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  • March 30, 2012

    Caption Contest Winner Announced!

    By Dave Hurteau

    While away on a Louisiana turkey hunt with the outrageously generous Busbice family (the folks behind Wildgame Innovations and Synergy Outdoors, about which I’ll be writing more soon), I asked Bestul to pick his favorite captions among the nearly 400 you provided for the photo here in last week's contest. I say this so you’ll know whom to blame.

    Our nine runners up, in no particular order are:

    Jebediah finally let the kids pack their own lunch for school. --WHOSURDAD

  • March 28, 2012

    March Madness: The Elite Eight of All-Purpose Whitetail Rifles

    By Dave Hurteau

    Having predicted it, I’m not surprised that the great Savage 99 put down the very, very good T/C Icon. But I am shocked -- do you hear me -- shocked that both the Marlin X7 squeaked past the Sako 85 and Ruger No. 1, handsome and handy as it is, outlasted the excellent Kimber 84M. I never saw either of those coming, and judging by the comments neither did some of you.

    In any case, our Elite Eight is set—all good matchups to be sure, but probably none better than the 700 vs. the 99. I can’t begin to guess what you folks will do with that. But whatever you do, more heavyweights are going to fall in this round. So let’s have at it.

  • March 28, 2012

    Scientists Fight Lyme Disease in Virginia With Pink Dye

    By Scott Bestul

    In the latest —and perhaps oddest— development in the battle against Lyme disease, the Fairfax Wildlife Biologist’s Office has installed special deer feeders at 20 locations across Virginia, The Washington Post reports.

    The feeders are equipped with special rollers that will slap a pink dye on the flanks of whitetails visiting for a free mouthful of corn. The dye contains a pesticide that scientists hope will be fatal to the black-legged ticks that transmit Lyme disease.

    Whitetails, are one of the primary hosts of such ticks and are a major vector in the spread of the disease. While the dye is toxic to ticks, it won’t harm deer. This pink deer experiment is part of a study, which is expected to last through 2015 and cost $380,000.

  • March 23, 2012

    March Madness: The Sweet Sixteen of All-Purpose Whitetail Rifles, Division II

    By Dave Hurteau

    After more than 3,000 votes per matchup, the Division I Elite Eight rifles are settled: The Model 70 crushed the 7600, the Savage bolt thumped the Marlin lever, the Vanguard put away the Encore, and in a mild upset, the Ruger 77 inched out the Browning X-Bolt. (I have to say I’m sad to see the X-Bolt go; it really has everything you could want in an all-purpose deer rifle from a practical standpoint. Oh well, thems the breaks.)

    In the last post I invited you to talk smack about the rankings, and you did a fine job. I made a couple of minor corrections based on your input, and while I can do nothing to satisfy the many Tikka fans, I will acknowledge that you make a fair point. I can’t say the same for the 94 nuts. Hey, I love that gun, too. But it’s a brush gun.

  • March 22, 2012

    Write the Best Caption, Win a Cabela's Pack

    By Dave Hurteau

    Cabela’s Bow and Rifle Pack won an F&S Best of the Best Award last fall. I have one, like it very much, and figured you might like one, too. So I called the folks over there, asked if they’d supply one for a prize and they said, “Do we still owe you for the Best of the Best thing? Was this part of the deal?”

    “Yes it was,” I lied. And now you can win the pack, in the camo pattern of your choice (depending on availability), a prize worth $150, just by writing the best caption (as determined by Scott and I) for the photo below.

    You know the drill. Now have at it.

  • March 21, 2012

    Three Generations of Sander Family Claim 2011 WI Ethical Deer Hunter Award

    By Scott Bestul

    Say what you will about modern deer hunters, the Sander family understands ethics and lives that way. Last fall, they not only allowed a young man to track a wounded buck onto their hunting property, they sacrificed hunting time to assist in the recovery. For their unselfish efforts, David Sander, his 16-year-old son Colton, and David’s uncle James, were awarded the state’s Hunter Ethics Award for 2011.

    Dan McQuire, who nominated the Sander’s for the award, told this story to the Wisconsin Outdoor News, the bi-weekly outdoor newspaper. “My son, Jacob, 15 shot a buck about 8:15 on opening day. This would be his third buck, his largest. The hit was a little too far back to put the buck down immediately.

    The buck left our hunting property and ran onto David and James Sander’s land. They were hunting there with David’s son, Colton. Colton was the first person we approached. He came down from his treestand to talk to us. He then talked to his father and uncle, who gave us permission to search the property. Their reaction is the reason we nominated them for the award.

  • March 20, 2012

    March Madness: The Sweet Sixteen of All-Purpose Deer Rifles

    by Dave Hurteau

    VOTE FOR DIVISION II AND SEE THE RESULTS OF DIVISION 1 HERE

    Basketball? What basketball? All I know is that March means the Sweet Sixteen of Deer Guns and Ammo. Two years ago, the .30-06 won the title of Whitetail Cartridge Champ. Last year, the venerable Marlin 336 won the title of Whitetail Brush Rifle Champ. This year, it’s the all-arounders. That is, whitetail rifles that are light enough for the mountain, quick enough for the woods, tough enough for the swamp, accurate enough for the prairie, and not too hard on the wallet.


    It’s a tough category because there are so many good general-purpose rifles today. So as usual, to cover my butt and get in on the fun of complaining about the rankings, I let someone else choose them. This year, F&S Contributing Editor Lawrence Pyne picked our players, with instructions from me to go with: [1] the latest version of any still-produced model, [2] only widely available discontinued models, and [3] non-custom, affordable models (read under $2,000).

    And so, with those caveats, below are his seeded selections (which I encourage you to take issue with).

  • March 19, 2012

    Shed Poaching Becoming a Major Problem, Iowa Considered Legislation

    by Scott Bestul

    I covered the topic of shed poaching in my “Whitetails” column in the April issue of the magazine (see below). 

    Well the practice of trespassing to find whitetail antlers is getting to be such a major problem in some areas of the Midwest that one state, Iowa, has considered legislation to stiffen penalties for those caught trespassing for shed antlers. According to a thread on the site Iowa Whitetails, the bill is currently not active, but had it passed, the legislation would have charged the trespasser with a misdemeanor and fined the interloper as much as $625. In addition, the shed poacher could have been charged additional fees related to the size of the antlers stolen.

  • March 15, 2012

    Will Mitt Romney Go Deer Hunting With Jeff Foxworthy?

    By Dave Hurteau

  • March 13, 2012

    Legal, Ethical, Fair Chase: They are Not the Same

    By Dave Hurteau

    Well, I was going to go yapping about why I think both baiting and hunting over kill plots are (or at least can be) examples of fair chase. But the comments generated by the last post move me to parge the discussion’s foundation a bit first. So bear with me. I won’t name names, but a few of you seemed to use the terms legal, ethical, and fair chase interchangeably or nearly so. I’d like to suggest that they are distinct and sometimes pretty divergent. So let’s have a rundown:

    Legal
    It’s popular these days to say, “Hey, if it’s legal, go for it,” which implicitly embraces anything the law does not expressly forbid. But hold on just one durn minute: What’s legal is not always ethical or fair. It is legal in Texas, as I understand it, for rank amateurs and, I’ll add, nincompoops to shoot pigs from helicopters, maiming fifteen for every one they kill—for fun (see the video below). That’s legal. It is neither ethical nor fair chase.

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