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  • October 29, 2010

    Hurteau: Don’t Tell Me I Should Have Passed Him!

    By Dave Hurteau

    Of course none of you would be so tactless. But a friend and I were just discussing this topic Wednesday afternoon, and he was bemoaning the fact that in today’s antler-obsessed whitetail world, a hunter can be made to feel bad about shooting a small/young buck. I said, “I hear you."

  • October 27, 2010

    Hurteau: Write a Tip, Win a Knife

    By Dave Hurteau

    While we are on the subject of butchering your own deer, I’ve been meaning to tell you about the very good boning/filet knife I used while cutting up the muley buck I shot on the Cabela’s hunt in Wyoming.

    Yes, Cabela’s footed the bill for the hunt and you may be thinking that I owe them some ink, but this knife is not a Cabela’s product (although you can buy it at cabelas.com for the can’t-beat price of just $17), and I was not given a knife to keep (which seems wrong after I promised to blog about it).

  • October 26, 2010

    Hurteau: The Best Reason To Butcher Your Own Buck

    By Dave Hurteau

    I shot my first mule deer a couple years ago in Nebraska, and that buck tasted nasty. It stunk. I had to turn the backstraps into sausage just to choke them down, which is a sad, sad thing to have to do to backstraps.

    This weekend, I had bottom-round steaks from the muley I shot a couple weeks ago in Wyoming, and it was excellent. So what made the difference?

    You’ve probably heard, like I have, that a buck will taste sour if it was old, rutting, had a prolonged death, or any combination thereof. I’m not so sure. I’ve eaten sweet-tasting older bucks; sweet-tasting rutting bucks; sweet-tasting older, rutting bucks; sweet-tasting rutting bucks whose demise took longer than it should have and so on….

  • October 22, 2010

    Hurteau: Whitetail Headlines

  • October 22, 2010

    Bestul: Corn on the Ground!

    By Scott Bestul

    It’s the peak of harvest here in the Upper Midwest, and farmers are combining fields at a pace I haven’t seen in many years. The annual grain harvest is always exciting in farm country, and it usually means good news for deer hunters. Here’s why:

    As the harvest progresses, more and more cover is removed. A certain percentage of deer will basically live in standing corn for months, and once those stalks come down, whitetails will be forced into other bedding habit; usually woods, brush and CRP fields. This typically concentrates deer and puts them into environments where it’s easier to hunt them. Also, picked cornfields can become a whitetail feeding mecca, as deer focus on waste grain missed by the combine. Hunting a cornfield in the first week after combining can be truly exciting.

  • October 21, 2010

    Bestul: A New Way to Track the Rut

    By Scott Bestul

    The whitetail rut is deer hunting’s answer to the Super Bowl. No time of year can generate such enthusiasm and excitement among whitetail hunters; our seasons may last several months, but if any of us could only hunt one period, we’d focus on the weeks surrounding peak breeding.

    Despite our anticipation, the rut is a dynamic, ever-changing event influenced by many variables, and keeping up with buck behavior and breeding activity a huge challenge. To help our readers, Field & Stream is launching an exciting new tool designed to keep whitetail fanatics plugged in to the latest news—in your region and around the country—regarding the whitetail rut.

  • October 20, 2010

    Hurteau: The American Whitetail Authority Competition is Tofu

    By Dave Hurteau

    You cannot take the killing out of hunting any more than you can take meat out of a hamburger. When you try, you get tofu.

    The American Whitetail Authority World Championship competition is not hunting—or even as a recent New York Times headline puts it “A Kind of Hunt (That Even Deer Can Get Behind).” Rather, it is a group of competitors using $1,200 DigitalHunter scopes atop blank-firing training shotguns to take 10-second video clips of their “shots” to be evaluated and scored by judges. The final will be held in Mississippi this month and aired on the Outdoor Channel early next year.

    In other words, it’s tofu.

  • October 19, 2010

    Hurteau: Wisconsin Hunters Seek Animal Mistreatment Charges In Snowmobile Thrill Kills

    By Dave Hurteau

    Would you call running down and ramming deer to death at night with snowmobiles “hunting?” Of course not. And neither do the many sportsmen represented by the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation.

    That’s why the group is asking the state appeals court to re-issue felony animal mistreatment charges against the three young men involved the highly publicized Waupaca County “thrill kills” of January 2009.

  • October 18, 2010

    Good and Cheap: Comfort Zone Hunter Hang-On Treestand

    By Dave Hurteau

    There is no better deal I know of in hang-on treestands than the Comfort Zone Hunter Hang-On, available at Dick’s Sporting Goods stores or online at dickssportinggoods.com for a paltry $39.99. You can often find it on sale for $34.99. Let’s be clear: There are better—much better—hang-ons. The Hunter requires complete assembly; it does not have backpacking straps; the platform is not huge at 20x24 inches; the seat is thin; and it does not attach to the tree as solidly as some.

    But, this steel stand is reasonably light at 16.7 pounds (by my scale, ready to hunt); it is surprisingly quiet, with solid construction and plastic washers at virtually every contact point; it attaches plenty securely if you just fiddle with it a little; and unlike most cheapies, it features the same sort of quick-cinching strap (although more cheaply made) you find on spendier models, which makes for fast, easy hanging.

  • October 15, 2010

    Hurteau: Oh Crap I’m Going To Be On TV

    By Dave Hurteau

    I’m going to be on TV. I’m telling you this so you can please make plans not to watch. (I’ll update you eventually on which dates to avoid.) I do not like the camera. It frightens me. It makes we want to run away—or cry. I knew when Cabela’s asked me to go on a Wyoming mule deer hunt with Table Mountain Outfitters that owners Scott and Angie Denny have a show on the Sportsman’s Channel. But there was no way they’d want me on there. Besides, if I were to be filmed, surely someone at Cabela’s would warn me. I had nothing to worry about.

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