Hunting season is quickly approaching and I am excited as ever. I am spending countless hours looking at satellite imagery of the unit I will be hunting this fall. Getting some gear ready, buying more gear, and researching.
Hunting has always been either a direct or indirect part of my life. Growing up, my dad and grandfather hunted at every opportunity they had. I would go along for the ‘ride’ (which actually involved a lot of walking) often. When I hit the appropriate age, I went to the Hunter Education/Safety course, and then started putting in for the junior deer and javelina hunts.
As I got older, at times other things captured my interest. I would miss a season or two (or five!). Due to this, inexperience and the seeming difficulty of hunting I have a limited success rate, but I’ve always found it quite fun, and the feeling I get looking at a buck through a scope is exhilarating; no matter if I take the shot or not, hit or not.
For reasons I have not quite pinned down, I am more excited for this coming hunting season than any other in the past. It could have something to do with the personal mission I’ve set myself on to spend more time outdoors. It could have to do with the fact that it looks like my brother might actually be able to join dad and I this year. It could be that it’s been far too long since the last time I filled a tag.
No matter what the reason, I’m ready, and I still have 80 days to get through before opening day. Maybe the ache that comes from having to wait will ease up some when my new hunting rifle arrives. We’ll see…
It’s an unseasonably warm day in late November. You’ve got thirty pounds or more in your backpack, you’re carrying a rifle, and your huffing and puffing your way up a rugged mountain side to get a shot on an Arizona Coues Whitetail buck.
If you’re anything like me, putting the stalk to the animal gets your blood pumping, you breathe faster than normal, and you’re usually sitting on your bum in an office rather than sprinting up the hill side. The last thing you want to do is have to suck water through a 3 foot long straw to get a drink.
This is why I’ve never liked hydration bladders. In theory they are a great idea. You can carry your water in your pack, and if you’ve got a good one, you can possibly carry more water than you otherwise would because your pack helps distribute the load. No fussing with canteens, bottles or bota bags. Sounds good right? Wrong – at least for me. I find drinking through a bite valve to be a pain, and pain enough to make me ditch the bladder and go back to more traditional methods of carrying water.
Apparently, there are more people like me. The good folks at Geigerrig seemed to have taken all my dislike for the hydration bladder and thrown it out the window with the introduction of their “Hydration Engine“.
I first saw one of their packs at a local big box outdoors store, and the bladder is what specifically caught my interest. After some reading online and seeing that they carried the bladders by themselves, I decided to purchase the 3liter version to fill the void where the bladder used to be in my Camelbak Motherlode.
When I got the thing home, I immediately took it out of the package and immediately filled it with water and air to see how it worked. My initial thought upon seeing the stream of water come out of the drink tube was “this is brilliant!”
Along with the normal water reservoir and drink tube, the Geigerrig Hydration Engine also has a secondary chamber in the bladder that holds air, and a second tube with a hand pump to fill the air chamber. As the air chamber inflates, it puts pressure on the water reservoir and when you squeeze the valve at the end of the drink tube, the water comes streaming out with good enough force to squirt a sustained stream at least a good five feet. Geigerrig’s claim of “never suck again” certainly appears to be true.
Now that the initial testing was over, it was time to look at the other annoyance I had with water bladders: cleaning them. The bladders I’ve had in other packs, both name brand not; did not clean easily. That, coupled with the fact I didn’t like actually using them is what caused me to write them off. With the Geigerrig, you can actually turn the bladder inside out and throw it in your dishwasher. It is quite possible this is an even better feature than the pressurized drinking itself!
That is as far as I’ve gotten with it so far. This weekend comes the first of real testing. I’ve got to put it in my pack and see how it rides. I also need to make sure it does not make a whole lot of sloshing noises as it empties water.
I have to admit that as impressed as I am with it so far, I am a bit wary of how the bladder seals shut, and only time and use will tell if it works as well as I am hoping it will. I’m also hoping that the initial air pressurization is enough to empty the water completely. The last thing I want to do is be putting a stalk on the buck of my dreams and have to stop and make “FSSSHH FSSHH FSSSHHH” sounds as I pump more air into the bladder to get a quick drink.
I can already say though, I’m pretty sure I want one of their packs for every day use, and to take with me on day hikes, 3D Archery tournies and more…
Just saw that I got drawn for the early December rifle deer hunt in Southern Arizona. Aside from needing Smuggler-b-Gone spray, the unit I’ll be hunting in is pretty good! Color me excited.
White-tailed Deer Overview: Unit 34A will have an average to good population of whitetail this year. Whitetail hunting throughout the unit is good.
Mule Deer Overview: The mule deer population in the unit Is stable or decreasing at this time. Although there are not as many bucks as there used to be there still are a few good areas to find them.