Kurt Schirado, Co-Host of Ultimate Outdoor Adventures TV
Throughout the year I have the opportunity to travel to various sport shows and speak at various events with two of my best friends and business partners, Jason Wright and John Arman. It doesn’t take long for people to gauge our enthusiastic approach in researching, testing and forming an honest opinion on some of the newest hunting/fishing products. We are always trying to keep tabs on the newest gear to hit the shelves prior to the opening of archery season creating an excuse to head to Scheels most every Sunday afternoon when the weather keeps us from getting outdoors.
It’s usually late summer and early fall when we begin to get both emails and Social Media messages from hunting enthusiasts. Most are looking for our opinion about certain products and/or anticipating a truthful response to make their next outing more successful as they begin to prepare for the fall and winter hunting season.
I decided to go back through some of the questions we have received and share some of them with our readers. If my opinion helps a few people then my goal was accomplished, and feel free to contact me any time with either a question or an opinion since I too enjoy listening to others discuss how to be more safe, comfortable and successful during their hunting adventures.
You Asked For It… Kurt’s Hunting Opinion
QUESTION: I have an upcoming archery elk hunt in Montana this fall and need a pair of really good boots but, I want to be able to use these boots for stalking mule deer in North Dakota as well as antelope hunting in Wyoming this fall. What would you recommend, keeping versatility in mind?
KURT’S OPINION: This is an easy question and a topic I truly enjoy talking about. I purchased my first pair of quality hunting boots nearly 30 years ago, and since then I’ve owned numerous brands and styles to accommodate my needs and always seem to wear them out after just a few short years in the field. It wasn’t until about eight years ago when a close friend talked me into investing a little more money into a higher quality pair of footwear. I then purchased my first pair of non-insulated Kenetrek “Mountain Extreme” boots and still wear that very same boot today. These boots are extremely light-weight, comfortable, durable and best of all, dry. I figure if the “Mountain Extreme” boots are designed for western big game sheep hunters in mountainous terrain, they should definitely work for me being from the Midwest. I truly recommend the non-insulated or the 400 gram “Mountain Extreme” boot by Kenetrek for your best all-around hunting boot. They will take you from an early season antelope hunt right into the November whitetail season. When wearing my “Mountain Extremes”, I can focus on the hunt and not on sore feet.
QUESTION: On your show, I notice that you are oftentimes using a mechanical broadhead when hunting antelope, and if my memory serves me correct you used a NAP Killzone, why do you use a mechanical broadhead?
KURT’S OPINION: Antelope usually take up residency in wide open country and sometimes these speedy critters can truly test your shooting skills. If hunting over a water hole, your shot may be as close as 10 yards, but if you’re using the spot and stalk method, one might have to extend your shooting range out to 40, 60 or even 80 yards. If you’re not an expert at tuning modern day compound bows, it can be quite challenging to get any or all fixed blade broadheads to fly perfectly straight at longer distances when nearly all mechanical broadheads fly true to your field points. The two blade NAP Killzone broadheads are available with a 2″ cut diameter and for your low poundage shooters, they offer a 1 3/4″ cut diameter. The Killzone is available with a cut-on-contact razor tip for extreme cutting and penetration and a trophy tip which offers the bone-crunching toughness many bowhunters demand.
QUESTION: During a big game hunt last fall I really struggled to make a good shot on several opportunities while the animal was standing broadside at approximately 275 yards, and I am not a young pup anymore so I am looking to help steady my shot. What would you recommend for this well experienced hunter?
KURT’S OPINION: Another great question that I hear quite often. I’m not sure how long ago, but I do know that I had my very first Harris bipod on my very first hunting rifle…and I still have that same bipod on my hunting rifle today. For any seasoned veteran or someone just getting starting on their very first big game hunt, I would strongly recommend the Harris HB25S bipod for better accuracy and stability. It has two adjustable legs that extend from 12″ – 25″ to accommodate both a prone and sitting shooting position. The “S” series bipod swivels toward the top to help level your rifle on uneven ground… this is a feature I would not go without. In any hunting situation I always try to shoot in the prone position first but if circumstances call for a change up, in seconds I can extend both legs and settle in for a shot from the sitting position. Over the past 25 years I’ve harvested about 97% of all of big game animals shooting off my bipod. I am confident that if you give the Harris bipod a try you too will be appreciative of the benefits during your next hunt.
QUESTION: I am looking for a new pack and I know that on all your hunting shows you guys are always carrying a backpack. What would you recommend for most deer hunting situations in the Dakotas, Wyoming and Montana?
KURT’S OPINION: A good backpack is essential on any big game hunt and like boots I’ve tried a lot. It wasn’t until recently I found the right pack to fit my particular hunting needs. For me, the Blacks Creek 2000 cubic inch “Answer” back pack is my “answer” to this question. This pack is perfect for an all-day hunt in the hills or mountains and yet has the ability to transform into the overnighter if needed. The “Grip” frame breaks down from the pack to haul out your meat load after the harvest yet still allows you to reattach the main compartment to carry your gear. This packs weighs only 7.5 lbs., is equipped with 9 pockets, a separate spotting scope compartment, a bow/rifle carrying boot, and 6 compression straps that help haul out the big loads. If you’re looking for one pack that can do just about anything then you’re looking for the “Answer”. You might pay a little more for this pack but if you’re serious about your hunting, the investment is well worth it.
If the “Answer” is too much for your needs and you’re looking for just a day pack, I would recommend a pack with a storage range of 1500-2000 cubic inches or an overnight pack with a storage range of 3000-5000 cubic inches. Examine the pack for quality zippers, ample storage compartments, and extra compression straps and fitted shoulder straps to ensure your comfort.
QUESTION: I am new to the sport of archery and since I began I have struggled with shooting consistently, and during a recent eye appointment found out that I am left-eye dominant but shooting right handed. Do you have any advice that might help with my situation?
KURT’S OPINION: There are a few different answers to this particular question. First, you can do what I did in this exact situation… after nearly 20 years of shooting my bow right handed I switched to a south paw or left handed archery shooter. This allowed my left eye to take charge in low light situations and possibly most important allow me the option to shoot with both eyes open. If you continue to shoot right handed, you can choose to wear a patch over your left eye allowing your right eye to be your dominant force while shooting. And lastly, you might want to try the new Apex “Covert” single pin bow sight. A single pin bow sight allows your eye to relax and focus only on one sight pin instead of a cluster of pins giving you that halo effect and more eye fatigue.
QUESTION: During many of your outdoor seminars you have talked about wearing the right clothing to keep yourself dry and comfortable. What exactly are you referring to and what type of clothing would you recommend? Do you prefer a particular brand?
KURT’S OPINION: When it comes to outdoor clothing, my hunting closet looks almost like my wife’s walk in closet in our bedroom. If you’re serious about the outdoors, you need to throw away all your cotton clothes and invest in some wool or synthetic outer and underwear. Merino Wool product such as those from “First Lite” are one of the best choices for socks, hats, base layers and mid layers because of its moister wicking qualities, wide temperature range and its natural resistance to odors. As a golfer needs multiple clubs to be versatile on the course, an outdoor person must have multiple garments to be effective and stay comfortable in the field. One must purchase light, middle and heavy weight layering under garments, as well as quality outer wear to protect you from the fringed temperatures and blustery winds…one set of clothing will not work in all outdoor situations.
When purchasing your outdoor clothing, consider the style of hunting or outdoor activity you are buying for and level in which you play the game at. If you spot and stalk most of your game, you would definitely search for different clothing as opposed to someone who hunts mainly from a stand or blind. These are a few important qualities to watch for when researching for that next purchase: Wind proof or wind resistant outer wear, quiet, comfortable, well fitting, moisture wicking and breathable.
QUESTION: I have decided to upgrade from a very old pair of binoculars and I plan to also purchase my first spotting scope. My goal is to purchase good optics, but I am not out to impress anyone; therefore, what would you recommend for an all-around average hunter as far as brand and power? I am looking for quality and possibly a one-time purchase – something that will last.
KURT’S OPINION: Good hunting optics are essential for any outdoor person and knowing what to buy for your particular hunting style is key. When it comes to sport optics, the old saying stands true…”You get what you pay for”. So with that being said, let’s try to answer the above question. For the average hunter or huntress, I would recommend something in the $200 range like the Nikon MONARCH 3 8×42 ATB binoculars. When purchasing hunting optics, the first number (8) represents the actual power or strength of the binocular and the second number (42) is the size of objective or opening of the lens on the opposite end you look through. An 8×42 pair of binoculars gives you good lens strength when glassing the prairies for hours yet offers enough light gathering capabilities to decipher antlers from ears at dusk or dawn.
If you want to step it up a notch, I would recommend saving your money and spending the few extra dollars on the Nikon MONARCH 7 8×42 ATB. By moving up the ladder in the world of optics, you will gain better low light transmission, crisper edges and less eye strain during long periods of glassing. The Monarch 7 won’t empty your wallet but normally tip the cash register at about $400-$500.
When it comes to choosing a quality spotting scope, I stress saving your money until you can afford a higher end scope. Most quality spotting scopes cost the buyer anywhere from $900- $2500. Do you need to spend the entire $2500 to get a good scope…I don’t think so but I wouldn’t stop you from doing it…again, you get what you pay for. The purpose of a spotting scope is to zoom in on critters at long distances; therefore, doing this in low light conditions demands a higher quality lens to transmit crystal clear images back to the user.
|The answers to the above questions are my opinion and some of you may not agree, but that’s okay. If I can make it easier for just one person to purchase there next backpack, pair of boots or binoculars, the time spent writing this article was well worth it. I don’t claim to know everything or to be perfect, just passionate about the outdoors. Good luck to all outdoor enthusiasts this fall.