Hunting and Fishing News & Blog Articles

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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..



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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Ambush Tactics for Trophy Toms

“Would you like for us to videotape your bow hunt in the morning?” asked TV personality Jimmy Houston.  I was hunting with El Halcoun Outfitters in Mexico for Gould’s turkeys and Houston happened to be in camp.  I hunted from a blind the next morning while the camera operator sat outside.  My guide called a big tom close to the blind when it suddenly acted spooky.  I had to shoot through a tiny opening at an awkward angle and missed the gobbler at eight yards.  For the rest of the morning, I was hazed repeatedly, “How close was that turkey?” “Would five yards be good enough?”  On, and on!

An arrow to the base of the neck is an instant kill.

In the early afternoon, I went back to my blind while the rest of the group hunted with shotguns.  In the late afternoon, I saw two hens pass by in the same spot about 100 yards away.  Believing that a gobbler might follow, I bailed on the blind and stood in some thick cover with a small shooting window.  Within minutes, I saw a huge gobbler walking along the same route.  I raised my bow and when the tom stepped into my window, pucked with a mouth call and the bird raised its head.  Aiming at its neck, the arrow dispatched the gobbler immediately.  When Houston and his buddies returned empty-handed to the blind, I hoisted the monster turkey and made them pose for a picture with me.  Oh, the sweet revenge.

Mobile hunting works, even in open hardwoods.

Abandon the Blind

Maryland has a two-bird limit on spring gobblers and I can usually take one bird from a blind on the small farm I hunt.  Unfortunately, after the first week of the season, birds become pressured and don’t enter fields as readily.  If toms won’t come to you, go to them.  In the picture above, I moved from my blind in the late morning and slipped quietly into a wooded area where turkeys often feed.  I posted a jake decoy at 10 yards and then sat at the base of a small tree, as the area had been timbered.  After calling several times, I saw two gobblers approaching and raising my crossbow.  The birds got about five yards from the decoy and became suspicious, alarm pucked, and began walking away.  I aimed at the center of the back and the right gobbler died instantly.

Once gobblers become educated by hunters, you may need to change tactics.

Un-callable Gobblers

Hunting from a blind offers scouting and intelligence that can lead to future success even if pressured turkeys avoid your setup.  The biggest bird on the farm held back on opening day and I managed to arrow his buddy.  In succeeding days, the big tom skirted the field I hunted but passed through a small opening 50 yards inside of the woodline.  As the season progressed, vegetation grew so I placed a single alert hen decoy in the small opening and sat in a patch of honeysuckle 25 yards away.  As usual, I heard the tom gobble deep in the woods and called sparingly to entice it.  The old bird took more than an hour to travel 100 yards, but a peek at the decoy in the tall grass closed the deal.

By late morning most gobblers have bred nearby hens and become easier to call.

Late Can be Great

Many turkey enthusiasts hunt before work which can lead to crowded conditions early in the morning.  However, as the day progresses, they head to work or become discouraged by a lack of success.  Mid-to-late morning is an ideal time to hunt, especially if you are an archer and have the patience to succeed.  Calling to a gobbling and strutting turkey is every hunter’s dream, but many toms will walk in silently.  If you are covering the woods, make sure that you stay in position for at least 30 minutes.  Choose a large tree to sit against and post a decoy at 20 yards where you have visibility for safety.  Naps are acceptable and sometimes seem to attract turkeys.  Blind tactics should be your go-to method for success, but like every hunting situation, it’s great to have a plan B.

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Fred Lutger’s Alex Rutledge Interview

One of the highlights of the NWTF convention is the presence of Top Turkey Hunters. Here is Fred Lutger’s interview With Wild Turkey Great Alex Rutledge.

Fred Lutger is the writer of this article as well as the owner of Freddie Bear Sports pro shop and Online Store

One of the highlights of the NWTF convention is the seminars. I interviewed Alex Rutledge, National Pro Staff member for Hunter Specialties, after he did a seminar for turkey hunting guides. Alex gave tips and pointers about wild turkey hunting and about guide/hunter relations. His tips are also useful when buddies are hunting together.

Alex suggests hunters should separate when using locator calls. This will give both of you a better chance to hear a distant gobble that the other person might not have heard. Also you won’t miss a gobble if the other person makes a noise that will cover up a faint gobble.

When setting up, Rutledge reminds guides to sit close to the hunter to be able to better control what the hunter does. Verbal communication is important. Let the hunter know if he moves too much. Cue the hunter when to get his gun or bow at ready. Most of all, let him know when the bird is in range and when to shoot.

“Gobblers don’t always respond to a hunters’ calling with a gobble,” Rutledge said. “But they respond in other ways. They will strut, they will look towards the caller and some will at times run to the caller silently. These are all things we know and the reason hunters must keep still.” Alex again emphasized the need to coach the hunter. “Keep the hunter calm.”

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Can’t Miss Blind Tactics for Trophy Toms

Patience and Pop-ups are two key factors in taking a spring tom with a bow.  Years ago, a Mississippi turkey guide made me sit by a powerline near a posted decoy.  We had tried unsuccessfully to get close to a roost, so I bit my lip, listened to turkeys gobble in the distance and by 10:00 am, a Southern longbeard was flopping on the ground.  Waiting was torture, but it showed me the secret to setting an ideal trap.

Concealing a blind is helpful but not necessary.

Pop-Up Blinds are Critical-

Whitetail deer will spot a blind in a field in an instant unless it’s disguised with brush and leaves and even then they will be wary.  Turkeys are dumb as stones about blinds so you can place one in an open field the day before the season and have success.  As in the picture above, I post mine near the treeline at least two weeks prior to the opening day so that deer get used to it.  A snorting deer will scare a turkey and they often live in the same habitat.

This mature longbeard will be target number one on opening day.

Scout for Turkeys like Deer

Posting your blind in a turkey travel area greatly increases success.  An old friend lets me hunt a field on her small farm.  Although other people hunt the property, my blind sets a marker of sorts and they don’t interfere.  Turkeys often travel across this field between woodlots and when they see my decoys and hear my calling they walk into range.  My camera is already posted and lets me know the age class of birds using the field.

Taking a gobbler with a bow or crossbow requires shooting with pinpoint accuracy.

Decoys Usually Attract Toms

I’ll discuss the hows and whys of deploying decoys in the next blog, but for now, it’s important to realize how advantageous a decoy can be.  First, they attract hens and gobblers to the exact spot you want to shoot.  Blinds are usually spacious such that you can sit in a comfortable chair with your crossbow on a tripod that will allow you to shoot exactly where you aim.  I take all of my gear to the blind the day before the hunt so that I can sneak into the area quietly in one trip.  I store the decoys in the blind and quickly set them up at first light.

Decoys will usually attract turkeys, yet calling can lure gobblers from a distance.

Call as Much or as Little as You Choose

If you are new to turkey hunting, you may be unsure of your calling skills.  By being patient and using decoys, you can call as much or as little as you want.  Sometimes, hunters can call too much and your goal should be just to lure a gobbler within sight of your decoys.  I’m an experienced caller with a box, slate, and diaphragm, yet for the past two years, I’ve had the farm’s boss gobbler within 20 yards of my blind.  Despite my best efforts, he’s too wary to step into the field and I hope to get a shot at him again this spring.  Box callers are ideal for new hunters and can be mastered with just a little practice.

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QuietKat Electric Bike Gets Bowhunter Two B&C Bucks

Getting To Your Stand Without Spooking Deer Is This Bowhunters Key To Bowhunting Success. Adam Crumrin talks about getting to and from his hunting stands with his QuietKat e-bike. Plus, come along on the two exciting hunts where he arrowed 2 Booner bucks on the same day.


   Deer and Deer Hunting

Deer and Deer Hunting

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New Finnish Study Comparing Whitetail Hunting With Rifle Vs Bows.

The initial results from a study in Finland were presented last week and confirm that hunting with a bow and arrow is just as effective as using a rifle. The detailed scientific study, which was conducted over a period of four years from early 2019 to early 2023, analyzed the comparative aspects of harvesting whitetailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) with both bullets and hunting bows.

The study was presented at the 2023 wildlife seminar in Jyväskylä, Finland, and it revealed that modern hunting arrows and bullets have similar, if not the same, effects on harvested deer. The project was led by veterinarian Mikaela Sauvala, who performs the analysis as a part of her PhD study.

The study, where 130 deer were harvested with the bow and arrow and 100 animals with a rifle, found that the average flight distances of non-immobilized deer differ by less than one meter between rifles and hunting bows. The results of this study demonstrate that hunting with a bow and arrow is not only effective but also in line with modern animal welfare standards.

The study’s lead project manager, Antti Saarenmaa, said in a statement, “Our preliminary results show that these findings are similar to our experiences that hunting with a bow and arrow is comparable with other hunting methods.”

“This is an important step towards the understanding of the use of bow and arrow in hunting. I am looking forward to analyzing the rest of the data and will answer many of the questions asked about hunting with bow and arrow and perhaps will encourage game managers to consider including bow and arrow as a valid hunting method in modern game management programs.”

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Big Buck Pictures In March

When March comes, not many days remain until the bucks are bald headed and their racks, the big ones and small ones; are laying by a fence or trail, or are  partially hidden by dried leaves, grass or weeds.

By Robert Hoague

One thing I believe is that perseverance in my deerhunting and deer-picture-taking-life, along with my insistance on staying-in-the-game, has enriched my life and enlightened me in many more ways than just in hunting.

For example, a few mornings ago I was lucky enough to see a ‘Big Buck.’

So I started waking up earlier and watching the woods where I’d seen him. It took 4 mornings before I got lucky again. A slight movement in the trees caught my attention! I used my camera to zoom and focus on the area. Seconds later a deer’s head and fanny appeared and I took its picture.

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It’s March: Here Is What To Do!

Small Parcels of hunting land can have an advantage if you handle the habitat correctly and hunt right. Jeff Sturgis shows you how.

Whitetail Habitat Solutions

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Tips To Cook Venison Better

Make your venison meals taste better. Follow these TIPS and Learn how to eliminate any ‘gamey taste.’ Find out how to cook venison so people aways love your venison meals. The Orange Huntress Shows ya!

The Orange Huntress

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Wild Turkey Hunting Is Coming On Fast

How can you find and locate wild turkeys for hunting?

To find and locate wild turkeys for hunting, you can do a few things. First, research the area you plan to hunt in. At the “On The Ground Level” look for signs of wild turkeys, such as:
Tracks.Droppings.Scratching.Feathers.and Wild Turkey Sightings
You can also look for areas where wild turkeys are most likely to be found, such as roost areas, open fields, pastures and wooded areas. You can also talk to local hunters and game wardens to get more information about the area and the best places to look for wild turkeys. Finally, you can use turkey calls and decoys to attract wild turkeys to your hunting spot.

When is the wild turkey breeding season?

The wild turkey breeding season typically occurs between March and May each year. During this period, mature male gobblers compete for mates by displaying their feathers, posturing, and gobbling and other making vocalizations.

What is wild turkey hen behavior during their breeding season?

During the wild turkey’s breeding season, the hen’s behavior is typically focused on nesting and mating. The female will spend time searching for a suitable nesting spot and will lay her eggs in a shallow depression lined with leaves and other vegetation. She will then take responsibility for incubating the eggs, which she will do for about 28 days. The hen will also spend time foraging for food and protecting her eggs from predators. She will also be aggressive towards other hens during mating season in order to protect her territory.

What is wild turkey gobbler behavior during their breeding season.

During the breeding season, wild turkey gobblers exhibit a variety of behaviors. They strut, fan their tail feathers, and make gobbling noises to attract a mate, and of course, they mate with hens, multiple hens if possible. They also engage in competitive behaviors such as chasing and pecking at other males to establish dominance to establish and enforce their position in the wild turkey hierarchy. Gobblers can sometimes be aggressive towards humans if they feel threatened or encroached upon.

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Hinge Cuts: And Now The Types Of ‘Hinge Cuts’

Closed Edge Hinge Cuts

The trees in the picture above were hinge cut parallel to the edge of a food plot to block deer travel. This is an example of a “Closed Edge Hinge Cut.”

A “Closed Edge Hinge Cut” is a section of trees that are Hinge Cut in a row, all hinging in the same direction. Whether it is along a field edge or confined within a woodlot, this technique is an effective way to encourage predictable deer movement patterns with the intent of getting deer within range of your stand.

Hinge Cutting in a Bedding Thicket

Whether it is it a bedding thicket, a micro clear-cut, or a temporary forest opening, it is the same thing. A change in forest structure encourages sun-loving species to establish and increase the stem density to break up the monotony of the woodlot.

This is accomplished by opening up the canopy, allowing sunlight to penetrate the forest floor. When executing a bedding-thicket cut, in my opinion your goal should be 80% sun exposure. Of the trees that you cut, no more than 25% of them should be hinged.

The reason for the handicap on hinged trees is two-fold. These bedding thickets will mature as time passes. They should be maintained every couple of years by treating invasive species, selectively felling trees that begin to shade the site, and observing how much deer use has occurred at the location. The more trees are hinged, the more difficult it is to maneuver within and maintain the site.

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When Do Bucks Shed Their Antlers?

On February 25, 2023 one of my game cameras took a picture of the first buck that had shed it’s antlers after the 2022 deer season in our area.

So now, I have an eye out for more shed buck  pictures.

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Should You Hinge Cut? Yes or No? Part #1

What is a Hinge Cut?

The purpose of hinge cuting is to get the tree canopy to the forest floor without killing the tree. After cutting most of the way through the trunk, you leave a portion of the trunk intact to act as a hinge as you push the tree over.

What used to be 15 feet in the air is suddenly 3 feet off the ground. You now have browse, food and cover in a spot that previously possessed neither.

Once hinge cut, a tree stays alive because the cambium layer, which is responsible for nutrients and water transfer within the plant, remains unbroken. You get immediate cover on the ground, and you now maintain new browse where deer can reach it.

The Drawbacks of Hinge Cutting

Many forest stand improvement (FSI) projects are difficult to undo. Whether it is a thinning, a bedding thicket, an edge feather, or a hinge cut, it can take years to regenerate a poorly executed cut.

I see it often with hinge cutting. The landowner completes a hinge cut along an access trail and then jump deer every time hunters to access their stand. By creating horizontal structure, which is often absent in mismanaged woodlots, they have conditioned the deer to loiter in that location. Unless heavy equipment such as a forestry mulcher or bulldozer is used, the landowner is stuck with the mess until the trees finally succumb to their injuries and are shaded out by the remaining standing timber.

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Huge Florida Wild Hog Bowhunt

Florida bowhunter Ryan takes us with him via Video on a bowhunt in a wild hog infested Florida swamp and arrows a huge wild hog.

   It’s A Wild Life

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