Gear Review: Salomon Quest 4D II GTX Hiking Boots

Salomon Boots GTX

Hiking boots are one of the most important pieces of equipment for the outdoorsman. A good boot can make the difference in comfort and duration in the field. And it can also save your feet from unnecessary blisters or other foot related medical issues.

If you’re like me, there are four phases to the life of your hunting boot. First phase is the “Right Outta the Box” phase which requires adequate time on local trails to try to break in the new pair so you aren’t aching during peak hunting/hiking season.

The next phase is the “Prime” phase where your boots fit perfectly, operate flawlessly, and still look decent. This phase usually lasts only one to two seasons, depending on how rugged of an outdoorsman you are.

The third phase is what I call the “I Should Buy New Boots” phase. Let’s be honest here, none of us want to throw away our old pair and go shoe shopping. This phase really tests the durability of leather and the waterproofness of GoreTex. We’re lucky if we can make it an extra season in this phase. Duct tape usually helps.

The last phase is appropriately named the “Time to Buy New Boots” phase. You know what I mean. Boot’s soles are flopping around on every step. The GoreTex tab has fallen off, which is okay since the boots are as porous as the Viking’s defensive line. And mud has impregnated itself into the boots leather making you actually believe that’s how the boot was originally designed. It’s time to dish out some money and get some new boots.

Last year I purchased a new pair of hiking boots in preparation for my August Alaska hunting/fishing trip. I picked up a pair of Salomon Quest 4d II GTX hiking boots from REI. They have a perfect balance of rigidness where needed, but flexibility for overall performance. They are waterproof and breathable, using GoreTex liners (I don’t buy boots without it). Comfort is top notch with these boots, however, every foot is different and I recommend trying on several different boots before settling.

The Salomon’s one downfall is that it uses a shoelace gripper aimed toward keeping the boot tight at all times. It does accomplish this objective, however, it loosens the shoelace above that point and requires a double, sometimes triple, knot. It also adds a little more effort when taking the boot off.

All in all, this is a great boot and I recommend it for the avid outdoorsman. It’s August right now and if you’re currently in the fourth phase of a hiking boot’s life, go check out Salomon’ at your local outdoor retail store. #CelebrateMan

JD

Minnesota Waterfowl Season

Jeff & Trigger

It’s August fellas, which means birds will be flying soon. Here are the current dates for the Minnesota waterfowl season:

Aug 8 – 23rd   –  August Canada Goose (Intensive Harvest Zone)

Sept 5 – 22nd  –  Early Canada Goose season

Sept 12th    –  Youth Waterfowl Day (Tentative)

Sept 26th   –  Waterfowl season opener (Tentative)

For more info, visit the MNDNR website

3 Things to Do in the Gym to Become a Better Hunter

TommyStrength

It’s early November and the first day of deer rifle season. You have been waiting for this weekend all year long, 51 weekends have come and gone since your last deer hunt and you have been playing last year through your mind that entire time. Last year you shot a small 6 point buck and it dropped 50 yards away from your blind making it easy for you to gut it and drag it out. Over the past year you know you have let yourself go a bit getting into that baby rut, putting on some sympathy weight with your pregnant wife and not going to the gym as much as you know you should have because life got pretty stressful with a new born baby. Unfortunately, you have failed to make the connection between your physical health and your ability to hunt.

At 10:00 AM on the dot a beautiful 8 pointer walks up the game trail toward your blind making a quartering turn at 70 yards. You pull your rifle up to your shoulder, take aim, exhale and squeeze the trigger. The bullet flies true and makes the tuft of hair right behind the shoulder jump as it enters the buck and exits the other side. The buck runs…he takes off like a bat out of hell running into thick brush and down a hill. You’re so excited you didn’t even realize him running down the hill has made quite a hard workout for you later.

This is a familiar scenario for most hunters, everything leading up to and including the tracking of the animal is the fun part. Dragging the animal out is hard. Now you are faced with an up-hill drag for about a quarter of a mile to your truck. That’s a pretty daunting task for most if not all hunters. The following are three things you can do now in the gym to make this task seem not so scary.

Work Capacity Training

Work Capacity is as simple as it sounds. Your body’s ability to “do work” or preform a hard task for an extended period of time. This is vital for all athletes and hunters alike. Increasing your work capacity will make that uphill drag of a 160lb buck a lot easier. There are many ways to increase your work capacity. The easiest is to just work. For example I conducted work capacity training last night unloading a 17 ft moving truck by myself, yes it was hard and not a whole lot of fun but I do enjoy hard work. Long walks with a heavy pack are another good way to increase your work capacity, so is walking or jogging while pushing a stroller. Dragging sleds designed for asphalt are getting pretty cheap, you can pick one up for $50-$100, load it up with a few 45lb plates and walk for 100 ft or so, repeat this for 4-6 times and you’ll be ready for that uphill drag. As you can see pretty much any long hard work will make your body’s work capacity increase.

Belly breathing

If you have ever gutted an animal you have seen a diaphragm. Your diaphragm is a wall of muscle between your lungs and stomach attached to your rib cage. This helps you breathe, as this muscle expands and contracts it allows your lungs to open up and receive more air. While breathing try to push your stomach out as you inhale and bring your stomach in while you exhale. This is how your body was designed to work, because of “society’s view on belly fat” people try to puff up their chest to breath in and try not to show a fat gut. Belly breathing is the exact opposite to that, although you may look a little fat, you will be able to calm down quicker. This is important for when you are out of breath and have to take a shot, or you need to rest for a second before you continue to drag that deer to your truck.

Intervals

Interval training is short bouts of intense exercise paired with longer bouts of rest. You can do this with anything from body weight squats to sprints to jumping jacks. Do the exercise for 30-60 seconds then rest for 60-120 seconds. Your rest time should be roughly twice as long as your exercise time. The purpose for interval training for hunters is to teach your body to calm your heart rate fast, this will be easier with belly breathing. This will help when you run down the hill to retrieve your deer and he jumps up and continues to run. You’ll have to finish him off with another shot, but if your heart rate is at 170+ beats per minute, there is a good chance you will miss. Teaching your body to calm your heart rate will also help with recovery after you have drug the deer all the way back to your truck and now you have to load it into the back. Taking a second to calm down and relax will allow you to produce more force to lift that deer into your truck.

These are just a few things you can add to your workouts now to help make sure you are ready to go once the season starts! Visit this website frequently to see more fitness tips for the modern day hunter. #CelebrateMan

TM

Annual Alaska Trip

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Every year I load up my fishing gear, fly to Anchorage, and then head to one of my favorite places on this planet, the Kenai River. This is a tradition I started 3 years ago when I accompanied my wife on a layover. She works for the airlines (lucky me).

When I started this tradition in 2013, I was hit with tremendous luck. My first cast while fishing the Kenai River, a 10 pound coho salmon nailed my lure and gave me a thrilling fight. I’ve been hooked ever since. However, it’s distorted my expectations of the annual salmon run because I assume every year that the fishing will be as simple and productive as the first year when I timed the silver run perfectly.

This year was awful for me. I hit the tail end of the King salmon run, and saw a mediocre sockeye (otherwise known as “reds”) run in my area. The flashy Blue fox spoons that landed me countless silvers in the past, was a waste of time for spawning reds. I had two days to fish the river this year and my go-to spot was not producing.

Determined not to come home empty handed, I struck up conversations with locals and other anglers and found out the technique and location people were catching the sockeyes. They employed a technique called “flipping” or “flossing” which involved tying a Russian River fly to a 24″ leader, then flipping the line into the current near the bank, holding for 6-10 seconds, and pulling out and repeating the process.

I hiked a mile to a popular fishing hole where I was instructed, and sure enough, the technique paid off. Landed my first salmon in about an hour and although I didn’t fill the cooler that day, I came home with fresh salmon that runs $18.99/pound back here in Minnesota.

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My trips to Alaska every year are part of what help satisfy the wild desires I have as a man. Guys like us need to pull away from civilization now and then and face challenges in nature. These adventures rejuvenate the soul and build everlasting character…and often add more protein to the freezer. #CelebrateMan

JD