Welcome to The Bloke

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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.

 

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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!

Shooting – Hunting and Target

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!
Respect-Black-T

NZ Beard Appreciation Society

The Bloke is also home to the NZBAS – New Zealand’s home of the follicly fond! Everything you could want to know about beards, and plenty of stuff is celebrate them!

Take me to the beards!

 

Recent additions…

Back to Balnagown!

A trip to Balnagown to experience the Roar!

The experience […]

OKO Original Filtration Bottle

The OKO filtration bottle is a light weight, simple solution to safe water.

Venison Carpaccio

Carpaccio
(/kɑrˈpɑːtʃi.oʊ/ or /kɑrˈpɑːtʃoʊ/; Italian pronunciation: [karˈpattʃo]) is a dish of raw meat or fish (such as beef, veal, venison, salmon or tuna), thinly sliced or […]

Monthly Draw Win a Hunting and Fishing Voucher!

Hunting and Fishing, Carnivore Candy.
Yes, nice and simple this […]

200m Deerstalkers – 23rd March

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

Beard Oil or Food? What’s the difference?

I get asked this question a bit – what […]

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.

Mythbusting – Alcohol can keep you warm.

I enjoy taking a little tipple of my favorite whiskey out with me when I go bush. Many people do. However, it's important to understand the actual effects that ingesting alcohol is going to have on the body. It's not necessarily what you think.

Waterproof Paper – a test

I actually did a waterproof paper test a while ago, but due to various reasons, haven't had a chance to write it up.

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

Hunters Element XTR Extreme Hunter Jacket

This jacket is coming with me whenever I head out - when the sky starts to open up, it's going on!

Whiskey, Scotch, Bourbon, Rye

I got asked the differences recently and couldn't answer. So - here is a summary of what I found.

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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

  • Waterproof Paper – a test

Waterproof Paper – a test

  • March 16th, 2014

I actually did a waterproof paper test a while ago, but due to various reasons, haven't had a chance to write it up.

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.
  • Venison Carpaccio

Venison Carpaccio

  • April 13th, 2014

Carpaccio
(/kɑrˈpɑːtʃi.oʊ/ or /kɑrˈpɑːtʃoʊ/; Italian pronunciation: [karˈpattʃo]) is a dish of raw meat or fish (such as beef, veal, venison, salmon or tuna), thinly sliced or pounded thin and served mainly as an appetizer.

 On my recent trip up to Balnagown Hunting, Richard gave me some Venison to take away with me. I […]

  • Mythbusting – Alcohol can keep you warm.

Mythbusting – Alcohol can keep you warm.

  • March 16th, 2014

I enjoy taking a little tipple of my favorite whiskey out with me when I go bush. Many people do. However, it's important to understand the actual effects that ingesting alcohol is going to have on the body. It's not necessarily what you think.

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.

  • MSC Residential Outdoor Leader Development Course

MSC Residential Outdoor Leader Development Course

  • November 20th, 2013

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.

  • Processing Deer – Hunts Course

Processing Deer – Hunts Course

  • October 27th, 2013

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.

Conservation Work

Something that has become more and more important to me in the last couple of years, is the desire to give back – that is, take some responsibility for helping to look after the wonderful environment we have. This lead my partner and myself getting more activley involved with Forest and Bird and DOC Projects.

One great project we have been involved with is Ark in the Park - a section of rain forest at the Cascade Kauri Park in Auckland’s Waitakere Ranges Regional Park. The goal is, by controlling non-native pests and predators, to help restore the ecology of the area to its natural state. By all measures, it seems to be working.

When we can, we head out to help check the bait-lines, maintain the tracks or contribute however we can. It’s a little part we can do, and also brings the reality of amount of effort required to maintain trapping/baiting in what is still a relatively easy area to access.

In addition to the work in the Waitakeri, I have been lucky enough to be selected as a volunteer DOC warden at both Mueller Hut and Welcome Flat Hut. I will admit, I did quickly tire of telling grown adults to ‘please use the provided toilers’ – but on the whole they are amazing experiences in amazing places, and I suggest anyone who has the opportunity to go out and volunteer.

I have the interesting dichotomy of having one foot in the hunting community and one foot in the DOC/Conservation community – two groups that don’t always get along – especially when it comes to highly emotionally charged subjects such as 1080. Unfortunately, it’s hard to have good conversations about the subject because it’s so emotive, and both sides have ‘all the evidence’. 

I don’t like the idea of poisoning out bush. Neither do the people actually pushing it out there. But having spend weekends out looking after easily accessible baitlines, I can appreciate the enormity of the task. I guess if more people took it upon their selves to volunteer their time and effort, the government agencies wouldn’t have to find way of dealing with it. There are smaller groups doing just that, but we need less talk and more effort.

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.

March 2014

Balnagown Deer Hunting

By |March 24th, 2014|

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

Hamilton Youth Search and Rescue – YSAR

By |March 16th, 2014|

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

September 2013

Baitlining – Ark In the Park

By |September 28th, 2013|

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

April 2013

Bait Lines in the Waitakere

By |April 24th, 2013|

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

February 2013

Welcome Flat Hut

By |February 13th, 2013|

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

December 2012

Coromandel Walkway

By |December 29th, 2012|

Heading right to the tip of the Coromandel.

February 2012

Mataitai Forest Overnight

By |February 19th, 2012|

A simple overnight stay in the Mataitai Forest.

January 2012

Mueller Hut, Aoraki / Mt Cook

By |January 30th, 2012|

Through a MSC tramping partner (Josh @ Wilderness Magazine) we heard about the volunteer program for Mueller Hut around September 2011. My partner and I decided that a one week stay up a mountain presented a good challenge and goal for us, so signed up, and started to work on getting fit enough to carry everything we would require for one week, up the side of a mountain.

Skippers Canyon, Queenstown

By |January 28th, 2012|

Photography Tour of Skipper Canon, Queenstown

1000 Acre Clearing

By |January 7th, 2012|

Head back to the trail we did during the MSC Advanced Bushcraft course - following the main loop around 1000 Acre Clearing in the Waharau Regional Park, on the east side of the Hunua Ranges.

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.

1. Treat every firearm as loaded
2. Always point firearms in a safe direction
3. Load a firearm only when ready to fire
4. Identify your target beyond all doubt
5. Check your firing zone
6. Store firearms and ammunition safely
7. Avoid alcohol or drugs when handling firearms

firearms-safety-guide

 

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.

 

  • Bore Brushes – Bronze or Nylon

Bore Brushes – Bronze or Nylon

  • November 9th, 2013

Bore Brushes - like many subjects in the shooting community (for example, cleaning itself), there are many differing opinions, all seemingly with their own set of proof and reasonings.

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

Hunting

thelads

 

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

 

  • Back to Balnagown!

Back to Balnagown!

  • April 14th, 2014

A trip to Balnagown to experience the Roar!

The experience for everyone
On the way up we caught up with Richard and his client for the day – a young guy (with a decent beard and […]

  • Balnagown Deer Hunting

Balnagown Deer Hunting

  • March 24th, 2014

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

  • Dealing with Buck Fever

Dealing with Buck Fever

  • December 2nd, 2013

Buck Fever is not so good when you are holding a loaded rifle, and potentially about to aim and shot at a target.

  • Ridgeline Sable Air Flow Long Sleeve Hi-Vis

Ridgeline Sable Air Flow Long Sleeve Hi-Vis

It's too easy to disapear wearing subdued or camouflage clothing in the back-country and while this is theoretically what you want - it is not so good when there are other hunters about with the same idea!

Range Reports

target

 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 all the range reports, in chronological order.

March 2014

200m Deerstalkers – 23rd March

By |March 27th, 2014|

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

February 2014

Range Day, IPSC Pistol, 23rd February

By |February 25th, 2014|

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

100m Deerstalkers – 2nd Feb

By |February 2nd, 2014|

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

January 2014

Range Day, IPSC Pistol, 26th January

By |January 26th, 2014|

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.

Range Day – IPSC Pistol

By |January 19th, 2014|

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.

Range Day – Rifle

By |January 12th, 2014|

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.

NRA Pistol Training – and a finger update.

By |January 7th, 2014|

Well, it's still attached, which is a bonus. Since I tried (thankfully unsuccessfully) to cut the tip of my trigger finger off, I haven't been back shooting.

November 2013

Sighting in the Suppressor

By |November 17th, 2013|

I spent Sunday morning getting the X-Bolt sighted back in as preparation for a group hunt coming up next week.