Catching up

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Dennis Clay

There are a couple subjects on my mind this week. It’s time to catch up.

Shooting sticks

The first item is a follow-up to the shooting sticks article published in the Fall 2017 Hook & Bullet.

The sticks are two, 4-foot long dowels. A cane tip was placed on the down end of each. A bungee cord holds the sticks together for hiking and to spread apart for shooting.

My thinking concluded the sticks would be slick after being painted. This condition would not be helpful or safe when hunting. Baseball bat tape was the answer.

The photo in the Fall Hook & Bullet shows the sticks a pale blonde color, the color of unpainted wood. My initial thought was to paint them hunter orange. However, orange wouldn’t be a good color when hunting turkey.

The first solution was to make two sets of sticks; one for hunting turkey and one for hunting big game. Friend Jim Hergert straightened me out and put me on the correct path.

He stated correctly about me wearing a bunch of orange, so there was no reason to paint the sticks orange. Jim suggested the sticks be painted black and used for big game, as well as turkey. Perfect idea and only one set of sticks is needed.

A spray can of black paint was already in my workshop. A cardboard box was obtained to hold the sticks and cane tips. The sticks were easily supported on each side of the box. One side of the box naturally held a horizontal position, which was used to hold the tips.

A layer of paint was going to be applied each day. This was during the hot days of summer. It was soon discovered the paint would dry in an hour or less. Several layers of paint were applied to the sticks and the cane tips. Finally, the tips were installed on the lower end. The tips were sprayed again and this application sealed the tips to the sticks.

The upper end of the sticks was a concern to me. They reminded me of an exposed fence post where water could penetrate. The solution was to apply many coats of paint, until the tops were smooth.

The next step was the installation of the baseball bat tape. This stage in the process went surprisingly well. This tape is applied in an overlapping manner from the upper end to the stick. Each was sealed and finished with a piece of red tape, which came in the package.

The sticks are complete, black and shiny, but not too shiny. The handles are a bit sticky, designed this way for a solid grip.

New boots

The second item needing a bit of catch-up discussion is my new footwear. They are Field & Stream, Men’s Deep Creek Waterproof Hiking Boots. The company description talks about Hydroproof Ultra, which means they are waterproof and have a breathable membrane allows moisture vapors to escape while keeping water out, so you stay dry.

Molded EVA sockliner is also mentioned. This means there is a liner in the boot used to absorb moisture from your skin and keep your shoe warm in a cold temperature.

Next came the word Vibram. A man was driven to invent a new boot sole after the deaths of six mountain climbers in the Italian Alps. Vibram was the result, which means the tread of these boots are dramatic or rugged, for better traction.

The last part of the description involves durable leather upper, which means they are able to stand up scrapes on rocks, wood and other objects when hiking the backcountry.

All of these parts convinced me the boots were needed. Sometimes an article of clothing can be regarded as a friend from the beginning. Forgive me for putting the narrative this way, but they fit like a glove from the beginning. No break-in period was required, because of the fit.

The laces go through four stations on the lower portion and three hooks of the upper portion. The third hook down is at an odd station, being angled toward the heel and positioned below and behind the other two hooks.

This had me concerned at first, but this hook actually adds to the comfortability of the boot.

My preferred hunting boots have a longer or higher upper part of the boot, the part going up the leg. However, these boots have changed my mind. These will be my 2017 hunting boots and, hopefully, for years into the future.

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