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  • November 5, 2013

    I Am Not an A-Hole!

    By Dave Hurteau

    A guy I knew in college used to say, “Everyone you don’t know is an a-hole.” The idea was pretty novel to me then, but as I wade deeper into the manure pit of life, I’m learning that this is pretty much the guiding principle for some people and, I’m sorry to say, some hunters.

    I bring this up because when I got to my stand tree this morning, there was no stand. Gone, stolen over the weekend. This is the second stand I’ve had swiped this year, along with a trail camera. I know the landowner didn’t take it. And so, as I stood there, staring at the bare tree trunk, mumbling, “Who does that? What kind of rotten person does that?” The only answer left was, and is…my fellow hunters.

  • December 7, 2012

    Shoot Me Down: Hug a Hipster (and a Soccer Mom)

    By Dave Hurteau

    The online magazine Slate recently posted the rare positive article about hunting, for which I commend them. Its bottom line is that the “expansion of hunting into liberal, urban circles is the latest development in an evolving and increasingly snug coexistence between humans and beasts in North America” as the “bearded, bicycle-riding, locavore set” concludes that it is “more responsible and ecologically sound to eat an animal that was raised wild and natural in [the] local habitat….”

  • July 5, 2012

    Cabela's Boot Caption Contest Winner Announced!

    By Scott Bestul

    Man, put a pair of awesome boots—Cabela’s Air Revolution by Meindl— on the line, and folks get creative in a hurry! Hurteau and I pored over 300-plus caption entries and did our normal arm-wrestling over which we thought were best. As usual, we narrowed it down to 11 that were all stellar. Here are the 10 runners-up, in no particular order:

  • June 21, 2012

    New Research: Lyme Disease More Closely Tied to Red Foxes Than to Deer

    By Scott Bestul

    High whitetail numbers have been blamed for the spread of Lyme disease for years. But according to the latest research, we might be pointing our finger at the wrong critter. According to this story in a recent issue of Scientific American, a sharp decline in red fox populations may have gone a long way to making Lyme disease go viral in the last decade.

    The red fox, as most of us know, is an efficient predator of small mammals like the white-footed mouse; known to be one of the prime hosts of the Lyme-carrying “deer” tick. Red fox numbers are in a general decline across the country, thanks largely to ever-growing coyote populations. Coyotes eat foxes whenever the populations overlap, which is frequently. Though both canines dine on mice, foxes take the greatest toll on the little rodents. So when fox numbers dive, mouse populations climb and ticks follow suit.

  • May 22, 2012

    A Deer Hunter May Be First to Tag a Minnesota Timber Wolf

    By Scott Bestul

    The first Minnesota timber wolf killed during a regulated hunting season may fall to a deer hunter. According to this story in the Brainerd Dispatch, the DNR is taking public comment on a proposed two-part wolf season, with the first hunt coinciding with the deer opener on Nov. 3. The second season—which will include both hunting and trapping—will take reopen in late November and close in mid-January, unless a quota of 400 wolves is reached earlier.

  • 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:

    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.

  • December 19, 2011

    On Why I Like Vegetarians (for the Most Part)

    By Dave Hurteau

    by Dave Hurteau

    I’ve known a lot of vegetarians. I was engaged to one once (technically “pre-engaged,” whatever the hell that means). And you know, I don’t think I’ve ever met one I didn’t like. I’ve met some I thought were full of $#!%, but none I didn’t like. I like some hunters who are also full of $#!%.

    It’s fun to bust on vegetarians, and they usually take it well. Especially fun are the easy marks, the ones who say, “I’m a vegetarian but I eat fish.” We had a vegetarian friend over to dinner recently who said, “I’m a vegetarian but I eat fish and chicken,” which made me think of a line from The Princess Bride: “I do not think it means what you think it means.”

  • 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.

  • February 9, 2011

    Coyotes in the News, Again…

    By Scott Bestul

    by Scott Bestul

    If you read other hunting magazines besides ours (it’s OK to admit it, because I do too), you’ve probably noticed a bunch of feature stories in the last year, all covering the impact coyotes have on whitetail populations in the southeast. If you’re wondering why F&S hasn’t been in this mix, it’s because it’s old news to us. We essentially broke the story in 2009. (Here’s the column).

    So there...Dave and I are done patting each other’s backs and tooting our horns on scooping everyone.

    But there’s some more recent news on the coyote-as-deer-predator that’s really caught my eye. Researchers in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (UP) are currently studying whitetail predation in an area rich with carnivores, both large and small. In a 350-square mile study area in the UP, whitetails are eaten by bear, wolves, coyotes, and bobcats. Preliminary findings indicate that, of these four primary predators, coyotes are leading the way in causing whitetail deaths. From this story on

  • March 6, 2009

    Mirror, Mirror, On My Blind

    By Scott Bestul

    Mirror, Mirror, On My Blind: