Welcome to The Bloke

The Bloke was set up with the purpose of gathering information into New Zealand’s best resource for people heading out into the bush – be that in the form of tramping, backpacking or shooting. With regular updates, it pays to check back often, or, subscribe and go into the monthly prize draws as well!

A lot of this website is me simply documenting things as I learn. I won’t claim to be an expert, but I do enjoy sharing what I find out.

What are you into?

The Great Outdoors

Tramping through the bush, climbing those mountains, sleeping in a tent, a hut or a hammock. Here you will find information on the equipment and the techniques that will make your trip more comfortable, more successful and safer.

Let’s get out there!

Hunting & Shooting

Be it hunting to fill the freezer, shooting out past 1km in practical shooting, or getting up close and personal with IPSC Pistol and 3Gun, here you will find gear reviews, technical overviews and tips and tricks that will make you quicker and more accurate.

Let’s shoot!

Beards

The Bloke is also home to the New Zealand Beard Appreciation Society – New Zealand’s home of the follicly fond! Everything you could want to know about beards, and plenty of stuff is celebrate them! Pop on in, learn some learnings, buy some goodies!

Take me to the beards!

 

Latest additions…

Brass Cleaning – Walnut Media Selection

Despite some OCD level testing, I didn't find a huge amount of difference between the Walnut Media grades.

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Barber Box

Want a tattooed, star wars fan, punk barber who is likely able to deadlift more than you?

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Ridgeline Monsoon Elite Review

Ridgeline were kind enough to send me out a Monsoon Elite - the latest version of their Monsoon series of jackets.

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Practising navigation with the Garmin Tactix

It's a watch, it's a GPS, it's got all sorts of things in it. But does the Garmin Tactix replace a handheld GPS unit?

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Warmth through Eating

Sleeping cold in the bush? Make sure you go to bed with a full belly.

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Davey Hughes

Our first entry into the NZBAS Hall of Bearded Fame!

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Tarps

 

Get Outdoors

After spending many years working in dark nightclubs at the wee hours of the morning, I decided it was time to get back ‘out’ in the world. So, a couple of years ago now, I put away the turntables and got out the tramping boots.

I had spent some time tramping with my father as a kid, but as many of us do, go away from it in my teenage years and early adulthood.

Deciding to get back out into the bush meant getting some new gear, and, as anyone who knew my studio setup, I was already a self-confessed gear junkie. So I started reading up on new ways and new ideas when it came to outdoors gear. The concept for a gear reviews site was born!

Gear Reviews

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Ridgeline Monsoon Elite Review

Ridgeline were kind enough to send me out a Monsoon Elite - the latest version of their Monsoon series of jackets.

Over the last couple of years, I have written a couple of posts that I think are essential reading for people heading out into the bush. Most are related to keeping you safe (with reason) while out there. My article on how a PLB works is a good starting point – and I always suggest anyone heading out in the bush invest in one. Even though you have a PLB though – you still need a map and compass – and this article covers what to look for in a compass for outdoors use. Also – now with so many options for jackets out there – this primer on hard shells vs. soft shells gives a good overview on what to be wearing when the weather turns.

Knowledge

All the gear in the world isn’t going to be much use if you don’t know how to use it. Whether it’s how to not chop off your finger with a Golok, or how to make the perfect Martini, I have you covered.

I am always keen to learn more and jump at the opportunity to practice my outdoors skills – as a result, I have headed out to a lot of training through various groups. I am a member of the Mountain Safety Council of NZ, an organisation focused on providing training in various disciplines for outdoors leaders – it’s well worth getting in touch and heading out to one of their courses! You can read about some of the courses I have headed out to below.

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MSC Residential Outdoor Leader Development Course

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to complete my Outdoor Leadership Training. It was a great, busy, intense, and a little stressful (in a good way) experience that I consider myself very luck to have been involved with.

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Processing Deer – Hunts Course

We were there to learn about processing deer - somewhat an important skill should you be out in the bush and actually manage to shoot one.

Outdoors Log

I imagine, like many of us, I don’t get out as much as I would like too. When I do, I try and take some photo’s and write up some words. It keeps track of my time out there. These are my last couple of trips.

May 2014

Bush Bash – Off Track Navigation

Like any skill, off track navigation needs to be practised. If you don't, you start to forget basic concepts and you simply get slow and rusty.

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March 2014

Hamilton Youth Search and Rescue – YSAR

I was recently fortunate to be invited along to Camp 2 of the Youth Search and Rescue Hamilton program. YSAR

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September 2013

Baitlining – Ark In the Park

We made a quick excursion into the Waitakere today to refresh the baits in the Possum traps.

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April 2013

Bait Lines in the Waitakere

Something we have gotten involved with recently is the helping maintain bait-lines in the 'Ark in the Park' in the Waitakeres.

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February 2013

Welcome Flat Hut

Heaven on Earth? Quite possibly. And we got to spend 2 weeks there!

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December 2012

Coromandel Walkway

Heading right to the tip of the Coromandel.

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range

Shooting

I originally decided to get my firearms license in order to get into hunting. I was already heading out into the bush with the camera – trying to snap photo’s of the wildlife and I figured hunting would also get me better at stalking animals to photograph.

Somewhere along the lines, I also found out about IPSC shooting – and realised that you can basically run and gun with a pistol in NZ. Becoming part of the Auckland Pistol Club had taught me a very strong safety ethic when it comes to firearms, and I would suggest anyone who gets into shooting joins and club – be it pistol, rifle, shotgun or 3-Gun, whatever you are in too, you are going to learn lots surrounding yourself with a group of like minded individuals.

 

Firearms Safety

Firearms are fun, but also carry a significant element of risk. Don't piss around with them!

 

Know and always follow the firearms safety code.

 

Don't point it anywhere you aren't willing to destroy.

Check every firearm yourself. Pass or accept only an open or unloaded firearm.
Loaded or unloaded, always point the muzzle in a safe direction.
Load only the magazine after you reach your shooting area. Load the chamber only when ready to shoot. Completely unload before leaving the shooting area.
Movement, colour, sound and shape can all deceive you. Assume colour, shape, sound, and shape to be human until proven otherwise.
THINK: What may happen if you miss your target? What might you hit between you and the target or beyond? Do not fire when you know others are in your firing zone
When not in use, lock away the bolt, firearm and ammunition separately. Never leave firearms in a vehicle that is unattended.
Good judgement is the key to safe use of firearms.

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Firearms

I believe understanding and maintaining a firearm is part of the responsibility of understanding one. While you don’t have to be able to field strip your gun blindfolded, it’s good to know how it works, it’s strengths and weaknesses, and how to keep it working safely and at it’s most accurate and efficient. It scares me that there are guns out there that only come out once a year (roar), never get cleaned and yet are expected to just work. It’s like knowing how to change a tire – be a bloke, know why they go bang!

I like tinkering – I don’t claim to be a gunsmith – get a professional to do any critical work – certain things need to be done right. However, for many maintenance items, we can do it at home. You can find all the firearms posts here - but these are the latest.

 

Marksmanship

Once you have your firearm and it’s working right, you really own it to yourself, and any animal you may end up pointing it at, to shoot it accurately and that takes practice. There is plenty of information out there, and I tend to try and absorb things like a sponge, so expect plenty of my thoughts and reflections here

Reloading

People reload for a variety of reasons, cost, accuracy or just technical interest. These articles document my progression in the fine art of making your own ammunition.

Hunting

thelads

 

Hunter? Go do a HUNTS course. You will learn something. In the meantime, here is what I have learnt so far.

 

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Firearms Safety during the Roar

The privilege of owning and using firearms carries with it a number of responsibilities i.e. to store, maintain, transport and use firearms safely at all times.

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Back to Balnagown!

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Following up from my trip up to Balnagown with the camera, Richard suggested I head back up with The Missus to stay the night in the hut and hear the deer roar.

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Balnagown Deer Hunting

I was lucky enough to recently spend the day up at Balnagown Deer Hunting - a Deer Hunting Block just up north of Auckland.

Range Reports

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 Most weekends you will find me on a shooting range – either at the Auckland Pistol Club practicing pistol shooting or competing in IPSC (currently production class), or at the Northern Deerstalkers Range practicing with the rifle.

I try to head to these sessions with a purpose. I think just firing through a box of ammunition without much of a plan is a bit of a waste, both of time and money. Dryfire practice is good, but nothing beats live ammo.

Below you will find the last couple of range reports.

June 2014

Evaluating your reloads – OCW Load Testing

OCW Load Testing, what is it, how can it help your reloading process?

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March 2014

200m Deerstalkers – 23rd March

Sunday 200m Range Shot at Deerstalkers North Auckland. Fail.

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February 2014

Range Day, IPSC Pistol, 23rd February

Another good day at the range. Starting to discuss which way I am going to go with the first pistol.

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100m Deerstalkers – 2nd Feb

Sunday 100m Range Shot at Deerstalkers North Auckland. BiPod and Positional Shooting.

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January 2014

Range Day, IPSC Pistol, 26th January

Rishi put together an excellent stage, 30 round, lots of movement, door, setup with multiple ways to shoot it, including one target that tricked you into thinking it was two separate targets.

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Range Day – IPSC Pistol

I went to the pistol club last week - the double action was fairly difficult on the finger. However, this week with the X-Bolt Trigger - I had a lot more success.

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