As the summer quickly passes, the time to start preparing for the upcoming hunting season has begun. Of course, one is never really relieved of the responsibility of their own preparedness when it comes to the outdoors,and I've been in the woods, dog training, shooting (a little), studying, and generally keeping my head in the game. But now the time has come to inventory my gear, acquire what I think I'll need, make my plans for the coming season, and start to address the issues I faced last season, so they wont be issues this year. This means, in some cases, new gear will be acquired.
The biggest issue I encountered last year was my Setter, Austin, succumbing to cancer. This left me in a tricky situation, but the answer was found in a Springer Spaniel pup I've named Ginger. I'm not out of the woods, or back in them, as the case may be, yet. Ginger is still too young to accompany me afield, so my hunting season will see me walking up grouse, something I expect to be educational, and shooting over friend's dogs. Waterfowling in my canoe or john boat, and deer hunting are two other activities I expect to heavily be involved in, so I'll not be without something to do.
As I've thought about the last few seasons, and some of the issues I faced, I decided I'd tackle one of the biggest issues that has been troubling me for a while; sweat. Even on a cold day, once I start moving, I sweat big time. The trouble here, as you all know, is that once I take a break I get a chill. Sometimes its quite hard to shake that chill once I start moving again too. I tried a fleece lined shirt last season, thinking that even if I soak the fleece with sweat it should stay warm. This worked to some degree, but wasn't exactly the answer I was looking for. As the shirt had no wind barrier, even a little breeze would cut right through, and cause a chill. I'm sure this shirt will see action on extremely cold days, but what I need is something breathable, and quick drying. Enter LL Bean. I've ordered two different breathable, quick drying shirts from LL Bean. One is the light weight ventilated shirt. This shirt might not be appropriate for later in the season, but I think layered with some technical sporting type of under garment which will allow the shirt to function as designed, I should be okay for a while.
The other shirt I decided I'd try is the Northweave. This, too, is a breathable, quick drying shirt, but in the case of the Northweave, it's made of a heavier material. This shirt should carry me well into the fall, as it'll provide more warmth.
Two other additions include a new knife, which I mentioned briefly a while ago, and a new survival bivy. I'd been feeling the need for a good fixed blade knife for some time. Often my folding knives end up buried in a vest, or pack, or not deployed quickly enough. Something I could wear on my hip, and deploy without removing a glove would be perfect. Not to mention that fixed blade knives are generally stronger.
I decided to get a SOG Seal Pup. The knife isn't terribly big, so it's not awkward to carry, has a serrated section of the blade for sawing, or cutting line, and comes with a nylon sheath with an extra pocket on it. I use the extra pocket to hold a small LED flashlight I've had laying around the house. I still haven't had an opportunity to really use the knife in any fashion, so I still can't give any kind of review yet, but I think It'll see some action this week when I try my hand at a little bushcraft shelter building. Seal Pup
The bivy I bought was an impulse buy. I was looking for a small, light weight, nylon tarp I could add to my survival kit, when I came across the bivy. It's made by SOL, and comes rolled in a small sack. It seems to be substantial enough to survive an unexpected night in the woods. It's small enough that I doubt I'll even notice the additional weight in my vest. Hopefully, I'll never have to use it, but if I do, hopefully it'll not be more than once. SOL Bivy