Hunting and Fishing News & Blog Articles

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Best Gifts for Outdoorsmen: Foolproof Birthday Gift Ideas

Help your favorite outdoorsman do more of what he loves most. (Unsplash/Kalen Elmsley/)

Outdoorsmen love new gear and gadgets to help them out in the field and on the water. Even if it means the slightest advantage to catch one more fish or stay out in the cold for one more hour.

As an avid outdoorsman myself, I always look for products that are useful, durable, and versatile. I want to make sure everything I bring on a hunt, hike, or fishing trip has a use. There’s never room for extra dead weight on your back. I need my gear to be durable and be able to withstand harsh conditions. Finally, I like my gear to be as versatile as possible. Some things only serve one purpose and that’s okay. But finding a gift your favorite outdoorsman can use in multiple situations is a bonus.

Outdoor maniacs always look for ways to be more efficient and effective in whatever their pursuit may be. I’ve got some great ideas for outdoor gifts—things I would love to receive myself. Check out some of the best gifts for outdoorsmen, here!

Best classic gift for outdoorsmen: Leatherman Wave Plus Multi-ToolBest adventure gifts for outdoorsmen: GoPro Hero 9Best gifts for hunters: Browning trail cam with SD cardBest gifts for camping: Coleman LED LanternBest gifts for fishermen: Buff Solar GloveBest gifts for hikers: Permethrin Tick RepellentBest gifts for backpackers: Icebreaker Collingwood JacketBest outdoor gifts for boys: Columbia Youth Hiking ShoeBest gifts for outdoorsmen—under $100: TETON Sports Explorer BackpackBest gifts for outdoorsmen—under $50: Waterproof Speaker

Your guide to getting the best gifts for outdoorsmen

I chose these picks to cover a wide range of outdoor activities. You will find various gear and ideas that I find useful when I’m in the woods or on the water that I think make good gifts for hunters, gifts for fishermen, birthday presents, and more.

Be prepared for any situation with the Leatherman wave plus.
Record all of your outdoor efforts in 5K ultra HD video.
Know what is walking by your stand when you aren’t there.
Reliable lantern for your favorite camper.
Keep your hands protected and comfortable with gloves.
Protect against ticks and other insects while on the trail.
Cold weather jacket for winter backpackers.
Comfortable and supportive hiking shoes for kids.
A pack to take on all of your hiking, camping, and backpacking expeditions.
A waterproof speaker outdoorsmen will love.

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8 Wild Game and Fish Parts That Will Fertilize Your Garden

Every savvy survival gardener knows that the key to better produce is in the dirt. Plant based compost is a great addition to most garden soils and an obvious amendment that most folks know. But some of the best natural fertilizer comes from the parts of fish and wild game anglers and hunters don’t eat. If you want to build a better garden there are a variety of leftovers from the fish you catch and critters you kill to utilize. Here are eight items you might otherwise discard that will make your garden grow.

1. Find a New Use For Fur

Fur, hair and hide scraps are more valuable than you think. (TIM MACWELCH/)

Nitrogen is necessary for healthy greenery, like leaves and stems. Phosphorus is required for flower and fruit growth. Potassium is one of the keys to a plant’s vigorous root growth. When you buy fertilizer at the garden center, the label will provide an NPK number. This shows the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, in that order. A common commercial product might be something like a 10-10-10 fertilizer. This provides equal and generous amounts of the three main plant nutrients. You can also get a large dose of slow-releasing phosphorus from hair and fur. These animal materials can still be on the hide, or they can be loose. You might have loose animal hair as a result of scraping hides for “hair off” tanning, or you may soak hides in a bucket of water for a few days until the hair falls out naturally. When blended and buried into garden soil, animal hair will break down slowly over a period of years. This offers your vegetables a prime nutrient for flower growth, which leads to fruit growth. I know you’re trying to grow food in a survival garden, not pretty flowers, but the fruit can’t form if the flower isn’t there to be pollenated. To be a successful food grower, you need to become both a dirt and a flower grower.

2. Pluck a Bird

Similar in nutrient profile to hair and fur, feathers can also be buried in the garden or tossed into the compost pile. (TIM MACWELCH/)

Killing a spring gobbler can be beneficial for your garden. Feathers are very similar in composition to hair. These can be plucked from the bird (a quick dip in scalding water will help significantly), or you can skin the bird. Bury whole skins in strategic garden spots, like under new fruit trees. Loose feathers can be dampened and tilled into the garden soil (don’t try to run the tiller over dry feathers, as they’ll all blow away). However you get them into the ground, feathers will slowly decompose and enrich the dirt. Like hair, feathers provide phosphorus and a few other trace minerals (like magnesium).

Similar in nutrient profile to hair and fur, feathers can also be buried in the garden or tossed into the compost pile.
Buried shells can bring sweeter fruits.
Save fish heads and guts for your garden..

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Best Birthday Gifts for Dad: Unique Gift Ideas for Dads Who Love the Outdoors

Show him you love him back with the perfect gift. (Unsplash/Juliane Liebermann/)

Are you looking for unique gifts for dads who the outdoors? There are so many different pursuits and hobbies to choose from that it can become overwhelming. But all it takes is that one gift to stand out from the rest and make his day. As an avid outdoorsman myself, I chose these ideas and products based on usefulness, practicality, and effectiveness.

Whether you’re starting your shopping early or looking for that last minute gift for dad—this guide has the answer. It’s filled with a variety of options and choices for all the fathers out there. From hunting and fishing gifts for dad, to barbecuing and camping gear—I think this gift guide has the right ideas.

Cool gifts for dad: Car Phone MountBest last minute birthday gifts for dad: Portable ChargerPersonalized gifts for dad: Customized YETI Rambler Can InsulatorUnique gifts for dad: Carhartt Seat CoversBest tech gifts for dad: Fossil Hybrid Smart WatchBest useful gifts for dad: Meat ThermometerBest hunting gifts for dad: onX Hunt SubscriptionBest fishing gifts for dad: Simms Rain JacketBest gifts for dads who love barbecuing: Charcoal SmokerBest camping gifts for dad: Reusable Water Bottle

Get the best birthday gifts for Dad this year!

The following picks offer a wide range of interests and hobbies. Many fathers spend their time outside fishing, camping, and barbecuing—but I realize not all do. So I included some unique and fun ideas that are useful indoors, outdoors, or wherever he might be. Check out the full list of the best birthday gifts for dad below!

Cool Gifts for Dad: Car Phone Mount

Stay safe when looking at your phone for directions with this car phone mount.
Keep your devices charged on the go with this portable charger.
Make your can insulator personal with different customizations and designs.
Custom seat covers to protect the interior of your car from dirt, debris, and moisture.
A classic-looking watch with the modern features of a smartwatch.
Know exactly when to turn off the grill or over with this cooking thermometer.
Hunt smarter with onX hunting maps at your fingertips.
Stay on the water longer with this durable fishing rain jacket.
Take your barbecue game to the next level with a charcoal smoker.
A good water bottle is an essential aspect of every camping trip.

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Best Ice Fishing Shelter: How to Find Your Winter Home on the Ice

A properly sized shelter will retain heat and provide protection from the wind while you fish and monitor tip-ups. (Unsplash/)

Once bulky and challenging to transport, contemporary ice fishing shelters are light, portable and extremely functional, keeping anglers and their equipment in the game and on fish—even when the snow flies, the winds howl, and the temperature plummets.

Pop-up ice fishing shelters are often referred to as hub shelters. These are generally lightweight, portable shelters that fold down into a compact package and fit into a convenient transport and storage bag. A framework of poles inserted into rigid hubs provide rigidity to the structure. Once inside, anglers enjoy access to considerably more fishable area than might be available in a flip-over shanty or ice fishing tent.

The best ice fishing shelters have a durable, waterproof exterior to keep the cold, snow, and sleet at bay, and often a quilted, insulated interior to retain heat. A quality ice fishing hub shelter has abundant ventilation to allow moisture to escape and allow anglers to safely use portable propane-powered heaters. On the outside, large flaps that extend away from the shelter allow anglers to bank snow along the sides, while robust anchoring systems prevent the shelter from being carried away by a strong gust of wind. Abundant creature comforts on the interior, including coat hangers, rod holders, lights, and even insulated floors make it easy to fish while remaining warm and dry.

Best Basic Ice Fishing Shelter: Eskimo Quickfish2Best Ice Fishing Shelter for Two People: Frabill Fortress 260Best Ice Fishing Shelter for Four People: Eskimo Outbreak 450iBest Ice Fishing Shelter for a Big Group: Clam C890 Thermal ShelterBest Hybrid Ice Fishing Shelter: Eskimo Evo SeriesBest Cheap Ice Fishing Shelter: Frabill HQ 200

Are you looking for a basic ice fishing shelter?

A basic ice fishing shelter should have a waterproof finish on the outside and provide sufficient ventilation to remain comfortable and safe on the inside. Many basic ice fishing shelters won’t be insulated, but that makes them lighter and easier to carry by one person. Typically, these shelters will have a smaller footprint, accommodating two to perhaps three anglers. Look for windows on all four sides of the shelter to provide good natural light and help you monitor tip-ups while inside. It should come with a storage bag and the tools needed to anchor it to the ice.

The Eskimo Quickfish2  is a good choice for the angler who wants an easily transportable shelter with essential features but no frills.
The Frabill Fortress 260 is a well-designed, feature-rich ice fishing shelter for two anglers.
The Eskimo Outbreak 450i will keep you and your buddies warm and dry all day on the ice.
The Clam C890 is a full-thermal pop up ice fishing shelter that is perfect for large groups.
The Eskimo Evo Series is for anglers that want the convenience of a sled-based flip over and the space provided by a pop up shelter.
Frabill has a long history in the ice fishing industry, and the HQ 200 packs Frabill quality into a budget-friendly price point.

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Best Bird Seed: Draw the Birds You Want to Your Backyard

Careful choice of bird seed will bring specific species to your feeder. (Unsplash/)Best Winter Bird Seed: Wagner’s Black Oil Sunflower SeedsBest Bird Seed for Finches: Nyjer Seed 10-Pound BagBest Bird Seed for Cardinals: Safflower Seed Wild Bird FoodBest Bird Feed for Woodpeckers: Health Outdoor Suet CakesBest All-Around Bird Seed Mix: Deluxe Wild Bird BlendBest Cheap Bird Seed: Classic Blend Wild Bird Feed

Features to consider when shopping for the best bird seed

Shopping for bird seed can be confusing, especially if you are new to the world of feeding backyard birds. That’s because there are a wide variety of bird species, and each has its own dietary wants and needs. Learn what your favorite birds like, and you can draw more of them to your backyard feeder for both their and your enjoyment.

Do you want to draw a variety of birds to a winter bird feeder?

If you were going to select one kind of bird seed and feed it exclusively to birds in your backyard in winter, black oil sunflower bird seeds are the ones to choose. High in both protein and fat, they are readily available and loved by nearly every kind of bird that will visit your yard. Compared to striped sunflower seeds, black oil seeds are meatier and have a higher oil content, giving birds more nutrition and calories in every bite. They also have thinner shells, making them easier for small birds to crack.

That said, many birds like a variety of seeds in their diet, especially during the winter months when bugs, worms and other small creatures aren’t readily available. Interestingly, some prefer tiny seeds like thistle, and others love seeds as large as shelled peanuts. And some that have great appetites will eat any and all of the above!

These thin-shelled seeds are high in oil content and are easy for small-beaked birds to crack open.
This Nyjer seed is ideal for use in finch feeders that have smaller holes and tiny perches.
This safflower seed is a favorite of cardinals and typically shunned by squirrels, leaving more for the birds.
These suet cakes won’t melt when the weather warms up and provide a high-energy treat to woodpeckers and songbirds alike.
This blend will attract cardinals, chickadees and finches as well as other indigenous backyard visitors.
This budget bird seed blend contains millet, milo, cracked corn and sunflower seeds for a wide range of wild birds to enjoy.

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How to Degrease Your Rifle So It Fires in Freezing-Cold Temperatures

Wipe down your bolt and spray it with brake cleaner to ensure it runs properly in the cold. (Tyler Freel/)

With advancements in coatings and corrosion-resistant components, our hunting rifles are better-equipped now more than ever to hold up in foul conditions. But there are still steps you need to take to keep a bolt gun or semiauto working reliably, particularly in cold weather. Modern rifles often require a little less TLC, but being subjected to the abuse—moisture, saltwater, and other natural contaminants—that come with hunting inclement conditions can plant the seeds for problems down the road.

We lubricate our guns after the hunt to prevent corrosion, and keep them in good working order. But in extreme cold, that gun oil can turn to syrup and cause your rifle to malfunction.

There’s no exact temperature that can cause a “wet” rifle to gum up, but many hunters venturing out in below-freezing or subzero temps have run into a myriad of rifle issues. The most common is a misfire, or a soft firing pin strike when the trigger is pulled. Even from the factory, the firing pin and firing pin spring are typically coated in a healthy dose of oil, and accumulate more as a shooter oils and cleans the rifle.

As the temperature drops, this oil becomes thicker and stickier. Rather than lubricate as intended, the cold can cause the oil to impede the firing pin, slowing it down to the point that it sometimes won’t ignite the primer. Any dust or fouling that has accumulated around the firing pin and spring can make matters worse. I learned this the hard way hunting coyotes as a kid with a dirty, oily 10/22, losing several coyotes because I was cycling the bolt furiously trying to get one of the cartridges to go off.

Every year on a local winter caribou hunt here in Alaska, I hear of rifles misfiring, bolts that feel like they’re stuck in molasses, magazine catches that won’t engage, and other similar issues. I’ve even heard of a hunter who had his rifle fail to fire, opened the bolt, and pulled it completely free of the rifle while trying to chamber another round. Apparently, the bolt release had been accidentally depressed, and it had enough viscous oil in the mechanism to prevent the spring from returning it to its correct position.

Shooting a rifle dry a few times will not cause any added wear and tear to the gun.

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Massive Fish and Wildlife Kills in the Wake of Southern Ice Storm

While we know the Arctic blast that crippled much of the Southwest and Southeast last week caused unprecedented damage to cities and homes, the full extent of its impact on wild game and fish populations remains unclear. State wildlife officials are still conducting surveys to assess the situation.

Mortality is expected in big and small game and non-game animals, game birds, songbirds, and fish due to the storm itself, as well as continued freezing temperatures, ice, snow, and frozen waterways. Quail in Texas and Oklahoma likely took a hit, and other reports note dead songbirds, including purple martins, Eastern phoebe, and wrens, and shorebirds like pelicans and cormorants.

We’re receiving reports of large bat fatalities under bridges due to winter storm. To help us track this, please share your observations on or iNaturalist project at Please include photo and estimate of fatalities.

⚠️Never handle bats, dead or alive.

— TX Parks & Wildlife (@TPWDnews) February 24, 2021

Exotic and unusual species, such as nutria in Louisiana and blackbuck, axis deer, and others on ranches in Texas, could take a hit, state officials say. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department doesn’t manage or regulate exotic species such as axis or blackbuck, but the agency is gathering information about how they fared during the storm.

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Wisconsin’s Deer Season Decline: When Hunting Tradition Threatens Hunting’s Future

The author and his grandpa after a successful Wisconsin deer hunt. (Alex Robinson/)

Wisconsin deer hunters are traditionalists. I know this because I am one, and I’ve written about it proudly. I’ve hunted the state’s 9-day gun season every year since I was 12. In the Robinson family, opening day is our favorite holiday (Christmas is a distant second). And still, I know that some traditions need to evolve in order to be preserved. It seems that many of my fellow cheeseheads disagree.

In a survey last spring, the majority of Wisconsin residents opposed making changes to major hunting regulations, like expanding the 9-day gun season to increase hunter participation. A majority also opposed enacting a state-wide ban on baiting to help prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease.

“Wisconsin’s sporting community are traditionalists,” Larry Bonde, chair of the Wisconsin Conservation Congress told the Wisconsin State Journal. “They want that traditional nine-day Thanksgiving deer season, and they’re not going to let go.”

This dedication to tradition would be fine, if deer hunting in Wisconsin was thriving. But it’s not.

Wisconsin hunters took 188,712 whitetails during the 2020 9-day gun season, which is up 12 percent from the previous year. But that harvest is down nine percent from the state’s 10-year average, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

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Best Cross Country Skis: The Best Skis for Any Snow Situation

Cross country skiing enables you to go outside in winter, get some excellent exercise, and see some spectacular scenery. (Unsplash/Phillip Belena/)

Cross country skiing is not only a great way to stay in shape during those long winter months, it’s also an ideal way to enjoy quiet mountain forests, peaceful river banks, and snow-covered wonderlands.

Cross country skiing—also called Nordic skiing—is accessible for anyone living near snow with a desire to learn. Ski equipment from boots to skis to poles have improved enormously in the past couple decades, let alone centuries, making it easier than ever to do it. And cross country skiing is fun, with all kinds of levels, from intro to Olympic. Buying skis can be intimidating, though. What are the right types and equipment? How do you know the difference between, say, skate skis and classic skis? How do you know what you might want? We break it all down for you, offering advice on the best skis for nearly any situation. After that, all you need is a sense of adventure.


How to Determine the Best Cross Country Skis for You

The cross country skis you want to buy depend on your experience level, what you hope to achieve, and what conditions you’ll likely encounter. Most major brands, such as Fischer and Rossignol have great cross country skis, so you won’t go wrong choosing one of those brands.

Are You Just Getting Started?

If you’re just getting started, these skis are affordable and include bindings to make it even easier to begin.
No matter your weight or experience, these skis won’t let you down.
Whether you plan to start ski racing or not, this is the best cross-country ski for going fast.
These skis allow you to hop out of your car, click into the bindings and start kicking without fussing with the perfect wax.

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3 Perfect Fly Ties For This Spring’s Cicada Swarmageddon

The Brood X cicada hatch is expected to begin in May. These 3 patterns will help you catch more fish once the onslaught begins. (James DeMers/)

Beginning in May, the periodic cicada known as Brood X will descend upon large swathes of the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic, much to the delight anything that swims. The abundance of hefty, easy meals represented by this fat bug’s emergence means that trout, bass, carp, and more will be keenly attuned to the surface for several weeks following this behemoth’s arrival, and that’s where you’ll want to focus your fishing efforts.

When fishing any surface bug, there are a few important rules to keep in mind. The first is that less is more, less is more, less is more. The surface is where fish are at their most vulnerable, so it’s better to keep fly manipulation minimal, lest those piscine alarm bells start to ring. A good rule of thumb is to move your bug and wait for the rings to settle. Then drink a soda. Then eat a sandwich. Then pop or wiggle again. This is only a slight exaggeration.

The second thing to keep in mind is that the intensity of any manipulation should be a function of both depth of water and proximity of quarry. Shallow water calls for small pops, medium and deep water for medium pops. Additionally, a fish closing in on a surface bugs needs no further cajoling. The closer the fish gets to your bug, the less you should move it.

Bug patterns fall into two basic categories: heavy-bodied “louder” patterns and soft-landing “quiet” patterns. Below I’ve included two very basic styles—and one wildcard. Don’t worry about having exact materials—oftentimes it’s the substitute material that becomes a superstar. Even more importantly, don’t worry about tying perfect flies—I’d rather fish an ugly, buggy fly than a prim and proper specimen 8 days out of the week.

Read Next: Cicada Hatch Might Bring Best Topwater Bite in 17 Years

The only out-of-the-ordinary components you’ll need for this fly is a bit of red or orange foam and a pair of tweezers—if you choose the optional step of adding eyes. Here I’ve got a 1/8-inch foam cylinder cut to bits, but you can do the same by trimming a small circle of out sheet foam. Only got white foam? Get a marker and color your eyes up.
Place a size 10 Tiemco 8089 (or other cicada-sized, wide-gapped hook) in your vise, get a thread base going, and tie in a short, thick clump of marabou in at the hook bend. In terms of silhouette, the marabou will continue the taper produced by the foam popper head, but the real reason it’s here is to ensure the fly has some passive movement while you’re dead drifting it. Because you’ll be doing a lot of dead drifting with cicada patterns. Don’t think of this fly as a “popper” so much as a “sitter”.
This is the first of several optional steps. I like a bit of wound saddle hackle here to suggest legs and convey a general sense of bugginess.
Now it’s time to junk up the hook shank a bit to give the glue something to grab onto. Here I’ve cross-hatched some wire and dubbed a bit of scrap marabou around the hook shank, but really any scraps that add texture will work. Whip finish and cut your thread as you prepare to glue on the popper head.
Put a nice goop of super glue (I like Loctite “Liquid Control” Super Glue but any waterproof super glue will do) around the front of the hook shank, then push the popper head onto the shank butt-first till it’s snug against the hackle. Depending on the popper head you’re using, you may need to prepare the head by stabbing it through with a bodkin. I’m using a medium Rainy’s popper head here, but just about any black foam popper head will do.
Time for eyes! Do you need eyes? No, you don’t, but they are fun to apply and make the fly come alive. Don’t even try using your fingers for these, however. Instead, pick them with a pair of tweezers, dab them into a puddle of glue, and make sure you get your placement right the first time.
Now it’s time for legs. Do cicadas have long orange legs? No, they do not. They also don’t have big hooks jutting out of their abdomen. The legs will add more passive moment to this impressionistic bug. If you’ve got a tool for legs (I love my Zuddy’s Leg Puller), great. If not, you can use a razor to cut a shallow trench across the bellow of the popper, floss your legs into the groove, and seal the wound with glue.
And there you have it—you’re done! This fly is ready to fish. Right now. But if you’re the type you can’t leave well enough alone…
You can add a Krystal Flash wing (gray, pearl, purple of blue all work fine) tied in with orange thread wrapped around the popper head itself. Drop extra glue at the connections for reinforcement. This bug’s ready to hunt and then some.
Prepare for this pattern by cutting a longish paddle shape in a piece of 2mm black foam. For reference, I’ve got this piece of foam laying alongside a standard spool of thread. As you can see, it’s about a thread spool-and-a-half long. While that’s longer than a cicada, remember that you’ll be doubling part of the foam over to form the head of this bug. Your final pattern will be shorter, in other words.
Next lay a base of orange chenille, orange yarn, or orange dubbing around the hook shank. Wind up almost to the eye, then back the thread off about a quarter of an inch.
Lay the foam forward and lash it once more to the hook. Hit it with super glue again here.
Tie in a clump of EP fibers to imitate the wing and aid in visibility.
Now double the remainder foam back over itself and tie it in directly in line with the previous tie-in point.
Still at the same time in point, add rubber legs, whip finish, and reinforce with super glue as desired.
A look at the underside.
For fishing stained water, you can add some glitz with a sparkly chenille, and/or Krystal Flash for the wing.
To prepare for the chop-shop cicada, grab a handful of orange and black popper heads of the same size. Start your experimenting by cutting your black popper head into thirds and your orange head into thinner slices. If you’re using a free razor, be exceedingly careful.
Take the rear-most piece of foam from the black head and slide it onto a hook that’s been prepped with a thread base and glue.
Next, slide on your smallest, thinnest slice of orange foam. Glue it to the black foam behind it—not the hook shank.
To create the illusion of legs, wrap some saddle hackle or schlappen around the hook shank. Whip finish, tie off, and prepare to add the next segment.
Repeat the process until the hook is full. Add eyes if you’re feeling crafty.
Experiment with other chop-shop variations.

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Best Ice Fishing Bibs: Stay Warm on the Hard Water

One of these two ice anglers is going to get cold—very cold. (Pexels/)

If you’re ice fishing, it’s cold. It has to be. That’s why many ice anglers gravitate toward the comfort of a warm, dry shelter, ranging anywhere from a compact, portable hub to a tandem axle wheel house equipped with satellite TV and sleeping space for a crew. However, experience has taught us that shelter-bound anglers invariably catch fewer fish than those who spend their time outside, searching for fish rather than waiting for fish to find them. That means mobility in extreme cold. Modern fishing clothing has become a key component of the contemporary ice angler’s arsenal, keeping mobile hole-hoppers safe, warm and dry while exposed to the elements. And of all ice fishing clothing, nothing is more essential than a quality set of ice fishing bibs.

Ice fishing bibs serve as the foundation for a technical apparel system designed to keep anglers comfortable and safe. At the most fundamental level, all ice fishing bibs must keep anglers warm and dry. Because many intrepid anglers go out in temperatures well below zero, keeping warm is not merely optional – it’s vital! Insulated ice fishing bibs must be both efficient and effective at trapping heat, while at the same time being lightweight so that anglers retain their mobility and agility. In addition, ice fishing bibs must keep anglers dry, from both the outside and the inside. Obviously, waterproof ice fishing bibs must have a durable, impermeable shell – guarding against water, ice and snow from the outside – while also being breathable, so that perspiration and moisture created while walking, drilling, and setting the hook can easily escape.

The best ice fishing bibs incorporate additional features to enhance the hardwater experience. Early- and late-ice anglers appreciate the peace of mind provided by floating ice fishing bibs, should thin ice lead to an unexpected swim in frigid water. Contemporary fishing apparel also accounts for differences in body shapes, sizes, and genders. Creature comforts including well-placed pockets for hands and cell phones, and handy attachment points for tools, line cutters, and other ice fishing essentials elevate ice fishing bibs from simple pieces of clothing to essential ice fishing gear.

Best Basic Ice Fishing Bibs: IceArmor by Clam Rise Bibs

Best Ice Fishing Bibs for Extreme Cold: Striker Ice Climate Bibs

Ice Armor by Clam Rise bibs are a quality set of ice fishing bibs for the beginner or casual ice angler.
Striker Ice Climate bibs keep you safe, warm and dry – no matter the conditions.
Lightweight, durable, ultra-warm and waterproof, choose Simms Challenger Insulated bibs for premium cold-weather fishing comfort.
StrikeMaster Allie bibs are feature-rich ice fishing bibs designed specifically for women.
Striker Predator Youth bibs are the perfect way to grow the love of ice fishing in a young angler by keeping them warm, dry, and comfortable on the ice.
Carhartt knows how to handle the cold, and their Quilt-Lined bibs offer a way to get decent ice fishing bibs on a budget.

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Video: Mountain Lion Attacks Deer in Woman’s Backyard

Jessie Davis of Hermosa, Colorado, got the surprise of her life when she looked through her blinds to see a mountain lion attacking a young mule deer that had been hanging around her home for several months.

“It was an amazing thing to get to experience,” says Davis, who then watched the cougar drag the deer 100 yards to a neighbor’s property. Over the next few days, she spied the lion feeding on the deer. She recorded the video above on her phone as the lion dragged the dead mule deer through the snow. Davis and her husband later tracked the attack through prints in the snow and found lion strides as far as 20 feet apart.

Joe Lewandowski, spokesman for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, told the Durango Herald that Southwest Colorado has a healthy population of mountain lions, which rarely attack humans.

“As this video shows, deer are the favored prey of mountain lions,” Lewandowski said. “They do most of their hunting from dusk to dawn. And groups of animals, such as deer or turkeys provide an invitation to mountain lions ... Those with hobby livestock should also make sure the animals are in fully enclosed pens or buildings. Lions have been known to jump 8-foot-high fences.”

Based on the athletic ability of the cat in this video, it seems like an 8-foot fence would be an easy obstacle for a mountain lion to clear.

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Best Bug Spray: Say Bye to Insects and Bites with our Picks

Having a good bug spray on hand is essential for fending off itchy bug bites and disease. (cottonbro / Pexels/)

If you’ve ever zipped yourself into a tent with a hoard of mosquitos or found your legs bitten up by no-see-ums, we share your pain. The buzzing and biting can ruin even the most pristine outing or campout. But it’s not just the inconvenience that makes us want to swat away the bugs—it’s the risk of disease. Unfortunately, mosquito bites can transmit infections such as Zika, West Nile virus, and malaria. And itchy bites from any bug can get infected if you scratch them and introduce bacteria into the skin.

Below we’ve listed some of our favorite bug repellent products for keeping different kinds of irritating buggers at bay. But if you want to shop for yourself, know that picking the best bug spray comes down to asking yourself a few simple questions: What active ingredient do you want? Who’s it for? And what bugs will it work on?

Best bug spray with DEET: Off! Deep Woods Insect Repellent

Best natural bug spray: Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent

Best bug spray alternative: Off! Clip-On Fan

Contains 25 percent DEET, so the whole family can use it.
Contains 30 percent oil of lemon eucalyptus and 65 percent PMD.
Promises to emit mist for up to 12 hours.
Available in spray and lotion formulas.
Offers up to 10 hours of protection.

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3 Simple Kits for Reloading Rifle, Pistol, Shotgun, and Rimfire Ammo in a Pinch

Simple reloading kits like the Lee Loader can help you turn out new rounds in a pinch. (Lee Loader/)

If there was ever a time to get serious about preparing for an ammunition shortage, it would have been about a year ago. Sure, we’ve seen shortages of niche ammunition and reloading components before, but the current lack of general hunting caliber ammunition unique. The pandemonium seems to be fueling itself. It’s not uncommon for people to snatch up any ammo they might possibly use someday—just because it’s on the shelf. It’s frustrating for you, me, and everyone else interested in hunting and the shooting sports. The situation has got many of us thinking about the possibility that someday, there might just not be any more ammo available. There may come a time when I have to improvise to put some meat on the table. I’m optimistic that eventually, the panic buying will subside and things will go back to normal. But this situation has definitely highlighted the importance of being able to load your own ammo.

Handloading ammunition isn’t a singular solution to ammo shortages—component shortages are a problem too—but being able to hand-load ammo, even in limited quantities, simply gives you more options. The impacts of the current ammo shortage will likely last into next fall’s hunting season or beyond. If you don’t already have ammo for your hunting rifle, it could be hard to come by. For this reason alone, it never hurts to have a backup plan. Handloading can be expensive and complex to get into, but below I’ve outlined 3 simple reloading kits that allow you to reload pistol, rifle, shotgun, and even rimfire ammo without any special tools or expensive equipment.

Lee Classic Reloader Kit

I got my start in handloading with the Lee Loader, and so did my dad. It’s been around for more than 60 years. These kits come in packaging that’s a little smaller than your standard reloading die box and include all the basic tools you need to decap, re-size, prime, measure and fill powder, and seat bullets, with only the aid of a non-marring mallet. The “loader” is a die that somewhat resembles the reloading dies that presses use, but you only need a solid, flat working surface. Except for some pistol cartridges, these loaders only re-size the cartridge neck, so it helps (and sometimes is necessary) to only use brass fired from the gun you are loading for to ensure smooth chambering. First, you’ll set the case in the base and use the decapping rod to tap out the old primer. Next, you’ll hammer the case into the sizing die until flush. You’ll place a primer in the priming chamber, set the die with case on top of it, and use the priming rod with the hammer to seat the new primer and push the case free of the die. Next comes the powder charge. Each kit comes with a generic powder measure and lists of powders and associated measurements with that cartridge. It does help to use a real powder scale for accuracy, but as long as you stay within the guidelines, your ammunition will be totally safe. After charging the case with powder, you set the case in the depriming chamber (so that no contact can be made with primer), and slide the die over the case (which is also used to adjust seating depth). Drop the bullet in, and use the seater to tap it into place. For what is a pretty rudimentary process, this kit is very capable of producing accurate and dependable ammunition, and is completely safe. These kits are mostly sold out on the Lee website, but you can still find them by hunting around online.

The author's original Lee Loader kit. (Tyler Freel/)

Lee Loader for Shotguns

The author's original Lee Loader kit.

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Republican Senators’ Focus on Fossil Fuels Production Foreshadows Challenges to Come for Interior Secretary Nominee Deb Haaland

Interior Secretary nominee Deb Haaland faced a series of questions on energy policy during her second day of confirmation hearings. (Deb for Congress/)

In her second and final day of confirmation hearings before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, President Biden’s Interior Secretary nominee Deb Haaland was asked repeatedly about her stance on endangered species management, federal energy policy, and the multiple-use mandate for public lands.

Just as in her first day of testimony, Haaland was circumspect in her answers, defaulting to her mantra that her personal opinions would be secondary to those of Biden should she be confirmed. If confirmed by the full Senate, Haaland would be the first Native American to lead the federal bureaucracy that manages about a fifth of the nation’s real estate, provides trust oversight to Native tribes, oversees the National Park Service, and manages a wide range of fish and wildlife properties and issues.

And just as in yesterday’s hearing, senators pressed Haaland, a first-term Congresswoman from New Mexico, for her perspectives on a number of relatively small and technical issues that no prospective Interior secretary could be expected to fully answer.

Freshman senator Mark Kelly from Arizona, for instance, asked for Haaland’s commitment to prioritize the completion of Indian water settlements, for her support of a bill to ban uranium mining outside Grand Canyon National Park, and for her support of water conservation in the lower Colorado River watershed.

Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski asked Haaland to bless the continuance of oil permitting in the Willow Project, a massive energy development inside Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve. Freshman Kansas senator Roger Marshall asked Haaland to look into water rights on Quivira National Wildlife Refuge in south-central Kansas. And Montana’s Steve Daines repeatedly asked for Haaland’s commitment that she wouldn’t limit traditional hunting, fishing, and especially trapping on federal lands.

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Best Ski Socks for Warm Toes and Top Control All Winter Long

Good ski socks will keep you warm by wicking moisture, and give you a good feel of the skis for optimal control. (Pexels/Flo Maderebner/)

It’s what’s underneath that counts. Yes, those expensive plastic ski boots you admire on chairlift rides have a lot to do with your skiing performance—and how warm your feet feel—but your ski socks are the true unsung, and unseen, heroes of comfort beneath all that skiing gear. You need the best ski socks because cold feet will stop you in your tracks.

When searching for the best ski socks—be they the best men’s ski socks, best women’s ski socks, or the best ski socks for cold feet—material matters. Merino wool is top of the heap right now because it naturally resists odors, mitigates moisture and even keeps in heat after it gets wet. But synthetic materials like nylon-polyester can also provide excellent protection. Most ski socks today feature a blend of wool and synthetic, as well as some percentage of Lycra spandex or elastane for cling.

Once you’re matched up with the right composition of yarn and fabric, you need to determine how much of that material you need. Are you a speed chaser who wants an ultrathin, lightweight ski sock that maximizes foot-boot connection? Or do you prefer to sacrifice a few notches of MPH for dialed-up warmth and padding?

If you haven’t delved much into the value of ski socks—perhaps you’re someone who believes that two pairs of ski socks could actually be warmer than one—you’re about to discover that having the right pair can really, well, knock your socks off. The following will help you lay out the path to buying the best ski socks.

Best Ski Socks for Durability: Darn Tough Alpenglow Over-The-Calf LightBest Kids Ski Socks: OutdoorMaster Kids Ski SocksBest Moisture Wicking Ski Socks: Smartwool PhD Ski MediumBest Compression Ski Socks: Dissent Ski GFX CompressionBest Lightweight Ski Socks: Smartwool PhD Ski Ultra LightBest Heated Ski Socks: Lenz Heated Socks 5.0Best Cheap Ski Socks: Fox River Telluride Medium

Features to Consider When Buying Ski Socks

Living up to their name, these Darn Toughs might be the last ski socks you ever have to buy.
With a fun design and functional features, these socks will keep the kids—and their parents—happy.
The PhD Ski is soft and snug and fit to perform.
Beloved by ski touring practitioners, these socks are the perfect match if tight is right.
If you’re looking for an ultralight sock to optimize your performance, these Smartwool socks are your best bet.
Heat your feet with the phone in your hands.
At about half the cost of most ski socks, these offer all the comfort.

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Best Ski Pants: Top Ski Clothing For This Winter Season

The right pair of ski pants will keep you warm, protect you from moisture and be comfortable enough to last a full day on the slopes. (Unsplash/Mads Schmidt Rasmussen/)

If you’ve ever been on a chairlift and started thinking about your pants, you’re probably wearing the wrong pair. The best ski pants are designed to go unnoticed—unless you’ve opted for those Mojito green Spyders.

Ski clothing, and ski pants in particular, are built to keep you comfortable. Waterproofing materials, like Gore-Tex and eVent, are designed to stop the wind and wet from seeping in, while also providing breathability that lets hot air out when you’re working hard on black diamonds or in the backcountry. Waterproofing and breathability ratings are often paired, because, let’s face it, what good is keeping moisture out if your fabric locks sweat in?

Waterproof ratings, expressed in millimeters, measure how tall a column of water would have to be when poured into a 1-inch-by-1-inch tube before starting to leak through the fabric underneath. About 15,000mm is a good rating, and 20,000mm says the fabric will keep you dry in the wettest conditions. Breathability, expressed in grams, measures how much water vapor can move completely through one square meter of fabric in a day. Between 10,000g and 15,000g is a solid range for ski pants. If all of this feels like information overload on fabric moisture, just remember there is little worse than being weighed down by wet, heavy ski pants on the mountain.

Ski gear is also meant to keep you warm. If you prefer hitching a ride to the top, you’ll likely want a pair of snow pants with insulation, so you can stay toasty while you’re sitting still. But if you’re always on the move, skinning your way up, a light unlined ski pant is probably the way to go.

Fit matters, too. Not only do you want to be confident in how you look—in case your turns could use a little finessing—you should also expect your ski pants to optimize those turns. For instance, if your snow pants are too snug in the knees and hips, those bumps on the double black could be especially bruising.

Sturdy on the outside, fleecy on the inside, these snow pants work everywhere on the mountain.
Built to perform and keep you warm, these Helly Hansens also have plenty of flair.
Made from superlight material that repels water and wicks your sweat, these Crafts were built to be worn all day.
The Skyward II Snow Pants thrive during big climbs and epic descents.
These lightweight ski pants offer heavy-duty protection.
Be toasty in even the coldest conditions with these ski pants.
Suit up in this stylish bib to guard against wet snow and deep powder.
The North Face Freedom pants will warm weekend warriors on a budget. The North Face

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Best Personal Locator Beacon: Choose the Right PLB for a Backcountry Adventure

A personal locator beacon, or PLB, provides peace of mind when you’re exploring remote areas, because you can send an emergency signal via satellite. (Unsplash/Presley Roozenburg/)

A personal locator beacon is an essential piece of emergency survival gear for any serious outdoors person. Commonly referred to as a PLB, a personal locator beacon is a small, portable device that tracks your whereabouts in the backcountry and allows you to send a distress signal via satellite to alert authorities if you get into trouble and need rescuing. Hopefully you will never have to use the emergency alert feature on your personal locator beacon, but as with any survival equipment, it’s always better to be prepared.

You might ask yourself if you really need a personal locator beacon. If you spend any considerable time in remote areas away from other people and out of range cell service, the answer is an easy yes. These are must-have pieces of survival gear for serious outdoor expeditions any time of the year.

Best PLB for Light Packers: Garmin inReach MiniBest PLB for Communication: Spot XBest PLB For Marine Use: ACR ResQLink ViewBest PLB Overall: Garmin inReach Explorer+Best Cheap PLB: Nexus Wireless Spot Gen4

Features To Consider When Shopping For a Personal Locator Beacon

Besides the cost, you want to consider the weight of the personal locator beacon, because you’ll be carrying it with you wherever you go along with the rest of your emergency gear. Some have features such as connectivity and navigation aids. Consider how much weight you’ll be comfortable adding to your pack, and if additional features are worthwhile to you.

Is Weight of Your Outdoor Gear a Crucial Consideration?

The Garmin inReach Mini is a pocket-ready satellite communicator.
The Spot X satellite messenger makes it easy to stay in touch even when you’re in the most remote places.
The ACR ResQLink View offers peace of mind for ocean expeditions.
The Garmin inReach Explorer+ has numerous helpful features.
The Nexus Wireless Spot Gen4 is affordable and effective.

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The Best New EDC Knives of 2021

This year's crop of folding knives has a little something for everyone. (Matt Foster/)

What is an EDC knife? Fair question. Really, any folding knife or fixed-blade knife you can carry comfortably in a pocket qualifies. The best EDC knives—which stands for every day carry—can handle any cutting task you encounter. Opening a box, slicing an apple, gutting a deer, or deterring a would-be assailant. The best knife brands understand this and have made cool new knives capable of tackling these chores. We got our hands on a bunch of these new blades, and, in no particular order, here are the best EDC knives of 2021.

Benchmade Adamas

Benchmade Adamas (Matt Foster/)

For many every day tasks, the Benchmade Adamas may be overkill. But then, is overkill really a bad thing? As an EDC knife, the Adamas is large. It’s a full-sized folder with steel liners, olive drab G10 scales and even comes with a molle compatible sheath. Made from CPM-CruWear® stainless steel the 3.78″ drop point blade is .14″ thick and has a cerakote finish. Like many Benchmade knives, the Adamas features their Axis lock, a cross-bolt style mechanism using the shear strength of a pin for lock strength. Designed as a tactical folder with pronounced finger guards front and back of the handle the Adamas would work well as an EDC knife or as a hunting knife. Despite its impressive size, it fits quite well in the pocket with a fairly deep carry-style clip. The left-handed crowd will appreciate that this knife is fully ambidextrous. If the geometry and features of this Benchmade knife are appealing but it seems just a bit large for your taste, the MINI ADAMAS® is its literal ¾ size twin, minus the sheath. MSRP is $280 Specs: blade length 3.78 in.; blade thickness 0.14 in.; overall length 8.89 in.; closed length 5.11 in.; weight 6.45 oz. minus the sheath; MINI ADAMAS MSRP is $250 Specs: blade length 3.25 in.; blade thickness 0.14 in.; overall length 7.62 in.; closed length 4.37 in.; weight 4.6 oz.

Read More: Outdoor Life’s New Line of Camping Knives and Tools

Kershaw Cannonball

Benchmade Adamas
Kershaw Cannonball
Gerber Zilch
CRKT Pillar
Giant Mouse Ace RIV Titanium
Hinderer Knives XM-18 3-inch Skinner
Zero Tolerance 0308BLKTS
Medford Knife and Tool Air Jack
Havalon Knives REDI
Spyderco Endela

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The Best Single-Shot Shotguns of All-Time (and One New Model)

The snow finally stopped, and the boy was ready. He knew the rabbits would come out to feed in the sunshine and leave tracks he could easily follow in the fresh powder. He carefully lifted the family single-shot shotgun from the wall pegs. The 12-gauge felt solid in his hands, and off he went in search of dinner.

That scene played out time and again on farms and country homesteads across America in the days when men and boys were tasked with bringing home wild game to feed their families. Money was tight for these folks, and they relied on affordable guns to supplement the food supply. Fancy side-by-sides and autoloaders were for wealthy city folks; country boys relied on a single shot to dispatch the critters they hunted.

Here are some of the most popular guns of a bygone era and a new version built to stand the test of time.

H&R Pardner and Topper

The H&R Pardner—which later became the Topper—was produced in every popular gauge from 10 to 28 and .410 bore. (icollector/)

Gilbert Harrington made history in 1871 with his top-break, shell-ejecting revolver. He needed a partner with a production background to bring it to market and William Richardson fit the bill. They formed H&R in Worcester, Massachusetts, building iconic guns and a loyal following. They built solid revolvers and shotguns, soon becoming the only North American licensee for England’s Anson & Deely boxlock side-by-side shotgun.

The H&R Topper 88 was a basic shotgun, but it did come with a color case-hardened receiver.
It's only fitting that one of America's most iconic gunmakers built a single-shot workhorse.
The Boy's model of Winchester's 37 appeared in 1958.
The Champion was discontinued in 1957.
Henry is known for its lever-action rifles, but make a fine single-shot shotgun as well.

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