Friday, October 28, 2011

It's Award Time!

Each year, several websites/blogs will announce their top blog sites in various fields of interest.  I am proud to announce that both Bill Howard's Outdoors and Give Em The Shaft were recently selected as top hunting blogs for 2011.

While I know this is not the Emmy, Oscar, or Pulitzer award, it does still humble me to know that what I do is not completely lost in la-la land.  I appreciate all my readers both past, present, and future.  I hope that at some point I am able to strike a cord that inspires, teaches, reflects, or just provides a simple little grin.

Please share and/or comment on anything you see on these pages and I will continue to try to keep you informed and entertained.

Again, thanks!

Congratulations Bill,
Your Blog has been selected as one of the Top 60 Hunting Blogs for 2011!
The Team here at VeteransBenefitsGIBill has spent the year searching the
Internet for the best Hunting Blogs, analyzing them based on their post
content, layout and user feedback, and we are excited to award you with
our seal of approval as one of the best Hunting Blogs on the web!

The Top 60 Hunting Blogs

Presented by VeteransBenefitsGIBill.com, your guide to Post 9/11 GI Bill Military Education Benefits.

Hunting is far more than a ‘hobby’, and far closer to a way of life. From scouting out the area to finding your prize after making the perfect shot, hunting is more than a cheap thrill. Since hunting skills are gained mostly by experience, you can read all of the books you want, but it will never prepare you quite like a day spent out pursuing game. But that’s not to say that isn’t worth reading about!

These days, you can find a wealth of hunting information online. The internet has become a treasure trove of valuable information that can help you improve your hunting skills and connect you with other hunting enthusiasts. From novice hunters who are documenting their journey into the sport, to expert hunters who are fully qualified to offer training and tips, a wide variety of people at different skill levels are now sharing their love for hunting with millions of others around the world.

Hunting Blogs are excellent sources of information when it comes to searching for hunting tips, getting information on this season’s best locations, and reading stories of other people’s hunting experiences. Need to find a new gun? Want to know the best place to hunt in Montana? You can find all of this information and more on the blogs found below, the best of the best hunting blogs currently online!

Here at Veterans Benefits GI Bill, we know that hunting enthusiasts are always searching for the latest news and information about the sport, so we’ve scoured the web to bring you the absolute best Hunting Blogs currently online. If you’re looking for any hunting-related information, you’d be hard pressed to need to search beyond the 60 Blogs we’ve compiled below.

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The Top 60 Hunting Blogs for 2011

Veterans Benefits Information
Military Education Benefits
Post 9/11 GI Bill Education Benefits


Bill Howard writes a weekly outdoors column for the Wilson Times and Yancey County News and the blog site Bill Howard's Outdoors. He is a Hunter Education and International Bowhunter Education instructor, lifetime member of the North Carolina Bowhunters Association, Bowhunter Certification Referral Service Chairman, member and official measurer of Pope and Young, and a regular contributor to North Carolina Bowhunter Magazine.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bowhunting Library

Recently I found something I had been looking for a while.  In fact, for over three years I have searched it at least once every couple of months.  When I found it, I jumped on it.  So, I hear the question; “What is it?”
Pope and Young Bowhunting Big Game
Records of North America 1st Edition
I just received a first edition of the Pope and Young Record Book.  The Pope and Young Club sold out a while back, and I finally found one.  The reason I was looking for this particular book is the bowhunting history documented in it.  There are pictures and stories galore of some of the real names of bowhunting.  Fred Bear tells of several accounts of his bowhunting records.  There are pictures of both Art Young and Saxton Pope that I had never seen before. 

This book is now a valued addition to my bowhunting library.  A small library of books and periodicals is a great tool for the bowhunter.  During those non-hunting times, it gives you something to study and focus on, which carries itself to the field.  Some books will offer valuable information to help plan future hunts.  Many will tell of the tales of successful hunts that both inspire and allow the reader to step into the situation, which in turn will help the reader if a similar experience were to present itself.
So, in order to help you get your library started, or to build on your existing library, here are some of the books I keep on my shelf:
Bowhunter’s Guide to Accurate Shooting by Lon E. Lauber
This was the first book I bought when I began teaching myself how to shoot a bow.  Lots of valuable information ranging from the equipment used, to shooting technique, to equipment set-up and tuning, to how to hunt and where to aim.
The Archer’s Bible by Fred Bear
Fred Bear bringing in a carp while bowfishing.
This is one of my favorite photos of Fred Bear.
A book by the legend himself, Bear goes over equipment, hunting small and big game, bowfishing, safety, foundations of good shooting, and the principles of bowhunting.  One of my favorite photos of Fred Bear is in this book with him holding a carp at the end of an arrow.  This was long before bowfishing hit the craze it has now.
The Pope and Young Club’s Measurer’s Manual
Scoresheets and instructions on how to measure each of the North American big game animals.
Whitetail Wisdom
An all inclusive book about whitetails.  It goes over where to hunt them, when to hunt them, and their habits and activity.
The Perfect Shot-Mini Edition for North America by Craig Boddington
The Perfect Shot: Mini Edition
for North America by Craig Boddington
If you plan on hunting, this is a great book.  It shows different angles of different North American game animals.  The book then creatively shows bone structure and organ location on the same photos so you can get an idea of where and when to place the shot.  There is also an African edition that I will be sure to purchase if I ever am fortunate enough to try my hand at hunting the Dark Continent.
Boone and Crockett Records of North American Big Game Animals 8th Edition
A record book that includes photos of record animals, as well as entries into the book, listing animal, owner, size, and area taken.  If you want to go after a musk ox, you do not hunt in California.  This book will show you where to go after the game you want.
Safari Club International World Bowhunting Record Book 1st Edition
Same premise as the B&C record book, bur for animals taken by bow only around the world.
Bowhunting Records of North Carolina 1st and 2nd Editions

1st and 2nd Editions of the
Bowhunting Recordsof North Carolina
 compiled by the
North Carolina Bowhunter's Association.

These books will show the counties in the state where the largest game animals are taken.  Through data research you can also find the counties that are the most productive of record book game.  In planning a hunt, this allows you to narrow your hunting area down.  Many other states’ bowhunting organizations put out a similar book periodically.
Pope and Young Club Bowhunting Big Game Records of North America 1st and 7th Editions
Same as the B&C and SCI record books, except only bowhunting and only North America.
The Bill of Rights, The Declaration of Independence, and The Constitution of the United States of America
The three books remind me of why I have the freedom to hunt in this great land.
The Holy Bible
This book is the most important to me of all the others.  This book not only establishes my freedoms, but my very existence.  If there is ever a question, the answer can be found here.
* * * * *
There are other books I intend on adding to the library.  For instance, I would like to eventually add each edition of the Pope and Young Record Book.  There are several books Teddy Roosevelt penned about hunting which I have in an e-book format that I would like to have in hard copy.  To build a foundation, you just have to start.  You would be surprised with the knowledge that can be shared and learned.


Would you like a nice fiction e-book based on a hunting setting?  Author David L. Samuel is providing two each of his novel Nightwolf and novella The Guilty as a giveaway.  That is FOUR lucky winners!  I have personally read both and they are great.  I downloaded them to the Kindle app on my smartphone, and then when I was sitting in the stand waiting for deer activity, I would read.  The reading time keeps you still and quiet, plus the books are so good, it makes you want to get in the stand more often in order to finish the book!  I won't giveaway details on the two books other than they both have bowhunting as part of the backdrop.  Rules are simple: follow either GiveEmTheShaft.com or BillHowardOutdoors.com and you are entered for your chance to win. Contest runs through November 30, 2011.


Bill Howard writes a weekly outdoors column for the Wilson Times and Yancey County News and the blog site Bill Howard's Outdoors. He is a Hunter Education and International Bowhunter Education instructor, lifetime member of the North Carolina Bowhunters Association, Bowhunter Certification Referral Service Chairman, member and official measurer of Pope and Young, and a regular contributor to North Carolina Bowhunter Magazine.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

LifeStraw Water System Winners

Thom Rauch of Ashland, Wisconsin and Moose McLaughlin of Raleigh, NC are the winners of the LifeStraw water filtration system.  Congratulations!

If you didn't win, don't fret.  Visit Eartheasy.com and you can purchase one for under $20!



Read the review here:  LifeStraw Gear Review

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Gear Review: Scout Look Weather

So, here I am, 4:26pm on a Sunday, sitting in a climbing stand on the edge of the woods.  Typing on a netbook.  Crazy right?  Well, I should have about an hour before the first deer sneaks her way out of the darkened tree canopy and finds her way into shooting range for my quick and silent compound bow.
The reason I am working on this now is twofold.  One, I need to get this product review done, and two; this is the perfect time to write about what is going on with this particular hunt.
GPS systems became a great tool for the outdoors person several years ago.  Utilizing the array of satellites put in orbit by the government in order to help one find his position globally protected the hiker, hunter, or fisher from getting lost.  They developed from a display showing longitude and latitude so you could find yourself on a map, to displaying satellite and terrain images.  Along the way, the more bells and whistles the GPS system had, the more expensive the unit would cost.  Downloadable maps, some ranging several hundred dollars in cost, were neat features, but unless you were a diehard outdoorsman that traveled to exotic and unfamiliar locations, they were questionable as to whether they were worth it.
Now I like to have the tools necessary for me to be successful and safe, but I do not want to carry around a small army’s worth of supplies on my excursions.  With the GPS functions of the current smart phones, I quickly adapted to several applications available on it instead of carrying around excessive amounts of electronics.   Free mapping and weather programs were great, as I could not only pinpoint my location, but I could see weather as it developed so as not to get caught off guard on an approaching rain shower or storm.

Screen shot from ScoutLookWeather.com indicating
stand locations, expected deer movement, and scent cone.
The orange arrows were added by me to show movement.
A couple of weeks ago, I was offered the opportunity to test and review a website and smart phone application called ScoutLookWeather.  It seemed interesting enough, so I agreed.  Before downloading it on my Android based phone, I checked the website: ScoutLookWeather.com.  The website was easy enough to get a grasp of without a lot of instruction.  After the download, the application worked the same way as the website.  Also, I noticed it had immediately synced between the website and the phone application.


There she is!
After checking the app, according to my scent cone (a green cone that indicates where your scent will travel based on current conditions) I should hunt the northern stand on the property.  My scent would travel right into the path the deer usually take to the field from the southern stand.  So, that is where I am hunting.
(LONG PAUSE AS THE HUNT TIME BEGINS, THEN FAST FORWARD)

Blood soaked arrow does
not mean easy to trail!

Sure enough, I had a deer come out to my left about 6pm.  After the deer paused and offered a broadside shot just 15 yards from the stand, I released the arrow for the kill.  While waiting in the stand, 10 minutes later 3 more deer came out to my right but came no closer than 40 yards from the stand.  I also noticed looking back at the southern stand, several deer in the field where I expected them to come out also.  If I had hunted the southern stand, those deer would likely have caught my scent in the slight breeze.

Hard to follow at night with only this much sign spaced
several yards apart.

While the shot was true, the deer retreated hard into the woods.  I had a hard time finding bloodshed, but after a 20 minute or so search, I spotted small drops of blood.  The track was on.  I used the way marker feature on the ScoutLook app, using the GPS from the phone to indicate the blood trail.  I proceeded to do this each time I lost the trail so I would have a reference point to come back to.  This was extremely handy as I was in the thick brush and swamp, and light was non-existent except from my LED Lenser headlamp.  After following the trail approximately 150 yards, I lost the blood.  It was now around 9pm and I was crawling on all fours in order to track the blood I did find for the last 30 minutes.  I decided to resume the search in the morning, as the shadows from the brush limited my site lines.  Using the satellite imagery feature of ScoutLook, I made my way back out.  If not for that, this could have easily been one of those cases where the hunter gets stuck in the woods overnight.  Again, limited vision, a low concealing canopy of trees, and not so much as a single star shining through offered no help in keeping my bearings.

Blood trail way markers set
on ScoutLook.
The next day, I worked my way back into the woods, following the blood trail markers I had placed on ScoutLook.  This worked well, and I found the trail I needed to find.  After a couple of more hours, I finally found the deer.  This would never have taken place if I had not used ScoutLook for way markers the evening before.
  

Decoy set-up for incoming
waterfowlas indicated
by ScoutLook.
ScoutLook is not only good for the application I tested it for, but it offers a set-up style map for waterfowl hunting, it can be used for hiking and other outdoor activities, it has a drift-point for fishing, and even has a golf mode to help with wind direction on the links.  It provides a cache for photos while in the outdoors, and it will have a log book style feature in the future.  One feature I did not have to use on ScoutLook is a radar map of your area.  This is great for when inclement weather is in the forecast.  It will allow you the opportunity to enjoy your activity until the very last moment.

Screen shot of inclement weather on ScoutLook.

Overall, ScoutLook appears to be a winner.  ScoutLook is easy to use and figure out how to use (no manual-just help screens), is cheap ($1.99 over Android Marketplace, but is available on IOS also), and syncs automatically with the regular website so you can check your locations online and on your phone.  Again, $1.99 for what some GPS systems would charge $199.00 for.  The only thing I could not test, and could not find a direct answer on, was if ScoutLook will save your location maps in areas where only GPS (no cellular) service worked on the smart phone.  I know it will save your markers, just not sure if the maps must download through the cell service each time.  I will continue to use ScoutLook and I look forward to using the log book feature in the future.


This result would never had happened without ScoutLook.
Your results may vary!

 Want to read more reviews?  Bill Howard's Outdoors Reviews and GiveEmTheShaft Reviews


Bill Howard writes a weekly outdoors column for the Wilson Times and Yancey County News and the blog site Bill Howard's Outdoors. He is a Hunter Education and International Bowhunter Education instructor, lifetime member of the North Carolina Bowhunters Association, Bowhunter Certification Referral Service Chairman, member and official measurer of Pope and Young, and a regular contributor to North Carolina Bowhunter Magazine.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Video Monday 10/24/11

This week's short video clip is a spot and stalk whitetail hunt in Virginia.  In the East we do not get to do a lot of hunting in this manner, but it is a rush when you do have the opportunity!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bill Howard's Outdoors: Hunting Heritage-More Obstacles

Note: This is a copy of the post from Bill Howard's Outdoors. I felt compelled to run it on both blog sites this week due to the nature of the column, even though it does not directly pertain to bowhunting. The fact is, if any form of hunting begins to be regulated to the point of detering new hunters, hunting will suffer whether by firearm or archery equipment.  Please feel free to share this post with anyone who enjoys hunting, fishing, or the outdoors in general.

Last year, North Carolina registered 505,530 licensed hunters.  This was the most since 1994 and continues a trend in which each year since 2002 the number of licensed hunters has increased.  While it is encouraging to see our numbers go up, they still fall behind in the overall picture as far as percentage compared to population growth.
Getting our youth, as well as adults, in the outdoors to participate in activities such as hunting and fishing is imperative to keep the heritage alive.  As mentioned in the past, there are far more distractions and other activities for the population these days than in the past.  Television with hundreds of channels, game consoles and systems, and computers all compete to keep our youth occupied. 
Please read the previous post on Bill Howard's Outdoors: Heritage of the Outdoors.
Other factors challenging the outdoor heritage are environmental groups distaste for hunting and fishing.  I use environmental groups loosely.  Let me explain a little before continuing with the point.  Hunters and fishermen/women provide funds for wildlife conservation, gamelands, studies, even preservation areas, amongst other programs through purchases of licenses, stamps, excise taxes through the Pittman-Robertson act, memberships and donations through conservations groups such as Ducks Unlimited, Delta Waterfowl, Quail Unlimited, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Boone and Crockett, Pope and Young, and many more than can be listed.  In other words, outdoorsmen and women provide the majority of funds to protect both wildlife and land.  They are the true environmentalists.  Meanwhile, other groups seeking to stop hunting and fishing, claim to be environmental organizations.
Back to the point.  As recently as August 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was petitioned to ban all lead products used for hunting and fishing under the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA).  The EPA responded they did not have authority under the TSCA to activate such a ban. Currently there is a bill asking for the EPA to be granted that authority.  Kind of a back door approach to allow the EPA to be given power to ban ammunition without having it go through Congress.
Referenced in many of these reports are the effects of lead shot on mourning dove populations.  Lead was banned for waterfowl back in 1991 due to effects on the duck, geese, and swan populations.  Researching studies on dove myself, there are studies saying dove populations have been effected by anywhere from .2% to as high as 6.4%.  I believe the difference in percentages may be based on locality.
It is estimated there are between 1.2 and 1.6 million dove hunters in the United States accounting for 19-21 million birds harvested each season.  The ammunition of choice is lead shot which accounts for 75% of shotgun shells sold each year.  Here is where the assault on potential new hunters, as well as existing hunters comes in.  A box of 25 shells of 7 ½ lead shot, the typical purchase for dove ammunition, costs roughly $6.  On opening day of dove season, a hunter, especially a new hunter, can easily shoot 100 shells equating to roughly $24 worth of ammunition.  The primary alternative to lead is steel shot.  In comparison, a box of 25 shells of steel shot costs roughly $25.  This equates to $100 worth of ammunition.  This does not include any shells used for practicing by shooting skeet or clay pigeons.  The large increase in costs would severely deter new hunters.
Shotshells would not be the only ammunition regulated either.  Most hunting cartridges consist of a lead projectile.  A young hunter’s first rifle is often a .22 caliber.  Ammunition is cheap, so the youth can become familiar with the operation of the rifle by shooting many times.  A box of 100 .22 cartridges runs approximately $7.50.  Changing the composition of the bullet could increase the cost by 4 times that amount.  Again, the increase would likely eliminate many new hunter's first excursion, or at least repeated excursions into the outdoors.
What we must do is look at this issue as a whole.  If we go to an overall ban on lead, the numbers of hunters will surely decrease, causing us to lose massive amounts of funding through license sales and excise taxes (Pittman-Robertson Act).  These funds will either no longer provide the conservation efforts needed for our environment or they will have to be supplemented from other avenues in government (overall taxes).  Also, with a decrease in hunters, less game will be taken.  A raise in limits on game would not provide enough control, as the ammunition would still be too costly to take only a limited numbers of game animals.
Wildlife biologists are charged with the task of determining the mortality rates of the different game animals, and if lead is effecting populations such as dove to a detrimental level, then limits should be adjusted downward.  However, it was not long ago dove limits were increased from 12 to 15 birds per day, indication the population has grown rather than decreased.
Perhaps the answer is not to ban all lead ammunition and fishing equipment.  If there are areas in particular that are affected in an adverse way, the local/state governments can and should regulate accordingly.  But to ban all, may have an effect that is much more detrimental than the effect of lead.
And now, your Monday video:

Bill Howard writes a weekly outdoors column for the Wilson Times and Yancey County News and the blog site Bill Howard's Outdoors. He is a Hunter Education and International Bowhunter Education instructor, lifetime member of the North Carolina Bowhunters Association, Bowhunter Certification Referral Service Chairman, member and official measurer of Pope and Young, and a regular contributor to North Carolina Bowhunter Magazine.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Archery Targets

Here are a couple of targets you can print for practicing at different yardages. 

One is your standard circle target with a slight variation.  The goal is to keep the group in the appropriate size circle based on the yardage.  For every 10 yards, your group should be with the inch circle corresponding.  For example, if you are shooting from 40 yards, you should group in the 4 inch circle.

The second target is slightly different.  It has 5 circles. You can start either with the 1 or the 5 circle, and work your way out or in accordingly shooting one arrow at each circle.  Each number is equivalent to 10 yard increments based on the same practice theory as above. (1=10 yards, 2=20 yards, etc.)



Circle Target


Yardage Target


Bill Howard writes a weekly outdoors column for the Wilson Times and Yancey County News and the blog site Bill Howard's Outdoors. He is a Hunter Education and International Bowhunter Education instructor, lifetime member of the North Carolina Bowhunters Association, Bowhunter Certification Referral Service Chairman, member and official measurer of Pope and Young, and a regular contributor to North Carolina Bowhunter Magazine.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Video Monday 10/10/2011

It's Video Monday once again. With the short duck season completion this weekend in North Carolina, here is something not done often.

Bowhunting Ducks!


Bill Howard writes a weekly outdoors column for the Wilson Times and Yancey County News and the blog site Bill Howard's Outdoors. He is a Hunter Education and International Bowhunter Education instructor, lifetime member of the North Carolina Bowhunters Association, Bowhunter Certification Referral Service Chairman, member and official measurer of Pope and Young, and a regular contributor to North Carolina Bowhunter Magazine.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Gear Review: LifeStraw Water Filtration System

I keep a backpack I use on those ‘special’ hunting trips where I may be gone from home for several days in the wilderness.  I keep things such as an extra fall restraint system (in case my safety vest were to either get damaged or get used for its purpose, I do not want to vacate my hunt), an extra trigger release, several food items, flashlight and batteries, fire starter, paper maps, and…you get the idea.   It’s my survival pack in many ways.  One thing I keep in the pack is an emergency water filter system.  The one I use filters up to 20 gallons.  By my calculations, that will get me by for close to three weeks if something were to happen.
Why would I need a water filtration system?  One thing to keep in mind if you were to truly be in an emergency survival situation is you have to stay alert and sane.  Food, water, and shelter are the necessities.  While food can be taken either by hunting or by picking proper plants, and shelter can be made, water is a little different.  Yes, I can find a stream in the mountains.  What I cannot do is see whether the water is safe to drink.  I can build a sill, but the water supply can be very limited in dry situations.  And remember the alert and sane part?  If you become sick from water born bacteria and you are lost or stranded, how alert and sane do you think you will be?  Hence the need for water purification.  Options include tablets or filtration systems.  I like the filtration systems due to the number of uses.
I was recently contacted by Ben Seaman of Eartheasy.  Eartheasy is the official launch partner for LifeStraw in the U.S.  LifeStraw is a water filtration system for use by hikers, hunters, campers, and emergency preparedness.  LifeStraw was first introduced in 2005 and accumulated many accolades and awards for its uses in disaster situations and third world sanitary conditions.  Ben asked if I would like to review the product for its U.S. launch and after a little research, I was more than anxious to test the LifeStraw.  Like I mentioned before, I keep a water filtration system currently.
Be sure to follow this blog for your chance to win a Lifestraw from EarthEasy!
First, some technical information from LifeStraw and Eartheasy:  weighing only 2 ounces, LifeStraw can filter down to .2 microns which includes 99.9999% of bacteria (such as salmonella and vibrio cholera) and 99.9% of protozoa (such as entamoeba histolytica).  It cannot filter heavy metals or viruses or desalinate water.  Here is what I find impressive; LifeStraw is tested to filter 250 gallons or more!  The filtration system I have only does 20 gallons.  In other words, LifeStraw could be used to filter water for nearly a year for a single person in an emergency situation.
Now, there is the hype from Eartheasy and LifeStraw.  Of course, this is supposed to be my review, which means my tests would have to be run.  Since I keep the system for hunting, I decided to test the LifeStraw in situations I could encounter while on a hunting excursion.
First thing, the LifeStraw packaging is TOUGH.  I thought it would be a ‘tear open’ type wrapper.  Nope, needed a knife.  I suppose this is good to prevent contamination prior to first use.  I tried it in regular cup of water first.  When trying to get the water through the straw, it takes some powerful sucking initially.  Once I had water flowing though, it was pretty easy to continue drinking.  The main reason I tried it on a regular cup of water was to see if there was any taste associated to the LifeStraw.  Water tasted the same whether drinking from the cup or through the LifeStraw.  Once you are finished drinking, it is recommended to blow back through the straw to clear the filter.  Again, this took some power.
The second part of the test was to drink from a nearby stream.  The straw worked the same as when drinking from the cup.  I could taste the stream water.  Tip: Do not lie next to the stream bed in order to drink; you get wet!  It is recommended to use a cup to dip into the stream or body of water and use the LifeStraw in it instead.  Here is where my other negative shows up.  The LifeStraw has a larger diameter than a standard plastic bottle opening (the type that a soda or bottled water comes in).  It fits fine in the larger diameter hiking type bottles.  I usually use bottled water and put those in my backpack.  Remember the knife I used to open the wrapper.  It was used to simply cut the upper portion of the water bottle off, creating an improvised cup.
So to recap the negatives: The wrapper is tough to open, the water tastes the same going in as it does coming out, and it is larger than a standard bottled water bottle.
With that being said, the positives completely outweigh the negatives.  The LifeStraw has been tested to a MINIMUM of 250 gallons, can be stored a MINIMUM of 3 years, and is in the same cost range (under $20) of filtration systems that provide much less filtration volume (again, the one I own is good for only 20 gallons).  It also filters out more bacteria and protozoa than my current system. In fact, even the water purification tablets did not clean the water as well as the LifeStraw (research from reading the specs on a couple of water purification tablet bottles).   I find it as a must buy.  In fact, the LifeStraw will replace the water filtration system I currently have.   Not only is it great for the outdoors, hiking, camping, fishing, and hunting, it provides a great tool for disaster relief and emergency management.
Hey, you may want to get one for each member of the family.  It will be more than handy during the coming Zombie Apocalypse and after all, 2012 is just around the corner.

LifeStraw can be purchased from EarthEasy here.
Read Bill Howard's Outdoors: Zombies, the Rapture, and the Outdoors

Want to read more reviews?  Bill Howard's Outdoors Reviews and GiveEmTheShaft Reviews

Bill Howard writes a weekly outdoors column for the Wilson Times and Yancey County News and the blog site Bill Howard's Outdoors. He is a Hunter Education and International Bowhunter Education instructor, lifetime member of the North Carolina Bowhunters Association, Bowhunter Certification Referral Service Chairman, member and official measurer of Pope and Young, and a regular contributor to North Carolina Bowhunter Magazine.