BlackOvis Holiday Gift Guide

Every year I sit down to write the Holiday Gift Guide for BlackOvis with two goals in mind. One, help people who may not be hunters give the hunters in their life better gifts, and two, make sure no one has to force a smile while unwrapping a camouflage necktie or polo shirt with deer all over it. Giving a gift to a loved one with a hobby you don't understand can be a challenge. My video game-obsessed nephew got 500 AA batteries from his uncle who has never owned a Nintendo, or Sega Genesis. Electronics need batteries right? It's the thought that counts? Hopefully, this list will give you a few “thoughts” that will count a little more…

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Grading the Mystery Ranch Guide Light MT Frame

As a mountain hunter, I am constantly searching for gear that works and I am not opposed to buying different brands and designs to find out what works best for me.  This approach can get expensive, but it’s the only way I know to find solid gear that truly meets my requirements.  

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Our Favorite Multi Use gear

Good, quality gear is supposed to make our outdoor pursuits more comfortable, easier, and more efficient.  Most hunting gear is designed with a specific use case in mind, so as we embark on different adventures and our needs vary slightly (or drastically) from one trip to the next, we’re going to accumulate lots of different types, brands, sizes, and weights of gear items.  One of the huge benefits of modern gear is that it does what it is designed to do very well, but it may only be good for accomplishing that one task or filling that specific niche.  Finding gear that can be useful in multiple scenarios for different situations and tasks can save you money, space, and weight in your pack.

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Hunting The Iowa Whitetail Rut

When I first began hunting the river bottoms of Iowa with a shotgun at an early age, the whitetail rut is something I did not know about. As a clueless youth hunter, I simply only knew about deer drives and that was it. For those of you who don’t know what a deer drive is, it is when a group of hunters walk into a piece of land in hopes of pushing deer towards other group members that are strategically set up to shoot. Now, I am guilty along with many others that obsess over hunting the whitetail rut with a bow.

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Active vs Static Insulation

Earlier this year, Sitka introduced a new jacket and hoody called the Ambient Collection.  The thesis behind this new piece of gear is to use it as a mid-layer insulation piece, that breathes well, and manages moisture in active situations. This was interesting to me and got me thinking about the difference between active and static insulation. My hunting style lends itself more toward activity rather than sitting for long periods of time, so the focus of this article is to define those terms and give a full review of the Ambient Hoody that I have been testing this past summer and early fall.

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Single vs Multi Pin Sights for Archery Hunting Whitetails

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to this comparison. I’ve spent roughly seven years in the whitetail woods with a bow and can honestly say both types of sights are equally effective. The majority of whitetail shots happen between 20 and 30 yards. This is coming from my midwestern perspective, now if you hunt whitetails out west for example, that may be a completely different story. Here in Iowa most whitetail bowhunting is done from a treestand, ground blind, or elevated box blind. Whether you are setting up on a nearby trail or food source, you generally are banking on that easy chip shot.

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Crispi Kenai Boot Review

With hunting season just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to make sure you have all the gear you need for a successful hunt.  One of the most important pieces of gear, in my opinion, is picking the right boot for your specific hunt. With years of experimentation on dozens of different brands and types of boots, I had settled on the Uninsulated Crispi Nevada as my go-to boot for hunting Elk here in the West. However, this year, Crispi introduced a new boot in their line-up which is basically an exclusive BlackOvis version of the Nevada with a few improvements, in my opinion.  It is called the Kenai GTX.  I’ve been testing this boot for a couple months now and wanted to share my initial impressions.  

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What I Wish I Knew Before My First Elk Hunt

Going on your first elk hunt is both exciting and intimidating. Being from the midwest, the only knowledge or intel I had about elk hunting came from various internet sources. Many different people online were saying “You just need to go out and fail”. Now that is definitely not what any first time hunter wants to hear. I wanted to be successful of course, I mean who wouldn’t? In this article I will dive into a few different subjects that have stuck out to me the most and have been the biggest learning lesson. Keep in mind, I am from Iowa and have hunted Colorado OTC Archery two times.

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3 Tips for Better Elk Hunting Success

With Elk season right around the corner, I wanted to share a few tips that have helped the Skousen Bros be more successful elk hunters.  These nuggets of wisdom have been learned and relearned over years of spending a lot of time in the elk woods.  Hopefully you can relate or at least consider some of these tactics for your upcoming season.

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CBE Sight Review

My search for a new hunting sight was intentional but what I ended up with was a result of not being able to get the original sight I thought I wanted.  I had a spring Alaska bear hunt coming up in May and I needed an immediate solution. The sight I wanted had been on order for 4 months and got delayed again due to supply chain issues.  I was explaining my dilemma to a good friend and hunting mentor, and he told me to check out the CBE Trek Pro Sight.  I’m glad I did.  

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