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Gaining permission to hunt private property can be a challenge, yet it can be achieved if you go about it in the right way.

Imagine if a stranger knocked on your door and asked to borrow your car, truck, or camper? Would they act responsibly? Return it as good as new? Why should you do that anyway?

For farmers and ranchers, their property is their most valuable asset. Granting permission for you to trespass and harvest the game that they’ve probably fed the entire year is a significant request.

Kip Adams does a great job of summarizing ten positive steps to gain a landowner’s trust in this post from QDMA.

SD Rifle Deer 2012 054Hunter access was identified as one of the largest issues impacting the future of hunting at the 2013 North American Whitetail Summit. East of the Rocky Mountains, most hunting occurs on private land, and this is especially true in states like Alabama, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and Texas where 97 to 98 percent of the land is in private ownership. Add in development, anti-hunting sentiment among some landowners, and competition from other hunters, and it can be downright difficult finding a place to hunt.

In decades past, many hunters could walk out the back door, cross several boundary lines during the course of a hunt, and never worry about upsetting the landowners or being arrested for trespassing. Unfortunately those days are long gone. There may be a few remote areas like this left, but for the vast majority of hunters this isn’t the case.

The reality for many hunters today is they must seek land to hunt on. Some own land, some lease land, and most seek the opportunity to hunt on someone else’s land by receiving permission from the landowner. A few are good with “the ask” but most are not, so here are 10 tips to help you secure a spot to hunt.

1. Ask permission well in advance of the season. Don’t show up the week before opening day and expect a positive response. It may happen, but increase your odds by asking weeks or months in advance.

2. Make a good first impression. Don’t show up dirty from work or in hunting attire. A shower and clean (non-camo) clothes can go a long way toward receiving permission.


Catching a big bass. It’s what drives 80% of the entire recreational fishing industry.

It makes sense. Only a small percentage of our nation’s anglers have access to the ocean. But everyone has access to lakes to fish for bass.

Given this reality, it’s logical that the main motivation for millions of anglers is catching a really big bass.

Most will never catch a double-digit fish. That’s why the anglers on this list are at a level all their own.

Find out just how high the bar is now in this excellent article from SDFish.

LMB_kuritaDid you know 11 of the top 25 biggest bass of all-time have been caught right here in San Diego County? And of those, 5 were caught at Miramar Reservoir. Only Castaic Lake of Los Angeles County can claim more of the top 25 catches than Miramar. Not surprisingly, March tops the list of months to catch one of the top 25 biggest bass of all time.

Want to see your name on the list like Jed Dickerson, Dave Zimmerlee, Gene Dupras, Mac Weakley and Keith Gunsauls? “All” you have to do is catch a bass weighing more than 19 pounds! The good news? You live in the best county in the world to do it at.

Photos: Fish With JD (top); SF Gate (above)


Rifles and shotguns made by O.F. Mossberg are very modestly priced; in some cases, they’re downright inexpensive.

I’ve been testing these American-made firearms for nearly ten years and have been exceedingly pleased with each one.

The photo above shows one buck taken in Central South Dakota on a brutally cold day in a howling wind. The Mossberg downed that buck with a precise shot and another the next week at 238 yards. That rifle remains one of my favorites, and shoots just as well as others costing twice the price.

Mossberg not only makes quality firearms, but innovative ones as well. The company was recently recognized for these attributes at a national retailer’s convention. Here’s how it all went down.

SD Rifle Deer 2012 024O.F. Mossberg & Sons, Inc., America’s oldest family-owned and operated firearms manufacturer, was presented with the “2014 Innovator of the Year” Award during the opening night festivities at the 2014 National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesaler (NASGW) Expo & 41st Annual Meeting in Little Rock, Arkansas. During the annual Awards Reception and Dinner, NASGW recognizes those manufacturers who contribute significantly to the successful business climate of its wholesale members. This is the second time that Mossberg has been recognized as Innovator of the Year, since the inception of this prestigious award in the 2012.

“Recognition for developing the most innovative products is a tremendous honor, particularly when this acknowledgement comes from our customers,” commented Tom Taylor, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “And in such a competitive market, Mossberg is extremely proud, and humbled, to be a two-time recipient of the innovator award. Developing, manufacturing and marketing the highest-quality, leading-edge firearms are the focus of our entire team.”

Mossberg recently announced increased manufacturing capabilities with the expansion of their Texas-based facility and bolstered several of their most-innovative firearm platforms in 2014, including 7.62mm (308 Win) chamberings in their ground-breaking MVP Series of bolt-action rifles and new 20-gauge and 22LR offerings to their FLEX System of shotguns and rifles. Joining forces with other family-focused partners, such as the Duck Commanders and pro-shooters, Jerry, Kay and Lena Miculek, brings higher visibility to the company’s product lines and increases product demand for distribution partners.

For more information about Mossberg firearms, visit mossberg.com.

Controlling whitetail deer populations with state-wide decisions is a difficult task, yet in the opinion of Greg Levensgood, the Pennsylvania Game Commission has it all wrong.

Reducing deer numbers is usually a premise of quality deer management, yet when done over vast regions, mistakes can be made that dramatically reduce hunter numbers and damage local economies. As Levensgood writes:

August Products 2011 136Supporters of the deer reduction plan have hid behind the word “science” and used it to intimidate legislators and commissioners for far too long. Former Wildlife Management Director Cal Dubrock understood this quite well as evidenced by his comment: “I get whatever I want from the commissioners. I just baffle them with bulls___.”

Unfortunately this “junk science” has lead to “the loss of 100-200,000 sportsmen, virtually silent woods on state lands even during opening days of a concurrent season, empty hunting camps, bankruptcies and the loss of countless family businesses, and a $4 billion loss to the state’s economy since 2001 that’s increasing at the rate of $415 million each year that the deer-reduction debacle continues.”

How can you possibly justify this?

John Eveland, writing on behalf of the Pennsylvania Game Commission, came through with this well-reasoned response:

As has been documented within this Deer Management Series, the plan for the Game Commission’s deer-reduction program was initially concocted in 1998 in order to assist DCNR in achieving a green certification forestry award.  While DCNR’s first green certification award was being broadcast with fanfare throughout the state, little mention was made of the original agreement’s contingency clause that required reduction of the deer herd.  Instead, PGC announced that deer reduction was a scientific necessity, and from 2001 to the present the agency has effectively perpetuated this misconception that “science” alone justifies herd reduction.  It is a fallacy, however, that needs to be addressed.

“Science” can sometimes be a confusing and, even, intimidating subject – especially for those who are responsible for DSCN3406overseeing PGC policy.  As a point of fact, the author was told that Calvin DuBrock, PGC’s former Chief of Wildlife Management, said during a private meeting, “I get whatever I want from the commissioners. I just baffle them with bulls__t.”  This method of operation, including the deer-reduction program, has succeeded because decision-makers in the State Legislature, Office of the Governor, and on PGC’s own Board of Commissioners trusted the agency to conduct its duties competently and honorably.  Unfortunately, this circumstance has been all-too-well understood by PGC’s deer team – and grossly abused.

Benefits and Costs: There are two questions that need to be answered in order for “science” alone to be considered as a justification for reducing Pennsylvania’s deer herd:

(1) Are there any significant scientific “benefits” that result from the deer-reduction program?

(2) If so, do the scientific benefits offset the “costs” that might result from long-term herd reduction?

Regarding the first question, PGC has identified three science-based goals of the deer reduction program: improving the health of deer, improving forest health, and increasing biodiverstiy (primarily nongame birds and mammals, and forest wildflowers).  Independent analysis has demonstrated that there have been no significant scientific improvements resulting from herd reduction – not for deer or forest health, and not for biodiversity.  In fact, PGC’s own studies that were conducted “after” implementation of the deer-reduction program indicate that no significant problems for any of these three issues had existed even prior to herd reduction.  Therefore, using “science” as an excuse to reduce the herd is unjustified and a misconception.

DSC_0168Regarding the second question, it would require dramatic and unprecedented improvements for deer and forest health, and nongame animals would have needed to be in great and immediate peril in order to justify the loss of 100-200,000 sportsmen, virtually silent woods on state lands even during opening days of a concurrent season, empty hunting camps, bankruptcies and the loss of countless family businesses, and a $4 billion loss to the state’s economy since 2001 that’s increasing at the rate of $415 million each year that the deer-reduction debacle continues. It is irresponsible for PGC to mislead sportsmen and legislators into believing the misconception that deer reduction is warranted based on “science”.  Try convincing a farmer that it would be good for him to eliminate his cattle in order to grow more wildflowers in his pasture.

Again, even if some smidgeon of scientific relevance could be concocted from a 5-10 year study that PGC has recently proposed in order to find a new justification for their ill-conceived action, how could it begin to offset the great and lasting harm that has resulted from the biggest conservation mistake in the over-one-hundred-year history of the PGC?  I’ll take the return of 10 lost businesses in Potter County over the “potential” increase of 10 more Indian cucumber roots per acre — anytime.  A competent manager weighs and balances science with social, economic, and legal parameters. Attempting to justify more wildflowers over family businesses is the reason that natural resources policy should be determined by informed forest and wildlife managers instead of by the single-focused agenda of PGC’s deer team.

Where do you stand on the issue? Sound off in the comments section below.

bbq-hamburger[1]With hunting season finally here, now’s the time to tune up your kitchen gear for those great tenderloin steaks, loin chops, and venison burgers.

In hunting camps, everything tastes better when it’s cooked in an iron skillet. Unfortunately, months of non-use can find them rusty — not very appetizing.

Luckily, this video from the Pennsylvania Game Commission has a quick and easy method of seasoning your skillets that will have them working like new.

In addition, check out this tip on aging venison in the fridge. Jess is your host for this entertaining and informative video.

Photo (top): My Rustic House


Congratulations! Your deer is down, pictures have been taken, the tag is applied, and now it’s time to finish the harvest process.

Handling and field dressing your deer requires a few simple precautions to eliminate the possibility of disease contamination.

This post from the Lone-Star Outdoor News covers the precautions needed for proper field dressing hygiene. You’ll want to take their advice.

SD Rifle Deer 2010 308It isn’t common, but it can happen.

With archery season for deer already under way, and the rifle season in the North and South zones only three weeks away, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department  is cautioning hunters to be careful in handling the game they harvest.

It is not common, but some diseases can spread from wildlife to humans. One such disease is anthrax, which is caused by naturally occurring bacteria found in soil. Animals can come down with the disease by swallowing anthrax spores while grazing. Humans, in turn, can contract the disease through touching infected animals, either alive or dead, or consuming their meat.

Other conditions, including tularemia, brucellosis and rabies also can be transmitted to people through direct contact with live animals or while field dressing harvested game. In addition, insects and ticks can transmit West Nile virus, Lyme disease, plague and other diseases.  More