Hunting and Fishing News & Blog Articles

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Best Dates for Bowhunting Trophy Elk

Is there a best time to be in the field with a stick and string pursuing a trophy bull elk? There definitely is for deer. What about elk?  

Pope and Young Records for Elk

To find out, I went to Pope and Young Club’s record book online. I wanted to look at monster bulls taken with a bow and I consider 350 and better a huge bull. So, I asked for all bulls over 350 gross in the 11 western states taken since 2000. 

Here’s the breakdown by state. 

I don’t know about you, but the number of entries from Oregon and Washington surprised me by being larger than expected and Idaho came in with fewer than I would have thought, only third from last. California is the sliver of blue in the corner and like the other coastal states, only looks at Rocky Mountain typical elk. 







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Spypoint Cell Link Review

Eastmans’ Staffer, Brandon Mason, reviews the Cell Link by Spypoint. The Cell Link can be set up to turn most non-transmitting trail cameras into smart cameras. Combined with Spypoint’s free app, the Cell Link will send photos straight to your smartphone! And it’s ONLY $59.99!!!

The post Spypoint Cell Link Review appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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2020 Hunting Season Update – Alaska COVID Restrictions

With the fall quickly approaching, it is imperative that we all keep informed of state and federal regulation changes, especially during a weird year like 2020 with COVID-19 changing most of our lives in some way.

A friend of mine recently postponed his much anticipated Alaska moose trip for this fall due to Alaska’s regulations on those entering their state.  The charter service sent them a letter with this in it:

Do yourself a favor and check in on the states you are planning to hunt this fall.  2020 has been a weird year, to say the least.  Don’t let it ruin your hunting plans and your favorite time of year.  

Get prepared. Stay prepared. Hunt hard!

The post 2020 Hunting Season Update – Alaska COVID Restrictions appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.




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Find the BEST OTC Hunting Areas with Eastmans’ TagHub

Learn how to use Eastmans’ TagHub to find the hunting areas that have the most hunting pressure. If you didn’t draw that limited license you were hoping for, don’t be discouraged! You can use TagHub to maximize your OTC or general hunting license by locating and avoiding areas with higher numbers of hunters.

The post Find the BEST OTC Hunting Areas with Eastmans’ TagHub appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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Scouting for Big Pronghorn

As I’ve said many a time, hunting antelope and hunting big antelope are two very different things. To find the biggest buck in your area, you are going to have to put in the time, cover tons of country, glass boatloads of bucks and be very patient and methodical in the process. Just finding antelope in your area is usually a relatively straightforward proposition but finding a really big buck, not so much. Glassing and covering massive amounts of country is the best technique to start off with. Locating and keeping tabs on the biggest buck in your area is where most of the challenge lies. 

Pre-Scouting – The first order of business for me when scouting antelope is to get the lay of the land in general. This can be done a number of different ways and I usually find myself employing most if not an all of the above strategy my first time into an area. 

The best place to start is the state hunting proclamations and Google Earth or the onX Hunt app. This gives me a good idea of what the area looks like from a satellite imagery and aerial photography perspective. Here I am looking at three criteria mostly. First off, I want to know where the boundaries for the area lie, are they roads, ridges or creek drainages? More on this later. The next area I am targeting and making note of are the water sources. Contrary to most conventional thinking, antelope are not camels. They need water and lots of it. A rutting buck needs to hit a water source at least once and sometimes even twice daily, about the same as a bull elk. For some perspective, a desert mule deer buck will water up only half as often. The third and final areas I am looking for are big sage flats or open country that are near water and contain some deeper brush and/or coulee cuts close by. For some reason, big rutting bucks always tend to find areas that have a few good places to hide out if necessary due to hunting pressure or pressure from competing bucks for a hot doe. After I have located and marked these areas of primary interest on my map or onXmap application, I am ready to head afield. 

Covering Country – Once in country, I like to get an idea of what the unit looks like in person. For some weird reason, a piece of country never quite looks the same on the computer as it does in person. I want to explore the entire unit quickly and easily. This usually means, driving the borders of the unit or as much of it as possible. This gives me a good idea of what types of country and access I have available to hunt. A quick two or three-hour tour around the unit with my phone in hand, pushing me the public and private land access on my onXmap app and I can quickly get a good judge on the area and the access for the unit. This further narrows down my search for a big buck. It can be hard to explain in words, but once you do this enough, you will just get a feeling or a hunch of where the best places to start will be. Couple that with your online, at-home research and you should have a pretty solid game plan for the next morning’s hunt. I usually try to have between four and six areas to concentrate my efforts on initially. Most of the time these revolve around roads or road systems. 

As I travel around the unit, I also find myself nearly beyond meticulous about noting large tracts of hard-to-access public land, water sources that have water in them at the time, and antelope densities. Some areas will just have higher antelope densities than other parts of the unit. There are some very specific tips and methods that can help you turn up a monster buck that most hunters will have a hard time finding. Here are a few of the specifics on those processes and methods. 



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FREE GEAR! How to WIN BIG with Eastmans’ TagHub

How to get new hunting gear?! It’s easy! Become a member of Eastmans’ TagHub and get in our summer gear giveaway. We are giving out over $16,000 in hunting gear from brands like Sitka Gear, QuietKat, Howa, Walther, Eberlestock, YETI, Sig Sauer, Sorinex, Seek Outside, Alaska Guide Creations, Bowtech and Swagger Bipods.

The post FREE GEAR! How to WIN BIG with Eastmans’ TagHub appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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Hunting Burns-”The Good, The Bad & The Ugly!”

Man has a fascination with and an aversion to fire. We are drawn to the flickering flames of a campfire almost unconsciously. A forest fire on the other hand sparks fear and a sad sense of destruction in most folks. The psychology behind this isn’t something I’m going to delve into here. However, elk and deer love burns and hunters need to know the best way to pluck a trophy from amongst the charred trunks and scattered ashes. 

I think most people know that hunting burns out West can be a great tactic but what many don’t understand is how to select the right burns and hunt them effectively. One cannot simply dive into any old burned area and “hunt” their way through it. The fallen and burned timber is not only difficult to traverse, shooting through it is hardly better than through an unburned forest and the dead and fallen timber is dangerous to spend a lot of time in. Not to mention that not all burns are created equal, there are factors that make some better for game than others. 

The Good – “Good” burns are easy to pick out because there is game in them. This is your first clue when looking for a productive burn area. The presence of game and game sign is imperative to your success. Animals like deer and elk are attracted to the vibrant and nutritious young plant life that 2-5 year old burns foster. As burns age and the vegetation in them matures animals will depend on them less and less. That said, Elk seem to hang onto burned forests longer than deer and can be found in burned areas that are decades old. 

Hunt these burns by glassing them from the angle that allows you to see the greatest amount of real estate and detail. Snow helps tremendously as animals in burned timber with snow on the ground stick out like sore thumbs while thinking they are hidden. Stalks or ambushes can be planned accordingly but remember what deer and elk can easily traverse is much more difficult for humans. 

The Bad – “Bad” burns tend to be old (20 years or more) or ones where the fire burned hot enough to scorch the soil leaving behind an incinerated waste land. Burns such as these take decades to recover vegetation and sometimes never do. Animals rarely live in them until the vegetation recovers and these burns will lack fresh animal sign. Don’t waste your time on burns like these. However, if Bad burns burn again before the young trees that are growing have time to mature, parks and meadows can form creating feeding space for grazers like elk, transforming a Bad burn into a Good burn. 

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The Hunter’s Road:From Beginning Meat Hunter To Mature Selective Hunter

Guest Author: Lindsay Wion

 

“Trophy hunter” is not a descriptor I thought I’d ever be comfortable with, and frankly a term I’m still learning to accept as a genuine self-label. Alas, I can no longer deny it. I am a trophy hunter. It certainly wasn’t the target of my trajectory when I began my hunting journey almost ten years ago, but it snuck up on me in the most frustrating and exhilarating of ways. The more I learned, the more I observed, the more time I spent in the field, the more I found myself veering towards restraint and passing on animals that didn’t just quite meet the mark.

Hunting was not a part of my reality growing up in urban west Texas. However, I was raised in a family that taught me to appreciate the outdoors and the experiences our natural world provides. My parents introduced me to activities like hiking, skiing and scuba diving. Hunting was something I was clueless about. Like the majority I didn’t give a second thought as to where the meat on my dinner table came from. Anything firearms related was totally foreign to me as a youth. My mom was nervous when my Dad brought home a civil war era cap and ball pistol to display amongst his antiques. The notion of having a functioning firearm would have been absurd at the time! The only exposure I had to shooting and safe firearms handling was through summer camp activities. These cumulative experiences did have their impact. My passion for the outdoors was sparked and really started to take shape when I committed to a wildlife biology program at Colorado State University. At the time, it felt like a decision made on a whim, but I think it was truly one of those choices a person’s life leads them to without conscious knowledge. 

Through my undergraduate education, the value and role of hunting as a conservation tool for wildlife management became apparent. I found myself enamored by the words and legacy of conservation pioneers like Aldo Leopold. It dawned on me that I was amongst a group of peers the majority of whom were like me; lacking any hunting background and on track to enter an industry which relies heavily on consumptive use of wildlife for funding and data collection. During this time I gained some early exposure to hunting. I tagged along on a whitetail deer hunt in Texas. It was the perfect introductory experience to witness. There was minimal suffering and I discovered I really enjoyed eating venison. I felt like a new member of some exclusive club that doesn’t rely on a grocery store to enjoy quality protein at home. The idea of knowing exactly where the meat I was eating came from really started to take hold.




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An Antelope Hunt Like No Other!

Antelope hunting in Montana is on a rebound after the population took at hit a few years ago. Guy Eastman is hunting for a trophy pronghorn with his friend Rod Paschke in this web episode of Eastmans’ Hunting TV. The pair isn’t disappointed with the quality of bucks they find.

The post An Antelope Hunt Like No Other! appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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Sig Sauer 2.0 System!

Eastmans’ reviews the new features of the version 2.0 Sig Sauer BDX system. Sig has made BDX even easier to use for hunting and shooting. You can now customize your reticle with your choice of eight common ballistics profiles. It’s simple. All you need to use these custom reticles is the Sierra BDX riflescope. You still have the option to customize even further using Sig Sauer’s free BDX smartphone app or BDX rangefinders. Become a more efficient and effective fair chase hunter with Sig Sauer’s BDX system.

The post Sig Sauer 2.0 System! appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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Grizzlies on the Prairie

At first glance, this report from a Montana news station is alarming: More grizzly bears popping up on the prairie. 

As much as we are concerned about their management in the Intermountain West, or lack thereof, historically speaking, grizzlies are no strangers to the flat land. Here is an account from Lewis and Clark’s journals:

On October 20, 1804, near the Heart River at today’s Mandan, North Dakota, men of the Lewis and Clark Expedition saw their first sign of the grizzly bear. The result was anticlimactic. Clark wrote:

“Our hunters killed 10 Deer & a Goat today and wounded a white Bear I saw Several fresh track of those animals which is 3 times as large as a man’s track.”

Lewis added a few details: 

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Forest Fire In June!?!

At roughly 12:46 p.m. on Saturday, June 13, 2020 the first reported forest fire of the season lit up a mountainside west of Cody, Wyoming. 

This is unusual due to the fact that June isn’t exactly a peak fire month but conditions that day were ideal for a fire to spring up and spread. Ninety plus degree temperatures coupled with a bone dry landscape and high winds fanned the unknown beginnings of the blaze from the edge of US Hwy 14-16-20 south and east toward the populated valley around Wapiti, Wyoming closing the highway to public travel and calling all hands on deck to fight the fire. 

Residents of Green Creek to the west of Wapiti were warned to be prepared to evacuate but in the end the only evacuations were from the Bill Cody Ranch and the Rimrock Ranch which were much closer to the fire. Horses from the Bill Cody Ranch were turned loose to escape the blaze but were later rounded up by area outfitters. There were no fatalities reported and only one minor injury suffered when a hotshot banged his head on a rock and required a few stitches. 

As I write this the fire has been contained and much needed rain is quenching an already parched mountain range. That said, Forest Service leadership credits the rapid suppression and containment of the fire to the fact that, being June, there were a plethora of resources at hand to battle the flames. Had this fire broken out later in the season it’s highly likely the result would have been catastrophic as the conditions on Saturday were ripe for disaster. 

As I stated earlier, the cause of this fire is unknown but the origin came from the busy highway that connects Cody to the east entrance of Yellowstone so it doesn’t take much to suspect human negligence as the cause. That said it’s a solid reminder that “only you can prevent forest fires.”

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B3 Hercules Duffel – Rugged Security, Organization by Eberlestock

Guy Eastman reviews the brand new B3 Hercules Duffel rolling suitcase. This bag is a beast! It can haul whatever gear your next adventure require with room for souvenirs too. A hard shell bottom creates secure storage space for rifles, bows and more. Velcro dividers and built in pockets make it easy to organize gear the way you want it. The wheels are replaceable and the durability you expect from Eberlestock means this luggage will last!

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE B3 HERCULES DUFFEL FROM EBERLESTOCK

The post B3 Hercules Duffel – Rugged Security, Organization by Eberlestock appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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The Most Deadly Animal You Didn’t Think Of

After a recent short stint hunting spring bears in Montana I had a run-in with some wood ticks, aka the American dog tick. After watching for them carefully the first day, I picked four off me and by the next night, one slipped through my inspection and already started to embed into my upper leg!  $%&#! 

After taking a close look I could tell it wasn’t fully embedded as it had just started biting into me. I was able to get it out fairly easily with the aid of the tip of a broadhead and not squeezing the tick. I made sure the head stayed attached and came out with a chunk of skin. I cleaned the area well with alcohol and didn’t think much of it. 

Fast forward four days later and I woke up in the middle of the night with the most intense body aches, joint pain, headache, neckache, nausea, and a fever. At first I thought I had a case of the Covid from hell. but after a half a day pondering my symptoms I realized that I probably had a tick borne disease! 

The Rocky Mountain wood tick is known to transmit three different diseases. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) and Tularemia are bacterial infections and Colorado Tick Fever is a viral infection. Both RMSF and Tularemia can be fatal if not treated with the right antibiotics. All of these illnesses have similar symptoms but the rule of thumb according to my doctors is to get on an antibiotic immediately because treatment is most effective if it is administered with 5 days of infection. If RMSF isn’t treated within 8 days you have an 80% chance of dying according to Mayoclinic! That’s some potent stuff. Tularemia is also a nasty bug with similar symptoms as RMSF and it can kill you if not treated as well. 

After enduring a rough night I talked to my doctor and discussed my symptoms, he suggested I could spend the money on tests and get prescribed antibiotics or save some money from administering tests and still get antibiotics. Since I was out of town I got the antibiotics and had the first dose in me by 3 pm. That night I could tell a slight improvement but my fever would not break 101 degrees. The next day I was into the third dose and by 11 a.m. my fever broke to 99.5 and the aches and pains were reduced down to hardly anything! 

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How to survive a bear attack! FULL FILM

Learn how to survive a bear attack and defend yourself from a black bear or grizzly bear. Know your self defense options and how to prepare for bear country whether you are hiking, camping, backpacking or hunting. Dan Pickar tests bear spray and shows how to use it properly. He also simulates a bear charge and tries to shoot a moving target with different types of firearms.

The post How to survive a bear attack! FULL FILM appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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Outdoor Edge | RazorMax

For years we have been using the Outdoor Edge line of knives in the field, especially their replaceable-blade folding knives. You’ve probably also seen the various knives from Outdoor Edge in this replaceable-blade family in our subscription offers. All of these have been folding knives – until now.

For 2019 Outdoor Edge added to their line of replaceable-blade knives to include the RazorMax. Not only is this a fixed blade knife and replaceable-blade knife, but it also has the option to interchange the 3.5” drop-point blade from their popular RazorLite series with a 5.0” fillet/boning blade. This is a complete replaceable-blade system knife for virtually all of your hunting, fishing, and culinary needs.

 

The blade replacement system is the same as their RazorLite knives, using the patented RazorSafe technology that allows you to replace the blades without risk of injury by the simple push of a button. The blade holder is steel and is black oxide-coated for durability and good looks for more years than you’ll be alive to use it.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE EXPANDED ARTICLE ON THE RazorMax KNIFE FROM OUTDOOR EDGE

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Eastmans’ TagHub: MAX-OUT Your Hunt!

Learn how to use Eastmans’ TagHub to find hunting opportunities that fit your vacation schedule! Scott Reekers shows you how to sort hunting units by season dates to find hunts that fit your needs. You only have some days for hunting, especially, out-of-state, and TagHub can help you make the most of your limited time.

KICK HERE TO Subscribe To The Ultimate Hunting Research Tool EASTMANS’ TagHub!

The post Eastmans’ TagHub: MAX-OUT Your Hunt! appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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Grizzlies on the Move South

Many hunters choose the Grey’s River region of Wyoming for their mule deer and elk pursuits for any number of good reasons. Region-G is home to some of the largest mule deer on the planet Earth and the massive public lands in this region are free of designated Wilderness and grizzly bears making the area even more appealing to masses of nonresident hunters. 

While the area still remains free and clear of designated Wilderness area the absence of grizzly bears may have just vacated the equation. As of late May, a grizzly bear was spotted and verified by a local and Wyoming Game and Fish officials near the town of Kemmerer nearly 200 miles to the South of Yellowstone Park. Photo evidence of the bear was further confirmed with tracks and hair samples to put the verified sighting into the books once and for all as the most Southern grizzly bear sighting in over 50-years. 

With a saturated habitat and ever-growing bear population, the grizzly bears have been left with little choice but to drastically expand their range deeper and deeper into the less prime habitats of parts of Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. Wyoming in particular has seen some bears in some very non-traditional areas. Last year, a bear was trapped near the town of Byron, Wyoming nearly 120 miles East of Yellowstone National Park. Add to that this most recent sighting and grizzly bears now can be confirmed to inhabit nearly one-third of the entire state of Wyoming. 

Although the grizzly bear continues to be a true conservation success story for the Rocky Mountain region, the circumstances surrounding this expansion can be somewhat troublesome for the Wyoming Game and Fish and US Fish and Wildlife agencies as they work hard to struggle with a balance between bears and bear conflicts in these newly formed habitats for the bears. 

There’s no doubt, that warmer, lower climates, and less lucrative food sources will push the bears into trouble with local stock growers, landowners, and recreationists. 


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Vortex Optics Giveaway!

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Top Idaho Antelope Areas 2020!

I feel like I have typed or told people more times than I can count about Idaho pronghorn being low in trophy quality but high fun factor. There are only so many ways to say it, but ultimately if you are looking for a 75” buck or bigger, then Idaho is probably not for you. Yes, there are big bucks harvested each year and a lucky few bring home a true monster buck. However, that is not statistically realistic even in some of the best states in the West, let alone Idaho which sits near or at the bottom for trophy quality. That being said, it’s another hunt opportunity, and with very high public land the Gem state allows for a DIY adventure that won’t break the bank. And as I mention each year, Idaho offers unlimited archery hunts for these prairie speedsters! This is simply awesome! Hot endless desert/foothill country and North America’s fastest four legged critter equipped with 8x magnified eyeballs! One of the toughest spot and stalk hunts you can do with a bow rig. Throw in a blind for the midday heat over some water, and maybe a decoy for some fun during the later portion of the season. Hard to go wrong with any of these choices! Send me some pics!

Top Archery Units

Unit 40-1 Great choice for the bowhunter. Harvest odds are solid for a hunt with bow and arrow, public land opportunities are strong, trophy quality is status quo and as to be expected; hunting these animals is no joke. If you choose to hunt, spot and stalk you will likely find yourself on an adventure that will leave you both exhilarated and frustrated all within very short windows of time. What often feels like an exercise in futility one moment will turn into sweet success moments later! There are few hunts that sharpen your stalking skills better and for that reason plus the fact these critters are wonderful on the dinner plate. 

Unit 54 and 51- these units are described in more detail in the any-weapon section.  However, both units are excellent choices. 55-1 has unbelievable harvest stats for a bow hunt, and the trophy quality for both areas can be very good. 

Top Muzzleloader Units

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