Monthly Archives: August 2013

Buck fever may be the best-known (and loved) ailment of the fall season, but in states that have a fall turkey season, the quest for an elusive longbeard can be just as addictive as the hunt for a trophy buck. Whether you’re hunting private property or public land, insider tips and knowledge can give you a distinct advantage that can help you bring home a trophy tom. The National Wild Turkey Federation says their 2013 Fall Turkey Hunting Guide, available to NWTF members, can give you that distinct advantage.

TurkeyHunt Photo by Ohio Department of Natural Resources

Turkey Country’s annual fall hunting forecast gives NWTF members an edge in the realm of scattered flocks and turkey dogs with exclusive information where to go, along with the basics — season dates, hunter education requirements, bag limits and more. NWTF biologists from across the country have furnished you with turkey forecasts, including population data, to help you fine-tune your autumn turkey trips.

Photos: National Wild Turkey Federation (top); Ohio Department of Natural Resources (above)


Whether you’re heading out for a peaceful day of solitary fishing or loading your closest friends on your pontoon to enjoy warmer waters before autumn chills the air, boating safety is a top priority. Boating incidents can happen any time; but a little preparation before your trip, and keeping Sea Tow’s safe boating tips in mind, can help ensure everyone has fun and returns to shore safely.

Photo by City of Lafayette Aquatics

Wear a life jacket. Life jackets save lives, but only if you wear them. New options such as inflatable belt packs and vests make life jackets cool and comfortable. Wear one at all times while on the water. Don’t forget that children under the age of 13 are required to wear life jackets by law.

Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

Photos: Nevada Department of Wildlife (top); City of Lafayette Aquatics (above)


While you are setting there in your air conditioning, reading about this sweltering August heat, take comfort in knowing that in only three or four weeks you will see the first migrating waterfowl come through the Ozarks, the blue-winged teal, which are staging on marshes in the northern prairies of the Dakotas and Minnesota and the wetlands of Canada at this very hour. And if you are observant and have been anywhere close to a creek or river or pond lately, you have seen maturing wood-ducks in pretty good numbers right here, getting ready for their own migrations in November, whenever a good hard cold spell settles in.

Right now it is hard to think about cold spells! Still, I think I prefer August to February. Do you realize that only 75 years ago no one in the Ozarks had air conditioning? My grandpa just went about doing his work and ignored the dire warnings on the television…. Oh yeah, I forgot… they didn’t have television! The heat was something they were accustomed to, and lived with. Of course I remember there were lots of cool, clean creeks which had plenty of water then. Those creeks are dry now, and where there is water, it is much too dirty to swim in. But we have progressed to a point where we don’t need clean streams and creeks, for we have air conditioning and swimming pools.

For generations, grandsons were much like their grandfathers, and lived a life very similar to the one their grandfather lived. My grandson, however, will know nothing about the kind of life my grandfather knew. He will nearly be a different animal entirely.

And there are so many ways that is a very good thing… but there are some ways it is not so good. It might be that what my grandfather could survive, my grandson will not be able to live with at all.

I think it is important that our generation pass on to, and teach our grandchildren about, the wisdom, the customs, beliefs, and knowledge our grandfathers had, which will be lost without it. And some might say it is of no importance that a coming generation remembers or knows how to do the things our ancestors knew. After all, there never will come a time we do not have enough oil or electricity or water, or food, right?

My grandson will never need to know how to set a trotline or how to hunt squirrels and clean them, or how to make a tonic from the roots of plants to treat some ailment. But I think I will teach him anyway.

Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

In the 1990s, Pennsylvania was a powerhouse of deer hunting, with thriving populations and a million licensed hunters. Deer hunting was such a historical event that thousands of merchants and small-town residents counted on hunter dollars to support their families and businesses. No more. Voicing concern about over-browsing in state forests, the Pennsylvania Game & Fish Commission set upon a mission of reducing deer numbers and establishing minimum point restrictions for buck harvests. The above graphic shows how the deer herd has declined; but the even more dramatic story is the decimation of deer hunting traditions and lifestyles. Many state game lands are so devoid of deer that more than 200,000 hunters don’t buy licenses. Hunters who frequently bagged a buck on opening day may not see a single deer. Despite this negative impact and nearly 15 years of reduced deer numbers, the forests have not responded and a vocal group of sportsmen is crying foul, citing illegality in state law.

Greg Levengood of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers gives this update:

The PA Game Commission and DCNR have now added insult to injury to the sportsmen of Pennsylvania with their recent announcement to conduct a further study as to why the forests of Pennsylvania are not regenerating, and its relationship to white tailed deer. In other words, as John Eveland so aptly writes in the attached commentary:

byers017Considering that forest seedling regeneration has not improved after 12 years of herd reduction, is there some other forest-related factor that can be discovered to justify the on-going deer-reduction program?  In retrospect, when the PGC first considered reducing the deer herd in 1998, the agency should have conducted an extensive study to not only determine the benefits that would result, but also the costs that would be incurred from the deer-reduction program – impacts to the ecosystem, to society, to the state’s economy, and especially to the tradition of sport hunting. When faced with collapsing the dominant herbivore from the state’s natural ecosystem, that this cost/benefit analysis was not done is unconscionable, and reeks of incompetence.

60050006Not only has this deer management plan failed, it has cost the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania millions of dollars, and it is a direct violation of state law! Yet……this Agency continues to perpetrate the agenda of a few people upon the sportsmen of this state because they are accountable to no one.  With all of the evidence that has been uncovered the past few years concerning the legitimacy of the PGC/DCNR deer reduction plan, it has been rendered indefensible. In summary,…this after-the-fact “5-year-or-much-longer” PGC/DCNR/PSU study should not distract decision-makers from recognizing the great and lasting harm that has been caused to the Commonwealth by a natural resource management failure of such great magnitude. No degree of tweaking of the deer management program as a result of new study findings should be permitted to justify their travesty. The deer-reduction program needs to be halted now; a new sensible, science-based, and legal program installed; nearly 200,000 lost hunters need to be returned to the sport; and the annual hemorrhaging of $285-415 million in state economic activity ended.

The Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania are fighting these deer tactics. For more information, and to find out how you can help solve this problem, visit their website.


How to miss fewer doves? Take fewer shots! Everyone misses doves, so with the season underway, it’s time to tune up. Shooting sporting clays or other clay target venues will help, but it won’t overcome the basic premise of improvement in wing shooting or any sport. If you always do what you’ve always done, you can’t expect to improve. This tip from the OSP (Optimum Shooting Performance) Knowledge Vault will help you mount your gun more consistently, a skill critical to consistent proficiency when wing shooting. It involves attaching a flashlight to your shotgun and developing the muscle memory to perfect the mount and point. Gil & Vicki Ash are two of the nation’s top shooting coaches and this flashlight technique is one of their most requested improvement tips. Click here for more


For some shooters, hitting a bull’s-eye just isn’t enough. Sure, there’s a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when you hit the mark, but something’s missing… A visceral indication of your accuracy, something that lets the world know what you’ve done, something that says, “Hell, yeah!”

And that’s where binary exploding rifle targets come in. The latest range among certain sharp-shooting crowds, these targets are primarily used as shot indicators for long-range target practice and training. These detonations produce a large explosion and a cloud of vapor water, creating an easy indicator of a marksman’s success.

tannBut with the introduction of more products to the market comes the risk of inferior products and shooters using those products in a careless manner. Ammoland goes back to the roots of this invention and focuses on the man who developed the first binary exploding rifle target, Dan Tanner:

Dan Tanner wasn’t satisfied with the paper or the poof. With a clever mind and dogged persistence, the Oregonian and Arkansas native set off to create a target that would clearly (and audibly) reveal long distance rifle hits. Tanner sought out to produce something that triggered the senses of sight and sound but without any byproduct risk of it causing a fire.

So he developed the first binary rifle target.

Learn more about Tannerite at their official website.

Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

Photos: Wikimedia Commons (top); Cheaper Than Dirt! (above)


The release of the bowstring is the most critical element in archery. You can do everything 100% correct, yet if you screw up the release, you’ll miss. Inconsistent releases of the string with the use of one’s fingers has caused many an archer to rely on release aides.

One such tool is TruGlo’s Nitrus, and it’s a good one. Nitrus is a combination of a crisp trigger, solid clamping jaws, and the unique BOA release system. The strap is a soft fleece-like fabric in Realtree camo (so it won’t blow your concealment system) which feels comfortable on your wrist. Even though the trigger is adjustable, I found that it came perfectly adjusted for my taste on the first shot. Finally, the BOA locking system allows you to adjust the strap as loosely or tightly as you wish, with no buckles to fumble with. It goes on with a twist and off with a snap. Here are the features of the new product:

13032006164313_is[1]•Quiet, fast, and accurate.

•Breakthrough stainless steel dual-caliper design (patent pending).

•Ultra-smooth trigger pull with a crisp feel.

•Micro-adjustable trigger sensitivity/travel.

•No unwanted trigger travel.

•Uncompromising rock-solid connection system for ultra-precise length adjustments.

•Streamlined jaw design for fast and easy loading — perfect for string loops.

•Precision stainless-steel, wear-free jaws.

•Stainless-steel firing mechanism for increased durability and repeatability.

•Forward trigger position enables faster arrow speeds.

•Ergonomic hand and finger position.

•360-degree rotating head eliminates string torque.

•Precision CNC-machined construction for reliable, durable, worry free performance.

•Premium release strap for long-lasting comfort.

• TG2550MBC features the BOA Closure System.

For more information, see the TruGlo website.


Wild hogs are coming! Wild hogs are coming! Like a pest-control Paul Revere, wildlife officials are warning about the dramatic population increase in wild hogs, and the “militia” (in this case, hunters) may be called out to help. Even green organizations are alarmed at the destruction to the environment caused by these feral beasts and the expense and difficult measures required to control them. Could the wild hog replace the whitetail deer as the neighborhood big-game animal? Perhaps make pulled pork a staple like hot dogs? Kevin Murphy reports for Reuters in this informative post:

Ryan pigA few years ago, Jim Vich would not have dreamed of setting up an elaborate trap to catch wild hogs.  But that was before Oklahoma was invaded by a plague of pigs that devour crops, uproot pastures, destroy wildlife habitats, spread disease to humans and animals, kill trees and even knock over cemetery stones.

“I started trapping them more or less in self-defense,” said Vich, 60, a livestock farmer in northeast Oklahoma. “They were tearing up my place.”  Oklahoma is battling a wild pig problem that has spread across the United States. The pigs, evolved from introduced wild boars or from escaped domestic stock, are prevalent in 36 states and have been sighted in 47 states, according to authorities who track their populations.

They are vicious critters that typically grow to 200 pounds, can run 30 miles per hour, jump three feet high and climb out of traps with walls up to six feet high, experts say…


Colorado Elk 2010 075The best state to hunt elk is any state in which you can get a license. Arizona and New Mexico produce big numbers of huge bulls year after year, yet drawing an elk tag is difficult and the cost of private land hunts is significant. States like Idaho and Colorado offer over-the-counter licenses and enough public land to wander for a lifetime; that makes them great choices. Outfits like Winterhawk Outfitters will pack you into the Flat Tops Wilderness in a typical horseback hunt, or you can drive into the steep mountains of Idaho, park your rig, and go elk hunting.

The best elk hunt is the one in which you actively participate; this will be different for every hunter. Do you have the five-to-ten thousand dollars necessary for a guided hunt? If so, consult a booking agent or attend outdoor shows where you can speak to the outfitter directly. Internet searches work also, but be sure to follow up with references.

Spike camps are a great intermediate step if you know your way around the Colorado Elk 2010 428mountains and are in good shape. Typically, an outfitter will drive or pack you into a remote tent camp and provide most of the hardware essentials like a stove, water, tent, and fuel, while you bring your food and hunting gear and do the cooking. This is one of the most enjoyable types of hunting, and your success will be directly related to your skill as a hunter.

Finally, an elk hunt can be seen as a highly motivated camping trip, Colorado Elk 2010 330especially if you’re willing to bivouac into the mountains and live with the elk. This is always high adventure and has worked well for a group with which I hunt. We usually have six to eight people in camp — men and women — and bivouac for three days at a time, while others hunt from the base camp. My last year in Idaho, I bagged a nice 5×5 using a Dodge Charger as transportation, so it can be done. Elk hunting is the most challenging, adventurous, and accessible hunt in North America and every hunter needs to try it at least once.

Tell us what you think in the comments section below.


The son of a son of a sailor proved his mettle during a recent fishing expedition off the coast of Nantucket. Singer Jimmy Buffett, whose catalog of favorites includes many a nautical reference, snagged a 350-lb., 74-inch-long tuna on a day out at sea. The musician was enjoying a day off between two shows at Jones Beach on his summer home of Long Island, NY, when he was surprised by what he found at the end of his line. The catch took Buffett an hour or so to reel in. No word on whether the songsmith enjoyed the tuna with a bottle of LandShark beer…