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As thousands of troops return from Afghanistan, our society needs to embrace their courage and provide opportunities that bring them back into the mainstream.

Some men and women have physical injuries, while other suffer mentally from the day-to-day trauma of war.

Natalie Krebs relates an excellent example of how our favorite pastimes can do so much good for our nation’s heroes, in this post from the OutdoorLife blog:

When Marines Tony Mullis and Michael Boucher lost their legs in Afghanistan, they turned to hunting and fishing to help them recover. Then the Georgia sportsmen created Amputee Outdoors to share their rehab recipe with other veterans.

Nisson AK 1 051Outdoor Life: Lots of outdoor programs cater to injured vets. What sets you apart?
Tony Mullis: I’m only starting to hear about the hundreds of programs out there, so I can’t say what we do is completely unique. But from my experiences attending sponsored hunts while recovering, the difference is we do normal hunting. We don’t hunt from a truck bed or behind high fences.

OL: Why is that important?
TM: When these guys go home to their families and their normal life—when they don’t have hospital-sponsored hunting trips anymore—they need to be able to hunt or fish by themselves and feel like they did before. Our goal is to help them realize that.

OL: What’s your own experience?
TM: While on hospital leave for Christmas, I asked my father-in-law if I could hunt in his woods. I sat on the ground for a bit but didn’t really enjoy it. When I went back to the house, I found a ladder stand on the ground. I set it up in a tree, and after some work, I realized I could climb it. The next day I went back in the woods, climbed up again, and sat there by myself. It opened another door to my independence.


My Core heated gear is new to the market, yet the timing of their introduction couldn’t have been better for me.

I learned about the product on the eve of a South Dakota deer hunt, where conditions would be more like the Arctic than the Great Plains.

I arrived in camp an hour ahead of the FedEx delivery and was excited and grateful to be able to test a heated garment in such frigid conditions.

SD Deer Crow Creek 2 053Temperatures the first morning were three below zero, with a 15 mph wind. I wore just a base layer and a shirt under the jacket to test its performance.

Although I didn’t get a deer that morning, I hunted until noon and was toasty warm. I allowed others to try it on, and the response was always the same: “Ahhhh!”

My first impression when putting on the coat was its quality. The Mossy Oak parka would make for a great hunting garment, even without the heating ability. The outer fabric was soft and quiet and the tail of the coat dropped below the waist, so there were no drafts while climbing or bending.

To charge up the heating elements, you plug the coat in, like a cell phone, the evening before the hunt. When fully charged, it offers six hours of heat on high, nine hours on medium, and 12 hours on low. I used the parka on the “high” setting and recharged it when I came in for lunch.

If you’re a tree-stand hunter and hate to be cold, this gear is for you. It warms your wrists to help keep your hands warm, and it strategically warms your core.

The My Core website has an informative video that will answer many questions. As for me, upon first trial, I’m sold!

SD Deer Crow Creek 2 152The running ability of a South Dakota pheasant makes the proverbial roadrunner seem like a turtle.

Normally, birds run and flush into the next county before a hunter can get his gun loaded. However, the recent arctic blasts have changed the normally elusive ringneck into a bird of opportunity.

Freshly fallen powder slows down their gait like a flat tire, allowing hunters to get into shotgun range before the birds flush. Also, the bad weather forces pheasants to seek shelter, often in cedar patches, choke cherries, and any batch of brush or woods that provides cover from the elements.

Tracking pheasants is not a normal tactic, yet their trails in the snow will give you a good idea where birds are working and perhaps provide a few extra seconds of get-ready time before the flush.

Cold, snowy conditions across the nation make this a great time to hunt pheasants, with or without a dog.

You’ll want to dress warmly for the elements, but think of insulation in terms of performance. You’ll need gloves, yet you must be able to work the safety easily and maintain a steady grip on the forend. Shooting glasses will help deal with the cold, biting wind and provide extra protection should you walk into a stick in heavy cover.

Be cautious about your muzzle in deep snow, as a trip or stumble can plug the barrel and cause a safety issue.

The weather is cold, but the wing shooting is hot.



In the next month, millions of hunters will climb trees, ladders, and other scary places in the quest to outsmart a whitetail buck. Along with the exhilaration and excitement, some will slip, lose their balance or suffer a stand failure, putting their lives in jeopardy.

297152i3_ts[1] ScentBlocker’s new Recon SpiderWeb gear will slide over your hunting duds like a pair of pajamas and be just as comfortable. No buckles to snap or fasten, just climb in safely, hook onto the tree, and you’re safe and sound.

The Recon SpiderWeb is shown above to the right, yet other models have variations on this safety theme, so you can tailor your safety insurance to your exact needs.

Check them out at your nearest sporting goods store or online at robinsonoutdoors.com.


You may have seen this image floating around the Web for the past five years. The accompanying story fluctuates from telling to telling, with details being altered as time goes on. Like the legends told around a campfire, this tale of the mammoth buck that was taken down is one that many know, but few can verify.

According to the popular retellings, the buck weighed from 400 to 500 pounds. It is said to have been taken in various states in the U.S., as well as in Canada. What’s the real story?

Leave it to the folks at urban-legend resource Snopes.com to sort out the fiction from the facts. Find out what they’ve discovered.

Over the years, rumors have placed the animal in both Maine and Ontario, while the current rumor claims the buck was killed in Hartford, Michigan.

The truth is the buck shown above was killed at a high-fence game farm in Wisconsin called Wilderness Whitetails in September 2009, and the photo seen here can be found in that game farm’s trophy gallery. While no official weight was listed for the kill, wilderness preserve owner Shorty Flees told Field and Stream Magazine in 2010…


Knowledge is power. This adage is usually mentioned in military or business scenarios, but any angler will tell you that it applies in the fishing world, too.

Anglers these days can get a big knowledge edge with modern electronics. In the same way that smartphones have advanced rapidly with more features, more memory and better cameras, today’s boat electronics pack a more powerful punch than similar units from even just a couple of years ago.

A striking example of how much electronics have advanced is how they’ve changed the game for offshore anglers. Typically, anglers were guided by such old-school methods as glassing for bird activity, jumping fish, or porpoise schools. Those methods still work, but today’s savvy anglers can get an edge with the new-school boat electronics. Find out how in this article from BD Outdoors.

electronics_simOne of the best tools coastal and offshore anglers can use to catch more fish might be literally staring them in the face. That is, the chart plotter portion of their boat’s multifunction navigation system.

Many sport fishermen use their charts to navigate from Point A to Point B, and their echo sounder to find fish without benefitting from the true power of the two systems working together. And with today’s latest crop of advanced chart plotter/sounder combos and new-generation electronic charts, there are many ways savvy anglers can use this combined technology to get an edge over the fish and other fishermen.

Some strong examples of this latest technology can be found in the Lowrance and Simrad product line, together with new C-MAP MAX-N/MAX-N+ cartography developed exclusively for use with select MFDs in the Lowrance, Simrad and B&G family. Units like the Lowrance HDS Gen2 and Gen2 Touch family, Lowrance Elite 7 and Simrad NSS evo2 and NSO evo2 combine advanced charting/navigation features with powerful sounder capabilities, including HD Structure Scan and CHIRP (Compressed High Intensity Radar Pulse)-enabled broadband sounding for detailed, almost photo-like detail of fish and bottom structure.

Photos: BD Outdoors