Field & Stream's 25 Best Photo Galleries of 2009

New World Record Brown Trout Caught in Michigan's Big Manistee River

On Sept. 9, angler Tom Healy, fishing with guide Tim Roller, landed this 41.7-pound brown trout while fishing for salmon in Michigan's Manistee River. The trout has been certified as a new state record and is pending certification as the new all-tackle world record. Here is the story of how they caught this fish, along with the best photos you'll find of it on the Internet. Read the story and see the photos here.Tim Roller: ultimateoutfitters.com

Extreme Aerial Bowfishing: Jumping Carp Breaks Woman's Jaw in Illinois

Bowfishing for flying Asian carp comes with serious risk of injury, something that became frighteningly clear to expert bowfisherman Chris Brackett when one of the large fish jumped out of the water and broke his fiancee's jaw while they were filming a television show. Read the story and see the photos here.

Trail Cam Bloopers

These 43 shots are the funniest, strangest, and otherwise most unusual trail cam photos entered into last year's wildly popular Trail Cam Photo Contest. Click here to see them.
23-year-old Arianne Prevost took this 11-foot Alligator with a crossbow in Florida last week. Check out our photos of her kill and read the story by clicking here.

New Ohio Muzzleloader Record Could Have Longest Main Beams Ever Recorded

Okay, it's not official quite yet. But unless a buck's main beam can shrink by almost two inches in 60 days, you are looking at least the longest left main beam and likely the longest two beams recorded on a whitetail deer--ever. On November 30th, the opening day of Ohio's gun season, 39-year-old software developer Brian Stephens dropped this 18-point colossus at 80 yards with his .50 caliber T/C muzzleloader. The enormous buck should shatter The Buckeye State's nontypical muzzleloader record and will almost certainly set the new mark for whitetail beam length. Here's his story, as told to Dave Hurteau. Read the story and see the photos here.

Cult of the Wels: Catching Giant Catfish in European Rivers

You may think trophy catfishing is a distinctly American activity, but across the Atlantic there's a group of anglers who share a similar passion for their own species of whiskered freshwater monster. I'm talking about cats so big, hundred-pounders are routine. Cats so powerful anglers come from all over the globe for a chance to catch one. This is the story of the Wels catfish. Read the story and see the photos here.

New Michigan State Record Great Lakes Muskie Caught Near Traverse City

On Sunday, September 27, Kyle Anderson of Rapid City, MI caught this 50-pound 8-ounce Great Lakes muskie. The fish is now the new Michigan state record. It beat the old record, set in 1984, by 2.5 pounds. Anderson was fishing in Torch Lake, near Traverse City. Click here to read his story and see more photos of the fish.

Dropping Trout Out of Airplanes Into Colorado's High Mountain Lakes

Hardly anyone believes me when I tell them... The Colorado Division of Wildlife stocks native cutthroat trout in high altitude lakes with airplanes. No Joke. Flying modified Cessna 185 airplanes, four specialized pilots stock the native trout in around 300 lakes ranging in altitude from 10,000 - 12,000 feet. They drop hundreds to thousands of fish on each bombing run before they cycle back, fill up with more fingerlings and head out for another white-knuckle pass over the Rocky Mountains. DOW Pilot Steve Waters agreed to let me tag along and shoot the operation from start to finish, from installing the specially designed "fish tank" to watching an actual fish drop in the shadow of Mt. Sneffels, high in the San Juan mountain range. Click here to read the story.Tim Romano

Girl Next Door Tags Monster Suburban Eight-Point Buck Next Door

Fallon Kunevicius didn't hesitate to bag this buck when it crossed through a narrow ravine between backyards on her family's suburban property in Independence, Ohio. On the evening of November 3rd, as the buck quartered slightly away, she raised her crossbow, center-punched the slammer, and with some help from a tight-knit community, recovered the giant main-frame 8-pointer from her neighbor's front-yard shrubbery. Here is her story, as told to Dave Hurteau. Click here to read the story.

Is This The New Pope and Young World Record Alaska Moose?

Darin Mack almost didn't hunt Alaska with his son this fall. "Money was a little tight," says the 36-year-old technical advisor with Lancaster Archery in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. "But my wife and I talked it over and decided it was now or maybe never." They chose now, and on September 23rd, with his son by his side, Mack arrowed what may be the new Pope and Young world-record Alaska-Yukon moose. Read the story and see the photos here.

The Fish Babes Collection

Last year we put out a call for photos of ladies who knew how to get it done on the water. Now, by popular demand, here is the full list of entries. Watch out fellas, these gals can fish! See the photos here.

Five Greatest Gunfights of the Old West

David E. Petzal's picks for the best wild west dustups of all time. And yes, the O.K. Corral is number one. Read them here.

Ice-Out by Ice Road: Fishing Backcountry Manitoba by ATV

The town of Lynn Lake is the farthest up northern Manitoba you can drive during the summer. Lynn Lake is where the pavement ends and the muskeg begins, which means it's a gateway to the best walleye, lake trout, and trophy northern pike fishing in the world. Most visiting fishermen fly out of Lynn Lake from a floatplane base near the airport, heading for high-end trophy lodges you can only reach using wings. There is, however, one road leading north out of town. It is called the winter road, and it's open only in January, February, and March, when it's covered with ice thick enough to support the tanker trucks that carry fuel from Lynn Lake to a remote reservation town called Brochet. The rest of the year, when the ground is soft, this road becomes an impassable swamp. It is little more than a trough in the taiga, a 250-kilometer bog that's home to nothing but ducks, wolves, beavers, bears, and blackflies. Over the years a few locals have tried to reach Brochet on the road during the warm season, just to see if the trip could be done. They've tried it with trucks, with quads, and even with 6-wheeled ATVs. None made it farther than the first 5 kilometers. Until we arrived. This is the story of how four guys spent two weeks on three quads and a Rhino in the beginning of June, trying to fish our way up this road, from Lynn Lake to Brochet, during ice-out. It starts 8,000 feet above a frozen lake … Click here to read the story.Mike Calabro
Scott O'Konek may have rewritten the Minnesota record books when he tagged this 32-point buck around 9 a.m. on Oct. 15, the first day of Camp Ripley's annual two-day archery hunt. Bolstered by good mass and long brow tines, the big deer's green score--conservatively measured at 228 nontypical--would be more than enough to dethrone the current state-record archery buck, a 222 5/8 nontypical taken in 1992 by Gary Martin a 226 3/8 nontypical taken in 2008 by Ben Spanjers. O'Konek's deer weighed 192 lbs. field dressed, and the highly symmetrical rack netted 183 7/8 typical. Read the story and see the photos here.
Ah, the annual SHOT show. It's heaven to anyone who loves guns, knives, hunting, police or military weapons. It's also not a bad place to hang around if you like looking at pretty girls...or what have been dubbed by many as "booth babes." So take a look at this year's babes of SHOT Show. Click here to see the photos.

Man vs. Croc vs. Giant Nile Perch

When you mention perch to Americans, most of us think of the small, feisty panfish native to our Northern waters: fun on light tackle and delicious on the table, but a bit lacking in the size department. Mention perch to those who have fished in Africa, however, and you'll get a very different reaction. In Africa, perch fishing means swift, dark water, man-eating crocs, hippos, and Nile perch, a fish that routinely outweighs the men who pursue it. Nile perch, which swim in lakes and river systems throughout Africa, are one of the largest freshwater fish in the world. They are popular targets for European anglers, and so, earlier this year, British fisherman Tim Smith traveled to Uganda's Murchison Falls on the Nile River, hoping to catch -- and release -- a trophy. Here's the story of how Smith caught the fish of his dreams, but nearly lost his life in the process. Read the story here.
Black guns often get a bum rap. They can look a bit menacing, and their configuration and controls are radically different than those found on traditional sporting firearms. But the hunter who automatically dismisses AR-style rifles as legitimate sporting guns would be doing himself a major disservice. Why? Because the AR is one of the most capable, adaptable, and appealing firearm platforms on the market today. And these characteristics are helping it gain traction in the civilian market in its semi-automatic-only form. What follows is my personal list of the top 25 ARs. This list includes guns ranging from tactical rifles to hunting rifles, plinkers to pistols, all of which is designed to give shooters a good idea of the range of ARs available to them today. Unless otherwise noted, all guns on this list are chambered for standard 5.56x45mm/.223 Rem. cartridges. -Michael Humphries Read the story here.

Bobcat vs. Mule Deer

These photos were reportedly taken on the "North Highway," although we're not entirely sure where that is. Neither were many of the people who commented on the photos, who also spent a bunch of time debating whether the cat was a lynx or a bobcat. What do you think? Check out the photos here.
These gorgeous portraits of fifty all-tackle records were taken from the new book BIG: The 50 Greatest World Record Catches, from artist Flick Ford and International Game Fish Association (IGFA) historian Mike Rivkin. The portraits are based on historic photographs, catch reports, and other research and, according to the publisher, "show each catch as it would have looked emerging from the water." Visit Greenwich Workshop Press (greenwichworkshop.com) for more information. Click here to read the story.Flick Ford

Canadian Sheep Hunting Guide Takes First Yukon Trophy Elk

On September 25, 51-year-old Canadian sheep guide Alan Klassen killed his first-ever elk, which also happened to be one of the first animals taken during the Yukon's first-ever public elk hunt--and a specimen that ranks first on the short-but-growing list of trophy Yukon bulls. Here is his story, as told to Dave Hurteau. Read the story and see the photos here.

Lynx Stalks an American Widgeon

Photographer Anthony Gibson was lucky enough to capture an attempt by this lynx to grab an American wigeon in Alaska's Denali National Park. Unfortunately (for the lynx), it was an unsuccessful stalk. "That lynx picked the wrong duck," said Gibson. See the photos here.
A thousand miles west of Connecticut's "Gun Valley" --home of S&W, Savage, Mossberg, Marlin, and others -- you'll find America's "AR Valley." It's in Illinois and Iowa, near the Rock River and the Quad Cities, and is home to five major AR-15 makers; Armalite, Springfield Armory, Les Baer Custom, Lewis Machine & Tool, and Rock River Arms. They're all clustered around the Rock Island Arsenal, home of the U.S. Army Armament, Munitions and Chemical Command, which is responsible for small arms R&D and purchasing for the military. These gunmakers have been building rifles as fast as they can since last fall. Even before Election Day, the prospect of a Democrat in the White House put gun owners in a panic buying mood. Gunmakers saw this phenomenon when Bill Clinton became president, and they thought they were ready for a similar boom in demand. Says Rock River's Steve Mayer, director of Law Enforcement and Government Sales and New Product Development: "We were ready for an upsurge in sales. We weren't expecting a tidal wave. We were getting 2000 orders a day." Now, almost nine months after the election, demand is finally slowing down, but AR 15s remain the hottest commodity in the shooting sports today. They are accurate, infinitely customizable, good for hunting, target shooting, and tactical use, and just plain fun to shoot. My son John and I visited Rock River Arms (rockriverarms.com) recently to see how ARs are put together. Here's a slide show of what we found.Phil Bourjaily

Mystery Rifle: Muzzleloader Found In Tree in Montana

Montana native Maxx Martel found this 1858 muzzleloading rifle packed in bear grease in the hollow of a tree. How did it get there? Nobody knows, but it kicked off a big debate among our readers. Check out the story here.

A Homestead for Steelhead: The Story of the Damdochax River Lodge

IN 1977, KEN AND ALICE BELFORD were living on a farm outside Hazelton, British Columbia, with their three-year-old daughter, Hannah. Looking for a wholesale lifestyle change, they bought the rights to an undeveloped hunting territory in the far north of the province and began outfitting. What they didn't know then was that they'd also bought rights to one of the most unique and productive steelhead rivers in North America. Today, what started as a single log cabin on Damdochax Lake has turned into three riverside tent camps and one of the best steelhead destinations anywhere in the world. And while Ken has moved on, Alice and Hannah (who is now known as one of the top steelhead guides in North America) have created an operation where traditional homesteading values and devotion to the land complement dense runs of the wildest, toughest trout on the planet. These photos tell their story.Tim Romano

The Golden Age of Monster Moose

No moose is truly "small"; but there are an awful lot of monumental moose on the loose of late, including a potential new world's archery record, taken barely three months ago. It is a golden age for outrageous racks. Here are a few outstanding examples. Read the story here.

From new record trout to crossbow-toting gator moms, we covered 2009's biggest stories in the outdoors. These were your favorite 25 of the bunch.