Monthly Archives: February 2013


Wild turkeys seem impossible to miss.  Look at any magazine and there’s a monster gobbler, just standing in the wide open spaces as still as a statue.  However, if you speak with enough (thruthful) hunters, they will admit that they miss far more often than they care to say and one of the reasons Thanksgiving dinner lives to gobble another day is poor pattern performance.  The truth is, all shotguns pattern differently, even those of the same make and model.  One shotgun may pattern well with #4 shot, while another produces a more even pattern with #6.  The only way to learn which ammo works best in your shotgun is to experiment and an ideal way to make this happen is to do it with friends.  It’s not only more fun, but economical and effective.  If you and four buddies each bring two kinds of shells, you can test your shotgun without buying 10 boxes of ammo and the most effective heavier-than-lead loads are quite expensive. 

The Remington Website offers a brief video that covers the basics as well as a batch of two-minute videos on turkey hunting, footage that’s sure to get your motor running.  


It’s almost Turkey Season and Tracy Breen over at Turkey Country Magazine adds to this blog with other tips to break from the winter doldrums many of us suffer.  

Many of us who used to be lean and mean suddenly find ourselves overweight. The more overweight we become the more lethargic we are, which makes hunting more difficult. A study revealed the average hunter does not travel more than a third of a mile from his truck when hunting, which is often because many hunters are overweight.

“I tell people the only way they will be able to lose weight is to find an exercise they enjoy doing,” said Mark Paulsen, founder of Wilderness Athlete, a company that makes nutritional products for outdoorsmen. “After they discover that exercise, they need to do it 30 minutes a day, three times a week. It is all about getting the heart rate up and burning calories, and there are many different ways to do that. I enjoy hiking. Some may enjoy swimming or riding a bike.” Dragging a deer out of the woods or carrying a turkey over your shoulder for an extended period can take the average hunter’s breath away. If you are out of shape, it can be dangerous. Hunters have heart attacks in the woods every year. 

As wild turkeys flocks begin to break up and scatter to their spring nesting grounds, don’t overlook public land as a spring gobbler go-to. Scott Ellis lays out a three-part plan on the Outdoor Hub that will have your mind churning as opening day draws near. Here’s a brief look at how Ellis approaches the challenge:

Scouting– Knowing where turkeys roost, feed, and strut is critical to any successful strategy and unlike deer, you can scout for turkeys without ever entering the woods.

Phases of the Spring– Ellis points out how turkey behavior changes as the season progresses. Savvy hunters keep this evolution in minds and controls how much and how aggressively they call. When to sit still and when to move.

Safety– The one down-side of public land turkey hunting is the accessibility of other hunters, yet skillful hunters should follow the same safety precautions whether on public or private land.


David Blanton, one of Earnhardt’s closest outdoor friends, offers a glimpse into the private life of a passionate outdoorsman, a scenario very different than his iconic public image.

I first met Dale in 1992 at a hunting lodge in Michigan where I was filming whitetails,” began David Blanton. “The Realtree TV show had just started and I was getting deer behavioral footage. The guys at the lodge mentioned that Dale was coming in to hunt. I had heard the name and knew that he was a racer but I didn’t know much about NASCAR or Dale. After rattling, grunting and videoing all of the next day, I came back to the lodge and set up a station with a monitor and forms to log footage. I was lugging all the camera gear down to the basement when Dale held one of the doors open for me. After dinner, I gathered my stuff and went back down to the basement. Later, Dale joined me and introduced himself.

“What are you doing,” he asked with sincere interest.

‘I’m logging deer footage.’

He pulled up a stool and I soon found out that he had come down here to escape the hustle of the lodge and the attention people were giving him. Dale was in the public spotlight and he didn’t like that. He tolerated it, yet not something he craved. He came down for some peace and quiet. We talked into the wee hours of the morning about where he lived, the fence he put up to raise deer and about deer hunting. I really saw how much he loved deer. I think the fact that I was not in awe of him as a racer was the reason we hit it off so big from day one.


“I will be hunting in the morning,” said Dale as we finally headed up stairs. “Why don’t you bring your camera?” We started by rattling deer. He was intrigued by how we set up our equipment and that I could move around in the woods so quietly. He appreciated that. He started rattling and I had a grunt call that held deer for better footage, the first time he had seen a grunt call. “Let me see that call,” Earnhardt said. It was his first grunt call and he was surprised what it could do. He was amazed. I ended up filming him killing a deer and then we went our separate ways.

Two years later, he called me at work. In the meantime, I had started following racing more and began to understand the super star that he was. I was impressed. We began hunting together and going to North Carolina to film deer. We always had such a big time together.

Our relationship was centered on hunting. He didn’t have many close relationships in his life where he didn’t feel like he was being used because he was a racing super star. He felt very suspicious. It wasn’t racing, but deer that brought us together. I spent time at his place in North Carolina where a very deep friendship developed. It continued through the years and we hunted together in Texas, Mexico, Michigan, Iowa, Utah, and each spring we in Georgia for turkeys. I always gave Dale his room because he hunted like he drove- with very little patience, wide open. That didn’t go hand in hand with videoing. There were times when Dale and I really disagreed. He tried to hunt like he raced, with little regard for the camera. We clashed several times, but the fact that I was not in awe of him strengthened our friendship.

Catching deer hunts on tape was a special challenge. If a really big deer showed up I would get very little footage before Dale shot. We had been hunting two or three days in Michigan for whitetails, when suddenly, we looked up and saw a big deer coming through a hardwood bottom. Dale got real excited and threw up his gun.

‘Wait a minute Dale. I can’t find it,’ I said, all the while rolling footage. I knew I had to do something to stall him. “You better get on him quick,” said Dale. “I’m fixing to shoot.”

I’m still getting footage. “Get on him, David,” said Dale in frustration. Finally, I said ‘OK’, and boom! Dale knew he shot too early. Back at the lodge, we reviewed the tape and Dale started seeing that I had some awesome footage. He looked at me and realized, he’d been had. I had snookered him a little bit. He hauled off and hit me in the arm. He was always hitting on you if he liked you. Everybody had a big laugh.

As the years progressed, Dale genuinely became more and more interested in what we were doing at Realtree. It ultimately led to an endorsement contract with Realtree and a relationship with Bill Jordan.


Dale always, talked to me about priorities in life; he’d call me up and say, “David, how much you been traveling?” he’d ask, knowing that it was fall and I traveled a lot. He’d always talk about keeping my family first. “Don’t let your career become more important than your family,” he’d advise, asking in particular about my wife Ginger. He was such a genuinely thoughtful person and very few people knew that outside of his family. We talked about family and life while hunting.

The next week I’d go to the racetrack and see a different person. It took a few years to understand. The first time I went to a NASCAR race, I was astounded by the demands of the media and the public. Fanatical fans would wait outside for just a glimpse of Dale. The demands of his time from the media were incredible. This was in the mid 90’s before NASCAR really took off. I saw a different Dale at the track.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00020]
As the years progressed I began to understand that the Dale at the track was not the man who was my friend. When Dale arrived to race, he put up a shield because people hounded him constantly. “You know,” Dale said, “I didn’t want to be a super star. I never wanted to be on a pedestal. I just wanted to race for a living.” That was Dale’s way of saying he was uncomfortable with the attention people gave him. When someone would suck up to him, it would turn him off. If he went on a hunt and race fans were there, it really turned him off when they talked about NASCAR. He wanted to be outside of that world and be just one of the guys. That’s one of the reasons we got along so well.

For the conclusion to this interview and to read about 15 other celebrities in the outdoors, go to








Now the most widely planted chestnut tree in America, the blight-resistant Dunstan Chestnut tree bears nuts in only two to four years and produces more high quality nutrition per acre than any oak species or hybrid. It has a regular annual bearing (no skipped years like all oak species) and excellent production — 2,000+ lbs./acre or more. One tree will bear 10 to 20 lbs. of nuts by the time it is 10 years old, which is before most oaks even start to produce.

High in carbohydrates (40%) and protein (10%), the sweet-tasting nuts and have no bitter-tasting tannin like oaks, which make them irresistible to deer. Dunstan Chestnuts bear crops for 50 to 100 years or more, with no replanting, providing an excellent, cost-efficient way for attracting and holding deer on your property. Because of its ability to adapt to different slopes, soil types and locations, the tree can be planted in more sites than annual food plots.

Jim Chisenhall took this great bull on public land after drawing a license.

Here’s how to draw a Dream License on the West’s Best Public Land

Public land hunting in the West is very different than the pumpkin army that Eastern hunters experience. The number of hunting licenses is strictly controlled so that your public land adventure may be similar to an exclusive private ranch. Additionally, fire danger requires that most public land, even in the high mountains must have vehicle access. Although you may not be able to drive these roads, they make excellent access routes for hunting and retrieving game. The limited availability of licenses assures that game herds thrive, usually with mature (Trophy) bulls among them.

Roesler Brad 300

Each state operates their license drawing differently, and states rarely highlight trophy areas so that their residents can take full advantage of the scarcity of information. One solution to this problem is to use a licensing drawing service such as by Cabela’s or The United States Outfitters (USO). George Taulman recognized the need for a licensing service decades ago and is the longest operating service in the West. By utilizing USO’s experience with trophy hunting areas you can apply to the very best trophy areas in the West and apply for multiple species in multiple states, greatly increasing your odds for drawing a license. 

Once you draw the license you can hunt on your own, use USO, or other guide service to assist you. Last year well known outdoor celebrity Craig Boddington used USO to draw a coveted Desert Bighorn sheep license and one client bagged a monster bull elk that scored 440 B&C. Where you hunt has a greater impact than how well you hunt with respect to trophy size and a licensing service can have you square in the middle of monster antlers and horns.  


Vehicle maintenance is critical to all sportsmen, especially if we take our rigs into difficult terrain, and the service needed to keep our horsepower primed and pumping can be expensive.  Despite changes in oil technology and engine performance, those we trust to maintain our rides may be blowing smoke. does a great job of explaining what you do an don’t need, a post that’ll probably save you big bucks in the future. 

Oil chemistry and engine technology have evolved tremendously in recent years, but you’d never know it from the quick-change behavior of American car owners. Driven by an outdated 3,000-mile oil change commandment, they are unnecessarily spending millions of dollars and spilling an ocean of contaminated waste oil.  Although the average car’s oil change interval is around 7,800 miles — and as high as 20,000 miles in some cars — this wasteful cycle continues largely because the automotive service industry, while fully aware of the technological advances, continues to preach the 3,000-mile gospel as a way to keep the service bays busy. As a result, even the most cautious owners are dumping their engine oil twice as often as their service manuals recommend.



Archers have never had more choices in excellent arrow-launch options than in 2013. Although it’s nearly impossible to test every bow and crossbow in a head-to-head competition, the following models deserve your serious consideration. Some are field tested while others are ripe with full-draw potential. Check these out:

thCAD1V7K2Hoyt Carbon Element: Neither a Yellowstone elk nor an African kudu was a match for the power of the 2012 Carbon Element. Set at 60# and 27-inch draw length, it shot completely through an elk at 40 yards and downed a huge kudu within 100 yards. Light, well balanced, quiet, and smooth drawing, the bow performed flawlessly. This year, Hoyt adds an AirShox system to dampen vibration, even though the 2012 model was already quiet. Powered by an RKT Cam & ½, the new G3 is compact and ideal for tight spots in ground blinds and tree stands, while the Carbon Matrix is 35 inches axle-to-axle if you prefer a longer draw. MSRP $1399;


TenPoint: Wyoming allows crossbows in all archery seasons, a chance to try a horizontal format in places usually reserved for vertical bows. Heavier than most compounds and not quite as agile in tight places, it appears that TenPoint was videotaping my experience. For 2013 they’ve introduced the new Vapor, which is lighter, more compact, and more maneuverable. A genuine powerhouse, it shoots a 22-inch, 420-grain arrow at 360 FPS, enough kinetic energy for a Cape buffalo double. The ACUdraw is a very cool feature which allows you to cock the bow precisely with a crank that stores in the handle. This is a top-of-the-line bow that comes in a complete package and performs accordingly. MSRP $1,919;

Creed_Camo_3-4_2Mathews: Continuing the reputation as one of the world’s best single-cam bows, Mathews continues the tradition with the Creed, featuring the new SimPlex Cam. Lightweight and compact, it has a host of features that can make a critical difference on the 3-D range or at the moment of truth. Just 30 inches axle-to-axle, the draw weight ranges from 50–70 pounds with an 80 percent let-off. The Creed comes with a patented Monkey Tail string silencer and when combined with Harmonic Stabilizer Lite creates a very quiet release. MSRP $999. Shoot one at your local pro shop and check out


Barnett Vengeance: Crossbows are the hottest items in archery (and hunting) today, and no wonder. They offer an easy crossover from the firearm side to a bow that shoots much like a rifle. More importantly, crossbows deliver devastating kinetic energy and extreme accuracy without requiring the brute force of a weightlifter. The Barnett Vengeance is the first crossbow to combine a lightweight CarbonLite Riser with reverse-draw technology. In this radical new reverse-draw configuration, the limb pockets are moved closer to the trigger assembly and the limbs face forward on the bow, shifting the center of gravity closer to the shooter’s body. This drastically reduces the weight at the front of the crossbow, which is essential for a well-balanced shot. Aside from a great shooting bow, it looks awesome! MSRP $899 for a complete kit;

CamoLimbsaver Proton: Quiet Flexibility captures this new bow in a nutshell. Limbsaver has been the industry standard for vibration dampening and silencing for a decade. The new Proton has all the silencing features you would expect plus seven distinct setting options, allowing you to adjust the bow to your best shooting skills, in the garage or in the field, without risking a re-tune. Each parallel limb comes standard with a Broadband Limbsaver, a unique device that tames vibration and noise upon release. The Dual Track Cam System applies equal cable-load to both sides of the cam for a perfect alignment and zero cam lean. IBO rated between 330 and 335 FPS, you get silent speed. MSRP $999:


How to take more Predators

Now’s a great time to call predators. With food supplies in limited by cold weather you may cause a wily coyote to let its guard down, plus you can do some early season turkey scouting at the same time. Gerald Steward was raised in Texas and as a baby probably had a coyote caller for a pacifier. His expertise is well known and he shares some of his tips in this post:

I came across an idea a number of years ago, and I don’t remember exactly how I figured this out. But my dad, Johnny Stewart, had always been interested in how to approach predators in an area where you want to hunt predators in a quieter way. So, I began to modify the tail pipe of my vehicle and point the tail pipe down toward the ground instead of up or out. This way, the sound of the exhaust goes down into the ground rather than being put out behind the vehicle.

If you’ll notice, when you lay a caller’s speaker on the ground, much of the call’s sound goes into the ground. The same is true if you turn the tail pipe of the vehicle you hunt with down to the ground. Another thing I’ve learned is that animals react differently to various types of vehicles and if your vehicle sounds like a farm truck, you’ll have more success.

Check out the rest of the story at Hunter’s Specialties.