Benjamin David

Benjamin is an avid outdoorsman with a wide range of experience hunting, fishing, climbing, and backacking. He brings his knowledge and experience, to Sportsman's Magazine, and is a major content contributor. Leave Ben a comment or question.

Wolf and Grizzly Grill and Fire Safe

| April 19, 2022
Wolf And Grizzly Break In
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.
Color | Stainless
Material | Stainless Steel
Brand | WOLF and GRIZZLY
Length | 11.26
Width | 10.94
Height | 4.13
Weight | 1.1 Kilograms
Fuel Type | Wood
Country of Origin | China
Warranty | 3 Year
Price | $89.85

The Wolf and Grizzly Fire Safe

We had been toying with the idea of doing a series of firepit and backcountry stove reviews for a while. So many people seem to be venturing into hot tenting, or just looking for portable fireboxes and cook systems to set up while backpacking and overlanding. So it was a timely coincidence when Wolf and Grizzly reached out to our team to ask if we were interested in reviewing the Wolf and Grizzly Fire Safe and Grill. We said we’d love to.

Fire Safe First Impressions

Wolf Grizzly Carrying Case

The Wolf and Grizzly Fire Safe fits into a compact carrying case, that is a little wider and longer than a pencil case.

The W&G Fire Safe came in a surprisingly compact package. It’s a two piece design, with a frame and base. The frame hinges at the corners, and also in the middle of two sides, so it can go from flat to deployed in seconds. The base is essentially a six-panel accordion, that is designed to unfold, and be supported by slots in the frame.

Wolf And Grizzly Simple To Set Up

The Wolf And Grizzly Fire Safe is simple to set up and incredibly stable, due in large part to the really clever engineering.

Everything is very practically designed, taking advantage of basic geometry to create a very stable firebox. The stainless steel used to manufacture the Fire Safe is of good quality, and thin enough so that the Fire Safe remains lightweight. The parts are stamped with some contours, which is common practice in products engineered from flat stock, especially vehicles, to improve rigidity. It also happens to give the Fire Safe a nice aesthetic.

The frame elevates the base high enough that it does not touch the ground. This is a great feature that protects the surface it is on, and promotes a “leave no trace” approach to using it. We love the “leave no trace” approach to everything we do outdoors, from backpacking, climbing, car camping, to hunting, and fishing. It gets really old finding firepits anywhere somebody can access the great outdoors, and even more frustrating when you find multiple used and dirty fire pits only a few paces away from each other.

Anyway, back to the Fire Safe, it is a very practical and clever design made from quality 304 stainless steel.

Fire Safe In The Field

We assembled the Fire Safe to get our first impressions and already discussed setup, so we’ll just briefly reiterate that the Fire Safe is incredibly simple to set up.

A lot of people may cringe at the idea of brightly polished stainless steel changing color with use, but that patina doesn’t bother us one bit. The first time we used the grill we decided to break it in for a while and make sure any lubricants from a metal press or packaging residue baked off, even though none were observed. We were actually quite unforgiving, and started a fire with Fatwood, then proceeded to pile on charcoal. A small breeze kept the fire stoked and the heat pretty intense.

We honestly expected the stainless steel to warp or deform under the intense heat, but to our surprise, it didn’t. We were all very impressed that the Fire Safe held up to the abuse so well.

The Wolf and Grizzly Fire Safe can function as a small fire pit, so we continued to use the Fire Safe after we were finished cooking on the companion grill to provide a little bit of heat as temperatures dropped. It worked better than expected down to subfreezing temperatures before we retreated to tents. We certainly got the max use out of the Fire Safe for its intended roles. You could potentially use the Fire Safe for tent camping heat if you had a vestibule big enough for it, proper ventilation, and were experienced at hot tenting, but it’s not a recommendation. In fact, we’d advise against it, as it has no spark arresting protection, and could be dangerous for the inexperienced. However, it does an exceptional job containing fires big enough to cook on without scarring the landscape or footprint underneath it, and it’s small and light enough to pack almost anywhere.

Buy The Fire Safe on Amazon | See it at Wolf and Grizzly
Ease of Use
4.5/5

Portability
4.5/5

Quality
4.9/5

Price
4.2/5

Wolf And Grizzly Break In

We pushed the Wolf And Grizzly about as far as you can go temperature-wise, for out testing, and it outperformed our expectations.

The Wolf and Grizzly Backpack Grill

Grill First Impressions

Much like the W&G Fire Safe, the Grill came in a compact package. However, the grill comes rolled and does not sit flush like the Fire Safe. The W&G Grill when unrolled and set up is a pretty ingenious little grilling grate and stand.

Wolf Grizzly Great Design

The Wolf and Grizzly grill stand accordions down to a compact size.

The stand accordions open and closed, and fits perfectly around the Fire Safe. The grill grate itself is constructed a little bit like a rope ladder, with small but strong wire rods creating the grill surface, held together at the ends with a stainless steel cable. A supporting structure twists open to support the span of solid wire rods.

Most ingenious is the way the grill grate attaches to the adjustable stand. 3 swage sleeves fit into the corners of the grill stand in a similar way to a brake cable on a bike or motorcycle. The 3 swage sleeves on each of the four cable ends are placed at increments that regulate the depth and width of the grill stand.

As the stand gets wider the grill height is lower over a fire, or companion Fire Safe. The opposite is also true. You can use the first set of swage sleeves, for a higher grilling height, and slightly narrower width and length on the stand.

Wolf Grizzly Grill Top Rolled Grill

The Wolf and Grizzly Grill top rolls up, making it very compact and portable.

Backpack Grill In The Field

In the field, the Backpack Grill is easy and intuitive to set up. Again as we’ve already stated, the design is quite clever, resulting in a very stable grilling platform. The stated weight capacity of the grill is 30lbs, and with no issues with stability, this is a very reasonable maximum loading. You obviously won’t be cooking an entire dear ham straight on this grill, and it wouldn’t fit if you tried.

The grill can easily handle small cast iron skillets and large roasts when car camping. However, as a backpacking grill, it’s unlikely you’ll be bringing a cast iron with you, and if you do, you’ll likely never do it again; but the grill does support a surprising amount of weight, without wobbling.

Buy The Grill on Amazon | See it at Wolf and Grizzly
Ease of Use
4.2/5

Portability
4.8/5

Quality
4.5/5

Price
4.4/5

Wolf and Grizzly Grill in Use

The Wolf and Grizzly Grill is easy to set up, and supports a surprisingly large amount of food. It produces enough heat and surface area to cook more than enough food for two, without adding additional charcoal.

Conclusion

There are a handful of options when it comes to portable, lightweight fire pit and grill systems. Some are cheaper and lighter, but most often, they do not have as much cooking area and are only capable of burning wood. In our experience with other similar-role lightweight stove and cooking systems, they usually leave a lot to be desired.

We think the Wolf and Grizzly Fire Safe and Backpacking Grill are both very reasonably priced for what you get, which is an effective, high-quality, portable fire pit and grill system that is light enough to be carried into the backcountry. Smaller systems like Solo Stoves offer less for a similar price, so by comparison, the Fire Safe and Grill system are a much better value, and even more versatile.

Alternatively, if you only want or need the Fire Safe for a better leave-no-trace camping experience, or you only want the grill for a very practical and portable grill system, they both individually provide a lot of value for the price.

When we first saw the Wolf and Grizzly Fire Safe and Grill, we were super interested in trying it and also a little skeptical it could handle the abuse of an intense fire. However, it has surpassed all of our expectations, and we can highly recommend it for car camping, overlanding, backpacking, raft trips, beach trips, and even cooking up lunch in the driveway. It’s also a great alternative to a mini Weber, but in our opinion is even better because it cleans up nicely, and takes up no space when done.

Buy The Fire Safe and Grill Now | Learn more at Wolf and Grizzly
Wolf Grizzly Aftermath Clean Up

The Wolf and Grizzly stayed pretty clean after cooking on it, and never deformed, even when burning charcoal.

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Pan-Fried Bluegill

| February 24, 2022
Pan Fried Bluegill
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

Bluegill are referred to as panfish for a reason, they fit in a pan and taste great fried. We recently harvested some bluegill from our living room aquaponic system and decided to cook them up minutes after they came out of the tanks.

We kept the preparation incredibly simple, which is the best way to treat any fresh and clean fish. We choose to cook our fish whole because when properly cooked, fish should pull away from the bone easily.

We also do not dredge our fish in anything, and still end up with a firm, clean-tasting fish, with crispy skin and natural flavors enhanced by seasonings, not masked by them.

Preparation Time

20 minutes

Cooking Time

10 minutes

Total Time

30 minutes

Servings

1-2

Ingredients

4 – 8 Bluegill
Salt
Lemon Pepper
Garlic Powder
Olive Oil
2-4 Lemon Wedges
1 Bunch Parsley (optional)
Cleaned Bluegill Before Cooking

Freshly harvested bluegill, are descaled, cleaned, and and ready to fry.

Directions

  1. Slice 2 – 4 Lemon wedges.
  2. Mince Parsley, if you intend to use it as a garnish later.
  3. Descale Bluegill.
  4. Remove heads just behind the gill plate.
  5. Rinse Bluegill.
  6. Pat Dry.
  7. Heat olive oil to about 350F.
  8. Season fish, inside and out, with Salt, Lemon Pepper, and Garlic Powder.
  9. Carefully place fish in hot oil.
  10. While the fish are cooking, squeeze some lemon juice over them.
  11. Cook until the skin becomes crispy and well browned, and the flesh turns white and firm, then remove from oil.
  12. Let rest on a plate for a few minutes, and pat any excess oil dry.
  13. Garnish with parsley.
  14. Serve with a lemon wedge.
  15. Enjoy!
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Spring Turkey Hunting 101

| February 18, 2022
Spring Gobblers in a Field
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

Are you ready for the spring turkey season? It’s really not that far away, so if you want to successfully harvest a gobbler this spring, then you need a game plan and a few pieces of gear.

Develop A Game Plan

Scouting is the biggest part of any hunting success, whether it’s a predator, moose, dove, or turkey. All spring turkeys are very limited in their focus and priorities. They aren’t exactly concerned with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, they are simply trying to avoid predators, eat, and breed.

They roost at night and descend to the forest floor in the morning, going through routines of feeding, and moving around looking for partners. With their focus so limited, they will respond to predatorial sounds, challenges from other gobblers, and hen calls. Although, from experience, they will quite literally respond to almost anything at least once. So locating them is not too difficult.

Fifteen days before the season starts is a great time to scout an area you intend to hunt. You should look for food, shelter, and water, and try to locate birds as they roost, so you know what nearby fields they will be on early in the morning. Fifteen days is close enough to the start of the season that whatever birds are doing, will likely be the same thing they will be doing at the start of the season.

The Gear

At a bare minimum, you will need good camouflage, a turkey call, and a shotgun. Some states allow rifles and even airguns as a legal method of take, so check your state’s rules and regulations because they may open up some additional hunting opportunities for you.

Turkeys have excellent vision and a keen ability to detect shapes and movement, so it’s critical to wear camo. Good camo will break up your pattern and allow you to remain undetected. At a minimum, your camo should include a quality shirt, like the First Lite Phantom Top, and a face mask or balaclava, like the First Lite Phantom Balaclava. Adding camo pants, versus solid tan or olive drab colors will also improve your concealment, but isn’t completely necessary. Although, others might argue differently.

First Lite Phantom Balaclava | First Lite Phantom Top

You will also need a turkey call. There are a ton of options, and you can use whatever you want. A box call is a good choice, so is a slate, or a reed call, but we prefer a reed call because it lets you operate hands-free, and requires no movement. Movement is a sure way to get busted by a turkey, so a reed call is an ideal choice.

Lynch Box Call | Primos Slate Call | Woodhaven Reed Call

A shotgun is the standard weapon of choice for turkey hunts. You will want a 12 gauge or 20 gauge, and quality ammunition. Of course, if you already have archery equipment, or your laws allow you to use a rifle or air rifle, then you should consider those options as well.

Another piece of equipment to consider is a tighter, extended choke for your shotgun. We use and recommend Carlson's chokes, and do all of our longer-range shotgunning, whether it’s waterfowl, dove, or turkey with them. They pattern well with a wide range of ammo, and outside of a heavier and hotter load, and knowing how your shotgun patterns can have a significant impact on your shooting.

We don’t typically use them, but a sitting pad or turkey seat can be a nicety. Some turkey vests, like the Knight and Hale Run and Gun include an attached butt pad, but sitting pads like the ALPS Outdoorz hunting seat, can be picked up on their own. Either will make sitting dead still a more comfortable endeavor.

You don’t need to hunt over a decoy. However, many people do, as it can visually guide birds into a desirable kill zone, or simply draw in a bird that is more visually driven. The Primos Gobstopper Jake & Hen decoy combo is a good choice for static decoys, and the MOJO Scoot-N-Shoot Max is another great option for a more aggressive style of hunt.

Pattern Your Shotgun

If we’ve made it sound like turkeys are rather un-complex creatures, it is because it’s true. Turkeys evolved to breed, eat, and avoid predators, but not do a whole lot else. As such they have a small brain, which means you are shooting a small target.

No two shotguns will pattern the same, and the same is true with different types of ammunition, so it’s essential that you pattern your shotgun. You should, at a bare minimum, shoot your shotgun with the load you intend to hunt with. Shoot it at a couple of distances and know if you have any holes in your pattern, or any left or right bias of a concentration of shot.

If your shotgun patterns heavily to the left of your point of aim, you may end up aiming to the right of a turkey’s head to ensure the concentration of shot lands on a turkey’s brain or brain stem.

If you add a new choke to the mix, you must pattern the gun with the new choke!

Turkey Down

A gobbler successfully taken with a 20 gauge CZ over and under.

Final Thoughts

A successful turkey hunt is going to be more fun than an unsuccessful one, and it’s really not too difficult to prepare for the turkey season. When you are successful, or if you simply want to increase your level of safety when you are not actively hunting, bring and wear some blaze. At a minimum, if you are carrying a turkey out of the field on your pack, tie a blaze handkerchief to your pack, or wear a blaze hat. The blaze should help, even the most trigger happy beginner, to identify a dead turkey on a human and you’ll avoid getting shot.

Be safe, have fun, and good luck!

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Ben and Buck’s Wild Pursuits

| February 2, 2022
Sportsmans Magazine Waterfowl 2122
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

We published a short film, recapping some of the shots that we were able to capture on film, during the 21/22 California waterfowl season. Check it out.

Watch it on Youtube

We originally intended to publish as a mini-series, titled Ben and Buck’s Wild Pursuits, but life and weather had other plans.

We had a frustrating start to the season. Warm dry weather turned into cold dry weather, keeping the duck numbers downs. We finally got a massive snowstorm rather late in the season, and it absolutely dumped on us. While the weather was good for moving birds around, the snow on the ground seriously impacted access and made it difficult to get to our hunting normal hunting spots.

Freeze ups and snow made decoying and concealment difficult, but we did our best, and harvested birds.

Buck also relocated out of California before the weather became favorable for waterfowl hunting, so most of the season was filmed solo on DJI Osmo Action Cameras and a Tactacam 5.0 Hunting Action Camera.

We also hunt with Beretta A300s and a Benelli Montefeltro, and use Carlson's Ported LR Chokes

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Choosing The Best AR15 Handguards

| January 31, 2022
A Mix of AR15 Handguards
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

There are a lot of choices when it comes to handguards for your AR15 or AR10. Whether it is a first build and educational, or purpose-built for home defense, run-and-gun, or predator hunting, there is a good option for you. Your choices for an AR15 handguard distill down to use case, whether or not you want a drop-in vs free-float, a KeyMod vs M-LOK attachment system, weight, and some stylistic and ergonomic preferences.

We are biased in our opinions, as we use our modern sporting arms for sport. We primarily hunt with them, take them to the range, and they have a place in our homes for self-defense. So we aren’t as worried about weapon lights, canted or co-witnessed backup iron sights, and all the tactical weapon lasers, beams, light switches, and optic accessories as others might be.

We instead focus on an ergonomic and lightweight handguard, that allows for the attachment of a bipod, hand-stop, the bare minimum of iron sights or optics, and preferably something we can C-grip. A few other things we prefer that a handguard should have, that we’ll touch on later, are a good mounting system, and an anti-rotation system.

Lastly, we don’t think a handguard should leave you too broke to afford ammo, so we try to focus on value as we evaluate some good options. If your ultra-premium and ultra-expensive handguard doesn’t get a mention here, it’s because we just didn’t see it as a good value, it didn’t meet our needs, or it’s not on our radar. Let’s get started.

Barrel Free Floating in Handguard

A free floating barrel inside of an Atlas S-One handguard, with M-lok slots.

Free-Float vs Drop-In
Drop-in handguards fit under pressure between the A2 front sight and the delta ring assembly on a traditional AR-style rifle, whereas a free-float handguard mounts securely to the barrel nut, and applies no pressure to the barrel or gas block.

Traditional style drop-ins have little to no attachment points. Even the options that do, pale in comparison to what’s available on a free-float handguard. Some manufacturers, like Troy and Magpul are certainly challenging the idea, by providing quad rails or M-LOK systems to drop-ins, like the Magpul MOE M-LOK Polymer Handguard. However, they are limited by the length of the gas system. A free-float handguard also makes for an inherently more accurate rifle, as the barrel will not deflect while the handguard is under pressure, something that even premium drop-ins can’t eliminate.

In our opinion, drop-in handguards are antiquated, good for retro-style rifle builds, or those who are unwilling to change out an A2 style sight. A Free-float handguard is the better option, especially for the modern sportsman because they are more accurate, provide better protection in the field, and they also allow for a longer sight radius. As such, we’ll only focus on free-float options for the rest of the article.

KeyMod vs M-LOK
If you learn anything about the AR15 or AR10 rifle platform, it’ll probably be that the community is full of fanboyism and brand whores. The fanboys don’t stop at brand either. The loyalties, whether deserved or undeserved, extend to the accessory attachment systems of handguards.

While the M-Lok system proved to be superior to the KeyMod system, in USSOCOM tests, KeyMod still has an intense cult-like following. We personally don’t care what you prefer, if it works for you. Fortunately, many handguard manufacturers produce the same handguards in both M-Lok and KeyMod versions, so the attachment system isn’t necessarily a limiting consideration. However, if you aren’t using an M-Lok system, it may just be time.

Rail Design
The major differences in handguards are in rail design. The majority of handguards are produced from an octagonal aluminum extrusion, designed to clear the gas block and provide protection to your barrel from deflection caused by a firm grip, rest, or bipod. With a couple of unique exceptions to the rule, every handguard will utilize a mounting rail that runs the full length of the guard, is split so no rail runs the center portion, has rails on all four sides(quad), or is a hybrid incorporating a number of different combinations of rails, lengths, and locations.

Full Rail
Most standard free float handguards incorporate a full-length Picatinny top rail, and then the options diverge into two directions from there.

Aero Precision Atlas S One

The Aero Precision Atlas S-One uses a great locking system, and anti-rotation system.

Split Rail
One direction is the Split Rail, which lightens up the handguard by removing the majority of the Picatinny rail, only leaving a section of rail at the ends where sights and optics are most commonly mounted. The split rail design makes for an ergonomic, lightweight, and slim handguard. It also happens to be a favorite type of handguard at Sportsman’s Magazine, and we use them on many of our uppers. Some of our favorite split rail options that we can confidently recommend are the Aero Precision Atlas S-One and the STNGR USA VLCN.

Quad Rail
The opposite direction from the more minimalist split rail, is the Quad Rail, which adds 3 full-length rails, at the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions. The quad rail gives the operator a lot of attachment points, without the need for M-Lok rail sections. Unfortunately, it also decreases the slim profile and ergonomics in hand, while increasing weight.

Ergonomic rail covers, or tactical gloves, can make gripping a quad rail less of a hand shredder, but also add a tiny bit more weight. Covering rail sections to dedicate to hand position, begs the question of why it needed a rail in those locations in the first place. Your mileage may vary, and perhaps you need those rails, so while we don’t care for a quad rail, it may be good for you. Just consider your application, the weight you’ll gain, and the ergonomics you’ll lose. Also, consider that you can always add rails to an M-Lok system, but you can’t remove rails from a quad rail.

Hybrid Rails
Hybrid designs typically include a small section of rail on the bottom of the handguard, that functions to add a bipod or other Picatinny accessory. Sometimes, manufacturers will add short side rail sections toward the front-end, in the 3 and 9 o’clock positions, for the convenient attachment of lights, lasers, or other accessories. The permutations are simply too vast to talk about, and many of the great options available, are essentially a hybrid of some sort.

Aero Precision Locking Lugs

Aero Precision uses what is probably the best handguard mounting system in the industry to date.

Other Considerations
There are a couple of other considerations to make when deciding on a handguard: the mounting or locking system, anti-rotation tabs, and quick detach locations. The typical mounting system essentially clamps the guard onto the barrel nut, causing an ever-so-slight deformation to the handguard. Better systems use a lug to secure the handguard and prevent any movement or loosening whatsoever.

A good handguard, shouldn’t ever rotate once secured, but the best guarantee is to choose a handguard with anti-rotation mounts. Lastly, while this isn’t a deal-breaker, integrated QD mounts are a great feature to have. You can certainly add QD mounts or other sling mounts to an M-Lok system or rail, but integrated QD mounts add a lot of convenience.

There are two reasonably affordable options that tick all or most of the boxes, that we can confidently recommend. They also happen to rank at the top of PEW PEW Tactical’s favorites, albeit flipped for first and second place.

First, is the Aero Precision Atlas S-One. It provides anti-rotation, the best locking mechanism in the industry, multiple Quick Detach points, plenty of M-Lok locations, it allows you to get an ergonomic C-grip, and it’s lightweight. The Atlas S-One is not as cheap as a generic handguard, but it’s worth every penny, especially when Aero Precision runs a sale. For those that prefer a full top rail, Aero also sells the Atlas R-One.

The runner-up option for us is the STNGR USA VLCN. It checks all the boxes, for us, minus the superior locking mechanism used by Aero Precision.

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Hot Shot Eruption Stormproof Hybrid Glove

| January 19, 2022
Hot Shot Stormproof Gloves
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.
Sizes | M/L/XL
Color | Camo RealTree Edge
Brand | Hot Shot
Materials Shell | 96% Polyester / 4% Spandex
Materials Liner | 100% Polyester w/ TPU Laminant
Features | PU reinforced grip
Waterproof | No
Breathable | Yes
Insulated | No
Country of Origin | China
Price | $24.99
Performance
4.0/5

Fit
4.4/5

Value
4.6/5

Overall
4.33/5

We spent the last half of the 2020/21 waterfowl season, all of the 2021 deer, and bear seasons, and some of the 2021/22 waterfowl season using the Eruption Stormproof Hybrid Glove by Hot Shot. While they have served us well for a couple of seasons, more cold weather hunting left us wondering if we could do better.

First Impressions

It’s been a while since the first day we tried on the Eruption Stormproof Hybrid gloves, but it happened some time back in early 2019. The purchase came from a Cabelas, so we were able to test the fit, and not just order blindly. At the price point, they felt reasonably durable, comfortable, dextrous, and seemed to have a decent amount of protection from the elements, so we purchased a pair for the big game hunting season. We never had any intention of using them through the frigid waterfowl season in the Eastern Sierra.

The Eruption Stormproof Hybrid gloves are made from laminated TPU and breathable fleece materials, composed mostly of polyester and a little bit of spandex. Unlike other Hot Shot offerings, they are only water and wind-resistant, not water and windproof. The palm also has a PU treatment, which improves the grip and some abrasion resistance. They are well made and seem like a good value at about 25 dollars.

Stormproof Eruption Glove Fabric

The fabrics used in the construction of the Stormproof Eruption Hybrid gloves are comfortable, breathable, water-resistant and wind-resistant.

Field Test

The Eruption Stormproof Hybrid gloves fit well and are true to the size, but the cuffs are a little short with a little more of a flare than we’d prefer. Nonetheless, they overlap sleeves well enough to remain comfortable and provide protection from a cold breeze. They also conform to fingers and movement quite well, but aren’t overly tight either, allowing you to comfortably use a thin glove liner with them. The Realtree EDGE camouflage pattern works well in many wooded environments and has provided us with adequate concealment on successful big game hunts.

The gloves are not insulated, but they are water-resistant and wind-resistant, so while they will protect you from the elements which help to keep hands warm, they really don’t lock in heat or keep cold temps from sapping heat from your hands.

With the combination of a glove liner, they are adequate down to near-freezing temperatures but are inadequate when temperatures plummet below that. The lack of insulation does mean the gloves have little to no bulk. The thinner profile of the gloves makes it is easy to operate firearms, electronics, lighters, and even smartphone screens. You also don’t lose much sensitivity on your trigger finger, although your trigger finger may be colder than you’d like.

We used the Eruption Stormproof Hybrid gloves in weather they were never designed for, and they still performed fairly well, all things considered. However, they are not a great choice for cold weather waterfowl hunts if there is any chance you will get wet or the temperatures drop beneath bout 35F.

Stormproof Eruption Gloves Wear

The Stormproof Eruption Hybrid gloves by Hot Shot have seen some wear and tear, with a lot of the silicone texture material worn away, but no holes.

Conclusion

We used the Eruption Stormproof Hybrid Glove for more than one season for a reason. They work well for their intended use and temperature ranges. It was only the increased amount of extremely cold and wet weather that drove us to look for a warmer, waterproof, and windproof glove.

If you are looking for an affordable hunting glove, with a reasonable amount of protection for normal temperatures experienced during the big game season, want to maintain some dexterity, and are able to either sacrifice some warmth or use a glove liner, then the Eruption Stormproof Hybrid gloves are a good choice and a decent value.

If you are looking for a similarly affordable glove, that is both waterproof and windproof, then check out the Hot Shot Game Stalker Savage Gloves, full review here: Game Stalker Savage.

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FOXPRO Patriot Predator Call

| January 18, 2022
FOXPRO Patriot Predator Call
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.
Materials | Plastic
Size | 7.5" x 3.75" x 5"
Weight | 3.00 lbs
Batteries | Call 4x AA Batteries, 1x 9 Volt
Programmable | Yes
External Speaker Jack | 1x 3.5mm
Auxiliary Device Jack | 1x 3.5mm
Sound Capacity | 300 (35 preloaded, 100+ Free Downloadable)
Internal Memory | 4GB
File Compatability | 16B, FXP, MP3, WAV
Country of Origin | USA
Manufacturer | FOXPRO
Warranty | 3 Years
MSRP | $164.95
Purchase Price | $139.99

We purchased the FOXPRO Patriot because we were interested in trying an affordable and feature-rich electronic predator call with the ability to load additional sound files. The majority of electronic predator calls at the price point of the Patriot are not programmable and are also foreign-made.

Short of engineering your own call, assuming you have the programming and engineering background to do it, out of a BlueTooth capable microcontroller, there isn’t a more feature-rich e-caller on the market for the same price. Post a comment, if we’ve missed an option, but aside from some more obscure, or hardly reputable options, we think this is it.

First Impressions

Our first impression of the FOXPRO Patriot starts with the packaging. The box that the Patriot comes in has product diagrams that highlight the plethora of functions and features. The packaging proudly states that the Patriot is American-made, comes with 35 preloaded sounds, and can hold and access 300 sounds. Additionally, FOXPRO provides online access to 100+ free downloadable sounds.

The actual call is compact at 7.5″ x 3.75″ x 5″, and pretty light at 3 pounds. It is also well designed with a built-in carrying handle, is molded from durable plastic, and should hold up to some abuse from bouncing around in a backpack.

The TX433 remote is also built of the same durable plastic and looks like the hybrid of a tool from Star Trek: The Next Generation and a late eighties or early nineties cell phone. Upon turning on, an electronic notice asks you to extend an almost comical antenna which adds to the goofy retro sci-fi feel of the remote.

The remote control has all the button features you would expect, such as power on/off, volume on/off, mute, scroll up/down, play/select, and 2 programmable favorite buttons. The remote also allows you to program a lot of features and preferences, like volume increments, default volume of a call, backlighting brightness, timers, and auto-off.

FOXPRO Patriot Horn

The FOXPRO Patriot’s horn speaker produces high fidelity sound and surprising volume for the size.

In The Field

The buttons on the remote are glow in the dark and are easy to see in the dark, early in the morning or late at night. The backlight and LCD contrast are plenty bright, even on a fairly low setting.

We turned on the Patriot and set it 100 yards in front of our camouflaged location. We then turned on the TX433 remote and started to test its range. While we didn’t figure out its true max range, we were able to operate the call without issues from 100 yards away. The ‘433’ designation suggests it is a 433mhz radio, which is well known for range, and implementations include long-range radio and long-range drone communications. So unobstructed, you could expect the remote to work at much farther distances.

With the volume maxed out, the Patriot isn’t the loudest e-caller on the market. It peaks at about 110 decibels, which is a little shy of less featured calls from ICOtec at the same price point but is still impressive considering its compact size.

The Patriot is not capable of playing two sounds simultaneously, like more expensive models, but every sound the call does play is high quality, and the horn speaker plays them with good fidelity. The e-caller also includes a 5.5mm audio jack, so while volume isn’t everything, it is possible to use louder speakers, or just get coverage in multiple directions.

FOXPRO Patriot Remote

The FOXPRO Patriot remote is feature rich and easy to use in the field.

We found the 35 preloaded sounds were more than sufficient for our predator hunts. We specifically targeted coyotes, and primarily played jackrabbit distress calls, including the well-known and very effective ‘lightning jack’. As such, we didn’t have a need to utilize the USB port to reprogram sounds, but may in the future for use on coon hunts.

We also found the Patriot was easy to use and operate while wearing thick gloves and is easy to essentially set it and forget it. The timer on the remote records how long you’ve been calling, which is a great reminder to be patient or possibly change up the sound being used.

The only issue we ran into with the Patriot, besides wishing it was a tiny bit louder, was the performance of the remote in single-digit temperatures. We left the remote outside in 6F weather, which caused the remote LCD screen to glitch and button performance to lag. The issue is easily avoided by leaving the remote in a coat pocket, or easily accessible brain or pouch on your hunting pack during a hunt.

Conclusion

The FOXPRO Patriot is probably the best value in electronic predator calls at the price point. It is feature-rich and works well unless you let the remote temperature drop down to some pretty miserable cold temps. While it could be a tiny bit louder, it’s still very effective. At the price point, no one else has a programmable predator call that is even close to being as feature-rich. It is also American made which we prefer whenever possible.

All in all, our experiences with the FOXPRO Patriot were great, and believe it’s a great value for nearly any predator hunter, save for the most dedicated predator hunters, who would be looking for a few more features or greater volume.

We highly recommend the FOXPRO Patriot as a great first foray in electronic predator calls. It would be an excellent value for someone venturing into predator hunting, or simply looking to free up hands by ditching the mouth calls.

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Predator Hunting 101

| January 14, 2022
Coyote on an Icy Lake
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

Whether you are trying to acquire some furs for personal use or the trade, want something to do in the offseason, or feel the need to control the predator population, these predator hunting basics will help you be successful.

Scouting

The best way to fail at predator hunting is to hunt where there are no predators. Scouting for a trail and recent sign is the bare minimum. Ideally, you find an area you frequently hear or see predators. If you gamble on a new location, and there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with trying something new, just remember it’s a gamble if you haven’t scouted, and don’t be too disappointed if you come away empty-handed.

Approach Cautiously

The reason you hunt a specific spot is to find the predators that you either suspect from evidence or absolutely know, are there. So don’t blow your opportunities by ripping down roads in the truck, slamming doors, talking loudly, and walking to your spot carelessly. Approach quietly, drive cautiously, park a distance away, don’t slam car doors, whisper if you need to talk at all, and approach your spot slowly and stealthily like you are trying to creep on an animal during a spot and stalk.

Know the Terrain

Developing a strategy based on the terrain and known predator patterns will improve your success. While you are out scouting for predators, you should be mindful of the terrain, and make mental notes about elevations, vegetation, and game trails. This will enable you to choose the best approach to a location, and a location that provides clear shooting, the ability to be concealed, and offers favorable sun and wind conditions.

A coyote, coon, or bobcat, will eventually surprise you on your approach, or from an unanticipated direction, while you are hunting, but it’s less likely to happen the better you know the terrain.

Get a Good Vantage

Choose a position with a good vantage and clean shooting lanes. Setting up too deep into a tree line can create obstructions that could allow a predator to sneak in and out before you are able to take a shot. High spots on a hillside or the top of a knoll are ideal.

Stay Hidden

Staying hidden can be achieved with quality camouflage, a blind, natural vegetation, or a combination of three. Our favorite and the most convenient way to stay out of sight is to wear camouflage jackets, ponchos, gloves, and balaclavas in cold weather, and lightweight long sleeve shirts, gloves, and hats, in warmer weather.

Cold Weather Camouflage

The author wearing cold weather gear and appropriate snow camouflage while predator hunting.

Stay Still

Even the best camouflage doesn’t fool a predator if you are moving around. Besides bad concealment, movement is the best way to get busted by any animal. Mallards flare off of decoy spreads, big game animals bolt, and predators will vacate an area and disappear into the brush faster than you can blink if they see you moving. Movement of any kind is very visible at a distance, so it’s important to be still, not just when you see an animal, but also during the full duration of your hunt.

Consider the Wind

Predators often follow the odor of a kill or the scent of an animal. They are adept at sensing animals, including humans, not just with their eyes and ears, but with their sense of smell as well. So stay downside of the wind from the direction you expect to hunt predators.

Call, then Keep Calling

It’s easy to call a few times, not hear or see anything after a couple of minutes, then get bored, become impatient, and bail. Don’t do that! It’s not uncommon for successful predator hunters to run a predator call for 30 minutes straight, with 15 minutes being the minimum amount of time to call before considering moving on. Getting up and leaving a stand too early is a very common mistake that is easily avoided. Whether you use hand calls or an electronic call, is your preference, but electronic calls give you the advantage of two free hands, as well as the ability to place the call further away from your stand. Our recommendation for getting started cheaply is to get a Flambeau Outdoors Circe medium distress call, which emulates a cottontail or rabbit distress sound. If you want to step up to an electronic call, then the FOXPRO Patriot is the best value on the market, for the features, it is also American made. Another decent and more affordable but less featured option is the ICOtec GEN2 GC300.

Use the Weather

A cold snap can push animals to more actively seek out food. After fresh snow, coyotes stand out more on the landscape, and will more eagerly respond to calls.

Make the Shot

Treat your shot like you would if you were trying to drop a deer or elk for the freezer. Predators are small targets, so relaxed and precise shooting is key. If you usually shoot off of a bench and aren’t good at unrested shots, invest in a bipod, or plan to shoot off of a pack, downed tree, or branch. Treat every shot like you would any other hunt, don’t shoot at animals on a ridge or skyline, always know what is behind your target, and practice all the typical safe firearm handling and shooting precautions you would any other time you pick up a firearm.

Predator Hunt Coyote Success

Coyote harvested on a frozen lake, called in with a ten-dollar hand call.

Conclusion

It isn’t hard to get started predator hunting or improve your predator hunting skills, and it doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor requiring tons of specialized gear either. The coyote in the photos above was called from across the narrow section of a frozen lake with a cheap Flambeau Outdoors Circe mouth call, while the shooter remained concealed in the snow with a snow camo softshell jacket.

The coyote was harvested with a single shot from a modern sporting rifle at just under 100 yards. No special techniques, equipment, baits, scents, or lures were used. Ben(@ben_ya_mean) did it with a mouth call and some predator hunting basics, and you can too.

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Lucky Duck Quiver Magnet

| January 6, 2022
Modified Lucky Duck Quiver Magnet Modified
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.
Color | Grey
Material | Plastic
Type | Motion Decoy
Size | 3.5" Diameter
Batteries | 2 AA (not included)
Battery Life | Unlisted
Manufacturer | Lucky Duck
Country of Origin | China
Warranty | 1 year against MFG defects
Price | 19.99
Realism
1.0/5

Effectiveness
1.0/5

Quality
4.0/5

Durability
4.0/5

Value
3.0/5

Overall
2.6/5

Per the Lucky Duck marketing, the Lucky Duck Quiver Magnet is a simple and easy way to add motion to your decoy spread, by creating ripples, and moving decoys. We wanted to find out if it gets the job done, or falls short of delivering on some real motion, so we grabbed one for a review, and here is how things went.

First Impressions

There isn’t anything too astounding about the Quiver Magnet. It’s literally a 3.5″ waterproof puck, with an oversized vibrator in it, a water-activated switch, and space for two AA batteries. An eyelet on the outside allows you to hook a weight to it, and the housing opens and closes with a twist.

As far as the materials and build quality is concerned, it doesn’t seem to be tough enough to survive a stray shot from the 12 gauge, but it might survive a 3-foot drop from a blind bag onto dirt or snow. While durability and quality matter and contribute to scores when we test and rate gear, what matters most is effectiveness.

In The Field

To test the effectiveness of the Quiver Magnet, we dropped it in the water at one of our regular duck hunting spots on cold 0F morning. The results were underwhelming. All we can say is that it is waterproof, and it wobbles a little. The Quiver Magnet is a useless tool on anything but an absolutely dead calm day. The rippling action it creates is weak and imperceivable in water that isn’t completely still.

The battery life lasted 4 hours of hunting before we picked up our decoy spread, so if you have a dead calm day you’ll get at least 4 hours out of it. Annoyingly, at the end of the day, the water-sensitive on/off switch had iced over, and would not turn off. In cold snowing conditions, we could not dry off the switch and ultimately had to remove the batteries before tossing the Quiver Magnet into our blind bag for the haul out. It’s our opinion that Lucky Duck made a poor design choice using a water-sensitive on/off switch, instead of a waterproof rocker switch.

Lucky Duck Quiver Magnet Internals

The simple internals of the lackluster Lucky Duck Quiver Magnet.

Conclusion

The Lucky Duck Quiver Magnet will not help add motion to a spread unless you are hunting on a dead calm day on very still water. If you hunt those conditions frequently and generally don’t deal with sub-freezing conditions, then at $19.99, the Quiver Magnet is an okay option. However, for about twenty dollars, you could put together a much more effective DIY jerk rig. So if you are crafty, we’d suggest doing that instead.

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