Hunt, Catch, Cook - Equipment

Trail Camera Review (Acorn LTL)

After going to the trouble of building a pig trap and baiting it I wondered how many of these pigs were actually eating the bait. Sure the bait was going but by what or how many?

Then came the time I had to go away for work, so all that effort was wasted. What I needed was a second set of eyes.

I had been looking at trail cameras for some time but was hesitant to purchase one that I had never tried or had no idea about and the last thing I wanted to do was waste good money on the wrong product.

Asking a lot of friends if they had used trail cams with no results.

I finally came across some first hand information from a friend at work with a lot of positive results. I wanted a camera to suit my specific needs. It had to be compact and have clear pictures with a good battery life and be simple to use.

The Acorn LTL is all that and more. Some of the key features are:

  • 5 Mega Pixels CMOS Sensor
  • Sharp and bright pictures in day time and clear black/white pictures at night
  • Ultra low standby power consumption
  • Extremely long in-field life (standby mode up to 3 months with 4 x AA batteries and 6 months with 8 x AA batteries)
  • Unique side prep sensor design provides wider sensing angle and enhances cameras response speed
  • Performs in extreme temperatures – 22 F to 158 F
  • Compact size (14cm x 9cm x 6.5cm) well designed to deploy covertly
  • Quick trigger time (1 second)
  • Tree grabber back frame makes mounting and aiming easy
  • Date, time, temperature and moon phase can be stamped in the pictures
  • Lockable and password protected

Without jumping into the deep end I set the camera up at home with a mate and was surprised how easy it was to get going. Soon after we were at the trap.

The need for a ladder was a must to get the camera off the ground. This stops it from being spotted or detected by thieves and also I think it gives you a better field of view.

A stick placed behind the back frame gave it the perfect angle. “Once again I was surprised at how easy it was to get going”. A quick test to see if the range (distance) and field of view was OK and it was set and forget.

If you're thinking of purchasing a trail cam I suggest you do your homework first. Try the Internet, Gun Shops or Magazines for reviews most importantly get one that covers all your needs.

Remember if your going to leave your camera out in the bush for weeks on end put some thought in where you place it. Keep it out of well used tracks and places where the general public or other hunters may frequent.

Always keep this in the back of your mind its a lot of wasted time and money if it goes missing.

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Acorn LTL - Front View
Acorn LTL - Battery Compartment
Acorn LTL - Screen

Gasmate Pizza Oven

One thing I really enjoy is being outside, be it in the bush or even at home. Outside living is becoming more popular especially in warmer climates like Australia. With under cover decks or alfresco areas being a big part of the modern day living. It makes great sense to extend the eating and the cooking to outdoors as well. In summer time, if the cooking can be done outside this will reduce the heat inside the house. Another great benefit is the social aspect of having your cooking appliances outside and bringing the food to the party instead of the party to the food.

Although called a pizza oven the Gas Mate is really more than a pizza cooker, its very much an outdoor oven and being so portable could be moved anywhere outdoors including camping. Complete with a stand for easy oven access and a receptacle to hold the gas cylinder. The pizza oven can be used to cook any recipe the same as a traditional household oven.

Some of the benefits of the oven are:

  • 425 x 490 mm inside cooking
  • Cooks up to 3 pizzas at a time
  • Can be used to cook a variety of foods
  • Easy clean vitreous enamel interior
  • Powerful 22 mj/h stainless steel burner
  • Viewing window and temperature gauge on door
  • Cool touch handle
  • Powder coated finish
  • Includes ceramic stone and 2 wire racks
  • Rotary piezo ignition
  • Propane gas - certified for conversion to natural gas

I found when using the oven that a pre heat was required when cooking pizzas. I bought the oven to around 200c and the result was a crisper pizza base. The oven temperature recovered well (with in a minute or two) when opening and closing the door, with a total time to cook the pizza being approximately 12 minutes. Cooking will vary depending on the base and the amount of topping. A thinner base and less topping is recommended for best results. When cooking 3 pizzas at a time it is recommended rotating as the base stone gets very hot and the temperature varies with in the oven.

When cooking meat a smoke box can be easily added to the oven (over the burner) and filled with your favourite wood chips this will give a lovely wood fired flavour to any meats.

A cooking guide for meat in the Gas Mate Pizza Oven is as follows:

  • Beef and Lamb
    Pre heat oven to 220c
    Roast for 30 minutes @ 220c
    Reduce heat to 160c and to continue to roast for 30 minutes per kg
  • Roast Pork
    Pre heat to 220c
    Roast for 40 minutes @220c
    Reduce heat to 160c and continue to roast for 50 minutes per kg
  • Roast Chicken
    Pre heat to 220c
    Roast for 20 minutes @ 220c
    Reduce heat to 180c and continue to roast 45-60 minutes depending on bird size
  • Whole Fish in Foil
    Pre heat to 180c
    Cook for 15-20 minutes per kg depending on thickness

Tip: Click here to see "How To Make Traditional Pizza Dough" in our "Techniques" section

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Gasmate Pizza Oven - Front View
Gasmate Pizza Oven - Rear View
Gasmate Pizza Oven - Interior

Bradley 2 Rack Smoker

Ideal for meats, fish, even vegetables, nuts and cheese, hot or cold smoking enables you to enrich the natural taste of food, creating a whole new flavour profile.

Bradley smokers have created a new two - rack counter top unit for those who are looking for a more portable compact unit. It enables you to smoke food for up to 6 hours with an in built bisquettes feeder using Bradleys flavour bisquettes (available in 12 different flavours) and convection oven heating for maximum efficiency.

The internal convection fans circulate the smoke across your food for better flavour penetration, while the digital time and temperature display and control panel allows you to cook to perfection every time.

I found the best thing that makes this Bradley smoker unique is it is so portable. Being this size enables you to move it around with ease making it perfect for entertaining and creating gourmet foods at home.

This unit would be ideal to take on holidays or a fishing trip giving you ease of smoking fresh caught fish.

This unit is Bradley's smallest with exterior dimensions at 450mm W x 280mm D x 320mm HT and interior dimensions 320mm W x 280mm D x 250mm HT.

It includes 2 x removable wire racks and a drip tray and although being a smaller unit, once the racks are removed there is ample room to smoke larger cut's of meat.

Unable to hang sausages and salami's you would be able to lay them flat on the racks to smoke with ample room.

Smoke is extracted through the rear using the included flexible hose but opening the front door during smoke process will also release smoke.

Best to smoke in the first half of the cook and in the second half just heat to cook the food slowly as you would a normal oven.

Product Features:

  • Bradley automatic smoke generator enables you to smoke up to 6 hours
  • Convection oven heating for maximum efficiency
  • Internal convection fans circulate smoke across your food for better flavor penetration
  • Digital time and temperature display and control panel lets you cook to perfection every time!
  • Includes 2 removable wire racks, recipe booklet and cooking instructions
  • Uses Bradley flavor bisquettes, available in 12 different flavors
  • Ideal for all meats, fish, even vegetables, nuts, and cheeses

Product Specs:

  • Maximum Temperature 180C
  • Minimum Temperature 60C
  • Exterior Dimensions 450mm W x 300mm D x 320mm HT
  • Interior Dimensions 320mm W x 280mm D x 250mm HT
  • Warranty 12 months from date of original purchase

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Bradley 2 Rack Smoker - Exterior
Bradley 2 Rack Smoker - Panel
Bradley 2 Rack Smoker - Inside

Lightforce PRED9X Spotlights

There is no doubt Lightforce has set the standard for hunting spot lights over the years by developing light weight, tough, reliable hunting spotlights that have stood the test of time in Australian conditions. The PRED9X is moulded from hi tech polymers, with the total weight of just 375g including batteries (2 x type 2200mah lithium Ion 18650) and for anyone that has used the old style Lightforce spotlights this weighs very little compared to them.

The compact dimensions are un like other hunting spotlights giving it a vertical foot print of just 69mm with a length of 108mm and a total height being 199mm from the top to the bottom of the clamp. The unit comes packed in a zippered pouch type carry bag and contains the spot light along with battery charges for both in car charging and mains power.

Two batteries are required to power the light (included) and you get 2 spare making it perfect for an all night hunt on foot. Red and green filters are provided and are easy to change by hand in quick succession with simply screwing one off and replacing it. A remote control switch/ button is also provided and has provisions for it to quite easily be attached to anywhere on the gun or simply leave it in a pocket. The remote has a range of 5 meters making it very handy.

Also included is a small mounting device that clamps to the scope tube and has a picatinny rail. This is an essential part of the kit and I found myself purchasing more than one and fitting them on other rifles . This was very handy and saves time before a last minute night hunt. The spot light is attached via a quick release clamp making it very easy to take on and off your scope.

The kit contains:

  • 1 x PRED9X firearm mounted light
  • 1 x RF control fob
  • 1 x Velcro strap for RF control fob
  • 4 x 18650 3.7v batteries
  • 1 x Picatinny style mounts
  • 1 x Allen key (for mounting)
  • 2 x Screw on filters in both red and green
  • 1 x Canvas kit bag
  • 1 x Carry strap
  • 1 x Battery charging cradle
  • 1 x DC (in car) power adaptor with cig plug
  • 1 x AC power supply with universal adaptors
  • Users manual.

The LED spot light has a main push button switch at the rear making it easy to activate in the dark. One press gives high beam and a second press turns the beam to low giving it a great option when negotiating rugged country in the dark and not using full power of the spot light but the option of more light than a normal torch. A third press of the button turns it off.

The centre spot is quite small and focused and on full power you can expect approximately 2 hours running time. I purchased the spot light kit from me local gun store some time ago and since then have found it is readily available in all gun shops and on line via the lightforce web page.

This is a great light and easy to use, fitting all types of firearms and powerful enough for everything you require to shoot after dark.

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Bradley 2 Rack Smoker - Exterior
Bradley 2 Rack Smoker - Panel
Bradley 2 Rack Smoker - Inside