Forester Lumbar 650 Pack

Professionals know when to use the right tool for the job at the right time. No one walks onto a job site with just a hammer. No mechanic opens the hood with just one size wrench. They know that every situation is different. Those situations can also change 10 times before lunch, and that’s why they go to work armed with a variety of tools so they can succeed in every situation.

The same thing is true for those who live a life outdoors. As outdoorsmen and women, we spend the vast majority of our time either hunting, fishing, or scouting.  Seasons and species that you’re chasing change and you need your equipment to change and adapt accordingly.

That’s why now, during the warmer months of the year, one of your go-to tools should be the Forester Lumbar 650 Pack from Elevation.

If you’ve ever found yourself hanging trail cams, chasing a gobbling tom, or getting to the deer stand in the early season wishing for a lightweight mobile pack – this pack is it. It allows for easy packing of your essentials along with a variety of extras that you’ll need in the field or on the go. The pack is also perfect for those warmer weather pursuits without weighing you down so you can go farther, and more comfortably into the woods.

The pack features heavy-duty and highly adjustable shoulder straps that sit comfortably on your shoulders while a waist belt with breathable foam insulation sits comfortably on your hips. The open back area allows for more airflow and breathability than your traditional pack would. This is a huge benefit while you’re on your hike or while you’re scouting and checking trail cams in the warm offseason.

The pack is armed with an astounding 650 cubic inches of storage with three main pockets on the back. Each pocket contains separate netting inside affording extra organization and storage options. There are three extra pockets on the back for quick stashing items like a water bottle, game calls, or batteries.

Two clinchable straps are also strategically placed on the bottom of the pack for storage of a jacket, decoys, bedroll, or a hunting stool. This all seasons pack is perfect for dove season right into early archery.

There are an additional six extra storage pockets on the waist belt, as well. These storage pockets are smaller and perfect for an extra can of bug spray, snacks, wallet, keys, or game calls. All of the pack’s zippers can be easily opened with their rugged and extra-wide openings so you won’t have to fumble in the dark or if you’re in a hurry.

The straps are adjustable and easily maneuvered either stationary or on the go. This makes it perfect for getting to where you need to go after just hearing that gobbler, checking your trail cameras, or if you need to adjust after putting on a jacket.

This pack is not only durable but it’s also quiet. It also stores easily and is worth way more than what you’d pay for similar products on the market. It shouldn’t come as a surprise if it becomes your go-to pack whether you’re enjoying the outdoors, getting ready for hunting season, or taking a hike with your friends and family.

You can get more information on this and other great archery packs and products by visiting the Elevation website here.

Quarantine Activities for the Outdoorsman

Are you bored yet? If you’re anything like us – you may be going a bit stir crazy at this point. Usually after finishing our fall hunting season, staying inside to catch up on a few books or movies as we head into spring trout season and spring turkey season was no problem. Unfortunately that wasn’t quite the case for us this year.

 

Fortunately for us, the Pennsylvania Game Commission and Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission allowed the spring trout and turkey season to continue with proper social distancing protocol.

 

However, with the coronavirus quarantine seemingly on its way out and restrictions soon being lifted, you may be running out of things to do inside.

 

Here are some ideas of how you can weather the last days and weeks of the mandated stay at home order.

 

Welcome to the ultimate spring cleaning season! You may have set aside some time these past couple weeks to clean out and organize your closets, gun cabinets, and tackle boxes. If you feel like you’ve reorganized those gear boxes one too many times, it may be time to look at what you don’t need.

 

Donating old hunting clothes can be a great way to create space all while helping a very good cause. Most people don’t know that the PA Game Commission actually welcomes donations of usable hunting and outdoor clothing as a part of helping the national R3 initiative (Recruitment, Retention, and Reactivation of hunters).

 

Most individuals who go to the PAGC looking to get into hunting and take the hunter safety course have little to no equipment. If there is equipment or clothing to borrow, most of it must be returned at the end of the day.

 

A good number of us could probably find something we don’t use anymore and can get in contact with the PAGC office to donate it. Plus, it gives you a chance to justify getting some new camo you’ve been looking at for a while now.

 

You now also have the chance to teach kids outdoor lessons after the virtual learning is done for the day. Remember when you said “if I only had the time?” Well, now you do! Outdoor activities,  like archery and fishing, are perfect for kids to occupy their time instead of playing video games for 10+ hours a day.

 

Even though Kinsey’s Outdoors is not currently letting customers inside our retail store, you can still order archery or fishing gear on the Kinsey’s Outdoors website. You can either have the items shipped to your house, or you can pick it up curbside.

 

Now that you’ve got all the gear you need, you can hit the great outdoors to get some much needed fresh air and hunting and fishing action. Even if you have kids who may be too young to hunt or fish – it’s never too soon to teach them the wonderful benefits of spending time in the woods, or on the water.

 

Have you always wanted to learn how to trap? Get better at turkey calling? Learn to read a map? Tie Flies? Skills like these can now be learned from almost anywhere with access to information thanks to the advent of Google and YouTube. Online video tutorials can provide great opportunities to learn those outdoor activities and skills you’ve always wanted to learn.

 

Now’s also a great time to clean out trail camera cards or get new ones. Are you tired of the thousands of pictures you have of squirrels taking up memory on your trail cam memory cards? Now’s a great time to delete the abundance of trail cam photos and make sure your cameras are working properly. If they aren’t, now’s a great time to look at upgrading your trail camera for this upcoming scouting and hunting season.

 

Once all that is done, you could begin to watch outdoor-themed movies. When the day is winding down and dinner is done, you and your family can enjoy a movie night. This is a great way for everyone to spend time together while also providing a much-needed distraction from the constant news headlines.

 

As a lover of the outdoors, look at watching a few titles that can get the next generation excited about a life outside. Movies like White Fang or maybe some of your favorite hunting DVD’s you have laying around.

 

You could also grab your camping equipment and gear and do a backyard staycation and camp with your family at home. It’s also a great time to get a new cooler and test it out at home before you hit the water or the woods this year.

 

Another great activity is to learn to make a new recipe with wild game, or a side dish for your favorite wild game dinners. Almost every internet search will lead you to a variety of ‘wild game recipes’ and techniques that will teach you to be a better cook. Cooking with the family is a great way to spend time together while also teaching a lifelong skill.

 

After you’ve played all the board games in your house, you’ve played referee to yet another fight over whose turn it is with the video game, or you need a break from that puzzle that feels more like a prison sentence than a distraction – we hope this list helps. Although we don’t know how long this “new normal” will last, we hope this article provided you with some ideas to keep you and your family spending quality time together while also keeping your sanity.  Did we forget anything fun and exciting that you’ve been doing lately? Let us know what you and your family have been doing to help pass the time during quarantine.

PA Shed Hunting

Traditionally for hunters in Pennsylvania, the beginning of a new year on the calendar signals an end to the hunting season. Time to pack all of the gear away, enjoy your success filling a tag or make peace with one that you didn’t, and settle in for winter.

It’s easy to not enjoy this time of year. Some don’t care for being stuck in-between the cold and warmer weather months. Most are counting down the days until spring gobbler and trout season opens. There are those though who don’t fall prey to the curse of cabin fever. A good number of hunters will continue to hit their favorite hunting spots and come to look forward to this time as almost as equally enjoyable. The window is now opening for the fun challenge of hunting for white tail buck sheds.

Most white tail hunters know, and there’s no shame if you don’t, that in January bucks can start shedding their antlers from the previous year. They then start growing a new, and hopefully larger set. From spikes to booners, if they’ve survived the hunting season, their antlers will drop somewhere in the woods and field of their home range for any man or beast to collect.

So, where do you start? Start by hunting where you hunt. Wherever deer live is usually where they’ll stay and where the bucks will shed their antlers. Check along deer trails, near feeding areas and water. Deer also tend to bed down on south facing hill sides during the day so if you know of one of those, take a stroll through there.

Every hunter wants to be successful, and consistently successful hunters crave information about deer activity. Shed hunting is the perfect way to start scouting for the following fall. The vegetation is void of leaves letting you see more of the landscape and inform you as to where deer are and what they’re doing. An added bonus is you get to keep hunting the deer after the season has closed. Shed antlers make a great addition to decorate your space and can start a conversation with almost anyone.

Competition for the coveted souvenir has increased over the past few years but the barrier to entry is still low with plenty of local opportunity.  The only gear you need is what you would wear for any walk in the woods on a colder day and most of it you probably already have. A good pair of boots is the best place to start. You’ll want something that laces up instead of a rubber style boot to avoid getting blisters or injuring an ankle. Insulation is up to you whether the boot is built with insulation or you decide how much you want with a warmer pair of socks or two. The Kenetrek Mountain Extreme 400 boot is a good option as it has warmth built in but breathes with increased activity.

Base layers and tough outerwear are the next items you want to have. Some of these antlers can fall in thick nasty brush so be sure you’re in a good pair of brush pants and tough jacket or at least wear clothes you don’t mind getting ripped up. The Browning Pheasants Forever pants and jacket are a great place to start.

As you start to get a pile of these trophies on your hike be sure to bring your favorite hunting pack to hold them until you’re ready to head home. The Canopy Tri-Zip 1200 pack from Elevation is a perfect option for holding your sheds and everything else you need when the next season rolls around from turkey to trout and ducks to deer.

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Pennsylvania’s Opening Day of Rifle Season!

Pennsylvania’s Opening Day of Rifle Season 2019!

The holidays are here and for Pennsylvania hunters, but not all holidays mean gathering around a large table for a feast with family. Hunter’s holidays are spent gathering around small camp kitchens and bonfires. They find presents and treasures from high up in trees early in the morning, instead of looking under them. They have different days circled on the calendar. Counting down the days until they can trade in the cozy couch for a frosty tree stand builds exciting anticipation only few of us understand. It’s equally a rite of passage and return to the familiar. Just like the holidays, it only comes once a year. One day to reference for generations when you got your first one there, and grandpa got that one there. There’s nothing like celebrating our whitetail rifle season’s opening day.

Arguably the same, if not more than other holidays, preparation goes into getting ready for that first dawn. This year you got new boots or a new coat, so you don’t freeze like you did last year. You put a new scope onto your old reliable rifle. The trail camera you’ve been checking all summer is paying for itself over and again with the secrets it’s telling you about where that buck lives. It’s all part of continuing the tradition of the chase.

Whether you’re hunting by yourself or with friends or family, the excitement of the experience is the same. The community of taking to our woods searching for an elusive game animal has been handed down to us from the stories and experiences of the generations before. That’s why it’s so valuable to us and why we put such time and effort into it. It’s why we get the best gear we can. No one jumps at the chance to tell the story every year about the one we missed, or about leaving the stand early because they got too cold. No, Pennsylvania hunters aren’t only tough, they’re smart. They know how to dress and how to hunt the weather in our home state. There’s no half-hearted effort on opening day.

Respect for the animal also is the highest. You can see that by all the cars and trucks at the range the weeks prior to opening day. Sighting in rifles, tuning new scopes, trying new ammunition for a single clean shot and kill. When the deer is down, they go to work with the sharpest knives and knowhow. Maybe you use your grandfather’s old knife, or maybe you’ve got a new one for yourself this year. Eating the venison that comes from the whole deer has been the tradition as long as hunting has in Pennsylvania. Little to nothing is wasted. With recipes new and old, no crockpot, grill grate, or oven doesn’t see its share of work over the winter months with the treasured animal protein.

There are those who argue it’s a barbaric pastime where something has to die for an individual’s enjoyment. Glorifying the kill in a time and place where food scarcity hardly exists. That argument has no value, and hunters know it. The experience teaches a respect for the animal, for the land, for the benefit of hard work. You’ll appreciate that deer every time you share the story, long after the meat in the freezer is gone.

Ruffed Grouse Decline and Their Future in the Keystone State

Unraveling Pennsylvania’s Ruffed Grouse Decline

Photo by Susan Drury 

Grouse hunting in Pennsylvania is a tradition for many. The northern tier of the state particularly housed robust but variable populations of ruffed grouse. The thrill has always been getting to hear the characteristic thump, thump, thump of a drumming bird. Pennsylvania grouse hunting is a completely different thrill. Harvesting one means pulling up on a flushed bird in dense cover and making a difficult shot. These situations, however, are becoming much rarer in the state.

The ruffed grouse decline the Keystone state has been experiencing for decades is coming to ahead. Hunters are noticing it more and so are land managers. Regardless of if you hunt grouse, hunted them years ago, or are simply an interested outdoors person, the current state and future for this bird is concerning.

“Decline” and “trouble” are serious words but are being used more and more to describe ruffed grouse populations in Pennsylvania. It is not just Pennsylvania either. Most Northeast and Midwest states like Maryland, Minnesota, and West Virginia are all showing seriously declining grouse populations. Pennsylvania is coming up on the last year of a 10-year grouse management plan aimed at addressing the issue. Although, the situation looks much different than it did back in 2011.

Grouse Numbers and Our Current State

Grouse hunting in Pennsylvania was traditionally split into two seasons. Grouse would open in the fall alongside squirrel hunting and other small games species. Even though there were several weeks available in the fall Pennsylvania grouse season, hunters relished the late-season opportunity. These weeks after Christmas were ideal to sneak through dense thickets in the big woods or for running dogs to flush birds. But based on the increasing decline in grouse numbers, the late-season opportunity has been closed since 2017.

Grouse populations are always in flux. Across their entire North American range, their numbers tend to rise and fall in 5- to 10-year cycles. Biologists to a lesser extent understand why the 5- to 10-year cycles occur compared to more short-term swings in numbers.

Many factors affect population numbers. Generally, a cold, damp spring combined with a prolonged cold winter lowers grouse populations in the state. These conditions influence adult female survival and decrease the chances a young grouse will make it through to next spring. Like other animals, causes of mortality also include predation, disease, accidents and environmental factors such as floods and habitat loss.

Exact grouse numbers are difficult to estimate. Instead, the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) uses sightings, harvests, and hunter survey data to assess grouse populations year-over-year and compile long-term trends. In the most recent data from 2018 (available from the PGC), a flush rate of 0.88 flushes per hour (f/hr) was overserved. This was a 6% decrease from the previous year and the lowest since 1965. For comparison, the long-term average is 1.37 f/hr. In addition, sight surveys are down 33% from the previous year and down 49% from the short-term average. These figures are based on surveys from grouse hunters (or cooperators) inside and outside of Pennsylvania grouse seasons. Clearly, the ruffed grouse decline that first was observed in the early 1980s is continuing to propagate itself.

 

Video: Award-winning and comprehensive look at Pennsylvania grouse from the PGC.

Two Factors Affecting the Ruffed Grouse Decline

The ruffed grouse decline can be attributed to two factors. The first, habitat loss, has always played a role in grouse numbers across their entire range. Aging forests are increasing and thus young forests, which grouse thrive in, are harder to find. It was not until 1999 when the second factor appeared. The impacts to grouse from the West Nile virus (West Nile) are only exemplified with habitat loss.

Habitat Needs of Grouse and Implications of Losing It

The primary habitat requirement of grouse is cover. Grouse use dense cover for all aspects of their life cycle including feeding, breeding, and shelter. Young forests provide these ideal conditions, however, aging Pennsylvania forests offer less suitable habitat. Also, population growth has fragmented what once were large contiguous tracts of forests. Grouse do not adapt well to changing habitat conditions and increased interaction with people.

Vegetation like mountain laurel, young pines and hemlocks, and new growth of hardwoods such as aspen are key elements to productive grouse habitat. Birds will eat buds of young growth during winter and feed on greenbriers, witch-hazel, and grapes during warmer months. All of which grow infrequently in older timber stands.

Multi-age forests have been dwindling through natural attrition over time since the large-scale logging that took place at the beginning of the 20th century. This continued loss reduces the habitat needed particularly for breeding and rearing young. The ruffed grouse decline is a direct result of decreased young forests in the state.

West Nile’s Threat

West Nile virus began running its course in Pennsylvania between 2001 and 2003. Mosquitoes can transmit the virus to humans, animals, and birds. The health impacts have been known as it relates to humans, but less is understood when it comes to birds. Birds have shown symptoms and even mortality, especially in crows and jays. Recently, grouse have been studied and observed to have effects related to West Nile.

Research has begun to show just how much of a threat West Nile is to grouse populations in Pennsylvania. More robust population segments, which occur in high-quality habitats, have a greater chance of surviving West Nile. These segments are able to rebound faster after years where West Nile is more prevalent. When small populations in poor habitats experience widespread West Nile prevalence, it is more likely they will experience higher than average mortality and further decline.

In summary, the ruffed grouse decline is not an either-or but rather a combination of less than optimal habitat in conjunction with higher incidents of West Nile.

Planning to Save the Ruffed Grouse’s Legacy in Pennsylvania

The state has proactively been addressing the ruffed grouse decline for decades but more rapidly since the development of the statewide ruffed grouse management plan in 2001.

One-step undertaken has been the use of a framework for Pennsylvania grouse season recommendationsGrouse hunting in Pennsylvania was reduced beginning in 2017 to close the late-season. Even though hunting is a minor factor in grouse survival, closing the after Christmas season ensures that even more birds made it to the next breeding season.

Similar to other wildlife species, habitat is key. Creating and maintaining high-quality grouse habitat supports existing populations and helps them be more resilient against outbreaks from West Nile. Grouse management is being incorporated in the strategic planning for forest harvesting on state lands. Programs are also being implemented to support private forest landowners in an effort to expand acreage and connectivity of a good habitat.

Finally, additional research is being conducted to assess the impacts of West Nile. The focus is on looking at factors that can limit the transmission of the virus and at what thresholds of infection grouse are most vulnerable. Information like this would be used to prioritize habitat work that will have the most benefit on existing and future grouse populations in Pennsylvania.

The good news is we have an example where this is possible. The state of elk in Pennsylvania is thriving due to accomplishments in creating habitat and intensive management. Grouse can be the next success story with a lot of focused effort.

Hunting grouse in Pennsylvania is in many ways a dying tradition. The changing hunter demographic but more so the ruffed grouse decline has been a major contributing factor. However, hunters will need to play a major role in the path ahead to solving this issue. They are key in assessing populations and helping to manage large tracts of public and private land for which Pennsylvania is known for. The future of the state bird and beloved game species is most certainly a concern. Yet optimistically, much has been and more is being done to change the declining path grouse have been on.

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Pennsylvania Pre Rut Hunting Update and Tips

Pre Rut Hunting Tips and Tactics

What strategy are you employing when hunting late October and early November? The Pre Rut can contain some great opportunities to tag out on your target bucks or on public ground. This time of year lends itself to calling tactics, hunting over food such as white oak acorns, and hunting over scrapes. As the season transitions into early November the chase phase of the rut will begin, and hunting on pinch points and funnels will inevitably bring a shooter or two within bow range.

In this video Grant from the everyday outdoorsman breaks down his pre rut hunting strategy and some recent encounters!

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Tips for Public Land Deer Scouting in Pennsylvania

Public land Deer Scouting and Hunting in Pennsylvania 

The dog days of summer are here. Hot temperatures and humidity have most people wanting to stay inside and stay cool. These days, however, are when deer hunting success, this fall, can be earned. Having success while deer hunting on public land in Pennsylvania does not come easy. PA has lots of hunters, so you will be up against the competition. But, for those who decide they want to put in some hard work during these summer days, some amazing hunting opportunities are available. The hunters you know or see being successful during the fall are often they ones that put in hours of work during the summer to put the odds in their favor during the fall. Follow these tips this summer for scouting whitetails on public land here in the keystone state. 

  1. Utilize maps before physically scouting 

Whether you use a GPS, map, topo mapphone app, or google earth, utilize it before going there in person to scout. This is how you can “scout from the computer.” Look at topography of the area. Look for potential feeding fields, ridges, river bottoms, access trails, parking areas, funnels, pinch points, and whatever else you can find. Doing these things ahead of time can save you so much time and energy. Learn as much about the piece you plan to scout, before you even step foot on it. This will put you ahead of the game when you do go to scout the area.  

2. Get away from pressure 

This probably sounds familiar, but it is one of the most important things to keep in mind. Most deer in general, but especially smart deer, will avoid areas that have the most human pressure. This is where using your maps to mark parking areas and access trails becomes even more important. When you mark those things on a map, you can start to narrow down areas that are going to be the hardest to access. Cross off areas that look like they are easy to get to and popular for hunters. Look for those back corners, overlooked spots, and hardest to reach places. The less pressure it gets from other hunters, the better chance you will have at seeing deer there during daylight.  

3. Scout for bedding 

When you go to scout a piece of public land, one of the most important things to do is identify where the deer in the area are bedding. Yes, it is important to find feeding areas, trails, benches, funnels, and pinch points, but the number one thing to find is bedding areas. Successful public land hunters are usually the ones that are hunting closest to where the deer bed. Deer on public land probably won’t move far from their bedding areas during daylight. Hunting as close to that bedding as possible, without being detected, will give you the best opportunity to get a shot during legal shooting hours.  

4. Use trail cams as an extra tool, not your replacement for scouting.  

Trail cameras are becoming more and more popular as time goes on. I can’t stress enough how useful they can be when they are used right. They can do some work for you while you are not even there. They can teach hunters what caliber of deer are in an area, how many deer are in an area, the times of day they are moving through a certain area, and the list could go on. There are so many benefits. All that being said, it is important to not let trail cameras actually replace the importance of physically scouting an area. Trail cameras will never tell hunters the full story. Hunters need to know where bedding is, where travel routes are, where feeding areas are, and everything else about the areas surrounding their trail cameras or hunting areas. Don’t simply walk into the woods, set up a few trail cams, and walk back out without learning anything about the area.  

5. More is better 

When it comes to public land deer scouting in the summer, the more you scout, the better your chances will be. There are certain situations on private land, or when scouting or hunting during the fall where overkill will have a negative effect. But during these summer days get out there and hit it hard. The season is still a couple months away, so get out there and learn as much as you can now, before hunting season comes. Don’t just go out in November hoping to get lucky, get out there now and earn your fall success right here in August! 

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Pennsylvania Dove Hunting Action | Wing Shooting at Its Finest

Early Season Pennsylvania Dove Hunting  

The annual start of hunting season for many in Pennsylvania begins with dove hunting season. It is one of the first seasons to open in the state and for many, it marks a new year of hunting opportunities. 

Pennsylvania dove hunting is some of the most exciting hunting of the yearThere are plenty of both public and private dove hunting opportunities throughout the state. Unlike other hunting, dove hunting in Pennsylvania can be done with minimal equipment. Some of the dove hunting essentials basically boil down to a quality shotgun and shotgun shells. Add as much else as you need, but simply a shotgun and shells will get you hunting. Watch as we set up over a group of Mojo Voodoo dove decoys and get into some great Pennsylvania dove hunting. 

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Utilizing Your Local Archery Pro Shop for Setting Up a Hunting Bow

Setting Up a Hunting Bow with the Experts

Kinsey’s Outdoors in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania offers full bow hunting bow setup services. Whether you are looking to upgrade a specific bow hunting accessory, like a new rest or sight, or are in the market for an entirely new bow hunting setupKinsey’s Outdoors can help. Their technicians are experts at setting up a hunting bow and providing maintenance and tuning services to get you ready for hunting season. Specifically, their bow hunting prop shop offers the following services: 

  • Setting up a hunting bow from start to finish 
  • Cable and string install 
  • Replacing accessories like peep sight, D-loop, or kisser button 
  • New or replacement rests (standard and drop-away) 
  • Performance enhancements such as string silencers, quivers, and stabilizers
  • Draw length adjustments

In addition, they offer a Basic Tune package, which includes string wax and nock checking, as well as a Hunt Tune and Lube package to get you completely ready for bow hunting season. Besides setting up a hunting bow, Kinsey’s Outdoors also provides complete services for all your crossbow needs and a broad selection of archery hunting equipment.