Hunting and Fishing News & Blog Articles

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The Case for Squirrel Hunting, and Why It’s Completely Underrated


Bowhunting squirrels is a good way to break up a slow bowseason. (Beka Garris/)

The air was so cold that my eyes watered. Snow hung heavy on low-lying branches and blanketed the ground, muffling the sound of my footsteps as I made my way through the hardwoods. Late deer season in Ohio can be pretty uneventful, and although I still had a deer tag burning a hole in my backpack, I was concentrating on squirrels. After weeks of struggling to even see a deer during gun season, I was all about bagging something.

I spotted a flash of gray, a flick of a tail. Only 15 yards away, perched on a hemlock branch, was a fat gray squirrel. I felt my jacket bunch around my elbow as I drew my bow and released an arrow. It met its mark, and the squirrel tumbled, all but disappearing into the fluffy snow.

Success. That’s what it was. Going home with something to throw in the Crockpot is always a good feeling. And sometimes, especially when deer season gets tough, it’s good to just get out and shoot some game.


When most big-game seasons in, small game and squirrel seasons keep the cabin fever at bay. (Don Freiday / USFWS/)

Overlooked Hunting Opportunity

I grew up hunting squirrels, and still enjoy it every year. Hunting squirrels, however, doesn’t seem to be very popular. Small game in general tends to be overlooked for other larger, more glamorous game. And indeed, the available data confirms it. According to a 2016 national survey by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 70 percent of the 11.5 million U.S. hunters in 2016 said they hunted deer. A scant 13 percent—only 1.5 million people—hunted squirrels.

When most big-game seasons in, small game and squirrel seasons keep the cabin fever at bay.
Squirrel season starts early, runs late, and is a great reason to hit the woods.
Squirrel seasons are typically long, flexible, and perfect for accommodating cramped schedules.
Hickory nuts are a good sign you'll find squirrels nearby.
The author's daughter, carrying a fox squirrel back to the truck.
The best way to cook squirrel meat is low and slow.

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Stop Obsessing Over Gear and Improve Your Skills This Off Season


New gear will only take you so far. You must put the practice time in this offseason. (Tyler Freel/)

It’s easy for us as hunters to get wrapped up in gear, especially in the doldrums of the winter offseason when all manner of new gear, guns, cartridges, and equipment are flashing across our screens. There’s certainly nothing wrong with developing your “kit” as a way to look forward to the seasons ahead. Bowhunters will obsess over the slightest change in point weight, arrow selection, and the tune of their bow. Backpack hunters will spend hours filling out spreadsheets to optimize the weight of their packs. Rifle hunters will research the hottest-shooting new rifle to try to extend their effective range.

I don’t want to knock this kind of preparation. It plays an important part in both the anticipation and the effectiveness in our upcoming hunts. But just remember, it’s usually your skills and knowledge, not your gear, that make for a successful hunt.

Improvements in skills and knowledge take time and effort to develop. They cannot be bought. So rather than getting completely consumed by gear this offseason, we should balance it with improvement of our skillset and knowledge as well. Every hunter is different, so this will look different for each person. Pick one or two things to improve on this off-season and I can almost guarantee you’ll see tangible results in the field next fall.

For me personally, this means shooting my recurve bow all winter, mostly at short range in my garage. I focus on developing and maintaining good form and a mental shot process. Many of the nuances of shooting a bow are perishable, and rather than struggle with frustration by only shooting right before a hunting season, it helps me to be in a constant state of development.

Even in the midst of an unprecedented ammo shortage, rifle and pistol shooters can maintain and fine-tune certain aspects of their skillset through repetition. Dry firing from practical positions will keep your trigger control crisp and consistent. A 3-gun or action-pistol shooter can make mini targets and poppers out of cardboard. Tape them to the wall, and practice drawing, reloading (dummy rounds), cycling, and dry firing to gain valuable repetition without actually sending rounds downrange.


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How to Motorize Your Fishing Kayak


Adding power to your kayak provides worry-free power and hands-free fishing. (Ric Burnley/)

First came the sit-on-top kayak. Then the pedal-powered kayak. Now, anglers are clamoring for motorized kayaks to take them farther and faster.

Adding a motor does more than save human-powered energy, a motorized kayak turns travel time into fishing time. Now that most kayak fishing tournaments accept motorized kayaks, competitive anglers are engaged in an arms race to find the most powerful and efficient motor. Off the tournament trail, motors are popping up on plastic boats from freshwater to salt. To motorize a kayak, most anglers choose one of three options: electric outboard, trolling motor, or a factory-motorized kayak.

For anglers adding a trolling motor or outboard, the first step is choosing the right kayak. To handle the power and weight, pick a boat over 40-inches wide with at least 400-pound capacity. A shorter water line, under 13-feet long, will save weight and make the boat easier to control.

Many kayaks come rigged with attachment points to accommodate a motor system. To save weight and reduce set-up time, some anglers pick a paddle kayak to motorize. Others choose to add a motor to a pedal boat for worry-free power and hands-free fishing.


Brandon Barton uses a Torqeedo electric motor to power his Hobie Pro Angler. (Brandon Barton/)

Electric Outboard

Brandon Barton uses a Torqeedo electric motor to power his Hobie Pro Angler.
Netting fish is a breeze with motorized hands-free power.
Anglers can gain access to prime fishing waters more quickly when their yaks are outfitted with trolling motors.
Tournament pro Marvin Goda has been using a trolling motor on his Native Watercraft Titan 12 for several seasons.
Anglers can go farther and faster with less effort and more confidence.

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3 Jaw-Dropping Bow Season Bucks That Scored O 200 Inches


Bowhunter Dustin Bothman with his world-class Ohio whitetail. (Dakota Kellough/)

Giant bucks captivate our attention like little else. And there were three studs tagged during the 2020 deer season that made the year just a little more bearable for the lucky hunters who got them. These are the tales of their hunts.

The Ohio 217


Bothman points to where he saw the buck during the hunt. (Dakota Kellough/)

Hunter: Dustin Bothman

Buck: 217 inches

Date of Harvest: Oct. 11, 2020

Bothman points to where he saw the buck during the hunt.
Scott Tucker ended the multi-year journey for this Illinois stud the best way a hunter can.
Brian Davenport put in the time and effort it required to tag this Kentucky giant.

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The Proposed Bear Hunting Ban in California Is a Threat to All Hunters


A new bear hunting ban has been proposed in California, despite the state's increasing black bear population. (California Department of Fish and Wildlife/)

California’s Senate Bill 252 is but the most recent high-profile attack on hunting in the U.S., and would spell the complete elimination of public hunting for large predators in that state. The bill, introduced by democratic state senator Scott Weiner, is labeled “The Bear Protection Act” and would completely ban California’s current “sport hunting” season for black bears, which has a relatively small statewide quota of 1,700 animals (a quota that has never been met since the use of hounds for bear hunting was banned in 2013).

For many hunters living in other states, it might be easy to write off California as a cuckoo’s nest of unreasonable, insurmountable regulations. But we shouldn’t. California is home to a tremendous variety of natural resources and, under different political climates, it would likely be a much more popular destination for hunters. More importantly, California is too often a barometer of things to come in the fight for hunting rights. Many of the battles hunters are facing now in other states were first fought and lost in California.

As for SB-252 specifically, the ins-and-outs are detailed thoroughly in an article in The Sacramento Bee. The bill is framed as protecting a population of black bears that is struggling to survive among wildfires, climate change, and hunting. There are several key takeaways in this article, including the fact that bear populations are estimated to have grown from 10,000-15,000 bears in 1982 to 30,000-40,000 bears today. Also, the state wildlife managers actually wanted to increase the hunting harvest quota to 2,000 bears, but that was shut down. The article lays out clearly that hunting isn’t detrimental to the bear population.

Another issue is that about a quarter of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s budget is paid through hunting and fishing licenses, and associated taxes—including from bear tag sales. Last year, the state’s 30,394 bear-tag holders—whose bear tags generated $1.39 million in revenue—killed just 919 bears.

And bears would still be killed through depredation permits, similar to California mountain lions (California banned mountain lion hunting in 1990). From a wildlife management standpoint, there is no logic in legislation like this. It all comes down to ideology.

Since bear hunting with hounds was outlawed in California, hunters have not filled the state's annual quota of 1,700 black bears.

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How to Harvest and Make Your Own Maple Syrup (And Utilize Syrup From Other Tree Species)


Maple syrup ready for pancakes and waffles. (LadyDragonFlyCC via Wiki/)

There are windows of opportunity in nature, and one of my annual favorites is “sugaring time.” In late winter, tree sap begins to flow, and from the right trees, this sap can be collected and concentrated into a very special (and very delicious) caloric resource – sweet tree syrup. Most of us focus on how to make maple syrup during this window. But maple trees are just the beginning. Here’s what you need to know about the history of tree tapping and the basics on how to tap trees for syrup.

A Quick History of Tree Tapping

There are many legends surrounding the discovery of maple syrup in the American Northeast. One of my favorites involves a Native warrior practicing with his tomahawk. After sticking the axe many times into a sugar maple tree in early spring, his wife noticed the water running out of the trunk. She gathered this water and prepared a soup – which turned out to be surprisingly sweet. After a little experimentation, maple syrup was born. While it seems likely Native Americans independently discovered that tree saps can be boiled down into syrup, the idea that tree tapping is a unique skill of the First People of the New World just isn’t accurate. Tree sap was collected and used as a food and drink resource in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere for more than a thousand years (and not just in the boreal regions). The Arabian explorer Ahmad ibn Fadlān documented the Bolgar people collecting birch tree sap near the Volga River and fermenting it into an alcoholic beverage in 921. For many centuries in fact, birch sap has been consumed fresh as drinking water, boiled down into a sugary syrup, and converted into a wine-like beverage in Russia, Scandinavia, Ukraine, Poland, Slovakia, Belarus, Estonia, Latvia and several other European countries.


It’s a common misconception that the only tree syrup comes from sugar maple and the only places it can be made are the American Northeast and Canada. (TIM MACWELCH/)

How Does Tree Sap Flow?

Throughout the Northern Hemisphere, you’ll see trees with running sap between January and early March each year. Specific timing depends on the weather, latitude, elevation, and the tree species you are working with. Some of these trees can be sources of water if you get caught outside without anything safe to drink. Other trees can provide delicious syrup. This sweet treat represents life-saving calories at one of the roughest times of the year for survival, but it’s also great for everyday culinary uses. Most tree tappers know that the sap flows best in the late winter, when the nights are below freezing and the days are above freezing. What is not commonly known (by non-botanists) is how the sap actually flows. During the late winter and early spring of each year, the water inside the tree has greater pressure in the roots than at the crown of the tree. This greater pressure pushes the water up toward the crown, carrying some of the sugars that were stored in the tree roots. Since this internal water pressure is higher than the atmospheric pressure, any hole in the tree bark will allow sap to flow out of the tree rather than continuing to flow through the tree.

It’s a common misconception that the only tree syrup comes from sugar maple and the only places it can be made are the American Northeast and Canada.
Tapping doesn't harm trees, as long as its done carefully.
With a cordless drill (or an old fashioned “brace-n-bit”), you can drill into your sap producing trees and begin collecting their sweet nectar.
With a large pot and some kind of heat source (either an open fire or a propane cooker), you can boil your sap outdoors (and keep all that steam out of your house).

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Authorities Find the Body of David Vowell, the 70-Year-Old Tennessee Man Accused of Killing Two Duck Hunters on Reelfoot Lake


Authorities searched by land, lake, and air for David Vowell, the Martin man wanted on two counts of murder. (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, via Twitter/)

Yesterday afternoon investigators recovered the body of David Vowell, the 70-year-old Tennessee man wanted in connection with the death of two duck hunters on Reelfoot Lake. Authorities report Vowell was discovered in the water “near the area of the incident.”

BREAKING UPDATE: The body of David Vowell has been recovered in the waters of Reelfoot Lake. He was located around 3 p.m., today, near the area of the incident. His identity has been confirmed and an autopsy will be performed. pic.twitter.com/OIGCOOXkJZ

— Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (@TBInvestigation) January 31, 2021

The discovery comes nearly a week after the manhunt began for Vowell, who was suspected of committing a double-homicide in the deaths of hunters Chance Black and Zackary Grooms, which occurred Monday morning on the north end of Reelfoot Lake, a historic waterfowling area. High water and adverse conditions forced authorities to suspend their search on Wednesday, but they resumed the search by land, water, and air Friday. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has confirmed that an autopsy will be performed, but did not provide details as to the cause of death.

UPDATE: Today, TBI Agents along with the Obion County Sheriff’s Office, @tnwildlife, @THPJackson, @THPMemphis, and @MadCountyFire searched by land, water, and air for double homicide suspect David Vowell at Reelfoot Lake.

Search efforts remain active and ongoing. pic.twitter.com/TUKexyBX4N

— Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (@TBInvestigation) January 30, 2021

District Attorney General Tommy Thomas has relayed to news outlets the account of one reported witness, Jeff Crabtree, who said he went to hunt with Chance and Black around 6 a.m. on Monday. Thomas spoke with Thunderbolt News in a radio interview Wednesday, relaying Crabtree’s account:


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Leupold Discontinues the Venerable VX-3i Riflescope and Replaces it With a Brighter, Tougher VX-3HD


A sneak peek at the new Leupold VX-3HD. (Leupold/)

I like simple things that work. Buttons—not zippers—on my Carhartt jacket. The liner lock on my KA-BAR folder. My Hi-Lift jack that has traveled hundreds of thousands of miles in the bed of various pickups that weren’t half as tough.

And my Leupold VX-3 riflescopes. I must have a half dozen of these simple, reliable Leupold scopes on various rifles. They personify Leupold’s Gold Ring promise: hard-wearing, gimmick-free optics that don’t weigh much and don’t lose their zero from season to season.

So I was alarmed when my buddy Ryan texted me just after Christmas. He was shopping around for a VX-3i scope to mount on his new Alterra rifle. “Am I crazy or is Leupold discontinuing the entire VX-3i line?”

This was news to me. I checked out Leupold’s website for myself, and sure enough, every VX-3i (the “i” designation does not stand for “illuminated” as you might think, but served as a new-and-improved differentiator from the original VX-3, introduced a full 40 years ago) was shown as unavailable. So I forwarded Ryan’s text to my buddies at Leupold, hoping for an explanation.

What I got instead was a box in Leupold’s signature black-and-gold trim. Inside was the new VX-3HD, the next generation of the venerable scope. My sample was in 4.5-14x40, just about right for every hunting rifle on my rack. Inside was a terse note: “Discontinued, never. Evolving into the VX-3HD, yes.”

The throw lever on the author's VX-3HD.
The new Leupold VX-3HD on the author's coyote rifle.

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The Ultimate Guide to Cooking Perfect Wild-Game Steaks


Behold, the perfect wild-game steak. (Jack Hennessy/)

Sure, you’re a self-proclaimed grill-master. After all, isn’t everyone who’s got a beer in one hand and tongs in the other? But if you want to reach steak-grilling legend status in your deer camp, there are a few things you can do to prepare a better venison steak. This is our ultimate guide to making the perfect wild-game steak, all the way from field to plate.

It Starts With Shot Placement

Every big-game hunter recognizes the consequences of making a poor shot, hitting guts, and potentially tainting meat (not to mention unnecessary pain put on the animal). But another key aspect to keep in mind is the time it takes for the animal to bleed out.

An animal that isn’t bled properly (read: quickly and thoroughly) can undergo immense stress, which will raise blood pressure and potentially cause smaller blood vessels (capillaries) to burst. The result? What is referred to as “blood splash,” which is an escape of red blood cells from blood vessels into the surrounding muscle. Some butchers may even refer to this as “blood spotting.” These sort of hemorrhages appear as small dark red spots in your meat. A small amount is fine to eat, though heavy blood splashing is not recommended for human consumption.

What does this mean other than “make a good shot?” Simply put: Forget about headshots. I still see posts on hunting forums where hunters target a doe’s head and wonder why their backstrap is polka-dotted. The brain of a cervid is incredibly small and even though they’ll drop with a headshot, they will continue to undergo stress. Blood pressure skyrockets, and blood splash will occur.

Cutting your steaks to the proper thickness is key.
From field to skillet, wild venison ready for the plate.
Smoking a wild game steak is best done at lower temperatures.

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Best Personal Heater: How to Keep Warm Anywhere


Turn your space heater on if the temperature drops and you need to get cozy. (Hugo Villegas via Unsplash/)

Sometimes central heating just won’t cut it against blustery drafts. Or maybe you’re working in a garage, or on a camping or hunting trip and don’t have access to heat at all. If that’s the case, a personal heater will be a cold-weather essential. Depending on the conditions you’re in, your specifications for a personal heater will change. If you need a little extra heat inside your house, or in a drafty cubicle, an electric heater makes the most sense. But if you’re working in a garage or on a construction site, a fuel-burning unit may be your best bet.

Kerosene and propane heaters have come a long way from the fiery infernos they once were, so you don’t have to fear for your safety when you power one up. A portable propane heater is perfect for heating up an ice shack, keeping a garage from freezing, or staying warm while camping—but remember to crack a window or two if you’re in an enclosed space to get proper ventilation. Keep reading to find out what is the most efficient electric heater, the best gas heater for on the go, and the best personal heater to buy if you’re on a budget.

BEST ELECTRIC PERSONAL HEATER: TaoTronics Ceramic Tower Oscillating Portable Heater

BEST KEROSENE PERSONAL HEATER: Sengoku KeroHeat 10,000-BTU Indoor/Outdoor Portable Radiant Kerosene Heater

BEST PROPANE HEATER: Mr. Heater 20,000 BTU Blue Flame Propane Heater

Heats up to 70 degrees Fahrenheit in only three seconds.
Four C batteries included.
Comes with legs and wall mounting hardware.
There’s a timer and auto shut-off function.
For spaces up to 225 square feet.
Ceramic heating for even distribution of warmth.

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Best Winter Jackets: Columbia, Canada Goose, North Face and More


Winter can be unforgiving. Your winter jacket should be too. (Daniel Bowman via Unsplash/)

A good winter jacket has always been essential, and if you spend a lot of time outside, you know that you will practically live in the jacket during the cold months. Which is best for you when there are seemingly endless options out there? We’ve done the research and selected six of the best winter jackets, each appropriate for specific conditions.

BEST WINDPROOF WINTER JACKET: The North Face Carto Triclimate JacketBEST WARM WINTER JACKET: Canada Goose Expedition ParkaBEST LIGHTWEIGHT WINTER JACKET: Arc’teryx Cerium LT HoodyBEST VERSATILE WINTER JACKET: Columbia Horizons Pine Interchange JacketBEST PUFFER JACKET: The North Face Metropolis Insulated Parka IIIBEST CHEAP WINTER JACKET: Eddie Bauer CirrusLite Down Jacket

Features to Consider When Shopping for the Best Winter Jackets

The best winter jacket depends as much on your climate as it does on your taste. And not just in terms of temperature, either. Is your winter weather typically windy? Does the temperature tend to rise and fall quickly? Is the weight of the jacket a factor? Do you go out in extreme cold, whether you want to or not? Knowing how to dress for cold weather is half the battle. Take all these qualifiers into consideration as you explore our suggestions below.

Do You Need a Windproof Jacket?

Wind will penetrate winter jackets not designed to deflect it, and if you’re going to be spending time in windy areas, your best winter jacket demands you consider wind-proofing as much as warmth and other factors.

A 100 percent windproof and waterproof jacket that’s customizable to a variety of weather conditions.
An all-around top-notch down jacket.
Superb quality down and smart design choices make this lightweight down jacket an excellent choice.
It combines a waterproof outer shell along with a warm inner jacket, and both can be worn separately.
This classic, well-built puffer jacket from The North Face is available in a variety of colors.
A classic brand provides quality at an accessible price point.

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Oregon’s Columbian White-Tailed Deer Was Endangered Until 18 Years Ago. Now, a Closely Regulated Hunt Celebrates the Species’ Recovery


The author with a stud Columbian white-tailed buck. (Justin Moore/)

The fourth time I saw the Columbian white-tailed buck, he was slipping through a stand of moss-draped oaks at first light, following twitchy does into the blackberry briars that bristle the shoreline of the South Umpqua River like unruly razor wire.

The third time I saw the buck as a series of spectral images from a trail camera, his glowing eyes buggy in the flash and enough of his many-pointed rack frozen in the phosphorescent night to get me jacked.

The second time I saw him from an aluminum jet sled, circa 1999, as I drifted three pounds of dead herring along the sandy bottom of the Columbia River. He was standing in tag alder on an island that my sturgeon guide told me the government had bought for the remnant population of deer. Sort of like an Indian reservation, only for floodplain whitetails, not the coastal people of the Cowlitz or Chinook tribes.

The first time I saw the buck was a picture in a pamphlet published by that same government. That was back in 1994, the year the federal Bureau of Land Management purchased a 6,500-acre ranch on southern Oregon’s Umpqua River, one of many efforts to restore this little whitetail to its historic range.

You’ll know by now that I’m not describing the actual same buck, but rather several members of his extended family. My relationship with this sub-species of deer, the Columbian white-tailed deer (the westernmost whitetails on the continent), dates back to the Clinton Administration, and for most of that time, I used the modifiers “protected” and “endangered” to describe its status as a game animal when I wrote about it. Which was pretty often.

Stalking the low-country in Oregon's Umpqua River valley.
Hunting above the clouds in Oregon's uplands.
Hiding out behind haybales waiting for a mature Columbian white-tailed buck.
The gorgeous rack of a Columbian white-tailed buck.
The author's rig—Savage Model 110 Ultralite chambered in .280 AI, topped with Leupold VX6-HD 3-18x44, loaded with 155-grain Federal Terminal Ascent rounds—was an ideal setup for long shots on small-sized deer in low-light conditions.
Twilight over Oregon's Columbian white-tailed deer country.

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Ohio Hunter Finds a Massive 233-Inch Deadhead Buck


Jason Kline shows off the beast that he hunted for nearly a decade. (Jason Kline/)

Jason Kline has spent much of his life chasing whitetail deer. He’s killed his fair share of good ones, but there’s only ever been one “Herman,” which is the monster buck he focused on for the past five seasons. Kline hunts Sandusky County, Ohio, which is located in the northwestern region of the state. That isn’t the area of Ohio that’s best known for big deer—the southern third of the state is more often recognized as monster buck country—but don’t tell that to Kline who recently picked up “Herman’s” 233 7/8-inch rack.

Figuring the deer was around 8 years old in the fall of 2020, Kline had been hunting Herman since he was 4 or 5. The deer started out as a main-frame 8-pointer, but sported a shiny sticker, too. In the beginning, the deer was mostly typical, but that changed with time. As Herman got older, he turned into a bona fide giant.


The creekbottom where Herman was found. (Jason Kline/)

Enter the 2019 season. Kline had years of trail camera photos, and a decent idea of how to kill the buck. The problem? Access.

The bulk of Herman’s core area was located on a large tract of land owned by a farmer who doesn’t allow hunting. Fortunately, Kline has permission to hunt a 7-acre parcel that borders the sanctuary. Occasionally, the buck traveled through the 7-acre property. In December of 2019, it happened while Kline was there.


A local conservation officer came out to analyze the scene, and to see the giant deer. (Jason Kline/)

“I hunt a little patch amid the several hundred acres,” Herman says. “Last year, during gun season, I had him in gun range at about 80 yards. I just couldn’t get a good shot at him, and to be perfectly honest, he was standing right on the property line. I couldn’t tell if he was on my side of the property line or the neighbor’s. The fence is broken down right there, and I couldn’t see it from where I was.”

The creekbottom where Herman was found.
A local conservation officer came out to analyze the scene, and to see the giant deer.
Walking up on a dead head like this one doesn’t happen every day.
While it wasn’t the way he wanted it to happen, this giant Ohio deer finally landed in the back of his truck.
With multiple sets of sheds and years of trail camera photos, Kline’s history with this deer goes way back.
Herman on camera.

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The Best New Hunting, Target, and Self-Defense Ammunition of 2021

Rolling into 2021, ammunition manufacturers are operating at full steam to catch up with the consumer run on ammo, but they are also still hard at work developing new loads. There are some great new ammunition offerings this year that will hopefully be hitting the shelves sooner rather than later. Here’s a round up of the best new rifle, shotgun, and handgun loads being introduced this year.

New Rifle Ammo

Winchester Deer Season XP Copper Impact in 350 Legend


The Winchester Deer Season XP Copper Impact in 350 Legend. (Winchester /)

The 350 Legend is quickly becoming an established deer cartridge, especially in areas that only allow straight-wall rounds. And now there’s starting to be a healthy variety of ammunition options for the cartridge, too. The Deer Season XP Copper Impact fires a 150-grain monolithic copper “extreme point” bullet at an advertised 2300 fps. The bullet is designed to give rapid and consistent expansion with maximum weight retention and deep penetration. This one should be a winner in the deer woods.

Winchester Defender 350 Legend, 160-Grain

The Winchester Defender line now includes a 160-grain 350 Legend offering.
The Federal Fusion now in 6.5 PRC with a 140-grain bullet.
Federal Premium Swift Scirocco II in 224 Valkyrie, 350 Legend, and 450 Bushmaster.
Browning Long Range Pro Hunter in 6.8 Western.
The Hornady Precision Hunter 6mm ARC in 103-grain ELDX.
Black Hills Dual Performance Monolithic copper is available in a .308 152-grain offering, and the 5.56mm with a 62-grain bullet.
The new BOSS Lite-12 shotshell and Fiber Wad.
The BOSS LP-FiberWad has a paper wad that is 99 percent biodegradable.
The Winchester Double X Diamond Grade, now available in .410.
The Winchester Super X 16 gauge in No. 6 steel shot.
The Browning Wicked Blend waterfowl shells, which are loaded with a mix of bismuth and steel.
Federal has expanded its Steel line of upland and waterfowl ammo.
The Rob Roberts turkey loads from the Federal Custom shop are available in 12 and 20 gauge.
The Winchester USA Ready Defense Hex Vent handgun is a new line available in a variety of popular chamberings.
The new Browning X-Point Personal Defense line.
The Federal Punch Personal Defense line now includes a .22LR option.
Black Hills' HoneyBadger personal defense ammo line is now available in .357 Magnum.

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Best Winter Boots for Women: Top Models for Snow, Ice, and Slush


Gear up so you can get out! (StockSnap / Pexels/)

You don’t want to get cold feet before a big event…and you don’t want to get cold feet going about your life when the temperature drops. So, we found answers to an essential footwear inquiry: What are the best winter boots for women? The ones that can keep feet warm in the bitter doldrums of mid-February? Not slip on ice? Not weigh you down? Perhaps even look semi-stylish?

Here we lay out the best women’s winter boots for every type of wearer and why we chose them—digging into the features to consider, and what you can and cannot ignore, in making your selection. Whether you’re looking for waterproof boots, women’s boots for snow and ice, the warmest snow boots, the best cheap winter boots, or the best winter boots for walking, we have some suggestions.

Best Warm Winter Boots for Women: Ugg Adirondack III Boots

Best Lightweight Winter Boots for Women: Sorel Tivoli IV Tall Boots

Best Women’s Winter Boots for Traction: Danner Women’s Inquire Mid-Winter Waterproof Hiking Boots

In the city or on the trails, the Ugg Adirondack III’s smart design and mix of synthetic and natural materials keeps feet and ankles cozy.
These women’s winter boots are lightweight, but don’t sacrifice other features like warmth, traction, waterproofing, or style.
A custom Vibram Inquire outsole with multi-directional lugs, adaptive heel and Megagrip technology let you get a good grip on winter.
These cute winter boots are so comfortable that you might forget they’re built for snow and rain.
Major grip, top-notch materials, and distance from the cold ground make these waterproof boots a step above.
Solid tread, solid style, and solid lacing make these an entirely suitable pair of cheap winter boots.

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After Two Duck Hunters Were Killed on Reelfoot Lake, Investigators Are Searching for a 70-Year-Old Man, Considered ‘Armed and Dangerous’


Reelfoot Lake, in the northwest corner of Tennessee, is a National Wildlife Refuge and state park known for its cypress swamps and duck hunting. (USFWS/)

After two men died on Reelfoot Lake in northwest Tennessee on Monday, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is looking for David Vowell, 70, of Martin as a person of interest in a homicide investigation. Chance Black, 26, and Zachery Grooms, 25, were killed at Reelfoot, a historic waterfowl hunting area in Obion County.

TBI says Vowell should be considered armed and dangerous, and urges anyone who sees him or knows of his whereabouts to call TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND or email [email protected]. The agency is also asking anyone who was on the north end of Reelfoot on Monday, who might have seen or heard something that could aid its investigation, to contact the hotline. Vowell has no adult arrest record in the state of Tennessee, according to a document released by TBI Tuesday afternoon.

BREAKING: TBI Special Agents are asking for help in locating a person of interest in a homicide investigation in Obion County. David Vowell, 70, of Martin is considered armed and dangerous.

If you have seen him or know where he may be located call 1-800-TBI-FIND.
(1/3) pic.twitter.com/xB1w6ersSR

— Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (@TBInvestigation) January 26, 2021

TBI declined to comment on whether the three men were hunting at the time of the incident, or that Black and Grooms were fatally shot. Several news outlets, however, are reporting that the two men were shot and killed. A friend of Black and Grooms did confirm the two men were known to hunt Reelfoot together. Black and Grooms, both of Weakley County, grew up together and attended the same high school in Greenfield. Black is the son of Mark Black, chief deputy of the Weakley County Sheriff’s Department, and was a full-time manager in the gun department at Final Flight Outfitters in Union City. The retailer, owned by champion goose caller Kelley Powers and his family, posted a statement about Black’s death on Facebook.

“We lost a member of our team today, Chance Black,” part of the statement reads. “He was shot and killed, along with his friend, while duck hunting on Reelfoot Lake. Chance was a full-time manager in our gun department, and what an honor it has been for us to have him on our team. We ask for prayers for Chance’s family, friends, and all others involved as we navigate the impact of their deaths.”


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Best Men’s Parka: Winter Outdoor Apparel for Braving the Elements


Stay warm in any conditions. (StockSnap / Pixabay/)

On the hunt for a new jacket? To find the best men’s parka, consider when and where you’ll be wearing it. Do you need something totally waterproof? Do you prefer synthetic filling, since it’s cheap and dries quickly, or do you need down for serious warmth? How active you plan to be also impacts the insulation material—synthetic will dry quickly under sweaty or very wet conditions, but down is warmer and more lightweight. Consider extra features like hoods and the construction of the jacket too. A 3-in-1 design is versatile for all activities and seasons, as you can strip the layers on and off. Some hoods are removable, or can be adjusted to extend past your forehead to shield your face from rain and snow. You’ll also want to check the number of pockets to keep your hands warm and keep essential gear close. Keep reading to find the best men’s parka for you.

BEST WATERPROOF MEN’S PARKA: Columbia Heatzone 1000 TurboDown Hooded Jacket

BEST MEN’S PARKA WITH HOOD: The North Face McMurdo III

BEST MEN’S 3-IN-1 JACKET: Cabela’s Northern Flight 3-in-1 Parka for Men

BEST DOWN INSULATED PARKA: Canada Goose Men’s Expedition Parka Coat

Sealed at the seams and built with three layers.
There’s a gaiter inside the hood for added warmth and waterproof protection.
The inner layer is lined with synthetic down.
Tested to withstand temperatures up to -56 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sealed seams for waterproof insurance.
A drawstring hood and hem help you seal in heat.

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The King of the Turkey Slam


Budz with an adult Nevada gobbler. (Jeff Budz/)

The rental car bounced awkwardly through deep South Dakota ruts, and Jeff Budz paused, mouth agape, while considering his response.

I’d just casually mentioned that I’d taken a March vacation to Hawaii with my wife a few years earlier but didn’t have time to hunt turkeys during the trip. And to Budz, that didn’t compute.

“Wait a minute,” he said, his voice rising and eyes narrowing to a Clint Eastwood-esque squint. “You went to Hawaii in March and didn’t hunt?”

I nodded sheepishly and stared ahead, embarrassed that I’d fallen short of the standards demanded by turkey hunting’s undisputed Slam King. The reaction might have seemed overblown, but it epitomizes the grit and drive of the relentless 54-year-old Budz who continues to set records and pursue turkeys nationwide at a breakneck pace.

Slams Through the Decades

A solid Delaware longbeard.
Jeff Budz holds the record with 106 turkey slams.
Budz takes every opportunity to scout birds.

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Best rain boots for women: Keep your feet dry in soggy conditions


Stay clean and dry in muddy conditions with a great pair of waterproof boots.Credit: (Gustavo Fring, Pexels/)

Whether you live in a cold climate bombarded with snow and sleet or a milder locale where winter equals frequent torrential downpours, it’s always smart to have a pair of rain boots on hand. The best women’s rain boots have good traction on the soles to keep you from sliding through puddles and ice. They should be comfortable and easy to walk in, which means you may want to find a low-profile pair that doesn’t rise far up on the leg and restrict your movements. In mud or snow, though, you need a rugged pair with a taller profile to keep your legs and feet protected. You’ll also need to take your specific needs into account—some boots are made for wider calves and feet, and some are designed to help ease the pain of foot conditions, such as plantar fasciitis.

These are the best rain boots for women on the go, women who hike, or farm, or otherwise need something seriously utilitarian to stand up to the elements, and women who just need an easy pair of boots to slip into on a rainy walk to the grocery store.

BEST RAIN BOOTS FOR WALKING: Xtratuf Women’s 6″ Waterproof Ankle Deck Boots BEST RAIN BOOTS FOR HIKING: Outdoor Research Women’s Verglas Gaiters BEST RAIN BOOTS FOR WIDE CALVES: Rahata Adjustable Wide Calf Rain Boot BEST RAIN BOOTS FOR WIDE FEET: Sperry Women’s Saltwater Boots BEST RAIN BOOTS FOR PLANTAR FASCIITIS: Chaco Women’s Sierra Waterproof Hiking Boot BEST RAIN BOOTS FOR MUD: Bogs Classic High Handle Rain and Snow Boot BEST BUDGET RAIN BOOTS: Norty Women’s Hurricane Wellie

Features to consider when shopping for the best rain boots for women

The best rain boots for women will vary based on your specific climate, the conditions in which you’ll wear them (do you need rain boots for hiking, or for running to the supermarket?), and your specific size and comfort considerations.

What activities will you be doing?

Built for fishing, so you know their waterproof factor is real.
These fit over your pants and regular hiking boots to help keep debris, rain, and snow out.
Adjustable buckles make it easy to expand this boot’s circumference at the calf.
Consider choosing the wide option in a half size up if you have particularly wide feet.
Most rain boots simply can’t offer enough cushioning or arch support for those with chronic foot conditions. Not this pair.
A neoprene shaft adds extra warmth.
Great for wide feet, or people who want to bundle up in thick socks.

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The Best New Handguns For 2021

New 2021 handgun introductions are coming in hot; pushing and shoving their way into the spotlight after a record-shattering year of firearms sales. Most of the industry is trying to catch its breath as gun buyers continue to scavenge empty display cases, ready to pounce at the hint of restocking. As it stands, most manufacturers can barely keep up with current demand, and they’re laser-focused on producing legacy products to fulfill backorders, much to the chagrin of their marketing departments. This means several notable brands are missing from the list at press date. Not to worry — they are coming — they’ll just be about a month late to the party. We’ll continue to provide updates as embargoes expire. Without further ado, we’ve assembled a list of the best new handgun introductions of 2021.

B&T USA Station SIX


B&T USA Station SIX (B&T USA/)

My vote for the most non-standard, yet historically captivating handgun release so far this year is B&T USA’s Station SIX series pistols. The Station SIX is B&T USA’s modern take on the legendary World War II-era Welrod pistol, and subsequent VP9 contract pistols. The original Welrod pistol was originally developed as a covert wet work tool for British Special Operations Executive (SOE) and United States Office of Strategic Services (OSS) operatives undertaking cloak and dagger missions behind enemy lines. B&T’s modern VP9 continued that trend long after the war ended and as new conflicts emerged. This updated, integrally suppressed pistol features a new grip and updated magazines, yet maintains its nondescript appearance, whisper-quiet sound signature, and unique rotating bolt operation. The Station SIX is available in 9mm and .45 Auto, and expected to retail for about $2,300. www.bt-arms.com

CZ P-10S in FDE and OD


CZ P-10S in FDE and OD (CZ USA/)

The striker-fired CZ P-10C was an instant hit when it hit the market several years back. CZ purists even accepted the polymer-framed striker pistol, which is certainly saying something, as they are a vocal bunch. Since its release, the P-10 line-up has grown from a do-it-all mid-size C model, to both full-size and long slide variants. For 2021, CZ is going in the opposite direction and has released a subcompact it is calling the P-10S. Not only are the frame and slide chopped down to noisy cricket size, the S also receives a deep optic cut and modular plate mounting system that’s sure to be compatible with your preferred mini red-dot sight. Small, concealable, red dot capable pistol with a sweet trigger? Yes, please. But, that’s not all — the P-10S also gets a fresh new paint job. Flat Dark Earth and Olive Drab have been added to the palate, if black isn’t your thing. Get yours for about $630. For more information check out www.cz-usa.com

CZ P-10S in FDE and OD
Glock 43X MOS
KelTec P50
FN 509 LS Edge Tactical
Ruger American Competition
SAR9 Optics Ready
SIG Sauer X-Carry Legion
Springfield Armory Ronin 10mm
Stoeger STR-9S
Nighthawk VIP Agent 2
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Pistol
Taurus TX22 Competition
Uberti Hardin.
Uberti Teddy.

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