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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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  • 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 ]

  • September 21, 2012

    Why I Like Hunting Squirrels With a Shotgun

    By Phil Bourjaily

    A while ago we posted the story of a hunter who had taken North America’s Squirrel Slam in a single season. I thought it was one of the coolest stories we ever ran, but a lot of readers could not see past the fact that the hunter used a shotgun.* Comments ranged from condescension to outrage.

    I can understand that someone might prefer to shoot squirrels with a rifle--I have shot them with .22s, air rifles and muzzleloaders--but I don’t get the hate for shotguns.

    If I were going squirrel hunting tomorrow (which is not a bad idea), I might take my 10/22 but I would be just as likely to pack a shotgun, especially as the season is young and there are lots of leaves on the trees. I would unscrew the turkey choke from my 20 gauge 870, put in a Modified and shoot field loads of 5 or 6 shot. I might even leave the red dot on it. [ Read Full Post ]

  • September 18, 2012

    An Outdoor Philosophy

    By David E. Petzal

    As a rule, I try to avoid philosophy as strenuously as I avoid honest work. I would as soon read Hegel or Kant or Nietzsche as I would pound a darning needle up my nose. But sometimes one is forced to think about something more all encompassing than Ms. Mila Kunis (pictured here).

    While hunting in New Zealand this past spring, I ran into a South African hunter of vast experience who said, in the course of our conversation, “The purpose of hunting isn’t to kill some stupid animal. It’s to give yourself a chance to stand alone in the wilderness and realize how insignificant you are.” [ Read Full Post ]

  • September 18, 2012

    Meatopia 2012: The Woodstock of Edible Meats


    By Colin Kearns

    Last Saturday, I boarded a ship and traveled to a foreign land—a small island 20 minutes from Manhattan. I’d heard from a friend and colleague, David Draper, that this was a land rich with gastronomic heritage and, therefore, deserved to be explored. Neighborhoods with names like Carcass Hill, Offalwood, Beaktown, and the Game Preserve were said to announce the eclectic culinary traditions.

    Wanting to visit this place and witness it for myself, I embarked on a journey by train and foot and boat. When I touched down on land, I followed my nose to the gates. On the other side, Josh Ozersky, the founder and mayor of this land stood high on a stage beside men in aprons slicing into carcasses with large, sharp knives.

    “Welcome to Meatopia!” Ozersky shouted. “The Woodstock of edible meats!” [ Read Full Post ]

  • September 14, 2012

    Essential Dog Gear to Pack for Your Hunting Trips

    By Chad Love

    I'm in the process of packing for the first extended bird-hunting trip of the season. I thought it would be interesting to list a few of the less obvious things I always take with me on these trips, and then solicit your essential items - since I always enjoy learning from you.

    I carry a fairly extensive first-aid kit, but one thing I always keep in the bag are several syringes of an injectable antihistamine. Even though my dogs have the rattlesnake vaccine, an antihistamine can help stabilize a snake-bitten dog until you can reach a vet. Many guys carry Benadryl tablets for that purpose, but in the event of a snake bite I don't want to mess with trying to get a dog to swallow a pill. Plus, an injection will go to work much more quickly. Talk to your vet about it.

    And speaking of vets, I always make it a point to have the phone numbers of local vets handy when I'm hunting away from home. In an emergency that can save you precious time. [ Read Full Post ]

  • September 14, 2012

    Early Iowa Corn Harvest, Drought May Limit Spots for Bird Hunters


    By Chad Love

    While Iowa's pheasant season outlook is still not great, is at least not quite as abysmal as it's been the past few years. But the ongoing drought combined with an early corn harvest means hunters will probably have to concentrate their efforts in whatever stands of native prarie and edge cover that still remain.

    From this story on
    "...According to Monday’s crop report from the Iowa Department of Agriculture, 72 percent of the state’s corn crop had reached maturity, compared with a five-year average of 25 percent. At the beginning of the week, 10 percent of the crop already had been harvested, three weeks ahead of normal...."The early harvest means there’s a higher possibility that very few stalks still will be standing come pheasant season, which opens Oct. 27. Pheasants traditionally take cover in the rows, but bare fields mean hunters can anticipate the large majority of this fall’s pheasant population to concentrate in grasslands and prairies earlier in the season, said Tim Thompson, wildlife biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. [ Read Full Post ]

  • September 12, 2012

    How Do You Defend The Decision to Kill the Meat You Eat?

    By David Draper

    I’m always curious how other hunting omnivores defend their decision to not just eat meat, but also take part in the killing of that meat. There are many arguments to make—some valid and others just reactionary—but the one I gravitate toward is that humans are animals and hunting is simply the moral choice to participate within the natural ecosystem. To me, that is the simplest and most clear-cut answer. The counter point to that is modern man now exists outside that ecosystem, though I think most rational humans who have any understanding of agricultural systems would reject that argument. A soybean field may be less visually jarring than a clear-cut forest, but in reality there isn’t a lot of difference—the resulting monoculture is just a clear-cut prairie. [ Read Full Post ]

  • August 31, 2012

    Etiquette: Cell Phone Pictures From the Field

    By Phil Bourjaily

    Help me out here: modern techno-etiquette confuses me. Am I wrong to find it obnoxious when my phone goes off and a picture of dead turkey, a limit of geese or ducks or whatever, appears on the screen, sent by a friend who snapped it in the field? It doesn’t help that on my primitive phone, most pictures of dead animals look like blobs. [ Read Full Post ]

  • August 29, 2012

    Mountain Lion Returned to Wild After Nevada Casino Visit


    --Chad Love

    They say curiosity killed the cat, but for one enterprising Nevada mountain lion, all curiosity got him was a tranquilizer dart in the ass and a one-way ride out of town.

    From this story on
    A nearly 100-pound mountain lion was returned to the wild in Nevada Saturday after a trip through downtown Reno. Authorities said the male lion tried to get into Harrah’s Hotel and Casino on Friday morning. Guests at the casino reported seeing the cat try to walk into the casino, but it couldn’t figure out the revolving door, so it hit under an outdoor stage. Wildlife officials were able to subdue the animal with a tranquilizer dart. [ Read Full Post ]

  • August 29, 2012

    Study: World Population Increase Could Force Us to be Vegetarians by 2050

    By Chad Love

    A looming worldwide water shortage may force us all to become vegetarians by 2050, according to a new study.

    From this story in the (UK) Guardian:
    Leading water scientists have issued one of the sternest warnings yet about global food supplies, saying that the world's population may have to switch almost completely to a vegetarian diet over the next 40 years to avoid catastrophic shortages. Humans derive about 20% of their protein from animal-based products now, but this may need to drop to just 5% to feed the extra 2 billion people expected to be alive by 2050, according to research by some of the world's leading water scientists. "There will not be enough water available on current croplands to produce food for the expected 9 billion population in 2050 if we follow current trends and changes towards diets common in western nations," the report by Malik Falkenmark and colleagues at the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) said. [ Read Full Post ]

  • August 21, 2012

    Protected Territory Established for Jaguars in Arizona and New Mexico

    By Chad Love

    Move over mountain lions, there's a new cat in town, and yesterday it received its own Rhode Island-sized piece of ground to roam in...

    From this story on

    Jaguars, the third-largest cats after lions and tigers—and the biggest in the Western Hemisphere—used to live here. During the 18th and 19th centuries they were spotted in Arizona, New Mexico, California and Texas. Sometimes the cats roamed as far east as North Carolina and as far north as Colorado. [ Read Full Post ]

  • August 21, 2012

    Have You Ever Had a Bad Encounter with the Dog Police?

    By Chad Love

    Many of you are probably familiar with the books and stories of Jim Fergus. Although primarily a novelist these days, Fergus was at one point an active hook-and-bullet freelancer (in fact, he recently wrote a piece for F&S). He also penned two very good non-fiction books: "A Hunter's Road" and "The Sporting Road." "A Hunter's Road" is his chronicle of a season spent bird hunting across the country, and "The Sporting Road" is mostly a collection and expansion of some of his better magazine pieces. Both are, I believe, out of print, but can be easily found online and well worth your time.
    Anyway, Fergus wrote a screamingly funny piece in "The Sporting Road" I think we can all relate to in some way. Its title? "A Close Call With The Dog Cops," in which Fergus is walking his lab, Sweetzer, off-lead but at heel and in control at a city park when he's confronted by, of course, the dog police. Papers and identification for both dog and man are demanded, dog and man are threatened with incarceration, dog and man make a run for it, escape in comical manner, and all ends well. [ Read Full Post ]

  • August 21, 2012

    Conservation Update: Numbers of Hunters, Anglers in US on the Rise


    By Bob Marshall

    A press release from the Department of Interior last week held some of the best news in recent years for sportsmen—and the quality of life of all Americans: After decades of steady declines, the number of hunters and anglers in the U.S. showed significant increases over the last five years.

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation showed the number hunters and anglers increased 9 and 11 percent respectively, part of the 38 percent of all Americans who participated in wildlife-related recreation. That was an increase of 2.6 million participants from the previous survey in 2006. A Service spokesperson said the survey, which has been done every five years since 1955, last showed an increase was in the late the 1980s — which means we've halted a 30-year slide. [ Read Full Post ]

  • August 20, 2012

    Aerial Drones: The Future of Game Cameras?


    By Chad Love

    The brilliant cyberpunk novelist William Gibson may, or may not (it's attributed to him, anyway) have once said, "the future is already here - it's just not evenly distributed yet." Why, you may ask, am I leading off this ostensibly hunting and/or fishing news blog post with a quote from a semi-obscure cult sci-fi novelist? Because the future of game camera technology is here - it's just not evenly distributed, nor is it quite tailored for hunting...yet.

    From this story in the Boston Globe:
    They are better known as stealthy killing machines to take out suspected terrorists with pinpoint accuracy. But drones are also being put to more benign use in skies across several continents to track endangered wildlife, spot poachers, and chart forest loss. Although it is still the ‘‘dawn of drone ecology,’’ as one innovator calls it, these unmanned aerial vehicles are skimming over Indonesia’s jungle canopy to photograph orangutans, protect rhinos in Nepal, and study invasive aquatic plants in Florida...Relatively cheap, portable, and earth-hugging, the drones fill a gap between satellite and manned aircraft imagery and on-the-ground observations, said Percival Franklin at the University of Florida, which has been developing such drones for more than a decade. [ Read Full Post ]