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  • February 10, 2014

    US Olympic Ski Team Films from Treestands

    By Scott Bestul

    It looks as though Lone Wolf Tree Stands have made their debut in Russia—via the gear bags of the U.S. Olympic ski team. While doing a morning Facebook check, I ran into this clip on the Minnesota Whitetail Alliance’s page.

    While it’s clearly not the best footage in the world, I’m fairly certain that’s a Lone Wolf Alpha Hang-On. 

    I found it fascinating that the team has strategically placed five of these stands along the downhill course, each manned by a coach with a camera to better film the team’s skiers. No word on whether the coaches are spotting any big game from their perches.

  • February 6, 2014

    Write the Best Caption, Win a New Bow!

    By Scott Bestul

    That’s right, a bow. Which means this ain’t just any old caption contest—no “Write a Caption, Win a Bottle of Deer Pee ” deal. We actually asked for a bottle of deer pee, but when we did the folks at Bass Pro Shops said, “Well, sure, we could do that. But, you know, we’ve also got this awesome bow we’d like to give away to somebody. Would that work?”

    Yes. Yes it would.

  • February 5, 2014

    Poll: Should Yearling Buck Protection Be Voluntary or Regulated by the State?

    By Scott Bestul

    I thought the thermometer and Peyton Manning’s bid for best quarterback ever were the only things bottoming out. But according to a press release from the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA), the percentage of yearling (1-1/2-year-old) bucks in America’s annual whitetail harvest is lower than ever.

    Among the fascinating stats in the QDMA’s annual “Whitetail Report,” a yearly compilation of all things whitetail, only 37 percent of bucks killed by hunters nationwide during the 2012-13 season were yearlings. Back in 1988, when the QDMA started tracking this number, 62 percent of bucks shot by hunters were yearlings. That’s a 25-percent drop in as many seasons.

    Kip Adams, QDMA’s Director of Education and Outreach and a certified wildlife biologist is naturally pleased with the numbers. “Hunters in some states still shoot a high percentage of yearling bucks,” he says. “But overall, the trend is moving toward protection of at least some yearling bucks, as hunters are recognizing the benefits of having some mature bucks in the population—and it’s not just about antlers.”

  • February 4, 2014

    Deer Hunting Gear: 3 Good, Affordable Ladder Stands

    By Scott Bestul

    Dave Hurteau, who edits David E. Petzal’s Q&A column, sent me this question from Petzal’s overflow bin:
    I am a beginner bowhunter and would like to know your recommendation for a ladder stand that is cheap but will not make me wonder how good my safety harness is? --Nick Koury, St. Louis, Missouri

    What you want in a treestand is what most guys want—a model that won’t break the bank, or your neck. There are some truly cheap ladders out there, but to get that added measure of security and solid construction, you need to spend just a bit more, and I think it’s worth it. I’ve been using a lot of ladder stands in the last few years, and they keep getting better and surprisingly less expensive. Here three solid, affordable models to look at:

  • January 31, 2014

    New Rangefinder: Bushnell The Truth with ClearShot

    By Dave Hurteau


    Four years ago, peering through a screen of branches, I thought I saw a clear lane for sending a shaft into a decent New York buck. What I forgot to consider was that my arrow wouldn't follow the straight-line path my eye drew to the target, but would instead arc above my line of sight and then back down. 

  • January 30, 2014

    Big Bucks Vs. Hunter Recruitment and Retention, Part 2

    By Dave Hurteau

    We have begun a good discussion. So let’s continue. Many commenters, jjas being the first, pointed out that access is the biggest issue affecting recruitment and retention. No doubt that is true. But as this is a deer blog, I’ll point out (as I did briefly in the last comment section) that the biggest trend in deer hunting — managing for trophy bucks — has a significant effect on access. Not everywhere perhaps (as Dougfir rightly notes), but in many places to be sure. 

    At our Heroes of Conservation Roundtable discussion, I submitted two questions related to this point: 

  • January 28, 2014

    Poll: Does Trophy Deer Management Help or Harm Hunter Recruitment and Retention?

    By Dave Hurteau

    For our Heroes of Conservation Roundtable discussion at this year’s SHOT Show, F&S asked this very question to a panel of experts, including deer biologists, writers, and conservation leaders. And now, I’d like to ask you.

    But first, let’s clearly define the parameters.

  • January 24, 2014

    Announcing the Winner of the Bowtech RPM 360!

    By Dave Hurteau

    What’s that package on your front stoop? That big, rectangular cardboard box? Is that your brand new Bowtech RPM 360, the company’s 2014 flagship, their fastest bow ever, a prize worth a cool grand? Well, let’s find out.

    But first, let me just say that you people are damn good. How good? We threw you nothing but curveballs in this contest; most of you are accustomed to rough-scoring whitetails, but we showed you two blacktails and two muleys (one in velvet) instead. And still, six of you guessed within a half inch of the actual total score—and one of you nailed it, right on the nose. Very impressive.

    And so, speaking of the actual scores, here they are:

  • January 23, 2014

    Deer Hunting Gear: My Favorite Vest Gets Bigger and Better

    By Dave Hurteau


    If you could see my office… There are mounds, heaps, small mountains even, of outdoor clothing that I have either tested or need to test. And once these things are exposed to my personal funk, the companies naturally don't want them back, so things pile up. 

    As I say in the video, despite all these options, what I wear day in and day out always boils down to just handful of garments that I really, really like. It's the surest proof of what truly stands out. 

  • January 17, 2014

    Win Bowtech's New RPM 360 Bow, Final Round

    By Dave Hurteau

    This is it, folks—the fourth and final buck of our scoring contest and your big chance to win Bowtech's just-released RPM 360, the company's fastest flagship compound bow ever which I just reviewed at the ATA show last week.