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  • March 26, 2014

    An Easy Way to Turn Your Bird Dog into a Shed Hunter

    By Tony J. Peterson

    Ten years ago it would have been difficult to find anyone who used a dog to hunt shed antlers. Today, not so much. Not only do shed dog breeders exist across the country, it’s also possible to visit your local sporting goods store and purchase training tools specifically designed to teach dogs to seek out and retrieve cast antlers.
    These tools, along with a basic understanding of how dogs go about finding bone, can be used to turn any dog into a shed antler hunter. This is especially true if you have an established bird hunter who happens to possess a strong retrieving drive. Better yet, this can all be done without dulling any of your dog’s finely honed bird hunting skills.

  • March 21, 2014

    Write Best Caption, Win a Cabela's Trail Camera

    By Scott Bestul

    Happy spring, and what better way to celebrate the (supposed end) end of a long, nasty winter than scoring a new trail camera? Sure bucks are weeks away from growing antlers, but if you’re like me, your trail cam use has become a year-round passion, so you might as well add another to your arsenal.

    What’s that? You don’t own a camera? Well, you can fix that right now. All you have to do is write the winning caption for this photo, and you can have any one of the three camera in the Cabela’s Outfitter Series ™ line.

  • March 19, 2014

    Whitetails By the Numbers: A Snapshot of Our Sport

    By Scott Bestul

    As some of you know, I attended the inaugural QDMA Whitetail Summit early this month at Big Cedar Lodge outside Branson, Missouri. I listened to an all-star lineup of speakers, who presented a dizzying amount of information about deer. To be honest, I’m still digesting it all. 

    In the meantime, while going through my notes, I jotted down a bunch of facts and figures that jumped out at me. Compiled from different lectures spread across three days of meetings, some of these numbers are positive, some are just puzzling, and several are downright troubling. Together, they reveal an interesting snapshot of the state of whitetail hunting today. Here they are: 

  • March 13, 2014

    Total Deer Hunter Manual Tip: Scout Now!

    By Dave Hurteau

    Straight from the pages of our book, here is some timely advice:

    Skill 094: Spring Into Action

    If you have just one chance to scout before next deer season, do it in March. There’s no other time when so many clues about local deer behavior are laid so bare before you, and spooking bucks is a nonissue so far in advance of fall. For many of us, March is a time when snow is here and gone—and sometimes here again—and in this muddled transition from winter to spring lie the secrets to what deer are doing right now and what they were up to last fall.

  • March 10, 2014

    Poll: Rank Hot-Button Issues for Whitetail Hunters

    By Scott Bestul

    I just returned from the Quality Deer Management Association’s first-ever Whitetail Summit, held at Big Cedar Lodge near Branson, Mo. More than 200 hunters, property owners, biologists, researchers, and industry representatives braved a freak early-spring snow-and-ice storm to attend this inaugural event and discuss the hunting, management, and future of whitetail deer. It was a great forum.

    Over the last couple of decades or so, we’ve reaped the benefits of the whitetail boom, but now many factors indicate that the bubble has burst, or is at least bursting. With that in mind, on the Summit’s second day, attendees divided into stakeholder groups (including Academia/Research, Hunters, Industry, Landowners/Managers, Non-Governmental Organizations, and State/Provincial Agencies) and each set out to identify the most important issues and challenges facing whitetail deer and deer hunting. 

  • March 6, 2014

    Hard-Water Scouting: Find Hidden Big-Buck Sanctuaries Now

    By Tony J. Peterson

    There are few things as uninviting as a mid-summer swamp or cattail slough. Swarms of mosquitoes, ticks, and gooey muck await should you choose to enter. It’s an invitation most hunters pass up, and that’s precisely why deer grow old in such places.

    Provided it’s still cold enough in your neck of the woods (and the way this winter has gone, it probably is), right now is the perfect time to scout these otherwise tough-to-approach spots, as well as oft-overlooked islands in rivers and lakes. With the snowpack melting and the ice still holding strong, you can easily walk right to some of the best and most ignored fall buck hideouts.

  • March 3, 2014

    Good Stuff: Tink’s Hot Shot Doe Urine Mist

    By Dave Hurteau

    Yeah, I know the ATA show was almost two months ago, but there was so much good stuff there that I’m still not done telling you about it all. Walking by the Tinks ( booth reminded me of how impressed I was last fall while using the company’s Hot Shot Mist for the first time.

    Like I say in the video below, this product is not brand new for this year, but if you haven’t tried it you should.

  • February 26, 2014

    How to Debone Deer in 8 Minutes

    By Scott Bestul

    I just returned from speaking at the Illinois Deer & Turkey Expo. I’ve been going to these deer shows for a long time, and I learn something new each time. This year’s gem: How to be a better butcher, thanks to Kurt Heid.

    Heid, owner of Heid Wild Game, has been a professional meat cutter for three decades, and he processes more than 400 big game animals annually. Maybe there are a handful of guys as fast and efficient, but they haven’t documented their prowess on video. In this YouTube clip, Heid bones out whitetail in a shade over eight minutes.

  • February 21, 2014

    Colorado is First State to Ban Drones for Hunting and Scouting

    By Scott Bestul

    Last month, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission voted unanimously to ban the use of drones for the purposes of scouting, hunting, and taking of wildlife. The move makes Colorado the first state to address the issue of drone use by sportsman, but it certainly won’t be the last.

    If you think the use of drones to find and hunt critters sounds futuristic, well, the future is now. First, check out this YouTube video (which has nearly a million views) in which some Norwegians use a drone to spy on a moose near Oslo. Second, consider that these unmanned aircraft are also being used, for example, by Louisiana Hog Control, a company that helps landowners get rid of feral hogs. According to this Fox News story, owner Cy Brown equips a drone with thermal imaging technology, and then flies the unit over a property. When pigs are spotted, the drone operator directs an on-the-ground hunter in for the kill. Brown’s company killed 300 hogs in a six-month period using this technology.

  • February 19, 2014

    I'm Feeding Deer This Winter—Even If I Don't Want To

    By Scott Bestul

    I’ve been contributing to a deer-feeding slush fund for 16 years. I didn’t realize this, however, until yesterday, when I read a story in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune about a soon-to be initiated feeding program to help whitetails make it through the tail end of a good-old-fashioned tough winter. Apparently, 50 cents of every Minnesota deer license I’ve bought since 1997 has helped fund this program, which was instituted by the state legislature 16 years ago.