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As the winter snow piles up across the Northeast, I worry about the deer herds. How are they handling seven feet of snow? Most of all, how are they fending off coyotes that see them as sitting ducks? For decades, the main problem for whitetail deer has been overpopulation, but not anymore. Predators are a significant threat to our deer hunting opportunities, and coyotes aren’t the only deer-eater we need to worry about. This post from North American Whitetail covers the situation splendidly.

Coyotes not only prey on winter whitetails, but kill every fawn they can catch.

Coyotes not only prey on winter whitetails, but kill every fawn they can catch.

Sunken into the dry, dusty brush and grass filling the gaps between rocky outcrops, I surveyed the draw — almost a canyon — through my rifle scope. “Ready,” I whispered to my hunting partner, satisfied with my line of sight in several directions.

Eagle Head Outfitters owner and southeast Kansas native Josh Hedges hit a button on his electronic predator call and twisted the volume knob. The painful wailing of a whitetail fawn in distress flooded the silence, echoing against the opposite side of the draw and racing up and down its length. And then, silence.

Several seconds later Josh again worked the controls, and this time a mix of coyote yips and barks and howls resonated across the landscape.

As if on cue, a flash of movement in the draw broke the inertia. I watched as a dozen whitetails busted out of the thick cover heading somewhere, anywhere, but there. I scanned up and down the draw, searching for the cause of their distress, but found none. I concluded the very sound of a coyote killing a fawn had sparked such an urgent need to flee in these whitetails that they would expose themselves in full daylight.

As the doe group disappeared into another canyon, it was difficult to ignore the thought that this was an all-too-familiar occurrence for whitetails in Kansas. Or, for that matter, in the eastern U.S., where coyotes — once a rarity — have taken a foothold on the land and quite literally a bite out of the whitetail herd.


Everyone knows that if you hold a fish out away from your body for a picture, that it will look bigger than it actually is. You can help the illusion if you hide your hands behind the fish. This whopper goes several steps further.

Italian angler Dino Ferrari caught a Wels catfish so massive that some thought the pictures could only be the output of some very creative computer skills. Ferrari anticipated that his ultimate lifetime fishing achievement would be called into question, so he also took video as further proof of the veracity of his catch.

Get the details, and see the amazing video of Dino’s catch in this article from ESPN.

giantcat2Italian fisherman Dino Ferrari hooked a 280-pound, 8-foot-9-inch catfish last Thursday on Italy’s Po River, which is believed to be one of the largest ever caught with a rod and reel.

Ferrari, a bus mechanic who was fishing with his twin brother, spent 40 minutes reeling in the fish, according to this CNN interview. After Ferrari outlasted the monstrosity, he took a few photos and released it back into the river. The photos were so alarming that the authenticity of the catch was called into question. But this video should quiet even the harshest skeptics.

Photos and video: Dino Ferrari


Next up in winter fishing destinations in which to beat cabin fever is Venice, Louisiana. This hot fishing destination is home to all sorts of year-round fishing opportunities. The winter months offer a unique prize, though: the chance to get into larger-grade yellowfin tuna. I don’t know what they call them in Venice, but in Southern California we call them cows — fish in excess of 200 lbs. Does that sound like it would get your blood pumping?

If not, read this story from Coastal Angler. In it, Capt. Peace Marvel recounts when the tuna were so fired up, they were biting on baby carrots!

venice_oil rigIt’s a little known fact that February is in fact the one and only month of the year you can catch giant tuna out of Venice on baby carrots AND celebrate my birthday.

Okay, so the baby carrot thing goes like this:

I had my good friend Jack Anderson and his teenage daughters for a lump tuna slaughter about 15 years ago. The fish were just on fire and we stayed hooked up most of the morning. Both of his girls, after having caught their yellowfin, were sitting in the leaning post eating baby carrots. Jenny dropped one on the deck and said “Yuck,” then threw it overboard. Out of nowhere a big yellowfin rocketed up from the depths and devoured it. I looked at Jenny and said, “Give me one of those.” About three minutes later we were hooked up with a big yellowfin that was obviously not on the Atkins diet. He weighed 156 lbs. and gave us all quite a story to share back at the dock.

I get asked a lot what the best bait is for catching those big fish on the lump, and I’ve said it a thousand times—the bait doesn’t matter so much as the sense of competition going on between the fish. One of the reasons that the Bonita are so important when we are chumming is that if there are a bunch of Bonita in the slick, then the yellowfin are way less selective. And the more fired up the Bonita are, the less selective the yellowfin are.

Photos: Miami Sportfishing


When I was about eight years old, my family went on a camping expedition to Lake Chelan in Eastern Washington state. I remember my dad and I trying all day to catch trout from the little stream running alongside our campsite. The next morning, I got up early and hiked upstream by myself. By the time Dad was up having his first cup of coffee for the day, I had returned with some fresh trout from my expedition. Getting away from the fishing pressure immediately around the campgrounds allowed me to find some fish that weren’t as picky about biting my hook.

It’s getting ever harder to find low-pressured fishing spots, but one great way is to hike into the backcountry of Colorado. This article from the Orvis blog tells you when and how to do it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn part one of this series, we looked at the types of water found in Colorado’s high country wilderness areas. From small streams to beaver ponds and alpine lakes, there is a variety of waters, each with its own set of challenges and opportunities. Here we’ll discuss wilderness access, so let’s jump in.

With only a few exceptions, wilderness areas are open to the public, offering priceless opportunities to visitors. Access to most wilderness areas in Colorado is as easy as finding a trailhead. Wilderness units can border private land, so access may not be available everywhere along the boundary. But from any public access point, including state or federal lands, established trailheads, or public campgrounds, visitors are free to explore. Always carry a map and compass and/or GPS. It is your responsibility to know where private-land boundaries exist, and to avoid trespassing.

Fly-fishing opportunities can exist from wilderness boundaries to the remote interiors. As a general rule, the harder an area is to reach, the less fishing pressure it receives. In our home waters in the Flat Tops Wilderness Area, we find that the most remote lakes and streams can be the most rewarding. With very little pressure, trout tend to be less wary and eager to take a fly. In some remote locations, we also find opportunities for larger native cutthroat and brook trout.

Photos: Ryan McSparran, Orvis


By Rebecca Campbell

Camping in winter has so many rewards compared to summer camping, but when it comes to convincing people to go with you, it’s not always easy.

Solo camping in the winter can be a lonely experience with the long hours in the tent and cold nights, which is why it’s always a good idea to bring someone with you this time of year. Of course, with most people retiring their boots to the closet for the winter, how do you convince them that now is the perfect time for some winter camping in the wild?

Snow Makes Everything Better

Play up the fact that a fresh layer of snow will make even the most camping-shy person be amazed at the transformation that snow can produce. Not only that, but those popular trails frequented so much in the summer months will be completely empty during winter leaving everything pristine and fresh, ready for your footprints.


Bringing the Right Gear

For most people, the idea of camping in winter just does not appeal because it’s too cold. If faced with a determined “no” from your friends when you propose winter camping just tell them that, “there’s no such thing as bad weather just inappropriate clothing.” That means there is no excuse not to camp during the winter as long as you have the right camping gear to help you stay warm.

Ask Your Friend Who Loves a Challenge

We all have someone in our lives who is a bit crazy and loves a challenge. What better challenge to set for someone than to tell them they haven’t experienced a particular camping spot unless they’ve seen it in winter.


What Better Way to Lose Weight?

When camping and hiking during the winter there is no better time to shed the weight and get rid of your guilty overeating habits. You will simply burn every calorie that you eat and some more. Who could resist that combination?
Give Your Friends Reassurance They Need

Your friends may not have gone camping before and probably wouldn’t have even considered it, let alone in winter, which is why you need to give them the reassurance that you know what you’re doing. Remember to bring the essential items with you to ensure you have a safe time when hiking during your camping trip.

Camping, regardless of the time of the year, should be fun, but during winter it adds something special when there is no one else around to spoil the tranquillity. So grab some friends and hit some camping spots this winter to discover the true beauty of winter camping. Before you know it, your friends will be the ones dragging you out for some more winter camping trips.

Happy camping!

Photos: Flickr


By Molly Carter

The thought of a bear attack sounds vicious, but this may be the most non-threatening bear attack ever!

When you think about a bear attack, you think blood, guts and praying to get out of it alive. But this little guy, and his non-threatening bear attack, gives you a whole different idea!

Watch as this little guy just doesn’t give up and keeps going in for the attack, even though his bite doesn’t do much.

Who knew a little bear could be so ferocious?

He may be cute and charming, but he definitely gave us the most non-threatening bear attack ever!