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tahr, hunting, new zealand

NZ Tahr Hunt – Day 3

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Some backcountry essentials: headlamp, inReach, cell phone, and water

Day 3 started with another slow morning of tahr meat sizzling on the wood stove as Josh finished fleshing and salting his tahr cape.  The sun provided some Vitamin D and warmth for a mid-day snooze.  Finally we got our gear together and once again headed up the mountain.  The weather was turning a bit more cloudy and the wind had picked up.

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Roll out

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Rokosch trusting his waterproof gaiters and surefooted steps

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Boulder hopping up the creek

With our pressure from the past two days putting the tahr a bit on edge we elected to go up the creek bottom to just underneath our glassing knob.  From there we’d hike straight up and pop over and be ready to glass and locate tahr.  We would stay out of sight and hopefully the tahr would feed off the mountain one more time.

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Tahr on both sides of the drainage, looking for the biggest one

We quickly located a large mob of tahr high in the cliffs and once again settled in to see if they’d feed down to the areas we could safely access.  After about an hour and a half we decided they would come off the mountain and we better close the distance now or else they would see us.  We dropped back off the ridge and looped further up closing the distance to about a 1000 yards and the tahr slowly working closer and closer.  After about thirty minutes they had worked into under 400 yards.  After getting closer they winded us and started back up the mountain.  When the biggest bull tahr stopped clear of the others the Tikka barked and made a lethal hit.  The bull came downhill before one more shot put him down quickly.  Fist bumps and high fives went around and we quickly scrambled up to the bull.

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Zack with his New Zealand bull tahr

Three tahr in three days.  A darn successful trip with great guys.  We knew the routine and quickly had the bull in our packs and headed down the mountain.

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A successful tahr camp

Success and good times with a great crew!

The next day we cleaned gear and all the tahr skulls and hides.  Unfortanately a storm blew in that evening and we were unable to hunt or fly out.  The following morning we had a chopper show up just after sunrise.

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Stoked

A beautiful but bumpy ride took us back to the hangar and our New Zealand tahr hunt was complete.  If you are interested in hunting free range tahr, stag, or chamois definitely give Ben a shout over at BGHNZ > https://bghnz.co.nz/ A big thanks to both Ben and August who provided much comedic relief in camp and on the mountain! Good times boys, till next time!

-Written by Zack Boughton

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New Zealand.  Lord of the Rings, amazing scenery, epic proportions of rain, huge brown trout, more sheep than humans.  The list goes on of unique characteristics about the unique islands far from just about anywhere.  This past February and March we visited the South Island for about 5 weeks.  Our main goal was to fish for the large brown trout that NZ is so famous for.  We’ll have a blog post on that later.  With that much time on the island I figured we should try to diversify our activities a bit and try to get out and hunt tahr or stag, two species that seem to draw most hunters to the area.  After announcing our plans to come visit the island we got a message from Ben Tumata from Big Game Hunting New Zealand.  He told us he’d be happy help us out if we wanted to hunt.  Some back and forth messaging and we were on the board to take advantage of Ben’s week off.  He was and is a stud for offering to take some guys out as friends on a New Zealand Tahr Hunt especially without ever meeting us.

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Tahr Country

We met up with Ben and organized and sorted gear.  From there we took the rigs up to the hanger and started weighing out gear to see what we could and couldn’t take in on the heli.  Fortunately we just slid under our weight limit and we started loading up.

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Ready to go!

Before we knew it we were all on board and the rotors started to spin as the engine fired up.  The weather had cleared and we were in for a beautiful ride up into our hunting area.  For those who have never rode in a heli it’s something I’d highly recommend.  Our two heli flights were definitely highlights of our trip.

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Weaving our way down to our final destination.

We spotted a few tahr on the flight in and saw some of the most beautiful country we’ve ever laid eyes on.  Montana will always be #1 in our minds but the country we flew over and got to hunt in here was equally impressive.  After unloading the heli the pilot took off and like that we were deep in the New Zealand backcountry with only the sound of the river a few hundred yards away.  We quickly sorted gear and put up tents.

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Ben setting up his M.I.A. Tent

Ben had a killer wall tent that he has been designing and refining over the years.  He’s calling the brand M.I.A. Gear and his tent and stove set up was money.  It was lightweight but extremely study and weather proof and served as a great spot to get warm and eat dinner ever night when we got back to camp.  Based off Ben’s advice and time spent hunting tahr we were really in no rush to get up the mountain.  The tahr typically bed up high in the cliffs and in the evening will start coming off the mountain to feed.  We took the next couple hours to soak up the sun and glass up a few nannies high up in the cliffs above camp.  Around 2 or 3 we shouldered our packs and headed up the drainage.  This was new country to everyone and we used the river as our path to get up to the head of the drainage.

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Boulder hopping our way up the canyon.

After climbing up to a high knob with a 360 degree view we dropped our packs and broke out the spotters.  We quickly started turning up tahr.  A lot of young bulls and nannies and kids occupied us for the first few hours.  As the shadows started to lengthen in the valley we spotted two bulls high in the cliffs below a hanging glacier.  The wind blew their long coats as they slowly dropped elevation.

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Letting the music lure our bulls down the mountain

Ben and August sized up their horn and body size and determined they would be worthy of a closer look.  We sat and watched them for about an hour as Six60 “Closer” played on Ben’s small speaker setup.  We all had a good laugh as the tahr seemingly listened exactly to the music and slowly got “closer, closer to you!” Soon we picked up and made a loop out of sight to get ahead of them and wait to see if they’d show up on the big apron of grass that emerged from the base of the cliffs. We shuffled closer and finally decided we were in a good position.  There were 3 tahr up on the hill now within 400 yards and getting closer.  We patiently waited until the biggest bull finally crested a small rise at about 60 yards.  Travis was ready and centered up the reticle and let a shot rip.  The shot found it’s mark and we had a nice bull on the ground.

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Travis with his bull tahr

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Ben explains to Josh how to age a tahr based off it’s horns.

Light quickly faded as we admired the bull.  He was a good bull hitting the tape at 11 3/4″.  We made quick work of the bull and soon had him loaded up.  The weight wasn’t heavy but the grass had become dew covered and the descent down the mountain included lots of slipping and sliding.  We crossed back over the river and finally rolled into camp.  Everyone was in good spirits and we had a few celebratory beers as tahr backstrap sizzled on the stove top.

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Tahr, sauteed onions, and a cold beverage

Day 1 was in the books and what a day it was.  Watch the video below to see how Day 1 played out high in the mountains of New Zealand.

Special thanks to Ben and August and if you’re interested in hunting any big game animals free range in New Zealand definitely hit up Ben at his website > www.bghnz.co.nz/

Written by : Zack Boughton

TACTIC, Bozeman, MT, shooting school, long range, rifle, hunting, class

As hunters shooting a rifle is something we all should take very seriously.  It’s the means we use to kill the prey we hunt.  Over the years I’ve had a solid track record as a rifle hunter.  Most of that comes from taking shots at 300 yards or less and having a quality firearm built for distances of over 1000 yards.  Having a rifle with those capabilities makes the short shots easy and with practice I feel comfortable out to 600 yards on almost any animal in good conditions and with a solid rest.  Almost all of that confidence is built entirely off my own experience and teaching.  That said they’re sure must be some flaws and is why I’ve limited my range and not pushed it out further.  And lets be real, ethics is what limits us, not our equipment.  That said when Nick Costas from TACTIC Shooting School approached me about coming and shooting their Long Range Rifle School I was ready to make it happen.  No matter how good you may think you are there is always room for improvement, and I knew this class was going to give me great foundational skills and renewed confidence as we headed into a new hunting season.  I invited a few close friends who are avid hunters and would benefit from the course as well.  We linked up with the guys over at their classroom at 9am and got things started.

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Sam breaks down the more advanced elements of bullet flight

The class started with Rob and Sam going through much of the foundational knowledge and skills we would need to apply to our shooting when we hit the range in the afternoon.  Both are ex-military and extremely knowledgeable on all things firearms.  To top it off they’re both cool dudes and were always kind and positive at every step of the process.  The great thing about the courses they offer is that they can tailor each course to your specific needs.  Their mission is to empower you and in doing so try to understand what it is you want to learn most and how they can teach you the skills to do so.  Our course would be a mix between their Long Range course and their Practical Rifle.  Classroom work started with us going through gun safety and making sure we knew all the parts of the rifle and the corresponding names.  Being able to stay safe and communicate quickly between shooter and teacher/spotter on the range would be key in taking advantage of our time together.

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Rob going through rifle components

From there we learned more about projectiles AKA bullets.  Learning about different bullet designs, how they work with different twist rates and velocities as well as how the ballistic coefficient of each bullet affects its flight was great.  Then we talked about internal ballistics which included learning about what happened within the rifle when a round is fired.  Understanding shell case lengths, shapes, primer and powder combinations as well as barrel twists and lands helped us learn more about how all these effect the bullet as it travels down the barrel and exits towards the target.

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Taking notes on areas to be applied in the field

From there we went into external ballistics.  External ballistics are all the elements that effect the bullet once it has left the barrel of the gun.  Being able to understand these elements is helpful for all shooters but even more so for hunters headed to the mountains or prairies where conditions are constantly shifting and being able to judge these is key between a quick kill and a miss or wounded animal.  External ballistics included wind, elevation, temperature, barometric pressure, humidity, Coriolis Effect, and spin drift.  I can say both for myself and the group that we learned a lot of new and very valuable information as Sam and Rob took us through each of these areas of shooting.

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From there we went into shooting positions.  Over the years I’d developed a position that I’d basically established just from seeing others shoot and finding a comfortable position when I shot.  Typically my torso and spine would be aligned diagonally back from the butt of the rifle.  I learned that this was incorrect and that I wanted my spine to be inline with my rifle barrel.  This would put me in a solid shooting position and help keep the barrel inline and on target after a shot rather than shifting left or right off target.  Other key areas were head position as well as how we grip the rifle and pull the trigger.

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Working on shooting form

We took a short lunch break and then took the trucks and drove up to the range.  First things first we adjusted our scopes to minimize parallax.  Then we verified our zeros at 100 yards and made sure everyone’s rifle was shooting a 1″ group or less.

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.300 WSM ready to send some HSM Trophy Gold Down Range

After confirming our zero we setup the chronograph on each rifle so we could collect muzzle velocities.  That information would be key to input into our ballistic calculators for shooting long ranges.  I personally had the Shooter app on my phone for years but without accurate inputs the app was worthless to me.  Rob and Sam helped me setup and “true” my app so that when I input environmental conditions and my distance I was given accurate adjustments to be made in order to get a first shot hit on target.

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Calculating muzzle velocity

From there we took aim at our first target setup at 535 yards and slowly worked through a handful of rounds working on maintaining good form and ensuring quality shots.  Everyone was shooting well and it wasn’t long until we started stretching out the distances.

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Brett making easy work of the 900 yard target

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Slow squeeze………..BOOM

After making hits at targets out to 900 yards we decided to run a drill to simulate a hunting scenario.  Two shooters would run to the 100 yard target and then back to their rifle.  From there each shooter would have to range a plate the size of a deer’s vitals, get setup on their gun, control their breathing, and take a shot within 30 seconds.  From there we continued to shoot and work with both Rob and Sam to shoot different targets, adjust for wind and continue to work on proper form.  Being able to work in a 1-on-1 scenario with an instructor was huge in quickly picking up the skills taught earlier in the day.  After a few hours there we decided to push things back even further.  After re-positioning on the range we were able to extend our range out to 1250 yards.

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Brandon sending lead at the 1250 target

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Snowy Mountain Rifle + HSM Ammo proving a deadly combo.

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1250 yard first shot hits deserve pounds from the boys

1250 is a long, long ways.  A LOT further than I’d ever shoot at an elk or deer but a great test to see if my rifle/bullet combo as well as scope could handle the distance.  After double checking the range I entered my yardage into my ballistics calculator and double checked my environmental variables.  I then calculated my drop and adjusted my scope accordingly.  After getting a good position behind the rifle, I eased into the trigger and the shot broke crisply.  The rifle jumped slightly but returned to the target so I could see the metal gong sway confirming a hit.  The second shot found it’s mark confirming the data I’d used to adjust my scope.  Going from 100 to 1250 in the matter of a few hours only added to the confidence I’d built into my firearm over the years.

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No lack of firepower or optics here

If you’re a serious hunter or even an avid shooter I’d highly encourage you to talk with Nick about one of the courses that TACTIC offers.  You can sign up for a pre-existing course or have them tailor something just for your specific needs.  You can visit their website at > www.tacticmt.com

I’d like to thank Rob, Sam and Nick for their time and graciously hosting and teaching us how to be more proficient with our rifles.  A special thanks to the fine folks at HSM Ammo for providing exceptional ammo that proved to be well suited to long range shooting and has performed flawlessly over the years in all hunting scenarios we’ve tested it in.  Their Trophy Gold lineup is definitely worth a look if your in the market for a new hunting round.

Written by Zack Boughton

Vortex Optics, vortex, rangefinder, stoke, The Outlier, The Outlier Film, giveaway, hunting film, Outdoor Media, Montana Wild, Bozeman, Montana

Well, it’s no secret that if you’re reading this, chances are you’re a big fan of cool hunting content, and free gear every once in awhile. With that being the case, what better way to launch The Outlier on iTunes than to combine the two. As a way to celebrate the film’s launch on iTunes, we’ll be giving away a Vortex Ranger 1500 to one lucky viewer of the film! Now that I’ve got your attention, you’re probably wondering how you can be that lucky winner. Follow the steps below, and get entered to win today!

Step 1 – Purchase and watch The Outlier Film on iTunes HERE.

Step 2 – Leave a review of the film on iTunes between now and 4/19/18.

Step 3 – Keep your fingers crossed, and we’ll draw a winner on 4/19.

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Not familiar with The Outlier Film? No worries, we’ll get you up to speed. The Outlier is a full length DIY public land elk hunting film, with a strong focus on conservation. Watch as four good friends experience the highs and lows that go into filling their 2015 elk tags. Watch the official trailer below for a large dose of elk hunting stoke!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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You asked for it, and we delivered. Our world renowned archery elk hunting film, The Outlier is now available for purchase on iTunes. Click  the following link to WATCH THE FILM. The Outlier is a public land, DIY elk hunting film produced by Montana Wild during the 2015 Montana archery elk season. Follow along as four good friends battle to fill their elk tags with bows in hand in the Missouri River Breaks. 5% of the film proceeds will be donated back to RMEF. Haven’t heard of The Outlier Film before? Check out the photos, and official trailer below for a large dose of elk hunting stoke!

 

 

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Brandon Purcell admiring his bull, shortly after recovering him during the filming of The Outlier.

During the filming of The Outlier, we encountered failure, success, and everything else in-between from bad roads, warm temperatures, hellacious mosquitos, and much much more. We’re proud to bring you an hour and 17 minutes of some of the most epic elk hunting footage on planet earth. So, without further ado, sit back, relax, and enjoy The Outlier Film.

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A dandy Montana herd bull cruises the flats in search of his mate. Further proving what an incredible time of year September can be in the elk woods.

Watch the official trailer for The Outlier below.

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With spring quickly approaching, it’s easy to have our minds fixated on bear season, fly fishing, and other outdoor activities. PS: We’re excited for all of those things too, but let’s not forget about an incredibly important deadline that’s rapidly approaching – Deer & Elk special permit, and non resident big game combination license applications. By now you’re either thinking “No worries, already got em’ in.” or “oh crap I totally forgot.” If you’re saying the latter, don’t worry, you’ve still got (a little bit) of time. Until March 15th to be exact. Haven’t applied yet? Apply HERE.

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Living in Montana, we’re lucky enough to have the opportunity to hunt a wide variety of species year after year, including deer, elk, bear, antelope, and much more. That being said, it’s something that we need not take for granted. Needing a little bit of stoke to get you to apply? Click on the video below to see Travis’ 2013 public land archery elk hunt unfold. Do yourself a favor, and set yourself up for the opportunity of a lifetime.

Gear up for the 2018 hunting season in the sickest outdoor apparel around. Click here to shop Montana Wild Apparel

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With spring just around the corner, chances are you’re looking for some dope new outdoor apparel to wear out on the water, and up in the hills. Good news for you, we’ve got everything you need right here. Whether you’re a die hard fly fisherman, or a custom rifle fanatic, we’ve got the perfect piece of gear for you. Want to do some shopping? Click HERE. You can view our full line of apparel under the SHOP section of our website, or scroll down to check out the latest and greatest from Montana Wild. Don’t wait too long, they’ll be gone before you know it!

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The Topo Trout Trucker simply put is the bees knees. This leather patch hat is clean and simple. Rep your trout addiction with pride.

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MW Trout Trucker

Montana Wild has teamed up with Simms Fishing for a deadly trout trucker hat combo. Get them before they’re gone!

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Rep your favorite state in style with our new Wild State Trucker. We all know you’re a little wild and that you love the greatest state of all-time…Montana.

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Fast Food Pheasant Snapback

Own the most badass pheasant hat on the planet. The Fast Food Pheasant Snapback is a show stopper to say the least. Wear it in the field while you hunt upland birds, or on the water while you slay bucknasty browns. Available in maroon (flat brim) and black (curved brim).

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The rodeo inspired Montana PRO Buckle Tee is the perfect way to show off your Montana pride. This limited edition colorway is only here until its gone!

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Rifle Build Tee

Who isn’t dreaming about their next rifle build? Hit the range, mountains, or night on the town in style in our new Rifle Build Tee. Comfortable, classic fitting, and ready for your next adventure. We love guns, do you?

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Without further ado, it’s our pleasure to release our latest fly fishing film, SKWALHALLA. Filmed over the past three years, SKWALHALLA is all about big bugs, big eats, and good times on the river with the boys. Sit back, relax, and enjoy 21 minutes of some of the best spring fly fishing that the West has to offer.  Available for purchase or rental via Vimeo On Demand HERE

Still not quite convinced that SKWALHALLA is worth your time or money by now? Check out the official trailer below, and see for yourself.

Shop our selection of Hats, Tee Shirts, and Apparel HERE.

 

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Chasing antelope with a rifle has become one of my favorite hunts. Not because its a rifle hunt, but rather the change in landscape and pace after charging hard in the mountains all of September. Its nice to be able to see as far as the next horizon and look over a lot of animals.

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Pronghorn country.

I was fortunate to have drawn a rifle tag in 2016 and I was relieved to know I would have the chance to put meat in an empty freezer. I brought my shotgun as well, hoping to add a little upland bird meat to the menu.

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The trusty 870.

After filling the truck and a couple hours on the road, I was in the heart of antelope country. The recent downpour of rain had left most two-tracks closed and gumbo was in full force. This was actually a good thing, because the road hunters had to stay on main roads and couldn’t access some land that they may be able to if the roads were in better condition.

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Gets ya stuck real quick.

I scanned and glassed vast amounts of country, looking for a buck that caught my eye. I peered deep into the horizon through my spotter, instantly seeing what looked to be an army of white butts. One of the largest groups of antelope I had seen while hunting was feeding deep in an untouched zone. I decided to drive a large loop around the group and approach from a direction that I felt would provide more cover.

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Searching for ‘the one’.

I finally spotted the group of speedgoats 900yds out and bedded. Out of the 6 antelope I could see currently, there appeared to be one particular buck with great prongs. I decided to get closer, but with no other options I had to get dirty and army crawl. It was one of the longest army crawls I have had to do and in no way was it joyous trying to avoid cactus. A few sharp needles found a new home in my soft knees. At this point I had crawled to within range, and decided the buck I had my eye on was going to be worthy of a shot. A couple discharges of the rifle later and I had successfully filled my tag.

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Its all hair.

The best part was that the hunt was not over. I spent the next 24hrs attempting to jump shoot birds with my good friends Tyler and Cole. We took Charley the supposed ‘bird dog’ along. What you need to know about Charley is he is not the best bird dog. To be honest Charley is a horrible bird dog. Charles is the dog that flushes all the birds 100-150yds in front of you and the moment a shotgun goes off he hides behind your heels. After Charley had his fun for the day, he went back on the leash.

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Charley sad about his bird dog performance.

After getting Charley under control, we had a very successful day shooting pheasant, partridge, and sharptail grouse. The recoil of the shotgun and the flush of birds is definitely addicting. I felt like a fire was re-lit for upland birds and hopefully I will be loading the shotgun with more 2 3/4″ shells soon.

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Roosters in full force.

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Sharptail feathers.

If you would like to see more upland bird content or upland bird related apparel, leave us a comment below!

Love pronghorn hunting? Love pheasant hunting? Check out our latest Fast Food shirts:

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-Travis

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Today we officially released our latest elk hunting film The Outlier.  This film has been a multi-year project for us and it’s hands down our best hunting content to date.  Follow along as four good friends battle to fill their elk tags with bows in hand in the Missouri River Breaks.  The film is available for purchase through our store on the website and also through Vimeo On Demand.  More information can be found on the films website www.theoutlierfilm.com

Purchase DVDs HERE.

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Purchase a DVD and T-Shirt combo pack HERE.

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And purchase the film digitally through Vimeo On Demand HERE.

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