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  • October 31, 2013

    Venison Steak: How To Fillet A Backstrap

    By Will Brantley

    The backstrap is the quintessential cut of venison. It's easy to remove, easy to slice, and best of all, easy to make delicious. For trimming up a truly perfect backstrap steak for the table, only a few rules apply. Slice it across the grain, about an inch thick for the grill and a half-inch thick for the pan, and fillet the steaks away from the thick layer of sinew that holds the muscle in place.

  • October 31, 2013

    Damn! Elk are Tough, Part 2

    By Dave Hurteau

    As I was saying, elk are tough. But before I get any further on that, let me address some of the comments from Part 1. Some of you said that the new Mossberg MVP 7.62 appears to be a brush rifle and not ideally suited to elk hunting in general. To that point, a couple of things: (1) We were hunting mostly timber and small openings therein, where shots were fairly close and where the MVP was certainly up to the job, and (2) Mossberg doesn't tout the MVP as the perfect elk rifle; they just wanted us the try it out on a cool hunt, and elk it was.

  • October 29, 2013

    B&C Ranks Top Trophy Big-Game States: Wisconsin Tops the List

    By Scott Bestul

    Home to the Packers, the Badgers, and more beer and cheese than is healthy for anyone, Wisconsin is  also cementing its reputation as Trophy Central in the Boone & Crockett record books. B&C's latest big-game awards book recognizes trophies taken across North America from 2010 to 2012, and Wisconsin leads all destinations with 412 trophy animals listed for the period. Second place goes to Alaska, with 221 entries.

    This is fascinating stuff for whitetail hunters, largely because those Wisconsin entries are comprised of only two big-game species; deer and black bear. The next five states/provinces, in order, are Alaska, British Columbia, Wyoming, and Colorado, all home to multiple species of big game. Wisconsin's closest competition in the whitetail arena is Ohio (6th place, 144 entries) and Kentucky (7th place, 139 entries).

  • October 25, 2013

    Damn! Elk are Tough, Part 1

    By Dave Hurteau

    After one of my last posts, 365-regular and fellow Bangorian Douglas asked about my recent elk hunt. I've been meaning to blog about this, but you now how things go this time of year.

    Anyway, it was great. I hunted at Elkhorn Oufitters's high-country camp near Craig, Colorado. It was a rare September rifle hunt, during which some fellow writers and I tested, among other things, Mossberg's new MVP Predator 7.62 NATO.

  • October 23, 2013

    Shoot Me Down: Big Bucks Don't Create Bad Behavior

    By Scott Bestul

    The buck in the photo above is dead, shot by a young hunter who was, of course, ecstatic. Shortly after the kill, however, things went sour. A neighboring landowner felt robbed because "his" deer—which spent much of its life on that property—was now going on someone else's wall. People started questioned the kill: Was it legit? Did a parent shoot it instead of the kid? Where exactly was the buck standing when it tipped over? 

  • October 22, 2013

    What's Worse: Screwing Up Bad or Screwing Up Stupid?

    By Dave Hurteau

    Last night, I missed one of the better bucks I’ve seen from a New York bow stand — a nice, clean 10-pointer at least 3-1/2 years old. Few bucks around here live to see their second set of antlers, so the fact that he was a little shy of the Pope and Young Club makes him no less a dandy.
    I’d made an aggressive move. With deer entering this small field from odd directions, I had been hunting it pretty conservatively. But yesterday afternoon I decided to move my stand to where most of the deer had been coming out and take a chance that any others might catch my wind.

  • October 21, 2013

    Scouting Tip: Work Outside-In to Find the Hottest Scrapes

    By Scott Bestul

    If you're a businessman trying to win a free lunch at your favorite diner, do you tuck your business card in a dusty corner and hope that management spots it? Of course not. You stick it in the fish bowl on the counter with the others—right where it's got the best shot at being noticed.

    Scrapes work much the same for whitetails. I don't know anyone who claims to know all the functions of a scrape, but this much seems certain: They serve as a kind of social interaction site where deer come to toss down some ID. They are especially important in the weeks leading up to the rut. I'm heading out for a scouting/stand-hanging mission this afternoon, and finding scrapes is at the top of my to-do list.

  • October 18, 2013

    Be Your Own Bow Tech, Part 8: Paper Tune Your Bow

    By Dave Hurteau

    And now for the last video in our 8-part series series on how to set up your own bow. If you missed any of the previous videos, click on any of the following: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6. In the previous post, Nick Droback with Bowtech explained target tuning. Now it’s time to paper tune your bow.

  • October 18, 2013

    Be Your Own Bow Tech, Part 7: Target Tuning

    By Dave Hurteau

    If you’ve been watching so far (if not see Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6), you now know how to get your bow set up for shooting. So now it’s time to shoot it. In this video, Nick Droback with Bowtech explains how to target tune (or sight in) your bow. And because this is pretty short and simple, we will follow up very quickly with Part 8.

  • October 16, 2013

    Legendary Tracker Larry Benoit Dies, 89

    By Dave Hurteau

    Photo by Marius Bugge

    I was away last week, bowhunting in South Dakota, when I heard that the great Vermont whitetail tracker Larry Benoit had passed away.

    Having grown up in the Northeastern big woods, nothing in hunting stirs me more than the prospect of dogging a track deep into the wilderness and dragging home the buck that made it. And like so many other North Woods hunters, I have mostly Larry Benoit to thank for that. I'm sorry to say that I never had a chance to meet the man, but F&S contributing editor Lawrence Pyne visited Larry The Legend in the Benoit living room, interviewed the master tracker several times, and has filmed and hunted with his well-known sons. And so, I asked Lawrence to write Benoit's obituary for this space. Here it is:

    The man once hailed as the country's best deer hunter will not be on the track of a big buck this fall. Larry Benoit passed away peacefully Oct. 8 in the comfort of his home and family in Duxbury, Vermont. He was 89.