Hunting and Fishing News & Blog Articles

Stay up-to-date on hunting, fishing and camping products, trends and news.

Gobbler Grand Slam

March is the month many wild turkey hunters will be kicking off a quest. The wild turkey Grand Slam involves taking (at least) one of each of the four recognized races of wild turkey found in the U.S. It’s a daunting challenge, especially for a bowhunter, but it can be done with a little planning and a lot of luck.


Seasons open in March making Florida a good place to kick off your slam. The best option for non-resident hunters is a guided hunt, but demand and prices can be high as Florida has a monopoly on Osceola turkeys.


Still, odds for success are also higher with a guide, and this is often the toughest subspecies to tackle. If you prefer the DIY approach, The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission manages public hunting on 6 million acres in their WMA system and the WMA Finder app on their website will help you find locations best suited to turkey hunting.


Merriams wild turkeys can also be challenging, for different reasons. They inhabit rugged, open terrain of the western states like Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. Cover is sparse and Merriams travel a long way during the day.

Continue reading
  313 Hits

First Wild Turkey Bowhunt Report

Tim Wells calls in a group of big gobblers to his decoy.

Tim Wells BowHunter



  223 Hits

Bowhunter Safety Courses

Bowhunter safety courses prevent accidents and save lives.

National Bowhunting Education Foundation (NBEF) and many state agencies are responsible for bowhunter education’s development of comprehensive online bowhunter’s safety courses that teach students important laws and regulations, game identification, and safe, responsible handling of archery equipment.

Bowhunting is a safe activity, and with the availability of bowhunting safety education, it is growing safer all the time. Over the last 50 years hunting and bowhunting related injury rates have decreased dramatically, even as populations of deer, wild turkey, elk, geese, and other species of game have risen to record numbers.

Below Are Links To Bowhunting Education In All States.

United States


Official Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources bowhunting safety education course

Get Certified


Official Alaska Department of Fish and Game bowhunting safety education course

Get Certified


Official Arizona Game and Fish Department bowhunting safety education course

Continue reading
  252 Hits

Why Shed Hunt Now?

If you haven’t looked for shed antlers this year, or you have poor success finding them, here are some good reasons to get out in your deer hunting area and give shed hunting a good try this year, right now.

Now a Good Time to Scout


Finding sheds after deer season confirms that the buck survived the season. Photo Joe Shead

Late winter and early spring are the best times to scout for next deer season.

Last fall’s rubs, scrapes and trails will still be visible after the snow melts and before spring green-up occurs. Plus, at that time of year, you don’t have to be paranoid about bumping a buck from its bedding area and making him go nocturnal. The deer will have months to forget the encounter. Therefore, it’s a good time to get into the thick bedding cover bucks call home or even to invade the places you may consider sanctuaries during bow season. By shed hunting at this time, you’ll get a feel for where deer are bedding now and how they enter and exit these bedding areas, which can help you set up a perfect ambush when archery season rolls around.

Learn Which Bucks Survived

If you find a fresh shed antler in the spring, there’s a good chance the buck that dropped it survived hunting season as well as the winter. He still has to dodge predators and vehicles in some areas for several months before the next bow season. Body size differs between young and old bucks, but aside from that, individual animals are difficult to tell apart after they cast their antlers. But finding a shed is proof positive that a particular buck at least made it through hunting season and is very likely in your area.

Continue reading
  206 Hits

Tips That Draw Gobblers Into Bow Range

By Darron McDougal – Photo Credit: Darron McDougal

I can practically still feel the adrenaline coursing through my veins from opening morning of Wisconsin’s 2021 Wild Turkey Season. Two gobblers marched toward my decoys. At 20 yards and closing, their drumming sounded like a subwoofer. I subconsciously whispered, “Showtime.”

This encounter underlined what separates archery and shotgun hunting. With the wild turkeys now flogging my decoy 8 yards away, it was a show most shotgun hunters end yards before it begins. Sure, I get my kicks from a gobbler doing his thing at 25-40 yards, but two of them beating up my decoys just barely beyond spitting distance is second to nothing.

I held at full draw as the toms bullied my poor decoy. They were a blur. Finally, the strutter paused facing directly at me. My broadhead sliced his waddles, destroyed the vitals and exited his hip. He fluttered, then slumped mere paces from my still bobbing jake decoy.

Photo Credit: Rick Meoli

The following tips will help you orchestrate your own up-close-and-personal archery encounter with a wild turkey gobbler.

Setup Details

A shotgun can be deadly through thick brush if you can somewhat see the bird’s head. With a bow, you need a wide-open shot at the body. So, I prefer to bowhunt fields, and I only hunt fields I know gobblers are using based on my scouting. With toms roosted nearby, I’ll set up a blind the morning of my hunt somewhere in the middle of the field, usually on a high point with excellent visibility. I set my decoys at 10 yards or less — I like slam-dunk shots.

When setting up a blind, always face it west, north or south for morning hunts. On afternoon hunts, face it east, north or south. This keeps the sun from shining into your blind and exposing you.

Continue reading
  195 Hits

Portable Blinds For Wild Turkey Bowhunters

When hunting wild turkeys from a ground blind I take the same approach as hunting whitetail deer and antelope, with the exception that scent detection is not an issue.  However, concealment, eliminating noise and movement is a major priority.  Turkeys have excellent eyesight and a superior ability to detect movement

When hunting from a portable ground blind, here are a few tips and details I always pay close attention to 

Author proves doing the right things can have positive results.

Even the roomiest Portable Ground Blinds have limited floor space…..therefore your shot flexibility is limited.

I place my gear such as packs, extra clothing, food, water, etc. towards the very front of the blind.  This allows more room to position myself further back from the shooting window and reduce the possibility of a wild turkey seeing my movement and detecting me.  Because I prefer to shoot from my knees, all I have to do is fold my chair and slide it forward to maximize the shooting floor space.Using shoot through mesh over the windows is a good idea; also, I wear clothing that mirrors the interior of the blind or a dark neutral color.Blind placement is very important.  Try to determine the direction of the approaching gobbler.  Hunting from farm areas or on private ground makes it much easier to pattern wild turkeys….understanding how they use an area allows for a more accurate prediction for your setup.I like to place a blind in an area where approaching birds will have to pass from the left or right in front of the shooting window to access the decoys.  If possible, position yourself on the same side of the blind that the birds are approaching from.  This will give you an opportunity to draw your bow in a concealed location which will help decrease detection.A common mistake bowhunters make is forgetting the arrow shaft is lower than the bow-sight ….therefore it is very easy to send an arrow shaft through the wall of the blind.  Take a moment to make sure your arrow will clear the shooting window.Archers should plan shots on non-strutting turkeys….strutting gobblers appear larger than they are.  At the sound of the bow string wild turkey often drop down a few inches causing a high hit or a missed shot.  A gobbler in strutting position can create an illusion confusing the archer on the actual location of the vital area.

Hope these tips are helpful…..good shooting and hunting!

Ron Gaines

HoytUSA StaffInnerloc BroadheadsEaston Arrow ProductsCarter EnterprisesConk’s Faded Sage CamouflageWinner’s Choice Strings

  222 Hits

Velvet Mule Deer Bowhunt

Bowhunter Brian Barney hikes deep into the high country mule deer territory. Brian, Eastmans’ Elevated Podcast Host is on his quest for a trophy class, public land mule deer. It’s an early season bowhunt and there’s good potential to find a buck that’s still in velvet. Brian uses his wealth of DIY knowledge to hunt country that’s difficult to access and has few reliable water sources on this episode of Beyond the Grid by Eastmans’.

   Eastmans’ Hunting Journals


  209 Hits

Chris Bee: Kansas Public Land Giant 187″ Buck

Holey Moley Everybody! In this video Chris Bee and his wife travel to Kansas to bowhunt on public land and what happens is astonishing. Chris rattles and grunts in a giant 180″ class buck.

     Chris Bee

  275 Hits

Third Hand Archery: Build Your Own Broadhead Target

Third Hand Archery Accessories has been inventing, designing and manufacturing high-quality and innovative archery accessories since 1992. Our DIY Bowhunting Target will be the best target for broadhead practice that you have ever used.
Our products are designed by bow hunters, for bow hunters. CLICK On The Video BELOW…

  jim litmer

Jim Litmer
cell 859-912-1058


  241 Hits

Turkey With A Side Of Bacon

Wild Turkey seasons are open or opening around the country and many folks will be headed south or west to try and bag a gobbler or two. If you happen to be lucky enough to tag out early, you might want to take advantage of the extra time at your destination. Many southern lodges and outfitters offer wild hogs as a bonus, or for an additional nominal fee. But if you plan to hunt them with a bow, there’s a few things you should know.


Wild Hogs are a lot tougher than deer. They have heavier hides, thicker and heavier bones and more fat. If you have a specialized turkey bow, you may want to up-size to something more powerful for Wild hogs. That means heavier draw weight, heavier arrows, heavier broadheads and more kinetic energy.

Sword and Shield

They’re also built differently than deer. Males especially have a thick, rugged shield of gristle and bone around their shoulders. That means a smaller vital area. Study anatomy diagrams in advance and stay away from the shoulder. Quartering away is a much better angle than even broadside, and don’t even consider quartering-to.

Bacon makes an excellent side dish for a spring turkey hunt.


Make no mistake, wild hogs are very intelligent and they have keen noses. However, their eyesight isn’t great and though they have good hearing, they don’t seem to be nearly as skittish as whitetails. That makes spot-and-stalk hunting a very viable option for the bowhunter, even on open ground but preferably with some cover. Just take your time and don’t move when they’re looking your way.


Now that I’ve gotten your attention… If you have a choice, you’d be well advised to choose a sow over a boar, at least if you’re more interested in meat than a trophy. While they lack the sometimes impressive cutters and whetters of big boars, a sow’s meat tends to be more tender and flavorful. Steak the loins and grind the rest up for sausage.

Continue reading
  276 Hits

George Winters Oklahoma Bucks

My Friend George Winters goes to Oklahoma to bowhunt Whitetail bucks on public land. George arrives  in November just when the rut is heating up and he doesn’t get just one fine Oklahoma buck, he gets two.

     George Winters


  252 Hits

How To Practice For Hunting Western States

Tracy Breen

If you are a Midwest or Eastern bowhunter heading West this fall, one of the most important things you can do is make sure you can keep your arrows in a pie plate size group at forty yards and beyond. For most Whitetail bowhunters (including me), the average shot taken in the field is inside thirty yards.

As a result, we often practice at thirty yards. John Schaffer from Schaffer Performance Archery of Minnesota has hunted all over the West and believes if bowhunters are heading west, they need to practice at long ranges.

“When bowhunting out west, a forty-yard shot is often the norm. Fifty- yard shots and beyond are common place,” Schaffer said. Schaffer regularly shoots his bow at distances of sixty yards and beyond. “Any flaw in a person’s shooting form is going to be more exaggerated at longer ranges. By practicing at longer ranges, archers quickly learn what they need to fix to keep a small arrow group.”

When shooting at great distances, any flaw in your bow setup will also be magnified. At thirty yards, almost any arrow setup will fly well. At seventy-five yards, if your arrows don’t weigh the same, if one or two of your arrows has a flaw or if your broadhead planes, you will quickly notice your group isn’t very tight.

When I pull a dozen arrows out of a box and fletch them up, often I have a few that don’t perform at longer distances. These arrows get thrown into a box and aren’t used for hunting. To make sure my arrows fly well and to make sure they all weigh about the same, I weigh each arrow on a grain scale.

Continue reading
  202 Hits

National Deer Association’s Annual Deer Report

The National Deer Association’s annual Deer Report is out and it contains interesting information on bowhunting trends.

Per usual, the report relies primarily on data from two years prior, as that’s the most recent comprehensive info available from state agencies when NDA compiles their report. Still, it’s very enlightening.

Deer Harvest Trends

Nationwide, bowhunters took 25% of the total deer harvest in 2021. Regionally, the Northeast took top honors accounting for 33%, followed by the Midwest at 28%, the West at 25%, the Southeast at 16% and Canada at 11%. New Jersey led not only the Northeast but the nation with bowhunting accounting for 64% of the total harvest, followed by Connecticut at 51% and Massachusetts at 48%. Next highest were Ohio at 48% and Kansas close behind at 47%. Clearly, bowhunting continues to play a strong role in controlling deer populations more developed states.

Hunter Trends

It’s probably not surprising that Illinois leads the nation in terms of percentage of bowhunters, at 74%. The First State – Delaware – is second at 67%, followed by Connecticut (66%), Massachusetts (66%) and Ohio (61%). It’s worth noting that the Northeast also had the highest proportion of hunters participating in both archery and muzzleloading seasons, and the highest number of deer hunters per square mile (8).


Crossbow use continues to grow though the growth rate has slowed considerably as they gain more widespread acceptance. Crossbows are now legal in 46 states compared to 21 in 2012.

Continue reading
  257 Hits

How To Train A Shed Dog

Finding & Training a Shed Antler Dog

In this episode of the Drop-Tine Report professional dog trainer Roger Sigler tells us how to pick out and train a shed antler dog. Roger informs us that “not all puppies/dogs are created equal.” And he shares what is important to know to train an “Antler Dog” that finds shed for you.

In this episode of the Drop-Tine Report professional dog trainer Roger Sigler talks about picking out and training a shed antler puppy.

Roger reports that not all puppies are created equal. Sigler has travelled North America training horses, mules, dogs and even marine animals in California. Listen by Clicking Here..



  223 Hits

Hypothermia: The #1 Killer Of Outdoor Recreationists

Reprinted From The USDA Forest Service as a public service

Hunting Safety And Hypothermia

Our national forests are a refuge for wild animals, including dangerous animals like bears and venomous snakes. Wild animals can be upset by human presence and can unexpectedly become aggressive. Do not give them a reason or an opportunity to attack. Always keep your distance. Your safety is your responsibility.

Tell someone where you will be hunting.Avoid outings alone. If you go alone, be extra careful and hunt in familiar areas.Dress properly and be prepared for the worst possible conditions. Protect against hypothermia.

Hypothermia is the number one killer of outdoor recreationists. It occurs when the body temperature is lowered and unable to produce heat. Most everyone has experienced mild hypothermia, however, if the process is not stopped, death can occur.

Hypothermia can develop in temperatures as high as the 60’s or 70’s. It is caused by cool to cold temperatures, wind, lack of sunshine, and most importantly, wet or damp clothing.

Signs include shivering, slow or slurred speech, fumbling or immobile fingers, stumbling, sleepiness and exhaustion.

Continue reading
  289 Hits

SHED HUNTING: Is It Worth Your Time?

If you’ve like many and had none or minimal success at finding whitetail buck shed antlers, I offer you are some good reasons to shed hunt again this year. Late winter and early spring are the best times to start scouting for your next deer season.

Last fall’s rubs, scrapes and trails are easiest to see in the time between when the snow melts and the coming’s warmer weather launches the spring green-up. Also, at that time of year, you don’t have to worry about bumping deer from rheir bedding area and causinging him go nocturnal. The deer will have months to forget the encounter.

A buck in March that that has shed his left antler.

This is actually a good time to get into the thick bedding cover as well as other areas that bucks call home. By doing so, you’ll get a good feel for where deer bed and how they enter and exit their bedding areas

Which Bucks Survived?

When you find a fresh shed antler in the early spring, the buck that dropped it probably survived both the hunting season and the winter. So that buck is likely to still be in the population of area bucks.

Once a buck sheds its antlers, individual bucks become quite difficult to identify. While locating a shed is proof positive that a particular buck made it through the recent hunting season, it’s possible you won’t be able to recognize him when he is antlerless or just beginning to grow his new bulbous, velvet antlers.

Continue reading
  1225 Hits



I am one of the lucky ones who make a living getting to travel the globe in search of big game animals and interesting stories for my TV Show, Nick’s Wild Ride.

Some people have gone so far to call me the Anthony Bourdain of the hunting industry because I spend a lot of time on the road hunting unique animals in extraordinary places and while I am hunting, I often dive into the local culture and the local food.

I often get asked about my favorite hunting memory or my favorite hunt of all time.  For me, that’s easy: it was the first time I went deer hunting and, ironically, I didn’t even fill a tag.

I didn’t grow up in a hunting family. The only animal I remember my dad killing was a fox if it got into our chicken coop. That said, as a kid I always loved being in the woods watching animals and learning about animal tracks. I always wanted to be a hunter.

Continue reading
  238 Hits

Best Broadheads for Spring Gobblers

Since today’s crossbows have twice the minimum kinetic energy needed for Cape buffalo, when it comes to broadhead size, bigger is better.  Turkeys have a very small kill zone and a strutting bird is more than half feathers.  In addition, turkeys rarely stand still and may twist and turn as they approach a decoy.  Even at close range, you want as much margin of error as possible, and the larger the head the greater the margin of error.

Jumbo heads fly accurately, yet you need exactly the right turkey behavior.

Jumbo Turkey Broadheads

The above turkey picture doesn’t show one of the four favored shot placements on a turkey, yet if you hit the mark, the turkey dies instantly.  When I began hunting turkeys with a bow nearly 20 years ago, I worried that these jumbo heads would not fly well.  They do.  For them to be effective, the turkey must have its head high and its neck stretched.  I shot a big gobbler at 15 yards with a crossbow but when the blades of the large head hit the wing butt, the arrow bounced off.  The turkey looked stunned and then walked off as I tried desperately to recock the bow.

The Tominator is a giant expandable head.

Expandable Broadhead Options

Expandable broadheads have the advantage of flying like target points yet still delivering huge wound channels.  The Tominator has over three inches of cutting surface and is my personal favorite.  Hybrid heads that offer cut-on-contact blades and two or more additional blades that deploy are excellent because they still fly well (test first) and deliver maximum tissue damage.

Here are the four traditional aiming spots on a gobbler.

Where to Aim?

Turkey hunters should have the four placements committed to memory and don’t forget my favorite, the base of the neck.  A good way to help hone shot placement skills is to look at pictures online or in a magazine and pick out the exact aiming point.  “Aim small, miss small” has never been more relevant than with turkey hunting.

Expandable broadheads fly consistently for great accuracy.

Fixed or Mechanical?

Both are lethal if you hit the kill zone exactly.  The trick is to maximize tissue damage in case your arrow is off by an inch or two.  Remember, a wounded turkey may fly away and leave no blood trail.  If the bird runs, it will hide in tall weeds or thick vegetation making it very difficult to find.  I believe that large, hybrid, mechanicals offer the greatest advantage.  Heads like the Grim Reaper Hybrid have two cutting blades and additional blades that deploy on impact, giving a large 4-blade wound.

Continue reading
  436 Hits

Tom Foolery

Wild Turkey Decoys are nearly essential for bowhunters because they help predict where a gobbler will stand for a shot.  Raising or drawing a bow within sight of a wild turkey rarely works and when a gobbler is keenly focused on a decoy, your slight motions may go unnoticed.  Here’s a look at three types of decoys and how they affect wild turkey behavior.

A feeding hen will attract a gobbler from a distance.

A Honey of a Hen

Hen decoys are sold in three behavior models.  Alert hens stand with their head up as if they just saw a tom approach.  Feeding hens have their heads down in a feeding stance and their allure can be enhanced if they move on the stake in a gentle breeze.  The breeding hen lays flat as if she is submitting to a mating gobbler and is often used in conjunction with a gobbler decoy.

Shown are a feeding and an alert hen.

Good News, Bad News

The good news about a hen decoy is its universal appeal to gobblers.  Often calling to a tom won’t attract it unless the bird can see the source of the sound.  When you add sight and sound together, the gobbler’s natural wariness is quickly overcome.  The downside of hen decoys occurs when the dominant hen doesn’t like them, alarm putts, and leads the flock in a different direction.  Additionally, since a hen decoy is the most commonly used by hunters, some toms have been missed while approaching them and are repelled by a bogus bird.

Jakes are yearling male wild turkeys with a short beard.

Jakes- The Roudy Teenager of the Turkey World

Jakes are yearling gobblers that display the red head of a male and sport a short beard, two-to-four inches in length.  Dominant hens hate them and often drive them away from their flock.  Gobblers despise them because they attempt to breed hens and are seen as competition.  As a result, jakes often travel in flocks and will actually attack a longbeard if their numbers are great enough.  Pairing a jake and a breeding hen makes a longbeard even more aggressive and they frequently attack.

A jake in conjunction with a hen is a powerful allure to a mating tom.

Good Jakes, Bad Jakes

I have an Avery jake decoy that over a four-year period has never been ignored by a gobbler.  It’s so realistic that when a tom sees it, it approaches.  The downside of a jake decoy is the aggression it prompts.  An archer must make a precise shot on a gobbler and as mature gobblers approach they are in attack mode and rarely stand still.  With a shotgun, a tom is literally “easy-pickings” but the bowhunter has to demonstrate extra patience.  If you relish that full strut,  broadside shot, use a hen.

Continue reading
  225 Hits

How To Protect The Future Of Bowhunting

Every hunting license we buy contributes to State Wildlife Agencies and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Additionally, when you buy hunting equipment, a part of the money goes to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The funds are used for habitat restoration, hunter education, wildlife research, public-access programs and other high-priority national conservation projects.

Consider getting involved and actively doing your part to contribute to the future of bowhunting in America.

Mentor Someone New

Mentor a new hunter and share your skills and advice. Photo Credit: Bowhunters United

If you’re passionate about bowhunting and practice safe, legal tactics, you can introduce others to the sport by becoming a mentor. Taking new people bowhunting is a fun, rewarding and sustainable way to keep hunting relevant. Plus, you’re creating the next generation of bowhunters who can keep the tradition alive. State Wild life and Fish & Game Departments hold hunts for youth as well as for pepple who have never hunted.

Volunteer For Habitat Work

If you care about the future of hunting, you can make a difference through hands-on habitat work. Volunteer to clean up public lands, plant native species, remove invasive species or work on other outdoor-related improvement projects, like wetland restoration or prescribed burns. Connect with your state wildlife agency or conservation organizations and learn about nearby opportunities.

Continue reading
  242 Hits