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The top three questions in any deer camp center around the best broadhead, rifle caliber, and the rut.

Although the first two topics will never be scientifically settled, the third is a matter of record. Scientists have studied the onset of the rut extensively, with many results garnered from road-killed deer. When a doe is discovered, biologists recover a fetus and backdate the time of conception, giving a precise indication of when the doe was bred. This summary from QDMA lays out the facts.

Bass Mossy Oak Scent Blocker 238Whitetails are rutting somewhere in their range from August through February. Amazingly, they breed over this seven-month period just in the state of Florida! Let’s look at the factors that lead to widely varying breeding dates, and you’ll also see how practicing Quality Deer Management can make the rut more obvious and more exciting where you hunt. (This article is a short sample from QDMA’s “Quality Whitetails” magazine. 

Photoperiod is the Trigger

Photoperiod is the interval in a 24-hour period during which a plant or animal is exposed to light. Photoperiod is directly tied to growth, development, and seasonal behaviors in plants and animals. With respect to whitetails, photoperiod regulates some hormonal production that is directly tied to antler growth and the breeding season. A diminishing ratio of daylight to darkness triggers behavioral and physiological changes that lead to breeding. First, antlers mineralize and bucks shed their velvet. Next, bucks begin sparring, rubbing trees, and making scrapes. This transitions to some fighting to establish dominance and breeding rites and eventually to breeding.

When Ameristep introduced a series of new blinds inspired by Duck Commander, it was easy to get excited about the “foolability” of these products, yet the one that captured my imagination the most is the Duck Commander Kid’s 1st Blind. What a terrific idea.

Every child loves to build forts in the living room with blankets or pretend they’re camping in the wilds. This inexpensive blind allows their imaginations to run wild and they can pretend to be camping, hunting, or exploring the great outdoors.

It’s small enough to use in the house or backyard, and will be an effective concealment device when that youngster is ready for the real thing.

Here’s a quick summary of the kid’s blind and others that are ideal for waterfowl, whitetail deer, and wild turkeys. Check out the one that best suites your needs.

Duck Commander Kid’s 1st Blind

Looking for the perfect gift for the future waterfowl hunter in the house? The Duck Commander Kid’s 1st Blind will entertain the youngsters in the playroom and yard, and it will conceal them in duck swamp. The blind has a 36-inch footprint and is 36 inches tall. A spring steel design allows for easy set up and take down. The blind comes standard in Realtree Max-4 Camo.

1R41C032DFR DC_Rapid_Opening_Chair_Blind copy

Duck Commander Rapid Shooter Chair Blind

This blind and chair combination is perfect when cover is sparse and a single hunter needs full concealment. The blinds features a rip-cord release for rapid opening when the birds are in range, and it has a very quick magnetic closure system to get hidden again when the shooting is over.

Duck Commander Landing Strip Blind

This lay-out style blind is great for a variety of waterfowl hunting situations, from an open field with no cover to the edge of a marsh-or even a pothole where the ducks are wary. Features of this quality blind include Realtree Max-4 Camo designed for waterfowl habitats, tough 600D polyester fabric, a full-length padded seat and headrest, and a heavy-duty aluminum frame with steel reinforced joints. The frame can be adjusted for a total of six profile settings.

Duck Commander Run Way Blind

Hunters not needing quite all the features of the top-of-the-line layout blind, but who still want comfort and concealment at a great price should check out the Run Way Blind. This quality blind includes Realtree Max-4 Camo, 600D polyester fabric, a full-length padded seat and headrest and a heavy-duty aluminum frame.

Hay bale style blinds are ideal for waterfowl or whitetail deer.

Hay bale-style blinds are ideal for waterfowl or whitetail deer.

Duck Commander Bail Out Hay Bale Blind

Ever watched ducks or geese work an open field and wonder how in the world you could stay hidden enough behind a hay bale to hunt them? Try hunting from inside a hay bale! The Duck Commander Bail Out Hay Bale Blind includes a backpack carrying case to make it easy to transport to the field. It also features a rip-cord release for rapid opening of the top third of the blind. Integral brush pockets allow for the addition of natural cover for even better concealment. And this blind isn’t just for waterfowlers-side and rear windows are perfect for deer and turkey hunting.

For more information on the line of Duck Commander Waterfowl Blinds from Ameristep, or to find a retailer near you, visit ameristep.com.

SD Turkey 2013 432Fall turkey hunting plays second fiddle to the number of spring turkey advocates, yet more and more hunters are hearing the music of the lost turkey call.

Hunting turkeys in the fall requires lots of leg work and is the perfect means of scouting for the upcoming deer and bear seasons.

This video, about the Pennsylvania fall turkey forecast, is ideal for Keystone state hunters and a good primer for anyone else thinking of tackling the fall bird challenge.

The foliage is spectacular, the weather is still relatively mild, and you don’t have to sit in one spot and shiver.

Check out this cool sporting adventure and don’t forget to bring a young friend.

Photo (top): Skunk in the Woodpile

IMG_20101110_113157One of the most exciting combination hunts of fall includes whitetail deer and black bears.

Many sportsmen associate black bears with spring hunting, yet numerous states offer a fall season in conjunction with archery deer.

West Virginia’s Monongahela National Forest is one prime example of public land with an ample bear population and whitetail deer.

In October and early November, bears can be hunted in the same habitat as deer, since acorns are prime feeding targets of each animal — the bruins to build fat for hibernation and the deer to build fat for the winter.

This GrowingDeer.TV video shows an exciting hunt from Arkansas and explains the process involved in bagging a monster black bear. Check your state game regulations carefully before you take this combo challenge. It’s surely one you won’t forget.

Photo (top): Grizzly Bear Lodge and Safari


It’s time for early-season Canada goose. In this premiere episode of “The X,” Realtree’s new all-waterfowl hunting show, the guys from Fowled Reality head over to New York. The Empire State offers some of the best goose-hunting opportunities around, with a 15-goose-per-man daily limit. Check out the action as the team finds a plethora of opportunities abounding in the fields, in this first episode of “The X.”


My son just entered high school, and all of a sudden “hanging out” has become more important than going fishing with dad. As a result, I’ve been spending more time with just my daughter on the water. It’s been a bit of a transition for both of us, but we’ve had fun discovering new ways to have fun on the water without her big brother.

Greg Workman has spent 29 years working for the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission. Despite all that time on the water, Greg discovered something new on a recent daddy/daughter fishing trip. Read about what they learned in this installment from the FWCC’s Gone Coastal blog.

It started off as your typical “let’s go fishing” kind of week for my 13-year-old daughter, Hannah, the youngest of my four children. I’ve been working with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) for 29 years, and my family has spent time on the water and in the woods. Our experiences are golden to me, and each one is unique.

As Friday came around, the night-before checklist was completed: batteries charged, poles, tackle and PFDs loaded in the boat, fuel and oil topped off, and the trailer hooked to the truck.

I woke up extra early to double-check the weather, which looked to be perfect. We loaded up and headed to the boat ramp before the morning rush and started our journey toward our desired fishing spot, which happens to be several miles out from the ramp in the Gulf of Mexico. Manatee and other marine life sightings heightened the excitement.

Photos: Greg Workman for FWCC