Hunting and Fishing News & Blog Articles

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Hunting the Mule Deer Rut – OTC Trophy Buck!

Hunting the mule deer rut is exciting! Shooting a big buck on a general season license is even better. Join Eastmans’ Hunting Journals staffer Adam Bender on an over-the-counter November mule deer hunt on this web episode of Eastman’s Hunting TV.

 

The post Hunting the Mule Deer Rut – OTC Trophy Buck! appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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Seek & Ye Shall Find: 4800 CWD Samples Collected From Wyoming Hunters

“This disease has now been identified in most deer hunt areas across Wyoming and necessitates a shift in focus of the program from detection to monitoring.”

https://oilcity.news/wyoming/outdoors/2021/11/08/hunters-submit-over-4800-samples-valuable-to-wyoming-game-and-fish-chronic-wasting-disease-surveillance/

The fact that CWD has been identified in “most deer hunt areas across Wyoming”, is disturbing to say the least. It also tells me that it’s been there for a lot longer than we’d like to admit. I for one have my doubts about it being a new disease. I have a hunch that it’s been around for a very long time and is now being found thanks to increased searching. We all know that if you go looking for trouble, you’re probably going to find it and I’m leaning on that being the case with CWD. 

I will go out even further on a limb and posit the theory that CWD is a slippery slope. One where we can slide from detection to monitoring to eradication programs all too quickly and if the past couple of years has shown us anything at all, it’s that nothing can be ruled out or taken for granted. 

I am exceedingly grateful that the Wyoming Game and Fish Department seems to be taking cautious steps with this as the draft of the CWD management plan that I read last year was incredibly alarming and other states have already thrown the fawn out with the bathwater. I would also encourage you to do your part in submitting CWD samples as the more knowledge we have in this fight the better armed we can be to stem this seemingly dismal tide. 

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No More OTC Elk In Utah?

Both of the past two seasons Utah’s OTC elk permits have sold out in a matter of hours. This has caused a panic and much grumbling among the citizenry, who heretofore could easily obtain an OTC tag for weeks after they were released. It has also prompted Utah wildlife officials to move the formerly “first come, first serve” elk permits to a drawing format. Uh oh? 

The reason I post that last phrase as a question is I honestly have no idea how the residents of Utah will feel about this “one year trial period” draw system. 

Within that one year, 2022, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources will assess the pros and cons of each system before coming to a conclusion that will hopefully fix the woes of customers in the past two seasons. It appears that massive change is on the horizon for Utah elk hunters.

I would love to hear my southwestern neighbor’s opinions on this matter! Don’t hold back. 

For more information:

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Sarcocystosis, Elk & You

GUEST AUTHOR: Scott Salmon

“Sarcocystosis is a disease caused by a parasite called Sarcocystis. There are numerous species of Sarcocystis. This disease usually affects animals but also can also cause disease in humans.” https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/sarcocystosis/faqs.html

 

2021 was the year I had planned to use my Wyoming elk points. I had 6 points and planned to put in as partners with my hunting buddy Brian. With a 3 point average we were pretty confident we would draw. Once results came out we saw we were given a general elk tag in Wyoming. Now with tags in our pockets we began to look at units to hunt. We looked at seasons, hunt success, and dates.  Once we compiled the data we determined we would do a rifle hunt in October in a unit that had a success in the 30% range. Brian and I began looking at maps, contacting biologists, and researching anyway we could. 

As time became close, our excitement grew. We planned on driving into the unit three days before the season opened and scout the areas we had picked out on our maps. With bags packed and gear ready we met up for the 17 hour drive and headed out. We split the drive into two days and hoped to get there early afternoon on day two to set up camp. The next morning we drove to a trailhead and hiked in to scout. Once into the drainage a few miles we started seeing elk and by afternoon we knew this was definitely a good area to be on the opener. That morning we had seen multiple bulls and heard other bulls bulging in the timber. 

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onX hunt Review – Using the Crop Layer for Hunting

This review features onX hunt’s crop layer and how to use it to expand your hunting opportunities. Brandon Mason breaks down how he uses the crop layer to take advantage of public land that borders agricultural areas. It’s a powerful tool for big game and bird hunters alike.

The post onX hunt Review – Using the Crop Layer for Hunting appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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CRAZY Bear Hunt! 3 bears in one night!

Four black bear kills packed into one hunting video on this web exclusive hunt from Eastmans’ Hunting Journals. Bear hunting is an important tool for conservation of deer, elk and other wildlife. Elk calves and deer fawns are easy targets for hungry bears in the spring. One bear can eat as many as twenty elk calves in 30 days!

The post CRAZY Bear Hunt! 3 bears in one night! appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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Risky Business – Late-Season Hunts

“Talk of your cold! through the parka’s fold it stabbed like a driven nail.

If our eyes we’d close, then the lashes froze till sometimes we couldn’t see;

It wasn’t much fun…” The Cremation of Sam McGee – Robert W. Service

Snow, ice, sub-freezing temperatures, bleak landscapes seemingly void of life… what’s not to love about late-season big game hunts. Now before all you snowbirds who fly South to chase Coues’ deer or rutting mulies in the deserts of the southwest begin to gloat please understand what I’m talking about here are the November, December and even January  hunts for deer, elk, goats and sheep  in the northern reaches of the West where venturing out to pursue big game this time of year demands a stoic determination bonded with an iron will because there are no other hunts that will test a big game hunter’s mettle more than these, where conditions can be downright life threatening. 

Late-season big game hunts are risky propositions. There are a wagon-load of variables stacked against the hunter; extreme cold, deep snow, migrating animals and limited tags all stack up a wall of difficulty for hunters to overcome. Some of these hunts are very limited, there just aren’t an awful lot of tags given out for them. As an example, in our neck of the mountains there are several late bull elk hunts that are meant to capitalize on the late migrating giant bulls of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. These hunts are no secret but drawing one of the highly coveted and very elusive tags is difficult at best. However, drawing the tag is only the first step down the difficult path of tagging one of these late-season bulls. 



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Extremists Want A Hunting Buffer-Zone Around Yellowstone

I will say environmental extremists have tenacity and rarely give up even after being defeated time and time again. The same holds true for Footloose Montana, a radical anti-trapping and hunting organization based in Missoula, Montana that is funded by foreign money. They have been attempting to ban the trapping culture in Montana for more than 20 years and failing miserably. I remember when I was going to school at U of M in Missoula, they had a proposal on the ballot that thankfully failed miserably back in 2008 or so. Here we are over a decade later and they are still at it. 

Now they are petitioning the federal government for a 5 mile buffer zone around Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and all four national forests that are adjacent to the park as a wolf safe zone. This proposed ban was submitted just a couple weeks after three wolves were killed just outside the park on private land that were once part of an established pack in Yellowstone. “This insanity of allowing the slaughter of national park wolves and endangering the public was enabled by Governor Gianforte and our legislature must be stopped by the federal government,” said Stephen Capra, executive director of Footloose Montana. 

This is typical rhetoric from individuals that are completely ignorant of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation and refuse to be educated. Instead, they base their decisions off of emotion and refusal of facts. These types of extremists cite that wolves are a huge economic resource to the region and shooting them puts the general public at risk. I would argue that I am interested in seeing elk in the Park and not wolves. Park officials introduced wolves into the Park as an experiment in 1995, and decided to completely bypass public opinion in doing so. As a result, there are very few deer and elk that live inside and migrate out of the Park any more. Footloose Montana and other special interest extremists that are proponents of this buffer zone only care about wolves and no other wildlife. That is pretty sad if you ask me. Why is that?

For this 5 mile buffer proposal to be considered it will need support from several federal officials. From the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Secretary of Interior, Director of the National Park Service, and Chief of the Forest Service among others. This will be another attempt to bypass science and go straight to politics in an attempt to get their way. I encourage everyone to go to the Footloose Montana website and leave them a comment of disapproval for this new proposal and that they should instead stick with the science and real management that we finally have on wolves in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. 

 

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Managing Montana’s Elk – A Growing Problem

Over the past twenty years, Montana’s elk population has seen quite the shift from large declines in the western part of the state to large population increases in the central and eastern part of the state. Here lies the problem. The western part of the state is largely public land. The central and eastern parts of the state are mostly private land. This makes managing elk populations very difficult. Montana has yet to find a solution that works where everyone is happy. The revised elk management plan in 2017 greatly lowered elk population objectives for the state largely because of the shift of population centers of elk and landowner tolerance of them. Management objectives are down in the 90,000s state wide, a huge decrease from past objectives for the state of Montana. Herd counts for the state are estimated to be 136,000 which is down from highs of 176,000 in 2017.  

The political climate in Montana has shifted this past election cycle and there has been more and more talk and push for landowner tags and more landowner privilege for managing elk on private property. This is where some very debatable topics have come up, like protecting the public land hunter and preventing hunting in Montana from becoming a “rich man’s sport” while also keeping landowners happy with having elk on their property. A large portion of landowners won’t allow public access to shoot elk for free. There has been some horse trading going on in this state which is sending management down the direction of landowner tags like Colorado and Utah. A high-profile ranch owned by the Wilkes Brothers has been the spotlight of some of the first landowner tag allocations. The new statute will allow landowners to get free elk tags but will require them to also allow some public hunters to access their property and shoot elk. Talks on the specifics fizzled in prior months so we are yet to know exact details of what will happen. The Wilkes have let up to 300 cow hunters in the past access and harvest cow elk but there is no access for hunting bulls. 

Time will tell what develops but the debate will continue. Is Montana headed down the path of Utah and Colorado with re-salable landowner tags or should the Block Management Program be revamped or other deals be made with landowners? Should landowners be given a bigger incentive from the state to let public hunters on to harvest elk that they are complaining about? 

 

Source:

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WILDLIFE AGENCIES TO CANCEL TRUMP ENDANGERED SPECIES RULES

I’m not going to lie – my stomach turned when I read this. On the surface it seems like a good thing to protect our wildlife and land resources from development. However, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) has been used for decades to further political agendas rather than actually do what it was set up to do.

Sportsmen truly do want necessary protections for wildlife and land so that we don’t revert to the Industrial Revolution days of highly polluted bodies of water and air, yet we hate to see unreasonable and intolerable regulations crush many of the jobs people depend on.

Finding the correct balance is a tough thing and we each have a different opinion on what that may be. I just wish the federal government would allow states to regulate themselves and their own resources and keep big brother out of it.

What say you?

The post WILDLIFE AGENCIES TO CANCEL TRUMP ENDANGERED SPECIES RULES appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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Hunting Prep – Field dressing kit

This hunting tip on kill or field dressing kits breaks down the gear you need to build your own. Fieldcraft Survival’s Kevin Estela shares his favorite choices for knives, ropes, and other accessories for a versatile kill kit to carry while hunting any big game animal. Customize your kill kit for each hunt or scenario with these tips.

Survive an unplanned night outdoors: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJnV3…

Build your own first aid kit for hunting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4arGV…

Catch up with all of Fieldcraft Survival’s hunting tips: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list…

The post Hunting Prep – Field dressing kit appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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Mule Deer Methodology- 5 Tactics For Taking Your Biggest Buck

I am blessed to know many of the finest mule deer hunters in the country. Some of them you have heard of, like Brian Barney and Guy Eastman. Then there are some that you haven’t and probably never will because trophy mule deer hunters are often a secretive group who don’t want their names drawing attention. Which brings me to what I consider the best perk of my job, it is learning about how these consistent killers have grown over the years and regularly put big bucks on the ground. This article is all about the tactics that I or some of the best I have ever met employed to kill mature, grey faced, strong scoring mule deer almost every single season. 

Tactic 1- Live With The Deer!

Every good mule deer hunter does their best to live with the deer. They scout in the summer, they hunt them in the fall and they go to winter range to find out which grey faced brutes lived through the deadly game of high country hide and seek. Finally, they spend the spring watching the transitional ranges to learn their travel routes to help find bucks when the snow gets deep and it’s time to leave the high basins. 

When time is limited or geographic distance makes regular observation impossible, summer scouting needs to take priority. Two of my biggest high country mule deer were scouted ahead of time. I knew those bucks were living in the basins I killed them in and they were not killed by accident. In 2018 I spent more time scouting than I did hunting because I killed my buck the second day of the season. 

Regularly spending time observing and learning the patterns and behaviors of big mule deer will lead to more trophies taken. This tactic is what separates the average hunter from the guys who take the upper echelon of mule deer regularly. 

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Eastmans’ Hunting Journal Updated: EHJ 188

Guy Eastman hunts for a Dall’s sheep in the last wilderness of the Northwest Territory. Guy is retracing the hunting adventure pioneered by his grandfather Gordon Eastman in the Mackenzie mountains. He is joined by his brother Ike Eastman for this journey to hunt mountain caribou and Dall’s sheep. This shot film builds on the story told in YETI’s 2021 film tour featuring the Eastman family.

 

The post Eastmans’ Hunting Journal Updated: EHJ 188 appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.



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Four Pronghorns Poached And Left To Rot!

“Hey bud, guess how many miles we’ve put on today looking for a buck on public?” 

“I don’t know, a lot.”

“Yeah, odometer says 253 miles and that doesn’t count how many we’ve put on our boots.”

“Wow! I’ve never seen so few antelope in this region and the fact that we haven’t seen a single buck on public is disturbing.” 

If you’ve hunted northeastern Wyoming for antelope on public land in the past couple of seasons you’ve probably seen the same thing that I have and had the same conversation as above. The recent downturn in pronghorn numbers in many areas of the state makes the poaching and waste of four animals, three does and a buck, egregious in the extreme. I’ll spare you my internal rant but you can imagine how incidents like this make my blood boil! 

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45+ Deer Hunts in 20 Minutes! Eastmans’ Hunting Journals

It’s a deer hunting bonanza! Over 45 western buck hunts in an action packed 20 minutes from the Eastmans’ Hunting Journals archives. This video features mule deer and whitetail deer hunts.

The post 45+ Deer Hunts in 20 Minutes! Eastmans’ Hunting Journals appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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The Weatherby Backcountry 2.0!

This review features Weatherby’s Mark V Backcountry 2.0 Carbon hunting rifle. This rifle features the industry’s lightest carbon fiber stock, redesigned bolt and improved carbon fiber barrel. Todd Helms has put this rifle to the test and found it to be a tack driver. He hit three of three successful shots at 1000 yards on an MOA steel plate. This rifle is meant to tackle any hunting adventure you can dream up! It’s available in a wide variety of your favorite Weatherby cartridges. Learn more at www.weatherby.com

 

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

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Another Grizzly Attack!

Stop Moving The Recovery Goalposts!

It seems that grizzly bear attacks and altercations are rampant this year. Recently another group of hunters in Wyoming shot and killed a charging boar grizzly while they were elk hunting. In Montana a small group of hunters have killed a sow with no cubs when she charged them as they were breaking down an elk they had taken. With general seasons either ongoing or about to open across grizzly country in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, there will surely be more conflict to come between hunters and grizzlies. This is not good for hunters OR bears. The question that many are asking is why more conflict and what can be done to stop it? 

Well, the answer is complex and it’s not limited exclusively to hunters being in bear country. 

There are more bears in the GYE (Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem) than at any time since recovery efforts began. In fact, there are more than enough bears to warrant a delisting from the ESA (conservatively over 1000 in the core area alone) IF the goal posts weren’t moved and the definition of “recovery” changed to suit the interests of radical environmentalists and animal rights activists who make big money off of ESA litigation, think millions of dollars. 

Don’t just take my word for it… https://www.rmef.org/elk-network/equal-access-to-injustice/

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Wyoming CWD Update

According to an article in the Oil City News new areas in our home state of Wyoming have been identified positive for CWD. Deer areas 144, 148 and elk area 41 are the new positives. CWD has been a hot button issue across the West for many years and the most recent aggressive testing is another chapter in the evolving discussion around management. 

The question that is toughest to answer for big game managers and biologists is how long have the prions been here and is our testing just confirming something that has existed for eons? Or are we experiencing a boom and do we need to take strong measures to make sure that we can curtail its growth into the future?

Wyoming on one hand has taken a test and see approach for the most part while Colorado has moved their seasons for mule deer hunting to potentially harvest more mature mule deer. The desire in Colorado is to remove the carriers, i.e. the older animals from the herd and therefore cut down cases over time. This change, along with the covid world we live in pushed application numbers to very high levels in 2021 in Colorado. We could potentially see an age class reduction across Colorado with this strategy, ultimately putting the state’s mule deer royalty status in jeopardy.  

Wyoming on the other hand has chosen to test and see over time with the exception of the management of feed grounds. Elk feed grounds, in particular the refuge in the Jackson Hole area have become political lightning rods from just about every walk of life. Brucellosis has been a concern for years on the feed grounds, easy predation for wolves after their reintroduction, and now CWD are driving management conversations as well as litigation. 

What does all of this mean? Well it means that it would be wise for every one of us to start submitting our comments to game and fish entities letting them know how we feel about CWD and herd management. Those who seek to end hunting are certainly submitting their comments, it’s past time for us to make our voices heard.

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Drink Whiskey to Save Mule Deer! Wyoming Whiskey Review

This review highlights Wyoming Whiskey’s high quality product and how they are stepping up to help save our mule deer. Eastmans’ Hunting Journals has teamed up with Wyoming Whiskey and the Mule Deer Foundation of Wyoming for a brighter future for mule deer conservation. Ike Eastman hand selected a single barrel of whiskey. About 150 custom Living Legend bottles are available. 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: https://muledeer.org/wyoming/?fbclid=…

The post Drink Whiskey to Save Mule Deer! Wyoming Whiskey Review appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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Man Killed In Hunting Accident

Reports like these are tough to take. This one made my stomach turn, thinking of the chaos this particular father and son hunting trip ended up being and ultimately ending in an unexpected death of the father.

Hunting in the Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming for elk, they were hiking back to their vehicle when one of the rifles went off as the father handed his son the rifles so he could scale the rock face his son just traversed. One of the rifles went off and shot the father in the upper right chest. He later died at the hospital in Worland, WY.

When I think of all the near catastrophes I’ve encountered in the field over my lifetime, I am so thankful that the situations never lead to dire consequences. This recent hunting accident is a solid and sobering reminder not to take anything for granted when hunting safety is concerned. Firearm safety, camping safety, traveling safely, etc., are nothing to overlook.  When times are good and things are running smoothly it is easy to get careless. Make sure you have your wits about you while in the field so you have many GOOD memories to share with loved ones in the future.

Our hearts go out to this family in their loss…

The post Man Killed In Hunting Accident appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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