Hunting & Fishing for Stories & Photos

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Gear Review: Outdoorsmans Pack

The Outdoorsmans Optics Pack on a muzzleloader mule deer hunt in Arizona's desert.

When Floyd Green first told me about the new Outdoorsmans Pack, I must admit I was mystified. Why in the world would he invest in all the research, design, and manufacturing necessary for making a pack when there are already great companies such as Eberlestock, Badlands, and Mystery Ranch that only make packs? Even after I first tried one on at an SCI Show, I was not convinced. It wasn’t until I got it out into the field and filled it with gear that I realized what Floyd’s excitement was all about.

First off, I have never tried the framepack from Badlands, and have not worn any pack from Mystery Ranch, but I hear they are both awesome. I have, however, backpacked off-and-on for most of my life including three summers working for the Forest Service where we packed our gear and tools into the wilderness for a week at a time. During my backcountry trips, I have used old-fashioned aluminum external frames and high-end internal frame packs. I also have carried a pack of some sort on every big game excursion I’ve been on for the past 15 years or so. The hunting packs I’ve used include Crooked Horn, Tarantula, Badlands, Eberlestock, and the Outdoorsmans. Each pack has pros and cons. I can’t say that one is better than the others, just different.

As for the Outdoorsmans pack, it is a large pack in size, capacity, and weight handling. If you are looking for a small, dainty pack to carry a bottle of water and an extra coat, this is not the pack for you. This is a pack for the guy who carries lots of optics including a tripod, spotting scope, 15’s, a pad or chair, plus all the necessary comfort and survival tools necessary for a day on the mountain. It is also perfectly suited for longer trips where more gear must be carried, but I have not used it like that yet.

If you "gear-up" before hunting, this pack is for you!

The basis for the pack is the external frame. I’m told it’s made from some sort of carbon/resin composite. The thing I know is that it is lightweight and flexible. Flexible, you say? An external frame that is flexible? Yes, and it is the most compelling reason to buy this pack. The frame itself can flex and move with you regardless of the weight you add. It truly functions like an external frame, but carries like an internal frame. The frame can be used by itself or with a bag. I have only used it once by itself, and that was to help a friend pack out a mule deer. The buck wasn’t the biggest on the planet, but we just strapped the whole thing onto the pack after it was gutted and walked out.

The Outdoorsmans Frame easily handles the weight of a gutted mule deer.

Next is the harness and waist belt. They are both designed to carry your load comfortably and distribute the weight accordingly. Both are very comfortable, but the waist belt is very difficult to adjust. Newer generations of the waist belt have gotten better, but I have to unhook my waist belt to tighten it, which is not very practical while hiking. It is the only major complaint I have with the pack. They now make a few different bags in different materials and for different purposes. The bag I have is the Outdoorsmans Optics Pack in Realtree Max-1. There are full-length side pockets running down each side that are sized perfectly for a full-size spotting scope and the excellent Outdoorsmans Tripod. There is a pocket inside the pack for a water bladder, extra pockets on the top, front, and sides, and even an ingenious rifle/bow carrying system. I regularly filled the pack with a Swarovski 80mm HD spotting scope, Swarovski 15x56mm binoculars, a Canon camera with 28-300mm lens, plus an extra 50mm lens and external flash, a survival kit, first aid kit, SnipePod, 3 liters of water, extra clothing, and all the various sundries I like to carry such as a flashlight, headlamp, extra batteries, and knives. I’ve never weighed everything, but I bet my regular gear adds up to 35 pounds.

The Outdoorsmans pack is suited for long excursions or scouting trips.

I have used this pack in many different settings on many different hunts. I prefer some of the other packs for shorter trips, or if I simply want a smaller pack, but I think it is a great choice for anyone wanting something more than a simple daypack. The way the frame flexes with you as you move allows you to run-and-gun in comfort, while the load-hauling capabilities of the frame itself, not to mention the bag, are phenomenal. The bag is well-designed and easy to use without too much getting used to. With the addition of the new accessory pods and new fabrics, the Outdoorsmans Pack will fit the bill for nearly any backcountry excursion. For more information call the guys down at the Outdoorsmans at 800-291-8065 or check out their website: Outdoorsmans Website.

Details: The three packs in the Outdoorsmans Pack line are the Outdoorsmans Optics Pack (capacity 5400 cu in, weight 7 lbs 3 oz) available in Reealtree Max-1 or Sonoran Brown, the Outdoorsmans Longrange Hunter Pack (capacity 7,000 cu in, weight 7 lbs 7 oz) available in Realtree Max-1, and the Wilderness Athlete Pack (capacity 4,800 cu in, weight <6 lbs) available in Grey/Blue and Red.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

AZ Elk and Antelope Draw Results

The results are out and so am I - out of luck that is! I did not draw and no one in my family drew. It looks like I'll need to head out of state once again this fall, unless the draw gods shine on me later this year with a sheep tag...

Check your results at

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Another Side of Jeff Cooper

I had heard of Jeff Cooper and read his column in Guns N Ammo, but had never met him. However, towards the end of his life I got a truly unique experience. As he aged, he lost strength and his doctor suggested he attend physical therapy. It just so happened that he walked into my wife’s clinic and they struck up a relationship of mutual trust and understanding. You see, Jeff (many people call him Mr. Cooper or Colonel, but our relationship was different…) was anything but a soft man—opinionated and hard-assed would be understatements. Luckily, my wife is a bit of a hard-ass, too, especially when it comes to her patients. She knows what’s best for them and has a knack for figuring out how to motivate them. For Jeff, she had him do “rifle presses” instead of “chest presses” and allowed him to bring his rifle into the clinic to do them!

Once he endured her exercises, I got a chance to sit down and talk with him. Of course we talked about guns, but we also talked about his adventures, his life, and my life. He was just as interested in the things I had done. At one point our conversation turned to World War II. It turns out that while Jeff was on the ground as a Marine, my grandfather was in the air above him. The simple fact that my grandpa was a decorated fighter pilot made Jeff think more highly of me. I have a written account of my grandpa’s firefights, along with the video from the trigger-activated cameras on his Hellcat. I shared both with Jeff. He was so moved by them that his last two columns included references to my grandpa.

So here’s the other side of Jeff Cooper from my point of view: sure he was opinionated, and sure he should be revered for how he has influenced every person who handles a firearm today, but he was also a deeply thoughtful and caring man who recognized the best in people. He didn’t pull any punches and told you how he saw things. I received my first paycheck as a writer and even though it was small, I showed it to Jeff. He took one look at it and said, “Well, I guess you’re a writer.” If Jeff Cooper says so, that’s good enough for me!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Blog List

Hey everyone! If you get a chance, spread the love to a couple other bloggers...

Check out "My Blog List." My list includes good friends, information I like to read, and photos I like to look at. Hopefully you will like them, too!

From Forest To Fork
Jay Scott Outdoors
Koury Guide Service
On The Prairie
Sleeping In The Dirt

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Youngest Swanson

Last week Mattox had his 8-month-old birthday. Yeah, I know. It's not a real birthday, but it seemed like a good excuse to dress him in his camo, set him on an elk rug, and take a few photos.

I can't wait for him to join me in the woods...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Gunsite 250 Defensive Pistol

I knew I wasn’t a pistolero, but I thought I was a reasonably good handgun shooter. Heck, I even thought I was reasonably good at manipulating a handgun’s controls. I had carried a pistol nearly everyday for 10 years and felt comfortable with it. All those thoughts changed after spending a week at Gunsite in their 250 Defensive Pistol class. I realized I was pretty bad to begin with, but NOW I am reasonably good…

The class involved many lessons from classroom work and videos to live fire shoot/don’t shoot scenarios. At the end of the week, after expending nearly 1,000 rounds of .45ACP out of my Kimber, I gained a true appreciation of what it takes to carry, present, shoot, and manipulate a pistol. Using the material devised by Jeff Cooper as the Modern Technique of the Pistol, I learned all aspects of the draw, focusing on the front sight, the trigger press, the reset, reacquiring your front sight, and the all clear. Through repetition and proper teaching, I surprised myself by how fast and accurately I could draw and shoot. Bottom line, it was fun! But most importantly, it empowered me.

When the class ended on Friday, my wife and I headed to Las Vegas. During the 3.5-hour drive I tried to explain the way I felt. It was very hard for me to put into words then, and still hard today. Many words pop into my mind: empowered, confident, strong, aware, controlled. I just feel like I now have more control over my destiny. I am still no pistolero, but I have the basic training to help ensure that I stay alive for my family and that I can keep my family alive for me. The class is called Defensive Pistol for a reason; it teaches reasonable people how to respond in unreasonable situations.

Thankfully, I live in an area without too many unreasonable people, but in the last year or so, there have been periods of violence even in my small town. Since I will never know where or when a threat may come, I still carry a pistol every day; not because I’m afraid of a possible threat, but because I’m afraid of not being able to handle one if it comes. I guess that’s the main thing I learned from the Gunsite 250 class. I learned that I have the skills, training, and mindset to influence my own destiny. Instead of being a pawn in someone else’s twisted scheme, I can do something to effect the outcome if I choose. Hopefully I’ll never have to use the actual shooting skills, but I always use the mindset skills, and I’ll be ready to use the shooting skills if necessary.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tripod-Mounted Binoculars

Does anyone really think they can be effective glassers by hand-holding their binoculars? It pains me to watch TV shows or read magazine articles about how a guy sits down to glass, and just jams his binoculars up to his face and plops his elbows on his knees. I don’t consider anyone who does that a true glasser. Sure, they are using their binoculars, but glassing? No way!

Glassing is the methodical use of tripod-mounted binoculars to scour the countryside in search of animals. Only when binoculars are mounted to a tripod can the hunter use them to their full extent. Of course, I still handhold my binoculars when necessary—still hunting, quick checks, etc. but again, that’s not glassing! That’s simply looking through binoculars.

In the future, I will try to get far more in-depth with this subject, but for now, think about this: would you take an off-hand shot at an animal standing anywhere from a quarter mile to multiple miles away? No! Why not? Because you can’t hold your rifle steady enough to make the shot, right? So what makes you think you can hold your binoculars steady enough? When you hand-hold your binoculars, you interject the same type of movement. You might pick up the perfectly obvious animals, but what about the elk bedded in the shade under a juniper? Or the Coues deer standing in the ocotillos? It’s plain and simple in my mind— to call yourself a glasser, you must have your binoculars mounted to a tripod!

Tripod-mounted binoculars are essential to get the most out of your optics! Obvisouly, these guys know what they're doing...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Palmetto Puppy Pictures

I just got some pictures of the cute puppies at Palmetto Labradors:

Photo courtesy Palmetto Labradors.

Photo courtesy Palmetto Labradors.

Brodie told me that three of the puppies are dark, two are light, and one is in between. There are four males and three females that will be ready April 2nd. A $200 deposit will reserve your pick - total price is $600. If these pups are anything like Ruby, they will be smart, birdy, and well-socialized!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Palmetto Puppies

I have two Labradors, Lacey and Ruby. I wanted to breed Lacey, but her heat cycles were very erratic so it never worked out. After she was spayed for health reasons, I started my search for the next best thing to a Lacey puppy... a Lacey niece!

I was lucky to find Brodie Cook in the Palmetto State, South Carolina. He has Lacey's sister, Maddy, and he decided to breed her one last time. We had first pick of the females and chose the cutest litlle fox red labrador you've ever seen. In 2009, Nichole and I flew out to Charlotte, NC, toured some NASCAR shops, and then drove down to South Carolina to pick up Ruby. It was quite the adventure smuggling her into a fancy hotel, and then bringing her back on the airplane under the seat in front of me.

Swanson's Prairie Red Gemstone aka "Ruby"

From the beginning I could tell that Ruby was special. I think Lacey hung the moon, but Ruby has more drive, more stamina, better marking capabilities, a better nose, and she is just more “birdy.” Sadly, I did not spend nearly as much time training Ruby as Lacey, so she is a little rough around the edges. She is still a wonderful pet and a great hunter, but Lacey minds a lot better.

It has been awesome to watch the two of them together—Ruby really brought some spunk back into ol’ Lacey. They are great friends and I was so proud to finally get them hunting in the field together where they complimented each other perfectly.

Swanson's Laced With Gold aka "Lacey" and Ruby

Ruby all grown up on her first pheasant hunt.

So back to the original reason for this post…

Brodie has another litter of puppies that will be ready at the beginning of April. He owns both the sire and dam. The dam (SRH Palmetto’s Shelby) is Ruby’s full sister from a previous litter. She is dark yellow and the sire (HRCH American Flyer) is fox red, kind of like Ruby. All the puppies are a dark yellowish, fox red. They don't appear quite as dark as Ruby, but WAY darker than Lacey. If you are in the market for an awesome Labrador who will be a great hunter and even better family dog, check out Brodie’s website: Palmetto Labradors and click on "PUPS". Tell him I sent you or feel free to contact me with any questions. Brodie also has some cool pictures of Ruby on his Reference Dogs page.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Best Binoculars

I have been lucky enough to use binoculars in the field from the “Big Three” of optics manufactures—Leica, Swarovski, and Zeiss. Each has helped me find big game animals and each has led me to the end of at least one successful hunt. They have all been 10-power and, of course, were all tripod-mountable. So which is the best? Some of you might think my answer is a cop-out, but here it is: they all are!

Each has certain features that I like better than the others, but even with the hundreds of hours that I have spent glassing, I am hard-pressed to see much difference in quality between them. For example, the Zeiss Victory RF 10x45s I used last year on my New Mexico antelope hunt has an integral rangefinder. I have not used the Leica Geovid with its integral rangefinder in the field much, but the Zeiss RF has the rangefinder activation button on the “right” side, especially for those of us who are right-handed. In addition, they add their rangefinder to their top binocular model, whereas the Leica rangefinder used to only be available in a lower model. Leica now offers the Geovid in their HD version that compares in quality to the Zeiss, but I have only looked through it at trade shows. Of course, Swarovski has yet to offer a rangefinding binocular.

The new Swarovski SLC 10x42 HD binoculars seem to have a little better color rendition and light transmission than the others, but its all relative. I primarily used the new Swarovskis on my Wyoming mule deer hunt last year where the high elevation and cool, clear air made the glassing easier. I used the Zeiss in New Mexico where it was hot with lots of flat light. My Leicas are over 10 years old so while the clarity and focus are still top-notch, the new advancements in coatings on the newer binoculars have helped immensely.

Typically, the Leicas feel the best in my hands and up to my face, but everyone’s face and hands are a little different. As long as you are using top-shelf binoculars, the ergonomics might just be the most important factor. Assuming you can see really well through all of them, the thing that will keep you looking through them is how they feel. If you can get comfortable with the eyepieces stuck to your face all day, and the controls are easy for you to manipulate then you will glass longer. The longer you glass, the better chance you will have at finding the animal of your dreams.

Luckily, I’m in a unique position where I don’t have to choose just one. Depending on when and where I hunt, I can use them all. If you have to choose just one, I suggest you go somewhere and look through all three. If you can see a distinct difference in quality, more power to you… buy that one! If you can’t see much difference, don’t spend your time trying to find a difference; spend your time getting a feel for each one, and then buy the one that feels the best. You might even try closing your eyes and having the salesman hand you a different binocular to feel in your hands and up to your face. You can try to guess which brand it is, but more importantly, analyze it for its ergonomics. Once you’re out in the field, it won’t matter what you could have seen from the other two—they won’t be there! The performance level between the different brands is so close that I can't say one is better than the other; they are each just a little different.

One final note: Glassing effectively obviously requires skill, but it also requires confidence. Each time you sit down behind your glass, you should expect to find what you’re looking for. Part of that confidence comes from your inherent satisfaction with your purchase. If you think the Zeiss is the best and you use that confidence to find game, who cares what your buddies think? You’re the one looking through the binoculars, not them! Get the “Big Three” binocular you like the best, and then go find some critters!

I used my Leica 10x42s to locate this Kansas whitetail at first light. I watched him until he bedded and then stalked in close, crawling the last 100 yards or so. He got up from his bed and walked towards me. I shot him with a T/C Omega muzzleloader in “self defense” at 17 yards.

This New Mexico antelope fell from my shot of 267 yards. I know how far away he was because I had just ranged him with the excellent Zeiss Victory 10x45 RF binoculars.

I didn’t need binoculars when I finished this Wyoming buck at about 20 yards, but used the Swarovski SLC 10x42 HD to locate the bedded buck the day before.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Gear Review: Christensen Arms

A few years ago I completed a rifle project. Originally, I had a Winchester Model 70 in .300 WIN with the BOSS system and a Ruger M77 .25-06. Each was long and heavy and I wanted to replace them with lightweight rifles. In addition, I wanted two rifles chambered in calibers adequate for taking elk at reasonable hunting ranges so when my wife and I hunted together we would each have a rifle.

My quest led me to Christensen Arms. They use a unique process to lighten rifles by removing much of the steel from the outside of the barrel and replacing it with many layers of carbon fiber. The carbon fiber is stronger, stiffer, and lighter than steel. After visiting their facility and talking over my plans with John Mogle, I decided to let them apply their barrel treatment to my Model 70, and then ordered what they now call their Carbon One Extreme in .270 WSM. After getting back my Model 70, I sent it off to Bell & Carlson for a custom stock.

Both rifles shoot great and are a joy to carry. They each feel a little different in my hands but the Bell & Carlson stock on the .300 and the Christensen stock on the .270 compliment each rifle perfectly. Since getting the rifles, I have hunted more with the .270 than the .300, but have been very successful with both. The one time my wife an I hunted together was in Kansas—she carried the .270 and shot her first deer, and then minutes later I used the .300 on great 9-point whitetail.

If you are looking for a quality rifle that is lightweight, easy to shoot, and easy to carry, check out Christensen Arms. In addition to their awesome bolt-action rifles, they also now make lightweight AR-15s and a 1911 pistol.

Christensen Arms Carbon One Extreme .270 WSM - WY Mule Deer

Christensen Arms Carbon One Extreme .270 WSM - NM Antelope

Christensen Arms Barrel Wrap and Bell & Carlson Stock .300 WIN - CO Mule Deer

Christensen Arms Carbon One Extreme .270 WSM - AZ WMAT Black Bear

Christensen Arms Barrel Wrap and Bell & Carlson Stock .300 WIN - KS Whitetail

Christensen Arms Carbon One Extreme .270 WSM - KS Whitetail (Nichole's first deer!)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Utah Big Game Points

For those of you who missed the Utah application deadline, or if you're like me and just buying points this year, you still have time! Log on to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources website before 11pm on March 10th to purchase preference points or bonus points for deer, elk, pronghorn, sheep, bison, goat, and moose. Remember, you must purchase a $65 hunting license first, and then each point costs $10. Start building points now for a chance to hunt in the future. Good luck!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Brush Creek Bombers: A Sneak Preview

Last October I hunted Brush Creek Ranch in southern Wyoming. This amazing 13,000-acre ranch is home to deer, elk, antelope, moose, and mountain lions. It also boasts one of the nicest hunting lodges in the U.S. and some of the best accommodations. I was there to hunt deer and photograph the hunting and shooting opportunities on the ranch. You can see some of my photos on the Brush Creek Ranch website and be on the lookout for a full-length article later this year. For now, here’s a sneak preview…

Brush Creek Bombers

What was that? Movement. A fluttering leaf? A dink bird jumping from limb to limb? It was a ways off, but something caught my eye. I shifted my weight silently and stared intently into the leaves. Like an apparition emerging from the clouds, something in front of me and much closer began to take shape. With his nose to the ground, keeping his tall rack as low as possible, a mule deer buck came slinking out of the brush. His Labrador retriever impression may have fooled my guides Jake and Wade, who were pushing the creek bottom, but I watched his entire cunning show.

As he emerged, I mounted my rifle and frantically tried to verify he was the buck from the day before. He was so close that even at 3.5-power I couldn’t see his chest and his rack in the same field of view. I slowly raised the rifle and looked for two distinguishing points—his right brow tine that seemingly swept backwards, and his extra-long G2 on the left. He had them both! Once he cleared the vegetation, he paused, and then lifted and turned his head to check on his pursuers. I settled the crosshairs low on his chest and pressed the trigger. He dropped in his tracks as my jubilant shout chased the rifle report down the creek.

My buck's large track was easy to follow.

My Brush Creek Bomber had a G2 on his left that measured over 19".

After a long chase that started one day and ended the next, I finally finished my hunt for this great mule deer.

Another guest of the ranch, Paul Aeschliman, found this great buck.

From the sage flats down low to the aspen pockets up high, Brush Creek Ranch provides great mule deer habitat.

After your hunt is done, you can try out their awesome sporting clays course.

The ranch also has a private buffalo herd.

The views from Brush Creek Ranch are some of the best in Wyoming.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Springtime Gobblers 2010

In less than two months, I’ll be chasing turkeys again. I was drawn here in Arizona for the third year in a row, and have been lucky enough to hunt in Kansas, Ohio, and with the White Mountain Apache Tribe over the last couple of years. My standard Arizona draw-tag hunts have not gone as well as the others… skunked! I have found birds on the regular hunts, but just couldn’t close the deal. Last year, hunting with my friend Jay Scott, I got too impatient and shot a bird while he was still too far away. I rolled him off his feet, but he jumped up and ran off. Ohio and the Reservation have been very good to me, though! I shot my first Eastern in Ohio and three Merriam’s on the Reservation. Plus, in 2009 I also shot a bear while turkey hunting on the Reservation. Last year on the Res I shot two Merriam’s, and then stuck around to shoot a few more with my camera.

Here are a few photos from my 2010 hunts:

Checking for tracks.

Locating roosting birds at sunset allows you to get into the right spot the next morning.

The Fort Apache Indian Reservation has phenomenal turkey habitat.

The "Res" allows you to shoot two birds.

Nothing gets a turkey hunter fired up like the sight of a couple strutting toms!

Coming to the call and the decoys - electronic calls are allowed on the Reservation.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Gear Review: SnipePod

Most hunters realize they shoot better when using some type of rifle rest. Lying prone with your rifle resting on something soft like a backpack may be the steadiest platform, but it’s not always the most practical. If no other choices are available, using a tree limb or a rock might suffice. Other hunters carry those silly shooting sticks that require you to carry one more thing in your hand, and then keep track of it through recoil for any follow up shots. Still others clamp their rifles to a tripod or use one of the many tripod-based shooting rests such as the Outdoorsmans Rifle Rest and Longrange Rear Rifle Support.

The smartest hunters realize that a bipod is the easiest and most practical shooting rest available. I have been a part of many discussions about bipods and there is a strong contingency out there that think the Harris Bipod is the best for all their backcountry hunts. I think those people are just plain wrong.

First, let me be clear: the Harris Bipod is a great system for keeping a very stable shooting platform, especially when using the shortest models. However, when hunting, you must also take into consideration weight, size, and ease of use. When looking at all the options, there is no better choice for a hunter shooting at reasonable ranges than the SnipePod.

The SnipePod weighs just 6 oz, folds up and stows in a small neoprene pouch that can be attached to your pack or belt, detaches and attaches quickly and silently, and provides a stable shooting platform ranges within most hunter’s abilities.

Between the Harris Bipods and the SnipePod, when comparing apples to apples I don't think there is a better bipod than the SnipePod. The short (prone) Harris models are more stable than a sitting model SnipePod, but that's mainly because of the distance from the ground, and not necessarily the weight or stability of the legs. (A prone Harris is more stable than a sitting Harris, too!)When comparing a sitting model Harris vs. a sitting model SnipePod, here are just a few reasons why I like the SnipePod:

1. More compact

2. Lighter weight (HB25S=19 oz, 30" SnipePod=6 oz)

3. Remains off your gun until you need it, and then quickly attaches to it.

4. Instead of the cumbersome process of moving a bipod from one gun to another, (or needing to buy multiple bipods) simply buy a handful of extra SnipePod adapters and put them on all your rifles. When you are ready to hunt, your rifle is already set up to handle the SnipePod and it's already in your pack. I have an adapter on each big game rifle, muzzleloader, .17HRM, .45-70, etc.

All the reasons above combine so that I keep the SnipePod in one of the small pockets on the side of my Outdoorsmans pack where it is readily available. All of my hiking, glassing, carrying, etc. is done with the bipod off, which is far more comfortable and less weight in my hands. It is also much easier to transport my rifle in a vehicle or ATV. When the time comes, I can remove the SnipePod from my pack, quickly deploy it, and attach it to my rifle for a very stable platform.(By the way, if you only want a prone model, SnipePod makes a couple. I have never used one, but they weigh only 3 oz!)

I have used a SnipePod for more than 15 years. In that time, I have shot nearly all my big game animals off it, and have watched friends and family take multiple animals as well. A little birdy told me that an updated version is coming out soon. I will let you know all about it just as soon as I can.

For a little more info, here is a review I did for Western Hunter Magazine a few years ago: