Author Archives: Kendall Card

Kendall – Staff Picks

Check out the Solid.HUNTING.Gear that the staff here at BlackOvis uses and are familiar with. Thinking of buying a product but not sure how it performs? Check out if any of us use it and give us a call!



Hunting Style: Archery
Favorite Species: Elk
Dream Hunt: Dall Sheep Hunt
Next Gear Purchase:
Other Pursuits: Trail running, family, backcountry skiing

Weapon Setup

Bow: Hoyt Spyder 34, Draw Length: 30.5″, Poundage: 70 lbs
Sight: Black Gold Pure 75, 4 pin slider
Rest: Trophy Taker Smackdown Pro
Release: Scott Sabertooth
Stabilizer: Hoyt Fuse 10″
Arrows (and weight): Easton Injection FMJ – 491 grains
Quiver: Tight Spot 5 Arrow
Broadhead: Grim Reaper Fatal Steel Deep 6 100 grain, Strickland’s Helix Deep 6 100 grain

Clothing Setup

Body Type: Slim, tall
Height: 6’4″
Weight: 200 lbs

Jacket: Sitka Jetstream XL
Pant(s): Sitka Mountain Pant 34T, Sitka Timberline Pant 36T, Core4Element Switchback 34T
Shirt(s): Sitka Core Hoody Large, Traverse Zip T Large, Core4Element Pivot 1/4 Zip Large
Base Layer Top: Core4Element 190 Merino 1/4 Zip
Base Layer Bottom: Core4Element 190 Merino Bottom
Gloves: Sitka Shooter Gloves L, Core4Element Assault Glove L, Sitka Jetstream Glove L
Rain Jacket: Sitka Dewpoint Jacket XL
Rain Pant: Sitka Cloudburst Pant, LT
Footwear: Crispi Nevada 11.5 (46), Danner Pronghorn 200 gram insulated 12
Socks: Darn Tough Micro Crew, Lorpen T3 Light Hiker
Other: Sitka Cap, Sitka Kelvin Lite Vest

Essential Gear

Binos: Vortex Razor HD 10×42
Spotting Scope: Zeiss Diascope 65 Angled
Knife: Havalon Piranta, Kershaw Skinner
Game Bag: Caribou Gear
Pack: Mystery Ranch Metcalf, Sitka Alpine Ruck
Trekking Poles: Easton Carbon 5
Tent: Easton Kilo 2P
Sleeping Bag: Big Agnes Zirkle 20
Stove: Primus Eta Lite
Rangefinder: Vortex Ranger 1000
Bino Harness: Sitka Bino Bivy

Zamberlan Boots – Italian quality built for hunters

For the past 85 years the Zamberlan family has been making boots that are designed for rugged mountain use, including their dedicated hunting boots. Yes, I said family. You see, Zamberlan boots is now under the direction of Marco and Maria Zamberlan, third generation family to run their grandfather’s Italian boot company. That they are now emerging in the North American hunting market should come as no surprise.

One of the cool things I recently read about Zamberlan came from their catalog. Sure, company catalogs can be full of a lot of fluff and sometimes meaningless stuff, but I felt this was unique to see coming from an Italian boot maker. Have a read:

“We at Zamberlan® believe that hunting is a great and extremely valuable privilege. We believe that only through responsible hunting can this privilege endure. We also believe that every hunter has a role and duty towards responsible hunting and we aim to promote the principles of this concept.

Our reasons to support responsible hunting are based not only on tradition, but also ethical and practical foundations. The shortcomings of the modern industrial food complex are extreme (animal welfare, poor nutrition, environmental neglect, etc), while the benefits of organic and free-range wild game are undeniable (animal welfare, high nutrition, free-range/organic, etc). Likewise, pressure to exploit wild lands is incessant, while hunting conservation efforts work tirelessly to maintain our precious resources, including the game we hunt.

Today’s responsible hunter understands that hunting and sustainability go hand-in-hand. We understand that hunting is part of the solution, not the problem, to issues in our food supply and our environment. “

The reasons they cite for their support of hunting are due to 6 foundation core values that they as well as we here at believe are requisite to hunters:


As most of us hunters know, one of the best rewards for a successful hunt is a freezer full of the best mountain grown protein available. Zamberlan feels the same:

“Our reasons to support responsible hunting are based not only on tradition, but also ethical and practical foundations. The shortcomings of the modern industrial food complex are extreme (animal welfare, poor nutrition, environmental neglect, etc), while the benefits of organic and free-range wild game are undeniable (animal welfare, high nutrition, free-range/organic, etc). Likewise, pressure to exploit wild lands is incessant, while hunting conservation efforts work tirelessly to maintain our precious resources, including the game we hunt.”

So the next time you’re checking into hunting boots, check out Zamberlan as a worthy option for years to come.

Features in Zamberlan Boots

Zamberlan boots offer good support and torsional rigidity for secure use on uneven terrain like traversing steep mountain slopes, scrambling over rocks or maneuvering through downed timber in pursuit of game. Their hunting boots are generally higher than standard boots in order to give the ankle and part of the calf better protection. The Hydrobloc® leathers that Zamberlan uses are thicker than ordinary boots to ensure the greatest protection from water and snow. Vibram® soles adorn each hunting boot to offer great grip and durability. Finally, the R.R.S. protects the upper and prevents the leather from deterioration caused by cracking, cuts and scratches.

As far as fit, they run true to size but some hunters with wide feet have mentioned that they fit a bit narrow. Thankfully Zamberlan is building a wide option in a few of their hunting boots.

New for 2015, Zamberlan has four specific hunting boot models that they are introducing this fall that you should watch for in your future boot selection:

  1. 547 Sherpa
  2. 548 Sherpa Pro
  3. Trek
  4. Trek light

Add to these boots the other hunt specific boots, the 980 Outfitter GTX and the 1012 Insulated Vioz, and that rounds out the hunting boots for Zamberlan. Hunters often find the 960 Guide and the Vioz GTX RR as worthy boots for all types of hunting conditions.

What’s new with Havalon Knives? Piranta Stag and 60A Blades

Havalon has taken the hunting and more specifically the hunting knife world by storm, and over the last few years their surgically sharp removable razor blades have quartered likely thousands of elk, deer, and other game. As there have been more users of the original Piranta Edge, Havalon has taken hunter’s feedback and recently made a couple of changes to their lineup:

  • – The addition of the new Piranta Stag – a very lightweight and slightly longer textured handle makes this a very nice addition.
  • – An overall change to the lineup by retiring the 60XT blades and making the stronger more stiff 60A blade the new standard with all Piranta series knives.
  • – Given these changes we decided to give you a run down of both the new Stag as well as the new 60A blade and how to swap out blades in case you’re new to the Havalon knives.

The new Piranta Stag is super light weight, weighing in at just 1.7 ounces. The handle has plenty of facets for increased feel and grip. It’s a good looking knife and served me well as I quartered a cow elk from a late season hunt this past January here in Utah. Check out my video review and impressions of the new Piranta Stag knife.

I’ve quartered 5 elk, 1 antelope, and 2 deer using a Havalon Piranta Knife and only twice have I broken a blade. And I must specify that i only broke these two blades caping out the skull of my whitetail buck – something I had never done and therefore was likely reefing on the blade more than needed. I broke the blades cutting around the eye sockets and in the jaw area. As it goes, in quartering elk, deer and antelope I’ve been more than comfortable with the 60XT blade. That said, after checking out the new 60A blade that is standard in all of the Havalon Piranta knives, I’m looking forward to using is this fall to really get a first hand feel for the difference. Check out the video review I did of the blade differences between the 60A and the 60XT blades.

Check out the entire selection of Havalon Knives on

Review: Outdoor Edge Razor-Blaze

I remember when my friend and hunting buddy first introduced me to the Havalon knife, my first exposure to a removable blade knife for skinning and field dressing game. It blew my mind, and aside from the razor sharp blade that scared me to death at first thought of changing out blades, I was sold! With time and a bit of practice, I found that I could remove the blade without too much trouble, but with laser focus as to not remove a finger. Perhaps you too had the same reaction.

Fast forward a few years and in 2013 Outdoor Edge dove right into the removable blade knife world by introducing the Razor-Blaze, a knife that was similar in some ways but that addressed some of the demands that hunters and outfitters had been asking for.

Outdoor Edge Razor-Blaze at work on my 2014 Idaho bull elk

2014 OTC Idaho Bull Elk by Kendall Card

Some of those enhancements and features that stand out for the Outdoor Edge Razor-Blaze knife are:

  • Stronger blade strength by adding in a “receiver” for the removable blade. This gives is more stability and rigidity, especially when doing things like cutting through the hip joint ball and socket area or the shoulder blade area on the front quarter of an elk
  • Easy, let me repeat, EASY to replace blades. Push the button and pull out the old, in with the new. It’s simple and secure
  • The soft tactile grip of the handle feels great in the hand and won’t slip when wet
  • Lock-back folding knife style. Again, easy and simple
  • Blades that you can re-sharpen if you’d like. This is quite unique among the replaceable blade knives and certainly sets the Outdoor Edge apart from the crowd


What I found using this knife on two elk and a deer during the 2014 hunting season is that I really liked the feel of the handle and the durability of the knife in my hand. It felt and acted like a strong traditional folding knife with the advantage of a very sharp blade. I didn’t think twice about the blade bending or even breaking which had happened to me before while caping a deer with the Havalon. There’s not doubt that replacing the blade on this knife is so easy and safe, even my 8 year old daughter could do it without trouble. Additionally as the knife got wet from blood, it didn’t move a bit in my hand and I was able to get the job done every time.

A couple of points of criticism would be that first off I was a little surprised that the blade seemed just a bit less sharp than the Havalon right off the bat, and it did dull a bit faster than its competitor. Secondly, at 3.7 ounces for the knife and an additional 2.4 ounces for the sheath, I felt that for an extended backpacking trip I would consider at least leaving the sheath behind from a weight savings standpoint.

Overall, the durability, ease of replacing the blade and the ability to sharpen the blade were all worthy trade offs that may likely offset my criticisms and keep me coming back to the Razor-Blaze for the 2015 season.