QAD Ultra HDX Review

This year I have added an upgrade to my hunting bow just in time for archery season. The results were such an improvement that I want to share it with all you other hunters out there.

The Quality Archery Design Ultra HDX drop rest.

Let me say that this is the finest arrow rest I have ever used. The drop down rest locks into place snugly. It does NOT bounce back up into the fins like so many other drop rests do upon release. The previous two rests I used both maintained arrow contact throughout the shot.

My bow came with an Octane Hostage brush type rest. This rest was ok but the brushes  wore down very quickly resulting in a changed vertical over time. If you didn’t have your nock set perfectly the fins would touch as well, ruining the shot.

The next rest I used was the popular whisker biscuit. This rest did well, but felt flimsy and was subject to the same wear problems as the hostage. In my educated opinion, this arrow rest has a fatal flaw in its design that allows for the possibility of a ruined shot – the aluminum ring surrounding the “whiskers”. If it is pressed on or bumped the ring may be displaced a bit, completely obliterating your center shot. On one hunting trip I slipped a bit on a muddy slope and my bow came into contact with the ground as I fell on my side. It didn’t hit hard and I thought nothing of it.  I’m very lucky that I didn’t get a chance to take a shot at a deer that day because even at a light glancing impact it caused the aluminum ring to bend, pushing the whiskers on the left side of the ring inward. This resulted in about a 20 degree change in horizontal direction to the right. Coincidentally I noticed that the 2013 models on the shelf at bass-pro are now advertising a 300% stronger aluminum ring yesterday when I went to pick up a metal D-Loop (pictured at the bottom of this post), must have been a common problem…

The shooting results:
Fantastic consistency. Absolutely fantastic.
I have always thought that my accuracy has been hindered by poorly design rests and now I have the evidence to support my theory. All throughout the sight in and subsequent practice shots one thing was in common: consistency. I had to shoot one arrow at a time sighting in because the grouping at 15 yards was so tight it was damaging my arrows. At 30 yards my grouping was still within 2 inches, at 40 within 3, at 60 within 6. SIXTY. I had to walk across the street and into the neighbors yard to try to find out just how far I could go and still stay on target.  I’ll tell you this, this rest provides enough consistency to allow me to feel comfortable with 60 yard quartering broadside shots (I use very heavy arrows, 13.4GPI/125G heads), and I haven’t tested past that yet. I’m going to have to put a 4th dot on my bow sight.

I can easily pull a 70lbs bow and hold it steady for quite some time. My release and follow through is near flawless. My form is great in both sitting kneeling and standing positions. Yet all this time I’ve had to deal with what I consider to be unacceptable tolerance levels in grouping variance. Is it fine for a 30 yard kill? Sure, but can it be better? With this rest the answer is YES. This rest brings my equipment up to par with my shooting skill into a harmonious union with devastating results.

Very happy with my purchase.

The packaging was reminiscent of a fancy new desktop processor. It came with an instructional DVD, paper instructions and a freebie pocket knife.

The installation was relatively painless. If you follow the instructions you’ll be directed to install the pull cord to the downward traveling string at least 3 inches (i did about 5 on mine) lower than the rest. Tighten the screw enough to where the cord won’t slip when just enough force is applied to pull the rest to its 90 degree maximum angle. Draw the bow and the string to cord clamp will slide upwards a little bit. Crank it down at that point and double check full draw once more.

The features on the HDX are nice. Here you see my thumb cocking the rest to 80 degrees into the locking position. Here the rest stays in place locking the arrow into the rest. Once at full draw the rest moves up just a little more to 90 degrees. The spring mechanism is able to sense the difference between a release *snap* and the let down of a canceled shot. I fired around 50 shots with flawless operation.

I picked up a metal D-Loop with the hopes that I won’t have to be changing my D-Loops out on weekly basis. I shoot so much my D-Loops wear out unacceptably fast.
First impressions: Locktight – use it or else.
Pretty satisfied so far, the most common complaint is increase vibration noise – with locktight in the screws I’m not hearing any of this. Shoots well, doesn’t present any problems with the peep. Doesn’t appear to be putting any extra strain on the string. Hoping to get many years out of this metal D-Loop.

Building The Superior Quality Ghillie Suit

To build a durable ghillie you must use durable materials.Pictured here is palm tree raffia from Madagascar purchased from Hobby Lobby as “Madagascar Grass.” Each hanging color you see here comes in a bag for $5.  The dye packs are $2 each and can dye about 5 times the amount shown here. The salt cans (2) cost about $3 each. Be sure to hose down the raffia right after hanging it up before it dries out.
After allowing the raffia to completely dry using a pair of shears the grass is easily cut into manageable piles for later use. I wrap the piles individually with a couple rubber bands when not in use.
The BDU of choice is a high quality multicam with a velcro neck collar. The collar greatly helps with holding down the camo mask, shown later. The pants/jacket shown here were purchased at an army surplus store for about $60 each. Click to enlarge
Many websites sell ghillie netting and ghillie kits with cheap netting prone to fray and rott. You can easily spot the garbage from the good stuff – the garbage looks like plain nylon twine tied together to form a net.It is soft and flimsy when handled.
The good stuff is UV, abrasion & rott resistant interwoven nylon. Its strong, and has a life span longer than the BDU’s you sew it to.It is stiff and not flimsy when handled.
A lot of people suggest using dental floss to sew with, but in my experience it is a poor choice. Unwaxed dental floss is very prone to abrasion and fray. It doesn’t last very long even when glued. Waxed floss doesn’t absorb the glue and ends up with very poor adhesion.  Don’t even think about heavy fishing line.Having tried various things nothing stands up to the test of time and abuse like heavyweight nylon upholstery thread. It is abrasion, UV, mildew & moisture resistant. It also adheres to glue like a champ.
I’ve tried several different types of glues, shoe glue, Goop, rubber cement, and various fabric glues. A product called Liquid Stitch is by far the reining champ. It can be used indoors, doesn’t give off any nasty fumes and adhere’s fantastically to threads and fabrics. It’s also very flexible when it dries and can be used to “rubberize” portions of a ghillie that need extra durability (thumb loops, tie straps). Cost $6 per tube, usually requiring 4-5 tubes per suit.
I use about 90% palm raffia and about 10% burlap strips. Walmart, Academy & pretty much any sporting goods store sells pre-dyed camo burlap hunting blinds. Simply unfold it a bit and cut long strips out 5 at a time to mass produce strips. Cost $15.
Start the building process by laying your netting down on the floor stretched semi-tight and anchored down with some dumbbells or something heavy. Lay out your pants and jacket & safety pin them in place. Cut out the netting to form fit your suit as you see fit; full body for the traditional ‘walking bush’, rear only for the traditional crawl suit, or, like this build, an archery specific cutout.Once the netting patterns are completely cut out, fold the netting over the pants and jacket & safety pin them in place. It will take a long time to sew all the netting in place and the pins will keep the netting aligned while you sew.Start by sewing the perimeter or the netting to the BDU fabric. Put stitches into every single inch of that netting perimeter  anchor it down good. Once you have that done sew across large open areas of the netting and make several spot stitches within the smaller areas. The idea is to keep the netting secure but not  too tied down to the fabric. You need to leave room to tie on the ghillie material. Apply a good amount of Liquid Stitch to all visible thread.
In the picture I have attached tie down strands and rubberized them with Liquid Stitch, as mentioned above.Note the stitching on the shoulder leaves a little extra netting in the pleat gaps as well as runs along the strong seams of the jacket.
Stitch your thumb loops to the sleeves and apply a thick coating of Liquid Stitch to both the stitching and the loops themselves. You’ll need to get your fingers dirty to really rub in the glue but it’ll pay off. The loops will gain tremendous durability by the “rubberization” process.Word of advice – don’t get any glue on the hairs of your arms or legs.. Trying to remove it results in lots of pain.
One completed thumb loop (right) & one awaiting gluing (left).
Starting from the bottom of the jacket, begin attaching the dyed raffia. I have found that an index finger knuckle to fingernail is about the perfect length for spacing. You can mix up the pattern any way you wish, but my personal preference is to go with a perfect balanced mix using a color rotation as I attach the raffia.After each cluster of strands is tied I bend them down into a V so that they overlap with their neighbor strands.
The vertical spacing depends on how long your strands are. The need to be far enough away that they don’t bunch up, but close enough to overlap with the previous layer.Note – “Madagascar Grass” as Hobby Lobby calls it is very tough stuff. It looks like a cactus at first but after a about a weeks worth of trampling through the woods it will be properly conditioned & quite a bit more frayed than you see in these pictures. The ends of the raffia split and tear forming a much greater camouflage texture.
Properly tied down ghillie leaves very little of the original jacket fabric still visible. Not pictured here is the burlap, added later in random places about 10 inches apart, it really gives the suit a perfecting look. By attaching the ghillie in intentionally spaced overlapping rows you leave room to lift up a section & tie in additional material as you see fit – burlap strips, un-dyed raffia for the dead of winter, etc.
Continue up the jacket until you reach the neck & begin on the arms & front.
Once all the raffia is on tie on a few strips of burlap here & there. Don’t worry about pre-fraying it, it’ll break up REAL fast when you start moving around in the trees.In this picture the ghillie around the neck has not been trimmed yet. Depending on your choice of head covering you may want to leave or trim around the neck line.  For this ghillie I chose to make a ball cap cover out of a fully clothed (no mesh) camo lighted bill ball cap, shown later.
For the pants, build just like you did the jacket. For this suit (archery build) I would likely be spending a lot of time crouched on my knees.  The knee pads shown here are not stitched on, simply apply a large amount of Liquid Stitch to the pants, slap on your foam padding, apply some more glue & then the fabric covering.  As a bit of artistic boredom I glued on some raffia bits to the front of them to see how it’d look. I expected it to be gone within the first days use but surprisingly most of it has held up after four outings.No matter what design you go with on the pants make sure you have a section around the ankle for ghillie material. It’s very important to hide your boots if you find a need to go prone.Not required but highly suggested – suspenders. Sew & glue a sturdy set of suspenders to your suit to achieve maximum comfort and ergonomics. It’s a pain in the butt to walk around in the woods with sagging pants.
Now make your head cover. There are many ways – boonie hat, mesh, netting alone, hoodie, etc.  My personal preference by FAR is the plain jane ball cap.  I love having a bill to move the ghillie away from my eyes and to provide side curtains for my face. Unless I’m looking right at you my face is mostly obscured the entire time.It’s very easy to cut the netting for ball caps. Simply cut out 6 good sized pizza slices and sew them to the hat. Glue it up good & you’re set.
This hat happens to be one of those hats that have the dual LED lights on the front, added bonus for those times when you need a light quick.
Tie on your strands, trim around the face & eyes as needed, toss on a little burlap & you’re good.When you put on your cover run your hands along the inside of the hanging ghillie and flare it out so that it rests slightly on your shoulders. This keeps it from from your neck line.
Once in the field the gaps in the netting allow for live vegetation to be inserted. A face mask completes the camo covering for the head.
Trimmed neckline for the hat.Getting poked in the ears and the back of the head constantly is very annoying.
Archer Specific ghillie layout: Leave the bow arm bare on the inside as well as the portion of the chest that the string would be in conflict with. Even the smallest strand of raffia or burlap is enough to throw your shot a mile off as well as endanger yourself and your equipment. A simple strand of raffia or burlap left untrimmed in the wrong place could throw your string off your cams & ruin a really good day.Additionally, I leave a small elastic archers brace attached to my left sleeve to keep the jacket fabric out of the way at all times. (not pictured here) Once the brace is in place netting & additional ghillie can be applied to the back of the forearm if trimmed properly.
Brand new untrimmed & unconditioned archers guillie, pardon the messy room we’re still unpacking believe it or not.
Conditioned front.
Conditioned left.
Conditioned back.
Conditioned right.Conditioning is very important for a suit made of raffia. The suit is ready for use, but not completely broken in. Right now the only part of my suit that is conditioned to my complete satisfaction is the ankle portion. I’ll post another series of shots in a few months of the suits’ conditioning progress.
This picture shows the effectiveness of the suit WITHOUT live vegetation tied in. With live vegetation taken from the plants pictured here it the effectiveness would be ten fold. Note the use of shadow placement.Even without live vegetation in the tie downs the texturing of the raffia gives the suit a very planty-like appearance.In this picture I am in my one knee down one knee up shooting position with head tucked down.
Same as the previous picture, but zoomed in a bit so you can see me looking at the cameraman. I can see completely through with both eyes in that small space in the head area.
One of the suits I use for paintball, this one is winter only using the same material as the archery suit.
Another well conditioned light ghillie. The raffia on this suit is 3-9 years old and has seen very heavy use.

2012 Archery Season Opener

Spent two days in the woods hunting creek beds at Heyburn(Monday) and Lexington(Tuesday).

My morning hunt at Heyburn was fouled by a couple guys with beagles and shotguns stampeding through the forest hunting some sort of small game. 33 ticks from Heyburn as well, much more than in the okc area.

Lexington Went much better as I was not bothered by any other hunters and the deer sign was much more fresh and abundant. Camped a choke point creek bed crossing for several hours with no luck. Saw one set of big boy buck tracks, must have been huge. Slow stalked right by a bedded doe on the way back to the truck and didn’t realize it. Once my scent cone reached her she bleated like the sky was falling not more than 50 feet right behind me before going into warp. All in all a good couple o days hunting. My new ghillie performed as expected but I need to improve on my cover scent for sure.










Lexington WMA Tracks

Mountain Lion Identification Course

April 25th edit: I have removed the tracks identified as dog – this would be what i thought was a smaller juvenile cougar. they have been correctly identified as having two lobes in the rear of the paw pad instead of the 3 a cat would have had. I have left in the older looking, much larger prints more characteristic of a large cat available for viewing. Please post in the comments on this post if you can help in identifying these tracks(scroll to bottom).

The distance between the tracks with the arrow in between them is 27”. That would give a left-to-left or right-to-right stride length of 54” An adult mountain lion has an average stride of 40”.

The width of the tracks is about 4 and a half to 5 inches wide. My boot measures 4 3/8ths across the front pad area, these tracks were about the same size as my boot with the exception of the one with the toes spread very widely, it was slightly wider.

These tracks do not display definitive “oh yea thats a mountain lion” traits, but they do have several of the features.

Mountain Lion
Claw/Toenail Marks – NO
Toes spread outward – YES
Teardrop shaped toes – YES
Toes close together, point forward – NO
About 4-5” wide – YES
X shape along toe parallels – NO
40” or greater stride – YES
Oval shape – NO
# of Lobes on pads – 3

Claw/Toenail Marks – YES
Toes spread outward – NO
Teardrop shaped toes – NO
Toes close together, point forward – YES
About 4-5” wide – NO
X shape along toe parallels – YES
40” or greater stride – ??
Oval shape – YES
# of Lobes on pads – 2

Exact GPS coordinates – 35.054238,-97.215055

Click on the images for full size image, click again to get out of fit to screen mode on your browser, and hold down ctrl-mouse_scroll_wheel if you wish to zoom in further. The overlay images have the pad lobes outlined in red, visible in full size viewing.

Dog print features not present in the photographed tracks:

plain dog track dog track shape dog track feature
A typical dog track. This one is from a golden retriever named Holly. The overall shape of a dog track is oval. Here the shape is outlined in yellow. Dog tracks are usually longer than they are wide. If you look at the position of the toes in a dog track, you can draw an imaginary X along the ridge between the heel pad and the outer toes. Here it is done in yellow.





I got to spend some time with the wildlife dept today inspecting the tracks.  It was fun watching them work & learning how to make plaster molds of prints.  The prints were determined to be that of a very large dog, most likely a saint bernard.  The three lobes that appear in the picture with the arrow were caused by the dog walking paw over paw creating an overlapping main paw pad just right so that it made three lobes.  In this particular print the dog appears to not have toe nails as well, see original print above, zoom waaay in see if you can find any.

The prints themselves were larger than the last verified mountain lion track they had worked on, neat stuff.

The tracks with the arrow appear to be cat tracks to me.  It looks like there’s a 10 % chance of rain tonight so let’s continue to plan and meet tomorrow.  I really appreciate you sending this information for confirmation.  I also want to commend you for your research efforts to identify the tracks on you blog.  I particularly like the beartracker site and the Michigan site I have looked at them in the past.

Good luck with the sonogram always exciting!


The rear print from the picture with the arrow:




Injury Log

oook. gonna make this quick. chopped my thumb up in a circular saw trying to unjam a spinning blade, dont do that its stupid.

next day i was shooting my bow (70lbs redhead kronik) and my bow hand (the saw injury) was hurting after 50 shots or so of the bow tugging on the skin on my thumb.

i kind of wiggled my thumb in a small circle at full draw to eliviate some of the pain in my thumb and the bow slipped out of my hand, flew back & sent the blunt carbon fiber guide rod right into my hand lengthwise. it went all the way down to my wrist, while staying completely inside my hand.  about 3.5 inches impalement with no exit wound.

fun stuff.