50 – 70 yards, so my choice was going to be a conical.  Power belt lead conical to be exact.  Powerbelt Bullets are a local company here in Idaho that I have had great luck with in the past.  Before I new it, I was off to the range with some 348 grain all lead power belt conicals, my triple seven FFG, and some CCI number  11 percussion caps.

The excitement was in the air and I was eager to see if my new gun would perform.  All the  muzzleloader forums on the net said that it was very unlikely that the Thompson would shoot a conical with consistency.  This time I set the target out at 75 yards to see if I could punch the target with the Power Belt.  For the load, I dropped the powder charge from 120 grains down to 90 grains.  I knew I was going to have to slow the bullet down to get consistent flight out of a fast twist barrel.

The first time I pulled the trigger it was a misfire. I guess when I last cleaned the gun I didn’t clean the breech plug very thoroughly.  Thank goodness it’s the Speed Breech XT and with one quick turn the breech plug was out to be picked and cleaned.  The gun fired on the next shot.  Now was the moment of truth.  Where did my conical hit?  It was 3 inches high of center which is not too bad, but I wasn’t out off the woods yet.  I’m looking for consistency out of my new gun.  My second shot went off without a hitch,  but were did I hit? endeavor target 1 As I looked through the spotting scope my heart sank.  I couldn’t have missed but the paper showed no sign of being punched.  I was now coming to the realization that I had just spent a ton of money making a gun legal in Idaho that wasn’t going to work for me.  I should have listened to the naysayers.  Reluctantly, I reloaded the gun for what could have been my last shot with a conical through the bore of the TC.  I sat at the bench, squeezed the trigger and the smoke flew.  Looking through the spotting scope I could see the hit was 1 inch low of the first shot.  Ok, now where did that second shot hit?  I walked down to the target for a further inspection.   To my amazement, my second bullet punched the paper right through the same hole as the first conical. It looked like I was back in the saddle.  I fired four more shots though the TC and walked away with a pretty good group.  See, the Thompson Endeavor can shoot lead conicals just fine!  Try it and see for yourself.  For all you naysayers out there, with a little tweak of the powder and the right bullet combination it is possible.  The proof is on the paper.endeavor target 2

With a new front site on this gun I should be able to make this group twice a tight as it is here.  Currently, the front site is the stock fiber optic one that comes on the TC and at 75 yards it covers up the whole target.  Come on admit it, thats a pretty good group for not even seeing the target while shooting at it.  I believe that the only thing wrong with this gun is the sites because they are very beginner.  I can’t wait for the day when I bust out my scope to really fine tune the load.  I don’t think I am too far off with the load I am using now!  Only time will tell and of course a couple more trips to the range.endeavorSo if I never get rich, monetarily, at least I’m having fun trying.  Until next time, shoot straight and just remember your in Mule Deer Country!

This is an experiment and is for you’re reading entertainment only…..Do not try this at home.  We accept no liability when altering any gun!

Steve Alderman

Founder, Mule Deer Country


July 25, 2009 by  
Filed under Gear & Reviews

Large Hunting Packs (2,000 ci to 7,000 ci)

Best pack

  • Mystery Ranch  (Crew Cab w/ Day lid and 3 cells )
  • Eberlestock Dragonfly
  • Eberlestock J-104

Best Pack over $300.00

  • Mystery Ranch (Crew Cab w/ Day lid and 3 cells)
  • Eberlestock Dragonfly J-107

Best Pack under $300.00

  • Eberlestock J-104
  • Eberlestock J-105
  • Badlands 4,500
  • Jannsens Ultimate hard core hunting pack  (have yet to try it, but I hear great things about it, from people I trust).

This list will change as I try more packs.  Pack makers have their work cut out for them when it comes to the best all around pack.  Mystery Ranch is by far my current choice for the best all around pack.  I will explain in a review to follow.  For the money though, you cannot beat an Eberlestock.  I used them for years before I went to the Mystery Ranch. I have had many successful hunts with my Eberlestocks

MYSTERY RANCH (Crew Cab w/ Lid and Cells)

mystery_ranchThere are too many things that I like about the Mystery Ranch for it not to be on top of my list for the best hunting packs. In this review, I will give you a brief run down on Mystery Ranch Packs. Why I and everyone else who owns one loves them.

Dana Design is where it started, but Mystery Ranch is where its at

Mystery Ranch was founded in 2000 by Dana Gleason and business partner Renee Sippel-Baker as their successor to Dana Design, which they sold to K2 Corporation in 1995. Mystery Ranch creates packs built on the foundation Dana pioneered with Dana Design and that have been made even better with his ongoing innovation and dedication to packs that work for and with the user.

The best pack in Mule Deer Country

What can I say about this  hunting pack but it flat out kicks butt!  From the ergonomics to the placement and size of pockets, there is no pack on the market that can compete with the Crew Cab by MYSTERY RANCH.  For my personal pack I added the  day pack lid which added 900 cubic inches of storage to the already 5000 ci included with the pack. The day lid is separated into two compartments to better organize your gear.  I also added one large cell and two small cells which help keep my gear organized.

MR 1Mystery Ranch Crew Cab on an early season filming trip

What I like most about this pack is almost everything, from its size to the way it carries the heaviest of loads.  On any given day I pack 50 to 60 pounds of gear.  Call me crazy, but this is what I feel I need to get my job done.  Whether it being my 55 pounds of gear to film for the day or my 75 pound spike camp, my Crew Cab handles it with ease.  Not only does it handle the load with absolutely no problems, it makes my job as the packer more pleasant than other packs I have used in the past.

Size Matters

Just look at the picture above, this pack is loaded with 55 pounds of gear to film and survive in the desert for one day.  The pack can be compressed down to the size of a day pack or it can be opened up to be the largest of freight haulers.   55 pounds of gear and the pack looks small on my back.  It’s narrower then the other packs on the market which is very important to me.  I like a pack that fits in the middle of my back and doesn’t protrude out both sides.  This pack sits where a pack is intended to, on your lower lumbar area, not your butt.  The Nice frame system is totally adjustable, from the over-sized  belt, to six different adjustments on the shoulders, including the length of your torso.  This pack is made to fit each individual person absolutely perfectly.  There are no more excuses for your pack not fitting correctly!

MR 2My typical gear for filming for one day.  On average 55 pounds

Pockets, cells and straps

Another great feature about this pack is all of your gear is kept in separate compartments.  From the  7 different pockets, to the 4 different cells that you store you gear in, there is never a need to dig through your gear to find anything again.  I keep My 300mm lens in a cell, the camera and stock lens go in the main compartment, spotting scope and hydration system go in the outside pockets.   The first aid kit and miscellaneous other gear go in the extra pocket on the main compartment.  My essentials, such as extra tapes, batteries for the camera, flash light, flash light batteries, knife, satellite phone and misc gear that I need to get to in a hurry goes in the top pocket of the day pack lid.  Rain gear, gloves, stocking hats, and wet wipes go in the other pocket on the lid.  The range finder and Binos go in pouches that I added to the belt.  My tripod straps to the outside with two of the many compression straps.  How many compression straps are there you ask?   I would say somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 to 12 which is too many to keep track of.  I like allot of compression straps because it is very important when I have a heavy load on the pack, that the gear stay put and not shift around from side to side.  When I’m tired from walking 10 miles with a 55 pound pack I need all the help I can get to stay on my feet.  I don’t need a pack that is going to shift on me and make me lose my balance and risk injuring myself.

With all of this gear there are still 3 cells unused, one pocket completely unused, and three other pockets that are only half loaded.  However, when I go hunting and plan on staying the night in the field I end up using two more of the cells. One for the light, stove, gas, and water pump, and the other cell for food.

MR 3Typical days worth of hunting gear when spending the night on the hill.

Notice that I down sized to the smaller camera, but added the muzzle loader.  I added two more cells for the food and cooking gear.   Cells are individual, weather proof,  compartments that stack together on the inside of your pack.  Once you’ve arrived at your destination, unload your pack and cells, keeping your equipment and food organized, safe form the elements and in one place.  My pack then gets folded up with only the necessary gear for a day hunt.  I keep my cells loaded year round and ready to go, so there is no searching around for my gear or food for the next trip.  Just drop them in the pack and go!

MR 8

Extra 2 cells loaded and ready to go.  One with food and one with light, water pump and cooking utensils


My average pack for this kind of trip weighs about 65 pounds.  Not shown are the sleeping bag and bivy tent that I attach to the outside of the pack.


Two Free Hands

One of my favorite things about this pack is that there is not a gun scab-board built into the pack.  This allows me to either carry my gun at all times, or as in my case buy a scab-board and attach it to the pack.  This pack is perfect for adding a scabbard to.  You open the pack, to the frame, and lay the scab-board at an angle across the pack.  I then put the pack back together with the gun in the scabbard securely against the frame for protection.   The cool thing about being able to add your own scabbard is that it allows you to angle the gun out either side depending on if you are right or left handed.  One other huge benefit to having the gun at an angle across your back allows you to ride a horse, motorcycle, 4 wheeler, or even just sit down without needing to take you pack off.

MR 6Riding my horse (ha ha) with the gun cased in the scabbard.  The pack cover is made by Shaggie.

The pack cover helps keep the dust off of my video gear.  It also works to take the glare from the sun off the pack and aid in camouflaging me!

MR 5 How the gun scabbard goes in the pack. Then just close the pack up and compress the straps.

The gun does not move at all when on your back.  Hiking or riding the gun stays in place until you need it.  One quick pull over your shoulder and your gun is uncased and ready to go!


Need I say More?

What more can I say?  Well, I can tell you that this year after a seven mile hike, I harvested a 190 inch mule deer.  We then boned the deer out and headed back to camp hiking six miles. My pack weighed over 90 pounds with my gear, head, and cape.  We made it out just fine.  No complaints, except for the rain.  With other Packs I don’t know that I could say the same.super tag

Bring on this year, I can’t wait to pack out the next big buck!   I’m looking forward to pushing this pack to it’s limits, if it has one.


Steve Alderman

Founder, Mule Deer Country

MR 7PRO’s  – The best mountaineering packs morphed into a hunting pack.  It can be used for day hunts or expanded to be the largest of freight haulers for week long trips.       Ergonomics equal comfort. The  heaviest duty pack that I have used to date. Life time warranty means just that, these guys don’t want their packs coming back.  Made completely in the good ole USA.

CON’s – The material used in building the product reflects to much sunlight (that is one of the reason I use a pack cover by Shaggie).  The material is also somewhat loud, but does soften with use. I understand they are going to make some of their hunting packs with a different material to quiet them down.  The cost, hold on to your seat,$490.00 duckets Plus $170.00-$200.00 for accessories.  A small price to pay when hiking the extra mile or staying out an extra day.

COMPANY – Highest rating. Definitely hard core back packers and hunters own and work in this company. They live, eat, and breathe packs.  Great guys, Mark Seacat took me under his wing to help me out with this pack.  He also went out of his way to introduce me to some other fine companies in the hunting industry, such as the great folks at Sitka.  Thanks Mark!

PRODUCT – Highest Rating. It’s my number one pack for a reason.  I use packs and use packs hard.   This pack works!  By the way, I payed full price for my pack,  I do these reviews to save you time and money on your search for the best hunting products.  Save your money and buy a Mystery Ranch Pack.


April 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Gear & Reviews


Hoyt Katera




What can I say about Hoyt and their wonderful line of products!  I’m privileged to get the opportunity to try out these revolutionary new bows when they are introduced to the public.  

When looking for a bow I usually pick the longest axle to axle bow they make in any given line.  The longer axle to axle, the more forgiving.  That has always been my motto, however Darrin Cooper, an engineer at Hoyt, talked me into going with the shorter axle length with the Katera.  I was told to throw my old beliefs out the window when it came to the new Hoyt bows.  So with Coops advice in the back of my head, I reluctantly ordered the shorter axle length bow which was 33 inches instead of my usual 36 inch length.  

When I received the bow two weeks later, I was absolutely blown away by this bow from the first shot.  Its great to have a short bow you can shoot all of the time, instead of just in the blind or tree stand.  This is the most accurate bow I have ever shot.  It took me a day or two to get the feel for the shorter brace height, but when I did, my Vectrex got the green light to retire.  I have never shot groups this tight with any bow.  PRO’s By far the best bow on the market,  I don’t see how they can improve on this one.  Short axle to axle allows for greater movement in tight situations.  CON’s  Short brace height.  Once you get past this hurdle, it’s the best shooting bow hanging in your local pro shop.

I can’t wait for next years line of bows to see what Hoyt will come up with.  Hoyt has their work cut out for them if they think it is going to be as easy to retire the Katera as it was the Vectrex.

  • Company – Highest rating…. Great people and they respond in a timely matter.  They go above a beyond for even their smallest customers.
  • Products –  Highest rating…. Never had a problem with one thing that I have received from Hoyt!  Toughest bows on the market! 


Hoyt Alphamax



Got it in the mail this week!  Hoyt Alphamax 35 with the z2 cam and a half. Had it put together yesterday and shot it only 15 times before my wife started tapping her foot.  Fifteen times was all it took.  I am blown away. Yes, I’ve said this before but its true.  Not only did Hoyt improve on their katera,  they absolutely blew it out of the water.  Only 15 shots and it is my new hunting bow, no doubt about it!   I will write more on the new Alphamax after I get a few hundred arrows through it.


Steve Alderman

Founder, Mule Deer Country


April 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Gear & Reviews



Thompson Center Arms

TC Pro Hunter 50 cal.

Thompson Center Arms, Mule Deer 2008, Idaho

Thompson Center Arms, Mule Deer 2008, Idaho

As many of you know I am an avid muzzleloader hunter. There is just something about getting close to the game with the knowledge of only having one shot to get the job   done. The smoke, the smell, the challenge, loading the gun from the muzzle, and getting only one shot at most game brings back a little hunting heritage for me. Technology is fine and I think you, as a hunter, can draw the line anywhere in the sand you want. For me, the challenge is getting within 150 yards and having only one shot.

When I think of muzzleloaders, only a few brands come to mind with one of them being Thompson Center Arms. For gosh sakes Jim Shockey uses them, they must be pretty good! I decided to give them a try when the company I used previously was having some difficulties. So, I went to Cabelas and purchased my first TC. From Cabelas, I went straight to the range and out of the box at a distance of 50 yards all three of my first shots were touching. To say the least I was pleasantly surprised. Of course this was with open sights as that is the only way we can hunt with them here in Idaho during a muzzleloader season. During the rifle season we can use a scope, however for my test no scope was used. I then moved the target out to 100 yards. My first three shots were all within 2 inches of one another. Again, I was very surprised but I knew the gun could out perform my eye sight. I set up for another three shot group swabbing between each shot and this time my group was at the one and three quarter of an inch mark. Not bad for the first 9 shots out of the box. I ended up working up a pretty good load by the end of the day. 120 grains of triple seven ffg and a 300 grain Shock Wave sabot by TC. My best group was at the one inch mark with this combination. A great performance for the first day at the range with a new muzzleloader.

  • PRO’s…. TC speed breech, easy to clean, great stock with flex tech and energy burners, and the power rod. Great invasions to make the muzzleloaders life a little easier.
  • CON’s…. The sights are a little beginner and should be changed out for the experienced muzzleloader hunter. The fiber optics are too big to be as effective and as precise as I would like.
  • Company – Very good…Very busy company. Be patient if want an answer, as it may take a few phone calls. Their gun smith is one of the most knowledgeable in the industry. Service is great when you get someone on the phone, just keep calling!
  • Product – Highest Rating…. Very well built and put together. Everything is top quality.

Thompson Center Arms



April 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Gear & Reviews





Mountain Extreme non-insulated hunting boot

45 day hunt, Idaho, "Kenetrek Boots Rock"

45 day hunt, Idaho, "Kenetrek Boots Rock"

This review took a while due to the fact that I wanted to try  Kenetrek’s boots for an extended period of time.  Not that it was needed because as soon as I put them on I knew they were different then the Danners I have been using for the past ten years.

I put these boots(Kenetrek light hikers) through the extremes that the desert in Idaho has to offer.  I purchased these boots on July 15th and started scouting with them. Right away I knew these boots were different.  They felt great, right out of the box.  No stiff leather to break in, nor were they uncomfortable to use, no break in period needed. Right out of the box, a six mile hike with a 60 pound pack and my feet were in great shape the next day.  I wish I could say the same for the rest of my body.  Getting old sucks!

I put these boot through the riggers of a 45 day Idaho hunt.  Not to mention all the days scouting and filming before the season.  The lava of the Idaho desert didn’t even show its effect on the soles of these boots.   From the snow to the heat these boots preformed flawlessly.  Water proof with windtex liner, my feet only got wet from the perspiration of working hard trying to find that big buck…

  • Pros… Most comfortable boot out of the box that I have ever put on. Light and water proof.  The soles showed the least amount of wear of any boot I’ve owned.
  • Cons… None really.  I’m looking forward to their new boot without the windtex. It’s not water proof but, I’m hoping it’s a little more breathable as my feet sweat in socks.
  • Company – very good….  Small company need to be patient when working with them.  Sometimes it takes a while for them to get back to you.
  • Products – Highest Rating….  Haven’t found a problem with any of their boots. I own several pair and even wear them for everyday activities.

Update 4-22-09

I thought I would share a little perspective with you about my boots.  I usually go through one to two pair of Danners in a hunting season.  When I say Danner I mean the tried and true American made Danners, not those fakes from China.

Let me show you some photos to compare the two products Kenetrek Mountain Extremes to the Danner Grouse. Both of these boots were used for a similar amount of time and in similar places i.e.. the desert here in Idaho.  Lava and more lava is where I spend much of my time pursuing monster mule deer.  The Danners did not hold up to the abuse that I can dish out to my boots.  Granted, I’m not boot friendly. I don’t oil or take pride in taking care of my boots.  I use them and use them hard.  I know that oiling and taking care of my boots will make them last longer, I just haven’t figure out what and how to do it.  Here are the pictures of my boot comparison.  The first picture is of the soles of both pairs of boots.  The Danner with their tried and true Danner bob sole completely fell apart compared to the Kenetrek on the right.


The next photo is of the uppers of the two boots;  Kenetrek on the left and the Danner on the right.  I know that if I would have taken better care of the Danners the stitching may not have come apart.  However, I did not oil the Kenetrek either and they held up much better.


Kenetrek Hardscrabble


I bought my first pair of Kenetrek boots and couldn’t get enough of them.  I loved the boots so I went out and bought another pair.  This time it was their low top hiker called the Hardscrabble. I wore these boots during the archery elk season of 2008.  My thoughts were that they were a low top boot so they should not cause my feet to perspire as much. I was wrong, my feet perspired,  just not the bottom part of my calf.   They are three ounces lighter than the Mountain Extremes. They are not insulated, but are water proof and breathable.

MSRP is around 305.00 dollars and worth every penny.

kenetrek-hard-scrabble-usedI spent over 100 days in the field last year and my Kenetrek boots never let me down.  They are the toughest boot that I have ever owned.   They tip the scale at an unbelievably light 3.6 pounds.

I suggest you wear the best socks you can afford.  This well help your feet tremendously.  Like I said earlier, my feet sweat in socks alone so add boots and look out Niagara.  I wear the Genius socks from Cabelas.  They are silver lined for sent prevention and are very breathable.  I need all the help I can get.

I have heard that Kenetrek just released a new boot called the Mountain Safari. It is uninsulated and does not have the windtex water proof membrane in it.  This boot should allow your (and my) feet to breath better.  They are not water proof but are water resistant.  They retail for around $305.00 and weigh about 3.7 pounds.

Kenetrek Mountain Light Hiker


I’ve recently bought a few more pair of the Kenetrek boots.  I bought the Mountain Light Hiker for the simple reason kenetrek-lite-hikerthat I love their boots and my buddy was opening an account with Kenetrek and needed to order ten pairs of boots to get started .

I wanted to try some of their other great styles in my quest for a boot that wouldn’t make my feet sweat so badly.  I though the cordura might breath a little better than the leather.  Boy was I wrong!  They are even hotter than the leather of the scrabble.  I have yet to try these boots extensively in the hills at this point.  One trip is all they have had but so far I like the boot.  The upper feels more ridgid with less flexibility than the Kentrek boots with leather uppers.  It has the signature steel shank which provide more support through the sole.  They weight about 2.9 pounds and the SMRP (suggest manufactures retail price) is about $295.00.

kenetrek-fan1Do you think that I am a fan of Kenetrek?  They have done a great job with their boots and their other line of products.  These quality boots are manufactured in Italy and distributed out of  Bozeman, Montana.


Kenetrek Mountain Safari

Review to come……kenetrek-logo-mt

The new Mountain Safari is the perfect boot for use in the desert mountains wheather located in Arizona’s Kofa Mountain Range or the Zambezi Escarpent in Africa.  Specially designed for the support and comfort in warm tempatures, the non-insulated Mountain Safari is lined with perforated calf skin to enhance breathability and wicking of persperation.  Also an ideal boot for the warm, early seasons of the west.   For a boot with this kind of support, the Mountain Safari is incredibly light weight at only 3.7 pounds per pair.  They are made in Italy.  Suggested retail is $305.00

Update 7-24-09

The new Safari by Kenetrek should arrive today or tomorrow (7-24-09) in the mail.  I’m very excited to try these new boots out.   Review should be completed in the next couple of weeks.  Thanks for your patients.

Steve, Founder of  Mule Deer Country


April 21, 2009 by  
Filed under Gear & Reviews


Deer of the Southwest

by Jim Heffelfingerdeer-of-the-southwest3

Finally finished Jim’s Book!  I have always thought Jim’s articles were very interesting.  Now, you and I can have some of that wealth of knowledge that Mr. Heffelfinger has stored away in his brain to hold in our own hands.

This book is a biological, ecological and popular guide to the deer of the Southwest.  It covers Arizona, New Mexico, southern California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, and northern Mexico.  

The Book begins with Taxonomy,  the classification of the deer of the Southwest, including the desert mule deer and the white tail (coues). It then goes into what I thought was the most interesting chapter in the book which covered the historical perspective, especially the section on the History of Deer Management in the Southwest.  Jim traces history all the way back to why and when the first Fish and Game Laws were established. He outlines a historical timeline of the significant changes in southwest deer management.

Jim goes on to discuss the physical characteristics, including a full chapter on antlers. Here  is an excerpt from that chapter:

Humans have been intrigued by antlers since the beginning of time.  Although valuable to the early man as tools, they undoubtedly elected the same admiration and curiosity they do today. What factors effect antler growth? How did antler evolve? Do genetic factors or injuries play a more  important role in the occurrence of non-typical antlers?  The questions are infinite, but not all can be definitively answered.

He then  goes on to discuss diet, densities,  home ranges, reprodution, mortality and deer managment.

Some of the questions answered in this book are:

  • Can deer see color?
  • What do they eat?
  • Can they hear deer repelling car whistles?
  • How large is the average home range?
  • What causes deformed antlers?
  • Are “antlered does” really does?
  • Do preditors affect deer populations?
  • Do mule deer and white-tailed deer interbreed?

These and many other question you have about deer are answered in this must have book.  This is a book every hunter and deer enthusiast should own.  It is easy to read and Jim doesn’t bore you with all the latin terminology that just confuses the average guy.  This is a go to book if you have any questions about The Deer of the Southwest(or mule deer or white-tail in general).  Deer of the Southwest is now is in my library right next to books like, Mule Deer and Black-tailed Deer of North America, by Olof C. Wallmo and Mule Deer Country by Valerius Geist.

Thanks Jim for all the useful information and adding this great book to my library.


You can Purchase Jim’s book on his site at

Steve Alderman

Founder of Mule Deer Country 


March 14, 2009 by  
Filed under Gear & Reviews


Broadhead company



I remember buying two or three different types of three bladed broadheads when I first started archery hunting and trying to find one that I could be confident shooting. It was frustrating because I just never knew if that broadhead was going to fly true or not. I shot two bladed broadheads for years because I couldn’t find a three blade head that wouldn’t plain out and that I could  shoot with confidence. The family owned and operated company WAC’EM ARCHERY BROADHEADS have really done their homework designing a top notch product. WAC’EM was designed by a person who was tired of not being confident with the broadheads he was shooting. Just think how many hours you hunt and it all comes down to that particular second when you release that arrow.  It’s nice knowing that you can count on your broadhead.  The Triton is the broadhead that I have been hunting with for Deer, Elk, Antelope and Bear for the last few years. I can’t say enough positive things about the quality of this broadhead.  I can shoot the WAC’ EM broadhead better than I can shoot my field tips and that’s no guff. The penetration is incredible and the blades are extremely durable. I have shot these broadheads for the last couple of years multiple times into my Morrell Yellow Jacket Broadhead target and I haven’t had any problems with the blades breaking off.  If any of you have used the Morrell broadhead target you know how hard these targets are. The blades are easily replaceable.  I keep practice blades around and when its time to go hunting,  I replace the blades with Tritons that are new or sharpened. The broadhead’s tip have never failed me when shooting game and the blades have never broken off or folded when penetrating into or through game. Most importantly, my confidence has never been better.  I know if I can make the shot, the WAC’ EM broadhead will be exactly where I place my pin when I release that arrow. I haven’t tried the Triton XL yet but can’t wait for the opportunity.  It is the same design as the Triton with just a little bigger and thicker blade for a better cutting diameter.  Check out the WAC’EM web site at WWW.WACEMARCHERY.COM and find a dealer near you.  You have to give these a try.  You’ll be happy you did.  The WAC’EM web site is put together well and easy to use. Keep up the excellent job at WAC’EM and good luck hunting.  You have made my favorite sport even better.… 

Thanks, Jake Shea

1473 South 350 West
Payson, Utah 84651

The Wac’em Triton

Available in 85, 100, & 125 grainget-attachment-1aspx
1 1/32″ Cut Diameter
.027″ Replaceable Blades
100% Hardened Stainless Steel
Cut on Impact Head
Sharpens on Any Flat Stone
Unmatched Penetration


The Wac’em Triton XL

Available in 100 & 125 grainget-attachmentaspx
1 1/4″ Cut Diameter
.030″ Replaceable Blades
100% Hardened Stainless Steel
3 Blade Cut on Impact Head
Sharpens on Any Flat Stone
Unmatched Penetration


The Wac’em Exit

Available in 85, 100 & 125 grainget-attachmentaspx1
1 1/16″ Cut Diameter
.027″ Replaceable Blades
100% Hardened Stainless Steel
4 Blade Cut on Impact Head
Sharpens on Any Flat Stone
Unmatched Penetration
True Field Tip Accuracy




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