Categories
Karmik Blogs

Hunting Application Helper

I am a resident of 1 state (you probably are too), as such we are non-residents of 49 other states. All states have unique hunting seasons and regulations and costs. It can be overwhelming looking at other states. Hell, it can be overwhelming in our resident state! If you want to hunt in another state, you have your work cut out for you. You need to start educating yourself about the options and deciding what basket(s) you want to put your eggs in. You need to learn what bonus points are, what preference points are as well as various unit/weapon/game draw odds. You have to learn Nevada’s application process and Utah’s application processes because they are not the same. It is not possible (for most of us) to apply for all the cool hunts in all the cool states. Simply put, it costs too much to apply for everything. Let’s start with the most basic question we need to ask ourselves “how much is this going to cost me”? 

The rewards of hunting big game are greater than simply tagging out.

Most of us are working folk. We have limited time and limited funds to hunt. But I think most of us want to hunt as much as we can and in really cool places chasing really cool game. With the popularity of Western big game hunting on the rise, I thought I would put together a simple spreadsheet for us dreamers to see “how much is this going to cost me”? 

Download Your Hunting Cost Tool Here

Enter your name and email below to receive your download.

Your download will be emailed to you ​shortly.

Most Western states have a combination of OTC and or applications to hunt big game. Typically, applications are for trophy units and offer better quality hunting opportunities. Trophy units and/or trophy game species are always draw hunts. I will clarify “quality hunts” as limited entry or drawing hunts in the various states which implies less people, which implies less pressure, which implies greater sightings of game, which implies a better chance at a more mature/trophy animal. These opportunities are not OTC and require a drawing application process. What states and units and species should you apply for?

Hunting and glassing area.
Western big game hunting takes you to beautiful places.

This Excel started because I could find all the points and odd calculators but I couldn’t find a simple “how much is this going to cost me” calculator that I could download and use. If I want bonus points for elk in Nevada, Montana and Utah, as well as mule deer points in Wyoming, Arizona and Colorado and bison/antelope/moose/goat/sheep points in various states and OTC tags in Idaho and Wyoming how much is it going to cost to hunt and apply for the tags that I know I wont get?

You can use this Excel to help research tags, costs, and other opportunities. How many points do I need to draw archery elk in Nevada on average? How many points do I need to hunt the Arizona strip for mule deer? Those are pretty easy figures to find. But how much does the state charge for an application, hunting license and point? If I have to buy a non-refundable annual hunting license, are there OTC opportunities or opportunities for other cool adventures? Do the hunting licenses come with fishing licenses? When are the application dates and deadlines of the states I want to hunt? When are the results and when will my credit card be charged?

Can you hunt other game if you have to buy a license for points?

These are all questions I had while looking up the application process. These are all questions you have to keep organized and update annually. 

In Nevada for example, if you want to hunt elk with a rifle, you will likely have to apply for 10 years or more. In Nevada, you have to buy a non-refundable annual license if you want to buy a bonus point for future applications. How much is a non-refundable license and bonus point for elk? Figure that out and multiply by 10 then add the cost of an elk tag. Are you willing to invest that much to hunt Nevada Elk? What about deer? If you are going to apply for elk, might as well apply for deer. Oh and while you’re at it, sheep!  These costs add up quickly and can really hit your checkbook… look up bison tags… you better have the funds for that! Anyway, “how much is this going to cost me” for one state for one species? How much is it for a second species in the state? If I have to buy a license can I hunt for other game? These are all questions you need to look at answering and my spreadsheet makes it easy to see visually. Because it is a living document you can save it and update it every year. Download one for yourself and each of your children.    

spotting scope and glassing from a tripod
Glassing big country for animals is critical to western big game.

First figure out a few basic questions for the state(s) you want to hunt: What states and species do you want to hunt in the next 10 years? How much are the licenses and are they refundable or not with points? Do you want points or do you want to hunt OTC? Can you have points and buy OTC tags concurrently? How much are application fees for the various species? Are there weird stipulations like Nevada where if you don’t apply for a few years you lose all your points? Use this spreadsheet to keep yourself organized.


Some steps or considerations:

Step 1: What animal(s) do you want to hunt the most. Rank them. Then add in the likelihood you will be able to hunt that animal using draw calculators. If it is unlikely you will hunt that animal, are there other opportunities in that great state? Could you chase chukar and huns with your dog? Chase trout in a beautiful mountain stream and look for mule deer while you build a point for Bighorn Sheep? 

Some states offer really great waterfowl or upland opportunities.

My animal hit list:

Moose – Bison – Mountain Goat – Archery Elk – Mule Deer – Sheep, in that order. It is very unlikely that I will draw any of those tags next year. I have to apply knowing I’m likely not hunting those animals.

Many people dream of harvesting a mule deer.

Step 2: What states have those critters and what are the odds you can hunt them? If you live in Florida do you want to drive through three/four states that have elk to hunt in Washington? If you have family in California and think you should apply to hunt elk in California as a non-resident, good luck. This is where a draw odds calculator can come in handy. If you are obsessed with sheep and want a North American Grand Slam then you have to apply for all the states that have sheep hunts and you’ll likely have to apply for a long time.  

My list:

To make it easier we’ll use bison. What states can I hunt wild-free range bison? There is Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Alaska, Arizona. Should I apply for all those states? Which states have the best draw odds or most opportunities? I would then focus on applying in those states. 

Nice views everywhere you look.

Step 3: What weapon do you want to use? Archery and muzzleloaders have better draw odds and longer seasons generally. Sometimes archery will have shoulder seasons after a rifle season. Sometimes you can hunt archery and if you’re not successful you can hunt rifle. Do you want to hunt an elk with archery or rifle?  

Archery Seasons are generally during rut hunts for Elk and Deer.

Step 4: Good, you have your species, state, weapon. Great. Now, what do you want from a hunt because it will guide what units to key in on? Do you want to hunt and don’t really care about trophy units or are you looking for the best units in each state for each animal? Do you want to hunt the strip for mule deer? Do you want to hunt the breaks for Elk? Those trophy hunts are hard to get. Are you ready to drop thousands of dollars over the next 10 years or more for that opportunity? 

Step 5: When do you want to hunt or when can you hunt. Those are huge factors. If you get 2 weeks off a year you need to be selective of your season. Some seasons are 10 days or less and you better be sure if you draw that hunt you can actually hunt it. 

Step 6: Are you running solo or doing a party hunt? If you are putting in as a group then everyone needs to be on the same page. Someone who has 6 points might not want to put in with a group of two other dudes with zero points. Points get averaged in a party hunt and thus might not be equitable for everyone in the group. But that is your pill to swallow. 

One of the end goals is to provide meat for your family.

Takeaway. I want to hunt Moose, Sheep, Goat, Bison, Archery Elk but the fact is I should have been putting in for them 15 + years ago. Who has that kind of forethought and money? If you have kids, now is the time to start applying for species in states. There are so many variables and after all, “how much is that going to cost me”?!?!

  • Robert, Owner of Karmik Outdoors and wannabe big game hunter/adventurer.

Download Your Hunting Cost Tool Here

Enter your name and email below to receive your download.

Your download will be emailed to you ​shortly.
Categories
Karmik Blogs

Tips to be a Better Chukar Hunter (maybe)

Chukar season is starting – or has started- this month and we wanted to give you some tips on how to bag some devil birds. Maybe you have been out and want to be more successful in harvesting. They say the first time you go chukar hunting it’s for fun; all the rest are for revenge. Here are some tips to make your first, or every trip after, potentially more fun and successful. 

1. Start your hunt in the correct orientation. Late in the season I like to focus my hunting efforts on the south and west facing slopes. The mid-day afternoon sun burns snow off and leaves south and west facing slopes snow free for the birds to mill around. I like to start my hunt hiking from the East to the West if possible. This allows me to crest a ridge and surprise the birds rather than having them watch me peak a hill and watch me the entire time. 

Moving from E to W allows you to “surprise” the birds as you summit the ridge.

2. Use the cuts and canyons to “gain elevation”. As you enter into the cut, which is “uphill”, move into the canyon as deep as possible which will help you gain, or at least, not lose elevation. When you exit the canyon on the other side, you should have a nice elevation boost. 

Don’t go up and over. Instead go up and in the canyon.

3. Once I find birds I try to stay at that elevation. If my goal was to get to the top, I abandon that plan for a while and try to find more birds. People say birds move up and down to get water but I’ve found if I find a group of birds there are usually others at that level. If I don’t flush another group for a while I continue my plan to go to the top.

Follow fresh to tracks birds.

4. If you’re side hilling and it’s easy, you’re doing it wrong. You’re probably slowly losing elevation. Pick something 100 yards away and move toward it, being just uphill from it by the time you get to it. Again, side hilling is hard. Make it less sucky by staying even or gaining elevation rather than slowly going down hill.   

5. Observe what everyone else is doing and don’t do that thing. This is a fly fishing tactic I use all the time. Do non-traditional things. Try new stuff. Do an evening hunt in lieu of a morning hunt. Use waders and cross the creek. Use a canoe or boat to access a new piece of land. Hunt the hill that doesn’t have a quad trail. Look at #8 below and find a small public access honey hole.  

Always practice good safety and unload your gun and help each other cross safely.

6. Save a shell for the next bird. I have a 5 shell shotgun. I am nicer than most chukar hunters, I give 3 warning shots. I generally do not shoot 5 times. I like to save 2 for the late flushing bird or cripples. Sometimes when a group flushes there will be a late flush. It’s nice to save a round for the late bird or if I need to dispatch a cripple.

7. Hunt with Binos. I’ve glassed chukar on hills many times. Plus, while you’re out there you can look for sheds or ungulates to hunt during other seasons.  

You can use your binos to see where or if the birds landed.

8. Use your resources. OnX, GoHunt, Guzzler Books, State wildlife agencies, Google Earth. We have amazing tools. Let’s use them. You can and maybe should find water and cover and slopes and ridges that hold birds. Use your tools and download offline maps. You could even make a track and use that to hike in the dim light if needed. 

9. Get a dog. You will kill more birds, find more cripples, and have a better life. If you want a hunting dog to help kill chukar, get a hunting dog. We all have that friend that has a lab/heeler/shepherd mix that is a great dog. I’d rather know I’m getting a hunting dog from proven hunting lines than hope to get lucky buying a dog in the Wal-Mart parking lot. 

Beretta the Bearded Lady sporting her Karmik Anywhere decal on her collar.

10. Don’t get lazy. When my dog goes downhill, I’m reluctant to drop 200 feet and chase her. I know I should. I don’t know why I am often surprised when she goes on point. She has a great nose and instincts. I should just trust her and not get lazy. I have a good hunting buddy who is successful in all of his hunting efforts for all species. When I’m stuck or debating a situation, I think, “What would Joe do?” Then I do that thing and sometimes kill birds. That’s because he’s not doing the easy thing. He goes uphill, or downhill, or over the next ridge, or in the canyon. Don’t get lazy and you’ll kill more birds. 

11. Be quiet. You’re hunting. I hate whistles and bells and yelling. I don’t know if chukar can hear that or if they care. It makes me feel better when I’m hunting birds and we are quiet. I’m not sure it matters all that much for chukar, but I bet you see more game if you’re quiet. 

South and West facing slopes offer birds more food and water opportunities.

12. Open your choke. For years I shot a full choke. It’s not necessary. Now I use a modified and kill birds. 

13. Once you get back home, enjoy the fruits of your labor. Even if you didn’t bag any birds you earned a drink and good nights rest. If you did, do yourself a favor and look up some recipes. These birds are very delicious. 

Now I have birds to clean.

The best and worst thing you can say is “Now I have birds to clean.” The second best and worst thing you can say is “At least I don’t have birds to clean.” Either way, it was a pretty good day.

Well, there you have it. A few tips to help with killing some red legs. Do you have some tips you’ve picked up along the way? Maybe a few suggestions? Do you have a honey hole you want to share with me… [email protected]

Robert- Owner of Karmik Outdoors and wannabe upland guy. 

Categories
Karmik Blogs

Hunting Western Big Game: What gear you need and what you don’t. 

Intro

After the ‘Fly Fishing Gear’ blog post I figured the next is western big game need and don’t need list. 

Everyone loves talking about gear and researching gear and buying new gear but then reality hits with all the options and costs varying so much. If you’re just starting, here are my thoughts about what you need for western big game. The west is wild and can be 60 in the day and 20 at night. It can range from -20 in November to 50. That said, this is not an all encompassing list, rather, a general guideline. Even saying ‘western big game’ we need to classify that by saying deer-elk-antelope as this list will change between Alaska Dall Sheep or Wyoming Bison or Idaho Mountain Goat.   

I’m a smaller guy at 5’9” 150lbs and I’m cheap. I tend to focus on weight and cost as my two main points of concern. Obviously, the more you spend the lighter gear is, usually, so I have to find the right middle ground that fits me and my family. I am not a gear junkie and I do not geek out about researching brands and tech specs between object *most of the time*. There are some exceptions for me such as optics and weapons where I try to research as much as I can. Most everything else comes down to a cost and weight ratio that I need to be comfortable with. I always feel guilty buying things for myself because I have a family and not a lot of expendable income. All of these things occupy space in my mind when making a decision. 

This is my setup for rifle or archery hunting. It’s my setup for backpacking or car camping. It’s my setup for early season or late season (with some changes). It’s my setup for deer or elk or antelope (with some changes).   


My gear

Pack and in the pack:
  • Eberlestock Mainframe with add-ons: Vapor 5000 duffle, gun scabbard, upland hunting pouch 
  • Seat pad
  • Sawyer water filter. In line plugin filter
  • Trekking poles with duct tape
  • Bugle
  • First aid kit/Oh shit kit
    • Toilet Paper
    • Bandaids/moleskin
    • Petroleum jelly on cotton balls (fire starter and for cuts)
    • Wrap for sprain and strains
    • Tylenol and personal medication
    • 2 fire starting devices in a ziplock bag. Metal match and lighter.
    • Dry tinder and paper in ziplock bag
    • Aluminum blanket
    • Printed map of hunting area
  • Water bottles/bladder. 2L bladder and extra L water bottle 
  • InReach Mini
  • Portable charger and 3 chords for 3 devices
  • Food. Everything for a day in a ziplock bag except a dehydrated dinner. Bags are between 2300-2500 Cal 
  • Kill kit
    • Elk game bags
    • Flagging tape
    • 2 knives. One is a Havalon with 4 replaceable blades. The other is a fixed blade. 
    • Paracord
Summary

My backpack is secondhand from a buddy who was selling it. I upgraded the bag to the Vapor 5000 at an expo when they were on sale. I love the pack. It is very lightweight and modular and holds all my gear. Being a smaller guy having an adjustable pack is important for me to get the right fit, and this does. I have a really nice upland hunting pack that I take one of the shell pouches off. It attaches to the waist belt of my hunting pack for snacks, bugle tube and other gear. I like having snacks at the ready during a hike. It’s amazing how quickly a little piece of candy can give you a quick burst of energy for a push up a hill. 

Favorite piece of gear:

I hate needing to take my bladder out of my bag to refill it; so I got the quick connect in-line filter. The squeeze filter is really light weight, inexpensive, and fast.

The Gamin InReach mini is a game changer also. I would recommend some kind of satellite communication device if you have a family.  

Bino chest pack:
Summary

I love having my binos and rangefinder protected but quickly accessible. Not much to say here other than the chest pack was a thing I was hesitant to add but am happy I did. Elk calls and wind checkers are often in my pocket or in the pouch.

Favorite piece of gear:

Vortex rangefinder. It has angle adjustment and compensation which is a great feature to have. I cant imagine not having it with me for archery or rifle.   

Bow and carry:
  • Bow: Bowtech Carbon Knight
  • Arrows. I buy cheaper ones. Not the cheapest, maybe mid-grade. 
  • I shoot a Fletcher J-hook release
  • Broadheads (Muzzy and shuttle t-lock). Fixed blade. 
Summary:

I love my bow. It is not the fastest or latest cool bow but it is light and shoots well. Hunting is hiking. You will go hiking, you might shoot your bow. You might hike for days and days, miles and miles, without ever shooting your bow. Having a weapon that is light and easy to carry is important for me given that fact. 

I first shot Shuttle t-lock broadheads. They were absolutely trash. One or two shots at a target and they were dull. They flew inconsistently and my confidence was very low with them. I switched to Muzzy. They stay sharp and fly great. Can’t ask for more.  

Favorite piece of gear:

My bow. I can and will change my arrows and veins and points, both broadhead and field points. My bow is light and shoots great. I feel very confident with it and that is the most important thing with a weapon. 

Gun and carry:
  • Gun- .270 WSM 
  • Sling. 
  • Scope- Leopold 3×9 
  • Scope Lens Cover.
Summary:

I bought the gun and don’t love it. It is hard to find ammo and it is very expensive when I find it. I even got reloading supplies but even those are hard to come by sometimes. The bullet is fast and shoots very flat. But it’s loud and kicks pretty good. The scope is a used scope from a buddy and I like it but might upgrade. 

Favorite Piece of Gear:

None really. I might add a break to the muzzle and new scope or I might sell it and get something entirely different. I would absolutely recommend some kind of lense cover for rain or snow with any rifle. You can’t shoot at game you can’t see. 

Clothing:
Summary:

I think clothing is worth the investment. I prefer material over patterns and I prefer quality over brands. I’d rather have a nice wool sweater from Kuhl than a camo hunting brand that costs more. The right clothing can make a hunt much more enjoyable and knowing how to layer is a great skill. You can use high quality outdoor brands and despite common beliefs you don’t need matching camo – you don’t need camo at all.

Favorite Piece of Gear:

This is a hard one. My bamboo shirts are my favorite piece of clothing for fishing, hiking, hunting, snowboarding or going to a movie. But having lightweight down jackets and pants for glassing are necessary. Rain gear is a must if you want to be comfortable. If I had to pick one thing I would pick my socks. Good high quality socks are so necessary for western hunting. If you’re climbing 1500 feet and hiking 5 miles or more you need to take care of your feet. I love them. 

Equipment I want to upgrade:

  • Binos. I have 8×42 and want another pair that are bigger. I am thinking 12 or 15 power binos. 
  • Boots. I’ve ran Asolo boots for a few years and they do just fine. I’m looking at Crispi boots. We both sponsor the same conservation groups and if I can spend my money to support a group that supports my interests I like to do that. 
  • Scope. If I keep my rifle I’ll upgrade my scope. A 3×9 scope is fine but there are soooo many great options out there for slightly better distance shooting. 
  • Game Bags (lighter is better). What I have is fine but there are bags that weigh half as much. Ounces equal pounds, pounds equal pain. 
  • Arrow tools to build and work on arrows. I love fly fishing and the intricacies and nuances of it. I love how deep you can get into entomology and tying your own bugs. Archery is a lot like that. You can go so deep as to make your own bow and arrows if you want. I like that I can make and fit arrows to me and my bow and I would enjoy that.
Categories
Karmik Blogs

The Genesis of Karmik Outdoors

Genesis

On the first day I found a fly rod and it was bad. On the second day I lost a net and it was bad. This series of events lead to the genesis of Karmik Outdoors. As a person who has been hunting and fishing my entire life I have lost and found outdoor gear on many occasions. Maybe you have too. I believe that anyone who spends a significant time in the outdoors has encountered the same experience that I/we have. Personally, I’ve lost countless items ranging from fly boxes full of flies to multiple fishing nets. I think I’ve lost two life jackets while towing my boat and having them blow out. I can’t even imagine the amount of coffee mugs and water bottles I’ve lost. Honestly, if I keep a coffee mug for a year that is a major accomplishment for me! You’re probably thinking I’m a very irresponsible person who loses and misplaces stuff all the time. Shoot, when I type it and read it aloud I think the same thing. But – the fact is – you can’t keep your items safe and secure all the time. Inevitably, you will lose something, have it accidentally taken by a buddy, blown away, be rushed for time, let your son borrow it who then loses it, have something stolen, house burned down, be overcome by weather and elements, or a myriad of other situations that are out of your control. Karmik can help with these situations. 


At every expo or trade show I attend I have two marker boards that I use to record lost items and found items. They quickly fill up with items. I wrote a blog (here) about the most common lost items in the great outdoors. Sometimes I am surprised by some of the items people write because they are not things you might expect to see on the board. Things like guns and bows and backpacks (both day packs and packs filled with hunting gear), decoys, scuba gear etc. I’m always surprised when I see rangefinders with three tic marks next to it. Then I look at the found board and there are two tick marks. I always wonder if one of the found rangefinders is one of the lost rangefinders. Could be, we’ll never know. 

As I was thinking about this business I had to address the question: Do people really lose that much stuff? I looked at Craigslist, Facebook, outdoor chat forums, and even local sporting goods stores for data to see if people lose outdoor gear enough to warrant starting a business. “Is there a big enough problem to solve,” I asked myself. It didn’t take long to discover the answer is a resounding, YES! Even here in Boise, Idaho where our only claim to fame is that one line from the Lynyrd Skynyrd song; there are people losing and finding stuff at an alarming rate. Because of all the scenarios I mentioned above, it is highly likely you will lose something like the other 86% of us outdoorsmen who have. The scenarios I mentioned above are real and can happen to anyone.  


Story Time

A good friend of mine is type A. He does not lose things often. He is military, clean cut, organized and responsible. He keeps his positions in front of him so to speak and takes good care of them. The family purchased a nice fishing raft and all the accessories that go with a fishing raft. Enter his teenage son. He borrowed the boat and took his friend fishing. Well, while loading up all the equipment at the end of the day he left the anchor at the boat takeout. I guarantee you someone found that anchor. They even most likely wanted to return it but how could they? If you have a raft or drift boat or motorboat I bet you have an anchor. Do you have any contact information on it? How much did that anchor cost? If you lose it, it will cost you twice. The original purchase price and the replacement price. That’s the value of our decals, twice the price of the object you put them on. At almost no fault of his own my buddy had to buy another anchor. He did not buy the same kind or type and certainly did not spend the same money the second time (brands keep that in mind).


If you look at your local Craigslist lost and found right now you will see lots of phones, and keys and bags and dogs and cats, even llamas that have gone missing. If you look you will also see skis and ski poles, fishing rods and tackle boxes, drones like crazy, coolers, golf clubs, disk golf disks, tennis rackets, and pretty much anything that deals with water. These might be someone’s most prized possessions. They might have been expensive, or they might have been cheap but that’s not the point. They might have been hand-me-downs from Grandad and have sentimental value. The point is, it pains people to lose items. It causes stress and angst and even anger. The second you lose something the butterflies start flapping their wings in your belly. It simply SUCKS. I know that people are good. I know that people want to do the right thing if given the opportunity. If given the opportunity. That’s the key. I wanted to create a product that helps people and grants people the opportunity to do good. Karmic is the verb to Karma. It is the action or deed that bestows a person with good or bad Karma. Karmik decals or ID tags allow people to do the right thing and get good karma. If you search “found” in your local lost and found page or forum, you will see there are more posts for found gear than lost gear. There are more people trying to return gear than recover gear. Make it easy for them. 


Story Time

Allow me to tell you another story I heard while attending an expo. A lady noticed my booth and the product. We started chatting about lost and found items. She began to get emotional, even shed a tear. She went on to tell me about a net that was lost by her dear friend. The owner of the net recently lost it. Although this was an ordinary net it held great sentimental value to her. It was her brothers. He died of cancer. They used to fish together a lot. Fishing was their connection. That net was the physical tangible memory to her brother and symbolic of their time spent in hobbies and interests together. He was gone but his memory lived through the net. I can only imagine that every time she netted a fish with it, she was reminded of her late brother. Whoever found the net, found a net, but she lost a memory. One of the two individuals valued that net a whole lot more. 


Karmik Outdoors is a lost and found outdoor gear company. But, we are more than that to some people and more than that to any finder of gear. We’re here to protect your gear and give people the opportunity to return it if found. Because I’ve been there, I wanted to help. I felt the pain and stress and anger and stupidity caused from losing gear. I don’t want you to experience the same. Plus, I don’t want you to look at your spouse and to explain how you lost an expensive item! Karmik is all about connections: connection to your gear – connections to each other – connection to brands – that’s who we are and what we do. 

Categories
Karmik Blogs

The most common lost and found items in the great outdoors

People think if they lose something they cant get it back. All hope is lost, that’s it. It’s gone. That is just simply not the case. Go to any outdoor forum (mountainbuzz, Duck Hunting chat, Moab gear, Go4awalk.com, MountianProject.com etc) there are literally thousands of people posting trying to get gear returned.

Have some faith in humanity and know that most people who find something want to get it back to the owner. Wouldn’t you? Even a wallet full of cash can find its way home without a single missing dollar if you give people a chance. Don’t believe me, watch this youtube video. The key to getting your stuff back is providing people with the opportunity to return your stuff.

After doing a search of lost and found items we compiled a list of the most frequently lost items. Use this list as an idea of what you should protect with Karmik Outdoors decals.

Parameters of the search! I looked at Craigslist in a variety of outdoorsy cities In the Northwest including (Boise, Yakima, Spokane, Bozeman, Denver, Bend, Salt Lake, Reno). I avoided niche forums because those will bias the types of finds. I feel like Craigslist is an unbiased lost and found forum whereas mountianbuzz.com will be heavily biased in rafting and whitewater sports thus skewing the data. Also, No pets. Even though you could put Karmik Decals on a dog collar, and we do have them, I decided to not include pets. Please, please, please protect your pets. ON TO THE LIST!

The top three are overwhelmingly the highest frequency lost items. Also, Maybe overwhelmingly, the most expensive and inconvenient things to lose. And as outdoor folks we all have these. Karmik Outdoors is your lost and found outdoor gear solution, but we can also be your solution to other necessary items in your life.  If you lose your skis, oh well that sucks, but life goes on. If you lose the top 3 items you’re in for a world of hurt.

1. Phones Sure, you can track your phone. What if it’s dead? Wouldn’t it be easier and faster for the finder to just scan and contact you as soon as it’s found? We’re talking about seconds after finding your phone you can get an email from someone. Your phone or phone case is perfect real estate for one Karmik Decal.

2. Keys If you have a key FOB you should put a Karmik decal on there. Period. You can get your car, house, storage, bike lock, gun lock and any other keys back within minutes. If you lost your keys right now, could anyone get them back to you? How long would you look for them, how far would you retrace your steps? How long would it take you to make another set of keys? These modern car keys are expensive to replace! Karmik has an Anywhere Tag that fits on most key fobs or our Bag Tag works well on key chains.

  1. 3. Wallets  Forget the money, you can make more money, you will never get the time you waste back! If you lose your wallet you have to call all your banks, all your credit cards, and the Department of Motor Vehicles to cancel and get new ones. What a pain in the A$$. Save your time, stress, anxiety and maybe money and just put a Karmik decal on, or in, your wallet.

You need at least 3 Karmik Decals for these items.

And now- onto our beloved outdoor gear.

4. Backpacks (Motorcycle gear, Fishing, Hunting, Computer, Mountain biking, Camlebak, Hiking, Photography, Disk Golf). I know I’m cheating here and putting lots of  items into one category but hey, they get lost VERY often. Whatever your poison, you probably have a pack for it of some kind. And fortunately/unfortunately we fill these packs with all kinds of gear and gadgets. So if it gets lost, you just lost tons of stuff. Put one Karmik Bag Tag on your packs and protect everything in it.

Bag Tag5. Drones. These things fly! When the wind blows or a less than professional person is flying one, they tend to fall out of the sky in places where they can’t be found. Some have built in GPS, some don’t. You shouldn’t rely on a battery powered thing in the out-of-doors. That’s like rule #1. Put a non-battery powered, no bluetooth needed, weatherproof Karmik decal on your gear. Two is one, one is none as the military saying goes. If you have a drone, you need one Karmik decal.

6. Cameras. Of all the groups of hobbyists in the world the most passionate and expensive can be photography. It’s also a popular crossover hobby. I know tons of avid fly fishermen who also love photography. Same with skiing. Same with hunting. Same with climbing. Rarely do people only engage in one outdoor recreation activity and photography seems to be the activity that lots of various groups all engage in. You need one Karmik decal (skinny decals) on your camera and your lenses; also, see #4 above.

Anywhere Decal7. Sun glasses. These things pop up a lot on Craigslist lost and found. Some shades are spendy. When you get a set of name brand high quality sunglasses that have polarized lenses or interchangeable lenses or prescription lenses these can be really expensive. Our decals will absolutely fit in, or on, sunglass cases. Maybe also, our skinny Anywhere Tag  can fit on the glasses if they are at least 8mm wide.

8. Skis/Snowboards. Ya, did it again with two things in one category, so what. Chances are you ski or snowboard but probably not both unless you’re really cool. You might have a mixed family of ski and snowboarding folk. Either way skis and snowboards are “lost” a lot. I think a majority of the time there is a mistake in identity and your stuff gets taken by accident. If you check with your local ski hill they have a huge pile of lost and found items. Some are skis and snowboards that have been returned. Here is an additional benefit to Karmik decals… when you or your kids outgrow their gear and you sell it, your Karmik decals are now a selling feature. Our QR codes can be deregistered in your account and the new owner can register them! Your resale value is much higher with our decal vs your name and phone number carved or written all over. You should have one Karmik decal on per ski or board.

9. Gloves. In the same breath as skis and snowboards the frequency of lost gloves is really high. Probably higher than skis and snowboards. Under every ski lift across the land lay a lonely missing glove. Of all things on the planet these should be the one thing everyone wants to give back. What good is one glove to anyone? Our service can be used in so many different ways but our decals probably won’t work with gloves. We do however have options to incorporate our service into your favorite gloves. Do us a solid and tell your favorite ski or hunting glove manufacturer to work with us so we can protect gloves too!

10. Poles. I know. Now it’s getting annoying grouping so many things into the same category. Skiing poles, Trekking Poles, bi-pods, whatever kind of pole you’re using, we can help. These poles are not to be confused with #11 poles. You need one Karmik decal per pole, so usually 2.

11. Fishing Poles. Karmik was actually started because the founder was fly fishing and found a lost fly rod. He had the idea to start a company so people can return found fly rods and other outdoor paraphernalia. Both fresh and saltwater and conventional and fly fishing should have a Karmik decal. Karmik’s Anywhere Tag goes perfect on a fishing rod. Some fly rods cost over $1000. Could you imagine losing that? Give someone the opportunity to return it by making sure it’s identifiable. You need one Karmik decal per rod. If I was going to Belize/Alaska/Bahamas/Jackson Hole and my rods got lost somewhere…. my trip is “ruined”. With Karmik’s decals, communication happens immediately and you can have the finder send your gear to your destination.

Anywhere Decal12. Optics. Both spotting scopes and binoculars. I don’t know how people lose these, don’t ask me that. I have mine strapped to my chest ALWAYS. But if I did have a momentary lapse in judgement, maybe during a high stress – high excitement moment – like when an elk walks up on you at 20 yards and you arrow the beast. During your excitement you forget your binos were sitting next to you. Hey, it can happen, and clearly it does happen enough that people post about losing and finding optics regularly. I can’t imagine trying to tell my wife I lost a four figure piece of gear that I need to replace. You need one Karmik decal per optic you run.

13. Waterfowl decoys. More decoys are probably lost every year than ducks are harvested! Not really, but some days I feel like I see more lost decoys than I see ducks. We hunt rivers a lot. Sometimes the anchor isn’t long enough, or a big clump of weeds or a big chunk of ice floats down and takes your decoys with it. Another reason why you might need Karmik decals is if you hunt with a big group of hunters. If you’re setting up a big mallard spread in a corn field you might want to keep track of whos is whos. A Karmik decal is perfect for that. Our decals are too expensive to protect your entire flock. Maybe just put one Karmik decal on the bottom of your fully flocked full body mallard or goose decoys.

14. Fishing nets. Having lost and found more nets than I feel comfortable admitting, to say a net NEEDS a Karmik decal is an understatement. Almost guaranteed if you lost a net someone found it. It might have even been me. With no identification on it there is absolutely no chance it will return to you. Now you need to go buy another net. Now you’re out $360 and for only $9.98 you could have gotten yours back. Our decals would have saved you $170. But you don’t need one right, you don’t lose anything. FALSE. You need one Karmik decal per net.

15. Fishing lure boxes. As a fly tier myself I intimately know the value of hooks with feathers and string wrapped around them. I know the time investment behind a vice that is required to fill a fly box. I also know the passion of bass anglers who will paint their own crankbaits. Or those who take the time to attach upgraded hooks or attach trailer hooks. Literally, for the price of one fly or one lure you could protect the hundreds of dollars in lures or flies in the box. You need one Karmik decal per box. Now, if we could only make our decals small enough to attach to your flies and lures, hmmmm.

Anywhere Decal16. Watersports. For the sake of brevity I just threw all water items in the same category. This list could literally be 15 watersports items. Anything used near water will probably get lost. Lifejackets, SUP boards, kayak paddles, rafting oars, anchors, dry bags, boat bags and other paraphernalia that we need as water-loving-outdoor-folk. You could buy a 25 pack of Karmik decals for everything needed in a boat or raft.

17. Bikes. My first two vehicles cost less than some modern bikes. Honestly. The chances of you losing your road bike or mountain bike are admittedly very small. But not zero. Stuff happens and bikes fall out of trucks, or the carriers fail. I have seen a few bikes on Craigslist. Why not buy a decal for a few bucks to protect your thousands of dollars two wheeler.

Other items that are lost way too often:

Ear pods Power tools – Laptops – Luggage – Guns

Some items might not be reported as lost or found because of perceived value. Some water bottles like Yeti or Hydroflask are expensive, but the finder might not know that. Same with Disk Golf disks and Flies. The finder might not know what those cost. It is also impossible to represent the sentimental value of items.

If you own anything on this list. If you value your items, your money, your time, your mental health, and you want some semblance of sanity and assurance, you need a Karmik decal on your gear. Please protect the things that bring you joy.

Robert Gillingham, Founder and Owner of Karmik Outdoors. Also, frequent loser of things.