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  • May 26, 2011

    So, Just What Is Poaching?

    By Dave Hurteau

    I’ve been meaning to bring this up, as there’s been some disagreement on the subject in your comments here and on other blogs—which is no surprise really, when you consider that different states have different definitions. Some define it as taking game illegally, others more broadly as hunting or fishing illegally. The Michigan DNR actually offers both definitions: “Poacher - a person who hunts, traps, or fishes illegally. Poaching - the illegal taking of fish or wildlife.” Go figure.

    Dictionary definitions likewise vary. In a hunting context, Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines “poacher” as “one who kills or takes wild animals (as game or fish) illegally.” My Webster’s New World bound copy has “poaching” as, “to hunt or catch (game or fish) illegally….”

    I favor the broader definition. A person should not have to be successful in his attempt to kill game illegally to be called a poacher.

  • May 25, 2011

    Gear: A Multi-tool For Bowhunters

    By Scott Bestul

    I’m in Illinois this week at an event called the Bowhunter’s Roundtable, a gathering of media people and some of the archery industry’s top manufacturers. I’ve seen some pretty cool stuff in the last couple of days; bows, crossbows, treestands, ground blinds, trail cameras... All solid gear, but sometimes it’s the little stuff that catches my attention. Exhibit A from Day One of the Roundtable is the BowSmith (, a multi-tool made specifically for today’s archer.

    This smartly-designed unit boasts 28 tools. In addition to the ubiquitous needle-nose pliers are specialty items like a string spreader (for installing or moving peep sights), a nock crimper, a broadhead wrench and sharpener, a fletching stripper, and even a starter for screw-in tree steps.

  • May 24, 2011

    So You Think Heath Getty Can Shoot a Bow

    By Dave Hurteau

    In his last post Bestul posits that archery phenom Heath Getty must have been “born with something the average guy will never have.” I’m pretty sure the same can be said of Lilia Stepanova. Natural assets, for sure.

    And I don’t care how many arrows Bestul flings, he doesn’t have a prayer of shooting like Lilia, either.

  • May 20, 2011

    Video: So You Think You Can Shoot a Bow?

    By Scott Bestul

    I’m a pretty average shot with a bow, but I recognize a great shooter when I see one. None, however, have compared with Heath Getty, the young man featured in this video. Heath is a 26-year old from Kansas and, as the footage will prove, he can flat-out shoot.

    I’m always amazed by a truly great marksman, whether he wields a gun or bow. And you can get some interesting debates going about whether such accuracy is a gift or whether it comes from hard work. My contention has always been that it’s a combination of both. Sure a guy can squander incredible potential by not practicing, but I’m also convinced that superior shots—just like world class athletes—are born with something the average guy will never have. Incredible eyesight and superior hand-eye coordination are not coachable qualities, at least to any significant degree.

  • May 20, 2011

    Caption Contest Winner Announced!

    By Dave Hurteau

    Okay, let’s get right to it. My 10 runners up—whose prize this time is a heartfelt “attaboy” from me (lucky you)—are:

    --“Although not as well known as its cousin the Jackalope, the Bushy-Tailed Squeer is just as difficult to pursue.” –MaxPower

    --“That explains the rubs up at 10 feet.” –fliphuntr14

    --“What can I say, my Dad was blinded by the rut!” –jfas

    --“Bob's aggressive trophy management system has had some truly remarkable results.” -jcarlin --“So this is what you use the "Kruncher" for.” –neuman23

  • May 18, 2011

    Trail Camera Warm Up

    By Scott Bestul

    It’s a month or so until I get serious about setting trail cams for deer. But doggone it, I just like playing with the things. So when my kids started feeding birds on our deck this week (one of those projects that starts due to something they read in 6th grade science class), I dust off a trail camera and eventually took these pictures.

    There are a surprising number of parallels between shooting an oriole and snapping a whitetail’s photo. Of course you have to place the camera in a spot where the animal appears with some regularity; the kids had that covered with their bait pile of grape jelly, raisins, and diced oranges.

  • May 17, 2011

    World’s Best Beard Winner Challenges F&S Whitetail Crew Cut

    By Dave Hurteau

    When we asked hairstylist Benjamin Motta to shave a silhouette of a trophy buck onto the back of a model’s head for the opening photo of our August 2007 “Big Buck Boot Camp” feature, we thought the result was pretty damn cool.

    To be honest, we were confident it had no outdoor-art-made-of-hair equal. But this morning, Managing Editor Jean McKenna found the photo below.

    A GERMAN man scooped the title of world's best beard yesterday after impressing competition hosts in Norway with his facial hair featuring a moose and a Norwegian flag. Hairdresser Elmar Weisser, 47, beat 160 hopefuls from 15 countries to take first prize in the World Beard and Moustache Championship, held this year in Trondheim….


    To see a gallery of the finalist beards click here.

    So two questions: Which is cooler? Which would you rather wear?

  • May 12, 2011

    The Good Stuff: Deer Me Rope-On Steps

    By Scott Bestul

    This is the first installment of a series Dave and I will run from time to time on deer gear we love. Similar to our “Good and Cheap” serial, an item featured in “The Good Stuff” needn’t be inexpensive, it just has to meet a simple criteria; it works so well that it’s gone from merely functional to holding a soft spot in our hearts.

    Here’s my opener; a tree step that—to the best of my knowledge—isn’t even made any more. I started using Deer Me rope-on steps in the 1980’s, when there wasn’t a screw-in step made that could penetrate a tree without encouragement from a hammer and an act of God. My cousins put me on to Deer Me’s, and we fell in love with them because they were very sturdy, totally quiet, relatively cheap (about $20 for four, I think), and easy to install. Better yet, they were safe; the step was not only wide enough for a bulky boot, it had a little upturn so your foot wouldn’t slip off the end.

  • May 11, 2011

    Write a Caption, Win a Cabela’s 50th Anniversary Knife

    By Dave Hurteau

    In celebration of its 5th straight month of celebrating its 50th Anniversary, Cabela’s wants to give you more stuff, namely this 50th Anniversary folding knife made by Gerber.

    To win it, all you have to do it write the best caption (as determined by Scott and me) to accompany this slightly touched up photo I found on
    Okay, have at it.

  • May 9, 2011

    Don't Tell Me I Should Have Passed This Jake...

    By Dave Hurteau

    You may remember that I arrowed a forkhorn buck last October and posted a picture of it in this space accompanied by the obligatory (these days) explanation of why I shouldn’t have to apologize for shooting a small buck, which is almost like an apology itself—but isn’t one exactly, I insist. Yesterday morning I shot a jake turkey. So here’s my non-apology:

    I don’t get the whole pass-a-jake thing. I admit it’s probably arbitrary. I love turkey hunting, but for whatever reason the gobbler-as-trophy idea has never resonated with me. I’ve killed a number of toms but have never saved a single beard or fan or spur. On the other hand, I’ve passed lots of bucks in the hope of shooting one with bigger antlers, and I have racks on display in every corner of my office. Go figure. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the Stone Age artists painted animals with exaggerated antlers—not so much outsized beards and spurs. Maybe not.

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