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I recently returned from a fishing trip to Punta Colonet, just off the Baja Mexico coast, south of Ensenada. The original plan for this trip was to catch big bottomfish while the bottomfish closure was in effect in U.S. waters. Instead, it turned into a yellowtail (a cousin to the amberjack) trip. The preferred method to catch them was on heavy jigs. The fish were holding pretty deep, 30 to 40 fathoms. I discovered that not all heavy jigs are equal. Weight was only one factor. Shape was a big factor that I’m not sure everyone else considered.

Thankfully, I brought a good assortment and found one that really worked. Interesting to me is that the same lessons learned in this ocean trip can be applied at the lake. In this article from Sportsmans Lifestyle, read how Yamaha pro Doug Stange uses different metal jigs to attract winter smallies.

spoon_stangeMost bass fisherman might think that action cools as fish move into the Fall months, but nothing could be further from the truth for smallmouth bass. And one of the best ways to take advantage of them is an unconventional cool-water tactic — throwing spoons.

Yamaha pro and Hall-of-Fame angler Doug Stange prefers pitching metal as the temperatures fall as a surefire way to prospect for smallies.

“As dissolved oxygen and water temperatures become more evenly distributed in water bodies in late fall, smallmouth bass can hold just about anywhere,” says Stange. Finding them is the key, which means presentations that cover water fast are best … and nothing covers water better than spoons.”

Stange asserts that the notion of casting metal to Fall smallmouth may seem strange at first, even for those who vertically jig winter-chilled largemouth. But as late-season smallmouth move toward wintering areas they feed heavily on baitfish. And nothing reaches deep water as fast or mimics forage fish better than a spoon.

Photos: K Marine (top); Sportsmans Lifestyle (above)

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Check out this California tule elk hunt as it comes to a dramatic conclusion with a perfect kill shot.

Viewing this California tule elk hunt will have you itching to get out there and shoot one of your very own bulls.

Watch as Troy and Jack Link of Jack Link’s Beef Jerky feed their wild side in this California tule elk hunting excursion.

Patience and precision helped this hunting crew bag a beautiful bull while hunting for California tule elk. The bull was about 200 yards away when the first shot was fired, but it was the second one that brought him down.

Take a lesson from the Link boys and feed your wild side, by thinking ahead and waiting for just the right moment to pull the trigger.

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By Daniel Ross

When choosing what weapon to use for deer hunting, it ultimately comes down to two choices for the modern hunter: the bow or the rifle.

Everyone seems to have their preference. Why do some prefer one to the other? What are the pros and cons of each? Which one costs more time and money?

While I, myself, have only ever experienced hunting with a rifle, I’ve asked many of my bowhunting friends what makes them prefer the bow to the gun. I’ve also researched each of the weapons to give a basic overview of how they’re used while hunting, and why some prefer one over the other.

Rifles

Before I started hunting, I assumed that all hunters used rifles. It’s been the weapon of choice for hunters for two centuries and has become so ubiquitous that I didn’t even consider that other weapons were used. The main reason why is that rifles are just mechanically better than bows. They are easier to use, have easily-transportable ammunition, and have a much longer range.

Due to the ease of use, hunters who don’t have a lot of time prefer rifles as it doesn’t take as long to get proficient with it. The longer range is also important as it means rifle hunters don’t have to worry as much about being stealthy like bowhunters. A rifle hunter can take out a deer from several hundred yards away while a bowhunter has to get within about 40 yards.

Generally, the rifle is a much more accessible weapon for hunters. Not only that, but since it has been the most popular hunting weapon for so long, many hunters have developed certain traditions around it. I actually know a family where every boy is given a rifle as a gift on his thirteenth birthday. They’ve done this for at least four generations.

It’s also worth mentioning that using a rifle is actually cheaper than using a bow. On average, it’ll cost a hunter around a $1,000 to buy a useable rifle and all the necessary accessories for it. A bow will end up costing twice that when you consider that not only will they have to buy a working bow, but they will also need things like scentless clothing and camo to get within range of the deer they plan to hunt. Rifles are superior to bows as weapons, in my opinion. Although, many choose to hunt with bows for other reasons.

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Bows

Something that surprised me when I started researching bowhunters is 75% of them also use rifles. In most cases, they started hunting with rifles first then decided to switch to bows later. When I asked why they switched, most of them told me it was because the sense of accomplishment they felt. It takes years to become proficient with a bow, and most of them feel a great sense of confidence wielding a weapon it took them so long to become good with.

Another thing I found was that many of them said that bowhunting felt like a much more natural way to hunt.

As a good friend of mine put it, “It’s the way all our ancestors did it going back to the cavemen. Stalking your prey, sneaking up close, and seeing the look on their face when the arrow flies feels so much more natural than taking them out through a scope 200 yards away. It feels like the way hunting was supposed to be done.”

Each of them told me that using a bow to take down their prey gave them an adrenaline rush that they couldn’t get by using a rifle. While a rifle may technically be a superior weapon to a bow, it doesn’t seem to give the same experience, according to those I’ve spoken with.

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Ultimately, each weapon is different, and which one people prefer depends on a number of factors. Whether it’s convenience, tradition, or looking for a thrill, people will pick up a bow or rifle depending on which one better fits their needs.

Happy hunting, regardless of your weapon of choice.

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Striped bass are one of the most prized gamefish on the East Coast. In Maryland, striped bass (known locally as rockfish) are the state fish. Fishing for striped bass isn’t a pastime, it borders on religion. Anglers will get up before dawn to cast their long rods from shoreline rock jetties in hopes of getting a bite from the prized fish.

Lately, those bites have been harder and harder to come by. That’s why local anglers are really upset about poachers. They are keenly watching to see what happens in a current poaching case.

Get the latest update about the case in this article from The Baltimore Sun.

A St. Michaels fisherman received probation Friday for helping illegally harvest tens of thousands of pounds of striped bass from the Chesapeake Bay, but must pay $40,000 in fines and restitution for what the sentencing judge called an “egregious” offense.

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Anglers like this one await the judge’s decision in the poaching case

U.S. District Court Judge Richard D. Bennett told Lawrence Daniel Murphy he seriously considered jailing him, but went along with the prosecution’s recommendation for probation because of Murphy’s relatively minor role in a fish poaching conspiracy involving three other Eastern Shore watermen.

However, Bennett said he wanted to hit Murphy in the wallet to send a message to other watermen that illegal fishing is a “very, very serious matter.” Striped bass, also known as rockfish, are Maryland’s state fish.

Murphy, 37, worked as a helper aboard the Kristin Marie from 2007 to 2012 with Tilghman Island watermen Michael D. Hayden Jr. and William J. Lednum. They were caught in February 2011 trying to retrieve more than 20,000 pounds of striped bass using illegal, unmarked and unattended gill nets off the southern tip of Kent Island. Earlier, authorities charged, the men had illegally harvested more than 25,000 pounds of striped bass with a wholesale value of $66,000.

Photos: The Baltimore Sun (top); Sean Howard for Maryland Department of Natural Resources (above)

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We knew the streets of New York were wild, but with a coyote captured in Manhattan, things are a little more wild than people thought.

It had been over two weeks since Riverside Park Administrator John Herrod first sighted the coyote. Although park officials and Animal Control knew it was there, cold weather and the coyote’s elusiveness kept them from finding it. Until this past weekend.

Watch this news clip to see what happened when they finally got close enough for a capture.

For two hours, NYPD and Animal Control attempted to capture the coyote in Riverside Park in Upper Manhattan, but due to the extreme cold, the tranquilizer darts kept freezing. Trying to keep the process as humane as possible, new darts were received and the coyote was eventually cornered in a basketball court.

The coyote was hit with a tranquilizer gun around 8:30 p.m. on Saturday and taken to the Animal Care and Control on Sunday, where it was given a clean bill of health by a local veterinarian. Later that same day, the coyote captured in Manhattan, nicknamed Riva by those who interacted with her, was released in the wilderness area near the Bronx.

As populations grow, coyotes are known to cause problems in urban areas due to less and less natural habitat, and apparently New York City is no different.

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If there’s one annoying thing about hunting with a crossbow, it’s the need to discharge the cocked bow at the end of the hunt. As with muzzleloading rifles, the best way to unload is to fire away. Sportsmen can shoot their bolt into the ground, yet this often destroys an expensive arrow and broadhead. The folks at Rinehart have a simple solution that easily solves this problem: a small angled discharge target. Here are the details from Archery Business.

At the end of a hunt, discharging a crossbow into a soft target is the safest way to unload.

At the end of a hunt, discharging a crossbow into a soft target is the safest way to unload.

As a bowhunter who shoots a lot of arrows throughout the year, I’m always on the prowl for a cool target. I’ve always been drawn to the durability and self-healing foam of Rinehart’s line, and its 3D targets make for fun realistic target sessions. Both 3D and large foam targets are great leading up to a hunt, but I also feel the need to shoot my bow often while on an actual hunt.  Whether I’m camped in the mountains hunting screaming bulls or just driving down the road to my whitetail haunt, nothing builds confidence like placing a few arrows in the 10-ring before hitting the woods.   MORE