18 Top Hunting, Fishing and Camping Tips

Some of the best hunting and fishing tips that appear in Field & Stream every month don't come from the editors or writers at the magazine. They come from you, the readers. We get so many good tip submissions, in fact, that it's sometimes tough to select the winners for our "Reader Tips" section. But there were never any doubts about the tips in this gallery. If you have a good Reader Tip for the magazine, e-mail it to fsletters@bonniercorp.com, or post it on The Tip Board. If it appears in the magazine, we'll send you some great outdoor gear--free!

Chill, Then Pull

When fishing-rod sections get stuck together, wrapping a bag of frozen vegetables around the joint for about 20 minutes helps to loosen the grip.
Patsy Brillante, Utica, N.Y. --Patsy Brillante, Utica, N.Y.

Shrug Off Sling Slip

Pin a quality round-ball compass onto the shoulder of your jacket. It works well to prevent a rifle or shotgun sling from slipping off, and you can refer to the compass easily if you need it. --Richard Boliver, Croghan, N.Y.

Prolong Plastics

When wacky rigging, reinforce the plastic worm by embedding an inch-long piece of toothpick above the hook. It will last way longer. --Jerry Lombardo, South Windsor, Conn.

Wag a Dog Tag

Make a single-blade spinnerbait with a recycled pet ID tag. Straighten out a large, sturdy paper clip, slide a weight on, and bend the paper clip to form a shallow U. With pliers, make a small loop at one end, and attach a hook tied with feathers. At the other end, attach a snap-swivel hooked to a shiny dog tag. --John Davis, Parker City, Ind.

Monitor Meat

At my hunting camp, frequent power outages make us wonder if the meat in our freezer is safe. I cut the top off a plastic water bottle, filled and froze it, and placed a quarter on top of the ice. The quarter moves if the freezer thaws. --Dave Horvath, Hermitage, Pa.

Handle Tiny Flies

To hold small flies that you're tying onto fine-diameter leaders, use the handle of an X-Acto hobby knife, which is about the size of a ballpoint pen. Just insert the fly into the jaws, where the blade would go, and tighten. --Urban Guiliani, Iron River, Mich.

Leather Your Livers

Toughen up chicken livers for catfish bait by packing them in a coffee can between layers of non-iodized salt. Store the can in the refrigerator for about a week, and the livers will toughen up to the consistency of leather. They'll stay on the hook better and never spoil. --Ronnie Jinks, Columbia, La.

Get Food and Rest

If you bump the scope on your rifle at hunting camp and need to readjust your sights quickly, make range bags by filling 1-gallon zip-top plastic bags with deer corn. Filled about 90 percent full, two or three bags will settle a rifle nicely. --Bob Fowler, Point Blank, Texas

Fire at Crackers

When I take my grandson plinking on my property, we shoot at dollar-store crackers. He likes the round and square ones, while I prefer the little oyster crackers and cheddar bites. My grandson can see the bullet impact, which makes it more enjoyable. Plus, our targets don't cost much and there is no cleanup--we're just feeding the birds. --Ronald Eklund, Osteen, Fla.

Step Smart

Rain, morning dew, or frost can make the rungs of your ladder stands slippery and dangerous. To add traction, I sprayed all the rungs on my stands with Plasti Dip rubber coating and sprinkled sand on them while the spray was still wet. For even better coverage and more traction, you could do a second coat after the first one dries. --Mark Brown, Trenton, Ill.

Listen Up

For a cheap, yet effective, bobber for light-tackle fishing, use a foam earplug. Just thread the hook through and slide it to the desired position on the line. You can make it a slip bobber by inserting a length of plastic coffee stirrer. --David Kretzschmar, Highland Lakes, N.J.

Make Weight

Make easy-to-pack decoy weights by filling ­empty plastic snuff cans with concrete. Drill two small holes into the bottom of the can first to attach a wire loop large enough to fit around the decoy's head. Let cure, cover, and wrap one or two in camo duct tape. --Jon Durand, Mansfield, Texas

Shave the Years Off Your Guns

When I'm finished hunting or handling my rifles and shotguns, I use an old-fashioned shaving brush to cover them with my favorite gun protectant. I apply the protectant right to the bristles. The brush gets into all the little tight areas and distributes the protectant nicely, so my guns go back in their safe fingerprint-free, protected from rust, and looking almost like they did the day I purchased them. --George P. Sougeron III, New Orleans, La.

Sip, Soak, Scrub

If you forget to pack a pot scrub­ber to clean your dishes in camp, remove the plastic rings from a few six-packs of canned beverages and bundle them tightly together with a zip-tie. It's very effective at scraping off food residue baked onto pans. Just make sure to dispose of the plastic rings properly at home. --Greg Martin, Eau Claire, Wis.

Slip a Cork

Save your wine and champagne bottle corks--they make great slip bobbers. Drill a small hole through the cork's core, insert a broken rod tip (every angler has a few of those) or even a stiff plastic coffee stirrer cut to size, then epoxy in place. Paint with oil-based paint (nail polish works in a pinch). --George Lambrecht, Buffalo, Minn.

Stop Rust With Rice

For ammo storage in a bug-free environment, use uncooked rice to prevent moisture buildup. Wrap it in a single layer of tissue paper and store inside your ammo boxes. It works just as well as desiccants like silica gel but is much easier on the wallet and the environment. I also place a packet of rice in with ammo and firearms I'm shipping to an outfitter. --Levi Garrett, Girard, Pa.

Revamp a Rack

Whether it's an antler mount hanging outside on the barn or a shed found in the woods, antlers that have been bleached by the elements can be restored to a natural color with Minwax Golden Oak stain. Rub it on with a cotton cloth and let dry. One coat usually does the trick, but you can repeat until you've achieved the desired coloration. --JHawes, via fieldandstream.com/tips

Ten-Cent Solution

If I need to inspect my rifle's bore in the field (I'll admit that I've slid down a hill or two) or while cleaning it at home, I open the action and set a shiny dime on the bolt face. It reflects enough light from my flashlight into the bore for me to see if it's clear or clean. --Patrick Edmonds, via e-mail

Reader tips featured in this gallery: