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Bird Hunting

  • October 30, 2013

    Gadwall Hunting: Specialized Tactics For Bagging More Gray Ducks

    1

    By M.D. Johnson


    Photo by Fred Greenslade/Images on the Wildside

    Don't overlook the gray duck. Instead, bag more by adopting a few specialized tactics.

    The Duck
    The gadwall has no glam. Its nickname, the gray duck, is the definition of dull. But a close look at the subtly hued drake shows that he's every bit as handsome—in an understated way—as any greenhead or bull pintail. Primarily a plant eater, the gray makes prime table fare, and its numbers are increasing in all four major flyways, especially in the Mississippi and eastern Central. Typically, the gadwall comes when called, but it's no pushover. If like most hunters you're bagging a few incidentally with standard mallard calls and decoys, you can do better. [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 29, 2013

    Waterfowl Hunting: Don't Worry About Shotshell Velocity

    7

    By Phil Bourjaily

    It’s pretty common advice that you should practice with steel shotshells of the same velocity as your hunting loads to get a “feel” for shooting steel shot before waterfowl season. That way you learn to lead birds less at close range and more at long range to make up for the fact that steel starts out fast and sheds velocity quickly. If it makes you feel more prepared to practice with your steel hunting loads, go ahead and do it. You probably should.

    I never do. I practice almost exclusively with 7/8-ounce lead reloads at 1,150-1,200 fps, then load my gun with whatever and go hunting. Yes, I pattern my gun first, but honestly, when it comes to velocity I can’t tell the difference in how I lead a target, whether the pellets leave my gun at 1,150 fps or 1,550 fps, or whether they are made of lead, steel, tungsten or bismuth. If I had to think about how much forward allowance to put on a bird every time I switched shells, I would never hit a thing with any ammunition. [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 29, 2013

    Man Shoots at Duck Hunters

    By Phil Bourjaily

    Two Wisconsin duck hunters, David Reichenberger and Levi Johnston, were hunting a marsh in Barron County when a man with a .410 opened fire, KSTP.com reports. Having already harangued the hunters, Van Hawkinson began shooting his .410 to frighten ducks. Hawkinson claims he was shooting in the air at a 45 degree angle. The hunters say he was shooting close enough to frighten them.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 28, 2013

    Great Plains Road Trip: 500 Miles of Ducks

    0

    By David Draper

    The 110th Meridian plots the path for one epic waterfowl adventure.

    Start your hunt near Pierre, S.D. The Missouri River runs roughly parallel to the 100th Meridian before making a bend below Lake Oahe. The stretch from here to Lake Sharpe is lined with game production areas, which are open to waterfowl hunting. There are also thousands of potholes in the region, including enough on the Fort Pierre National Grassland to keep you busy for a day or two. 


    Map by RADIO

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 28, 2013

    Maine Road Trip: Rough It For Grouse

    0

    By Lawrence Pyne

    To experience the best "pa'tridge" country left, just drive northeast.

    Good ruffed grouse covers are getting harder and harder to find, which is why my brother and I make a point of annually heading up to northern Maine. Thanks to large-scale forest management, there is so much productive habitat here that the biggest challenge is simply deciding where to jump in.

    Days Required: Three (Sunday hunting is prohibited). Necessary Paperwork: Three-day small-game license ($49 for nonresidents; maine.gov/ifw); daily access fee plus nightly camping fee ($12 each; northmainewoods.org). Must-Have Gear: A GPS unit with a companion tracking collar for your dog. Before You Go: Buy The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer (delorme.com). It shows NMW checkpoints and many campsites and logging roads and is essential for planning a trip. Last-Resort Guide: Libby Camps.


    Photos by Tom Fowlks

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 28, 2013

    West Virginia Road Trip: The Appalachian Grand Slam

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    By David Draper

    This fall should be a banner season for mast in West Virginia. An abundance of acorns and nuts will have the state's squirrels busy this month. Turkeys too will be getting in on the feast. And with the added chance of flushing a few grouse, this is the perfect year for a mixed-bag road trip here. To help guide you to an Appalachian Slam, I got some local tips from Larry Case, a 35-year veteran of the state's DNR—and a dedicated hunter.


    Map by RADIO

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 25, 2013

    Gunfight Friday: Browning Gold vs Benelli Nova

    By Phil Bourjaily

    Last week’s Gunfight Friday was the closest we have had yet since the Gunfights started, with the Bicentennial Nylon 66 beating the tricked-out 10/22 by a nose — or I guess by a muzzle crown in this case.

    This week we finally we have a Gunfight in which I have extensive hands-on experience with both of the guns. As you can probably imagine, that means we have shotguns this week, and it’s about time. We’re putting the Benelli Nova pump against the Browning Gold semiauto. It’s plastic vs. wood, practicality vs. good looks, pump vs. semiauto, and 3 1/2-inch vs 3-inch today. [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 23, 2013

    Goose Hunter's Lost Jacket (And $1,700 Cash!) Returned After Four Years

    1

    By Ben Romans

    Owen Schipnewski, a mechanic in Clara City, Minnesota, recently received a phone call from a stranger claiming to have a hunting coat he lost four years ago, and he wanted to return it—and the $1,700 he found inside—to its rightful owner.

    Schnipnewski told the West Central Tribune he lost the jacket while goose hunting with his 12-year old son in 2009. Trent Jorgensen found the jacket on the side of the highway, took it home, and hung it in his garage where it remained unused for four years.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 22, 2013

    Mixed-Bag Bonanza: How To Put Together An Unforgettable Late-Season Hunt

    1

    By Michael R. Shea


    Photo by Denver Bryan/Images on the Wildside

    Bryn Witmier had his best Pennsylvania mixed-bag hunt on a late-season, bluebird afternoon in 2010. It started the day before when the Avery pro staffer checked a reliable goose field owned by a corn farmer who ran a particularly inefficient two-row combine.

    "For two or three days, it never topped 20 degrees," Witmier says. "I knew geese were in the area and that they loved that field, but I noticed their pattern had changed: They didn't hit the feed until late afternoon." From his truck he watched a couple of hundred geese rooting around the field. Then, out of the blue, five mallards bombed into the corn. "All of a sudden a few ducks got up, then a few more, and pretty soon 600 or so mallards lifted off and tornadoed around," he says. "It was unbelievable." [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 22, 2013

    Turning Trapshooters into Field Shooters

    By Phil Bourjaily

    These three girls participated in a youth hunt put on by the local Pheasants Forever* chapter last weekend during Iowa’s two-day Youth Pheasant Season. I try to help out with the shooting instruction at events like these whenever I can.

    All three shoot for a local high school trap team – not the one I coach, unfortunately – so they could shoot. What they couldn’t do as well was get their guns mounted in time to take a shot. Most trap shooters put their guns into their shoulders first, then lower the muzzle, then wiggle their faces down onto the comb and then pick their eyes up off the gun and start looking for the target. By the time you get that done the clay has passed its peak and is falling at about 50 yards where it’s very difficult to hit. A real bird is gone in half the time it takes to do all that. [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 17, 2013

    How To Bring Ducks Back From Canada

    4

    By David Draper

    As I write this, I'm just making my way back from McLennan, Alberta, heading down Canada Highway 49 with Field & Stream contributor and Alberta native Brad Fenson at the wheel. He and I have been up here testing out the new 3 1/2-inch Browning A5 shotgun and Federal's Black Cloud High Velocity and Close Range loads on the area's waterfowl. Although we hit a lull in the migration, I'm happy to report both the gun and loads performed as expected on the birds called into range by our guide Kevin McNeil of Blue Sky Outfitters.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 16, 2013

    Take a Senior Hunting

    By Phil Bourjaily

    Monday I had the pleasure of playing dove guide to an older gentleman. Our mutual friend Springerman3 suggested I offer to take him out since he, Springerman, would be off in Wisconsin hunting grouse. Keith has permission to hunt a cornfield full of doves and I had a feeling my good deed might be rewarded if I said yes. We met at the field Monday. Keith is 78 and his knees don’t work as well as they used to. While he stays active he told me he hadn’t done any wingshooting since he gave up pheasant hunting 15 years ago. I ferried him out to a bale of corn stalks we could use as a blind, set up some decoys, then drove the truck back to the road and walked in to join him. Keith turned out to be excellent company in the field and we had a very pleasant afternoon. I spotted doves for him, hung out, visited, shot a few birds myself, then went and got the truck and drove it back out to pick him up at quitting time. [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 16, 2013

    Bonus Bird: How to Arrow a Turkey from your Stand

    1

    By Will Brantley


    Photo by Tim Christie

    You can arrow a turkey from your deer stand—but it's no gimme shot. Here's how to do it.

    Color Yourself Camo
    A deer may let you get away with a shiny face or hands, but seldom a turkey. Wear camo gloves and take a few minutes to paint your face or grab a mask when you head to your stand. [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 15, 2013

    The Idiot's Guide to Raffia Grass

    2

    By Michael R. Shea

    Skip the middleman and grass your boat or blind on the cheap.

    Buy in Bulk
    The Joseph M. Stern Co. (jstern.com) imports most of the raffia available here in the U.S. It's the supplier to Avery and Cabela's but will happily sell to Joe B. Duckhunter with a minimum order of 25 pounds. At $3.50 a pound that comes to $87.50, plus freight. Twenty-five pounds will easily cover an 18-foot duck boat. (I covered my 131⁄2-foot Four Rivers layout boat with 15 pounds last year.) Still, if you think that's too much, Frank's Cane and Rush Supply (franksupply.com) offers the best deal on 5- to 20-pound cartons ranging from $8 to $5.25 a pound, depending on how much you buy.


    Illustrations by Steve Sanford [ Read Full Post ]