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  • April 27, 2012

    Red-Hot Turkey Hunting This Spring

    By Scott Bestul

    I’ve been hunting turkeys for about 30 years now, and have experienced just about every type of spring imaginable. This year (actually, our season is about 10 days old now) has some of the best hunting I’ve seen in a while, and I attribute it to strong numbers of two-year-old gobblers. Just as a healthy batch of whitetail bucks makes for an intense rut, competition between toms makes for ramped-up turkey breeding. And hunters are the main beneficiaries any time males duke it out to get to a female.

  • April 26, 2012

    Score Some Bucks, Win the New Bowtech Insanity CPX

    By Dave Hurteau

    If you’re really into bowhunting and don’t live under a rock, you know that Bowtech has “unleashed” the Insanity and, according to the word on the street, precipitated a buying craze. But before you run out of your house screaming and unconsciously fling your wallet across the counter to your bow-shop pro, why not try to win one for free first? As usual, all you have to do is score some bucks.* If you don’t win, then you go ahead and chuck your wallet.

  • April 25, 2012

    Poll: What Do You Think of QDM?

    By Dave Hurteau

    As I wrote way back in the February 2011 “Deer Crazy” cover story: “There are more divisive letters (FOX, MSNBC) but not among modern deer hunters.” As a group, I think we are undeniably split on Quality Deer Management. What I wonder, though, is just how the split breaks down. So, I ask you, very simply:

    What do you think of QDM?

    As always, feel free to explain your answer in the comment section below.

  • April 23, 2012

    Tips For Better Food Plots From a Farmer

    By Scott Bestul

    I learned something important about food plots last summer; if you want to learn how to make stuff grow, ask a farmer. The clover plot I’m kneeling in here is Exhibit 3203 in a file I keep titled, “I’m not slow, things just take me a long time.” I’ve been planting clover with varying degrees of success for the past several seasons. Last summer, I asked the guy who owns this property—who happens to be a neighbor and bowhunting buddy—for help in establishing a clover plot in this little field. Alan, a successful farmer, jumped right in with both expertise and equipment. Here’s what he taught me.

    1.) Manure is your friend: There’s a bunch of fertilizer options out there, but dairy cows pump out a fine organic product. Plus, a lot of farmers are looking for places to spread the stuff. Alan’s dad backed up a spreader and loaded this field up--twice.

  • April 19, 2012

    On Hunting With a Guide

    By Dave Hurteau

    I recently got back from a Louisiana turkey hunt with Synergy Outdoors, the umbrella company of Evolved Harvest, Barnett Crossbows, Flextone Game Calls, Wildgame Innovations, and Wildgame Nation TV. It was a very good hunt as these things go, partly because of the generosity of the hosts and the cooperation of the birds, but mostly because the company reps showed me some honest-to-goodness innovative and useful new products that I can pass along to you without feeling like I’m shilling as payback—which they know I won’t do.

    Anyway, we’ll save that for another blog.

    For now, I’d rather talk about hunting with a guide, which is commonplace on industry hunts. There’s no question that I would much rather kill a critter on my own--especially a turkey; if I don’t call the bird in myself, I don’t feel like I earned it. That’s why if anyone asks me if I killed a bird in Louisiana, I say no, but my guide, "Mike Miller the Turkey Killer," shown here with his camouflage bible and the bird in question, certainly did, even though I fired the shot.

  • April 13, 2012

    Best Ground Blind Ever?

    By Scott Bestul

    After three decades of hunting from elevated stands, I’m learning to come down from the trees. I’ve been using ground blinds for deer — with varying degrees of success — in the last few seasons, mainly when taking my kids with me to the deer woods.

    While I love the portability and easy setup of most pop-up blinds, they have their drawbacks. In my experience, the blind has to be out there for a while so deer can get used to its presence. Otherwise, they can get pretty jumpy. Or the setup has to be near perfect: Plenty of brushing in and other prep to camouflage the game-spooking silhouette of most blinds.

  • April 11, 2012

    MN Officer Cleared of Wrongdoing in Shooting of “Pet” Deer

    By Scott Bestul

    Every year, state wildlife officials warn the public to not mess with wild baby animals. And every year, couples like Jeff and Lee Ann Carpenter ignore those warnings. Last summer the Carpenters, of Forest Lake, Minnesota, “adopted” a pair of whitetail fawns they thought were abandoned. They fed them and, naturally, enjoyed watching them. Eventually the Carpenters attached collars to the two deer—which they’d named Pinky and Abby—so they could tell them apart, according to this story (and video) that appeared in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

  • April 10, 2012

    Ahead of Schedule: The Pros and Cons of an Early Spring

    By Scott Bestul

    It’s no secret that this has been a yawn of a winter across much of the country. And the arrival of spring ahead of schedule by several weeks -- like most everything Nature throws at us -- can be a good or bad thing, depending on your perspective.

    Shed hunters were largely frustrated this year; while some tremendous antlers have been found, most of the serious hunters I know (guys who snap up 100-plus sheds in a season) have seen their totals drop in 2012. Bucks were simply not concentrated on winter food sources, and finding sheds has involved a lot of walking and more than the usual amount of luck.

  • April 6, 2012

    March Madness: Remington Model 700 is the F&S All-Purpose Whitetail Rifle Champ

    By Dave Hurteau

    Well I don’t think any of us can pretend to be surprised. (If we did a shotgun tourney, the 870 would surely win, too.) But getting here was fun, and in the end it came down to mystique vs. legendary accuracy.

  • April 5, 2012

    March Madness: The F&S All-Purpose Whitetail Rifle Championship

    By Dave Hurteau

    There may have been a few surprises along the way, but the Championship matchup is all chalk. It’s the top-seed Winchester Model 70 vs. the top-seed Remington 700, just as several of you openly predicted and many of us no doubt expected. I’ve got to believe the 700 has the edge here, but let’s tip it off and find out.

    You know the drill: Check out the bracket below (you can click here to print out a copy if you want to fill it out by hand). Then vote for your preferred all-purpose whitetail rifle in the final matchup to choose the F&S All-Purpose Whitetail Rifle Champ.

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