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ScentBlocker's Mathews Solo XLT Camouflage Review

by John Mueller 26. October 2011 14:05
John Mueller



Whether or not you believe in the ability of carbon to conceal human odors, I believe you need to check out the Mathews XLT (Extreme Lightweight Technology) lineup of clothing from ScentBlocker. It is some of the best built camouflage I have ever worn. By the way, I do believe Carbon Clothing is part of a system of scent elimination. But I don’t forget the wind and just hunt. I have a scent reduction routine I follow religiously. I shower with scent free soaps, wash my carbon clothes in scent free detergents, store them in scent free containers and spray down with scent eliminating sprays before heading to the woods to hunt. But that isn’t what this review is about. So I’ll get to the meat of my review.

The Lost Camo blends in well with tree stand hunting.

The XLT line of clothing is designed to be worn in the warm weather of early bow season, but you can also just as easily use it as your outer layer in the colder temps. The fabric breathes extremely well during those warm September days of Missouri’s bow season. But it is a sturdy material that hasn’t shown any signs of wear or fading after over a month of heavy hunting and weekly laundering. The Lost Camo Pattern looks as crisp today as it did when I purchased it.

Closeup of the detailed pattern.

The XLT jacket and pants are loaded with features to make hunting easier and more effective.

Tech Specs
ScentBlocker® SPF 50 activated carbon with increased carbon loading
S3® antimicrobial technology to aid in odor control
XLT™ Xtreme Lightweight Technology fabric
4 Direction Stretch™ comfort
BodyLock™ collar, wrist cuffs and waist
“Hybrid” BodyLock™ Waist (front elastic, back drawcord) for maximum comfort, weather protection and adjustability
Silent Wrist Ratchet™ BodyLock™ adjustable cuff system
Innovative safety harness slit in back for easy attachment and concealment
Adjustable/removable arm guard to fit RH or LH
4 front chest zippered slash pockets
2 front waist zippered hidden pockets
2 back waist zippered slash pockets
2 sleeve zippered slash pockets
Rear grommet license loop
Die-cut rubberized shield patches on shoulders to prevent slippage
Is compatible with the Mathews® S3 Fleece Solo Vest or the Mathews® S3 Wool Solo Jacket
Sizes: M-2XL
Color: Lost Camo™

A few of my favorites are:

Totally Silent: The material used in the construction of the XLT line is some of the quietest fabric outside of fleece I have. But the advantage it has over fleece is burrs just brush right off with your fingers. Try that with fleece.

Lots of pockets with zippers: The jacket and pant combo has enough pockets that I usually don’t even need to carry a backpack or fanny pack. And the pockets are strategically positioned so the items inside them don’t stack on top of one another, like a lot of hunting clothing I have, making big bulges in your jacket or pants.

Lots of pockets on the jacket.

More storage in the pants.

Slit in back for harness tether: I hate having the tether for my safety harness running up along my neck scratching me with every move. The XLT Jacket has a weatherproof slit allowing the tether to exit the jacket between the shoulders.

Stretch Material: With the material having a bit of stretch to it, I don’t feel the tension I do with a lot of other jackets drawing my bow or climbing into my stands.

Lost Camo: The pattern does a good job of blending in when tree stand hunting. And when hunting out of my ground blind, I wear it inside out and have the black showing to conceal me in the blind.

Rubber Shoulder Patches: The built in rubber shields on the jacket’s shoulders are a big help when carrying multiple items with straps hanging on my shoulders. It keeps the straps from sliding off of my shoulders. I really appreciate this when carrying all of my hunting as well as filming gear to the stand.

Is this the perfect hunting apparel? Well if I were the engineers there are a few things I would have done differently. But some of this is just personal preference.

Cuffs: I’m not a big fan of the cuffs on the jacket. Especially when worn with the lightweight ScentBlocker Gloves. It tends to leave a gap of exposed skin on my wrist. Which isn’t a big deal in warm weather, but I’d like to wear the jacket as an outer layer in colder temps also.

My main gripe is the combination of the gloves and cuffs not covering my wrists and the use of velcro on the gloves.

Gloves: While I mentioned the gloves in the cuffs section, I’ll go into detail here. My main gripe with the lightweight gloves is the short length. There is no way to tuck the gloves into the sleeves of the jacket to keep my wrist covered. And then there is the use of VELCRO. In my opinion Velcro has no place in the bowhunting woods. It is too noisy if you ever have to adjust it or open it up.

Boot entry zippers: They are on the inside of the pant legs. When I walk in mud I tend to rub my boot against the opposite pant leg. This gets mud and debris stuck in the zipper. I think it would be much better if the zippers were on the outside of the pant leg.

Sizing: From my experience ScentBlocker clothing runs big. I would recommend buying one size down from what you normally wear in most cases. I’m 6’ 3” and 185 lbs and normally wear XL just for length in the arms and legs. The large in this line allows me more than enough room to layer after the weather turns cold.

Suited up and ready for action.

The XLT line of clothing is designed for warm weather hunting, but with some layering in can be your outer layer for most of the season with no problem. Even if you’re not a believer in carbon technology the quality of this clothing is reason enough to give them a look. It should last for many hunting seasons to come and the Lost Camo blends well in most hunting situations.

Opening Weekend Success IL Doe Down

by John Mueller 5. October 2011 10:15
John Mueller

Opening weekend in Illinois can be considered a huge success; I saw deer on every sit and harvested a nice doe on the last sit of the weekend. The weather was perfect for hunting and I found out the bucks are hitting my Tink’s Mock Scrape already.

I arrived at my property in Jersey County, IL a little after dark. On the way to my trailer I stopped and pulled a card from my trail camera on one of my water holes. When I downloaded the pictures I was happy to see lots of daylight activity at the water hole. It’s one of the few water sources in the area right now. It has been a very dry summer and the creek has no water at all in it.

After a night without much sleep my alarm went off at 4:45 AM. I quickly put on my Lost Camo by Scentblocker and grabbed an apple and granola bar for breakfast and headed out for the first hunt of the year in IL. I elected to hunt the first morning in a creek bottom where there are some white oaks loaded with acorns and a corn field on the ridge above them. The deer like to come from the corn field and head into the hollows behind me to bed for the day. I only saw one small buck cruise through the bottom on opening morning.

For my first afternoon hunt I chose to sit by a water hole I dug a couple years ago in the middle of my 5 acre food plot. The trail camera I have hung there showed good daylight movement both morning and evening. Plus as a bonus it had a picture of my #1 target buck this year “Bakers Dozen” visiting it. But his visit was in the middle of the night. At least I know he is still in the neighborhood.

My #1 target buck "Bakers Dozen" is still in the neighborhood.

At about 6:00 I heard deer hooves pounding the hard packed ground. I turned to see 2 fawns followed by a huge doe headed to the water hole. I grabbed my Mathews ez7 and got the video camera turned on. I found the big doe in the viewfinder and followed her to the waters edge. Even though I had a clear broadside shot of under 20 yards I couldn’t shoot because the camera was at waist level and blocked by the top of a small tree. I elected to wait and hope she would move and offer a shot when the camera could capture it. It never happened and she left the water hole untouched headed for the newly sprouted wheat in my food plot. This is the first, but surely not the last time videoing my hunts cost me a shot at a deer.

Sunday morning found me in a tree above a mock scrape I made with Tink’s Power Scrape two weeks prior to opening day. When I checked my trail camera monitoring the scrape it had 2 nice bucks sparring in front of the scrape during daylight. I didn’t see any deer while sitting in the stand until 10:30. But as I was climbing down 2 does took off from the hillside about 50 yards behind me. I don’t know if they snuck in and were bedded there or they were just cruising through that late.

Two bucks sparring in front of my mock scrape.

This brings us to the last hunt of opening weekend. With the abundance of acorns in the woods this year, I headed to a ridge in the middle of my woods loaded with White Oaks.

Acrons are everywhere this year.

The hollow on the opposite side of the ridge in also a favored bedding area. I was busy strapping my camera arm to the tree when I heard the sound every hunter hates to hear in the woods. A doe started to blow at me. She let out a few snorts and then I saw her high tail it out of there. I finished setting up my camera and got my bow all ready for action. I was just getting ready to do my pre-hunt interview when I noticed movement behind the camera. It was another doe headed my direction. She slowly fed my way and stopped about 50 yards away. I thought she was never going to take another step all night. She stood there surveying the area forever chewing her cud every once in a while. Then she sort of circled away from me, but ended up coming back and stopped 18 yards out in front of me but facing me offering no shot. She stood there for another 2 hours, so it seemed. Actually it was more like 10 minutes before turning and giving me a slight quartering away shot. I put my pin high on her side toward the back of her ribs to allow for the downward angle of the shot and touched off the shot. I watched as my arrow buried right where I had been aiming. She took off in a mad dash down the ridge, actually toward my trailer, and then I heard her crash a short distance away. So while waiting a few minutes to climb down I finally did my interview after the fact. I climbed down and made my way to the arrow sticking in the ground where she was standing. It was covered in blood with no sign of a gut shot. I followed the blood trail and the farther I went the more blood there was. The NAP Spitfire had done its job well slicing through both lungs. I found her piled up in a tangle of vines and small trees. The best part of where she crashed was the whole drag was downhill to the field by my trailer. After a little more video and some still pictures I loaded her in the back of my brand new red Ford Pick Up Truck and headed home to get her in a cooler.

I ended my weekend by taking a nice doe on the last evening hunt.

It’s always nice to start the season off harvesting an animal. It’s what we dream about and plan for all summer. It also gives me a big dose of confidence, knowing I’m setting up in the right spots and seeing deer every time I head afield.  And they just plain taste good on the grill, my freezer had been empty for a while. You can catch this hunt as well as other great hunts on Bowhunt or Die, our weekly hunting video series. HERE

Countdown to Wyoming Antelope Hunting

by Dan Schafer 11. August 2011 17:33
Dan Schafer

The anticipation of an upcoming hunting trip can seem to slow down the hands of time.  Your mind starts to wander; you have a hard time concentrating on everyday tasks.  All you can think about is the game you will be chasing.  You picture your trophy standing there, you’re at full draw, hearts racing and you settle your pin.  As you’re about to release your arrow, you smell smoke.  Smoke?  You’re burning the steaks, your wife is yelling at you and you snap back to reality.  Actually, this was me this evening! 

I’m having an extremely hard time concentrating just to write this.  All I can think about as I sit here is endless skies, the prairie and the animal we will be chasing in less than one week, antelope.

Concentrating on everyday tasks has been tough lately.  My mind continues to wander as I daydeam of my first antelope hunt.


This trip is a very special one for me, as I’ve never had the opportunity to hunt antelope before.  What makes this trip even better is that I’ll be making it with my good friend, and fellow antelope rookie, John Herrmann.  John and I will be making the 900-mile trip from Wisconsin to Wyoming to meet up with another great friend, our guide and fellow Bowhunting.com staff member, Dustin “The Nomad” DeCroo.  To top it off, two days after our arrival, we’ll have the privilege of spending our first hunting camp with another couple Bowhunting.com staff members, Neal McCullough and Grant Jacobs. 

Preparing for this trip has been unlike any whitetail trip I have been on.  The biggest difference has been in my shooting routine.  When practicing for whitetail hunting here in the Midwest, I rarely shoot past 40 yards.  For this antelope hunt, I was doing more shooting with my NAP Spitfire Maxx at 50 and 60 yards than I was under 40.  Though it is very unlikely that I will attempt a shot over 50, the shooting at 60 yards has given me the confidence that I can extend my effective range, if the conditions are right.

Shooting groups like this at 50 and 60 yards will give me the confidence I need when the moment of truth arrives.

The NAP Spitfire Maxx will be my head of choice for Antelope.


One reason that I have been practicing at longer ranges is because we are going to try our hand at spotting and stalking them.  Though it will be too early to decoy rutting bucks, Dustin has assured us that we should still be able to get into bow range.  One new product that we will be using on our stalks is the Hide-A-Bow.  The Hide-A-Bow screws into the front of your bow where your stabilizer would normally be and allows you to shoot through the opening on the attached blind without having to expose yourself to the sides or above.  The Hide-A-Bow comes in Lost Camo as well as photo realistic animal blinds, including an antelope, which will give us a bit of an edge on sneaking in close.

The Lost Camo Hide-A-Bow will help to conceal movement when drawing and shooting.

The antelope Hide-A-Bow should give us extra time to shoot.  Though we're not hunting the rut, this would be a blast when the bucks start decoying.


Being physically prepared is another thing a lot of guys overlook on a trip like this.  No, there are no big mountains that we will be climbing, but crawling on your hands and knees, as well as belly crawling, can be physically tiring.  I’m not ready to chase any mountain goats right now, but my light workouts will help make the physical aspect of the stalk much easier. 

Honestly, my mind is wandering back to Wyoming again.  Time to get the last few things packed; throw the Mathews Z7 Extreme in the truck and get ready to head down west.  To see how our hunt turns out, be sure to look for it on a future episode of Bowhunt Or Die right here on Bowhunting.com.

My 2011 Bowhunting Rig

by John Mueller 11. July 2011 13:09
John Mueller

 

It’s time to unveil my weapon of choice for the 2011 bow hunting season. I have it all decked out with accessories that will allow me to hunt worry free. I tend to choose accessories that I know will perform well in the woods as opposed to those with the latest and greatest gadgets.

The bow that I will be using in my pursuit of trophy animals this season is the Mathews ez7 in Lost Camo set at 65 lbs with a 30” draw. (Check out my review HERE.) I chose the ez7 because it has one of the smoothest draws available for 2011. I also like the shorter axel to axel length for maneuverability in the stand as well as the ground blind. It doesn’t hurt that Mathews has been a leader in the industry for years when it comes to designing bows either. The bow was the easy part, now for dressing it up with accessories.

My Mathews ez7 perched on my Lone Wolf Climber.

The rest I chose is the NAP Apache micro-tune drop away rest. Rugged, simple and effective is the best way to describe this rest. The all metal housing wraps almost completely around the arrow to contain it in any position except completely upside down, but allows easy arrow loading from the top. The inside of the rest is covered in foam insulation to dampen any noise from the arrow contacting the rest. Tool less windage and elevation adjustments can be made by loosening the lever and turning the knob and then locking everything down with the locking lever again. The Apache rest is a bargain when compared to other rests with the same features.

Holding my arrow is the NAP Apache drop away rest.

The very important choice of a sight went to the Viper Diamondback 5 pin .019 sight in Lost Camo. Viper is one of the leaders in producing fine hunting sights. The sight is complete with 5 super bright fiber optic pins, a level and a light for in the blind use. The 1-3/4” diameter pin housing on the diamondback sight fits perfectly inside the sight window when looking thru my verifier peep sight. The grid lock cut out design was developed to match the cut out design on the Mathews z series of bow risers. With it’s built in harmonic damper, Lost Camo and grid lock design, this sight was made for my bow.

The Viper Diamondback 5 pin Sight.

This sight was designed with the Mathews Z series of bows in mind.

The new NAP Apache stabilizer is actually 2 stabilizers in one. It can be used as either a 5” model or if you install the 3” carbon extension tube it becomes an 8” stabilizer. Noise and vibration are soaked up by the numerous rubber fingers mounted on the 3 bars on the business end of this beast.

NAP Apache versatile 5" or 8" Stabilizer.

My arrows of choice this season are the Gold Tip XT-Hunters in 7595 spine. These arrows have a weight tolerance of +/- 2 grains and a straightness tolerance of +/- .003”.
 
Guiding my arrows will be the Bowhunting.com version of NAP’s  Quickfletch. Once you have used quickfletch, you will never go back to gluing vanes on arrows again. I bet I can fletch a dozen arrows in under 15 minutes. Try that with a fletching jig. All you have to do is boil water, position the quickfletch on the arrows and dip them in the boiling water and you are done.

The Bowhunting.com version of NAP's Quickfletch.

On the business end of my Gold Tips will be the 2 blade 100 grain Bloodrunner.  I really like the idea of big cutting diameter broadheads. And the 2 blade bloodrunner seems as foolproof as any mechanical broadhead on the market today. When open it expands to 2 full inches and it starts out at over an inch before expansion. Plus there are no o-rings or rubber bands to fail.

NAP 2 Blade 100 grain Bloodrunner means business.

Holding my arrows will be the Mathews, 5 arrow, Arrow Web T-Series Quiver. My main criteria for a quiver is, it must be removable. The Arrow Web comes off with a simple twist on and twist off motion. When locked into position the quiver sits very tight to the bow and is securely held in place. The arrows are held very securely by foam in the head of the quiver and rubber fingers about 6” from the head. The one complaint I have about the quiver is when shooting with the quiver off, there is a slight tuning fork vibration in the fingers that hold the quiver. I solved that with a strip of limbsaver material. No more vibrations.

Mathews Arrow Web Quiver.

For my release, I’m trying something new this year. I have switched to a handheld thumb style release. I have just gotten tired of having my release strapped to my wrist, bumping into everything and making it hard to wear gloves. I chose the Trufire 3D Hunter Release. Both the thumb handle and the trigger tension are fully adjustable. I actually believe my accuracy has improved since I made the switch. I’m sure I am more consistent in my anchoring with the thumb style release. I plan on having one attached to my string loop and another in a nearby pocket, just in case I drop the first one when buck fever sets in.

TruFire 3D Hunter Release

So there it is my bowhunting rig for 2011. I’m pretty sure this is what I’ll be taking into the woods this fall, unless I find something that changes my mind between now and opening day. You can check out most of these products in our shopping section by clicking on the red words.

New Bow Review: First Impressions of the Mathews ez7

by John Mueller 21. March 2011 14:11
John Mueller

The new Mathews ez7 is in my opinion my perfect bow. I've never been a speed freak and I am more of a bow hunter than a target shooter. This bow has many features that I look for in a good hunting bow. Very smooth to draw, forgiving brace height (7"), short but not too short (32" axel to axel), fast (up to 321 fps), lightweight (4.25 lbs) with 80% let off.

The new Mathews ez7 in Lost Camo is the perfect hunting bow for me.

As an experienced bow hunter (one with a few years under his belt) I can truely appreciate the ez7's draw cycle. It is one of the smoothest and easiest drawing 65 pounds bows I have pulled back. And with 80% let off, hopefully I can hold at full draw as long as I need to get the perfect broadside shot we all strive for. I will really appreciate this when the weather turns cold and nasty next season and I have on a few extra layers of clothing. I will have no problem getting to full draw when that buck walks within range after the temps have taken a nose dive. But don't let the smooth draw fool you. The ez7 is still a very fast bow. Rated at up to 321 fps. The cronograph at my shop was broken so I don't know the speed of my arrows. But I can tell you it's really spitting them out.

With a brace height of a full 7" the ez7 is a fairly forgiving bow. This allows for slight form imperfections while trying to get into position for the shot in a cramped ground blind or leaning around a tree while on stand. The 32" axel to axel length likewise is long enough to be steady on the shot, but still allow plenty of room for manuevering in the blind or around branches in a tree stand. I'm not a fan of the super short bows and the longer axel to axel bows add too much weight to be hauling up and down the hills on my property. At 4.25 pounds, the ez7 won't add a bunch of weight as I pack my climber and video camera in on my hunts.

All set up with the latest accessories and ready to hunt.

The ez7 was a breeze to get setup too. I don't know if I just got lucky or the guy that set up my bow at Tim-Buck-Tu Outdoors really knew what he was doing, but after installing my rest, sight and peep, there was very little adjusting I needed to do. Before I knew it the bow was paper tuned and sighted in at 20 yards with arrows flying like darts.

The limbs on the ez7 are some of the most parallel in the industry. Parallel limbs mean the limbs move very little during the draw and the shot. The cam does most of the work. By having very little limb movement Mathews has eliminated much of the shock of the shot and this makes for a steadier release of the arrow. To further reduce shock and vibration the ez7 has a dead end string stop installed behind the stabilizer to capture and reduce string occilation.

Some of the most parallel limbs in the industry.

Very little limb movement equals less vibration.

Now I can't wait for turkey season to get here. Just a few more short weeks and I'll be taking my new ez7 into the ground blind with me. I just hope I can get one of those long bearded toms to show up in front of the blind.




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