Choosing the Best Video Camera for Hunting

Choosing the Best Video Camera for Hunting

Quality hunting video cameras range in price from $200 to $100,000. Be sure to get the best video camera for hunting for you by following the advice given below.

Hunting is an activity that is deer to many, which is why catching the excitement of a hunt on video has become something that many hunters are after; not only to share their adventures, but to also add another level of difficulty to the challenge of hunting.  Before a hunter can get good hunting video footage though, they need to choose the best video camera for hunting for their situation.  Here we will discuss the best video camera for hunting, what to look for in a hunting video camera, as well as some tips on capturing a hunt of a lifetime.

Price and Quality

The first thing to remember when looking for the best video camera for hunting is that you get what you pay for.  One way to make sure you get the best video camera for hunting for you is to go with the best video camera you can afford.  Luckily for most of us, quality video cameras have become much more affordable lately.  Even a tight budget will allow you to buy a video camera that can capture quality videos, even when conditions are not perfect.

For the most part, to get good quality outdoor footage, you will want to make sure to spend enough money to get a video camera that features high definition recording.  High Definition (HD) video cameras for hunting start at around $300, and then go up from there.  There is a big difference between standard definition video cameras and HD video cameras.  HD video cameras will capture your hunting footage in 1080p format (or some form with 1080 pixels) which will look good even on a large screen HD television.

Record Memory

Video Cameras come with an array of video storage capabilities and methods.  For hunting situations, and different individuals, there are some that are better than others.  Here is a list of the options to choose from as well as what I suggest you go with (internal memory / SD Card combination).

  1. Mini DVs: These are small discs that the video camera records footage to.  Each one can capture about an hour of HD video, and are good if you plan on giving them to people so they can keep the hard file.  That is why Mini DV camcorders are often used by videographers who specialize in events such as weddings.  They are not necessarily good for hunting though as you have to change out discs every hour of record time, which might not be a good time at all.  Most cameras over $2,000 record to Mini DV, so keep this in mind.  Many manufactures are switching to the methods below though, so it is getting easier to find high quality cameras with the storage methods better equipped for hunting.
  2. Internal Memory:  Most cameras under $2,000 and a few above will come with an internal memory where the footage is stored, to be later moved to a computer via a USB port.  As technology has improves digital space efficiency, more and more video can be stored in these compact video cameras.
  3. SD Card Storage: Many of the less expensive video cameras on the market will have the ability to store to an SD card, or other similar storage card.  These cards make things very convenient as they allow you to capture hunting video and transfer it to your computer by simply putting the card in your computer, or anything that will read an SD card and the format of the video.  Sd cards can now hold an enormous amount of data now.  I have two SD cards that can hold up to 128 GB each, which comes out to be 17 hours of HD video, each.   The main down fall is that you have to have the card to record your hunts.  Forget the card in your computer, you are screwed.
  4. Internal Memory / SD Card: This is by far the best combination for hunting.  You get the convenience of the SD card, but also the back up of the internal memory if you forget the SD card.

Size and Weight

Best video Camera for Hunting

Typically the less expensive the camera, the smaller it will be. The Panasonic TM90K is an inexpensive, lightweight, compact camera that will do the job for anyone on a budget. Click the image to go to a page where we show you the best video cameras in different price ranges, as well as the best price of each.

It is amazing the video quality manufactures have packed into small packages.  The average hunter that wants good footage to watch on their computer, T.V. or to upload onto video sharing sights such as YouTube and Facebook can get away with an exceptionally small hunting video camera for a fairly reasonable price.  As with price though, the higher the quality video camera, the larger it will be.  The professional video cameras that are used for the majority of the hunting videos you see on TV are quite large and expensive; 10 to 20 lbs and from $5,000 to $100,000.

If you are the average hunter that wants to capture some quality video to share with friends and the internet, you will be looking at a camera that ranges from 8 – 15 0z.  If you want a more professional grade video camera, you can go with one that is 1 to 2 lbs and $1,000-$2,000.

Once you have experimented with videoing hunts and learned the techniques that it takes to capture some high quality hunting footage, then you might want to think about investing in some higher quality, larger and more expensive hunting video camera gear.  In this case, expect to be lugging around at least 5lbs of camera, with another several pounds of other gear such as tripods and audio equipment.

Zoom

One thing you need to pay attention to is the amount of zoom a hunting video camera has, and more particularly, how much optical zoom it has as optical zoom will keep the quality of the video high.  Digital zoom, which is misleading to many, just magnifies the pixels, thus decreasing the quality of the video the more you zoom in, kind of like zooming in on a picture on a computer.

One strange thing about zoom is that the less expensive video cameras generally have both a higher optical and digital zoom.  On higher grade cameras, 10 – 20 power optical zoom is about the most you will get.  For video cameras under $500, it is not uncommon to get one that has an optical zoom of more than 40 power.

Obviously, the higher the optical zoom the better, but unfortunately you have to sacrifice zoom for quality; why, I do not know, it is just a fact.  There is a way around this though, as one can buy a doubler (or even a Tripler or more) to fit on the end of the video camera of their choice.  The down falls to this are the facts that it is another expense, as well as another piece of equipment to lug around.

The Need for Zoom: Depending on where you plan to do the majority of your hunting, high power zoom may or may not be that important.  If much of your hunting takes place in open areas, then the need for a high power zoom will be more than if you tend to hunt forested where when you see an animal, they are usually not much more than 100 yards.

Field of View

How wide of angle a video camera records is called field of view.  When choosing a video camera for hunting, or anything for that matter, the wider the angle the better.  The downfall to a wide angle is the fact that things are further away; a nice zoom will take care of that.  With a wide angle video camera for hunting, you will be sure to get all of what you want in the frame.

The way to tell how wide the angle is, is by looking at the lens diameter; the smaller the number, the wider the angle, or field of view.  A good diameter to look for is 30mm, plus or minus 3.   It is possible to go too wide of an angle.  Super wide angle video cameras are typically used for point of view footage, as this looks the best when there is a lot of action.  Most point of view video cameras that are made for hunting will result in prey that looks far away, even though it might only be 30 yards.

Miscellaneous Options

There are several other items that one needs to evaluate before they choose the best video camera for hunting.  For instance, most inexpensive video cameras do not have a viewfinder; they only have the LCD screen for which to view what you are filming.  The LCD screen will do fine in most hunting situations, but in high lighting, the screen can be hard to see.  Likewise in low light, the screen might put off a glow and light up everything around you, which is not good for hunting as it might give away your location as a huge buck is making its way into your ambush.  Video Cameras with viewfinders start at around $600.  Above that price, most will come standard with one; still be sure to check before dropping a paycheck when choosing the best video camera for hunting.

Filming a Hunt

If you have not already, you will find that filming a hunt can be just as fun as hunting its self.  It is a lot easier to get good footage of a hunt then it is to make the shot count at the moment when things go down.  That being said, you have to keep your cool and be sure to get clear, steady footage regardless of what happens.  Your first priority should be to get good footage.  It is so easy to get caught up in a moment and miss important material that should be included in you video.

Use a tripod or some sort of stabilizer when ever possible.  It makes a huge difference and will allow you to zoom in more for the kill shot, as well as make for a much cleaner video as it will limit the speed in which you move the camera around.

There is much more to learn about filming a hunt than what you can learn from endless reading on the internet.  The only way to learn is to to get out and film some hunts.  Before you film hunts, it might be wise to spend some time in the outdoors filming wildlife.   This will prepare you for the elements, but cannot prepare you for the suspense and adrenaline rush that will come as you film some of the best moment you will ever be a part of.  Stay tuned to this blog for more information on both filming your hunts and hunting in general.

To choose the best video camera for hunting for you and your situation, go to this page: Best Video Camera for Hunting

 

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How to Hunt Coyotes at Night


How to Hunt Coyotes at Night

How to Hunt Coyotes at Night

Coyotes are top predators and kill not only young and weak deer, but also full grown and healthy deer. Help out the local deer heard by hunting coyotes.

In most States and Provinces throughout North America coyotes can be hunted year round.  In many of the areas coyotes can be hunted both day and night as well.  By learning how to hunt coyotes at night, a hunter can hunt coyotes 24/7, 365 days a year.  Night hunting for coyote , where legal, can be a very exciting and an extremely effective way to keep their population at bay.  Here we will discuss tips and tactics on how to hunt coyotes at night.

Coyotes, like most predators are mainly nocturnal.  They do the majority of their day to day activities at night like hunting, eating, breeding and establishing hierarchy.  For this reason, hunting coyotes at night can be very fast paced as you see a lot more than during daylight hours.  They also feel more secure at night knowing that humans, their only predator, are less active at night, so they tend to be a little less weary.

Spot Lighting:

how to hunt coyotes

Coyotes are much more active at night then during the day. Using a spotlight and predator calls to find them can be very effective.

If you are hunting at night you will need a way to see the coyotes.  The most practical tool for bringing light to the night is a high powered spotlight.  These spotlights are extremely bright and will do a good job lighting up coyotes up to 400 yards, if you invest in a good one.

When using a spot light, animals that can see in the dark are very easy to see as their eyes make a very bright reflection, much like a light of their own.  For this reason, you do not have to spend much time scanning an area to see if there are any coyotes nearby.  All animal eyes have a certain glow to them when hit with an artificial light.  It is important to be able to determine what type of animal is in your light before you start shooting as it can be hard to tell.  Many times though it is easy enough to tell by just the eye reflection after you gain some experience.  You will find that predator eyes are typically brighter than prey eyes.  Be aware though, there are always variances in reflection strength and color, so be extremely sure of your target before aiming a weapon at it.

Most spotlighting is done from a vehicle where the spotlights are run off 12 volt power out of the car cigarette lighter.   It is also possible and popular to use a spotlight that runs off a rechargeable power supply.  These spotlights are very nice to have, and in many states necessary, as to be legal the light needs to be powered by something else other than the vehicle. Check your local regulations to be sure of all laws pertaining to hunting with artificial lighting.

Calling Coyotes at Night

Click here to view the best coyote calls broke down by price: Best Coyote Calls

FoxPro makes the best predator calls with a variety of price ranges. Click on this picture to view the best electronic predator calls broke into price ranges.

One of the most effective ways how to hunt coyotes at night is to use predator calls.  Coyotes are out and about most at night and are more confident when coming in to calls than they are during the day.  If you have experience calling to coyotes and other predators during the day, then you should have success with the same sounds during the night.  Common sounds are prey in distress calls, mainly rabbit, bird sounds, and a number of coyote howls, yips, and distress calls.

Call Types: Both mouth calls and electronic calls work well for hunting coyotes at night, with electronic calls giving you a significant advantage unless you are extremely skilled with a mouth call.  Electronic predator calls are extremely loud, clear, and are typically actual voices of real life animals making them very believable to predators.  Many coyotes come running in fully expecting to see what they are looking for without fear.

TIP: One thing about how to hunt coyotes at night is that you need to be ready at all times.  It may take less than a minute before they are right on top of you.  Therefore, make sure you are ready to shoot before you begin your call sequence.  Likewise, not all coyotes come in at a full run; some come in casually.  If you are in an area that sound can travel long distances, then it may take a while for the coyotes to get to your location.  For these reasons, it is important to be patient.  Give them plenty of time to come in are you will experience what most experienced coyote callers have and do when as soon as you get up you see a coyote running away.  Other predators such as bobcats tend to come in even slower and more alert.

Best Times to Hunt Coyotes at Night

How to hunt coyotes at night

While winter time coyote hunting at night can be cold, it is the best time if you are after fur quality.

Most states allow coyote hunting at night all year round, but most people partake in coyote hunting during fur bearing seasons, which in most areas is the end of September through march, depending on the year.  This does not mean you can’t or should not hunt them throughout the spring and summer, but this is when their hides will fetch the highest price.

The warmer weather can be some of the best times to call coyotes though, especially if your are just learning how to hunt coyotes at night.  There is less competition during this time of year so coyotes are typically easier to bring in with predator calls.

During the winter, days getting shorter and night longer is one a major reason why many people hunt coyotes at night as well.  When it gets dark at 4:30 in the evening, that does not leave much time for hunting coyotes during the daylight hours.  If you want to try a few areas after work during the fall and winter, a spotlight might be your only option; and a good option it is.  Learning how to hunt coyotes at night will open up a lot more hunting opportunities for someone who would like to get out more often.

Gear You Will Need to Hunt Coyotes at Night

There are a few gear items needed to hunt coyotes at night in addition to the typical necessities of day time coyote hunting.

Coyote Hunting Rifle

Any centerfire rifle will do the trick for coyote hunting, but smaller is better as they are rather small animals and perseving the hike will fetch the best price.

Rifle: Just about any rifle will do the trick for coyotes.  These dogs are smaller than one might think with, with a 30 pounder being a big one.  They are also soft skinned, so a big bullet is not necessary and will destroy the hide much worse than a smaller one.  My personal opinion is that a 243 caliber rifle is the perfect coyote rifle.  It is flat and fast shooting, with enough weight to carry the bullet for longer distance shooting.  Also, you can find ammo at any sporting goods store and a .243 makes a good caliber for white tailed deer, hogs, and antelope, without much recoil.

Spotlights for how to hunt coyotes at night

Light Force Spotlights are the best for hunting coyotes at night.

Spot Light: Artificial lights can be a number of brands.  Spotlights that have the ability to control the light spread are nice as they let you use a flood light for scanning and then dial it in to a beam to determine what you see.  It is best to have both a 12 volt light that operates from a vehicle power source/cigarette lighter and a rechargeable spotlight for when you get out of the vehicle.  Also, you may want to purchase a red filter (cover) which turns your light beam red.  Predators do not see red so they will be unaware that they are getting blasted by a spotlight.  Even without the filter, many times they do not even care and keep on coming in.

Check out the best spotlight available (opens new window): Best Spotlight for Hunting Coyotes at Night: LightForce

Predator Calls: There are a number of predator calls that you may choose to use.  Electronic calls work the best.  Mouth calls such as reed and diaphragm calls work well but make sure you practice before you go out as these calls take time to perfect.  Go here to checkout the best predator calls for coyote hunting at night broke down into price ranges.

Be Ready for Anything

Bobcat Hunting at night

Bobcats are also more active at night and might come in to your calls while targeting coyotes. Bobcat hides are worth $200-$300; much more than a coyote.

One thing to remember when you hunt coyotes at night is that like coyotes, other predators are most active at night as well.  For this reason, you should be ready for whatever you may see.  Foxes, bobcats, lynx, and other predators are all good animals to take as an addition to coyote hunting at night.  In some areas, it is even legal to take cougars at night and hopefully soon, wolves in some states.  For this reason, you need to be ready and legally prepared to hunt these animals as well.  Check your local regulations as some of these animals may require special licenses and permits.  You do not want to have to pass up a predator because you failed to get a tag for it, or even worse because you were not sure whether or not it is legal.

How to Hunt Coyotes at Night

Learning how to hunt coyotes at night is not only a highly effective way to hunt these song dogs, but also a good way to increase the amount of time you are in the field and out of the house.  When the days get short and the nights long, you can still get your hunting fix by changing your hunting tactics to adapt to the situations.  The best thing about hunting coyotes at night is that it is deadly effective.  Just be safe and be 100% sure of your target before you even think about pulling the trigger; things have a tendency to look different at night than the during the day.

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How to Coyote Hunt

How to Hunt Coyotes

Coyotes are worthy adversaries due to the fact they are very smart, not to mention the senses highlighted above.

Many hunters wait all year for hunting season in the fall.  Then, as soon as it is over, they put their rifle back in the closet to collect dust until the following year.  This may be because they do not know how to coyote hunt, or at least they do not know how much of a challenge and how fun it can be.  Here we will discuss tips and tactics on how to coyote hunt so you can increase the amount of days you are in the field.

What many do not realize is that hunting is actually a year round sport.  In most areas there is something that can be legally and ethically hunted throughout the year.  Coyote hunting can be done legally in most states, year round (check your local regulations), with only a hunting license required.  How to hunt coyotes is up to you as there are not many regulations surrounding coyote hunting.  Here are a few ways that we have found to be effective for hunting these deer killers.

Finding Areas to Coyote Hunt

Coyote Distribution

Coyotes can be found alomst anywhere in Noth America in abundant, huntable numbers.

There is no shortage of coyotes in North America.  They live in every state and every province in Canada, the USA, and Mexico.  There are few animals that are as adaptable as the coyote.  For this reason, there are no shortages of areas that can offer effective coyote hunting.  Many of the best areas are public land where it is just a matter of getting out and learning how to coyote hunt.  Other areas, particularly from the Midwest US and east, are mostly private land, so you will need to prepare for these coyote hunts by getting permission to hunt coyote hunt beforehand; don’t be afraid to knock on doors, most people will say yes, and the worse they can say is no.  Either way they are usually glad you asked.

Methods of How to Coyote Hunt

Predator Calls:

How to Coyote Hunt

The Author called in this beautiful coyote and made a good shot. Nice pelts like these can be worth up to $100 tanned.

Using calls is quite possibly the most effective way to hunt coyotes.  Coyotes rely on sound to determine where prey is all the time, and their sense of hearing is very good.  A coyote hunter will have to experiment with different calls to determine which sounds work best in the area, as all areas are different.  Animals in distress are a great place to start, especially rabbits squeals.  Other sounds that are becoming quite popular are coyote communication sounds such as howls.  You can do intimidation howls, female mating howls, and even pub in distress calls.  Coyotes are very social and curious, so you never know what they are going to come to.

What type of Calls Work Best: The best bet for beginners is to use an electronic predator call.  In fact, electronic calls are really best for even experienced callers, except many like the challenge of calling in coyotes with mouth calls.  To find the best calls both electronic and mouth calls in a wide array of price ranges, check here: Best Predators Calls for Coyote Hunting

Spot and Stalk/Shoot Coyote Hunting:

How to Coyote Hunt, Spot and Stalk

I spotted this big coyote from a long ways away, then used the lay of the land to get within 100 yards for the shot.

Another effective and fun way how to hunt coyotes is finding them first, and then shooting them.  The best weapons for this type of hunting are good spotting eyes, a flat shooting rifle, and a good shooter.

The first step is to find the dogs.  This method is best in open areas where you can see for long distances, but woodlands with fields are good to.  The object is to find them before they see you.  Many times you will be close enough to shoot when you first spot them, but others you will be required to stalk to within shooting distance. This is a very fun way how to coyote hunt as you rely on your spotting abilities to get the dogs and you get to see a lot of country as you are not waiting for the coyotes to come to you.

Road Hunting for Coyotes:

How to coyote hunt : Road Hunting

An evening hunt turned up these two coyotes running together not far off a rural road. 2 shots, 2 dogs. Be sure to get off the road before shooting.

One of the most comfortable ways how to coyote hunt is to drive around in areas that hold a lot of coyotes.  Again, this method of coyote hunting is best suited for open terrain where a coyote hunter can see a lot of country, but fields are also good areas to find coyotes.

Of all the methods on how to coyote hunt, road hunting will typically yield the most coyote spotting if conditions are right, granted you are able to spot them.  This is because you will be able to cover a lot of ground and see a lot of area.  Again, a good spotter is key when road hunting for coyotes as this can be the difference in seeing one or two run across the road or seeing double digit amounts where the average person would drive right by.  Most coyotes that live near roads are educated and know how to hide.  Likewise, they will not usually stick around long as they have been shot at before if they are not yearlings.  For this reason, even though you have the opportunity to see the most quantity of coyotes, the success ratio is not very good as they are often running.

Road Hunting Tip: Many times it works best to drive by a coyote until you are out of sight.  This will give you time to get ready and put a plan together.  It may be best to walk to get into position or drive back ready to roll.  Just remember, it is illegal to shoot from the road or a vehicle, so make sure you get out of the vehicle and off the road before you open fire.

Road hunting for coyotes and other predators is not looked down upon near as much as big game hunting.  That is because all coyote hunters know how fun it is to get out of the house and go for a drive and see what you can find.  The more you can get out, the better you will be at spotting these sneaky dogs.

Road hunting/spot and stalk/predator calling:

It is possible to incorporate multiple tactics or all tactics at the same time when hunting coyotes.  It is important to be able to do what you can when you can to increase your effectiveness when coyote hunting.  A great method is to drive around until you find a coyote(s) at a far distance.  The next thing you want to do is get out of site and then stalk closer to where you know the coyote can hear a call.  Get set up and let out the call.  More times than not, the coyote will come to investigate only to fall prey to a hunter that knows how to hunt coyotes.  Be sure to watch in all directions though, as you never know what direction another coyote or other predator will come from.  Even after you drop one, be patient as other coyotes might still come in, most animals hear gun shots on a daily basis, so are use to them; give it an extra 5 to 10 minutes after the shot.

Be Ready for other Predators

Calling in Predators

While targeting coyotes, this 30 lb bobcat came in to rabbit squeals from a FoxPro Electronic Caller. It was sold for $300!

When using prey animals in distress sounds it is not uncommon to have other predators come into the call.  The most likely animal that will come in besides Coyotes are bobcats and foxes, but do not be too surprised if a larger animal such as a Mountain Lion (click for a story about the time I was charged), bear, wolf, or wolverine if you are in areas that these animals call home.  Make sure these animals are legal to hunt and that you have the required licenses and permits.  It is hard when you have to let an animal go because you did not plan for the “what if” scenario.

Learning how to coyote hunt will open up many year-round hunting opportunities for a hunter that wants to spend more time in the field.  There are many tactics that can be employed to successfully hunt coyotes, but the most effective tactic is to use predator calls, electronic predator calls in particular.  To view the best electronic predator calls broke down by price range, click here: Best Electronic Varmint Calls for Hunting.  For more information on coyote hunting, other predator hunting, as well as big game hunting, go to http://www.BestforHunting.com


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Garmin Rino 655t Review : An In Depth Review of the Garmin Rino 655t and 650 GPS Receiver

Garmin Rino 655t Review

The Garmin Rino 655t is the best GPS money can buy!

The Garmin Rino 600 series is the latest advancement in Garmin’s line of GPS Receivers with a built in 2-way Radio.  Here we will focus on a Garmin Rino 655t Review, which will also pertain to the Rino 650 as it is very similar with the exception of a few features.The Rino product line began more than a decade ago with the Garmin Rino 110 and 120.  Now, new for 2011 and beyond, we have the Garmin Rino 655t and 650.  Here is an in depth Garmin Rino 655t Review.

For more information, customer reviews and the best prices on all of the Garmin Rino Series, Click Here:
Best GPS Receivers: Garmin Rino Series

Overall Rating for Garmin Rino 655t GPS Receiver: 9.5 / 10

The Garmin Rino 655t is in a class of its own as far a GPS receivers are concerned.  No other handheld GPS offers near the amount of easy to use functionality as the Garmin Rino Series, with the 655t model being the pinnacle of all GPS receivers built for back country use.  The only reason why it did not get a full 10 is the fact that I can not get it to receive any weather channels, which it should as I can get them on my CB radio.  I may not be using right, and maybe it will work better in a different location.

The Garmin Rino 600 series, featuring the 655t and 650 are brand new products from Garmin for 2011.  The biggest change in these from previous models such as the Rino 530 is the touch screen.

For a video demonstration and overview of the Garmin Rino 655t, check out this video I put together real quick:

Touch Screen:

The 2.6 inch touch screen is very sensitive and makes navigation easy and quick.  That being said, I have been using touch screen phones for several years now, and the Rino is every bit as responsive.  If you are someone who does not have a lot of experience with touch screens, then it might take a little getting use to, but that should not take long.  If you are a person that wants to resist growing accustomed to a touch screen, then your best bet is to stick with the Garmin Rino 530; a very worthy GPS in its own right with most of the Rino 650 & 655t features, minus the touchscreen.  I would suggest getting use to touchscreen though, as it is in the process of becoming more and more the norm.  A Garmin Rino would make a great tool to learn on.

Operating System Interface:

Garmin Rino 655t GPS Review

The Garmin Rinos look good, work great, and feel excellent in hand.

After owning a Garmin Rino 120 for over a decade and having the opportunity to use all of the others in the Rino series, I have become accustom to the Rino operating system.  I was shocked to see that the 600 series is a lot different.

I pretty quickly found the new system to be extremely user friendly and easy to find may way around.  In fact, it is quite a bit easier to navigate through than the prior Rino models.  The touch screen is the biggest factor in making it work so smoothly as you do not have to push the little button cursor around to get to where you want.

GPS Receiver:

The speed at which the Garmin Rino 655t connects with satellites is amazing.  In all cases of me powering up the unit, it has connected to satellites before I could even check it, even when indoors.  I have not had any problem with receiving any signals in any type of overhead cover.

With my old Garmin Rino 120, I am use to waiting up to a minute for a strong enough signal to mark a waypoint.  This has progressively gotten longer since I bought it and is harder now to get reception in dense cover.  Hopefully this will not be a problem with the Rino 655t.  With it as fast as it is now, I believe it will keep its stellar performance.  Also with the 120 I was pretty lucky to get accuracy within less than 30 feet.  With the 655t and 600, 9 feet of accuracy is easy to get almost instantly.

2-Way Radio:

Best BPS For Hunting Hiking, Outdoors, etc.: Garmin Rino 655t GPS

All Garmin Rino Models have a built in 2-way radio and can communicate with each other.

The ability to communicate with others in the woods is a huge benefit.  With all of the Garmin Rinos you have the ability to keep in touch with each other by transmitting over FRS and GMRS signals making it possible to receive radio communications from other Garmin Rino users as well as anybody else that has a handheld radio running on either of those radio bands, which is almost all handheld radios such as Motorola Talk Abouts, Cobras, and Uniden Radios, as well as any cheap generic brands.  The Rino 600 series come equipped with 5 watts of 2-way radio power.  This is enough to transmit up to 20 miles line of site.

Another important feature is the ability of Garmin Rinos (any model) to communicate with each other.  I have found this to be extremely useful when hunting and hiking with others.  Their Rino will show up on the map telling you their exact position.  This will only work with Rinos, so do not get any others.

Maps:

There are two main differences with between the Garmin Rino 655t and the 650.  They are maps and built in camera.  We will talk about the camera later.  The Rino 655t comes with Garmin’s 100k Topographical Maps preloaded already in it.  The 100k topo maps cover the US as well as base maps of the rest of the world showing visual relief, landmarks, roads, cities, and more, all in color.  The 100k topo maps are a scale of 1:100,000 and show a lot of detail with contours and all other features.  If these are not enough for you, then you have the option of installing 1:24,000 scale maps that show even more detail including remote hiking trails.  The 24k maps are not near as pretty, but are much more in depth.

The Garmin Rino 650 only comes with a base map.  It is almost pointless though.  It shows state lines, but not much more than that.  You can mark a waypoint and easily navigate back to the point by looking at the map, but it is not going to indicate the type of terrain you will have to cross to get there.  Luckily you can easily add maps to the Rino 650 GPS as well, but the start at $100.  That is why it is better to just spend the $75 or so and buy the 655t, plus you get a built in camera.

Built -in Camera: Garmin Rino 655t

Garmin Rino 655t GPS with Built-in Camera

Photo taken with Garmin Rino 655t GPS Built-in Camera. Probably wont win any photo contests, but nice to have.

The other feature you get out of the Garmin Rino 655t that you do not get with any other Rino GPS model is a built-in digital camera.  The Camera is an auto focusing, 5 megapixel digital camera that makes the unit no bigger.  It takes good pictures as well and is very easy to use.  Now you have one less chance of forgetting your camera when you come across the most beautiful view of the hike, or after a successful hunt, or when ever you might need one.

Overall Build:

The feel of all of the Garmin Rino GPS units has been of quality that should hold up to many years of abuse in rough conditions.  The Garmin Rino 655t and other 600 series models are built very well and feel the sturdiest of them all.  They are encased with a rubberized armor that protects it from the rigors of the great outdoors and are waterproof.  Although they are a little heavy, they feel very dense and comfortable in hand.  The Rino 600 series are the best looking as well.

Garmin Rino 655t Review Closing Statement

The Garmin Rino 655t GPS is in a category of its own, as are all of the Rino Series.  Why someone would consider buying a GPS that does not have a built in two way radio is beyond me.  What sets the Garmin Rino 655t apart from the rest is the preloaded maps and built in camera.  If you are looking for the absolute best GPS for hiking, hunting, fishing, and any other outdoor activity and price is not an option, the the Rino 655t is by far the way to go.  If it is out of your price range, then consider the other options that the other less expensive Garmin Rino GPS Receivers have to offer; all are worth their price, and the lesser models are under $200, the same price as other GPS receivers without a 2-way radio.

In case my Garmin Rino 655t Review was in any way misleading, let me clarify my thoughts: the Garmin Rino 655t GPS is the best adventure GPS that money can buy.  Click the link below to see the best price available on all of the Rino 600 Series Models.

For more information, customer reviews and the best prices on all of the Garmin Rino Series, Click Here:
Best GPS Receivers: Garmin Rino Series

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Bow and Arrow Hunting : Tips and Tactics to Becoming a Successful Bow and Arrow Hunter

Bow and Arrow Hunting

Preseason scouting and keeping high standards led the author to this mature mule deer buck that he took with his bow and arrow.

Bow and arrow hunting is considered one of the biggest challenges of hunting.  To get into bow range of any big game animal can be a challenge, with taking a mature animal such as a buck deer or bull elk being the pinnacle of all hunting.  How to increase your odds and becoming a better bow hunter is what we will talk about here.

Scouting:

The single thing that can increase your odds of scoring a mature animal the most is scouting.  It is incredible the amount of advantage you give yourself over most other hunters and the game itself by knowing where the animals will be come the first day of bow and arrow hunting season.   This means you will have to get out early in the mornings throughout the season; time consuming but fun and productive.  Evening scouting trips are typically easier to do, but do offer less prime time.

The more mature animals you can find before the season, the better.  Try to get pictures or video of them if you can.  Before the season starts, have them numbered in the order that you want the most and focus on number one opening morning.  You can choose to focus on him the rest of the season, or try the next one in the lineup if you can’t turn #1 up.

Scouting can mean different things for different areas.  If you plan to be hunting out of a tree stand, then your best scouting weapon will undoubtedly be trail cameras.  Put these up where you think the animals will be.  Not only will you figure out how many deer, elk, or whatever you are hunting are in the area, but you will also be able to get a good idea of the quality.  That way you can pass up a nice buck if you know there is a bigger one in the area.  Take time to pick the best location possible for a tree stand and put it up at least a month before opening day of bow and arrow hunting season so the animals will have time to get use to it.  It may be wise to have more than one tree stand up in different locations that you can hunt depending on weather conditions; mainly wind.

For areas that are more prone to spot and stalk or ambush hunting, then good optics will be your best scouting tool; namely binoculars and a spotting scope (click link to see a list of the best of each in order by price).  Try to find the animals from a distance, and then observe.  Do not try to get to close; you do not want to spook them.  When the season opens you will know right where to go.

By putting in your time scouting preseason you will get the most efficient use of your hunting time, especially if you plan to spot and stalk.  With bow and arrow hunting you need to waste as little time as possible.

Hunting Season:

Tree Stand or Blind Hunting: If you have done your preseason scouting, opening day will find you in the spot you have located your first pick animal.  Pick your tree stand depending on the wind.  Even if you think one of your stands is in a better location than the others, if the wind is wrong, leave it alone.  With big bucks or bulls, one false move may be the end of it and they will go elsewhere.

Get in your stand early; well before light.  This will give things time to settle down.  Make sure you can get to and from your stand silently and as quickly as possible.  Then it is a waiting game.  Be patient and stick it out.  If you have done good scouting, then you have already increased your odds.

Bow and Arrow Hunting

Waiting for the conditons to become right all day long resulted in taking this nice white tail buck with bow and arrow right before dark as he got up to feed.

Spot and Stalk Hunting: Opening day should find you doing one of two things.  If you have done your scouting and have a good pattern established on the buck you are focusing on, then your best bet might be to intercept him at some point in his daily routine.  This can be at a water hole, at his bedding area, feeding area, or anywhere in between; it will mostly depend on the individual animal and where you can slip into without being detected.

If you think spot and stalk is your best bet for your area, then opening morning should begin just like a scouting morning, except you will have your bow and arrows with you.  The goal is to find the animal first, and then decide on when and how to go about getting within bow and arrow hunting range.

The right time to make the stalk may be right away if you determine the wind is blowing right and you feel you have a shot at getting within range undetected.  Other times you might have to just watch them until conditions improve, they bed down, and or the wind changes or gets stronger.

One of the hardest things to do while spot and stalk bow and arrow hunting is to be patient and hold off on a stalk if conditions are not right or if the target animal is in a bad position.  If you choose to stalk a buck and fail do to getting winded, heard, or seen, then there is a chance you will have a much harder time finding that deer again then if you just wait until things change.  More times than not, the animal will change location or conditions will change throughout the day making the likely hood of getting to within bow and arrow range of the buck much better.  It is not uncommon to watch a deer all day and not have the opportunity presented to make a probable stalk.  At least there is a good chance you will be able to find that deer the next day if you do not spook it.

Do Not Get Discouraged:

One of the main reasons for hunters to give up on bow and arrow hunting is the many times you will get close, but not get a shot off.  Some people are lucky enough to get a shot their first time out, but this is unlikely.  Most people have their fair share of close calls before they get off a shot.

Tree Stand Bow and Arrow Hunting: You will undoubtedly see more deer out of range than in range, unless you set up your stand in an area where you can only see 40 yards.  Many times a nice buck will pass by just out of range.  It is frustrating, but at least you know the animals are in the area.  If this happens repeatedly, then you might want to consider a quick stand placement change to get closer to where the deer are coming through.

Spot and Stalk Bow and Arrow Hunting: After many years of hunting with a bow and arrow, I have had more than my fair share of close calls.  In fact, I have found that it is not all that hard to stalk within 50 yards of a mature buck or bull.  The hardest part is getting a shot opportunity.  I have found that about one out of six stalks results in a shot opportunity, even if you get within shooting range every time.  So if a stalk is unsuccessful, then go find another buck to stalk on.  It is largely a numbers game.  If you can average at least one stalk per day, then you can expect to have the chance to kill an animal in a week hunt. Sometimes it will take longer though and others it might happen on day one.

Bow and Arrow Practice:

You cannot shoot your bow enough to prepare for an upcoming season.  If you plan to begin bow and arrow hunting, then it is suggested that you get your bow and arrows early and practice a long time before the season opens.  Some people buy a bow and arrows and then expect to shoot an animal in as little as a couple of weeks.  This is not acceptable as it takes time and lots of practice to become consistent with archery.

Practice in the field: If you are hunting out of a tree stand, then you need to practice shooting like you will be hunting.  Practice shooting from an elevated position, as it is much different than shooting on the ground.  Same goes for spot and stalk; you might find yourself shooting from a number of positions: on a side hill, up or down hill, crouching, off a cliff, or any other angle you can think of.  It is best to be prepared, so practice all different ways.  You do not want to miss the buck of a life time due to a miss; I speak from personal experience.

Having the Right Setup Tuned Properly

It is pointless to do anything that has to do with archery without having a bow and arrow setup that is tuned correctly.  Even the most expensive bow on the market will not shoot a good group if it is not tuned correctly.  Make sure you have an experienced archery technician take a look at your set up.

There are things that need to be lined up correctly in order to get consistency.  Likewise, your arrows will need to have the correct specs in accordance with the amount of draw weight and arrow length you are shooting.  The biggest factor is arrow spine with most arrows having a spine of 340–400, with the smaller the number meaning the stiffer the arrow/spine.  When in doubt, go with a stiffer spine.

If you are experiencing difficulties in consistent accuracy, you should have things checked out by an experienced technician.  Even if your bow and arrows are dialed in, then the tech might be able to point out problems in your shooting form.

Determine Your Own Luck:

Sure, there is a part of hunting that is luck, but with the information above you will be able to put that luck on your side.  Why do some people consistently get mature animals?  It is because they know what they are doing and have learned from the mistakes they have made in the past.

To get you started in the right direction as far as equipment, check out these links: Best Arrows for Hunting and Best Broadheads for Hunting. Of course the right equipment will only get you started.  It is up to you to do the practice and scouting that result in trophy animals.

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Hunting Binoculars : Using Optics to Maximize Your Hunting Success

Hunting Binoculars - Mule Deer Buck

Proper use of binoculars can lead to trophy opportunities regardless of the terrain.

For a list of the best hunting binoculars broke down into price ranges, Click Here: Hunting Binoculars

Hunting Binoculars:

Aside from the actual weapon of choice, hunting binoculars are perhaps the most important tool a hunter can pull out of the arsenal.  Of course, just wearing binoculars around a neck will not improve a hunter’s odds of success, as they need to be utilized in the right way to take down mature animals that pack around a lot of good eating meat, as well as large racks. Here we will discuss how to utilize hunting binoculars to maximize your hunting success.

The Best Binoculars for Hunting:

The first thing you need to do in order to make yourself a better hunter by using binoculars is to purchase a nice set.  This does not mean you need the best binoculars ever built; it just means you need some quality glass that you and your eyes will be comfortable enough to use for long periods of time.

The best advice I can give you is to go with the best binoculars you can afford because you get what you pay for.  Hunting Binoculars range from $200, all the way up to $3,000, and there is quite a difference in quality.  For a list of the best hunting binoculars broke down into price ranges, Click Here: Hunting Binoculars

Using Hunting Binoculars:

Packing quality hunting binoculars does not immediately make a person a better hunter.  Binoculars are most commonly used once an animal has been seen, and is usually heading in the other direction.  This is better than just using a rifle to shoot it without being able to properly judge it, but it is definitely not the best use of hunting binoculars.  What are the best ways to use hunting binoculars? Finding and identifying animals.

Finding Animals:

Hunting Binoculars

Be sure to use binoculars often to make sure you find the deer before they find you.

Regardless of the animal you are hunting, the main object and the best chance of getting an ethical shot is to see the animal before they detect you.  Of course they have their ears and nose to rely on in addition to their eyes, so it is best to find them from a distance.  To make it hard on us hunters, most game animals tend to blend in with their habitats, which makes there very hard to detect with the naked eye.  Thank the hunting gods for binoculars.

If it is daylight before you leave your hunting vehicle, this is the place to begin using your binoculars.  You want to pick the area apart before you enter to make sure you do not scare your game away as soon as you open the door.  That’s right; begin your glassing before you leave your vehicle.  Look both near and far.  You will be amazed at how hard a deer is to see in the middle of a green field before there is full light.

The area you are hunting will also depict how you can use your hunting binoculars.  Obviously, the more open an area, the more land you will be able to cover from one spot.  If you are hunting an area that offers a lot of cover, that means you will have to look even harder, as the animals have more area to hide.  You can glass an area one minute and see nothing, than wait another minute or two and see several deer that were behind brush the first glance.

Once you have glassed an area with your hunting binoculars you will either find an animal, or you will not (duh).  If you don’t, then you can move on, but continue to glass as you make your way.  It is unbelievable how many animals you will see just be changing your angle.  If you do see an animal, then you will need to judge it to determine if it is an animal you want to consider taking, depending on your standards.

Identifying Animals:

Once you find an animal, you then need to identify it.  This is when nice hunting binoculars really shine.  If it is in fact the type of game animal you are after, then use the binoculars to judge the animal and make sure it lives up to your standards.

If you are able to use your binoculars to help you spot the animals before they spot you, then you will have much more time to decide on the worthiness of the animal instead of sizing him up after he is down.  They almost always shrink when all you see is them running a way.

Using Binoculars During a Spot and Stalk Hunt:

If you can spot an animal that you deem worthy of hunting, but need to reduce the distance between it and you, then you are “Spot and Stalk” hunting.  When stalking on an animal, you need to pick a land mark, or several, so you will know when to glass when you get there.  Things look a lot different when you get closer.  Once you begin to see your landmarks, then you want to begin using you binoculars to find the target before he finds you.  Look for the slightest of signs; all it takes is the tip of an antler or the flicker of an ear, things you would not be able to see with the naked eye.  Sometimes, they have to stand up before you can see them.  In this case it is best to let them stand up on their own and then take advantage of a good shot.

Having Confidence in Your Glassing

It is easy to put your glass up to your eyes for a few minutes, not see much, and then begin walking.  If you have not experienced the advantage of finding animals you would not have found without binoculars, then it is hard to give optics the proper amount of time for them to be a huge benefit.  Once you get good at using binoculars to find your game, then you will build confidence in your ability to spot game from a distance, and then you will realize the benefit you have when you see the animals before they see you.  The more you find your game this way, the more time you will spend behind the glass.  If you look long enough through binoculars where there are game, you will find them.

Let Your Hunting Binoculars Do the Walking

Hunting Binoculars

The author was able to use his binoculars to find this buck mid day and then to determine it was a shooter. The deer did not know he was being watched and Chris was able to make a good shot.

In areas that are open, steep, and or nasty, the best thing to do is glass from a vantage point where you can view the area without disturbing the animals that call it home.  You may have to find several of these vantage points to effectively glass the entire area, but that is better than walking it all and possibly spooking your intended target into the next county without ever realizing he was even in there.

If you glass an area that you believe a bib buck lives, but fail to see him, come back in a few hours or even the next day.  Chances are he is still in there as long as you are someone else has not walked through the area and chased him out.

Use Your Binoculars All Day Long

Using hunting binoculars to glass is an effective strategy to use from the time the sun begins to light up the sky, to the time the light fades away, and all day in between.  Sure, you will find the most game in the mornings and evenings when deer are making their ways to and from their feeding and bedding areas.   This is not the only time you should utilize your binoculars though.  You should also use them throughout the day.

Bedding areas are a good spot to find deer at all hours of the day.  Even in brushy areas it is worthwhile to keep your optics up to your eyes as animals will often get up out of their beds throughout the day to stretch, nibble on some vegetation, kick their beds around, or even go for a drink.  If you find the game in their beds, then you can formulate a plan to stalk within range if you are not close enough already, or you can put yourself in position to ambush them as they get up in the evening.

Practice Glassing: Scouting

The best way to get good and build confidence in your glassing abilities is to practice.  The best time to do that is preseason before the hunt starts.  For one thing, the game, especially mature game, is much more visible throughout the summer, so you will be able to find more, thus building your confidence in your use of binoculars.  By being out in the area you plan to hunt you will also be getting a good feel for what type of animals the area holds and where they live, so you will know exactly where to be when the season starts.  This is a huge benefit you will have over most other hunters who hunt aimlessly hoping to jump an animal and get a shot off as it is running away.  This usually results in missed or wounded game and requires a lot more energy than using your hunting binoculars to find game.

Hunting Spotting Scopes:

Best Spotting Scope for Hunting

In addition to binoculars, there is not substitute for a good spotting scope; another great tool for finding and judging game.

The next most important tool for a hunter after binoculars is a spotting scope.  If you cannot find the animals with binoculars, then pull out the spotting scope and you will be amazed at how many deer you can miss with binoculars.  A spotting scope is also worth its weight in gold once you find the animals to identify whether or not it is an animal that fits your standards or not.  You can go here: Best Spotting Scopes for Hunting for a list of spotting scopes broke down into price ranges so you can get the best on you can afford.

Conclusion:

If you have not relied on you hunting binoculars in the past to find game before they find you, then you have been missing out on some great hunting opportunities.  Glassing for animals is relaxing, fun, rewarding, and most of all, efficient.  Once you realize this you will most likely find yourself punching your tag on some of your best trophies to date, and will be eating 100% organic meat of the best kind.

Before you can begin using hunting binoculars to spot game, you will want to make sure you have the best binoculars you can afford.  Check out this page: Best Binoculars for Hunting where the best hunting binoculars have been broke down into price ranges so you can choose the best hunting binoculars that fit your budget.



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Canon Vixia HF G10 Review: A True Test in the Outdoors

Canon Vixia HF G10 Review

Canon Vixia HF G10 Review

The Canon Vixia is a professional video camera in a compact, consumer sized package, great for all video, including outdoors and in low light.

This is a  Canon Vixia HF G10 Digital Video Camera Review.  I am an outdoor enthusiast and gave this camera a in depth review to help fellow outdoorsmen and women choose a camera for their outdoor adventures based on their budget.

For more suggested video cameras in other price ranges, click here: Best Video Camera for Hunting

I used the Canon Vixia HF G10 over the course of a couple weeks to get to know it well enough to give anybody that is interested an honest, unbiased review.  Just to give you a prelude of my thoughts on this camera, I ended up keeping it for my own personal use as it has many attributes an outdoors enthusiast needs in a compact HD video camera, and is a step up from what I was using previously.

With a price tag of just over $1,300, the Canon is on the high end of the consumer video cameras on the market today.  If you spend much more than that, then you should expect to get a prosumer video camera, designed for professional grade videos, but will be much larger.

I tried two different models of mics and both of them increased the sound quality.  The first one I tried was the Sennheiser MKE 400 Shotgun Microphone, which worked great but was bigger than I was expecting and required a universal adapter. The Second one i tried (and kept) is the Canon SM-V1 5.1 Channel Surround Microphone and it is everything I hoped for: small, great sound quality, needs no adapter, and plugs into the hot shoe platform without a cord needed. It is the mic in the picture to the left. While the Sennheiser may be the higher quality sound device, I prefer the compact design of the Canon SM-V1 for the outdoor activities I do with it and the mobility. Check it out here: Canon SM-V1 5.1 Channel Surround Microphone

For more information, customer reviews, or to buy, click here:

Canon Vixia HF G10 Video Camera @ Amazon.com                Price: $1,239.00
Canon Vixia HF G10 Video Camera @ BHPhotoVideo.com      Price: $1,228.99

*** Check all sites as prices change often and each have different customer reviews ***

 

Canon Vixia HF G10 Video Camera

Video Quality:

The most important aspect of a video camera is the video quality.  This just happens to be a strong point of the Canon Vixia HF G10.  Canon does not lie when they claim this camera shoots professional grade video in a consumer priced and consumer sized video camera.  The images really are crystal clear, smooth, and display vibrant colors in High Definition.

Here are a few short video clip of some mule deer bucks that I videoed.  For the best quality, be sure to watch it in 1080p HD to get a real understanding of the video quality of this camera.  Keep in mind that some of the video quality is lost over the internet, so actual videos from your camcorder to your computer will be even clearer and of higher quality.


*** For best quality, change to 1080p and watch in full screen ***

How to Change to 1080p: start the video; where it says 360p, click and select 1080p
Watch Full Screen: click on the four arrows in the bottom right corner of video screen

Sound Quality:

Canon HF G10 with Mic

Although the internal audio is great, for windy conditions you may want to invest in an external mic with a wind cover (wind cover not shown in photo)

The sound system of the Canon HF G10 is very customizable for certain situations and consists of a 5.1 surround sound that captures high quality audio.  I have not had enough time, nor enough situations to to test out the many features, functions, and variations that are possible with this video camera’s audio components, but what I have used seem to function very well and easily.  For the most part, I just leave it to normal mode as I do not think the other functions are going to make a whole lot of difference in the outdoor scenes that I like to video.

Wind: Canon has yet to figure out how to reduce wind noise with built in microphones.  Of course, an external mic with a wind sock can reduce this noise a lot, and is suggested if you want superb audio quality.  In a few situations where I had strong winds, the sound from it was very noticeable.  This however is a common occurrence regardless of which video camera you use without an external microphone in windy conditions.

Size:

Canon Vixia HF G10 Review

The Canon Vixia HF G10 offer the best feel of any compact video camera due to its ideal size.

The Canon Vixia HF G10 is by no means the size of a prosumer model camera (much smaller), but is definitely larger than many of the less expensive, compact video cameras on the market today.  This can be both good and bad though.  First of all, most of the ultra compact cameras are too small to feel very good in the palm of the average adult’s hands.  The Canon Vixia HF G10 is big enough that you know it is there, yet small enough to pack it anywhere and for anything.  It weighs in at just 1.2 lbs and has dimensions of 3.0 x 3.1 x 5.9 inches.

The slightly larger size of the Canon Vixia HF G10 allows me to use it in a steadier manner, and also makes many of the functions easier to use, as well as giving you a larger LCD screen which is very nice for both recording and play back.

 Ease of Use:

I pulled the Canon Vixia HF G10 Video Camera out of the box, plugged it in, and instantly began shooting a video of my children.  Everything is very straight forward for basic video recording.  If you are scared that a camera may be over your head, fear not of this one.  Sure, there are some advanced functions that you may choose to use in the future, but for the most part, you will get out standing video out of the auto mode, or even the manual mode on auto focus.

If you are videoing in the outdoors, you will want to experiment with the manual focus to be sure you are focusing on the right object (I have yet to have this happen on auto focus with this camera, but it could).  The focus ring is at the end of the lens and operates by turning the dial, much like that of a professional video camera.  This is certainly a step up from the knobs common on less expensive models.

Memory Storage:

Canon Vixia HF G10 Video Storage

With two SD card slots, an amazing amount of video can be saved in addition to the 32 GB hard drive.

The Canon Vixia HF G10 comes equipped with a 32 GB internal hard drive.  That will get you about 12 hours on the lowest quality video setting and about 3 hours on the highest.  I do feel they could have included more hard drive space on a video camera of this size and one that takes such high quality video, which takes up more space.  In fact, there are several cameras that are more compact, cost half as much, and have just as much or more hard drive space.

That being said, even if the hard drive had two or three times as much space as it does, I would still not use it.  The Canon HF G10 has two SD card slots, which enables you to add an almost unlimited amount of storage to your video camera.  I bought two 128 GB SD Cards which enables me to capture 24 hours of the highest quality (MXP) video.  It is much easier dealing with the SD cards than the hard drive as all I have to do is take out the card and put it in to my computer, instead of dealing with cords and wasting battery power of the camera.

Low Light Video Recording:

Canon HD CMOS Pro

Click on this picture to see how Canon Vixia Video Cameras capture the most light possible.

One of the main selling points that Canon has over its competition is its low light rating, know as Lux.  The Canon Vixia HF G10 has a lux rating of 1.5, which is much better than most.  The way they obtain these results is by using larger pixels, not more.  Canon Vixia Video Cameras record video in 2.07 mega pixels, which is exactly 1920 X 1080p, which is the same as professional grade video cameras.  I am not going to go over the details in the review, but here is a video that explains it all real well: Canon Vixia CMOS Pro Video

What did I find when shooting in low light conditions?  I found the low light abilities to be great in the Canon Vixia HF G10.  In fact, the video camera was able to produce more light than was actually there.  When I played the video back, it appeared to be lighter than what my eyes were seeing.  Therefor, I would say the low light recording is excellent for this camera, which is a big deal regardless of whether you plan to be shooting video indoors and outdoors.

Manual Functions:

This video camera offers a lot of manual controls, but most are accessed through the touch screen.  This makes it difficult to adjust many of the functions while recording like you can with bigger professional grade video cameras.  This is an easy trade off for the size comparison between the Canon Vixia HF G10 and other professional grade equipment; it just isn’t big enough to have these buttons and knobs on the outside.  Still, these functions such as exposure, aperture, shutter speed, white balance, gain and zoom speed can be adjusted manually.

If you are like most people and just want high quality video with out the worries of manual adjustment, then just set it to auto and you will not be disappointed.  One thing to keep in mind though is that on auto mode, you can only zoom in using the optical zoom.  With it set to manual mode, you may use optical and digital zoom, allowing you to zoom in much closer.  Even on Manual mode without changing any of the manual functions, the video has turned out stunningly, in fact the video above is filmed in this manner.

Zoom:

The Canon Vixia HF G10 is equipped with a 10X optical zoom.  Videos that are zoomed in offer near the same quality as no zoom.  Unfortunately, they are not breaking any records with the 10X optical zoom and I would prefer 20X which is available on some video cameras which cost less.  There is a 200X digital zoom, but using the digital zoom will decrease the video quality showing more distortion the more you zoom in.  Therefor it is important to not zoom in to that point.

The zoom button is located in a convenient spot and is easy and smooth to use.  Also, as stated in the manual functions above, the zoom speed is adjustable and can be set for several different speeds, making for a smoother video.

Wide Angle Lens:

One of the main selling points of the Canon Vixia HF G10 Video Camera is the wide angel lens.  I have been amazed at what ends up in the screen even though I might think it is well out of view.

Battery Life:

Best Video Camera for Hunting

Showing the Canon Vixia HF G10 with the BP-827B Battery protruding out the back allowing well over 300 minutes of record time.

The Canon Vixia HF G10 comes with a rechargeable, intelligent (displays time left), lithium-ion Battery (BP-808B).  Brand new and fully charged, I can get about 100 minutes out of a battery.  I have also purchased some generic off brand batteries that are bigger in size, very inexpensive, and offer up to 330 minutes of record time (that is what it says on the LCD screen, it may last more or less time).

The battery the video camera comes with is the BP-808B.  I have bought both a BP-819B and a BP-827B generic batteries and both work well and communicate with the camera.  The 827 is large and sticks out the back a ways whereas the 819 fits much better but does not have quite the charge life. They are also much less expensive than the Canon Batteries although they do have less favorable reviews.  Of the generics that I have tried, Wasabi makes the best and has the best reviews. You can check them all out here : Canon Batteries

Software:

The Canon Vixia HF G10 comes with video editing software.  At first I was not sure about it, but after messing with it on a few videos, I have found it to work well and easy, with no loss of video quality.  One thing you need to remember is that YouTube does not offer support for .mts files, which is the format that most HD video cameras record in, so you may have to convert you files to .avi, .wmv, or some other format.  The easiest way I have found is use Windows Movie Maker and then publish it straight to YouTube from there.  I figure, as so many video cameras have began to record in .mts format that YouTube will begin to offer support sooner than later.

Touch Screen:

Canon Vixia HF G10 Video Camera

A large LCD screen allows for great play back and easy navigation

The 3.5 LCD Screen on the Canon Vixia HF G10 is bigger than most, allowing you to get enjoy the play back right on the video camera itself.  The touch screen is very ease to use and doe not take long to get use to.  You have to push firmly, but once use to it, I was able to scroll through all the menus and play back videos with ease.  It is definitely better than buttons.

 

Overall Thoughts:

My overall rating after giving the Canon Vixia HF G10 a thorough testing is 4.75 stars out of 5.  The only things I would change is a 20X optical zoom and the ability to use the digital zoom on auto mode.  Other than that I am very happy with this video camera.  It is the perfect size, can hold a ton of video with the 2 SD card slots, and record stunning High Definition video.  As I mentioned  at the beginning of this review is the fact that I got this camera to review it, but I will keep it as it is a significant step up from what I have been using in the past.

For more information, customer reviews, or to buy, click here:

Canon Vixia HF G10 Video Camera @ Amazon.com                Price: $1,239.00
Canon Vixia HF G10 Video Camera @ BHPhotoVideo.com      Price: $1,228.99

*** Check both sites as prices change often and each have different customer reviews ***

 

 

 

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Mountain Lion Encounter: A Weaponless Hunter Finds Himself Face to Face with a Cougar

By Chris Jackson
September 2, 2011

A Face to Face Mountain Lion Encounter

Growing up in the mountains and semi-arid canyon lands of the Northwest United States of Idaho, Washington, and Oregon, I have had several experiences realizing both how peaceful and dangerous the outdoors can be.  I have logged many days hunting, fishing, hiking, but it was not until a few days after my 31st birthday during an early season archery mule deer hunt that I truly realized that us as humans are not exactly the top of the food chain.

The Hunter

Cougar Country

A picture showing the semi-arid canyon lands where the mountain lion encounter occurred, as well as the primitive road (that is steeper than this picture gives it credit, down to the creek.

We were only a few warm days into the archery mule deer hunt, as my brother (Shawn) and myself road double down a steep four wheeler trail on my Honda Trail 90.  On the way down it was obvious that the trail was steeper than I had expected and that we were surely going to have fun trying to get out of this hole with the two of us on the little trail bike.  A four wheeler was sounding real good at the time.

We spent a fair amount of time down in the canyon that morning looking for deer.  As it began to heat up, we decided we had better think about getting us and our gear (back pack full of water, supplies, and two bows, out of this hole.

We gave it a little go and realized pretty quick that we were going to have to start by packing our gear out first, and then attempt to ride both of us out.  So the plan was for Shawn to drop off the gear at the top and then come back and get me.  But instead of me waiting around for him, I decided to hike up the hillside with only my hunting binoculars, and then side hill on a rim around to a timbered, north facing slope.

The Hunted

Walking line to where the cougar encounter occurred.

The orange line shows the path I took, with the blue dot being where the mountain lion encounter occurred.

It was very steep (at least a 45 degree angle) as I walked along some rim rock.  The rim petered out and I circled down below it.  That is when I caught some movement in the vegetation above the cliff.  I thought “that was more movement than what should have been,” but I figured it was just grass popping back up from where I had stepped even though I thought I saw something black!  Then, not more than a few seconds later up jumped a mountain lion atop the cliff 13 yards away from me and probably 6-8 feet higher (I actually went back and ranged it).  As soon as it realized that I had seen it, the big cat stopped and just stood on the rock starring a hole through me.  He was expressionless and just looked at me without any fear whatsoever.  The feeling was not mutual.  I yelled at him and threw my hands up to make myself appear intimidating.  The big, full grown Mountain Lion just looked at me, both frightening and beautiful at the same time.

Unfortunately I was weaponless as Shawn had all of our stuff.  At this point a knife was sounding real good. I tried throwing rocks at the cat, but they were in short supply and too big to throw accurately.  One rock landed right at the cat’s feet, but did not phase him.  After 3 or four rocks, my supply of throw-able ones was exhausted.  I tried throwing up my arms and charging at the cougar, but he was not scared.  Even at this point, I felt that he realized I was not exactly the food he was after and he would keep his distance (13 yards) so I stayed relatively calm and knew that I should not turn my back and run as he could surely out run me in any country, let alone that steep, rocky, brushy hillside.

Mountain Lion Encounter

I photo shopped the picture of a Mountain Lion where the big cat first appeared and stood on the rock. I was standing in the spot I took the picture from. Too close for comfort.

After at least a minute of him patiently watching me, I guess the Mountain Lion decided I was nothing to be to scared of.  That is when things got extremely intense. He jumped down off the cliff and was heading right at me at full speed.  He moved at me just like you see them as they are going after a deer on T.V., only more intense. That is when my instinct took over and I threw my hands up and ran at him yelling as loud as could. At no more than 5 yards he halted, turned around and headed back to just below the rock he had been standing on.  I backed up and then charged him again, yelling as loud as I could.  Finally he took a few leaps the other direction and was out of sight.

I sighed a huge sigh of relief as I began backing down the hillside, but it was premature.  Just as quick as he left I heard foot steps coming my way.  The cougar came back to its spot just below the cliff and again starred me down.  That is when Shawn called me on the radio.  “Copy Chris?”  I glanced over to see his white pick up 600 yards away as far down the road as he could back it down the four wheeler trail as the Trail Bike had overheated on his way out.

I can only imagine the sound of my voice when I responded “I have a Cougar at ten yards, do you have your rifle?”

“Come back and talk slower I can’t understand you?” he replied.

Again “I have a cougar at ten yards, do you have your rifle?” I think I may have even had to say it once more.

Mountian Lion Attack

The orange dot is where the Cat stood and I at the blue dot.

Then I just put my radio back in my pocket and began whistling as loud as I could (which is loud).  I followed that up by another charge and yelling “GET OUTTA HERE!” several times.  Just as he turned to leave, pistol shots began to ring out across the canyon as Shawn emptied his clip, followed by another clip full.  I began backing down the hill side and once I felt I was a safe distance away I turned and bombed down the hillside, making it down to the four wheeler road just as Shawn went running by, loaded pistol in hand.

We sat there discussing what had just happened and what we should do about it.  We decided we would have to come back with more fire power as there is a possibility that the cougar had a kill in that area and was just trying to scare me away.  If that is the case, he did well, as I was not sticking around to find it.

The Return

We found ourselves back at the mountain lion encounter area the following  day with shotgun, rifle, pistol and a video camera.  We crept in there quietly and did some “deer in distress” calls to see if we could get the lion to show itself one again, hoping he’d be in the same location if he had a kill close by.  He never did come in, but at least we gave it a try.  We never did find any lion kills in the area either, so why he came after me is still to be determined.  You’d think if he wanted to eat me, he would have, but maybe I caught him off guard with my aggressiveness.

Side Arms

I know.  Most of you are wondering why I did not have a pistol on my side for protection.  Well, I do now!  I have always figured there is more chance of shooting myself or someone else than there is me needing to defend myself against a wild animal.  Now my opinion has changed and I think I will just rely on extra safety while packing around a pistol.  A pistol would have been looking real good about the time that cat jumped on that rock at just a few cougar strides away.

I would not want to relive that exact experience ever again, but give me a weapon to level the playing field, and then I might feel a little more confident.  Now that it is over and everything turned out fine, I am glad it happened as it makes for a good story.  I hope you have enjoyed it.  You can read more of my articles at http://www.BestforHunting.com

 

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Binocular Ratings: The Highest Rated Binoculars by Category

Binocular Ratings

The author satisfying his binocular obsession by field testing the Vortex Talon HD

There are an incredible amount of Binoculars on the market these days, many of which are top of the line. Binocular Ratings can be given to determine the best binoculars, but which binoculars are actually the best for you will depend on many personal factors; the largest factor being budget.  The biggest problem is that the highest rated binoculars will undoubtedly be far too expensive for 90% of binocular buyers to even think about.

That being said, here we will give binocular ratings for several different categories including: Best Overall Binocular, Best Value Binocular, Best Compact Binocular, Best Inexpensive Binocular,

Binocular Ratings :
Best Rated Binoculars by Category

Please go through the links on this page before buying any binoculars we recommend to ensure you get the best price and so we get credit for sending you.  Thank You

Best Overall Rated Binoculars

Binocular Ratings: Best Overall

Rated Best Overall Binoculars: Swarovski EL Swarovision 10X42

Swarovski Swarovision 10×42 mm:
Rated the best binocular for many factors except price.  Swarovski has been at the top of the optics  manufactures for as long as I can remember.  As you can see from the picture, the Swarovision is very nice to look at.  What you can’t tell is just how great they are to look through; simply the best binoculars money can buy. These binoculars are very comfortable enabling you to glass for hours without eye fatigue.  The Swarovision Binoculars feel great in your hands, are balanced to perfection, and have the feel of incredible quality.

Swarovski is very proud of their products, so plan to pay a premium price if you want the overall best rated binoculars.  Their price is justified by insane quality and a lifetime warranty (if taken care of, you will only need one).  The Swarovision come in several different magnification levels.  You should choose the one that fits your situation best.

For more information or to buy, Click Here:

Swarovski EL Swarovision 10×42 Best Price: $2,479 @ EagleOptics.com
Amazon price may be lower : Swarovski EL Swarovision Binoculars @ Amazon.com

Swarovski SLC HD 10×42 Best Price: $2,149 @ EagleOptics.com
Amazon price may be lower : Swarovski SLC HD  Binoculars @ Amazon.com

 

Rated Best Value Binoculars

Binocular Ratings: Best Value

Vortex Talon HD: Rated Best Value due to its high quality optics and strong build.

Vortex HD Talon 10X42 Binocular:
You do not have to spend a fortune to get a great set of binoculars.  The Vortex Talon HD Binoculars are the best you can get for a under $500, and will rival any that are more expensive in clarity, quality, and comfort.  The field of view is about the best you will be able to find in its respective Magnification; 10 power has a field of view of  348 feet at 1000 yards.

You will have a hard time finding binoculars for anywhere near the same price as the Vortex Talon HD that offers High Density (HD) and low dispersion glass.  This makes for a clear, bright, and true to color image that stretches from one side to the other without the soft edges that you find in most other sub $500 binoculars.  I could keep on going on about these top rated binoculars, but if you are seriously interested check out this: Vortex Talon HD Review and Field Test

For More information, customer reviews, and to buy, Click Here:

Vortex Talon HD Binoculars @ EagleOptics.com   Price:   $439-$449
Vortex Talon HD 10×40 Binoculars @ Amazon.com
   Price:   $439-$449
(check both stores as prices do change)

 

Rated Best Inexpensive Binoculars

Binocular Ratings: Best Inexpensive Binoculars

The Bushnell Excursions Binoculars have the feel, shape, and size of high dollar binoculars at lest than one tenth of the price!

Bushnell 10 x 42 Excursion EX Binoculars:  If you are in the market for a pair of inexpensive binoculars, these will be your best bet.  The size of these binoculars are ideal and are the same shape of higher end models giving them a comfortable feel.  With a field of view of 341 feet at 1000 yards, you will not have a problem keeping objects in sight.  For such inexpensive glass, these are incredibly clear, and when compared with high end glasses, there is definitely not a two thousand dollar difference.

Binocular Ratings: Best Inexpensive Binoculars, Camo

The Excursions offer great optics for such a cheap price. The benefits of mass production and cheap labor.

Even though these binoculars are not made with near the quality components or tradition as the models that cost much more, they are still guaranteed waterproof and fog proof with quality construction.  With soft touch grips, a light weight design,  and extended eye relief (for use with glasses), these binoculars are the best for a person on a budget or for a gift for any outdoorsmen.  Even if they have a more expensive pair of hunting binoculars, these will make a great back up or an additional set for in the truck, boat, or RV.

The prices below reflects the prices at the time of this writing.  These binoculars have a list price of $349.00, so if the prices remain the same at below $200.00, then you will be getting a heck of a binocular at a great price.

For more information or to buy, Click the links below:

Bushnell 10 x 42 Excursion EX AP Black Best Price: Binoculars.com $179.98
Bushnell 10 x 42 Excursion EX AP Camo
Best Price: Amazon.com $197.80

 

Rated Best Compact Binoculars

To see the Binocular Ratings of the Best Compact Binoculars, Follow this link:
Best Compact Binoculars Broke Down By Price Range

Binocular Ratings: Best Compact Binoculars

Click this image to view Compact Binocular Ratings broke down by price range.

When figuring out the best compact binoculars, the first thing you need to figure out is how much money you are willing to spend.  Compact binoculars can be a cheap as $10 or as expensive as $2,000.  If a guy was to pick out the best compact binoculars, then he would surely have to choose one that is going to be a bit more expensive than the average person wants to spend.  Therefor, for this category of Binocular Ratings, we will choose several different binoculars that will cover most peoples budgets.

Best Compact Binoculars: Something to Keep In Mind
The biggest factor that makes a binocular compact is a small objective lens (the lens opposite the eye piece). Due to the small objective lens, compact binoculars are limited to the amount of light they are capable of capturing, thus giving you a darker, less defined image.  This darkness and distortion is multiplied with more magnification.  Due to this, it is suggested that you use compact binoculars with magnification of 8 power, with 10 power being an absolute maximum.

To see the Binocular Ratings of the Best Compact Binoculars, Follow this link:
Best Compact Binoculars Broke Down By Price Range

 

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Best Compact Binoculars

Best Compact Binoculars

The Author satisfying his binocular obsession.

After field testing, researching and reviewing, we have determined a list of Best Compact Binoculars broke down into different price ranges.

Budget? When figuring out the best compact binoculars, the first thing you need to figure out is how much money you are willing to spend.  Compact binoculars can be a cheap as $10 or as expensive as $2,000.  If a guy was to pick out the best compact binoculars, then he would surely have to choose one that is going to be a bit more expensive than the average person wants to spend.  Therefor, for this category of Binocular Ratings, we will choose several different binoculars that will cover most peoples budgets.

Best Compact Binoculars: Something to Keep In Mind
The biggest factor that makes a binocular compact is a small objective lens (the lens opposite the eye piece). Due to the small objective lens, compact binoculars are limited to the amount of light they are capable of capturing, thus giving you a darker, less defined image.  This darkness and distortion is multiplied with more magnification.  Due to this, it is suggested that you use compact binoculars with magnification of 8 power, with 10 power being an absolute maximum.

 Please go through the links on this page to ensure you get the best price possible and so we get credit for sending you.  Thank You!

Best Value Priced Compact Binoculars

Best Compact Binoculars: Value Priced

Nikon pulls through with another great product at an affordable price.

Nikon ProStaff ATB Binocular: (ATB = All Terrain Binoculars)  These compact binoculars offer a very light weight (12.5 oz) option to standard sized binoculars.  Even though they are as small as they are, they still crank out some bright images, with little to no distortion clear out to the edges of the frame.  For a inexpensive pair of compact binoculars, you will not find better than these.

One of the best things that Nikon has going for us, is the fact that these binoculars, and most of their others are covered by a 25 year no faulty warranty.  You can count on Nikon Optics to cater to the average person and provide us with high quality optics at an affordable price. Thank You Nikon!
For more information, customer reviews, or to buy, Click Here:

Nikon ProStaff ATB Compact Binoculars   @Amazon.com              Price: $96.20
Nikon ProStaff ATB Compact Binoculars   @ EagleOptics.com      Price: $109.99
(Check both site as prices may change)

Rated Best Mid Priced Compact Binoculars

Best Compact Binoculars: Mid Priced

The Vortex Viper is a sleek, good looking compact binocular that is just as pleasing to look through.

Vortex Viper Compact Binoculars: This is the smaller brother of the very popular 10×42 Viper.  It is made with all the same high quality components, but on a smaller scale.  Both the XD lenses and XR multi-coatings enhance the viewer’s ability to locate and identify objects, with high-performance roof prisms that are fully phase-corrected to ensure maximum light transmission, contrast, and clarity. Top all that off with these binoculars rated to be dust, fog, and waterproof.

The Vortex sits high in the list of compact binocular ratings for more than just its optical performance.  They also got there due to the fact they are so comfortable in all hand sizes with their unique rubberized coating which also provides an armored shield against the bumps they will undoubtedly experience.  Top this all off with a no fault warranty that lasts a lifetime.

For more information, customer reviews, or to buy, Click Here:

Vortex Viper 8×28 Compact Binocular @  EagleOptics.com    Price: $319.99
Vortex Viper 8×28 Compact Binocular @  Amazon.com 
           Price: $319.99

Rated Best Expensive Priced Compact Binoculars

Best Compact Binoculars: High Quality

The Zeiss Victory Compact Binocular's unique, offset hinge allows for insane compactness, but the optic capabilities are what really "shine"!

Zeiss Victory Compact T* Binocular:  Nearly identical to the other models of the Victory line up, the compact Victory is half the sized but features all the excellent features as does its bigger brother.  Zeiss has made these compact binoculars to be the clearest, crispest, and most light gathering of nearly all compact binoculars.

The Victory has made it to the top of the overall compact binocular ratings because it is one of the smallest you can buy, yet has specs like a 354 foot field of view at 1000 yards, captures incredible light, has highly functionable lens coatings that enhance the light and keep the lenses clean.  Also, the Zeiss Victory Compact Binoculars have an offset hinge which allows them to fold up to fit in most pockets.

For more information, customer reviews, or to buy, Click Here:

Zeiss Victory Compact  T* Binocular @ EagleOptics.com               Price: $549
Zeiss Victory Compact  T* Binocular @ BHPhotoVideo.com        Price: $569.00
Zeiss Victory Compact  T* Binocular @ Amazon.com                       Price: $624.99
(Check all three sites as prices change often)

 

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