Hunting and Fishing News & Blog Articles

Stay up-to-date on hunting, fishing and camping products, trends and news.

The Ultimate Guide to Cooking Perfect Wild-Game Steaks

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

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

It Starts With Shot Placement

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

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

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

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

Continue reading
  1253 Hits

Best Personal Heater: How to Keep Warm Anywhere

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

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

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

BEST ELECTRIC PERSONAL HEATER: TaoTronics Ceramic Tower Oscillating Portable Heater

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

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

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

Continue reading
  819 Hits

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

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

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

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

Features to Consider When Shopping for the Best Winter Jackets

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

Do You Need a Windproof Jacket?

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

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

Continue reading
  798 Hits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading
  690 Hits

Ohio Hunter Finds a Massive 233-Inch Deadhead Buck

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading
  1099 Hits

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

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

New Rifle Ammo

Winchester Deer Season XP Copper Impact in 350 Legend

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

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

Winchester Defender 350 Legend, 160-Grain

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

Continue reading
  885 Hits

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

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

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

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

Best Warm Winter Boots for Women: Ugg Adirondack III Boots

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

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

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

Continue reading
  760 Hits

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

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

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

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

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

If you have seen him or know where he may be located call 1-800-TBI-FIND.

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

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

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

Continue reading
  930 Hits

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Continue reading
  744 Hits

The King of the Turkey Slam

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

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

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

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

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

Slams Through the Decades

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

Continue reading
  708 Hits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What activities will you be doing?

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

Continue reading
  727 Hits

The Best New Handguns For 2021

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

B&T USA Station SIX

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

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

CZ P-10S in FDE and OD

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

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

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

Continue reading
  1095 Hits

Best Coffee Maker: How to Choose the Machine That’s Right for You

There’s nothing like that first sip. (Mattheus Bertelli, Pexels/)

Choosing the best coffee maker is not unlike choosing a new hunting dog out of a litter of puppies, because when you bring one home, it’s for the long run…or so you hope. You may love the way the new dog looks, but will it perform well for you? Are the two of you truly compatible? Will it make you happy? That’s why it’s worth doing the research to find the best coffee maker for your lifestyle. And we’ve done a lot of it for you.

Best Single-Serve Coffee Maker: Keurig K-Mini Coffee Maker

Best Hot and Iced Coffee Maker: Keurig K-Elite Coffee Maker

Best Drip Coffee Maker: Cuisinart Stainless Steel Thermal Coffeemaker

Best Specialty Coffee Maker: Ninja CM407 Specialty Coffee Maker

The K-Mini will accommodate and fill a small cup, a travel mug, and anything in between.
An iced-coffee function will automatically brew strong coffee, ready to pour over ice.
The insulated steel carafe keeps coffee piping hot and fresh, eliminating that bitter cooked taste imparted by warming pads on glass-carafe machines.
One cup? Carafe full? Specialty drink? The Ninja can do it all.
Breville’s Barista Express makes espresso in the traditional fashion, but won’t take up a lot of counter space.
Makes a 15-ounce to-go cup of coffee in minutes.

Continue reading
  672 Hits

Best Stainless Steel Water Bottle: Stay Hydrated on the Go

Keep drinks cool when it counts, in a vacuum insulated water bottle. (Cottonbro, Pexels/)

On the market for a new water bottle? Consider stainless steel. The best stainless steel water bottles are more durable and environmentally friendly than plastic ones. Steel bottles never contain harmful BPAs or phthalates, they retain heat and cold, and they rarely need to be replaced. They’re also a cinch to clean—just fill the bottle with a one-to-one ratio of baking soda and water and let soak for about 10 minutes to eliminate any odor. If you have a dishwasher, the cleaning process is even easier.

The best stainless steel water bottle for you depends on how hot or cold you want your drink to remain, whether or not you like to sip out of a straw, how active you are, and whether or not you want a filtration system.

Best Straw Lid Bottle: Takeya Actives Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle with Straw Lid

Best Water Bottle with Built-in Filter: LifeStraw Go Stainless Steel Filter Bottle

Best Stainless Bottle Without that Metallic Taste: Purist Mover Vacuum Water Bottle

Comes with an insulated straw lid to prevent spills.
LifeStraw is known for its ultra precise double-filter system.
Bottles with glass or ceramic linings prevent metallic taste..
Keeps your drink cold (or hot) while your hands stay dry.
The signature Hydro Flask in its largest size.
The 34 ounce option rings in at under 20 bucks.

Continue reading
  713 Hits

Where’s All the Damn Ammo? Federal Premium’s President Has Some Answers

Ammunition, even in hunting calibers, has been tough to find in the last few months. (Bill Buckley/)

Last week I was riding around South Texas with Jason Vanderbrink, the president of ammunition for Vista Outdoor. In other words, he’s the big boss for Federal Premium Ammunition, CCI, Speer, and now Remington ammunition. This is a pretty wild time to be running an ammo company: There are an estimated 7 million new gun owners in the U.S. this year, consumers have been panic-buying rounds in everything from .22LR to .300 Win. Mag., and retailers are backordered for months; plus, there’s the global pandemic complicating supply chains and workers’ safety.

So, we know the question that’s on the minds of every hunter and shooter: Where’s the ammo?

Frustration over the ammo shortage has created some pretty fun conspiracy theories. These are probably the top three: 1) Companies are stockpiling their product to drive up demand; 2) Ammo plants have shutdown completely; 3) Ammo companies are in cahoots to stop selling to civilians and are now selling only to the military. It’s worth noting that similar conspiracy theories cropped up during the panic buying and ammo shortages of 2014. It’s also worth noting that none of these conspiracies are true.

There’s No Crystal Ball for Ammo Sales

The reality behind the ammo shortage is a lot less provocative. After a few years of tough sledding, ammo companies now simply can’t keep up with the unprecedented demand.

Continue reading
  1160 Hits

The Best New Shotguns For 2021

Hunters are getting more for their money when it comes to buying break-action shotguns. (Mossberg/)

There’s not much left for gunmakers to innovate when it comes to the operating systems of new shotguns (John Browning and Carl Sjogren did their jobs too damn well). The platforms—whether it be gas, inertia, or pump—have largely remained the same for decades. The focus now is improving the outside and overall functionality of the gun. You’re seeing larger bolt handles and loading ports, lighter triggers, and custom exterior finishes like Cerakote in production autoloaders.

Side-by-sides and over/unders continue to be accessible to the average hunter because more blue-collar gun companies are building them. Mossberg and TriStar are doing a fine job of making break-action guns that look beautiful and are supremely functional. There was a time that the construction of some Turkish-made doubles could be hit or miss. The receivers often wouldn’t seamlessly fit with the barrels at lockup. And you couldn’t count on them to fire reliably. That’s not the case anymore. You’re also getting more for your dollar with break-action guns this year. There are plenty of affordable O/Us and SxSs with gold inlays, checkered stocks and fore-ends, and engraved receivers to be had.

Gunmakers are also catering to specific hunting pursuits. There have long been turkey guns, but they were honestly just duck guns cut down to a 24-inch barrel with a pistol grip fixed to the stock. In the last 15 years, more shotgun receivers have been drilled and tapped or fitted with a Picatinny rail for the infinite number of aftermarket optics at your disposal. And many of the guns include premium chokes that shoot patterns just for killing gobblers. Snow goose hunters are also being catered to with purpose-built guns that have extended magazines already built into them. Mossberg was one of the first to do this with its Yeti, and Stoeger is following suit this year, tweaking the popular M3500 for spring conservation order hunters.

It’s a pretty good time to buy a shotgun right off the shelf, and these are the best 2021 has to offer.

Browning Maxus II

The Maxus II runs off the Power Drive gas system, the same one used in the first generation model.
This is the third generation of Beretta's Silver Pigeon line of shotguns.
Benelli launched the 20-gauge version of its iconic Super Black Eagle. It will also be available in a 3-inch 12-gauge model for the first time ever.
The rotating blot design of the SXP makes it easier to cycle.
Syren continues to fill a much-needed niche with the Julia, a clays gun tailored specifically towards women.
This single barrel break-action is a fine option for beginner trap shooters.
Mossberg over/unders are at home in the field or at the clays range.
The Autumn is Fabarm's first side-by-side.
Stoeger built this inertia gun specifically for spring snow goose hunters.
TriStar is best known for making affordable guns that function.
Retay's first pump shotgun is geared for home defense.
The Renegauge will be available in a race gun platform this year.
The 320 is an extremely affordable option for turkey hunters.
Franchi's Affinity 3 turkey gun is available in 20- and 12-gauge.

Continue reading
  1244 Hits

5 Best Fly Tying Kits: A Buyer’s Guide to Fly Tying Supplies

Boost your catch with your own fly tying materials. (Kathryn Archibald, Pexels/)

Setting up your own fly shop with an easy-to-learn fly tying kit is a great way to polish your fly fishing skills and jump into the creative world of tying dry flies, streamers, poppers, and other great lures. There are lots of fly tying kits on the market, and many come with all the supplies you need to create the perfect fly box. Pick the best fly tying kit for you, and you’ll be able to set up a fly tying station at home, at a camp or cabin, from the bed of a pickup truck, and even right by the stream. And fly tying kits come in a wide range of prices, so there are budget kits available as well as pro sets that the finest fly makers in the world swear by. One thing is for sure: Once you hone in on your best fly tying kit, you’ll find a new world of options to help you land the fish of a lifetime on a fly that you tied yourself.

Best Fly Tying Kit for Beginners: Colorado Anglers Z797 Wooden Fly Tying Standard Tool Kit

Best Fly Tying Kit for Home Use: Creative Angler Wooden Fly Tying Station with Tools and Materials

Best Fly Tying Tool Kit: Dr. Slick Tyer Pack Tool Set

Best UV Fly Tying Kit: Loon Outdoors UV FLY TYING KIT (1/2 oz), 4 PCS

This kit comes with every fly tying tool you need, with a how-to guide and a sweet wooden carrying case.
This kit has it all—you literally don’t need another item to start tying flies.
A quality set of fly tying tools will help you keep pace with your growing skills, and make more complicated flies a snap to tie.
Using ultraviolet light, a UV Fly Tying Kit lets you make super-realistic hard-bodied flies in no time at all.
This fly tying vise comes with a head that revolves 360 degrees for fast, easy tying.

Continue reading
  785 Hits

Where Do We Draw the Line on New Hunting Technology?

Even the author, a diehard bowhunter, uses modern technology to improve his hunting. But, how much is too much? (Roger Kisby/)

Trade show season is here, or what would normally be trade show season. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the hunting consumer is still being bombarded with all the new products for 2021. Each year, technology nudges us a little further, and makes efforts as hunters a little bit more efficient. New cartridges, new guns, new camo, new bows, arrows, broadheads, trail cameras, and just about every other category of hunting gear is evolving. Overall, this innovation is a good thing.

As hunters, I don’t believe we will let technology ruin hunting, and as a whole, we will always restrict ourselves enough to ensure that fair chase hunting has a bright future. With that said, there are certain times when hunters must draw a line when it comes to how far we let technology change the way we hunt. I think that is especially true when it comes to “restricted weapons” seasons also know as “primitive weapons” seasons.

I’m talking about archery and muzzleloader seasons where the basic premise is that by restricting ourselves to less efficient, shorter range hunting weapons, or those that require a higher threshold of skill and discipline, we decrease our odds of success. Because of that we are afforded longer seasons and special opportunities to hunt. It’s also a fair wager that if our success rates begin to threaten the resources we are utilizing, changes will be made, and hunters will lose some opportunity to hunt.

The problem comes when the technology outruns the premise of the seasons, which with the light-speed advancement of new tech, is now an eventuality.

Then there’s the issue of our hunting heritage. Many folks think it’s up to wildlife agencies to protect the tradition of hunting, but that’s not really the case. Wildlife agencies are tasked with protecting public wildlife and resources. They use hunting as a tool for managing wildlife and raising the funds to do so. It’s up to us the hunting community to protect the traditional and ethical elements of the hunt.

Continue reading
  695 Hits

10 Uses for Animal Fat in the Wild

Black bear fat can be an invaluable resource, if you know how to use it. (John Whipple/)

In a world of “fat-free” foods, trans-fats, and fad diets designed to cut out fats, we’ve been hoodwinked into believing that all fat is bad, particularly animal fat. This couldn’t be further from the truth of it. Fat is a very valuable resource, and few settings highlight this value and versatility like the wilderness. Here’s why you should use every morsel of animal fat you can acquire in a survival setting, and ten great ways to put this greasy goop to work (during an emergency or a weekend in the woods).

Use Animal Fat For Bait

Since it’s such a valuable food resource in cold weather, animal fat can be the perfect bait for meat-eating game animals. In frigid environments, most scavengers and carnivores will give in to their hunger for calorie-dense fat, even when all their instincts are screaming “No, don’t stick your head into that contraption”. Applied warm to trap trigger mechanisms, the fat can quickly harden in frosty or subfreezing conditions. As the fat naturally hardens, this can make it harder for the animal to lick away the bait, and make it more likely to trigger the trap.

Make Pemmican

Long before frozen PowerBars were breaking the teeth of outdoor enthusiasts, Native people were making a much more chewable (and calorie dense) food for cold weather travel and emergencies. Fats are the densest source of calories, and every calorie can count in emergencies. If your animal fat is still “food grade” (read here: not rancid yet), use it for cooking or simply add a little bit to other foods to enhance their calorie content. Pemmican is a fine example of the importance for fat. This ancient forebear of the modern survival ration, pemmican was originally prepared by North American Indians as a traveling food and cold-weather snack. Traditional pemmican is a blend of dried meat pounded into a powder, then blended with warm animal fat and often supplemented with dried fruits, berries, or foods that provide carbohydrates.

Continue reading
  749 Hits

First Look: Benelli’s Super Black Eagle 3 is Now Offered in 20-Gauge and 3-inch, 12-Gauge

Luke Kjos takes aim with the new Benelli Super Black Eagle 3 20-gauge. (Lee Thomas Kjos/Kjos Outdoors/)

After decades of production and three generations of its Super Black Eagle platform, Benelli announced it will be offering its SBE3 in 20-gauge and 3-inch 12-gauge models. The introduction comes at a time when the waterfowling market is hungry for sub-gauge offerings, and hunters are ditching heavy 3½-inch loads for 3-inch non-toxics with just as much knockdown power but not as much recoil.

“There’s always been demand for the 20—people have been asking for it for years and years,” says George Thompson, director of product management for Benelli. “The increase in market share for 20 gauges in the last five years consecutively has been about five percent, and one year it grew 20 percent.”

There are a lot of reasons for that increased demand, which you can read about here, including a rise in quality ammunition.

“The reduced weight is a plus, and if you have the right shell and choke combination it’s absolutely effective,” says Zach Meyer of BOSS Shotshells, who killed his first harlequin with the SBE3 20 last week. We were hunting late-season sea ducks on Adak Island in Alaska, and the 20 performed well and cycled without a hiccup despite the demanding shots and harsh conditions.

The 20-gauge will be chambered for 2¾- and 3-inch shells, and is virtually indistinguishable from the 12-gauge SBE3 when it comes to components and features. As you’d expect, however, the sub-gauge offering is distinctly slimmer, with nimble handling, especially in bulky winter layers. Plus, it’s more than a pound lighter (5.8 pounds) than the 3-inch 12 (6.9).

The 20-gauge is more than a pound lighter than the SBE3 12.

Continue reading
  814 Hits