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A Cut Above

Axes and hatchets are among man's oldest and most versatile tools. From splitting firewood to breaking down an elk, there isn't much these venerable icons of the outdoors can't do.
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Spy Baits

Although the term "spy-baiting" may conjure up all manner of creative connotations, this relatively new finesse tactic for bass is rather simple.
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Turkey Slam

The turkey world slam took OL's Editor-in-Chief around the world. Check out the photos as Andrew McKean chases gobblers from Florida to Hawaii.
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Top Rangefinders

Today's rangefinders represent a substantial investment, but you get a lot for your money. We tested six of the most feature-packed units to see which are most fieldworthy.
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May 9, 2008

Top Picks

  • “Do it yourself.” Utter that phrase to your boss and you could end up with a pink slip. Say it to an outdoorsman and the lightbulb comes on.

  • While most hunters spend their spring weekends waiting for turkey season, Aaron Milliken spends hour after hour studying Google Earth.

  • Anyone who’s come across one knows what Fred Bear meant a half century ago when he said that the thrill of tangling with a grizzly bear cleanses the soul.

  • April 23, 2014

    Survival Gear: 5 Ways Your Cell Phone Can Save You - 0

    Mobile communication has become so commonplace in our modern lives that we often don’t recognize it for its tremendous value in an emergency. A cell phone with at least some battery juice can be absolutely priceless in a survival situation. Here are five ways it can save your life. [ Read Full Post ]

  • April 23, 2014

    Survival Tip #140: Build a Raised Bed Garden - 0

    Editor's Note: This tip comes from our new "Prepare for Anything Survival Manual."

    A raised bed garden can provide you with a surprising amount of food from a very small space, and it works in a variety of climates. This type of versatile garden bed can tackle a number of common problems in gardening, as it can make for good drainage in rainy climates and warmer roots in cold climates. Here’s how you can set up a 32-square-foot (10-square-m) raised bed garden. [ Read Full Post ]

  • April 23, 2014

    How Dick Vincent Helped Save Montana's Trout Fishery - 0

    Photo by Dave Porter / Alamy

    Montana is loaded to the gills with passionate fishermen, and more arrive by the planeload each year. But probably only a handful appreciate the complexity of the fishery they enjoy. And fewer still know to credit retired biologist Dick Vincent for the remarkable resource.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • April 23, 2014

    Tips and Tactics for Shed Hunting the West - 0

    Here in the West shed hunting has become almost as popular as the actual fall hunting seasons. The reason? Well, it's pretty hard to draw a tag for many of the premium hunting units in the rocky mountains. But that also results in some really great trophy animals dropping their antlers among the sagebrush, and anyone with a good set of legs and plenty of ambition can get out and find them.

    I know several serious shed hunters who spend a lot of time monitoring a big muley or bull elk during late winter and waiting for him to drop his antlers. It's an exciting way to get to know the local animals, and provides the added benefit of finding a really fresh set of huge antlers. Good binoculars and a spotting scope are a must, as it is important to stay clear out of the animals core area – if you disturb him, he may move several miles away and you might never find him (or his antlers) again. [ Read Full Post ]

  • April 22, 2014

    Battle of the Bucks 2014: Round 1 - 0

    Each year, we round up photos of the country's biggest bucks and most thrilling hunting stories for the Outdoor Life Deer of the Year contest. Now, we're calling on you to help us pick America's favorite buck. We've selected the 16 finalists for the reader's choice award and divided them by region. So, vote for your favorite bucks below. We'll post Round 2 of the contest next week. [ Read Full Post ]

  • April 22, 2014

    Video: Longest Mule Deer Migration Ever Recorded - 0

    A team of researchers working in Wyoming recently documented what is not only the longest migration of mule deer ever recorded, but also the second longest land migration in North America. The muleys in the study traveled 150 miles from their winter grounds in the Red Desert to their individual summer ranges in the Hoback Basin. These new findings reported by the Wyoming Migration Initiative are part of an overall effort to understand and conserve ungulate migration in Wyoming, according to the Gillette News Record. [ Read Full Post ]

  • April 22, 2014

    Wildlife Officials to Ban Coyote and Predator Contests in California - 1

    The California Fish and Game Commission issued a proposed rule last week that would outlaw coyote and other predator contests that reward hunters. Officials at the FGC meeting Wednesday voted 3-2 in favor of the proposal, which establishes a public comment period open through Aug. 6, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

    Earlier this year the animal activist group Project Coyote requested a ban on all predator contests in California. The petition has garnered nearly 22,000 signatures and wildlife officials received nearly 13,000 letters demanding the statewide termination of such contests. In comparison the FGC received only eight letters in support of keeping the contests legal. One of the few hunters who wrote the agency pointed out in his letter that “predator hunting is a valuable management tool that needs to be protected.” The hunter also noted the negative impacts the proposal could impart on ranching and deer hunting in the state. [ Read Full Post ]

  • April 22, 2014

    3 Drills to Improve Your Defensive Shooting Skills - 0

    Photo by Lee Thomas Kjos/The Raw Spirit

    When you head to the range to develop defensive shooting skills, keep in mind that it should be about more than hitting targets. Too often, people merely work on their marksmanship and not on their ability to apply shooting skills in the context of an unexpected life-or-death situation. To do that, you need to work your brain as much as your trigger finger when you drill.

    Defensive shooting is something that happens unexpectedly, but this is the opposite of how most people drill at the range. After all, if you knew you were going to be in a position in which you would need a gun to defend yourself, you’d avoid it. That’s Self Defense 101: Avoid confrontation, be aware of your surroundings, and escape danger when possible. [ Read Full Post ]

  • April 22, 2014

    New Ares SCR: An AR-Style Rifle Without the Pistol Grip - 0

    Assuming that Darwin made it into heaven after spilling the beans about evolution, he is probably smiling from on high at the sight of the Ares SCR. This rifle is a perfect example of what happens when the do-gooders of the world take it upon themselves to protect us from evil. Once known as the EBR (still my favorite term), and has since become the MSR, Ares can now add the SCR to the family tree.

    The evil in question, of course, is that nasty pistol grip found on most AR-style rifles. To remedy that, Ares has created the Sport Convertible Rifle, which retains all the functionality of a basic AR but sports a more traditional style hunting stock.

    Ares is unveiling the rifle at the NRA annual meeting, which is being held this week in Indianapolis. It is one of the guns I’m most curious to check out, mostly because I want to see whether this rifle retains the excellent ergonomics of the traditional AR. (The fact that better ergonomics make for a safer rifle is an argument that would be lost on the anti-gun cabal.) [ Read Full Post ]

  • April 22, 2014

    Video: Anglers Wrestle World-Record Mako in the Surf - 0

    Yesterday we posted a story about a giant mako shark that will likely break the land-based catch world record. Today, a video has been released of the two anglers, cousins Earnie and Joe Polk, wrestling the 805-pound shark in the surf.

    The anglers tried to release the shark, but it was too weak after the fight to swim away. So, the shark became the main course at a community barbecue. [ Read Full Post ]

  • April 21, 2014

    New World-Record Bighorn Ram Picked Up in Alberta - 1

    A bighorn ram whose horns reportedly surpass the current world-record measurement has been found dead nearly a year after it disappeared from the grounds of the famous Cadomin Mine property in Alberta.

    The ram was officially scored last week at 209-1/8 inches net, with only 2/8 inches of deductions. That score exceeds the current world-record bighorn, also from Alberta, which scores 208-3/8. The Boone & Crockett Club announced on Saturday the official score and indicated plans to convene a full panel to score the ram—-a condition required before bestowing world-record status-—in the coming weeks.

    For nearly a year, bighorn sheep enthusiasts and Alberta Fish & Wildlife officers had speculated about the fate of the big ram, which some hunters claim might have measured 215 inches on the hoof. The ram disappeared from view last spring, leading some to suspect it had been poached. It turns out the ram died from natural causes, or was taken down by a grizzly bear. [ Read Full Post ]

  • April 21, 2014

    Survival Skills: How Get Emergency Food From Wild Eggs - 2

    No doubt, there were a lot of brightly colored eggs hidden in yards and town parks across the country this past weekend. Now is also about the time we start to see the eggs that are laid by wild birds. The emergency use of spring eggs for sustenance can make a big caloric impact in an otherwise lean foraging season. Just keep in mind that it’s illegal to collect most wild eggs, and this is for emergency survival situations only. [ Read Full Post ]

  • April 21, 2014

    Fishing Tips: Catch Suspended Bass With Spy Baits - 0

    Photo by Nick Ferrari

    Although the term "spy-baiting" may conjure up all manner of creative connotations, this relatively new finesse tactic for bass is rather simple. It's all about reaching and enticing suspended fish by presenting a specially designed bait on a linear course. No up-and-down, hit-or-miss stuff—spy-baits sneak into bass' personal space better than any splashy lure.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • April 21, 2014

    805-Pound Potential Record Mako Shark Caught on Florida Beach - 2

    An angler team of two cousins reeled in a possible world-record shortfin mako shark from the shore near Pensacola, Fla. last week. Earnie and Joey Polk had intended to keep the potentially controversial catch under wraps, but a passerby snapped this photo when the two stopped for gas. The photo went viral on social media and the story was soon picked up by a local paper. [ Read Full Post ]

  • April 21, 2014

    How to Hunt High-Country Turkeys - 0

    When he ran into my setup, the New Mexican gobbler’s chest seemed unnaturally huge. I assumed it was because he was so puffed up, ready to kick the grits out of the full-strut Hazel Creek tom decoy.

    But later, when I checked my GPS and confirmed the elevation—10,400 feet above sea level—it occurred to me that maybe the tom’s breast was so large because his lungs were freakishly big, an adaptation to living in that thin alpine air.

    The Vermejo Park Merriam’s is easily the highest-altitude gobbler I’ve ever killed, and hunting him reminded me that alpine turkeys are different from their lowland brethren.

    Here’s what to keep in mind as you hunt gobblers above 5,000 feet, which is a pretty common elevation for public-land Merriam’s. [ Read Full Post ]