Hunting and Fishing News & Blog Articles

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Wyoming Wildlife Taskforce Rejects 90/10

By harrycollinsphotography


For the past 14 months, the Wyoming Wildlife Taskforce has debated some of the most contentious issues in wildlife management for the Cowboy State. Everything from license allocations to landowner licenses and habitat improvements have been at the table for this group. Throughout the entire process, members of the taskforce noted how many of these issues are intertwined with one another often remarking “when you pull one string with a change, the whole ball unravels.”

To try and encompass all the different impacts of a recommendation for license changes within deer, elk, and pronghorn in the state, the Taskforce put together a plan they referred to as the “Comprehensive Proposal.” Within the proposal were 6 independent pieces presented as a package to the Taskforce which they voted and made recommendations on in the August Wildlife Taskforce meeting.


They are as follows: 

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$10.5M in Habitat Projects

800+ species of wildlife. That’s a big number for me to wrap my little pea-brain around! And $10.5 million, largely from sportsmen, to foot the bill – LOVE IT!

Once again, hunters and anglers prove they are the largest conservationists and true advocates of our wildlife and land resources, just like we have since the turn of the 20th century when the Boone and Crockett club started.

According to Oil City News, “Game and Fish highlighted projects that reconnected over 94 miles of stream to benefit native cutthroat and other species.” This was done in partnership with various entities including nonprofit organizations, private landowners, and the Wyoming Wildlife Natural Resources Trust Fund.

“Terrestrial projects involved work on 725,896 acres of land. Examples included herbicide treatments to prevent the spread of invasive grass.”


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Customize Your Bino Pack!

Ike Eastman reviews Eberlestock’s new Recon Modular Harness System bino pack. This binocular harness is modular and designed to be customized to your specific needs. The Recon features magnetic closures, an easily adjustable harness are some of Ike’s favorite features. It boasts an easy to use MOLLE webbing system that makes changing out accessories easy and keeps them snug once they are in place. Accessories include a rangefinder pouch, bear spray holster, hand-warming muff, and more.

The post Customize Your Bino Pack! appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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Changes In Arizona Deer Hunting Regulations!

It was a tumultuous and eventful rulemaking season in early 2022 for Arizona. Among the most impactful changes were modifications made to the non-permit (OTC) tags for archery deer. During the last several years the state has seen steady increases in both tag sales and harvest from archery deer hunters. Under the previous Arizona Game and Fish Department guidelines, the increased harvest led many units to be converted to a draw only permit process. As more and more units were converted to this model, the OTC hunters were limited to fewer units and harvest became even more concentrated. Eventually this would have led nearly all units to become draw only.

To remedy this the Arizona Bowhunters Association and local sportsmen worked with AZGFD to develop a plan to establish a harvest threshold or quota for each unit. As these thresholds are met, the unit will close to archery deer hunting. This model mirrors Arizona’s system for other OTC opportunities.

What this means for sportsmen is that anyone hunting OTC archery deer will need to check online ( or via phone 623-236-7961 to verify that the threshold for the unit they plan to hunt has not yet been met. The harvest threshold count begins in August and applies to all three archery seasons including January. If the threshold is met during the August season the unit will not reopen during December or January. If you are planning a winter escape for warmer weather and rutting Coues’ deer, remain flexible and make sure those plans are written in pencil.

Because this is a new process and system there will likely be some bumps in the road as it is implemented. The important fact to keep in mind is that this was implemented to preserve OTC hunting opportunities in our state, and without it OTC archery deer hunting was on its way out. As you head out in the field this year be sure to double check the regulations and remain flexible as the season unfolds.

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“So You’re Saying There’s A Chance!” – Arizona Offering Special Draw

The Arizona Game and Fish Department will be issuing several special licenses for Mule Deer, Coues’ Deer, Elk and Gould’s Turkey through a special lottery the week of August 15. The tags will be issued through what the department is referring to as a limited-entry permit-tag draw. Each of these special permits allows the holder to harvest the designated species and does not count against annual bag limits. This process will be different than the regular draw; no bonus points will be used in the process and therefore no bonus points will be issued for unsuccessful applicants. Under the rules of this special lottery applicants may apply for as many of the hunts as they choose but are limited to a single application for each hunt. Applications cost $13 for residents and $15 for non-residents.

Among the permits being offered are 3 Elk tags, 4 Mule Deer tags, 4 Coues’ deer tags and 1 Gould’s Turkey tag. The season dates are generous, extending for several weeks and covering nearly the entire rut period for both deer species. The opportunity to hunt rutting desert mule deer with a rifle is rare and allowing seasons to extend into January is unprecedented in the state. Some lucky tag holder is going to have the opportunity to look over a lot of deer in very open country before deciding where to hang their tag. Some of these deer hunts are in more desirable units than others. 

Be sure to check out this year’s MRS and TagHub to help prioritize your selections accordingly. The elk hunts offered are in blue chip quality units but the season dates (Dec 15 – February 15) are not desirable for Arizona hunting conditions. For avid turkey hunters, the opportunity to hunt most of Arizona’s Gould’s population from April 1 to May 30 may be one of the most valuable opportunities ever offered. 

The application period opened Monday, August 8 and will close at 4:59 on Friday, August 12. Visit the AZGFD website during that time frame for more information on how to apply.

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Camo for Any Hunt! Kryptek’s Obskura Review

This review features @Kryptek‘s new Obskura camo pattern. Ike Eastman and Brandon Mason break down the thought process behind the pattern’s design and share their favorite Kryptek layers. Get all the details on the Kryptek system the Eastmans’ team hunts with at

The post Camo for Any Hunt! Kryptek’s Obskura Review appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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WildFire Update 2022

If you pay attention to the news, which I wouldn’t recommend, you’d think the entire western U.S. is on fire, raging out of control, flames reaching to the sky, burning up vast swaths of landscape. Well, let’s take a closer look since hunting season is right around the corner and fire closures have a definite impact on hunting plans. 

If you visit you can see exactly how many fires are active across the western states we cover, how large they are and percentage of containment and if you dig you’ll find a treasure trove of information, including historical data. 

There are around 60 wildfires currently burning in the 11 western states we cover in our MRS and TagHub. That looks like a lot but when I gander back at last year, it’s about the same or less and that doesn’t compare with 2006’s record breaking 10 million plus acres incinerated!

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Sheep Hunt Shut Down!!!

Add this one to the list of “piss poor” policy decisions coming out of this administration. On Tuesday, July 26 a committee of unelected bureaucrats chose to shut down Dall’s sheep hunting in two entire hunt units within the mostly federally managed Brooks Mountain Range in northern Alaska. Having hunted this area personally, I can honestly say, it is one of the most majestic and rugged locales on this continent. 

The Federal Subsistence Board (FSB) voted unanimously to “restrict hunting by all users for the Brooks Range Dall’s sheep on Federal public lands.” This affects Alaska hunt units 24A and 26B for the 2022-2024 wildlife regulatory cycle. 

Despite public and state opposition to the proposal, which clocked a more than 11:1 ratio against the restriction including the State Game and Fish Department and conservation groups such as SCI, the FSB board voted in favor of the restriction. 

For some time now, we have been hearing rumblings of this board being used by “Green” groups to eliminate hunting in Alaska and now I guess we have our answer to that question. 

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Waterproof Backpack?! Seek Outside Peregrine 3500 Review

This gear review features Seek Outside’s Peregrine 3500 backpack. Scott Reekers gives this fully loaded backpack the dunk test! This backpack is built for multi-day hunts in any weather nature can storm up. No rain cover needed! It boasts a UltraPE 400 fabrics making the packages waterproof and YKK Aquaguard zippers that are highly water resistant. Compression straps, large side pockets, additional load shelf and a top lid are some of the other features that make this a well-rounded backpack.

The post Waterproof Backpack?! Seek Outside Peregrine 3500 Review appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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Sage Grouse Management Marches On!

Sage Grouse are an icon of the West and unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock the past few years you know that states like Wyoming, the energy industry, game and fish departments (both state and federal) and groups like the Audubon Society have been going full court press to help the birds not just maintain but grow in number. 

Unfortunately, growth hasn’t been the case overall and the big birds continue to struggle. However, the fight is far from over even in the face of, “Wildland fire, invasive annual grasses, conifer encroachment, and drought…”

Of course the greatest fear concerning Greater Sage Grouse is an ESA listing. Such action would likely bring catastrophic results to western states and our country as whole via the effective killing of western economies; think billions of dollars being stripped away thanks to closures of public lands to energy development, livestock production and, yup… public access for just about any reason. 

Not a bird hunter? What about pronghorn, mule deer or elk? Other multiple uses? If the Greater Sage Grouse is listed on the ESA you stand to lose access to hundreds of thousands of public land acres, period. 

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Bull at 6 yards!! – Bow hunting Elk on Public Land

Bow hunting elk on a public land, over-the-counter tag with single digit success rates might be as tough as it gets! Dan Pickar breaks down his strategy for hunting a bull with cows on high-pressure, low elk density, public lands on this episode of Beyond the Grid by Eastmans’.

The post Bull at 6 yards!! – Bow hunting Elk on Public Land appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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Grizzly Euthanized for Dangerous Behavior

We still can’t harvest grizzly bears under a wildlife management/science-based hunting season structure with long-term management goals for the grizzly population, but scores of grizzlies are killed every year because of human-wildlife conflict. The disappointing fact in these scenarios is that much of the time, the conflicts of this nature with one of the famed grizzly bear 399 cubs, (click
HERE to read the news release) can be avoided if people would quit breaking wildlife management laws, including feeding bears intentionally or unintentionally via irresponsible food and garbage storage.

    The problem with feeding apex predators, as in this case, is the habituation that comes with it and the eventual and inevitable human injury or death. The bears get used to being “rewarded” for being too close to human activities because they find easy food sources. The bears don’t know the difference between someone intentionally feeding them and someone irresponsibly leaving food or garbage in places that bears frequent.

    The wildlife, hunters, and the general public lose in these situations. While I’m not a fan of the continued listing on the Endangered Species Act of the grizzly bear, which leads to proposed hunting seasons being shut down, I’m also not a fan of wildlife having to be terminated because irresponsible people continue to violate wildlife feeding laws that exist for the safety of all involved. 

Don’t get me wrong, human life needs to be protected and measures need to be taken to do so, but if we had the regulated hunting seasons that are needed to help manage grizzlies, they would have a healthier fear and respect for humans and would avoid them at all costs, thereby reducing the number of bears needing to be euthanized which is a far greater number than what a regulated hunting season would account for.

    Hunters participating in regulated hunting seasons are the best conservation participants in history, not the people who are breaking the law by habituating grizzly bears to human presence.

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Bow Hunting Backcountry Bucks

Hike deep into the high country with bow hunter and Eastmans’ Elevated podcast host Brian Barney on his quest for a trophy class, public land mule deer. It’s an early season bow hunt and there’s good potential for Brian to take a buck still in velvet. Brian uses his wealth of DIY knowledge to hunt country that’s difficult to access and has few reliable water sources on this episode of Beyond the Grid by Eastmans’.

The post Bow Hunting Backcountry Bucks appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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Whiskey for mule deer! Wyoming Whiskey + Eastmans’ Support Wildlife

This review highlights Wyoming Whiskey’s partnership with Eastmans’ Hunting Journals working toward a bright future for mule deer conservation. Ike Eastman teamed up with members of the Mule Deer Foundation of Wyoming to select a single barrel of whiskey to represent Morty, one of Wyoming’s living legends mule deer. About 150 custom Morty Living Legends bottles are available. This is the second bottle in a collector’s series featuring all three living legends mule deer. Join the Mule Deer Foundation at their Wyoming banquets for a chance to take home a bottle of this LIMITED edition Wyoming Whiskey small batch. Proceeds will directly benefit mule deer conservation in Wyoming.

Find an event near you here:…

Learn more about the story of Morty and Wyoming’s mule deer:…

The post Whiskey for mule deer! Wyoming Whiskey + Eastmans’ Support Wildlife appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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Eastmans’ Preseason Hunter Giveaway

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The post Eastmans’ Preseason Hunter Giveaway appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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Idaho’s Wolf Management Plan Racist?

“Idaho is continuing in the tradition of the white supremacists and eugenicists who were the patriarchs of how the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation is still applied, foremost amongst them being Madison Grant, the author of The Passing of the Great Race, justifiably called ‘the Bible of scientific racism,’” said Rain, film director (Somebody’s Daughter/Family) and executive director of the Global Indigenous Council. “Grant perversely but cleverly packaged trophy killing as an articulation of conservation before seeing his theories on wildlife management transposed to human beings by the architects of the Third Reich. It’s important to understand why actions like this by Idaho aren’t ‘wildlife management’ issues to many tribal people. They are social justice issues, rooted in the epitome of systemic and institutionalized racism.”

Recently there was a settlement reached between the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services, The U.S. Forest Service and the BLM vs. the Plaintiffs; Western Watersheds Project, Wildearth Guardians and Predator Defense. How does this affect you and I? Well, to keep it short and sweet, you probably won’t feel it directly, at least right off unless you are a rancher or landowner that borders wilderness study areas, wilderness or several other areas that are now effectively on hold for the next 2.5 years. 

So why bring it up? Glad you asked, many of you are likely wondering why we keep wading into the political pool with these extremists and instead just keep to ourselves and focus on hunting…well, I wish that was an option. We have long passed the time of standing on the sidelines and letting these groups tear down our God-given legacy one regulation at a time. It’s rather lengthy but hits to the core of our current situation both with wildlife management and our rights as citizens of the USA. 

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Utah Proposes License Fee Increase Due To Inflation

Utah has proposed an increase in their license fees across the board for residents and non-residents due to inflation. The DWR is currently 92% self-funded and since prices have increased dramatically for fuel, materials, goods and services the department has no choice but to raise prices. The proposed cost hike will be roughly 10% for licenses across the board except for youth and disabled veterans. 

DWR has also analyzed the market price for neighboring states and will adjust prices to be more comparable to other Western states based on a “right sized fee” aligned to the demand and type of permit. There’s a good chance those licenses that are already high, like moose, sheep, bison, and goat, will see major spikes for non-residents as they are the most in demand and highly valued, where-as a swan or sandhill crane tag will align to cost the same as a neighboring state’ turkey license. DWR has also noted there hasn’t been a significant price increase in licenses across the board since 2020. Price changes will go into effect July 1, 2023 if this proposal is passed.

The post Utah Proposes License Fee Increase Due To Inflation appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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Elk Feedgrounds Drafting Plan

Over the past two years we’ve kept you up-to-date on the growing changes surrounding the elk feedgrounds in western Wyoming. 

The public comments and meetings over this topic, in addition to the growing push for a change to the 22 feedgrounds the State administers, have brought us to the point of the Wyoming Game & Fish Department entering the next stage of development of a long-term elk feedgrounds management plan. 

“After several months of shared learning sessions and input from 60 volunteer stakeholders from across the state, the department’s elk feedgrounds steering team is now beginning to draft a long-term feedgrounds management plan,” Game and Fish said. “Game and Fish intends to have a draft plan for review by stakeholders and the public this coming winter. Ultimately, the steering team would like to bring a completed elk feedgrounds management plan before the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission for their approval in the summer of 2023.”

Whether you love it or hate it, changes are coming to Wyoming’s elk feedground program. For more in-depth info on this topic, click HERE to visit the ELK FEEDGROUNDS: A CHALLENGE WE CAN TAKE on page on the Wyoming Game & Fish Department website. 

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Revised Public Land Filming Bill Coming Down The Pike

We almost all know by now that our Government lives under the rock of unintended consequences regarding ridiculous legislation. There is no more clear example than the commercial filming law introduced nearly three decades ago by Wyoming’s own Senator Craig Thomas, God rest his soul. Senator Thomas was a good legislator and like many had good intentions when he introduced the law to the Senate. This law was based on the experience his local Forest Service office had regarding a car commercial that was being filmed high above the valley floor on one of the most scenic highways in the entire country. The film crew left the area in complete disrepair once the filming was completed, costing the local office thousands of dollars to clean up and repair for the busy upcoming tourist season. 

Based on that, and many other such incidents throughout the country, the Senate, House and President signed the bill giving federal and state agencies the power to require filming permits to film commercial projects. Like so many, the actual law itself was very vague and directed toward large commercial filming operations like Hollywood, large scale Television and Commercial film crews. Of course, once the bureaucratic establishment got ahold of the bill for “interpretation” the outcome was something much, much more confiningly restrictive. Many offices simply didn’t want to do the paperwork to get a filming permit approved. Some offices had no interest in letting anyone film on “their” district lands. And we even encountered some who would not approve a filming permit because they didn’t want “their own personal hunting location” publicized. It was a complete disaster in the making for most of the smaller content operators. 

Before his death, Senator Thomas even admitted that his bill had been transformed into a bureaucratic swamp monster, something well beyond what its original intent was meant to be. But it was what it was for decades, and many of us did the best we could to operate inside the bounds of the law-no, easy task to say the least. 

My personal dealing with this law was lengthy and daunting. At one point even discussing a possible remedy with a prominent outdoor media organization to push back in the court system based on a First Amendment violation argument. We were told by that organization’s legal representative in Washington DC that this tactic would not work and we did not fully understand the true capacity of the US Constitution. Come to find out, after all these years, I was a better lawyer than that clown. 

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Taxidermist Convicted!

Right on the heels of the blog that Todd Helms just wrote about a poacher’s sentence in Montana being too light (click HERE to read Todd’s blog), more discouraging news hit our radar.

This time it involved a taxidermist in Wyoming, White Mountain Skulls out of Green River Wyoming. The husband and wife tandem seems to have a knack for breaking wildlife laws, including purchasing resident hunting licenses in both Utah and Wyoming in 2018, plus the recent case against their taxidermy business.

Authorities hadn’t received their 2020 records as required by the State and an investigation was underway in April of 2021. The case finally closed and White Mountain Skulls was found having over 70 unfinished taxidermy pieces.

While I’m glad the two have been caught and prosecuted, I’m discouraged by the lack of stiff fines to make them second-guess their actions in the future. Their 2018 and 2020 cases amounted to a mere $4,043.55 in fines and restitution total! For repeat offenders, the fines need to be much more serious, in my opinion.  What say you? Am I being too hard-nosed on this???

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