Hunting and Fishing News & Blog Articles

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

How to Cut the Distance on a Hung-Up Spring Tom

Every February I start watching turkey hunting videos on YouTube to get amped up for the spring season. A lot of times I see hunters move in on toms that are gobbling, but won’t come into shotgun range. Or toms will gobble hard on the roost, but clam up after flying down. Often, the hunter gets up, changes his set-up position, and kills the tom. It looks easy. In reality, you have to consider several factors before cutting the distance on a spring tom (and make sure you check state regulations to make sure it’s legal).

The guys from The Hunting Public are often aggressive about getting tighter on hung-up turkeys in their videos. It may look like they are charging in with reckless abandon at times, but that’s usually not the case. They are actually taking their time, and only moving in when the conditions are right, and they’ve done their homework.

THP’s Aaron Warbritton gave me the lowdown on how he approaches a hung-up gobbler. Here’s what you need to know before making your next move on a longbeard that won’t budge.

1. Get on Their Level

The Hunting Public guys after a successful spring turkey hunt. (The Hunting Public/)

One of the most common mistakes hunters make is thinking about hunting from a human perspective. In order to kill your quarry with more consistency, you must consider their habits, and what the forest looks like from their vantage point. Before Warbritton ever puts a move on a turkey, he takes a knee so he can see what a turkey sees and get the lay of the land.

Don't go silent when you're stalking a spring tom.

Continue reading
  984 Hits

Texas Lakes Are Blowing Up Right Now With Giant Bass

Ever see a 16-pound largemouth? Here’s Joe McKay’s from O.H. Ivie. (ShareLunker/)

Despite Winter Storm Uri’s fury in mid-February the hottest bass fishing in the country is in Texas right now, with multiple double-digit largemouths being caught in just a couple days. Lake and personal records have been eclipsed, and the Toyota ShareLunker spawning program has been a big beneficiary.

O.H. Ivie Lake has yielded at least eight giants in a flurry of activity since February 19, including five largemouths weighing at least 13 pounds. The biggest was a 16.40-pounder caught Feb. 19 by Joe McKay of Bussey, Iowa. It was among a dozen ShareLunker Legacy bass caught this year including six from Ivie. Three smallmouth bass weighing between 6.25 and 6.8 pounds also were caught from Ivie during the recent streak. O.H. Ivie is located east of San Angelo, and about four hours southwest of Dallas.

Read Next: 16-Pound Bass Would Have Been an Arkansas Record But Was Caught Illegally

Bussey’s giant from Ivie was just two pounds shy of the state record of 18.18 pounds set in 1992. Ivie isn’t the only hot Lone Star lake yielding big bass. Pro angler and guide Matt Reed has been putting clients on 8- to 10-pounders at Falcon Lake, a Rio Grande impoundment on the border south of Laredo. The year’s first two ShareLunker Legacy bass were caught in January, a 13.02 pounder on Lake Austin and a 13.44 pounder caught on Sam Rayburn.

Trace Jansen, 15, destroyed a 1993 record with his huge bass last month. (ShareLunker/)

In central Texas on Lake Travis near Austin, Trace Jansen landed a 15.32-pound largemouth that broke a lake record set in 1993. The 15-year-old was fishing on Feb. 28 and targeting spawning bass with a weightless worm.

Trace Jansen, 15, destroyed a 1993 record with his huge bass last month.

Continue reading
  1577 Hits

6 Key Issues We Hope the New Interior Secretary Tackles—and How to Pull It Off in This Partisan Era

If they're careful, the next Secretary of the Interior could do plenty of good for our public lands and the folks who use them. (Bob Wick / BLM/)

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee yesterday narrowly confirmed the nomination of President Biden’s nominee for Interior Secretary, Rep. Deb Haaland. The committee recommended her to the full Senate, which could vote within the next week to make her the first Indigenous person to hold a Cabinet position.

Haaland, a first-term Democratic congresswoman from New Mexico, has already been through two extensive interrogations by the Senate committee. Her final confirmation vote is expected to be close, but conclusive, especially because two Republican senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, have indicated they will vote for her. Murkowski was the lone Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee to vote for Haaland.

Assuming she gets the nod, Haaland will take the reins of a sprawling department of 70,000 employees that operate 11 separate bureaus and manage about a fifth of America’s real estate, much of it in the West and Alaska.

Because the Interior can be considered America’s treasure chest of natural resources, and its secretary the keeper of its key, the position attracts intense interest by politicians, and industrial and recreational groups.

All those interests weighed in on Haaland’s nomination, but no single issue dominated the hearings—or will define the near future of her tenure—as much as energy. The Interior secretary is often seen as a personification of the nation’s energy policy. Would Haaland, as one of the drafters of progressive Democrats’ “Green New Deal,” work to eliminate fossil-fuel production on public lands, as she has previously pledged? Or would she counsel a slow transition to renewable energy with attendant employment opportunities for displaced oil and gas workers?

Any energy development should account for big-game migration corridors and critical habitat for species on the ropes, like sage grouse.
One of several large Western wildfires in 2020. The Civilian Climate Corps could be used to employ Americans to make our landscapes more resilient to wildfires.
Civilian Conservation Corps members work to complete a brush mat along Washington's Wynoochee River in the early 1940s, to prevent soil erosion and encourage riparian willow growth.
A USFWS employee with a sedated adult male grizzly bear in 2011. Grizzly bears in the Lower 48 are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, despite having surpassed management goals in 2005.
The Centennial Mountains Wilderness Study Area forms the boundary between southwest Montana and Idaho. WSAs are managed as wilderness, but excluded from the National Wilderness Preservation System.
Bears Ears National Monument, in southeastern Utah. Many communities in the rural West fear the imposition of national monuments in their areas.
Petroglyphs at Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah.

Continue reading
  1806 Hits

Best Men’s Hiking Shoes: Essential Hiking Gear for Guys

Hiking shoes provide a combination of agility, stability, and light weight so you can eat up plenty of trail comfortably. (Ben Maxwell / Pexels/)

You’re going to walk—or run—a lot of miles on uneven terrain in your hiking shoes, so it’s essential that you find the right ones for you. For instance, the waterproof hiking shoes that are perfect for the adventurer looking to stay dry during spring weekends in rainy Northwest forests are the wrong way to go for the runner who wants ultralight trail shoes to stay cool and comfortable in Southwest deserts.

But how do you know if you need a sturdy set of Salomon hiking boots or a pair of cheap hiking shoes? And how do you tell the difference between good hiking shoes and great hiking shoes? Here’s some help.

Best Lightweight Hiking Shoes: Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX

Best Ultralight Hiking Shoes: Altra Lone Peak 4.5

Best Men’s Hiking Boots For Weekend Campers in Rough Terrain: Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX

When it comes to weight, feel and function, these hiking shoes strike the right balance.
If you hike long distances, you’ll appreciate this pair that’s especially light on your feet.
These hiking boots offer the comfort of trail shoes.
If you regularly hit the rough stuff, the Zodiacs were made for you.
These versatile hiking shoes guard against slick and sloppy trails.
Plush padding and lightweight construction will support your run up the mountain.
A lower cost doesn’t mean taking a big step down on comfort and traction.

Continue reading
  1360 Hits

Is the Military Really Buying Up All the Civilian Ammo?

A Marine prepares his ammunition before a live-fire training exercise. Most of the military's ammo is manufactured at a military-owned plant in Missouri. (Cpl. Scott Jenkins / Marine Corps/)

We’re as frustrated as anybody with the shortage of ammunition on retailers’ shelves. Compounding the frictions of supply (not enough) and demand (too much) are rumors that blame the dynamic on everything from deliberate price gouging to global shortages of the raw materials required to make metallic cartridges.

One of the most frequent rumors is that the ammo shortage is our government’s fault. The claim goes something like this: Civilian ammunition was in short supply anyway, but then contracts for military and law enforcement agencies plucked inventory off retailers’ shelves and out of consumers’ grasp.

That’s nonsense, say sources with deep experience in the ammo industry.

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

“When law enforcement or government contractors purchase more ammo, it’s when they hire more officers, and the one time they go through inventory is new-officer training,” said an executive at a major ammunition company, who asked us not to use his name because he wasn’t authorized to speak to the media. “You can relate any changes in law enforcement consumption to hiring policies in departments around the country. I don’t know if you’ve read the news lately, but with all the ‘defund’ conversations, departments aren’t exactly in a hiring boom. If anything, police officer numbers are down. You’re asking me if anything’s changed in the law-enforcement or military ammo world? Not a thing. The processes are the same as they were 12 and 24 months ago. There are no volume changes.”

Global shortages of the raw materials required to make metallic cartridges are one of the contributing factors to the scarcity of ammo.
Production at companies like Federal Premium and Winchester are at max capacity, and the military doesn't use their production lines for the majority of its ammo contracts.
A Marine loads 5.56mm rounds into a magazine. Nearly all of the military's 5.56, 7.62, .308, and other small-caliber ammunition is made at the military-owned Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Missouri.
Shooters sometimes forget that ammunition is made by people, and factories have lost workers and production time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Continue reading
  1575 Hits

How to Turn a Rescue Dog, a Couch Potato Lab, or an Off-Breed Pup into a Hunting Dog

You don't need a well-bred gun dog like this one to pursue gamebirds. (Jennifer Wapenski/)

Modern, domesticated canines fill a wide variety of roles as companions, service animals, and working dogs. But what makes a dog a hunting dog? Does it rely on the registration paperwork from a kennel club, like AKC or UKC? If all dogs can trace their lineage back to apex predators (wolves), whether sporting breeds or toy breeds, wouldn’t they all stake a claim as hunters?

The Fédération Cynologique Internationale, or FCI, is a globally-recognized federation of kennel clubs. Within the FCI, dog breeds are neatly packaged into groups based primarily upon the dog’s type and function. Yet nothing precludes a border collie (Group 1: Sheepdogs) from hunting upland birds or a bulldog (Group 2: Molossoids) from retrieving ducks. The groupings are simply a human construction, rooted in the categorization that came about during the growth in scientific understanding of the Enlightenment period. This begs the question, then, what exactly does a dog need in order to be a hunting dog?

Author and historian Craig Koshyk put it quite simply, “A hunting dog is as a hunting dog does.” Does the dog hunt? Then it is a hunting dog. Humans have been hunting, fighting, traveling, cultivating crops, and herding animals for thousands of years. In most cultures, dogs helped them do all of those things. A dog can bring down a hog or deer, but it can also help ward off (or attack) enemies. A dog that was primarily used to herd sheep or goats could also be used to pull a cart or find rabbits and flush them.

Koshyk says, “In the past, certain broad categories of dogs were known, but there was a lot of overlap. It wasn’t until the 14th century that scholars began to write about more narrowly defined types of dogs with specific skill sets. Even then, unless they were among the ruling elite with the resources to keep and train many types of dogs, most hunters were open to the idea of using any dog they had at hand to help them bag game.”

By the 19th century, however, hunters entered the golden age of purpose-bred dogs with a hyper focus on specific skills and tasks. This is when many of the bird dogs that we know today came into existence.

If you already own a dog, then look no further for a good hunting companion.
With the right training, you could turn a Belgian Malinois like this one into a retriever.
Make sure you know as much about a shelter dog's background as possible before taking it home.
Be patient with off-breed dogs. Many of them will have drive, but you have to have reasonable expectations.

Continue reading
  1140 Hits

The Best States to Hunt Early Season Turkeys

Spring turkey season kicks off in late February with the youth season in Florida, and extends into the first week of June in Maine and Michigan. That’s around four months of 3 a.m. wake-up calls for die-hards like me. You may not be able to hunt that much, but if you’re ready to get after ol’ Thomas, now is the time to plan your trip.

To get a head start on the competition, here are four of my favorite early-season turkey hunting states where you can buy tags over the counter.

1. Florida

Season dates: March 6 to April 11 (South of State Road 70); March 20 to April 25 (North of State Road 70).Non-resident cost: $46.50 (10-day hunting license); $125 (turkey permit).Bag limit: Two bearded turkeys on one permit (exception: one bearded turkey in Holmes county; bag limits and rules vary at state WMAs).
The author with an Osceola, completing his third Grand Slam. (Samuel Moore/)

Daylight torched a thick blanket of fog and a chorus of wildlife erupted. Whippoorwills played on repeat, coyotes howled at the waning moon, and the chatter of sandhill cranes echoed overhead. As we tucked into our jungle-like hide of palmettos, we anxiously waited for the gobbling sermon to begin.

We were surrounded by gobblers in every direction. The birds at our 12 o’clock stole the show, pitching down one by one into the massive pasture.

This was just a small number of the more than 100 birds that flew down off a mega roost in Nebraska.
Minnesota has a bevy of public land open to turkey hunters.
Texas Hill Country is famous for its Rios.

Continue reading
  1743 Hits

How a New Yorker Falls in Love with Bowhunting

The author, practicing in his usual driveway shooting lane, within city limits. (Photos courtesy Cliff Cadet/)

I’m sure you’re familiar with the phrase “adult-onset hunting” by now. They’re the words that describe the sport of hunting as taken on by a person later in life. I’m not fond of the description. It makes it sound like someone is experiencing a side effect resulting from the use of a prescribed medication.

But ever since becoming an adult-onset hunter, I’ve been inundated with so many stories of why hunters hunt. I’ve read about the budding conservationist who learns how hunting contributes to wildlife conservation, and longs to do their part. I’ve listened to podcasts about the hunter whose grandfather gifted him his first hunting rifle, who feels a duty to carry on the family tradition. On social media, I’ve come across the hunter, for whom, it is all a way of life, to fill the freezer or feed her family or both. Am I disappointed not to count myself among those listed above? No. My story is different.

I was born and raised in Kensington, Brooklyn. If you know anything about New York City, chances are that my old neighborhood probably is not on the list. To help you get your bearings though…it’s a few miles north of Coney Island, west of Flatbush, and just south of Prospect Park. Did that help? Probably not.

Either way, it’s a diverse community. Home to a large Hasidic Jewish population, the remaining residents mirror the members of the United Nations. I myself am the son of immigrants; both my parents are from Haiti. My closest childhood friends hailed from Mexico, Ecuador, and China. Such a culturally diverse “band of brothers,” and yet there was no talk of any family hunting traditions among us.

Read Next: I’m an Immigrant, a Veteran, and Finally...a Hunter

The author practicing at Floyd Bennett Field on the outskirts of Brooklyn.
The author, with his first turkey last year.

Continue reading
  1020 Hits

The Best Workhorse Shotguns That Are No Longer in Production (But You Need to Own)

Whenever our family went on vacation when I was a kid, my mother dragged me to museums. She loved to stare at priceless paintings for hours. I never much cared for them. What was the point of looking at ancient artifacts or pieces of art encased in glass? I wanted stuff I could touch and feel. That’s probably why I’ve never had much use for old, beautiful shotguns that hang on the wall and do nothing else. Yes, they are cool, and I appreciate the engineering behind all of them. But if I can’t shoot a shotgun, then I don’t see much point in owning it (maybe that will change as I get older and wiser).

Since I’m into killing birds with shotguns, not staring at them while they collect dust, there are a few out-of-production autoloaders, pump-actions, and one over/under I want to add to the gun closet. If I come across any of these workhorse shotguns—and have enough money in my bank account—I’m buying them. And you should, too.

1. Ithaca Mag-10

Remington later produced the Ithaca Mag-10 as the SP-10. (icollector/)

I used to hunt the Illinois River with an old codger who shot the Mag-10. He always kept his finger just outside the trigger guard, ready to shoot. Behind his back, we called his 10-gauge “the sandwich maker” because he killed any duck—mostly ruddy ducks and buffleheads—with it at unfathomable distances, breasted out the birds, deep fried them, and put the meat between two slices of white bread. I tried to buy the gun from him once, thinking his duck career was about over, but he’s still hunting with that Ithaca every day of the season. Ithaca made an absolute tank when it built this gas-operated 3½-inch gun—it’s more than 11 pounds with a 32-inch barrel, and the gun is around 4½ feet long. You would never hunt anywhere but a permanent blind with the Mag-10, but it’s a stone-cold goose slayer, and I’d love to pit-hunt big greasy honkers with it. It was produced from 1975 until 1989, when Remington bought the design and used it to build the SP-10, which isn’t a bad option either. Just be careful what load you shoot if you buy the Mag-10, because some of the models have barrels that cannot handle steel shells. You’ll have to use tungsten or bismuth.

2. Beretta A390 Gold Mallard

The Gold Mallard is one of the best 3-inch autoloaders you will ever shoot.
The future production of the 1100 is unknown.
The H&K is a highly coveted waterfowl gun.
The AL-48 is one of the lightest semi-automatic shotguns ever to come out of Italy.
The Model 42 was the first .410 pump to be mass produced.
John Moses Browning died before his Superposed came to market.
The Remington 31 is arguably one of the most well-constructed pump shotguns ever.
The Belgian-made Browning Auto-5 was the first successful autoloader in American history.
The Xtrema2 is a true field gun.

Continue reading
  1593 Hits

Lacey Lupien Tagged This Massive Bull Elk in Minnesota—On Her Anniversary

The Lupien clan with Lacey’s giant Minnesota elk. (Lacey Lupien/)

Lacey Lupien’s Minnesota bull elk was always a long shot. Even though the licensed practical nurse and mother of two lives within the range of the state’s elk herd (in the far northwestern corner), it’s tough to draw a tag. More than 4,000 applicants put in for only 42 licenses in 2020. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime tag.

“I’d been putting in for about 10 years,” says Lupien. “One day in early July as I was taking out the trash, I spied something that caught my eye in what had been in the junk mail pile. I checked I again. The word “ELK” appeared through the window. It was an elk license! I had finally drawn!”

The scouting

Scouting, planning and preparation immediately kicked into high gear for Lupien’s hunt period, which was to begin September 5, 2020.

The countryside in Kittson County, is remote, vast and flat. Crop fields intersperse with grasslands, brushlands, wetlands, and woodlots. People are few and far between. Elk have a lot of room to roam.

Lacey Lupien’s big bull where it fell.
The haul out.
Skinning and butchering with the help of some heavy equipment—and friends.

Continue reading
  1134 Hits

How to Fry Fish: The Ultimate Guide on Everything from Oil Temperature to Batter Recipes

It's time to take your fish fry game to the next level. (Jack Hennessy/)

Few meals foster such a sense of community as a fish fry. Whether its gathering in a church basement on a Friday night or at a picnic table after a spring morning of slaying crappie, a perfect fish fry brings people together. A few baskets of fried fish fillets are usually the precursor to some good laughs, storytelling, and a little

Unfortunately, those gatherings have been few and far between during a year of coronavirus. But on the upside, even a small fish fry with your family can be more of an event than just a meal. In this guide, I discuss everything you need to know on how to fry fish, from what oil to use, the differences between beer-battered and flour-coated fish, and more. Want to take your fried fish to the next level? Read on.

The Best Fish to Fry

Most restaurants serving fried fish often opt for haddock or Alaskan cod. Both do well in terms of texture after a deep fry and offer a fresh-tasting fish most every time. You can likely find these fish at most grocery stores.

But anglers can do better. For anyone looking to serve up his or her catch, there are many options and opinions of course vary on what is the best-tasting fried fish. My only criteria: No bones. That means if you like the taste of northern pike like I do, make certain to fillet and fry in such a manner that zero y-bones appear in the fried loaf. For walleye, depending on the size of your catch, this could also mean being diligent to “zipper” the fish to remove bones.

The good old cast-iron skillet is a classic fish fry too. But, it's hard to beat a deep fryer.
Skip the newspaper when serving up your perfect fish fry.

Continue reading
  1016 Hits

Vermont Proposal Seeks to Reduce Ticks By Killing More Moose

Vermont is proposing a special moose hunt to curtail its winter tick population. (Pixabay/)

To reduce the number and impact of ticks in northeastern Vermont, the state’s Fish and Wildlife Department is proposing a special, limited moose hunt in Wildlife Management Unit E in the northeast corner of the state.

“Moose density in WMU-E remains well above one moose per square mile, significantly higher than any other part of the state,” said Nick Fortin, Vermont Fish and Wildlife’s biologist in charge of the moose project. “Moose densities greater than one per square mile support high numbers of winter ticks which negatively impact moose health and survival.”

Sixty either-sex and 40 antlerless hunting permits would be issued in the WMU-E zone for the October season. The department estimates a harvest of 51 to 60 moose, about 5 percent of the more than 1,000 estimated to live in the zone. The proposal was made in February to the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board. The board’s next scheduled meeting is March 17.

Vermont VWD researchers believe reducing the number of moose in WMU-E will decrease the number and winter impact of ticks and help moose survival. That may sound convoluted — kill more moose to help moose survive. But based on research of the Vermont FWD and the University of Vermont, winter survival of adult moose is poor as are birth rates. The research with GPS-collared cows (36) and calves (90) showed that less than half of the calves survived their first winter. These impacts are due to the high tick population seeking warm bodies for winter, with moose being the biggest and most prevalent mamals in the area.

“Research has shown that lower moose densities, like in the rest of Vermont, support relatively few winter ticks that do not impact moose populations,” Fortin said. “Reducing moose density decreases the number of available hosts which in turn decreases the number of winter ticks on the landscape.”

Continue reading
  915 Hits

Polaris Just Announced a New Full-Size Electric Ranger—and Hunters Should Pay Attention

Polaris just teased it's new electric Ranger. Hunters should be excited. (Polaris/)

Today Polaris teased its plans to launch a full-size electric UTV under its popular Ranger line. This will be the first electric vehicle Polaris developed through its partnership with Zero Motorcycles, an American manufacturer of electric street bikes and dirt bikes. The new EV Ranger is expected to debut in December, according to a Polaris press release. Check out the video teasing the launch here.

Who should be most excited about this new EV? Nope, not hippies or electric vehicle nerds, it should be hardcore deer hunters. A UTV or ATV can be immensely useful on a deer property. But if you’re not careful, ripping around on a quad can also make it immensely difficult to kill mature bucks. Big bucks pattern hunters’ movements just as well as we pattern theirs. In pressured hunting areas it doesn’t take long for deer to learn that the roar of a four-wheeler is a dead giveaway that a hunter is in the woods.

Some of the best private-land deer hunters I know never use four-wheelers during the actual hunting season, unless it’s to haul out a deer. They’re convinced that mature bucks avoid them. The late Craig Dougherty, one of the wisest and cagiest old deer hunters I’ve ever met, drove an electric golf cart around his deer hunting property and killed a cabin full of mature bucks in Upstate New York, of all places.

Now it seems Polaris is set to introduce a vehicle to make those electric carts obsolete.

“As our top-selling off-road vehicle brand, RANGER has continually set the benchmark as the hardest working, smoothest riding UTV, leading the market in rider-inspired innovation,” Steve Menneto, president of Polaris Off Road said in a press release. “The new electric powertrain will elevate the RANGER platform to a whole new level of capability, durability, and performance.”

Continue reading
  1017 Hits

Our Newest National Park Allows Hunting? How Locals Are Keeping the New River Gorge’s Sporting Traditions Intact While Boosting Tourism

The New River Gorge National Park and Preserve managed to uphold the hunting and fishing traditions of the region while also getting top billing as a tourist destination. (Nick Kelley /)

The last time I visited the New River, it was deserted. My buddies and I had planned a multi-day fishing trip, and we set off without bumping into anyone at the put-in. We camped where we wanted, brought a duck dog, and caught a mess of fall smallmouth. So when I heard the New River George had been designated as our 63rd National Park in the latest spate of National Park Service changes, I wasn’t exactly thrilled. I wondered about dog bans, a permit system for non-commercial boaters, and the end of hunting on the roughly 70,000 acres public land surrounding the gorge.

Happily, none of that seems to be the case.

Credit for this victory goes to the West Virginians who worked hard to turn their favorite place into a national park—without compromising the sporting and paddling traditions that make it so special. But how, exactly, do you turn a piece of public land into a national park? And better yet, why would you want one in your backyard?

Meet Our Newest National Park

If you didn’t realize we added yet another national park to our ranks, you’re forgiven. The bipartisan proposal from three West Virginia lawmakers was included in the massive 2020 year-end coronavirus relief package. Once former President Trump signed the bill into law, the New River Gorge’s promotion from National River to National Park and Preserve came and went on Sunday Dec. 27, 2020, during that hazy time between Christmas and New Year’s when no one’s paying much attention to anything.

Besides the New River Gorge, the only other combination national park and preserve in the Lower 48 is Great Sand Dunes, in Colorado.
An outtake from the author's 2019 fishing trip through the New River Gorge National River, now the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve.
Archambault running a rapid in the heart of the New River Gorge, now the New River Gorge National Park, in 2019.
A fat bronzeback, pulled from the rapids of the New River and released back into its waters.

Continue reading
  1456 Hits

How to Zero a Suppressed Rifle

Your point of impact will change once you add a suppressor to your rifle. (Tyler Freel/)

Suppressors are more popular than ever for hunting (where legal) in the U.S. They tame the volume from the blast of rifles, making guns safe to shoot without hearing protection. They also reduce recoil. There is a fantastic variety of suppressors and attachment systems on the market, with options for just about every caliber imaginable. For a new user, there is one key thing to understand before heading afield, and that is that a suppressor will change your rifle’s point of impact. If you attach your new suppressor and head afield to hunt, you stand a good chance of missing or wounding the animal you are after.

The POI may only be slightly different with a suppressor, but it can also have a dramatic impact on bullet trajectory. The suppressor’s weight, rigidity, and diameter, as well as the material of your barrel, can all affect where the cartridge impacts. With some rifle-suppressor combinations, this might be just an inch or two. But on hunting rifles, it’s common to see your POI move several inches at only 100 yards.

Attaching a suppressor adds a downward leveraging force to your barrel. It will alter the harmonics and change how your barrel can move during the shot. With some combinations, you may see as much as a 10- to 12-inch difference in impact at 100 yards between suppressed and unsuppressed rifles.

The act of passing through a suppressor can change a bullet’s POI as well. You will often see slight changes in velocity when you add a suppressor and take it off. Sometimes, you will see a difference in POI between the first round fired through a suppressor and subsequent rounds when the suppressor heats up and still contains warm gasses. This seems to be more pronounced with some rimfire suppressors than high-power rifles, but there can still be some variation.

If you plan on hunting exclusively with a suppressor on your rifle, this doesn’t really affect you too much, aside from needing to re-zero your rifle once you attach the suppresser. You want to check your velocity if you are using a dial turret, but for most practical hunting purposes, sight-in your rifle just as you would without the suppressor. Once zeroed, let your bore and suppressor cool completely, and allow all the gas to dissipate from inside the can. Shoot again to check the POI for a cold bore/cold suppressor, and adjust your zero if necessary.

Continue reading
  1085 Hits

The 10 Best New Rifles for 2021

This is a strange year for new rifle introductions. Most gun manufactures are hustling to fill back orders. Many consumers rightly wonder, Why would I buy a new gun when I can’t get ammo for it? And yet, guns of all types continue to fly off the shelves. Even amid the chaos, there are some exciting new hunting rifle introductions this year. We have an American-made straight pull rifle and an iconic gun maker introducing its first bolt-action rifle. These 10 best new rifles, which are not listed in any particular order, deserve a look even during a very odd year.

Browning is pushing its venerable X-Bolt into semi-custom territory with the new Mountain Pro editions, in Tungsten (pictured) and Burnt Bronze finishes. (Browning/)

1. Browning X-Bolt Mountain Pro Tungsten/Burnt Bronze

Browning is pushing its venerable X-Bolt into semi-custom territory with the new Mountain Pro editions, in Tungsten and Burnt Bronze finishes. This top end of their production X-Bolt rifle is packed with features that push it right up to what you’d expect to see on a custom rifle. Averaging about 6 pounds depending on chambering, they’ve been able to shave nearly a quarter pound compared to previous models, and the rifle features a foam-filled carbon fiber stock and Cerakote finish. It also features a threaded, spiral fluted barrel using a new lapping process designed to enhance accuracy and reduce fouling and break-in time, as well as a fluted bolt, and oversized, fluted bolt knob. You’ll immediately notice Browning’s new Recoil Hawg muzzle brake, a more effective option than the classic radial brakes, and especially handy in some of the larger chamberings. The Mountain Pro chamberings run the gamut from 6.5 Creedmoor to 28 and 30 Nosler, 300 PRC, and 300 RUM, including the new 6.8 Western. MSRP: $2,399 to $2,459

The Kimber Hunter Pro Desolve Blak is a great option for a hunter who wants a lightweight, controlled-feed action rifle without paying flagship price. (Kimber/)

2. Kimber Hunter Pro Desolve Blak

At about 5 ½ lbs, the Hunter Pro Desolve Blak is a great option for someone who wants to get into a lightweight, controlled-feed action hunting rifle without paying flagship prices. This extension of the Hunter line uses the same stainless steel Kimber 84M action that many hunters and custom rifle builders love. It features the classic Mauser-style extractor, almost universally trusted for feeding dependability. It’s notable that the Hunter Pro uses a detachable box magazine rather than internal magazine, making for quick and easy loading and unloading. The stainless steel barrel comes with a radial muzzle brake, and sits inside a fiber-reinforced, laminate stock with the Desolve Blak camo pattern. Overall, this is a lot of rifle for the money, and available in .308, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .280 AI. MSRP: $992

The Kimber Hunter Pro Desolve Blak is a great option for a hunter who wants a lightweight, controlled-feed action rifle without paying flagship price.
An attainable pistol caliber carbine for most budgets, the Ruger 9mm PC Carbine wears many hats.
Franchi’s relatively new Momentum line of big game rifles, pictured in Optifade camo, is embracing the 350 Legend.
The new Highlander model from Bergara fits between their Mountain and Approach models, weighing between 7.3 and 7.8 lbs depending on chambering.
A corrosion-resistant finish is a big deal when it comes to beating the brush, and this new model from Henry is a welcome sight.
The Mossberg Patriot LR Hunter brings some features that will aid in accuracy and longer-range consistency in the field.
The Waypoint is a truly new rifle, and Springfield’s contemporary entrance into the bolt rifle market.
The Long Range MB model from Winchester provides a comfortable, stable, long-range target and hunting platform that isn’t too heavy.
The Savage Impulse is an American-made and designed straight-pull bolt action centerfire.

Continue reading
  1595 Hits

The 8 Coolest Hybrid Ducks and Geese You’ve Ever Seen

Waterfowl hunting is one of the most species-driven pursuits in the hunting community. From mallard purists to pit blind honker hunters, our favorite bird species often dictates our hunting style. But every type of waterfowler wants to shoot a hybrid.

A hybrid bird is the result of two different duck (or goose) species mating. This results in a combination of different characteristics from the two species. The most common duck to mate with other species is the mallard. Greenheads will often breed with pintails, black ducks, wigeon, and teal.

But as cool as it is to shoot a “pintallard,” hybridization does pose a threat to waterfowl populations. When two different species mate, it typically results in infertile offspring. Waterfowl crossbreed more than any other bird—more than 400 combinations of hybrid waterfowl have been recorded. The mallard/pintail is the most common.

There are few (if any) game laws that pertain to hybrids. I spoke with multiple game wardens and put in a request into the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for comment, but could not get a definitive answer on how hybrids contribute to a hunter’s daily limit. It’s ultimately at the discretion of the local warden to decide if you are operating within the law. So, if you already have your mallard limit and shoot a mallard/pintail cross, it’s possible that if you are checked, you could be fined for shooting over the mallard limit. And if you are hunting during the spring conservation order and shoot a snow/specklebelly hybrid, a warden may determine that you have shot a bird that is out of season.

With so many different hybridizations possible it’s tough to catalog them all, but here are eight unique waterfowl hybrids that have been taken across North America.

The body of this hybrid resembles a gadwall, while the color of the head and bill have the characteristics of a wigeon.
Target the Atlantic Flyway to have your best chance at a mallard/black duck hybrid.
Be on the lookout for hybrids in big flocks of snows and specklebellies.
The mallard/green-wing hybrid is truly unique.
No duck hunter would pass on this spoonie.
This hybrids easily stands out in a group of honkers.
Cinnamon teal are a coveted waterfowl species, but this hybrid is even more rare.

Continue reading
  954 Hits

Best Fly Rod: Catch Any Fish on a Fly

Fly fishing is graceful and artistic—and a very effective method of catching fish. (Glen Rushton via Unsplash/)

Fly fishing is often considered an art as well as a sport. From the moment Brad Pitt cast a line over the Gallatin River in the cinema version of Norman McLain’s famous A River Runs Through It, fly fishing has been likened to a dance on the water. But it can also be frustrating, confusing, befuddling and just plain difficult. Even choosing the best fly fishing rod and fly fishing gear is tough, because new fly rods are coming out all the time. What is the best fly rod length? What is the best all-around fly rod weight? How much should I spend on a fly rod?

Those are all common questions, and we will break it all down for you. We’ll also explain the mystery behind the Spey rod and tenkara rod. It doesn’t matter if you’re freshwater fishing or you want a saltwater fly rod, we have the best fly rod for you.

Scroll through, find what fits you best, and head out to the water.

BEST SALTWATER FLY ROD: Sage Salt HD Fly RodBEST ALL AROUND TROUT FLY ROD: Orvis Helios 3F 5-Weight 8′6″ Fly RodBEST SPEY ROD: Echo Full Spey Two Handed Fly Rod (13ft 8wt)BEST FLY ROD FOR BEGINNERS: Tenkara USA Sato RodBEST BUDGET FLY ROD: Redington VICE Fly Fishing Rod with Tube

Features to consider when shopping for a fly rod

Before even looking for a fly rod, the first thing you need to decide is where you’ll use it. That will help determine the size of the fish you’ll be going after, and hence the length, weight, and strength of the fly rod. If you’re just starting out, there’s a good choice for that too.

This saltwater fly rod won’t let you down, no matter where you end up and no matter what species you’re targeting.
This Orvis freshwater fishing rod is ideal for fishing most any trout stream.
This Echo Full Spey Two Handed Fly Rod casts fare and can handle big fish.
This tenkara fly rod is size-adjustable so you can pick the best length for the water you’re fishing.
The Redington is a well-made fly rod that’s easy to cast.

Continue reading
  958 Hits

Wisconsin Hunters Take 216 Wolves and Exceed Harvest Quota in Controversial Hunt That Closed After Just Three Days

The Wisconsin wolf hunt was called off early as hunters quickly exceeded the harvest quota. (John Hafner/)

Wolf hunters in Wisconsin exceeded the state’s harvest quota just three days into their first wolf hunt since 2014. The hunt was supposed to last a week, but it was called early because of the fast and furious harvest. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said non-native hunters had checked in 182 wolves as of 3 p.m. Wednesday when the state closed the season. The quota for non-native hunters was 119 wolves; native Ojibwe Tribes were also allocated 81 tags, in accordance with treaty rights ceded to the United States in the 1800s. The total number of harvested wolves stood at 216 (in non-native zones) as of noon on Thursday, according to the Associated Press.

Gray wolves were removed from Endangered Species Act protections in January, and the Wisconsin DNR estimated in April 2020 that the state had about 1,195 wolves. Its management goal is 350 wolves on non-tribal reservation land. Proponents of the hunt and state management say the high population of wolves — more than triple the management goal — is a clear sign of recovery, and they also point to declines in game animals due to wolf predation.

Despite the healthy wolf population in the state, the harvest goal of 200 wolves is not supposed to be met if the tribal hunters do not meet their harvest quota. There are no requirements to fill a tag. Native hunters have expressed disdain for the late-winter hunt, citing it as “especially wasteful and disrespectful,” the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission said in a statement to the Wisconsin State Journal.

DNR spokeswoman Sarah Hoye told the State Journal that the quota was set with a goal of keeping the population stable.

“The wolf population in Wisconsin is healthy, capable of sustaining harvest, and remains well connected to neighboring wolf populations in Michigan and Minnesota,” she said.

Continue reading
  972 Hits

Best Camping Gifts: Birthday Gift Ideas for Outdoorsy People

Get your favorite camper something they’ll use for years to come. (Unsplash/Dominik Jirovsky/)

Campers may be more familiar with gear and gadgets than any other type of outdoorsy people. It’s a hobby that requires tents, jackets, sleeping bags, and a whole other boatload of gear. We cover great camping gear regularly, but this top 10 list is chock-full of unique and fun ideas tailored to specific types of campers and adventurers. As an avid outdoor enthusiast myself, I handpicked each one of these products. Keep reading to find the best camping gifts around.

Unique camping gifts: Mini Plastic Spice JarsBest camping gifts for her: REI Trailbreak Sleeping BagBest camping gifts for him: Klymit Static SL Sleeping PadCool camping gifts: Camping Mess Kit Personalized camping gifts: YETI Rambler 14oz Custom MugBest camping chairs: Bass Pro Shops Eclipse Magnum ChairBest camping tents: REI Trail Hut 2-Person TentBest gifts for campers who love hiking: TrailBuddy Trekking PolesGift ideas for backpackers: Jetboil Zip Cooking SystemBest camping gear under $20: Alpine Start Instant Coffee

Get the Best Gifts for the Campers in Your Life

The best gifts for campers are things they’ll use over and over again. I kept that in mind while making these picks, from cooking gear to hiking accessories, these are the best camping gifts.

Unique Camping Gifts: Mini Plastic Spice Jars

Make better meals in the backcountry with spices from home (Cornucopia Brands/)

Many campers leave the best spices at home when they venture out into the woods. With these mini plastic jars, you can plan out your meals and fill up the jars with the necessary spices. They’re lightweight and barely take up any room in the pack. It’s an easy and simple way to make backcountry meals tastier. This set is a 12-pack of 1 fluid ounce containers and is a great, unique gift for campers. Throw as many as you need into your backpack and look forward to your next camp meal.

Make better meals in the backcountry with spices from home
Stay warm and comfortable with this insulated sleeping bag for women. REI
Enjoy an uninterrupted night’s sleep with this extremely comfortable sleeping pad.
Aluminum camping cookset for all your backwoods meals.
Enjoy a cup of hot coffee in a personalized mug.
The best chair at the campsite.
Get out of the elements and in a cozy and sturdy tent.
Long hikes to the camp are made easier with a good pair of trekking poles.
Lightweight jetboil stove for easy meals and hot drinks.
Tasty coffee for those crisp early mornings in the tent.

Continue reading
  791 Hits