Friday, October 31, 2014

Announcing the New HHA Sports King Pin Sight!

October 31, 2014 will be the day when we remember that HHA Sports released the details on the innovative new King Pin archery sight. Yes sir, this bad boy is a keeper! I'll post the details, but if you want to hear HHA Sports National Sales Manager, Chris Hamm share the details, listen to this Optimizer Podcast.


For an unprecedented 11th straight year, HHA Sports struck gold with their Optimizer by retaining the prestigious Bowhunting World Reader’s Choice Award in the single pin category.   What more could they possibly do to enhance this already iconic brand?  The answer is simple: THE OPTIMIZER LITE KING PIN (MSRP $349).  20 years in the making, the King Pin marks the 3rd generation of archery’s #1 selling single pin and is loaded with features no other bow sight can offer.

The most notable difference is its wheel-forward design, making it compatible with virtually any quiver and extending it further in front of the riser than the Optimizer Lite and Lite Ultra.  With 2.1” of vertical travel and touting the industry’s most accurate yardage tape system, the King Pin’s silky smooth all-brass rack and pinion can be dialed from 20 to 100 yards in 1 yard increments.  Interchangeable yardage wheels can be swapped out in seconds for shooters that change their set-ups frequently, eliminating the need to retape the sight each time.  Enhanced with a crystal clear magnifier hovering over the yardage scale, adjustments to a fraction of a yard are now a reality.  A “Blind 20” feature allows the shooter to return the sight to their 20 yard mark while keeping an eye on the target and illuminated sight tapes, courtesy of an add-on Blue Burst light, are sure to be a hit with the ground blind crowd.

With the choice of a 1 5/8” or 2” sight aperture and available in .010 of .019 fiber diameters, the King Pin boasts an exclusive mechanical rheostat that infinitely dims and brightens the pin intensity.  Optional magnification lenses (manufactured by Feather Visions) are available in 2x, 4x and 6x and ideal for competition or hunters with aging eyes.  Fully integrated 2nd and 3rd axis adjustment top it all off to make the King Pin the most accurate and versatile Optimizer ever!

Designed for the target shooter or bowhunter desiring an extended sight bar, the Optimizer Lite King Pin Tournament Edition (MSRP $379) marks HHA’s first ever journey into the target and 3D world.  With all the features of its hunting counterpart, as well as sun shades and sight covers, the King Pin TE offers 4” to 8” of dovetail adjustment and is sure to be making an appearance at the top of the podium soon.

Like its predecessors, the King Pin is made in the USA and carries a 100% Lifetime Warranty.  To read more about the Optimizer Lite King Pin and other HHA products, visit  In the field or on the range, grab an Optimizer Lite King Pin today and Be The King…


Here is what I love about this sight:

The yardage wheel out front to allow for better weight distribution. This will also allow easier quiver mounting. I love that feature as I have always needed a separate mounting bracket.

There are 100 yard sight tapes instead of 80 yards.

It has interchangeable wheels for multiple bow use. This means you can have one sight for many different bows! All you have to do is swap out the sight wheel. This is very cool!

Everyone has been asking for this, and now it's there - 2nd and 3rd axis adjustment has been added.

The King Pin has a stop on the 20 yard mark to be able to move it to 20 without looking. YES!

Go check it out!!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Colorado Elk Hunt Days 5 & 6: Unfulfilled Success

A loud 'THUD' and the sound of something zipping across tent material woke me up at 2:00 AM. Was Brett OK? I thought he may have been having a nightmare and sat up too quickly. As I listened intently, I hear Brett call out to me.

'Al? Something just it me in the head!!!'

I started yelling, 'GO AWAY BEAR! GET AWAY!' I grabbed my bear spray, got my headlamp on, and escaped the confines of my tent. Brett was already outside of his tent, armed with his sidearm and ready for battle. We searched left, right, up, down, and could not see any eyes. There was no sound. There were no tracks. The only thing left behind was a dusty outline of a head imprint on the side of Brett's tent. It was too faded to really figure it out. Our adrenaline was pumping, our hearts racing, and there was no way we were going to fall asleep. We again searched the premises and were baffled. 

'What the *#&$#% was that?' I asked Brett. He had no idea and both of us were visibly shaken. Needless to say, we were also a bit cold from jumping into the cool night air in our skivvy's. We deemed the area clear and went back to our tents. It only took a half hour and Brett is sawing logs as I stared at the seams in the upper part of my tent. My mind was racing from being on high alert. I listened for a while longer and finally drifted off to sleep.

After we ate a small bit of breakfast at 7:00 AM, we packed up camp and proceeded to head back down the mountain. We opted to camp at a lower level in hopes of getting closer to the elk in the canyons. We were also sick of the heat, not hearing anything, and needed a change. As we descended, we enjoyed the view, but also commented on how nice it was to be going down the trail instead of up it. 

We found a great spot to set up camp, at the edge of a fast moving river. Pine trees, cold water, and a change of scenery. It was exactly what we needed. In twenty minutes we had camp set up. The setting was perfect. The aroma of pine needles and dirt. Shade. Ahhh, the shade was delightful! The sound of rushing water over rocks made us crave a cool drink. We pumped out 3.5 gallons of water and then the Pat's Backcountry Beverages kit made an appearance. There is nothing like filtering your own water on a hot day, making your own beer, and sitting next to a river in the backcountry. Then there is dunking your head in the water to cool off. It was invigorating!!

Over our tasty beverage, we contemplate the next two days of hunting. It is decided that we will hunt above the beaver ponds this evening and tomorrow morning above camp. If we don't see or hear anything, we will call it a hunt and pack up after the morning outing. It's just too hot and we are looking forward to being back a day early. Maybe our luck will change, but at this point we both have our doubts. Even I know that the likelihood of even hearing an elk is slim-to-none.

The evening hunt story doesn't change much. The heat drove the elk deeper into the canyons and they weren't talking at all. The most that happened was watching the trout surface in the pond as the beaver was busy foraging underwater. A half hour before sunset we called it a night. Hiking back to camp brought out the worst in us. The hills were uneven and hard to hike on. The irritation of working so hard to hear not a peep from anything was hard to swallow. We stayed silent almost all the way back to camp. I tried keeping up with Brett, but he hiked on ahead. I decided just to take it easy and hike at my normal pace. No need to rush back. It was already hot and I just wanted to try to enjoy the hike out as best I could. 

Dinner and a beer next to the river was a great way to end the night. After 5 days in the wilderness I could not wait to take a shower. My clothing was starting to have second thoughts about the morning hunt, but I persuaded them to stick around. Well, not literally, but it was cutting it close.

After our bellies were filled, we set off to the meadow behind camp. We looked up at the starry sky and stood in silence for a few minutes. I have seen the stars in the wilderness before, but this night just seemed better than all combined. The Milky Way was apparent and there were shooting stars all over. Brett spotted some eyes about 150 yards away and moving closer. Remembering the night before, we anticipated the worst. To our surprise, it was a mule deer buck feeding his way toward camp. We had finally seen an animal! We watched him on and off for twenty minutes as we checked out the stars. He fed behind camp to about 80 yards. We decided we may as well nod off and try to get some shuteye.

The next morning we saw and heard no elk. Camp was packed and we headed back to the truck, which just happened to be only a quarter mile away. Yes, we planned the morning well. On our way out, we ran into a father and son on horseback. The boy had his bow and you could just feel the excitement he was experiencing. We chatted with them, told them of our trip and how many people were in there. They were going to take a different route and try to fill their tags. Not only were they super friendly, but it was great to talk with the locals. Honest to goodness people with a willingness to talk hunting. 

As we dropped our packs, we let out a sigh of relief. We stowed our gear and dropped the tailgate. The only thing getting punched on this trip were cigars. While we hadn't filled our tags, we had hunted hard, covered more than 20 miles in five days, and we needed to celebrate that. It was a success in the fact that we had made the trip to Colorado and hunted elk on our own. We tried our best and that is all you can ask for. Hunting with friends makes the trip more memorable and this trip was every bit of that.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Colorado Elk Hunt Day 4: Movement in the Water

Napping. That's what I would call it. It sure wasn't sleep. I was thankful for a place to lay my head, but was not well rested. All part of the elk hunting experience sometimes. On our way up the mountain, we kept noticing these grasshoppers bounding all over. Even in the cold! It was crazy and we joked about some nuclear spill nearby and it had possibly affected these little jumping machines. 

We hiked past the outfitters camp and immediately the howls of coyotes erupted in front of us. We hiked and hiked up to nearly 11,000 feet. The scenery was again beautiful, but desolate. No animals were moving and coyotes were the only thing we heard all morning.

Back in camp, my water filter stopped working. I was thankful that Brett and I had thought ahead and each brought one. Mine was an attachment to your water bladder and after two uses completely plugged up. The problem was that there is no way of taking it apart and cleaning it.

Disappointed we hadn't seen anything and frustrated with the heat again, we hiked to a northeast section of timber behind camp. It was a pretty sweet looking set up. As we sat and glassed, Brett found a hidden pond about 500 yards from our location. We sat and glassed the meadow, the valley, and the pond for a long time. Again, there was nothing happening.

In the midst of the boredom I noticed ripples at the edge of the pond. We raised our binoculars and waited. For what seemed like five minutes, and in actuality was like thirty seconds, we watched and hoped an elk would materialize. Unfortunately, two foraging ducks appeared and dashed our hopes. It was the most excitement we had encountered in days. 

The 75 degree temperature drove us back to camp early. Cursing and commiserating about our experience to date, we made dinner and discussed our plan of attack. We decided that in the morning we would break camp, head down to the beaver pond area, and set up to hunt the remaining two days. It all sounded great and we turned in with anticipation of a great day ahead of us. 

At 8:25 PM we heard our first bugle of he trip and it came from deep within the canyon we would be hunting near. I was very happy to finally hear a bugle! It turns out that what happened overnight would overshadow any excitement we had and frighten us both more than ever.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Colorado Elk Hunt Day 3: The Sounds of Silence

A good night it was not! I slept hardly at all and was awake almost every hour, on the hour.  There was a a stiff breeze and it was blowing right into my tent! It was very cold outside! I had the urge to urinate at 12:30 AM and refused to go outside. Finally, when the alarm went off at 6:00 AM, I couldn't wait any longer. Outside my tent, the cold air hit me like a cold fish to the face. It was unpleasant! In less than thirty seconds my teeth were chattering! We dressed quickly and looked around. The ground was covered in a heavy frost, and after a mildly warm breakfast, we loaded up and hiked to our first spot to call.

Brett perched near a log by a clearing, and I about 75 yards behind him, uphill. I was sure to leave myself a few shooting lanes as well. The hour dragged by as we called. We moved along and called as we hiked. Nothing. Only the birds wanted to chat. The surroundings were beautiful and perfect for elk, but they were not to be found. It seemed like we were hiking and not hunting.

As the darkness of the forest opened into the light of the meadow, we found one of the outfitters campsites. As we continued on, we found the other sites and it looked like they had been hunting this side of the mountain quite heavily. It was a great spot. In fact, it was one of the spots we had marked on the map to check out. We were thinking right, but someone else had beaten us to the punch.

We hiked up and kept going...UP! Our lungs were screaming and we found a great place to call. Well, it was a great place for breakfast as we heard nothing for an hour, so we sat down and ate breakfast while we glassed the far meadows. It was beautiful, but discouraging. Nothing was moving. Even the squirrels seemed upset and didn't want to be in the sunshine. 

We hiked back to our lookout spot above camp and quickly spotted two bowhunters. They spotted us, too. They stopped to see what we were doing, so we sat down, glassed for a bit, and got a bit of sun. That was about all the excitement we could take. We decided to head back to camp and relax for a couple hours. The temperature was rising and the heat was awful. We figured we could rest a bit and filter some water. We should have remained in camp all afternoon because the evening hunt was as uneventful as the evenings prior. 

Over dinner, we contemplated the different areas to hunt the next day and tried to figure out what to do. It would be different if we were hearing bugles or seeing elk, but with nothing to go on it was just a matter of how much boot rubber to burn. We crashed a bit early, but getting any sleep was difficult at best. Never again will I eat Chicken Tortilla out of a bag for dinner. Between the grumbles in my belly and the rough ground, getting comfortable was not easy. I was optimistic for the following day and was hoping for cooler weather. We were only halfway through the week, so things had to get better. Right?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

SoCal Bowhunter Tech Tip - DIY Tent Footprint

As I prepared my gear for the hunting season, I realized that I did not have a footprint for my tent. Here I am using a Teton Sports Outfitter XXL tent, but they do not make a footprint for it. Here's my quick and easy way to make a DIY tent footprint.