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Triple Play Decoys

Use a three-bird spread of realistic decoys and kiss your ground blind goodbye.

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12 Shooting Drills That Will Make You A Better Hunter

Shot a bull's-eye from the benchrest? Got 20 out of 25 at the trap range? Great—but...
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  • March 17, 2014

    Extreme Winter Hurts Great Lakes Duck Population

    By David Draper

    CC image from Wikipedia

    The long winter in the northern half of the U.S. has been hard on everything, including resident populations of waterfowl that rely on fish for a substantial portion of their diet — fish that are now locked beneath a historical amount of ice on the Great Lakes and other area waters. Along the Niagara River in New York, red-breasted mergansers seem to be the species suffering most from starvation, though scaup, canvasbacks and grebes have also likely been affected, the Associated Press reports:

    Biologists say carcasses began piling up by the hundreds in early January after the plunging temperatures started icing over nearly the entire Great Lakes, preventing the ducks from getting to the minnows that are their main source of food. Necropsies on dozens of birds have confirmed the cause: starvation. [ Read Full Post ]

  • March 14, 2014

    How to Call In a Gobbler ... with a Nail


    By Dave Hurteau

    Not only can it be done, but there are two ways to do it: 1) You can hold a nail in your off hand, or put it in your pocket, while you call in a turkey with a turkey call; 2) you can use the nail, along with a block of wood and a piece of slate, to make turkey sounds that lure in your tom.

    Doug Herman with Cottonwood Hunting Lodge in Nebraska does it the second way. In fact, when we asked Herman, in the April feature story "Turkey Freaks," what call he would use if he could only use one, he said: "Actually, 95 percent of my calling is from one call—a nail call I’ve used for years to mimic clucks, purrs, yelps, cutts, even kee kees. The striker is a horseshoe nail you work against a chunk of slate. You’d swear you were hearing a real turkey." [ Read Full Post ]

  • March 14, 2014

    Smoking Snow Geese with Wild Sky Seasonings


    By David Draper

    I’ve been on a few snow goose hunts over the last couple of weeks and invariably, when I bring this up in casual conversation, someone asks, “What in the hell do you do with all those things?” First off, as an aspiring snow goose hunter, you have to manage your expectations. Sure, there are occasions when you can kill 100 or even 200 geese, but more often not, a day of hunting yields numbers well south of the century mark. Still, even 30 or 40 snows are a lot to deal with. The meat can be a bit challenging to work with, especially when the average age of a snow is 10 years, with birds upwards of 20 years old not uncommon. [ Read Full Post ]

  • March 14, 2014

    Gunfight Friday: Bushmaster AR 15 vs Howa 1500

    By Phil Bourjaily

    This week’s gunfight is a battle of varmint rifles. An AR 15 matches up against a bolt action.

    I was surprised by the overwhelming negativity in the comments section when I tried “FebruARy Madness” two weeks ago. At the same time, “FebruARy Madness” garnered over 600 votes, which shows pretty strong interest in the AR platform. So, based on the comments and the vote totals, I am wondering if there is a silent majority of AR fans out there who just keep their mouths shut and vote.

    Maybe we’ll find out this week as two Gunfight Friday regulars face off. [ Read Full Post ]

  • March 12, 2014

    5 Ways to Use Venison Minute Steaks


    By David Draper

    The other day I pulled this package of meat from our freezer—a steak that had been given to us by my girlfriend T. Rebel’s dad from the cow elk he shot last fall. The label instantly transported me back more than 30 years. I hadn’t heard the phrase “minute steak” since my childhood, when it meant a round steak smothered in canned tomatoes, onions, and green peppers served over rice, best known in the Draper household as Swiss steak. I don’t know why the Swiss get blamed for this classic concoction of busy mothers everywhere, but I’m betting it’s a dish familiar to any American who grew up anytime between 1950 and 1990. [ Read Full Post ]

  • March 12, 2014

    March of the Snowshoes: 4 Days of the Craziest Rabbit Hunting in the World


    By T. Edward Nickens

    Photos by Andrew Hetherington

    The hounds have turned. I hear them in the distance, echoing off the rolling, snow-clad Maine hills. A chorus of barks and yips morphs into a clamor of bawling chops and ringing howls, sharp as breaking glass. And they’re headed my way.

    I shift in my snowshoes, breathing hard. For a half hour I’d clambered over blowdowns and shouldered through cedar thickets so tightly grown the snowshoes hardly fit through. It’s my first try at chasing rabbits with tennis rackets strapped to my feet, and I don’t want to lose sight of Joe Ewing, the man I’m following through dense cover. [ Read Full Post ]

  • March 12, 2014

    What Happens To Dead Eagles?


    By David Draper

    I have to admit, I’ve never wondered what happens to dead eagles. I guess I’ve never seen a dead eagle so it’s just not something that crossed my mind, but when I came across this blog post from NebraskaLand magazine, I had to click on it. [ Read Full Post ]

  • March 11, 2014

    Fear and Loathing in Connecticut

    By David E. Petzal


    In my post of October 21 of last year, I pointed out that there were similarities between the catastrophic debut of Obamacare and the law requiring registration of AR-type firearms foisted on the Nutmeg State shortly after the shooting at Newtown in December 2012. seemed to have been put together by Moe, Larry, and Curly, and today, despite fixes to the website and all manner of backtracking by Obama & Co., only 11 percent of new enrollees are citizens who didn’t have health care before.

    Why? In addition to good old American mismanagement, Congress miscalculated how people would react. 

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • March 11, 2014

    Indiana Fails to Pass Amendment That Would Protect Hunting and Fishing


    By Phil Bourjaily

    Seventeen states have passed amendments to protect hunting and fishing. Indiana has been trying to pass a similar “right to hunt and fish” amendment since 1998 and once again, the measure has faltered.

    State Senator Brent Steele, (R-Bedford) says the amendment is more than symbolic.

    “There are people that don’t believe you ought to hunt or fish. We need protection from them,” he told [ Read Full Post ]

  • March 11, 2014

    Turkey Hunting Tips: How to Ready a Glass Call


    By M.D. Johnson

    Photos by Luke Nilsson, Turkey photo by Sam Zierke/Windigo Images

    Take on this little project before turkey season starts: Get your glass call ready for natural yelps, clucks, and purrs. Here's how to do it the right way. [ Read Full Post ]

  • March 11, 2014

    Wild Game Recipe: Rabbit Sott'olio


    By Jonathan Miles

    Photo by Johnny Miller

    Craig Wallen, the chef at New York City’s ’Cesca restaurant, does an amazing thing with rabbit: Employing an old Italian method of preserving meats and vegetables called sott’olio, he submerges rabbits in oil and slow-cooks them until the meat is tender and rich. Then he dresses the warm meat in a salad for a perfect counterbalance. The only difficult part of this recipe is pouring that much oil into a pot—but it’s worth it. Be sure to fish the garlic out of the oil for later: Spread the cloves on toasted bread for a killer snack. [ Read Full Post ]

  • March 11, 2014

    How to Purr with a Diaphragm Turkey Call


    By Will Brantley

    A mouth call’s versatility is tough to beat, and the hands-free operation is a huge asset when turkeys are in close. But it’s unquestionably the most difficult type of call to master, especially when it comes to the subtle sounds, like clucks and purrs. Both sounds require soft, controlled air flow to replicate, but it can be difficult to blow the average mouth call that softly while still vibrating the reeds enough to make noise. [ Read Full Post ]

  • March 10, 2014

    Poll: Rank Hot-Button Issues for Whitetail Hunters


    By Scott Bestul

    I just returned from the Quality Deer Management Association’s first-ever Whitetail Summit, held at Big Cedar Lodge near Branson, Mo. More than 200 hunters, property owners, biologists, researchers, and industry representatives braved a freak early-spring snow-and-ice storm to attend this inaugural event and discuss the hunting, management, and future of whitetail deer. It was a great forum.

    Over the last couple of decades or so, we’ve reaped the benefits of the whitetail boom, but now many factors indicate that the bubble has burst, or is at least bursting. With that in mind, on the Summit’s second day, attendees divided into stakeholder groups (including Academia/Research, Hunters, Industry, Landowners/Managers, Non-Governmental Organizations, and State/Provincial Agencies) and each set out to identify the most important issues and challenges facing whitetail deer and deer hunting.  [ Read Full Post ]

  • March 10, 2014

    What's the Strangest Thing You've Ever Eaten?

    By David Draper

    A few weeks ago I was up in Milwaukee, speaking about food at the 2014 Pheasant Fest. I ate plenty of good food while I was there, and had a couple beers of course, but by far and away the best meal I had was at Hinterland. I can’t recommend it enough. Along with Hank Shaw and several friends from Pheasants Forever, we were lucky enough to secure the chef’s table, and gave ourselves to the whims of Chef Dan Van Rite and the rest of his staff.

    After an initial appetizer of roasted Brussels sprouts, I don’t think we saw another vegetable for about eight, or maybe nine, courses. Instead, we got salami, beef heart tartare, oysters, elk loin and I don’t even remember what else. It was all amazing and by the end I was in physical pain from the food, drink, and laughter we enjoyed over several hours.

    One thing I did not get while I was there, but was featured on the menu, was the Pan Seared Duck Testes. [ Read Full Post ]