Thursday, April 27, 2017

Bass Pro Shops Adds Al Quackenbush to Local Pro Staff


It's an honor and a privilege to announce that I have been selected to the Bass Pro Shops Local Pro Staff in Rancho Cucamonga, CA for 2017! For many years, I have been giving seminars and shown up in store at Bass Pro to help other hunters become more successful. My expertise is in hunting big game, so that is what I will focus on. I do hunt small game, but my love is for hunting big game. I will be joining a solid team with decades of hunting and fishing experience. 

Does this mean I will only talk hunting? Not a all! If you want to hear about a certain topic, talk hunting gear, or even try to figure out California regulations and get advice, I'll talk about any and all. I simply want to help you all become better hunters. Why not meet at Bass Pro to do it?

I'll be offering seminars on a regular basis and that is where I could use your help. What do YOU all want to learn about? I can talk about the same things over and over, but I really want to be sure I am covering the topics that you want to learn about. 

I am thrilled to be representing Bass Pro Shops in 2017!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Bass Pro Shops Seminar Recap: Scouting and Optics


Sharing information regarding hunting in California is something that give hunters more tools in which to be successful in the field. This past Saturday, I gave a seminar at Bass Pro Shops in Rancho Cucamonga, CA on Scouting and Optics in Southern California. I focused on SoCal because California is such a large state that different techniques can be used depending on where you hunt. I won't cover everything I talked about (you'll have to attend a seminar to get the full impact), but I'll give you the short version.

The majority of the seminar was focused on utilizing binoculars with a minimum of a 10x42 power mounted to a tripod. I don't think everyone in SoCal really needs a spotting scope if they plan to simply hunt the foothills. They are handy, no doubt, but two eyes on a subject are better than one.

I covered different binoculars for hunters on a budget and why using the Pursuit X1 binoculars from BPS mounted to a tripod was better than some high-end binos being handheld over time. Hand holding them is great for short approaches, but for long-term scouting,  mounting them to a tripod allows you to focus on the movement on the hillside and not the movement caused by your hands shaking.

We briefly discussed scouting with trail cameras, what ones to buy, and how to set them up properly. 

When it comes to scouting, like many other hunters, I recommend using a grid pattern. Imagine a grid covering the area you want to glass and then take a square at a time to focus on. Look it over for at least five minutes before moving to another square. If there are two of you this can work even better. 

Overall, I think the seminar was a success. I enjoyed the questions, the participation, and meeting the attendees after. You guys were great to talk with! I wish you all the best success this year with your scouting. I look forward to getting some stories of your scouting trips and your hunts. Good luck out there!

Friday, April 14, 2017

2017 California Hunting Licenses and Drawing Tag Applications


Just a reminder that 2017 hunting licenses and drawing tag applications will be available beginning April 15, 2017. Hunters may purchase licenses and apply for tags online by clicking on ‘Online License Sales and Service’, or at any license agent or CDFW license sales office. The deadline for applying for the 2017 big game drawing is June 2, 2017.

Specific Hunting Tag info can be found here:

https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Licensing/Hunting/Big-Game 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Gear Review: CenterPoint Sniper 370 Crossbow


As a California hunter, I test out my gear in many different ways due to having to shoot in high and low temperatures, and at longer distances. At SHOT Show 2017, I met up with the Crosman/CenterPoint team and discussed air rifles and crossbows in great detail. I was given the opportunity to do a field test and provide feedback on the CenterPoint Sniper 370. This has been covered as a 'Best Buy' in previous years, so I couldn't wait to get right into it.

Assembly Instructions: I read through the assembly instructions a couple times to try and decipher how to properly assemble the crossbow. I actually had a hard time reading the first page as it is all in bold. As someone who creates technical bulletins for a living, this was tough to get through. First off, I would recommend to not bold everything. State it, but remember, you can't fix stupid. I don't see the need to say 'ALWAYS' and 'NEVER' in bold so many times. Make it so that it is stated clearly, but also easy to read and understand. Put each section in a warning box and include everything in it that applies. Make it simpler and easier to read. Second, the photos and the orange text in the instructions printed very dark and were hard to see. Don't use a transparent orange over the top of a black and white image. Use solid colors and also remember to allow for dot gain in the printing.

Safety: The safety and anti-dry fire mechanisms work very well and I am glad to see them on the Sniper 370. It goes without saying that anyone can shoot this, but having these safeties in place is great to see.

Adjustable Stock: The adjustable stock is a nice feature for any crossbow and I really liked it on the Sniper 370. I has my three other testers see what worked for them and we all adjusted it to fit comfortably. All four of us gave that a thumbs up! 


Trigger Pull: When I sighted in the crossbow, I noticed a considerable amount of creep on the trigger. I let three other people shoot it and didn't tell them about the trigger. All three shoot firearms, so they know what a good trigger feels like. I did not say anything to them about any of it and all three mentioned how bad it was. It's not the 5 lb trigger pull, but the creep itself. There is no solid break! I actually flinched a couple times waiting for it to break. Two of the other three shooters did as well. When asked, Crosman stated there is no adjustment to the current trigger. Basically, it is what it is. If I had shot this crossbow in a store I would not buy it simply due to the trigger alone. Price point or not, I want one that I can be sure of when it will fire. I am very picky with the gear I use, so I want to make that perfectly clear. I wonder why Crosman won't improve the Sniper 370 and use a trigger assembly from the Tormentor or Gladiator? Are they the same trigger? I doubt it. I would invest more of my money into a crossbow if it had a great trigger. I see that it is Patented Trigger Technology with a Dry Fire Inhibitor. If it is patented I would think some tweaking would be worth it.


Vanes: Two of the three vanes on all three bolts are all warped after 40 shots. I am not sure if they are rubbing on the rails or what. I am going to purchase some bolts without vanes and fletch with Blazer vanes. If I cannot get bare vanes, I plan to remove the current vanes and glue on some Blazer vanes for my next tests.


Bolt Specs: One of the first things I look at before testing a crossbow is the bolt specs. The specs on the last page of the directions and the ones on the website are very different. The manual states 370 grains, but the website states 425 grains. If I reduce it by the 100 grain point I still have a 325 grain arrow. On the website it states; "These arrows are heavier than the standard arrows included in the Sniper Crossbow Kit, delivering better performance and penetration." Why would you include a different bolt with the kit vs. what is offered in the store? It's very confusing and quite honestly the 6-pack looks to be a better bolt. I wonder who makes the bolts for them. I plan on trying some different manufacturers bolts to see if it improves performance.

Also, what is the bolt spine? I could not find that anywhere. That is something that would be VERY helpful in testing. I did see that the half moon nocks are called out, which helps me when looking for a lighted nock.


Shooting at Longer Distances: We sighted in the Sniper 370 at 20 yards. We then moved it to 30 yards and then to 40, according to the scope specs. Two of us shot at different times. We recorded what happened and at 30 yards it was low by three inches. We adjusted the scope to bring the impact point to center at 30. Then at 40 yards it was 4" low, even using the correct scope points. We then tried it at 60 yards by aiming the 40 yard mark at the top of a two foot target and the bolt went under the target. We tested the same thing again and had the same result. It feels like there is some drag along the rail, which would explain the drop, but I shot three separate bolts through a chronograph. It shoots fast at 377 fps and hits hard at 20-30 yards. For some reason, the provided bolts drops very quickly at ranges farther than 20 yards.

For a price of $349.99, this crossbow is hard to beat for the hunter on a tight budget. As mentioned previously, I am picky with my gear and personally, I would not be comfortable hunting with this due to the trigger creep and bolt drop. Much of this is attributed to the fact that I also hunt game out to 100 yards with a crossbow. I'd love to hear your feedback, suggestions, and possibly some tips on improving performance. Would I buy this one? Probably not. Would I recommend it? Not for hunting out here in California unless you are only hunting at 20-30 yards. If Crosman fixed that trigger issue, I would then recommend this one to any of you.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Bass Pro Seminar: Scouting & Optics for Big Game Hunting