A favorite in the blind or at the range – Winchester® Ammunition’s AA® TrAAcker™

In visiting with other instructors, shooters and outdoor enthusiasts post SHOT Show I have been asked the same question numerous times. “What was your favorite thing at SHOT Show?”

There are always many things that impress me at the show. I will over the next few weeks, be sharing some of the great new releases I was able to view at Media Day at the Range as well as SHOT Show.

 

CLICK TO SHOP WINCHESTER MEMORABILIA

Being a handgun, rifle and shotgun instructor I am always looking for things I may possibly use as training aids. The one thing that caught my eye, above all, was Winchester® Ammunition’s soon to be released AA® TrAAcker™. I personally continue to work on following through on a shot with a shotgun. I also have  sticks, balls and other props I use to demo for kids what it means to be shooting behind or not following through. While hunting in the duck blind with a group you would be able to see your shot, thus knowing who hit which bird.  AA Traaker

 

The minute I saw Winchester® Ammunition’s AA® TrAAcker™ I was impressed. They have come out with both a game and target load that has a weighted wad. The wad retains the velocity of the shot allowing the shooter to more easily see where his or her shot is going. The wad is available in orange or black and marked on the box. Orange is excellent when hunting or shooting targets in a treed area. Your eye can easily track it. The black wad was simple to see in the skyline, and below you will even see where I caught the wad in flight on my basic point and shoot camera.
If you look closely, you can see the black Traaker wad flying just left of the orange clay.

If you look closely in the sky, you can see the black wad of the Winchester Traaker flying just left of the orange clay.

Winchester Unveils Innovative AA® TrAAcker™: See Why You’ve Been Missing

 

EAST ALTON, Ill. – A fired 12-gauge shotgun shell unleashes a cloud of shot from a shotgun barrel at about 1,200 feet per second – too fast for the human eye to see the pellets in flight. This can make it extremely difficult to master the correct lead on flying clay targets or game birds.

What if that changed? What if it was possible to track the flight of the shot cloud?

Thanks to Winchester® Ammunition, it’s happening in 2013.


Winchester AA Traacker

Legendary innovation at Winchester continues with the AA® TrAAcker™, the first game and target load to feature a weighted wad that actually tracks with the shot cloud. This allows the shooter or an instructor to quickly determine where the shooter is missing – making it easy to adjust and nail flying targets shot after shot.

“A new shooter now can learn how to lead a clay target or game bird almost immediately – that’s the results you get with AA TrAAcker,” said Brett Flaugher, Winchester Ammunition vice president of marketing, sales and strategy. “The new AA TrAAcker is a great training tool for shooters, hunters, and shooting instructors.”

The secret of AA TrAAcker is in the revolutionary wad. Loaded with 1 1/8 oz. of shot like a standard AA shotshell, the innovative wad design includes longer, notched petals, and captures 1/8-ounce of shot, which stabilizes wad spin and ensures that the wad remains in the center of the shot cloud for optimum tracking. The AA TrAAcker load is available in two highly visible colors: orange, for overcast conditions or dark backdrop; and black for clear skies or light backdrops.

AA® TrAAcker™ specifications:

Symbol

Condition

Gauge

Shell Length

Shot Weight

Shot Size

Velocity

AAHA127TO

Overcast/Dark Backdrop

12

2 ¾”

1 1/8 oz.

7

1250

AAHA127TB

Clear Sky

12

2 ¾”

1 1/8 oz.

7

1250

AA128TO

Overcast/Dark Backdrop

12

2 ¾”

1 1/8 oz.

8

1145

AA128TB

Clear Sky

12

2 ¾”

1 1/8 oz.

8

1145

Since 1965, Winchester AA target loads have set the industry standard for performance on the range and in the field. Known for the legendary High Strength Hull, Winchester AA ammunition is a favorite of reloaders everywhere.

With a company heritage dating back to 1866, Winchester Ammunition was there for the taming of the American West, the Allied Forces’ victory in World War II and through the years, millions of fond memories made in the great outdoors and at the range.

Known as The American Legend™, Winchester is a global leader in sporting, law enforcement, military and personal defense ammunition production. Winchester continues to raise the bar with innovative products like Blind Side® waterfowl and PDX1® Defender® personal defense ammunition.

For more information about Winchester Ammunition, visit www.winchester.com, or connect with The American Legend on Facebook at Facebook.com/WinchesterOfficial.


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Rest in Peace Sweet Daisy

20121227-120251.jpg
A proud Daisy with Mia. A day on the lake.

Those of you who have followed me for any time at all know I have a special sidekick, a companion, a pal, a fierce protector, a lover, a hunting and fishing partner, and a friend. Today I am not speaking of my Little Gal or H but of my Daisy, my Weimaraner.

Sweet Daisy and I clicked the very first time we met. H owned her first and through him, we were lucky enough to connect. It was no time at all before she was MY DOG. I would shoot a duck and she would bring it back to me. Ha would shoot a duck and she would bring it back to me. Haha! Maybe not the best at her job, but she sure took care of me!

I nearly lost her to a turned stomach the week after my Dad passed last spring. She knew I needed her then and made it through a surgery with flying colors. The vet complimented us on what wonderful shape she was in for her age. I’m pretty sure that’s due to our many adventures.

We had a lot of good times. Lots of hunting. Lots of hugs. Lots of hikes. Lots of camping trips. She was a chowhound by breed, and her belly constantly got her into trouble.
This Christmas was no different. Daisy mowed two mesh bags filled with gold foil covered chocolate coins. The mesh bags held the foil in a ball and stopped up her stomach. She endured a seven-hour surgery to remove the debris and then to clean up stomach fluids which the vet had spilled into her body cavity. At almost 11 years old, it was just too much. She went into shock and passed away around 11:00am December 27, 2012.

Rest in peace sweet friend. You will be missed!

A video tribute to my old friend:

 

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Predator Call – the mini Phantom

mini Phantom with mini Phantom speaker

It’s that time of year again. Just after big game is done, and predator hunting takes full effect. I thought I better share this one again. We are still using (enjoying) this call and demo-ing another which I hope to report on soon!

I was excited to head to the post office counter yesterday with my yellow slip.  In our little town that of course means you have a package to pick up!  I handed the piece of paper to the man on the other side of the counter with a big smile and then stood there to wait.  He came around the corner with a box and blandly stated “More hunting things.”  I immediately knew what was inside.  It was going to be my new

from Extreme Dimension Wildlife Calls.  An electronic predator call which I planned to try out on the coyotes that have been lurking around looking for our turkey.  They are continually waking me up in the evening just after I fall asleep and in the morning just before the alarm has a chance to sound.

I opened the box to find my prize!  The mini Phantom is a digital predator call that I was hoping would be compact, easy to set up/use and realistic sounding.  On first glance it appeared to be all I expected.  I carefully opened the packaging to be sure not to lose any parts.  Included were the mini Phantom call, three interchangeable sound sticks, a mini Phantom speaker and an adventure CD.  Everything I could need in the field.

 

CLICK TO SHOP!

I am very pleased that at 5 inches, the mini Phantom call is small enough that it can easily fit into my vest pocket.  The contoured non-slip grip fits easily into my small hand still allowing ease of operation.  The mini has a terrific volume range that is clear all the way up to its maximum, 10db.   The volume control is easy to operate with the roll of your thumb while you can still reach to press the individual buttons of each sound with little to no movement seen in the field. 

The sound sticks that came with the mini Phantom Combo Kit are stout and durable.  Each stick contains five calls and the electronic call can even play two sounds at one time.  The sounds overlap to mimic two animals interacting in the field  You can have squealing and snarling simultaneously.  With a simple pull and swap you can put a new sound stick into the mini with tremendous ease.  There are no screws or covers to remove or lose while changing the sound sticks.  One flaw I see is that there is no great spot to store the unused sound sticks other than in my jacket pocket.  I suppose I will have to designate a pocket specifically to the precious items so they are not lost in the field when I am pulling other items from my pockets.   Fortunately I can always purchase additional sound stick separately if necessary.  Extreme Dimension has a total of 13 different sound sticks available.

With the mini Phantom Combo Kit I also received the mini Phantom Speaker.  It is an optional item that can be purchased separate if you don’t want the kit.  It interested me because it comes with a 25′ cord that allows me to place the speaker away from my location and call predators with out them looking directly at me when sounds are playing.  The speaker conveniently has the option to attach to the mini which in my opinion makes it easy to carry the two together.  I do regret that there is no storage hook or container for the speaker cord.  So far I have had no grief with it but I will have to test it out on long trips in my pack to find an easy way to store the cord without knots or kinks.  For now I have simply resorted to attaching the speaker to the mini and then wrapping the cord it around the mini’s contoured handle.
mini Phantom with mini Phantom speaker
mini Phantom with detachable/optional speaker

All in all the mini Phantom Combo Kit by Extreme Dimension Wildlife Calls is even better than I had anticipated.  The mini Phantom is a digital predator call that is compact, easy to set up and use and is extremely realistic sounding.  We took the call out right away and set up near the back pond with the speaker 25′ away from us.  We pressed a button initiating some howling.  A moment later I selected another button and squealing and snarling sounds emitted.  In fewer than five minutes we had a bobcat headed our way.  Once I have time to take a break from my new Extreme Dimension call, or at least get one or two of those pesky coyotes,  I will have to sit a while and watch the bonus CD that came with it!


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The Little Gal is at it again. Trapping. Read about it at the WON

Women's Outdoor News

Mia Anstine blogs about her daughter’s journey to becoming an outdoorswoman in the mountains of Colorado. In this installment, the Little Gal traps her first raccoon

Read about it at the WON. http://www.womensoutdoornews.com/2012/02/the-little-gal-becomes-a-trapper/


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An Unlikely Trophy Hunt

I was out watching our new little filly, Winnie , when I was reminded of spring time’s past and erosion control at the ranch.  Spring time in Colorado generally has us thinking of chasing turkeys.  The problem is that season doesn’t start until April.  Some may not know, but lion season is open until the end of March.  Yet another problem.  The quotas are not high, and there have come to be many people out hunting lions so the units quotas on lions close quickly.  Soooo. We are left with coyotes, Eurasian collared doves or prairie dogs on the ranch in between the big game and turkey hunting seasons.  My particular memory as I watched our filly was of a “trophy” prairie dog a spring or two ago.

I reminisced as Winnie ran, bucked and jumped in the south pasture.  On the other end of the field there were multiple mounds of dirt.  Then I worried about her getting near those mounds of dirt.  I knew they were holes made by prairie dogs.  If the little filly made her way over there she may slip into one and twist a leg. That is when I thought of being in that pasture before doing a small amount of erosion control.

The pesky little varmints can destroy a beautiful pasture in no time at all, and they are nearly impossible to eliminate.  Being a huntress, I like to take time to hone my stalking and marksman skills as well as be gone with a the select few that show them selves.

A spring or two ago I had a record day with the largest prairie dog I’ve ever seen.  It is my “trophy” from the south pasture.   I know sizes of these mammals can vary, but the ones on our ranch generally range from 6 to 10 inches long.  On that day I saw a very large animal and out of the corner of my eye  I though it may be a marmot.  We have never had a problem or even seen a marmot at our ranch.  I took a better look and realized it was another prairie dog.  I stalked around the perimeter of the pasture so I could get a better angle on the large rodent.  When I got in range and had a good angle I awaited the possible plague carrying rodent.

Then I saw a bit of tan pop up.  I was ready but I waited.  The tan disappeared.  I was patient.  Then it came.  The entire field destroying animal arose.  I steadied myself as it gave me a good angle.  I honed in on it and pulled the trigger.  BAM!  It was over, just like that.  All that waiting and then I had my self a “trophy”.  I walked over to look at it and most generally do not touch these animals.  They are known to be carriers of not only fleas, but plagues and other diseases.  I saw how large this one was and could not resist picking it up and taking a picture.  It was the largest we had ever seen at the ranch.  It was a “trophy”!  No, it won’t be going on the wall, and it won’t be mounted, but we will remember it as one of the biggest taken yet each time we see the dirt mounds in the south pasture!

My trophy prairie dog. Photo by Hank Anstine

Howling, Squealing and Snarling – Mini Phantom Predator Call

mini Phantom with mini Phantom speaker

I was excited to head to the post office counter yesterday with my yellow slip.  In our little town that of course means you have a package to pick up!  I handed the piece of paper to the man on the other side of the counter with a big smile and then stood there to wait.  He came around the corner with a box and blandly stated “More hunting things.”  I immediately knew what was inside.  It was going to be my new mini Phantom combo kit from Extreme Dimension Wildlife Calls.  An electronic predator call which I planned to try out on the coyotes that have been lurking around looking for our turkey.  They are continually waking me up in the evening just after I fall asleep and in the morning just before the alarm has a chance to sound.

I opened the box to find my prize!  The mini Phantom is a digital predator call that I was hoping would be compact, easy to set up/use and realistic sounding.  On first glance it appeared to be all I expected.  I carefully opened the packaging to be sure not to lose any parts.  Included were the mini Phantom call, three interchangeable sound sticks, a mini Phantom speaker and an adventure CD.  Everything I could need in the field.

 

CLICK TO SHOP

I am very pleased that at 5 inches, the mini Phantom call is small enough that it can easily fit into my vest pocket.  The contoured non-slip grip fits easily into my small hand still allowing ease of operation.  The mini has a terrific volume range that is clear all the way up to its maximum, 10db.   The volume control is easy to operate with the roll of your thumb while you can still reach to press the individual buttons of each sound with little to no movement seen in the field.

The sound sticks that came with the mini Phantom Combo Kit are stout and durable.  Each stick contains five calls and the electronic call can even play two sounds at one time.  The sounds overlap to mimic two animals interacting in the field  You can have squealing and snarling simultaneously.  With a simple pull and swap you can put a new sound stick into the mini with tremendous ease.  There are no screws or covers to remove or lose while changing the sound sticks.  One flaw I see is that there is no great spot to store the unused sound sticks other than in my jacket pocket.  I suppose I will have to designate a pocket specifically to the precious items so they are not lost in the field when I am pulling other items from my pockets.   Fortunately I can always purchase additional sound stick separately if necessary.  Extreme Dimension has a total of 13 different sound sticks available.

With the mini Phantom Combo Kit I also received the mini Phantom Speaker.  It is an optional item that can be purchased separate if you don’t want the kit.  It interested me because it comes with a 25′ cord that allows me to place the speaker away from my location and call predators with out them looking directly at me when sounds are playing.  The speaker conveniently has the option to attach to the mini which in my opinion makes it easy to carry the two together.  I do regret that there is no storage hook or container for the speaker cord.  So far I have had no grief with it but I will have to test it out on long trips in my pack to find an easy way to store the cord without knots or kinks.  For now I have simply resorted to attaching the speaker to the mini and then wrapping the cord it around the mini’s contoured handle.
mini Phantom with mini Phantom speaker
mini Phantom with detachable/optional speaker

All in all the mini Phantom Combo Kit by Extreme Dimension Wildlife Calls is even better than I had anticipated.  The mini Phantom is a digital predator call that is compact, easy to set up and use and is extremely realistic sounding.  We took the call out right away and set up near the back pond with the speaker 25′ away from us.  We pressed a button initiating some howling.  A moment later I selected another button and squealing and snarling sounds emitted.  In fewer than five minutes we had a bobcat headed our way.  Once I have time to take a break from my new Extreme Dimension call, or at least get one or two of those pesky coyotes,  I will have to sit a while and watch the bonus CD that came with it!

It’s always an adventure!


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Waterfowl Hunting – Nothing But Green | Mia’s Motivations

It was Sunday morning.  Time to duck hunt!  Hank & I were up at the crack of dawn.  We donned our gear and started to head out the door when our friend who is visiting hollered “Only green heads!”  We laughed and chuckled because we knew what he meant.  Last week I tagged out right away because all I shot were hens.  This weekend, I promised I would try for only green heads.  Out the door we went with Daisy the bird dog in the lead.

We set up our decoys on a slow moving part of a little stream in a nice canyon.  It was only 14 degrees out but the sun was coming so I didn’t feel too chilled today.  Daisy and I were too excited to be cold and Hank never gets cold.  Once we had everything set up we hid in silence.  It is amazing how Daisy knows when it is time.  She huddled next to me with a grin on her face as we waited.

The sun came over the hill and the valley lit up.  It was a gorgeous morning and everything sparkled in the sunlight.  As I scanned the valley, I saw some crows and then some sparrows.  Not ducks just….  Wait!  In the distance I saw them  They were mallards.  Daisy & Hank saw them too.  Daisy’s ears perked up and her mouth closed.  She was serious.  Hank looked at me and whispered “Here they come.”  I thought to my self “Be patient.  Wait and choose your target.”  The pair circled around and were on the left side.  My side!

As the pair of mallards circled I chose my bird.  He had a fantastic green head that sparkled in the sun.  I kept my eye on him waiting for the flair.  There it was.  I remembered to continue my swing and took my shot.  BAM!  Yes!  First green head of the day!  Daisy was impressed as she had kept her eye on him as well.  She jumped from the brush and retrieved her prize and I jumped up and cheered for myself.  Hank sat in the brush and grinned and laughed because I have such a hard time containing the excitement.  Daisy and I assumed our positions again and quietly awaited our next sighting.

Daisy retrieves the first bird

Our morning continued as such.  A couple mallards here and a couple mallards there.  I would get a green one, it would drop and Daisy would grab it up for me.  I would jump and cheer… a little more quietly than the first time.  We had a flock of about 12 fly in and I had such a “trinoble” experience.  In my book, that means I was stuck in time not knowing weather to go left or right.  I had a glitch in my system.  I was just beside myself.  I was so excited!  I looked and looked and could not focus on one green head.  Finally I picked one out just in time to see that he was way too far off in the distance for me to get a shot.  Daisy looked over at me with disgust as you could just tell she could not believe something did not fall from the sky.  Hank and I looked at each other and chuckled quietly because we both knew what she was thinking.  She was thinking I better get my act together because we had work to do.  I sat up straight with a wide grin on my face and paid attention.

In the end I had a total of four birds that day.  Daisy was very pleased with me and happy with a duck no matter what the color.  I was especially proud to take home a pouch full of nothing but green!ducks 121210 011


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Waterfowl Hunting – Daisy the Bird Dog | Mia’s Motivations

Me & my Daisy

Daisy is our Weimaraner.  She is a pointer who thinks she is a retriever, or maybe she is a retriever who is really a pointer.  She is an only child and a modest 95-pound beauty.  A little big for her bread, but don’t under-estimate her.  She does her job.  In the fall she points grouse, but just before winter, she retrieves ducks.  She is our bird dog.


“Spend more time with your family and friends, whether it be outside, hunting, at the shooting range or around the table, savoring all life has to offer.” MM


Today we headed out to hunt ducks.  Daisy was excited as soon as she saw the shotguns come out of the safe.  She ran in circles around us at the truck, telling us to “hurry up!”  We made a hike down to the low end of the stream and Daisy stayed close behind.  Daisy would watch every bird, that flew overhead, closely and wait to see if it fell from the sky.  She was patient as a pointer who likes to retrieve can be.

Finally, the ducks came in.  They flew off in the distance and then lo and behold they turned and circled back.  Daisy watched and waited as Hank raised his gun and knocked one down.  The pointer, Daisy, watched it drop from the sky and ran to retrieve it.  She brought it directly back to Hank with her head held high.  She was proud to be our retriever!

Daisy is proud to retrieve Hank’s duck.

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It wasn’t long before we saw another flock.  The birds flew, and Hank and I both got shots off.  Hank dropped two and I dropped one.  Daisy ran and retrieved Hank’s birds and then I hollered for her to come help find mine.  I ran to where I thought it had dropped, but it wasn’t there.  Daisy was proud to bring her assistance.  She gracefully jumped over the stream and began sniffing around and then jumped back over.  I have to admit; I was underestimating her when she took back to the other side.  I thought she was headed back to Hank’s birds which she already had gotten.  Then she popped her head up with a mouth full of duck as if to say “haha!  I found her!”  Shame on me for underestimating that retrieve.

I am pretty darn proud of that Daisy.  She’s a good retriever for sure!

Daisy didn’t want to stop for photos. There was work to be done.

 

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