Hunting and Fishing News & Blog Articles

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Four chainsaws for any outdoor need

These make the cut. (Street Donkey via Unsplash/)

Choosing the right chainsaw can be as personal a decision as picking the right boot or sleeping bag. It depends on the job in front of you, how much you’ll use it, and where you’re going to be cutting. So how do you choose? We’re taking away the mystery to selecting the best chainsaw so you can buy it and get back to work.

Trust your device. (Amazon/)

If you’re the person who volunteers to help friends clear their land after wind storms or tornadoes, or you heat your house with a wood stove, this is probably the chainsaw for you. With high torque over a wide rpm range, it’s ideal for jobs that require more power and a longer bar. It’s also ergonomically designed to be able to handle easily even with the additional power. Expect all the extras from an air-cleaning system that removes large dust and debris to a combined choke and stop control to reduce the risk of engine flooding. The only real risk is letting friends borrow it—you may never get it back.

Don’t want to break the bank. (Amazon/)

An 18-inch bar and chain and 2-cycle engine will give you what you need for most basic projects around your yard. And you also get quickstart technology for earlier pull-starts and tool-free access to spark plug and filters. The 5-point vibration system makes it more comfortable than older chainsaws. If you don’t have a week’s salary to drop on a saw, this is a great, budget, lightweight, and efficient option.

Ditch the gas. (Amazon/)

Tired of wondering if you’re out of gas, or if the gas in your chainsaw has gone bad? For those household projects like trimming hedges or cutting out dead branches, go with a chainsaw you plug in. This 14.5 amp motor cuts similar to a gas chainsaw without fumes and mess. It has automatic oil lubrication and a built-in oil reservoir with window level indicator. The chain operates at 12 meters per second and the auto tension chain system stays at the right tension for hundreds of uses.

Skip fumes and cords. (Amazon/)

We know, a battery-operated chainsaw doesn’t seem like something that works. But think again. This chainsaw has 6300 RPM and a 14-inch bar and chain. Throw it in your truck or camper for ease cutting firewood at a campsite. Keep it in the garage for those small projects around the house. Expect up to 100 cuts per charge—plenty for any of the more minor jobs—and the chain has a kickback break for added safety.

Trust your device.
Don’t want to break the bank.
Ditch the gas.
Skip fumes and cords.


Four ways to be sure you (and your bow) are shooting straight

Always be on point. (Vince Fleming via Unsplash/)

You know you need to practice with your bow. No one should hunt without sufficient time at the range with firearm or archery equipment. But maybe you’re less sure what targets you should be using. Check out this list for the best options in paper, 3D, field points and broadheads so you’re ready for opening day.

As tough as you. (Amazon/)

Why practice with something other than what you’ll use in the field? If you’re someone who wants to know you’re on every time with the exact equipment you’ll use in the fall, check out this target. It is cube shaped, giving you targets at various angles and heights. It’s lightweight with an easy carrying handle. And most importantly, it has self-healing foam making it tough enough for broadheads, field points and even expandables.

Easy in, easy out. (Amazon/)

Use this target and don’t plan to need another one anytime soon. The durable bag is made in the USA and can handle thousands of shots from field points. It’s designed for easy arrow removal and has different pictures on all sides to keep you engaged. It’s also approved for high-speed crossbows and compound bows.

Up your game. (Amazon/)

Why shoot at a square target when you can practice on a simulation of the real thing? This life-size target has the body of a 250-pound whitetail deer and stands 36 inches high at the shoulder and 60 inches at the top. Arrows are easy to remove and a 4-sided replaceable insert core extends the life of the target. It’s also made in the USA.

No fuss, just shoot. (Amazon/)

When all you really need is a series of circle targets, buy what’s easy. These paper targets come in packs of eight, 20, 50, and even 200. Each page has three circular targets on it in blue, red, and yellow. The 40 cm targets are printed on 7 pt archery paper to limit the hole size and ensure longer-lasting targets.

As tough as you.
Easy in, easy out.
Up your game.
No fuss, just shoot.


10 Best Ways to Catch More and Bigger Walleyes

Brian Bashore with a big post-spawn walleye. (Brian Bashore/)

Brian Bashore, a professional angler and guide in South Dakota, has been educating clients for over 10 years while tuning in his knowledge of walleye all across the Midwest. As a Bass Pro/Cabela’s pro, Bashore has been seen in several retail locations sharing his vast knowledge with eager listeners.

1. When you find fish, how long do you stay with a certain presentation before you change?

“I believe in what my electronics show me. If I see fish, I will fish them for about 15 minutes showing them a variety of presentations. If I can’t get them to bite, I’ll mark the location on the graph and come back later in the day to try again.”

2. How do you set up live-bait rigs for walleyes?

“Live-bait rigging for me usually means bottom bouncers and nothing beats a Slow Death rig here in South Dakota. I prefer to run my rigs on monofilament, allowing the bait to float off the bottom a bit–2 to 4 feet— leaders are usually long enough in the dirty water I fish.”

Trusting your electronics is the quickest way to find big fish.
Big spinner blades get the nod when fishing walleyes in dirty water.
Brian Bashore is a fishing pro and South Dakota guide.

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All the gear you need for ice fishing

Cut the ice and drop a line. (Amazon/)

If you’re thinking about getting into ice fishing, or you are dabbling but would like to up your gear, we have you covered. This gear will make sure you’re staying warm and yes, it will even help you find fish. All you will need to do is buy some bait and wait for ice.

Fish don’t care how much your rod cost. (Amazon/)

You don’t need to break the bank to catch fish through the ice. This Ugly Stik has everything you need and nothing that you don’t. Its aluminum spool is light and stainless steel guides are one piece. It also comes in length and weight options, offering you a variety depending on what you’re targeting. Save money on a rod and reel to invest in your auger.

Thick ice won’t stop you. (Amazon/)

If you’ve never ice fished before, and you’re not sure you’ll like it, this might be a little pricey. But if you know you’ll be spending plenty of time out on the ice, invest in an auger that won’t let you down. The power head is designed for higher transmission efficiency, and a brushless motor makes the digging process smooth. It’s electric, which means no messing around with gas, oil, and fumes. The best part? It’s only 15 pounds without the auger bit, so you can use your energy hauling big fish.

Stay warm out there. (Amazon/)

Sure, if the sun is shining and wind isn’t blowing, sitting outside while ice fishing is pleasant. But when temperatures drop well below zero and a breeze picks up, sitting outside next to a hole may feel like you’re freezing. That’s where this hut comes in. It takes 60 seconds to set up, is fully insulated and squishes down to fit in a duffle on your back. And don’t worry, if it starts to feel musty inside, it has removable window panels to let a little air in.

Don’t just guess, target fish. (Amazon /)

Why sit by a hole for hours hoping for a bite when you can know for sure if fish are swimming? This Flasher Series will get you there. It has a three-color fiber optic display that marks fish and your lure and shows you the lake bottom. The sonar allows you to hone-in on fish and fine-tune your coverage. Step up your game and catch more fish.

Fish don’t care how much your rod cost.
Thick ice won’t stop you.
Stay warm out there.
Don’t just guess, target fish.


8 Tips for Perfecting the Art of Pass Shooting Waterfowl

This is a perfect scenario to pass shoot geese from a treeline as they descend into a field. (Joe Genzel/)

Admittedly, there’s not much majesty in pass shooting. It’s often seen as a lesser form of hunting by those waterfowl purists who are obsessed with getting ducks and geese feet-down over the decoys. It takes a tremendous amount of skill to set a rig, call, and get birds in close. But that’s not the only way to hunt waterfowl, and pass shooting gets the job done just the same as a conventional hunt. Also, if traditionalists who hunt over decoys are honest with themselves, some of the shooting they do is pass shooting, particularly on divers or sea ducks or teal. Most times those ducks are just rocketing through the longlines or past spinning-wing decoys.

To pass shoot successfully, you have to find an area birds are flying over (within shotgun range), and set up there. You wait for birds to pass by and then shoot—hence the term “pass shooting.” It’s a great way for beginners, who can’t afford all the gear it takes to hunt waterfowl, to enter the sport without much of a financial commitment. You will have to spend time scouting, take into consideration the number of other hunters in the area, and how close you are shooting birds in proximity to the roost (which are all good things to learn for any type of waterfowl hunt). If you don’t think about such details, you will 1) not kill any birds, and 2) piss a bunch of people off. You want to avoid both of those outcomes, so here are a few tips to put more ducks and geese on the strap come fall.

Tactics You Need To Avoid

I would be remiss if I didn’t say that you need to pass shoot cautiously. Waterfowlers are oftentimes hunting in condensed areas, thus several groups of hunters are chasing many of the same birds. Don’t screw up other hunters with your pass shooting tactics. So if you have access to an area where big groups of birds are flying right off the roost in the morning, don’t set up there and start blasting away. It’s going to put too much pressure on a large number of birds and push them out of the area, or at a minimum, get the birds all up at once. That’s not fair to the folks hunting around you who have invested money in decoys, leased up property, or burned gas scouting and door-knocking for access.

The same rules apply for levee hunting. Many public and private hunting areas are leveed off to control water, and it’s a jerk move to just walk out on one of them and shoot birds as they fly over if you are sharing the place with other hunters. They’ve gotten up early, taken time off work, or secured permission from their significant other to leave the kids at home and spend a morning with buddies in the marsh. Don’t ruin that experience for them by stumbling down the levee at prime time and blasting away at any bird that flies by.

Shooting skeet is a bonified way to become a better pass shooter.
Use a call to lure birds in closer to a treeline.
An early-season shoot that resulted in mallards, honkers, and a wood duck.
Using bales as “mobile blinds” will get you closer to passing geese.

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Get Ultra-Close to the Roost on Late-Season Turkey Hunts

Getting in tight to the roost can be a killer tactic on late-season gobblers. (Alex Robinson/)

Time is running out on turkey season, so now is not the time to be cautious. Last week I hunted with Josh Dahlke, the vice president of content for HuntStand media (and a turkey maniac), on a property in western Wisconsin. In two days of hunting we were able to kill a fired-up gobbler with aggressive tactics.

The property we were on had already been hunted by three groups of guys before us. Most of these hunters preferred to set decoys out in a field and then wait in a blind from morning until afternoon, day after day. Some of those hunters punched their tags, others didn’t. But neither Dahlke nor I have that kind of patience when it comes to turkeys.

Our plan was to locate a gobbler on the roost and then get as close as possible (at least inside 100 yards) and then call him to the gun after he pitched down. The key to all of this is getting close enough to either bump off the tom’s hens (which are usually roosting nearby) or to get between the tom and his hens. To do this, we’d have to scout carefully. Of course this is a risky tactic, because if you get too close, your approach is too loud, or the timber is too open, you can easily spook the gobbler and end your morning setup before it even really starts.

But if you’re willing to take those risks, this is one of the most exciting ways to call in a henned-up gobbler late in the season. Turkeys might not be the most intelligent game species, but they’re not completely mindless either. At this point in the season, if a tom is with a flock of hens, he’ll know where they roost at night and where they will fly down in the morning. If you don’t intervene with their normal pattern, that gobbler will fly down, find his hens, and walk off, probably gobbling back at your calling the whole time, but never coming into range.

This is exactly what happened to Dahlke and I on the first morning of our hunt. We set up close to the gobbler, but he had hens farther down the ridge. He gobbled back to Dahlke’s calling, but we never actually saw him after he flew down. After awhile, he gathered up his hens and moseyed away in the opposite direction (we didn’t actually know this for certain because we never saw or heard the hens, but we had a pretty good idea).

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Four affordable tents for groups

Room for everyone. (Amazon/)

Maybe you have five kids. Maybe you have a few kids and dogs that the kids insist the dogs sleep in the tent. Maybe you like camping with friends but not everyone has a tent. Whatever your situation, don’t let a small budget keep you from the campout your sanity requires. We’ve narrowed the selection down to four tents for any need including one with separate rooms if you really want some space. From now on, don’t cram your family of five into a three-man tent.

Money’s tight. Sleeping quarters shouldn’t be. (Amazon/)

This Coleman car-camping tent may not be the lightest tent on the market, but it doesn’t need to be. What it does need to do is keep the bugs and intermittent rain showers away. And do it on the cheap. You can pack up to eight people in this tent and even cordon off areas if you need a bit of space from one another. Venting allows you to adjust airflow in case any of the eight skipped their showers.

Never sleep mashed together again. (Amazon/)

This 16-by-16-foot tent is meant for large groups, or even smaller groups who need areas to expand into. It has three rooms that can fit three queen airbeds. If you don’t need to sleep 12 people, use one of the rooms for playing cards when the weather turns. It sets up in under 2 minutes and has seven windows that can be opened and fully closed. Bonus for hot summer nights: the oversized ground vent fits an air conditioner, should you have one on hand.

Keep your group dry. (Amazon/)

Don’t cancel your plans just because the forecast calls for rain. You just need the right gear. This tent will keep 9 to 10 people warm and dry in the worst storms. It has a full-coverage rainfly, but also includes covered vents so the inside doesn’t become too musty. An anti-fungus floor protects your tent in humid areas, and the bathtub-style construction means puddles won’t form overnight. As another bonus, it’s more than 6 feet tall, so most of your party can stand inside.

Sip your coffee in a porch and keep the mosquitos away. (Amazon/)

Camping in bug country? Have kids who attract mosquitos, or dogs that are magnets for flies? This tent is the perfect solution to offer a refuge from biting insects while still being outdoors. Drink a cup of coffee on the porch while the rest of your family sleeps. Or let your kids stare at stars and feel the night’s breeze in the screened-in section. The affordable tent sleeps eight and sets up quick.

Money’s tight. Sleeping quarters shouldn’t be.
Never sleep mashed together again.
Keep your group dry.
Sip your coffee in a porch and keep the mosquitos away.


Fishbrain Pro: The app that will help you land your dream catch

Fishbrain Pro. (Fishbrain/)

Fishbrain is the secret weapon that over 6.5 million American anglers are keeping in their back pockets. Whether you’re a freshwater or saltwater angler, a beginner or pro, Fishbrain is designed to help you fish smarter, not harder. The app gives you access to the best fishing tips and tricks, lets you shop the latest gear, and helps you hunt down the perfect fishing spot near you, all from the palm of your hand.

Thanks to its pool of crowd-sourced data, Fishbrain helps anglers decide where, when, and how to fish, ensuring they have the insights they need for the best possible experience each time they venture out. With features like BiteTime - the world’s most advanced fishing forecast - and AI-powered species recognition tools, it’s no wonder Fishbrain is the app of choice for fishing pros like Scott Martin, Chasten Whitfield, and Roland Martin.

Just in time for the 2020 fishing season, Fishbrain has made its app even more invaluable by launching Fishbrain Pro, its fully revamped and reloaded membership plan. With Fishbrain Pro, users will get everything they love about Fishbrain Premium, including exact catch locations, fishing forecasts, and depth contours, but with the addition of even more essential tools to keep them ahead of the game. Based on community feedback, Fishbrain has added a whole host of perks, features and tools.

Never forget that honey hole again: private waypoints

Never forget that honey hole again: private waypoints. (Fishbrain/)

After talking to thousands of Fishbrain users, the message was clear: anglers wanted a way to jot down a specific location while using Fishbrain. With this in mind, Fishbrain made private waypoints the first addition to Fishbrain Pro.

Never forget that honey hole again: private waypoints.
Share what you want, with who you want: private groups
Pro perks: member deals and free shipping

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50 Hunter Stereotypes from Every State

The legend of this deer keeps growing. (Mile North Outdoors/)

Every bar has its fly—the hunter who’s never without a drink in hand and a tall tale to tell…about how great of an outdoorsman he is, of course. As hunters, we run across these folks every season. That deer hunter who embodies the local Michigan culture—if you can call it that. That kid turning into another pig-sticking Okie hog hunter. Or the guy wearing Costa sunglasses and Sperry deck shoes, who reminds you of everyone from Dixie you’ve ever met.

This list captures all those crazy folks, or some version of them, from the Eastern Shore to the coasts of California. Just remember, it’s all in good fun. So enjoy.


The “Roll Tide” pregame show whispers through the woods each Saturday morning from a small FM radio dangling in the deer blind. That same .30/30 lever gun grandad shot all his Booners with is perched in the window alongside a half-empty tin of Grizzly wintergreen snuff. Every time he tells the story of the big buck he shot the afternoon ‘Bama came back to win the Iron Bowl, its rack grows another 10 inches.


“Ten years ago, we would have only been shootin’ green…”
Lace up your snake charmers and follow behind a good ol’ bird dog if you’re from iJawja/i.
You don’t have buck fever? Must not be from Iowa.
The only thing better than Kentucky bourbon is the Kentucky turkey opener.
Please, Lord, let there be a 130-inch buck on this camera.
Setting up for a Dakota honker smash…before the blue-platers migrate west.
Slipping into a Kansas deer blind...after stopping at Casey's General, of course.
The dove opener is a national holiday in Texas.
Goose hunting is a birth right in eastern Washington.

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The best wood pellets to upgrade your grilling

Add extra flavor. (Jez Timms via Unsplash/)

Fill your neighborhood with that perfect apple smoke smell, or hickory, or maple. It’s not as tricky as it sounds. The right mix of wood pellets or chips have the ability to take your smoked meat from delicious to downright decadent. But what wood pellets are the right ones? We offer you some suggestions for whatever your tastes and ability levels may be.

Buy what works. (Amazon/)

Can’t decide between hickory, cherry, hard maple, and apple? Don’t worry about it, now you don’t need to. This mix has all four of the top hard woods with no filler oak or alder. Think of it as everything you need and nothing you don’t for the perfect hardwood, smokey blend.

Cook it your way. (Amazon/)

Are you one of those little-bit-of-this, little-bit-of-that people? If so, think about this mix. You get 1 pound each of apple, hickory, mesquite, cherry, pecan, and Jack Daniel’s. Each bag has 10 uses, which means the package lasts plenty long enough for you to try most combinations. These are perfect for anyone who doesn’t want to be stuck with the same mix each day.

Put that whiskey flavor in your meat. (Amazon/)

Expect nothing but the best from this 20-pound bag of all-natural, 100 percent oak and hardwoods. The pellets are guaranteed high BTU and clean-burning with low ash. With a hint of whiskey you’ll also smell and taste notes of hardwood flavors like pecan, hickory and sugar maple. And go ahead, pour yourself a glass while you’re standing by your smoker.

Give your food that hickory taste. (Amazon/)

Uses for these chips are nearly endless. Use them plain in a smoker for pork loins or briskets. Throw them on some charcoals to add flavor to a whole chicken or smoked wings. Use just the chips to cook a thin filet of trout or salmon. The hickory wood has been treated to prevent mold and rot. Cooking with these will impress anyone at your dinner table.

Buy what works.
Cook it your way.
Put that whiskey flavor in your meat.
Give your food that hickory taste.


How to Get Your Own Private Hunting Property (and Improve its Habitat)

Building habitat on private ground goes hand-in-hand with good hunting. (Joe Genzel/)

Everyone wants to be a #publicland hunter these days. You will get no argument from me if that’s where you prefer to hunt. I spend a good amount of time chasing greenheads and a few gobblers on state ground each fall and spring. But I am here to tell you, it’s OK to hunt private land too…seriously, it won’t ruin your street cred.

It takes every bit as much work to develop habitat on your own piece of property as it does to scout a nice buck on public land and kill it there. I know, because I hunt both. I’ve sweated alongside my family members, clearing timber, cutting trails, and planting food plots on a small farm we own together (more on that later). And I’ve also made countless long walks down muddy levees on Waterfowl Management Areas at ungodly early hours to shoot two hen ringnecks.

Not everyone will be able to get their own piece of private land, and some of you may think it’s too expensive to buy or lease, which is true in many cases but there are always exceptions. So I talked to four experienced hunters and habitat managers to see how they utilize private property. I also included how my family has developed an 80-acre farm in west-central Illinois for whitetails, turkeys, and doves. The conclusion? Private land is tough to acquire, and it’s a lot of work to hunt, but the payoffs are huge.

Jordan Adams: Getting Permission on Private Land

Jordan Budd (left) and Jordan Adams with a private-land whitetail. (Jordan Adams/)

Jordan Adams, guides on private ground in western Nebraska and looks for grandmas and cows when she is trying to get landowner permission.

Jordan Budd (left) and Jordan Adams with a private-land whitetail.
Some private ground isn’t as pricey as you think.
Creating grouse habitat is no easy task.
Before you can enjoy breakfast in the duck blind, there’s a ton of work to be done.
The rewards of private-land hunting are undeniable.

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The best ways to get your game from the field to your freezer

Keep your catch. (Rhett Noonan via Unsplash/)

Congratulations, you shot your elk, punched your turkey tag, or knocked down your daily limit of ducks. While the hunt is certainly a part of the adventure, taking the meat home and filling your freezer is the real prize. But so much can go wrong between field and freezer. We’re here to help. Whether you need a cooler or game bags, here are four tailored ways to help ensure your meat is as good as you imagined.

Don’t let waterfowl go foul. (Amazon/)

Is this pricey for a cooler you can throw over your shoulder? Yes. Is it worth it to keep your small game and birds cold in the field? Absolutely. The quickest way to spoiled meat is not caring for it properly after it’s been shot. If you live and hunt in the Arctic, maybe a good cooler doesn’t matter. But if you’re anywhere warmer, consider this one. It has a large mouth opening so it’s easy to drop animals in and pull them out. It also has a heavy base to protect from abrasion and a water-, puncture-, and UV-resistant exterior.

Consider this your extra refrigerator. (Amazon/)

You just shot an elk and dressed it in the field. But as you lug it back to your truck, you begin to realize it’s a long way to home and it’s 80 degrees. Don’t worry. This Yeti cooler can handle the bulk of the meat and some ice, cooling it down and preventing unwanted spoiling. It’s also certified bear resistant, so if you’re hunting in bear country and need to camp out another night, your meat is safe.

Carry out meat, not bugs. (Amazon /)

Field dressing an elk, moose, caribou, or other big game is no easy task. And while a shoulder can be carried out whole, the backstraps, tenderloins, and other choice pieces need somewhere to go. Don’t put them on the ground. Use these bags to keep your meat clean, safe, and away from pesky bugs. The odor-free bags are compact and can be washed and reused. They’re also made in the U.S.A.

Preserve your game. (Amazon/)

Knowing you’re not going to deal with freezer burn should be enough to make you want a vacuum sealer for your meat. This one has a double line seal for extra strength, a double vacuum pump, and various sealing choices. It’s the easiest way to ensure your meat is frozen, preserved, and ready for you to eat throughout the year.

Don’t let waterfowl go foul.
Consider this your extra refrigerator.
Carry out meat, not bugs.
Preserve your game.


Must-have tackle for catching channel catfish

Gear you'll want by your side. (Amazon/)

Channel catfish start spawning when the water temperature tops 80 degrees. That means about a month before that period, they’re moving into the shallows en masse to fatten up on their favorite chow ahead of the big event. This is both the best part of the season to land a double-digit channel cat, and to stock the freezer for a summertime fish-fry. But first, you need good tackle. Like this stuff right here.

Garcia’s Elite Max 60 is the perfect all-purpose spinning reel for channel catfish. (Amazon/)

The same reel suited for a 90-pound blue cat is a little overkill for a 5-pound channel cat. What you need is a good spinning reel that holds plenty of braided line in the event you tangle with something heavy, but one that also allows for short, accurate casts and comfortable all-day use. This Abu Garcia spinning reel gives you a lot for the price, including 6 stainless-steel ball bearings and a 200-foot, 20-pound line capacity.

Baitholder hooks are ideal for live nightcrawler presentations. (Amazon/)

With an angled eye and rear-facing barbs on the shank, these might be the perfect hooks for threading on juicy nightcrawlers—which are about as fine a bait as a person can use for channel cats this time of year. But they work nearly as well with whole shrimp in the shell, too, which seem to attract bigger fish. A 1/0 size will hold a hefty channel cat with a good hookset, but upsize to 2/0 or 3/0 if the fish in your home waters are especially bulbous.

Get hold of a catfish without getting finned with these old-time grippers. (Amazon/)

This timeless piece of catfishing gear isn’t just for people who can’t stand touching the slimy things. Channel cats sport barbed spikes on their dorsal and pectoral fins that’ll punch right through the web of your hand and hurt like the dickens, if you’re not careful. Sure, there’s a proper way to grip them that minimizes the risk, but these grippers guarantee you won’t get poked while unhooking fish—and they save on a little of the slime mess wiped across your pants, too.

Craving a plate of fiddlers? Skin your smaller cats with these easy-to-use pliers. (Amazon/)

Peruse the menu in the right southern diner and you can find “fiddlers,” which are whole channel cats of about 2 pounds, skinned and gutted and deep-fried. Because catfish have smooth skin that’s difficult to grip with your fingers, specially designed pliers like these have found homes in the tackleboxes of dedicated whiskermen everywhere. They’ll make short work of your catch at the end of the day.

Garcia’s Elite Max 60 is the perfect all-purpose spinning reel for channel catfish.
Baitholder hooks are ideal for live nightcrawler presentations.
Get hold of a catfish without getting finned with these old-time grippers.
Craving a plate of fiddlers? Skin your smaller cats with these easy-to-use pliers.
Bank-bound anglers can stay in it for the long night’s haul with a good rod holder like this one.

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Spice up your meat with these four rubs

Spice up your life. (Keep Your Darlings via Unsplash/)

We know, some cuts of beef or filets of fish are sacrosanct. No one should put anything on them, no less a flavored rub. But if you’re not grilling filet mignon every night, or you are but want to try something a little different, we have some options. Start light and see what you think, then layer it on if you like what you try. We think you will.

Whatever you unearthed in your freezer, put some of this on it. (Amazon/)

This rub is marketed to go on anything, and they mean anything. You can go traditional, and mix it in with your burger or sprinkle it over a steak or roast. But you can also toss it with some popcorn if you’re thinking about a savory snack and add it to a salad for something a little different. Consider this your goes-on-anything, improves-most-everything rub.

Buy it for steaks, keep it for other meat. (Amazon/)

Look to the Santa Maria Steak Seasoning to give your steaks the perfect combination of garlic, pepper and spicy chilies with the right amount of sea salt. It not only adds a little spice and smoke, but also enhances the meat’s natural flavor. Use it on steaks, but also consider it for grilled pork, chicken and even vegetables.

Take your salmon to the next level. (Amazon/)

Crafted with a blend of paprika, thyme and brown sugar, this rub was inspired by the salmon it’s intended to flavor. It has all-natural ingredients and doesn’t include any MSGs. Save it mostly for trout and salmon, but keep it around for pork, steaks or chicken wings. If you’re wondering how restaurants get that smokey flavor, this is likely it.

For when you want it hot. (Amazon/)

When you want food spicy, but you also want a variety, this five-pack is hard to beat. It includes adobo seasoning, jerk, lemon fire, soul food and spicy Cajun, Creole. Use it on basically anything you’re grilling from vegetables to shrimp or consider it for homemade jerky, pizza or mixed into a marinade. We just recommend you start light before layering it on thick.

Whatever you unearthed in your freezer, put some of this on it.
Buy it for steaks, keep it for other meat.
Take your salmon to the next level.
For when you want it hot.


Four boots made to keep your feet dry

Keep your feet dry and secure. (Nahuel Hawkes via Unsplash/)

We all understand, in theory, why waterproof boots matter. Wet feet are the quickest way to blisters, frostbite, and even foot rot. Even in the best circumstances, wet feet are just plain uncomfortable. But not everyone has to buy knee high muck boots or pricey GORE-TEX. We picked out four options for whatever your outdoor need.

Stay dry day after day. (Amazon/)

Imagine waking up in the morning after a long pack into a lake. You stretch your legs out of your tent and slip your feet into boots. But instead of cool and dry, they’re freezing cold and soaking wet. And you have days of hiking in front of you. These boots won’t let that happen. The rubber sides and sole keep your feet forever separated from the ground. GORE-TEX ensures waterproofness for the life of the boots and technology in the midsole optimizes weight and performance.

For when you need to walk through creeks. (Amazon/)

These aren’t your grandpa’s irrigation boots. The XTRATUF boots are 100 percent waterproof with triple-dipped latex neoprene. They’re also slip-resistant with toe and heel guards that protect against abrasions. The best part is the moisture-wicking insoles that absorb shocks and have an open cell structure that reduce insole drying time.

Look good. Protect your feet. (Amazon/)

You’re not going on a five-day backpacking trip in these, but for the days you need to look decent in the office or for a dinner, but also need to do a site visit in the rain or check out a trail, these are your boot. Their waterproof construction is designed to keep your feet dry and comfortable. The suede is practical and attractive. And the style transitions better than any boot from the trail to the office.

Buy for comfort, stay for durability. (Amazon/)

Go ahead, put these to the test. Take them out on a trail, run through puddles or shallow creeks. The performance suede leather and mesh is waterproof and breathable. The closed-cell foam tongue keeps moisture and debris out. The protective rubber toe cap keeps your toes safe and extends the life of your shoe. The Vibram TCS sole is all you need to stay upright on even the slipperiest surfaces.

Stay dry day after day.
For when you need to walk through creeks.
Look good. Protect your feet.
Buy for comfort, stay for durability.


3 Ways to Refinish your Gun with a Custom Paint Job

Creating a pattern on a GLOCK handgun with Cerakote. (Bryce M. Towsley/)

The best way for a DIY hobby gunsmith to finish the metal and often the stocks or grips on a gun is with a spray-on coating. Spray coatings are much easier to deal with than traditional methods like hot bluing, which requires a lot of equipment and the use of nasty chemicals.

Spray-on coatings come in many colors and finishes and they can be applied to just about any material. They also protect gun metal against rust and act as a barrier against corrosion causing substances.

Spray-on coatings have become the standard for a lot of custom builders of hunting, tactical, or target guns. Bluing is traditional and has a certain visual appeal, but for a working gun, one that sees a lot of field time, a spray-on coating makes more sense. It is less expensive, will protect the gun, camouflage it in the field, and it is a much easier finish to maintain or repair.

They are better for your love life too. Unless you are a hermit living alone, just try setting up bluing tanks on your kitchen stove, I dare you! Let me know how that works out.

How to Prepare a Gun for Painting

Acetone and Brakleen are both useful degreasing agents.
This Winchester 94 .30/30 was refinished using an abrasive pad and DuraCoat. No sandblasting.
Air dry, rattle can gun coatings can give an excellent result.
DuraCoat No Sand will prep the metal without sandblasting.
A spray gun gives better results.
The author’s larger blasting cabinet.
An inexpensive gravity feed sandblaster will work fine.
The author built this 1911 from parts and finished it with Cerakote.
Heat-resistant tape and barrel plugs.
A convection toaster oven will work for smaller parts.
The author’s homemade oven.
iGunsmithing Modern Firearms/i, by Bryce M. Towsley.

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How to Butcher a Wild Turkey (and Get Every Last Cut of Meat)

All the cuts from a wild turkey. (Alex Robinson/)

Wild turkey is my all-time favorite game meat. It’s easy to cook, it has plenty of rich flavor, and it’s just about impossible to beat fried turkey nuggets dipped spicy barbecue sauce. Oftentimes, wild turkey meat is very hard-earned. You wake up at 3 a.m. morning after morning, calling at unresponsive toms, until one morning a gobbler breaks and comes strutting in to shotgun range. There is nothing more satisfying than that.

So after a hard season of turkey hunting, you just might want to get every last scrap of meat off your bird. In the video below, my turkey hunting buddy Josh Dahlke does a really nice job demonstrating the basic butchering process on a wild turkey. With most of the birds I shoot, I follow the exact same process Josh uses here.

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But sometimes, I want more than just the breasts and legs. Some turkeys are killed on hunts that are more meaningful, and I want to savor every bite as a way of making that hunt last just a little longer. That means taking the giblets, the wings, and bones.

A quick example of what I’m talking about … earlier this spring I scouted a piece of public property that was about an hour from my house. One evening I drove out to roost birds, and unknowingly set up too close. I watched a tom strut at 100 yards and then fly up into an oak tree about 70 yards from me. His hens roosted even closer. Not wanting to blow all the turkeys off their roosts, I waited until dark and then crawled my way out, luckily only spooking two hens. By the time I got home it was 10:30 pm, and I was up again at 3 a.m. to get back on the tom in the morning. Sure enough, I called that old gobbler off the limb and into shotgun range, and then missed—twice. I wanted to give up for the day, but instead I gave myself a little pep talk, ate a granola bar, drank some coffee out of my thermos, and then made a long walk through some thick woods that nobody else had been hunting. After a few hours I struck a tom and then called him in to 15 yards. This time, I didn’t miss. Here’s how I got all the meat available out of that turkey.

I've been using the Havalon Talon to butcher my wild turkeys this this year. The interchangeable blades are nice because you can use the fillet version to peel out the breast meat and the heavier serrated blade to cut through joints (without dulling your fillet blade).
Low and slow are the keys to cooking wild turkey thighs.
Wild turkey wings actually hold a surprising amount of meat, but it takes some work to get to them.
Clockwise: The gizzard, liver, and heart from a wild turkey.
The gizzard sliced open, full of grit; the gizzard with the inner liner removed; the cleaned and skinned gizzard cut in half; fried gizzard, heart, and liver with hot sauce on the side.

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Conservation Organizations are Asking for #ResponsibleRecreation on Public Lands and Waters

TRCP, along with other conservation groups, is asking outdoorsmen and women to continue to be cautious as they head out to public lands and waters during COVID-19. (Steve Hillebrand, USFWS/)

The COVID-19 curve has begun to flatten, but several conservation organizations are cautioning hunters and anglers to maintain social distancing practices and follow directives set forth by their home states and the Center of for Disease Control and Prevention. The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Program helped launch the #ResponsibleRecreation pledge this week. It’s a coordinated effort that includes the National Wild Turkey Foundation, Congressional Sportsman Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, Trout Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, and Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

As summer approaches, and in an attempt to return to some sense of normalcy, more of us are heading outdoors to enjoy our public lands and waters. The #ResponsibleRecreation campaign is asking us to do this sensibly. That means maintaining social distancing rules, recreating close to home, and buying licenses and park passes online to avoid unneeded encounters with other people.

“Whether participating in hunting, fishing, shooting sports, or numerous other outdoor activities, individuals and families are getting outside as a means of coping with the challenges of this health crisis,” says Whit Fosburgh, the president and CEO of TRCP. “The conservation community recognizes that this is a privilege, one that sportsmen and women take very seriously. Just as we’ve stepped up to fund conservation efforts and recover at-risk species, hunters and anglers have yet another opportunity to lead by example and ensure that outdoor recreation can continue to delight and facilitate healing for anyone who ventures outside.”

The idea behind the campaign is to showcase hunters, anglers, bird watchers, hikers, etc., spending time outdoors in a safe manner. A handful of states shuttered access to some or all public lands and waters in March and April, but most have opened state and federal lands recently (though some states are only opening select sites). Using the #ResponsibleRecreation hashtag is an opportunity to lead by example, and to show our communities that we can safely return to the woods, lakes, and rivers during these unprecedented times.

Read Next: Will Coronavirus Get More People into Hunting?

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7 Top Hunting Dog Training Tips From World-Class Experts

The decision to send a pointing dog, flushing dog, versatile dog, or a retriever to a pro trainer is a big deal. Some owners want help starting puppies off with a solid foundation. Others are good with basic obedience, yardwork and training, and only need assistance with advanced work or specific issues. Then there are those who are so frustrated with their dogs that they need a lot of help. But it costs money to send a dog to a pro trainer, sometimes a lot. To get the most return on your investment of time and expense requires upfront research. Every dog is unique, and so is each owner’s requirements. Here’s some advice from pro trainers nationwide on constructive ways to form a team to help your pup succeed.

Eukanuba Pro Trainer Jeremy Criscoe (Eukanuba/)

1. Set Achievable Goals

Jeremy Criscoe, a Eukanuba Pro Trainer out of Florida’s Blue Cypress Kennel, is a fourth-generation dog man who splits his training time between Florida and Alabama. Blue Cypress’ dog Gus made headlines a few years ago for being the only American born and trained UK Lab to win field trials abroad. To successfully work with clients, Criscoe relies on a series of benchmarks that begins when owners pick up a pup.

“I work with them to set goals, expectations and then formulate a training platform so they can reach those marks,” he says. “If I know that the dog will be used as a gun dog, a house dog, or a field trial dog, I customize a module to train a dog to their liking. I’ll review my expectations of the owners in weekly and monthly increments that run from the time they pick up their pup until the day they drop him off for training. For retrievers between 8 and 14 weeks, I like clients to focus on crate training, housebreaking, sitting, walking on a lead, and fetching. For pointing dogs, I want them to focus on recall, heeling, housebreaking and crate training. I need to know if they want a dog steady to wing, shot or broke all the way through. During that time, I like clients to come by the kennel so we can introduce their dog to kennel life. That regular exposure keeps the dog from going into shock from the dramatic change from a house dog to a working dog. We get aligned as a team and everyone, and especially the dogs, are on the same page.”

Kyson Moss (9 years old, left), Jared Moss (center) and Kobe Moss (11 years old) train dogs and young handlers alike. (Jared Moss/)

2. Don’t Freak Out Your Pup

Kyson Moss (9 years old, left), Jared Moss (center) and Kobe Moss (11 years old) train dogs and young handlers alike.
Chris Akin has professionally trained more than 4,000 Labs.
Ashly Kite of Moss Bend Retrievers
Robert Milner of Wildrose Kennels.
Pointing dog trainer Mark Fulmer.
Craig Doherty of Wild Apple Kennels

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Why I’d Rather Fish a River Than a Lake

An angler battles a hefty brown on a Beaverhead tributary in Montana. (Brian Grossenbacher/)

Around and around and around we go. Where we’ll stop, I already know because we’d stopped there five times since 7 a.m. There was the little manicured bathing beach. There was the corner where the power lines crossed. There was the cove and the spillway.

The visuals on land may have been different, but not the ones in the water. In every place we rowed on this small lake, there were weeds, weeds, and more weeds.

Of course, it was the muskies in those weeds that my friend Joe Demalderis and I were after, but they weren’t chewing. Not on the first lap. Not on the tenth. The reality was that even if one of those water wolves sprang up and destroyed my fly, it would not have changed my opinion: Moving water rules, still water drools.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had some incredible days—many that I will never forget—fishing still waters all over the world. I’ve beat up on Lake Erie’s donkey walleyes and caught my personal-best largemouth on El Salto in Mexico. I’ve duked it out with Lake Gaston blue cats and monster perch on Winnipesaukee. But the common denominator in all those achievements? I had a guide who was very dialed in.

I didn’t grow up in an area with a big-lake fishing culture, nor was my dad or granddad a part of the limited one that does exist in New Jersey. From my youngest days, if given a choice of where I wanted to fish, I usually opted for moving water. If the stocked trout weren’t biting on Stony Brook, I’d catch crayfish. If the smallmouths weren’t biting on the Delaware River, there were always the catfish or a little riffle to bodysurf down in the summer. The older I got, the less time I spent flipping rocks or swimming because I was too busy catching what I came for. Little by little, I figured out that the way the fish set up in the hole by the bridge is the same way they set up at the logjam three bends downstream. Current breaks are key. When the water is up, fish push to the soft banks. It all started to click.

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