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Beyond the Podium

By Hunting

Beyond the Podium

Who am I?

What do I want to be?

These are questions we all ask ourselves at some point. The journey to understand our purpose in life is a never-ending quest that binds us all together.

This is Ivy O’Guinn’s quest — her hunt for purpose.

PREMIERE: Wednesday, June 12 at 7pm CST

A native Alaskan, Ivy grew up living an outdoor oriented life. Fishing was her family’s business and quickly became one of her fiercest passions. It taught her the value of self-reliance, living off the land and nourishing her body with clean, fresh, ethically sourced meat.

In high school, Ivy’s natural athleticism shined as her speed and endurance on the track propelled her ahead of the competition. Her achievements earned her a college scholarship, which enabled her to compete around the country.

Despite Ivy’s success, though, something was missing.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do. I didn’t really know who I was. I was kind of lost,” Ivy recalled of that period in her life.

After college, Ivy’s friends took her to a fly-fishing shop, which reignited her passion for fishing — outside the commercial space. In Alaska’s pristine rivers and lakes, she found a community of friends who became like family. She also found a refreshed sense of identity.

Though she had been exposed to hunting throughout her childhood, Ivy never had the opportunity to go on a hunt with her family. Her athletic pursuits took priority.

That all changed when she went on her first hunt in Kodiak, Alaska, at the age of 22. After successfully harvesting her first big game animal, a black-tailed deer, her eyes were opened to the world of hunting, and her purpose in life was cemented.

Even better, Ivy’s hunting pursuits drew her dad back into the sport, providing opportunity for the duo to embark on epic hunting adventures together.

In short, hunting helped Ivy O’Guinn discover who she is and her life’s purpose.

Hunting is a widely misunderstood pastime. It’s frequently vilified by individuals who have never done it, nor taken the time to try and understand it.

Hunting is not about killing.

It’s about connection — with oneself, others, and nature — self-reliance, spirituality, perseverance, knowing where your food comes from, and so much more.

It’s not a sport, it’s a way of life.

Ivy’s story embodies the spirit of hunting. We hope it inspires you as much as it does us.

2023 Holiday Gift Guide from Christensen Arms

Holiday Gifts for Hunters

By Hunting
holiday gifts for hunters and shooting enthusiasts

Holiday Gift Guide

The Best Holiday Gifts for Hunters

Searching for the perfect holiday gift? Our team compiled a list of the best rifles, components, accessories, and premium apparel that are sure to delight this holiday season.

GIFT IDEAS FOR HUNTERS & SHOOTERS

If you’re on a quest to find the best holiday present for a hunter or shooting enthusiast, or you simply want to reward yourself, we’ve got some incredible options for you to choose from. Below are four of our most popular rifles, but you can also browse our entire line of Bolt-Action Rifles and Modern Sporting Rifles.

RIDGELINE FFT

Ridgeline FFT is the quintessential hunting rifle. It’s a true work of art. And its good looks are accentuated by some of the most advanced carbon fiber technology in the world.

The Ridgeline FFT is up to a full pound lighter than the Ridgeline, thanks to a revolutionary new carbon fiber manufacturing process that Christensen Arms pioneered: Flash Forged Technology (FFT). The Ridgeline FFT features this cutting-edge technology in its stock, floor plate, and bolt knob. The new stainless steel side-baffle muzzle brake and stylish paint scheme distinguish this new model even further, all while retaining the Christensen Arms Sub-MOA Guarantee and Limited Lifetime Warranty.

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+ RIDGELINE FFT ACCESSORIES

ONE-PIECE SCOPE BASE

Attaches to your rifle to add scope rings and an optic.

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ULTRALIGHT SCOPE RINGS

Install on the One-Piece Scope Base to add your rifle’s optic.

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UNIVERSAL BIPOD ADAPTER

Attaches to your rifle’s stock to add a Javelin Pro Hunt Bipod.

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JAVELIN PRO HUNT BIPOD

Adds stability for a variety of shooting positions and terrains.

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MPR

The Modern Precision Rifle is an ultra-lightweight chassis rifle designed to break with tradition.

Beyond the folding stock the complete package is well equipped with a target contour Christensen Arms carbon fiber barrel, carbon fiber comb, free-floating carbon fiber handguard, and 20 MOA rail. The action and stainless steel side-baffle muzzle brake are finished in Black Nitride for a sleek look. The Modern Precision Rifle weighs in starting at 6.9 pounds and is backed by the Christensen Arms Sub-MOA Guarantee and Limited Lifetime Warranty.

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+ MPR ACCESSORIES

TACTICAL SCOPE RINGS

The ideal scope rings to attach your long-range optic.

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VALHALLA BIPOD

The ultimate bipod for long-range shooting and hunting.

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ADJUSTABLE BAG RIDER

Attaches to your rifle’s stock for stability on a shooting bag.

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MPR AMMO SLICKER

Convenient ammo storage and quick-reference DOPE data.

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MESA FFT

A little less weight goes a long way— literally.

When you’re packing a rifle up rocky backcountry hills, miles away from your truck, you’ll be glad for a gun that’s as light as your hunting boots. Starting at 5.5 pounds, the Mesa FFT combines a Flash Forged Technology stock, an ultralight contour stainless steel barrel with a Cerakote® finish and “seamless” removable radial muzzle brake, and it’s backed by the Christensen Arms Sub-MOA Guarantee and Limited Lifetime Warranty.

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+ MESA FFT ACCESSORIES

ONE-PIECE SCOPE BASE

Attaches to your rifle to add scope rings and an optic.

SHOP NOW

ULTRALIGHT SCOPE RINGS

Install on the One-Piece Scope Base to add your rifle’s optic.

SHOP NOW

UNIVERSAL BIPOD ADAPTER

Attaches to your rifle’s stock to add a Javelin Pro Hunt Bipod.

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JAVELIN PRO HUNT BIPOD

Adds stability for a variety of shooting positions and terrains.

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RANGER

The Ranger rifle brings a rimfire rifle back to the Christensen Arms lineup.

Built for precision—the bolt-action platform features an aluminum receiver with a steel recoil lug insert, Christensen Arms carbon fiber tension barrel, and a carbon fiber composite rimfire stock. The rifle is also well equipped with standard sling studs, a 0-MOA picatinny rail, and a match grade Rem 700 style trigger. The Ranger weighs in starting at 5.1 pounds and is backed by a Christensen Arms Sub-MOA at 50 Yards Guarantee.

LEARN MORE

+ RANGER ACCESSORIES

RANGER SCOPE BASE

Attaches to your rifle to add scope rings and an optic.

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ULTRALIGHT SCOPE RINGS

Install on the One-Piece Scope Base to add your rifle’s optic.

SHOP NOW

UNIVERSAL BIPOD ADAPTER

Attaches to your rifle’s stock to add a Javelin Pro Hunt Bipod.

SHOP NOW

JAVELIN PRO HUNT BIPOD

Adds stability for a variety of shooting positions and terrains.

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MOST POPULAR COMPONENTS & ACCESSORIES

In addition to the components and accessories detailed above, we have many other great options that are sure to delight both hunters and shooting enthusiasts alike.

FIX IT STICKS LONG-RANGE TOOLKIT

The ultimate toolkit, packed with the essentials long-range precision shooters and hunters need to mount optics and make adjustments in the field.

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TIMBER CAMO SCOPE SLICKER

Every optic needs to be protected from the elements. Our Timber Camo Scope Slicker provides protection in a beautiful package that shows off the owner’s Christensen Arms pride.

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STOCKS AND CHASSIS

Whether you know someone who’s looking to upgrade the carbon composite stock on their Mesa or Ridgeline, or a rifle lover who’s looking for a world-class stock to add to their build, we have options.

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CARBON FIBER BARRELS

For the most dedicated rifle enthusiasts, our signature carbon fiber barrels are second to none. We offer a range of options, including gunsmith blanks, Remington 700 barrels, and AR barrels.

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MOST POPULAR APPAREL & HEADWEAR

We recently launched a line of premium apparel and headwear, which Christensen Arms fans are raving about.

Tap any of the images below to learn more.

Hunt to Heal with Omar “Crispy” Avila

By Hunting
Hunt to Heal with Omar "Crispy" Avila

How Omar Avila Finds Medicine in Nature

It’s scientifically proven that spending time outdoors positively impacts mental health, but can it replace medicine?

For Sgt. Omar “Crispy” Avila, it can—and it has.

JUMP TO THE VIDEO

Serving Our Country

Omar enrolled in the U.S. Army in 2004. In 2007, he was deployed to Iraq. On May 24, 2007, the vehicle Omar was riding in struck a 200-pound Improvised Explosive Device, or IED. The blast left burns on 75% of his body and resulted in the amputation of his right leg below the knee.

His strength and spirit, however, were unphased.

A Quest for Healing

After retiring from the U.S. Army in 2010, Omar vowed to never let his injuries control his life. Since then, he’s been on a quest for recovery, physical therapy, and spiritual healing−free from dependence on medication to combat the intense emotions tied to his experiences in combat. He wanted his peace to come from the natural world, not a pill.

One day, Omar’s phone rang. When he answered, his friend asked, “Hey, what are you doing this weekend?” Omar didn’t have any plans, so his friend asked him to go hunting.

He agreed.

The night before the hunt, after packing his gear, Omar laid in bed and questioned his decision. He’d made great progress since retiring from the U.S. Army, but he wasn’t comfortable with his injuries.

“I kinda feel like an outcast… I’m not gonna be accepted,” he thought. “I’m not gonna go.”

The next morning, the alarm clock Omar forgot to turn off woke him up bright and early. He thought to himself, “Well, my truck’s packed, everything’s in there… just go. What’s the worst that can happen?”

Within a few minutes, Omar was on the road.
Omar packing his truck

A Shift in Perspective

As his drive transitioned from loud, crowded city streets to the vast, sprawling countryside, Omar felt an inner peace wash over him. To his surprise, he felt comfortable.

“Wow, what’s going on?” he thought.

When he arrived at the lodge, Omar walked up and rang the doorbell. He was greeted with excitement by a man in a wheelchair with no legs. “What’s up, brother?!” the man exclaimed with a huge smile on his face. In an instant, Omar’s perspective changed. He felt a sense of acceptance, belonging.

Campfire Conversation

That night, as was common at this point in his life, Omar couldn’t sleep. He made his way out to the fire pit where he was joined by another guest of the lodge for a drink and conversation.

The man was a retired U.S. Navy SEAL. The conversation flowed as Omar and the man shared intimate details about their combat experiences and life after the military.

At a point in the conversation, the man asked Omar, “How are you doing?”

“I’m doing great,” Omar replied.

Unsatisfied with that answer, the man restated the question, “No, how are you doing?”—this time, gesturing to clarify that he was asking about Omar’s mental health.

That was one of the first times Omar really opened up and shared his true feelings with another person. It was a huge step forward in his healing process.

Omar and his newfound friend continued to talk for hours. Before they knew it, their fellow hunters were coming out of the lodge to get ready to head out into the field.

Omar’s friend approached him and asked him with surprise, “Dude, you been awake the whole night?! What have you been doing?”

“I’ve been with that dude,” Omar replied, pointing to the man he’d talked to all night.

“You mean Chris?” his friend continued.

“Yeah, Chris,” Omar confirmed.

“You know who that is?” his friend questioned intently. “That’s Chris Kyle.”

Up to that point, Omar was completely unaware that he’d had been up all night having an intimate conversation with the legendary American Sniper.

The Experience That Changed Everything

After Omar got ready and walked back outside, Chris informed him, “You’re hunting with me.”

With that, the pair headed to their blind.

Omar and Chris sat, scanned, and talked quietly. Before long, a whitetail buck appeared within range.

“Alright, that’s the one we’re gonna shoot,” Chris whispered to Omar.

Immediately, Omar began shaking. He’d never shot a buck before. In fact, he’d never shot a deer.

“Control your breathing. Get him in your crosshairs,” Omar thought to himself to calm his nerves.

As Omar squeezed the trigger, the shot rang out. He watched in awe as the deer dropped. He’d just harvested his first deer—with Chris Kyle. Excitement overtook the two friends as they high-fived and celebrated Omar’s milestone.

In that moment, something clicked for Omar. It was as if something he hadn’t felt in a long time had suddenly returned.

This was more than hunting. It was healing.

From Passion to Peace

After that unforgettable experience, Omar was hooked. His appetite for learning was insatiable. While his friends went out to shoot pool, he sat at his computer researching his new obsession.

Hunting was no longer a hobby—it was a lifestyle.

In the time that has passed since Omar’s epic hunting experience with Chris Kyle, his passion for hunting and the outdoors has grown. Not only does he hunt personally, he jumps at the opportunity to bring others into the field to experience the healing power of the outdoors the same way he has. To date, he’s hunted with friends, disabled veterans, and Gold Star Families—family members of service members who tragically lost their lives.

 

Christensen Arms was honored to partner with Omar on the Hunt to Heal documentary. We have a deep appreciation for the sacrifices made by members of the US Armed Forces and their family members, as well as the healing power of the Great Outdoors.

 

Successful Turkey Hunting: A Proven Approach

By Hunting

Successful Turkey Hunting: A Proven Approach

On the surface, the thought of heading into the woods to shoot a turkey seems simple. Listen for a gobble, move in its direction, make a few imitation calls, and take your shot. After all, they have brains the size of a peanut and lack a strong sense of smell.

Should be easy, right? Wrong!

You’ll quickly realize chasing turkeys requires a distinct skill set. This article is going to provide the knowledge you need to develop these skills and harvest your first bird or more turkeys in general.

Image Credit: Hazy Mountain Media

Part 1 – The Best Time to Turkey Hunt

SPRING —the time we get to leave the house and enjoy the sunshine.

It’s also the best time to turkey hunt.

Spring is when male turkey, or toms, are more active and vocal, strutting around and showing off for the hens. This season falls from late March through late May, depending on the location and climate. Be sure to check your local regulations for season information.

Another time of the year when turkey hunting is open is the fall when most folks are out deer and elk hunting. During this timeframe, it’s a good idea to keep a turkey tag in your pocket just in case. During fall season, keep in mind that birds often travel in flocks and can be a little trickier to hunt, as they won’t be in peak breeding season or roaming around alone. They tend to be smarter in flocks.

The Best Time of the Day to Hunt Turkeys

The early worm gets the bird!

If you’re not a morning person, now is the time to become one. Why? Because the best time to hunt turkeys is typically shortly after first light. Get out to your blind early and listen for the yelps, cackles, and gobbles of turkeys as they start their search for breakfast. You might even get lucky and catch one flying off the roost.

Turkeys are most active in mild weather. As a general rule of thumb, turkeys are most active during calm, clear days in the morning and early afternoon hours. Studies show that they are the most vocal when the temperature is between 60 – 69° Fahrenheit. Much like humans, if it’s too hot or too cold their activity slows down.

You might think that rainfall puts a damper on turkey hunting, but you’d be wrong. Rainfall is great for turkey hunting, contrary to popular belief.

Image Credit: Hazy Mountain Media

Part 2 – Where to Hunt Turkeys

The truth is, you should hunt wherever you see the most turkeys—assuming you can legally access that area, of course.

If you’re driving around and see a pile of birds in a farmer’s field, don’t be afraid to call or knock and ask for permission. There’s also a ton of public land available to hunters, so don’t hesitate to venture onto public land because you think it will be loaded with other hunters. Chances are, there are plenty of places that folks aren’t willing to walk to or areas that most people don’t go. Searching for hidden gems requires additional work and scouting time, but it usually pays off.

Hunting Public Land

If you’re willing to put in a little extra effort—which you should—public land can produce just as much success as private land. Some of the best turkey hunting can be found in overlooked creek bottoms or right off a two-track in a large patch of old hardwoods. The first step is to get out and scout. Search for ridges, timber cuts, creek bottoms, and land close to private land or subdivisions with bird feeders.

Hunting Private Land

If you know a landowner who’s willing to let you hunt their land, or will hunt with you, you’re in great shape! If not, don’t sweat it—you can likely get access to private land simply by calling the landowner or knocking on their door and politely requesting access.

Pro tip: It’s usually easier to get permission to hunt private in the spring. In farming states, farmers who see turkeys as a nuisance might be glad to let you hunt their fields. Also, there aren’t as many turkey hunters as there are deer hunters so your chances of gaining permission are better.

Keep in mind, if you foster a good relationship with a landowner in the spring, they may allow you to hunt deer on their property come whitetail season.

Finding Turkey Habitat

The best way to figure turkeys out—their patterns, food and water sources, travel paths, etc.—is to go where they go. Find their habitat. The type of habitat they’re in will dictate your tactics and gear.

Image Credit: Tyler Hawley

Turkeys love the open, brushy areas and grasslands rich in bugs. They also need to nest, so look for grass-rich areas they can get cover in.

Turkeys are incredibly adaptable and can live in many different conditions. From roosting on a rooftop to residing in a neighborhood backyard, turkeys find homes in a wide variety of spaces.

In many locations, especially rural areas, you can benefit from using topography while scouting. Digital mapping apps like HuntWise, HuntStand, and onX give you the ability to find high ridges with flat spots, steep banks on the side of a river, or even spaces of old growth where a turkey could be roosting. Topography is your friend when you’re trying to find these elusive birds.

Turkeys can also be found in fields. A great morning spot to hunt when the turkeys are more active and searching for food. They often roost in trees surrounding a field so they can head down to feed early in the morning. If you’re going to hunt a field, it’s best to set up right on the field edge and use decoys and calls to bring them in range.

Forests and thick wooded areas are great for turkey hunting, too. Acorns and nuts attract birds directly to these areas. A good indicator of turkey activity is feathers under large trees where they roost, tracks, and droppings. These areas are harder to hunt due to the thickness of the habitat, but that’s why the birds seek refuge there—and it’s part of the challenge!

Turkey Food and Water Sources

Turkeys love to eat green grasses and acorns. They’ll also fill up on fruit, nuts, and insects when given the chance. After a hard rain, you can almost guarantee you’ll find them in a farm field scavenging for worms. Turkeys also need water almost daily, so hens rarely nest far away from reliable water sources such as a creeks, springs, rivers, and ponds.

Image Credit: Tyler Hawley

Roosting a Turkey

Turkeys usually fly up to their roost trees at or just after sunset. They do this to get away from predators and danger.

Knowing this, one of the best turkey hunting tactics is to find the tree where your target tom roosts the night before your hunt. This strategy, called “roosting” or “putting a bird to bed,” allows you to position yourself in a spot that gets you closer to a turkey as they get off the roost.

The highest probability of success is first thing in the morning, especially when toms are roosted without a hen. Get as close as you can, but not close enough to risk busting the bird off the roost. It’s not always productive to be right underneath the tom you’re after because they see really well and any movement even in the dark will spook them.

When roosting, be sure to keep a safe 100- to 200-yard distance. Even if your target turkey comes off his roost in the opposite direction, you’ll still be in good position to call him in.

Image Credit: Tyler Hawley

3 – How To Turkey Hunt

Rifle, Shotgun, or Bow?

Your weapon of choice is up to you, so there is no right or wrong answer here. Rifles are allowed in a few states, but not all—so check your local rules and regulations before heading out on a turkey hunt with your rifle.

If you choose to hunt turkeys with a rifle, our Ranger is a terrific option! It comes chambered in .22 LR, .22 Magnum, and .17 HMR, which are all appropriate for turkeys.

When rifle hunting, shot placement is key as you’ll typically be further away, aiming at a smaller target. You’ll need to place your shot strategically to avoid damaging the meat.

If you want to use a shotgun, you’ll need to pattern it. Do your research to determine which brand of ammunition and which shot size will work best for your shotgun at various ranges. Different combinations of ammunition, firearms, and chokes will produce different patterns. There are a wide variety of loads on the market now. Copper-plated lead, bismuth, and tungsten are commonly used in turkey loads. They will all do the job.

What’s critical is knowing how your chosen load shoots out of your gun / choke combo before the season. Don’t be the person that wings it… literally. Identify the maximum range distance which you can shoot that produces a clean pattern to ethically harvest your bird.

hunter holding the Christensen Arms Ranger rifle equipped with a Hawke Optics turkey scope

Image Credit: Hawke Optics


Sight picture as seen through the Hawke Optics turkey scope

Image Credit: Hawke Optics

If you’re going to use a bow, you must be highly proficient with it to ethically harvest a turkey. Make sure you know your effective shooting range with the broadhead you plan to use. Some broadheads are designed for shooting at the turkey’s neck and head. These broadheads have a very limited range in which they fly accurately and are not meant for aiming at the body.

Other fixed blades and mechanical broadheads can be used to aim at the neck and head, or the vitals. It’s important to keep body posture in mind when body-shooting a turkey with a bow.  A tom at full strut can be harder for the hunter to visualize where the vitals are.

Image Credit: Bowhunters United

Since penetration is generally not an issue for turkey hunting, a larger mechanical broadhead is popular among archers. This allows for more margin of error with shot placement.

Calling Turkeys

Calls are an essential part of turkey hunting and are typically used to mimic the sounds of a female turkey or a gobbling Tom, to bring them into close enough range to make a shot. In order to become an effective turkey caller, you need to learn to speak their language. Learn what sounds they make and what they mean. Some examples are:

  • Cluck: One or more short notes. It’s used by one bird to get the attention of another and a good call to reassure an approaching gobbler that a hen is waiting for him.
  • Purr: A sound made by hens when they are content and feeding. These can be used to relax a bird and get them to come the last few yards needed for a shot. A fighting purr is much louder and more aggressive than a regular purr.
  • Yelp: The most common call used by turkeys to communicate with and find each other.
  • Cutting: Combining sharp clucks with yelping. Hens often make these sounds when they’re excited or agitated. This loud call can be used to stir a reaction from a turkey to see if there’s one in the area, or used to get a stubborn gobbler to come in those final yards.
  • Ki-ki-run: This can be effective in the early season and in the fall. This is an excited hen attempting to regather her group or has lost sight of the group.
  • Gobble: One of the main sounds made by a male turkey. Commonly used to communicate with hens and lets them know he’s in the area.

Types of Turkey Calls

There are a lot of different types of turkey calls on the market. Everyone has their favorites, but it’s extremely beneficial to be proficient in at least a few types of calls.

We’ll break calls down into main three types: