Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Scouting!

Just about 3 weeks remain until Archery hunts begin in Utah!  It's no doubt that you hear the words "scouting" echoed from sportsmen and women frequently right now.  The bucks and bulls have nearly reached the full extent of their antler growth, and many of us are now trying to find the one worthy of a tag!  I'm feeling very good myself that rain has returned to southern Utah, providing me a bit of a break from work to get out and do my own scouting!  The trail cams have been kind of a wash to me this year, but I am excited about a couple of groups of bucks, and a few bulls I have stumbled onto in my wanderings. 

I hope to catch a couple of these trophies on the trail camera in the days to come, but for now I hope you enjoy this short video clip of a few bucks I have been watching.  No doubt a few people are going to know where these guys are hanging, but either way I'm keeping it on the down low! 

I want to point out that this simple video was taken without the aid of my spotting scope!  A while back I did a review of my new video camera, and again, I am SO impressed with this little wonder!  If you are in the market for a great, affordable HD video camera, you need to look into the Sony HDR-CX160 Handycam! http://www.suhuntandfish.com/2012/04/product-review-sony-hdr-cx160-handycam.html

Good luck to you as you hit the field scouting for your hunts!  Here's hoping I have more great footage to come your way soon!


video

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Product Review: Wildgame Innovations Red 6 Trail Camera

wildgame innovations red 6
Trail cameras have become a hot topic over the past few years, and I'm amazed at how quickly sportsmen have picked up on this trend!  However, trail cameras tend to be a delicate topics among some sportsmen, as there are those that claim that it borders on the edge of unethical.  Well, that debate is one we will strive to steer clear of here!  However, whether you use trail cameras for scouting out your next hunt, or you simply enjoy placing them in the hills for the amazing wildlife photos, you have to admit, trail camera technology is pretty dang cool!

I am new to the world of trail cameras, but in the short 2 years I have been using them, I can't believe how fast my collection of cameras have grown.  Don't worry ladies, my wife's scrapbooking supply stash has also grown as I have been very good to get approval with the promise that if I get a new camera she can get something she has been eying as well.  Compromise boys, that's what it's all about!  Or was it "it's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission"?  Well, either way, I have been fortunate to purchase new cameras over the past 2 years, and feel like I have a good grasp on the pros and cons of many of the latest cameras out there.  I thought at this point of the season, with the Archery hunts only 3-4 weeks away, this would be a good time to showcase a few of my favorite camera models.

The camera for today is all about good quality at a great price.  Wildgame Innovations seems to be a brand that can quite often be overlooked when you talk trail cameras.  I think a good reason may be that their cameras are quite fairly priced.  When you see a $80-$90 camera next to a $200 camera, my first impression is that there must be a big difference in quality for such a price difference.  I'll get to more of this in a bit.

The Wildgame Innovations Red 6 was my first trail camera.  Why?  Because it was on sale for $89 at the time, and I was looking for a start at a cheap price before I got in to deep!  So, I was looking for the highest mega pixel camera I could find for the price.  This camera came in at 6MP, with a 65' flash range.  The quick research I did (standing in the store) also confirmed that the camera gets pretty good life out of 4 "C" cell batteries.  Reading the packages of several cameras, and pulling up some quick reviews on my i-phone, I came to the conclusion that this camera would also probably be the easiest to operate, a plus for me since I really didn't know what I was getting into.

So I brought the camera home, and like a kid at Christmas tore open the package and dove into figuring out how this thing worked.  At first I was a little shocked at how thin the user guide was (later I would find that other cameras came with what seemed like a small book compared to this small pamphlet).  However with the help of this pamphlet I had the date programmed in, the picture mode/quality set, shot frequency, and other settings in place within 5 minutes.  Cool, I love simple!  The menu was easy to work around, the display sharp and again simple, my SD card was in place, and I was ready to set 'er up! 
Bedded in front of the camera, it doesn't bother this bull!

The camera comes with 2 small bungee straps for securing it to a tree.  I set the camera up easily, and within seconds of turning the power on I noticed pictures counting on the display screen.  The screen powered off, and I left feeling good about the setup.

Two weeks later I returned to see if all was well.  The camera had well over 100 pictures, all of the shots of good to great quality.  The only bad pictures were caused by slobber on the lens, or the camera being bumped while it took a picture.  I had a little trouble catching the traffic on one trail, which I found the range not to be as good as I thought.  30 feet seemed to be about the limit of the camera.

I found that this year as I checked the camera I was getting photos of elk at nearly 50 feet away, so I'm not really sure what happened the first year.

Overall I have enjoyed the simplicity of this camera, and the quality pictures that it produces.  For the price, this is a hard camera to beat, and I will add more to my collection, since the price allows me to buy 2 for the price of one camera of other brands!
This bull is at about 50'

Pros:
  • CHEAP!!!
  • Great picture/video quality for 6MP
  • Very quiet when it snaps pictures
  • Great battery life (3+ months out of 4 C batteries)
  • Very simple to learn to use
  • Easy to navigate menu and setup
  • Stamps date, temperature, time, and picture number on each picture
  • Simple, rugged construction
Cons:
  • Lacks a lot of features that more expensive cameras feature (multiple shot modes, different video modes, built in LCD screen)
  • Poor night photos (not sure if it is just my camera, or if this is normal for this model)
  • Power button is easy to activate.  I have turned mine on several times in my pack as I hike to place the camera
  • Bungee cords can get flipped off of the camera.  I had a bull elk somehow flip one off and I couldn't find it.  I had to rig it back up with a shoelace!
  • No security system
The lack of a security system can be a big turn off to many with this camera, and I feel the same, so I am very careful where I place this particular model of camera.  They are way off of the beaten path where I have never had a problem with others coming into view of the camera.


I have to say that in my mind the pros easily outweigh the cons, especially when considering price.  This is a great starter camera for anyone just getting into the world of trail cameras, or it can be a great addition to those that are already well experienced using trail cameras.

This camera is listed on the http://www.wildgameinnovations.com/  website at $99.99.  As I said, I found the camera on sale at $89.99, so do your research for a good deal.  Currently the best deal I could find online was $96.45 at http://www.huntersbliss.com/wildgame-red-6-6mp-digital-infrared-camera/

I hope this review is useful to you, and that you enjoy this product as much as I have.  Keep and eye on Southern Utah Hunt and Fish as we feature more trail cameras and optics in the coming days!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Trail Camera Photos!

Well I do have to say, being home or nearly a week has been very nice!  I have been able to get out after work to do a little scouting, as well as check on a few trail cameras not far from town.  As bad as I want to get out and do some fishing, I think that will have to wait until things slow down a bit more.  It is great to be back in the hills again, that's for sure. 

I have been logging some long hours this week to get to the trail cameras and to do the scouting after work, so for now I will just leave you with a short post of some of the pictures I have collected on the cameras in the past weeks.  I know I have had a lot of viewer questions about cameras I use, as well as optics that I use in scouting.  So, for now I will just share pictures, but look for product reviews of trail cameras and spotting scopes to appear on the blog near the first of the week.

The hunts are just around the corner, in fact the Utah archery deer hunt begins in less than a month now.  I know a lot of you are out scouting, please feel free to send your finds in to share.  Remember that you do not need to disclose any information on your finds!  With the hunts approaching, we look forward to sharing more product reviews, tips, recipes, and more.  The fall/early winter months look to be very exciting here at Southern Utah Hunt and Fish!  Please remember to shoot us your hunt success; we like photos with a few details of your hunt to post up to our bragging board.  Remember, if you would like a post, share some info in your own words in your email to us, and we can put together a story for you if you like.  We are especially looking for video of your hunts this year as well.

So for now, here are a few shots from a couple of my trail cameras.  Until next time, we hope you are getting out there and enjoying the outdoors!












































































Monday, July 16, 2012

A Promising Deer Hunt?

Spenser Ownes
I managed to make it home from another fire assignment, and I wasted little time hitting the hills within hours of being home!  It was great to get out with the family for a few hours and enjoy some relaxation, as well as the excitement of coming across a great group of bucks we have been watching for some months now. 

With dry conditions, I know many hunters have been worried that the bucks may not be tagging on the antler growth this year that we have seen in past years.  My trail cameras and scouting trips have been telling me otherwise, as I hope the rest of you are finding also.  While buck numbers have been down on a few units that I hunt, this year I am excited to see great numbers of small bucks as I travel around.  On the downside, I have also noticed much more predator sign (mountain lions) than in years past.  I have also put my eyes on several more predators than I can recall as well.. Hopefully my fears aren't the reality I fear they may be, I hope our herds have a chance to bounce back, especially as our herds are now managed as smaller units rather than large regional areas.  I guess time will tell!

As I am still trying to catch up with just getting home, and running on about 4 hours of sleep after my 1:00 AM fire call last night, I will keep it short and sweet with a few pictures of great bucks caught on film right here in southern Utah lately.  I would like to again thank Spenser Owens of Panguitch for sending in a few of these shots.  I have high hopes that the pictures keep rolling in, especially as the hunts approach.  So, until next time, enjoy these shots, and please feel free to send in your photos to share!  Email us at suhuntandfish@gmail.com

Spenser Owens
































































Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Check Out These Fish

Well, there's a time for storytelling, then there's a time to just sit back to enjoy the photos and let the pictures do the talking!  For now, this is one of those times that the photos can tell it all!  Bransen Jackson of Kanab, Utah send us these photos of his recent adventures, which I can tell you right now, it looks like one photo for sure belongs on our bragging board!  It's about time we see a new face there!  Remember to send in your photos and we'll hook you up with a little fame on our bragging board.  No details are required if when you submit.  In fact, Bransen has chosen to keep the information of these beauties hush-hush, as he hopes that a few will still be lurking in the water when her returns home from his full time LDS mission in 2 years.  The silver lining for this guy writing the post, if I can find a break in the firefighting action, Bransen has invited me to join him for a day of fishing before he leaves in mid August!  I obviously need to get my priorities straight! 

It looks like I will be returning to the fireline tomorrow, but have hopes of being able to return to posting soon, hopefully near the end of the week.  I have another round of great pictures of bucks and bulls submitted by another viewer that I need to share with you all.  Also, I have some great product reviews and giveaways approaching.  So for now please enjoy these photos, and I hope to be back with you soon!






































Sunday, July 8, 2012

Home For a Short Break

When I started this site back in November my hesitation with doing so was that I would not be able to keep things up to date during the summer.  Well my fears became a reality about 2 weeks ago when I was called out on a fire assignment to central Utah.  I had high hopes that if I took the laptop I could post now and then after hours, but little sleep with a long shift, coupled with a dead battery on the computer proved to much to overcome to kick out some posts!  However, I was very surprised to see that our views over the 2 weeks have not really dropped, something keeps bringing people back.  I have to say thanks for those of you that are sticking with us.  I hope to resolve this problem by eventually finding a "pro-staffer" that can maybe fill in the gaps while I am gone.  We're also going to get my wife in on the mix with a couple of product reviews really soon for you ladies.

I've only been home for a few hours tonight, and really need to devote some time to my family.  So for tonight I just wanted to share a few images from my wanderings on the fireline over the last 2 weeks, and to point out some very serious thoughts to you all. 

You have no doubt by now turned on the TV and seen countless images of homes burning due to wildfires.  This is my first year in my 12 year career that I have witnessed such destruction of human property.  True, this has happened before, take California for example where it has happened a few times over the past 10 years.  I never made it to those fires.  So this year took on new meaning to me, especially as I found myself on the Wood Hollow fire in Sanpete County, Utah where I witnessed the fire make a run on the community of Fairview.  What hit home for me was watching friends and family members being evacuated from this peaceful little town.  In the end, all was well for Fairview, but not so for nearly 160 homeowners throughout the mountain areas to the north. 

Nearly every fire on our national report this year has been human caused!  That is a staggering thought when you look at the enormous size of these fires.  Over 1 million acres burned this year, hundreds of structures gone, all due to human causes.  This is where it is important to note that "human caused" does not mean arson fires.  Most are carelessness.  Escaped campfires, burning on private land, vehicle fires, chains dragging down the highway on trailers, lack of spark arresters  on chainsaws or ATVs, cigarettes tossed to the roadside, fireworks...I'm sure we could go on and on.  Just looking at the 12 major fires that have occurred in Utah in the past 2 months, only 1 fire, the Seeley Fire near Scofield Reservoir was sparked by lightning, the rest have been the results of a variety of human caused actions.  I know for Southern Utah we rarely have over maybe 6 human caused fires a year, and most have remained small.  It's a very alarming to now see our number of  human starts far surpass our number of lightning caused fires.  Why has this change occurred, well I'm not sure.  Whatever is going on it will not get better until we educate others, and become more diligent in reporting those we do come across that are careless.

In short, a lot of these were caused by innocent people that thought they were being careful.  This year one of the worst even some of the older generations of firefighters have seen; record temps, constant wind for the past 2 months, little precipitation, and very dry fuels.  Everything out there is ready to burn, and we're seeing fire where we typically haven't in the past.  By the time firefighters arrive, even with a 15-20 minute response time, these fires are off to the races.  What is an engine with 700 gallons of water going to do against 50' or higher flame lengths on a fire running several miles per hour?  Most of our starts have grown to several thousand acres in one day.  From 2,000 acres to over 100,000 acres, Utah's fires have been devastating this year.  Of course we have seen the same in Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico this year.

So in short, this is my plea to you to please be careful in the outdoors this summer.  It amazes me how many tickets are still being issued to people with campfires outside of campgrounds with all that has been going on around our state.  I think people often think "I'm not one of those dummies, I know how to manage a campfire."  Folks, all it takes this year is one spark, one of those tiny embers floating away from the fire on the breeze.  Those tiny embers can smolder for hours without detection, then pop up suddenly when the right conditions present themselves.  Don't be that guy or girl this year.  Please adhere to the fire restrictions, put the fireworks away, double check your trailers, and just be careful out there.  We are so lucky there have been so few injuries!

On a lighter note, I've received some awesome photos from viewers that I hope to get up in the next couple of days.  From big fish, big bucks, and some shots of the new little ones out there, we have some great things coming up here on SUH&F.  Thanks for your support and understanding as I travel around to provide for my family.  Who knows, maybe one day this will be a little more full time and things will only get better here.