After using the Stoeger M3500 Semi auto shotgun for over 2 years I have tested it enough I can give it a full recommendation. With two younger kids I am at a point in my life where I appreciate value and reliability. I would love to spend $1,500 plus on a shotgun, but right now it is not in the cards. Enter, the Stoeger. I purchased my Black M3500 after months of research for $600.
Research the M3500 on the forums and you will find quite of few negative comments. However, I noticed one important fact. Almost all of the negative comments started with “I heard” or other statements indicating the negative reviewer did not even own one. At the same time other people would say “I basically paid $600 for a Benelli”, which is also not true You paid $600 for a Stoeger, a good shotgun in it’s own right but certainly not a Cadillac level shotgun.
I purchased this gun as my do everything shotgun and have not been disappointed. This gun will handle coyotes, pheasants, turkeys, and waterfowl.
Here are the nuts and bolts of the Stoeger M3500 directly from Stoeger’s Website:
- 3-1/2-inch, 12-gauge, Inertia Driven®semi-automatic
- Handles loads from 2-3/4 inch to 3-1/2 inch magnum without adjustment
- Operating system is lightning fast and reliable, with only 3 moving parts in the bolt
- 3 barrel lengths: 24, 26, or 28 inches
- Barrels are fitted with a ventilated, stepped rib and fiber-optic front sight for quick target acquisition
- Available in 3 finishes
My first impression of the M3500 was overall positive. It looked like a nice gun and felt good while shouldering it. My only complaint about the gun was the hollow composite stock. It wasn’t concerning to me about durability, but it did feel a tad cheap or flimsy.
When I took it to the range I put 25 goose loads through it and it cycled perfectly. Next, I shot target loads with the lowest recommend loads and it did have some problems cycling. However, I was expecting this based on my research. Towards the end of the 25 target loads the gun was starting to operate better. If you do experience a problem with lighter loads go back to heavier loads for a box or two until the gun is broken in.
After breaking the gun in I have used it on numerous hunts and it has performed flawlessly. The action is very smooth and fast. I personally cannot tell a difference in the action from higher end guns. If you are looking for value minded reliable workhorse that can perform a wide variety of tasks look no further than the Stoeger M3500. I don’t think you will be disappointed!
I finally gave into temptation today and bought a D.T. Systems Pro Dummy Launcher. I have been on the fence of buying one of these for months. Although after a single outing I am not willing to provide a detailed review, my first experience was pleasant. There was no setup involved and it took about 1 minute to figure out its use. I took my dog out to a field with high grass and let err rip.
As I have stated in the past my dog is not a phenom, but he is getting better. The speed of the dummy confused him and it seemed he had a hard time visually tracking the dummy. However, he was still able to find the dummy every time. I am sure it helped him I had slathered pheasant sent on the dummy. The Launcher worked flawlessly during its inaugural use. My dog got a great workout being I was able to effortlessly launch the dummies much father than I could dream of throwing them. I certainly appreciated the fact I did not have any shoulder pain as I sometimes do while throwing a dummy. Not willing to officially endorse the dummy yet, but all in all I am impressed so far.
First and foremost let me be clear. I am by no means a dog-training expert. That being said my dog started sucking a lot less last hunting season. I attribute the change to one quick tip. I saved pheasant wings from birds I have killed and hid them around the yard a couple of times a week. One of my favorite spots to hide them was in landscaping bushes so the wings were out of sight. Each training session only took about 5 – 10 minutes and was fun for my dog. Within a few weeks of doing this my dog was finding the pheasant wings in less than half the time. If you find yourself in my current situation, which is lack of time however I want my dog to find birds give this tip a try.
I am dedicated to habitat for all wildlife and the future of our hunting heritage. As such I cannot support the transfer of national public lands to the states. The issue is a complicated one, with lots of misinformation.
The issue of land transfer was pushed into the national spotlight during the Malheur wildlife refuge standoff in Oregon. However, this is a battle, which has been going on for decades. At times the debates intensify and the threat of land transfers becomes more of a threat, now is one of those times.
Currently there is a small but vocal group of elected officials at the local, state, and national levels calling for the transfer of lands. One of the most out spoken land transfer advocates in the United States Senate is former Republican Presidential Candidate Senator Ted Cruz
Advocates for the transfer of national public lands will point out the federal government does a poor job of managing public lands, and ads bureaucratic layers to management decisions. They tout how the states and local governments would be more responsive to the needs of the citizens than policy makers hundreds or thousands of mile away. Without any additional research this seems to be a reasonable belief.
However, start scratching beneath the surface and you will soon realize transferring public lands to the states could have dire consequences. Right off the bat there is a major difference between how land is managed by the federal government and states. Federal lands are managed for multiple uses. What this means is before a management decision is made policy makers need to consider how the decision will affect ranchers, loggers, energy and mineral extraction, and recreational use including hunting. In contrast several states have laws requiring management decisions be made in order to maximize profit from the land while not taking other factors into consideration.
Another concern to consider is historically when the federal government has transferred large amounts of land to state or local control the land is often either sold to private interest or closed to public access. The last concern I will point out is the states simply do not have the financial resources to manage large tracts of federal lands. Imagine how a state’s budget would be affected by paying for wildfire suppression during a particularly bad fire season.
Often the lawmakers in Washington who are proponents of transferring federal lands on the notion the US Forest Service and BLM cannot adequately manage the lands are the same politicians who vote to not properly fund these agencies. Consider that for a moment. If I want the public to support the idea of transferring land I have to show a reason why it is a good idea. I want to sell the public on the idea federal agencies are doing poor job managing the lands. How do I accomplish this? By financially starving the very agencies tasked with managing those lands making it impossible for them to properly manage the land.
The other thing to consider is where is the money coming from. The majority if not all of the politicians at the federal level who advocate transferring lands receive large donations from energy lobbyist and companies. For example Senator Cruz shows Wapiti Energy donated $43,150 to his campaign fund.* Wapiti Energy is an onshore drilling company concentrating its efforts in the Rocky Mountain Region, an area with huge amounts of public land.
One last thing I would like to point out is lobbyist have been spending money to harm the reputation of several well known conservation organizations in an attempt to paint them as far left liberal organizations. If you come across this type of information I ask you to critically examine the information and do your own research. The organizations targeted are the most vocal organizations against a federal land transfer. If you follow the money from one website that attacks these conservation organizations it will lead you back to a Washington lobbyist who represents the energy industry. Also look at the history of the conservation organization being attacked and ask yourself, do they have a record of standing up for sportsmen and habitat?
In closing I am not advocating Federal Land Management is prefect. It certainly can be improved and we should consider many different ideas on how to solve those problems. However, transferring federal lands to state and local control as proposed is not the answer. Also I am not saying politicians who support land transfer are inherently bad. I dislike their stance on the issue; I do not dislike the person. Disagreeing on issues and working together to solve issues is what makes America great.
I would urge you to contact your elected officials and let them know you oppose the transfer of public lands and demand they adequately funds the agencies with the responsibility of managing our federal public lands.
* The organizations themselves did not donate, rather the money came from the organizations’ PACs, their individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals’ immediate families. Organization totals include subsidiaries and affiliates.
I just went outside to enjoy a beer on my back patio when I noticed an uninvited guest on of our Mugo Pines, the European Pine Sawfly. These little bastards nearly killed one of our trees about 8 years ago. On a night a lot like tonight, my wife asked me why is our tree moving? Hundreds of these tiny worm like creatures were eating the pine needles. The good news is an insecticide made quick work of them. Tonight I cutoff the infected branch and placed it into a bag. Hopefully we caught it soon enough, but we will keep a close eye on the situation. If you see any of these critters make sure you address it right away!
I had a great time this weekend helping my local Pheasants Forever chapter with a prescribed burn to improve nesting habitat!
I recently read a statistic about the fact American kids spend an average of 10 minutes playing outside a day. What a sad fact for our society. I remember being a child playing outside until all my skin was numb. With all of the indoor entrainment options available to us I find myself having to make a conscious effort to make sure my kids get outside in particular during the winter. I have complied a quick list of fun things to do outdoors this weekend with your kids. Most of them are quick and easy and cost little to nothing.
- Build a snow fort
- Make a snow man (then knock it down according to my 5 year old)
- Go to a play ground (no they don’t close in the winter)
- Go to a nature preserve and snowshoe (pull the really young ones in a sled)
- Go to a sledding hill
- Go downhill skiing
- Go ice-skating on an outdoor rink
- Ice fishing
- Go to a woods and look for animal tracks
- Have a campfire with smores and hot chocolate
- Cross country skiing
- Go Camping
- Go hunting for small game (assuming the season is still open)
- Shovel the driveway with your kids (it can actually be fun and as a bonus it is productive)
There you go! Now you have a list of 15 things to do outside this winter weekend with your kids. Pick one of them and get outside.
This is not going to be your typical product review where I give you manufacturing specifications and include other boring crap no on cares about. Do you care about a revolutionary manufacturing process? Me either, I just want my boots to be warm, dry, and comfortable. This review is based on personal experience and not internet research.
To say the LaCrosse AeroHead boots are the shit would be a huge understatement. I have used these boots for the last two years and absolutely love them! I have the 7 mm version of these boots, which I find to be perfect for a multitude of applications during a typical Wisconsin winter. The boots are knee high, made out of Neoprene, are waterproof, and scent free.
I start wearing my LaCrosse boots during the whitetail rut starting around early November and wear them through out the entire winter. The boots have done a great job keeping my feet warm on all day sits with the temps running 25 to 40 degrees, without over heating. The boots also do a great job on later season whitetail hunts as well. I remember missing a Packer game a few years ago for a deer hunt on a cold snowy December day with a high of 9 degrees. My feet did not get cold once during the 3 hour sit. I shot a deer with my muzzleloader, but that story is for another time.
What I really appreciate about these boots is how lightweight and comfortable they are to walk in compared to other knee-high boots. A few weeks ago I went on a pheasant hunt in 0 degree weather and wore them for 4 hours of hunting. My feet were warm and dry, but just as important I did not become overly fatigued. I was also able to get a rooster no one else had a chance at. The weather had only recently turned cold causing us to break through the ice on the marsh. I was the only one wearing knee high boots and was able to walk across the small water filled ditch to put myself in a position for a shot.
I have used my AreoHead boots for checking traps, small game hunting, snowshoeing, snow blowing, and playing with the kids outside. I have other pairs of quality boots, however when push comes to shove I usually grab these. In addition to all of the other qualities of the boots they appeal to my lazy side where I can quickly slide them on and off.
On the Internet the price of the 7mm LaCrosse AeroHeads range from $125 to $170. If my memory serves me correct I paid $139 including shipping. I think it is important to note I am not affiliated in anyway with LaCrosse Boots nor do I receive any compensation from them.