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Small Game

50 Best October Reader Photos

Huge elk, big bucks , nice trout and funny trail cam pics: these are the 50 best photos taken by our readers in October.

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2012 Pumpkin Contest: Win Knives and Machetes from Gerber!

Go find a pumpkin, carve it up, take a picture, and enter the photo in our 2012 Pumpkin Carving Contest. We'll give some great prizes from Gerber to the most creative jack-'o-lantern carved in a hunting, fishing, survival, or shooting theme.

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  • 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….” [ Read Full Post ]

  • December 5, 2012

    Best Ways to Use Maple Syrup for Wild Fish and Game

    By David Draper

    The higher ups at my former corporate job in the Human Resource department—in a misguided attempt to boost morale (that actually pretty much did just the opposite)—would call my coworkers and I into a big room each year and preach to us about our “hidden paycheck.” This was the term they used to talk about health insurance, retirement programs, and all the other benefits they provided outside our normal salary. One particular HR director (who, curiously, no longer works there) also included things like the horrible coffee and stale popcorn available in the break rooms as part of our hidden paycheck. Not surprisingly, those two words quickly became the standard meme in the building when referring to anything from toilet paper to Post-It Notes.

    Well, here at my current job, I have hidden paychecks, too. In fact, we freelance writers have to live for the perks since we’re certainly not in this business for the money. As a guy who writes about food (among other things), I reap some pretty cool benefits (neither health insurance nor a retirement plan among them). There was that box of nut butter Justin’s sent me after they read my blog praising their products a few weeks back. 

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • December 4, 2012

    What Insect Predator Turns Prey into Taxidermy?

    By Chad Love

    Here is a mystery to test your wildlife knowledge.

    I was out quail hunting Saturday and noticed something odd about a barbed-wire fence I was getting ready to cross. A 20-foot section of the fence looked like a macabre display of hunting trophies: An entire row of mostly Boone and Crockett-sized grasshoppers were impaled on the barbs of the wire—frozen in their death throes. It was like Vlad the Impaler writ small, but no less merciless. [ Read Full Post ]

  • December 3, 2012

    Hunting: A Strange Kind of Balance

    By David E. Petzal

    Every November, I assemble with a collection of fellow coots, geezers, and codgers to hunt deer in northern Maine. There are not a lot of deer up there, and if you see a buck you’ve had a good week, and if you get one you’ve had a hell of a good week. In 10 years I’ve collected two, which is probably about average.

    However, one of our party hunted for nine years and never got anything. One thing and another went wrong and at the end of every camp he went home empty-handed. This year, however, his luck changed. He got a buck that weighed 239 ½ pounds with its guts out, which probably put the animal at around 300 on the hoof. The neck was colossal; the antlers went around 140 B&C, which for up there, is very good. In short, it was one hell of a deer after all those years. [ Read Full Post ]

  • November 28, 2012

    How to Hunt Squirrel With a Muzzleloader


    By M.D. Johnson

    Long Shot Less than 9 pounds, and 543⁄4 inches long, the .32-caliber Davide Pedersoli Frontier Percussion rifle ( is a squirrel hunter’s dream. The buckhorn sights are perfect for darker timber, and the adjustable double-set triggers are match quality. Mine performs like a .22 rimfire but is much prettier.

    Stuff Sack In a shoulder bag, I carry these essentials: a brass powder measure, a powder flask filled with FFg Triple Seven, 24 round balls in two .50-­caliber speed loaders, 50 lubed cotton patches in a No. 11 cap tin, a straight-line capper with RWS caps, a bullet puller, a patch worm, extra caps, a spare nipple, a combo nipple wrench-pick, and a jar of Thompson/Center T-17 cleaning patches.

    Food Clues The challenge is getting close while going unseen. Sit quietly, observe, and listen. Watch for leaves shaking unnaturally, and listen for the rain-patter sound of nut hulls falling or the raspy gnawing of teeth against a hard walnut shell. [ Read Full Post ]

  • November 14, 2012

    Scope Clutter and Reloading Advice

    By David E. Petzal

    Thanks to Deadeye Dick for this idea, but before we get to scopes, here are two more handloading tips that I want to get down before I forget them.

    Before I resize my cases, I clean the carbon off the necks with a metal polish called Simichrome. Then I wipe off the black ugh and throw them in the case tumbler with the fired primers still in place. This saves you having to poke pieces of ground-up corncob out of the flasholes.

    If you want to do a really thorough job of degreasing, soak the re-sized shells in acetone for 15 minutes. You do this outdoors, or in the garage with the doors open. They dry off very quickly, and if you want to speed up the process even more, turn a fan on them.

    OK, scopes. Because long-range shooting is now all the rage, some scope designers have made their reticles things of unholy complexity, packed with dots, lines, very small lines, squiggles and, in some cases, runes. This is due to the belief that a) the more complex it is, the better it is, and b) the people who design hunting optics have apparently done precious little hunting and intend to sell these things to people who are likewise unqualified. [ Read Full Post ]

  • November 7, 2012

    A Tip for a Happier Marriage During Hunting Season

    By Phil Bourjaily

    This is me with my first rooster of the year, always a noteworthy event. Almost equally important is this: even though you can see that Jed wanted to jump out of my arms and keep hunting I called my limit one bird and went home. I got back a little earlier than I told my wife I would and had daylight left for some leaf raking.

    Having now been married for 29 hunting seasons I can offer this observation: It is not so much the time you spend in the field that leads to disharmony during the fall. Coming home later than you said you would be home is what causes problems. [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 24, 2012

    Rabbit Hunter Stuck Treading Water in Well for 8 Hours Before Rescue


    By Chad Love

    Bird hunters and parents know all about the dangers old, abandoned wells pose to curious dogs and children, but it's not just kids and dogs that need to watch out for wells. One wrong step or one bad decision and we could find ourselves trapped in a very bad place. That's what happened to one Florida rabbit hunter when he stepped on a plywood well cover and ended up in twelve feet of water.

    From this story in the New York Daily News:
    One wrong step turned a stroll through familiar territory into a nightmare. Christopher Johnson, 28, fell though plywood to the bottom of a deep well while rabbit hunting early Saturday morning. His screams went unheard for more than eight hours as he managed to keep his head above water in at least 12 feet of cold, dirty water. He thought he would never escape as his stamina slowly faded. [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 16, 2012

    How Many Guns Do You Need?

    By David E. Petzal

    For the past few weeks, Phil Bourjaily and I have been doing a series of talk-radio interviews extolling the virtues of "The Total Gun Manual," which is rapidly being recognized as not only the greatest firearms book ever published, but possibly the greatest book ever published, period—greater even than "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,"  "Leatherstocking Tales," or "Tess of the d’Urbervilles." 

    Recently I did a crude and boorish interview, the kind I enjoy, but in the course of it I was asked how many guns I own. I was asked this because the talk-show guys were not shooters, and this is not a question one shooter asks another, at least in the circles in which I travel. You would sooner ask how much money someone makes, or if their livestock is afraid of them at night, or if everything below the belt is working OK.

    But I digress. [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 12, 2012

    Review: Four New Wild Game Cookbooks


    By Colin Kearns

    Lots of books come across my desk. Stories of survival. Manuals on “manly” activities. Hunting novels. Fishing memoirs. You get the picture. I get a lot of books. The ones I enjoy receiving most, though, are cookbooks. I’m not a very inventive cook. If I don’t have a recipe in front of me, I’m lost as far as ingredient quantities or cooking times. I need instructions. And I just love the character cookbooks acquire over time—with dog-eared recipes and stain-splattered pages—and how they look on a bookshelf. [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 1, 2012

    Rifle Skills: How to Shoot Fast


    By David E. Petzal

    The sign of a first-rate intelligence, said F. Scott Fitzgerald, is the ability to hold two conflicting ideas in the mind and still function. So it is with fast rifle work. Riflery is a sport of deliberation and precision, but the demands of the real world very often make deliberation and precision impossible. Gunsite Academy sums it up to a T: “A good fast shot is better than a slow perfect shot because you won’t get time for the perfect shot.”

    What follows is about shooting quickly after you have positively identified your target. It’s not about blazing away at sounds or snap-shooting at what you think is an animal. [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 1, 2012

    Close Call: Tripped and Stabbed


    Justin Murphy, 17, tripped and fell on his 6-inch blade while coyote hunting near Mechanicsburg, Ohio, this June. He tells the story:

    As told to Tommie Ethington:
    It was my last day at home before I was scheduled to leave for two months of basic training with the U.S. Army, so I decided to spend it hunting coyotes with my friend Derek Fullen in the woods surrounded by cornfields on a neighbor’s property.

    That evening, we heard some howls in response to our calls, but no coyotes came in. We called it quits around 11 p.m., and started walking the half mile back to my house. [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 1, 2012

    Poll: Kodiak Island, AK is Best Hunting Destination With Worst Weather


    By Chad Love

    In an interesting twist on the traditional top 10 list, Gore-Tex maker W.L. Gore Associates conducted a survey to find the nation's top hunting destination...with the worst weather. And the top pick? Think really, really big bears and really, really wet conditions. Yep, Kodiak Island, Alaska.

    From this story on

    “Serious hunter athletes know that the most exciting and rewarding hunts often involve battling the elements,” said David Dillon, hunting category leader for W.L. Gore & Associates. “Gore is committed to making sure hunters don’t miss any experience, or pass up any great hunting destination because of wind, rain, sleet, freezing temperatures or other challenging weather. We gear them up so they can stay out longer in any conditions and experience more. We hope this ‘Best Hunt / Worst Conditions’ list inspires some epic hunts for hard core hunters. [ Read Full Post ]

  • September 27, 2012

    Nebraskans to Vote on Making Fishing and Hunting Rights Part of State Constitution


    By Chad Love

    Voters in the Cornhusker State will go to the polls this November to decide if the right to hunt and fish should be a part of their state constitution.

    From this story on
    Nebraskans have hunted, fished and trapped since frontier territorial days. Hunting and fishing are part of the state's legacy of conservation and stewardship of the natural heritage. And they are big business. Hunters and anglers spent $709.1 million on trips, equipment and other related expenditures in Nebraska last year. Now voters will be asked on Election Day whether to enshrine a right “to hunt, to fish and to harvest wildlife'' in the Nebraska Constitution. [ Read Full Post ]