Monthly Archives: August 2014


There are some species of animals that spend their life cycle as both male and female. For example, the California Sheephead is a fish that starts out as female. Then certain environmental conditions occur that spark some of them to become male in order to continue the reproduction of the species. Most species of fish are distinctly male or female, with each gender having its own particular role in reproduction.

Largemouth bass is a species of fish that’s supposed to be distinctly male or female. However, the U.S. Geological Survey has made a startling discovery in some of our nation’s waterways — male bass carrying eggs! Find out what may be causing this disturbing trend in this article from Fishing Tackle Retailer.

agriculturalchemicalsScientists from the U.S. Geological Survey have unearthed an astonishing trend in America’s rivers—male bass are carrying eggs.

The discovery was reveled three weeks ago in a Washington Post report that highlights bass populations in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. That watershed encompasses some of the nation’s most well-known rivers in the Delaware, Ohio and Potomac Rivers. Both smallmouth and largemouth bass in those rivers are, according to the USGS, becoming “intersex” organisms.

That means the fish have two genders. And it’s an alarming sign of industry’s affect on fisheries.

Dissections of intersex bass in the Susquehanna river near Hershey, Pennsylvania uncovered a 100 percent margin of smallmouth bass carrying eggs. Following the research in Pennsylvania—scientists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found female germination cells in 82 percent of the smallmouth and 23 percent of the largemouth bass near the Blue Plains water treatment facility in Washington, D.C.

Photos: Florida Heritage (top); Fishing Tackle Retailer (above)


I stopped taking billfish (such as marlin or sailfish) several years ago. It’s not that I’m some sort of ultra-conservationist, I just believe that apex predators like billfish don’t reproduce as quickly as other species of fish. I think the reason is that they don’t have many natural predators. Slower reproduction is nature’s way of preserving that balance.

On the East Coast, commercial fishing pushed swordfish to the brink of extinction. Fortunately, they have staged an amazing comeback due to successful fishery management. Today, there’s a thriving recreational fishery for them and they’re one billfish I might take (and enjoy eating).

Florida is a hotspot for targeting swords. This article from The Outdoors Guy details how to catch Florida swordfish.

sword2guys-300x225Visualize this, we leave the dock about 2 hours before dark and run due south from Ft. Lauderdale to Miami. We then head out with the aid of satellite navigation and radar into the Gulf Stream and to depths over 1000 feet of water. We then set lines and drift our way back home. We fish live bait, squid with light sticks (as seen in the perfect storm), really whatever it takes to get them going. When the reel goes off, there is nothing more exciting than being out on the ocean at night battling it out with such a powerful yet delicious fish.

There has been quite a bit written about sword fishing lately and for good reason, North Atlantic swordfish populations, which had been severely depleted by the 1990s as a result of over fishing, have staged a stunning recovery, as reported by the international regulatory group (ICCAT) charged with overseeing their protection. Sport fishermen from South Florida are now able to catch this mighty adversary, if properly prepared.

Photos: Nature’s Wallpaper (top); Outdoors Guy (above)


Really, I’m not just some cranky old guy when I say today’s youth is screwed up. Really, I’m not.

I was manning the grill during my son’s seventh-birthday party when while talking to one of his friends, I came to the realization that the kid didn’t understand that chicken (the meat) came from chicken (the animal). True story.

I think one of the beneficial lessons of taking my kids out fishing with me is that they get to experience the whole process of catching a fish and seeing that fish become a meal on their plate.

My kids are still too young to take on some of the fishing trips I go on, but in my opinion it’s never too early to get them started experiencing the outdoors.

The ladies at Women’s Outdoor News feel the same way. In this article, several hunting and fishing ladies give you their tips on introducing kids to the outdoors.

Hini+ytkid_070714What is the right age to introduce children to the outdoors or take them on a fishing or hunting trip? Alaska-born Becky Schwanke, who launched Tuff Kids Outdoors last March, started her journey of being an outdoors lover early, being taken along on hunts with her parents. She took her son on his first moose hunt when he was just 8-months old. “If we can introduce the natural world to our children when they are small, they will perpetually be fascinated by all the amazing interactions and experiences that being outdoors has to offer,” said Becky, “Sunshine, rain, wind, snow, it’s all part of recreating outside and there should be no fear in taking your kids on outings from day one.”

I first met Becky while working on a book project featuring women hunters in Alaska. Not having children of my own, or an expectation of what true accounts would emerge from the interviews, I became most surprised by the stories of women who took their young children on big-game hunts. It wasn’t just a great way to pass on the lessons these women had learned from their own childhoods spent in the outdoors, the stories revealed a powerful intersection between motherhood and hunting. Becky’s views, in particular, made me realize that, for the female hunter, there is no greater joy than being able to share life at its fullest with a child who is watching, participating and questioning.

Photos: Women’s Outdoor News (top); SoCal Salty (above)


Dove season is just around the corner, one of the more fun and social hunts in the country.

In many areas offering liberal bag limits, the weather is warm and hunting is limited to the afternoon, eliminating the early morning rise.

The challenge of dove hunting is hitting these evasive targets. Most shooters take a couple of boxes of shells (probably more than 100 rounds) in the hopes of bagging a limit.

Like any type of hunting, the right gear can make your hunt more comfortable and successful. Bill Miller suggests these must-have items in an OutdoorHub post.

dove-hunting-041211[1]For the devoted wingshooting hunter, spring and summer are filled with clay target shooting. Doves represent the first real hunting opportunity of the fall. Satisfying as a smoked clay target can be, it’s never a 100 percent substitute for real feathers on real birds that can make erratic, evasive maneuvers—and result in terrific table fare. That’s why the traditional early September opening of dove season is such a big deal.

Except for turkey hunting—which is a whole different shotgunning ballgame—you likely have been away from the hunting field since the spring goose seasons ended. Are you ready to enjoy opening day?

Here are some things to put on your checklist to enjoy the opener to its fullest.


Kansas has a plethora of hunting options. You can chase, stalk, and flush just about anything but alligators.

With so much space and so many hunts going on, accidents are bound to happen, and they do, but in record low numbers. Last year, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (DWTP) reported just six incidents of hunting injury, none fatal.

The DWPT is rightfully proud of the lowest number of hunter incidents in 50 years. In this article, they suggest several steps to take in order to make your hunting days safe and secure.

Nebraska 14 pt deer 210Rules of Gun Safety

  • Treat every firearm as if it’s loaded.
  • Never point your firearm at anything you don’t want to shoot.
  • Keep the safety on until right before you shoot.
  • Know your target and what lies beyond it.
  • Never put your finger on the trigger until you are ready to shoot.

Rules of gun safety are just one of many lessons taught during Hunter Education courses in Kansas, and the program is a big reason hunting-related incidents in the state are at an all-time low. Since 1973, more than 500,000 students have completed the Kansas Hunter Education course.


WY Elk 2012 010How a deer is processed very much affects the taste and quality of the meat.

If you’ve ever considered processing your own venison, but were reluctant to try, this video will show you the steps from A to Z.

By doing it yourself, you can insure that you get your deer, that the cuts are exactly to your liking, and you’ll save $50 on each deer.

The folks at GrowingDeer.TV do a great job of explaining the process and the cuts of meat. Check out the video.

Tell us what you think in the comments section below.


A small pack is like the desktop of a computer: There’s just enough room for the essentials.

If you  hunt before or after work, you want to make the most of every minute. That usually means a “grab-‘n-go” pack that contains a few scents, a release, rangefinder,  jerky sticks, and camp paint. You know, the important stuff.

Like your computer desktop, you want those essential hunting items at the ready and you want to know exactly where they are at all times.

Tenzing just introduced the perfect small pack that has many functions, one that’s ideal for the hunter on the go.

TZ721_45With a breathable mesh waist, padded hip panels and a highly adjustable waist belt system, the 2-pound TZ 721 is designed to be worn as an unobtrusive fanny pack while traveling to or from the field. Once its wearer settles into the stand, however, the TZ 721 can be quickly and easily repositioned to the front to keep contents accessible and make use of the plush, built-in muff as a convenient and cozy place for cold hands.  But the TZ 721 Waist Pack’s creature comforts don’t end there. Four specialized pockets — carefully placed in strategic positions — accept hand warmers to heat the hunter’s core.

Available in Realtree Xtra and Mossy Oak Break-Up Infinity, the TZ 721 excels at storing small items inside its 17 total compartments and pockets that might otherwise get lost inside larger packs. There’s a place for everything, starting with the hunter’s mobile device. A pocket inside the top flap of the main compartment allows for smartphone operation without ever removing it from the pack. Open-topped side compartments secure with adjustable bungees are ideal for rangefinders and binoculars, while the pack’s face pocket and sub-compartments are great places for calls, tags, wallet and extra ammunition. The TZ 721’s 294 cubic-inch main compartment is perfect for gloves, hats, knives, keys or cameras. Webbing and compression straps on the pack’s bottom come in handy for securing extra items like rattling antlers or a jacket.


Complaints are common regarding the lack of flavor from ground venison. The meat is very lean and can suffer miserably from overcooking. I often add some ground fatty meat to my ground venison to add flavor and moisture. In this instance, I have used a creamy cheese, onions and mushrooms for flavor. While most of us prefer to have our meat ground for us by a game processor shortly after harvest, you’ll discover that freshly ground meat tastes better than previously ground and then frozen burger. You can also trim up hunks of meat, freeze it and then thaw and grind into burger before cooking.

4 servings



makes 4 big burgers

1 1/2 pounds ground venison

2 tablespoons butter

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium onion, finely diced

2 cups mushrooms, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles

2 tablespoons breadcrumbs

salt and pepper

4 burger buns

4 lettuce leaves

4 slices tomato


Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic until onions are translucent. Stir in mushrooms and sauté until soft. Transfer to a medium bowl and allow to cool. Add ground venison, blue cheese, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper and mix well with your hands to blend. Form into 4 large patties. Grill, pan-fry or broil patties until browned. Add to bun with lettuce, tomato and your choice of other condiments.

Photo: The Sporting Chef


Father and son fishing trip… it sounds innocent enough, right? When fishing in the ocean, though, you need to have a healthy respect for the predators you’ll find there.

One of the most fearsome is the barracuda. There are several species of barracuda found throughout the warmer ocean waters. The species found off the Florida coast can grow in excess of six feet long. Their razor-sharp teeth make them dangerous to other fish and anglers alike.

Thirteen-year-old Parker King found out just how dangerous these fish can be on a recent offshore fishing trip with his dad Irwin. Find out what happened to him on the open water.

Barracuda-Attack-Parker-KingA recent barracuda attack in Florida turned out to be just as a bad as a shark attack bite, and almost as fatal.

When Irwin King took his 13-year-old son Parker fishing, he probably did not consider the threat of a barracuda attack to be that bad in comparison to a shark attack. The father and son were about 18 miles out from Ponce Inlet in Florida when they spotted the barracuda and decided to catch it. When they reeled the 50 pound fish into the boat, all six feet of it flew into the air and its teeth grazed the teen’s bicep and chest.
Because they were so far away from land, they did not even have cell phone reception to call for help, and there was so much blood that King feared the barracuda attack might kill his son:

“I was really… I thought… I was waiting for him to start turning pale because of the amount of blood and everything else. I mean, all I could think of was he’s going to die on me. I would have lost it. I don’t know what I would have done.”

Photos: David Pritchard (top); Inquisitr (above)


SD Muz Deer 2013 075Sometimes old-school hunting tactics work best.

One of the basic tenets of Southern hunting is the tried-and-true shooting house. For decades, Southern hunters have been watching green fields, clear cuts, and other prime whitetail haunts from the confines of a small structure tucked away in a tree line. The containment of the blind keeps bugs away, insulates against heat and cold, and allows movement at the moment of truth.

These blinds aren’t portable, yet if you hunt the same place consistently, consider one for deer and turkey. The old shooting house is becoming increasingly popular nationwide.

The folks at Advantage Hunting Blinds have the process down to a science. If you’re considering a ground blind that won’t wear our or blow down, check out their gear.

1102[1]Hunters often spend a fortune buying lumber and constructing shooting houses, only to see that investment gradually deteriorate as the years pass.  Advantage Hunting Blinds, built with heavy-duty polyethylene shells, are designed to last. The engineers behind each blind from Advantage Hunting understand that features are very important, but durability is a key.

Speaking of those very important features, Advantage Hunting Blinds offers many, including patented Scent-Proof technology, portability and efficiency  The heavy-duty polyethylene shells, through-bolt design with interlocking corners, weather- and bug-resistant materials, tinted polycarbonate windows, and carpeted, ¾-inch pressure-treated plywood floor assure a long-lasting blind for hunting seasons to come.

Advantage Hunting offers two blinds, the Deluxe and the Whitetail, and both come in standard and condo models. The standard comfortably sits two hunters, while the condo accommodates four people.  The Deluxe Blind is constructed with a revolutionary, patented SCENTite scent-proof technology. The technology allows you to hunt on the ground or elevated without being detected by a deer’s sense of sight or smell. SCENTite Deluxe Blinds are airtight. Fresh air enters through intake ports located near the bottom of the blind, which then drafts your scent and vents it 30 feet above ground level.

The more economical Whitetail Blind from Advantage Hunting can be configured to suit the needs of firearm hunters and archers. It is built with optional full or trap doors, and a through-bolt design with interlocking corners. The result is a lightweight and nearly maintenance-free blind.