In a perfect world you’ll know exactly what field the birds will visit at first light. But real-world hunting isn’t always so perfect.
On a recent trip to upstate New York I had the chance to hunt with Avery Pro Staffers Arliss Reed and Mike Bard. These guys scout harder than anyone I know, packing up the decoys after a morning a hunt, grabbing a quick lunch, then hitting the road looking to find more birds till dark — sometimes covering hundreds of miles in a day.
But the birds, and Mother Nature, don’t always cooperate. The weekend I was upstate the temperature swung from the mid-60s to the low-20s with periods of heavy rain, light snow, and a little bit of sleet. Geese were everywhere, and flying, but patterning them to a field we had access to hunt was another story.
Tracking animals through a fresh blanket of snow is a fun and, oftentimes, productive way to hunt them. But if you're not able to age a track, you could walk all day and never catch up with the animal that left it. Justin Richins, of R&K Hunting Company, spends a lot of time tracking elk and mule deer through the ample snow that falls in Utah and Wyoming over the course of those states' hunting seasons.
The antithesis of the season’s holiday cheer reportedly drives a white full-size pickup with the words “Yenter” written diagonally down the door. And he’s a decoy thief.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers are looking for the driver and passenger of the truck to question them about the theft of approximately 60 duck and goose decoys that were intended to teach young hunters about waterfowling. The dekes, along with several hunting blinds, were stolen hours before the educational event took place near Delta, Colorado.
Last week I had the chance to hunt moose, wolves and mule deer with Rugged Outfitting in southern Alberta, Canada. Like any other hunt I've ever been on, the conversation eventually turned to guns and loads.
Without any hesitation, Outfitter Todd Bunnage said a moose hunter should be carrying a magnum .30 caliber rifle (or something bigger). The most popular choice is the .300 Win. Mag, Todd said. His reasoning is simple: "moose are big."
I’ve been moving too fast lately. Bombing from one meeting to the next, missing deadlines, never enough time for all the details of the day.
That’s a flimsy excuse for why I showed up at my rifle range the other day in a dither, with a new rifle, plenty of ammo, fresh targets, but no earmuffs.
Well, that’s not quite right. I had a single foam earplug in my pickup—it was stashed with about 60 cents in old pennies and nickels—plus a 20-amp fuse, some .22 shells, and a few screwdriver bits—in my truck’s ashtray.
Our buddies over and Backcountry Hunters and Anglers have posted their next installment of Backcountry College. In the video, Clay Hayes explains how to rig up a block and tackle.
Here's what he has to say about the rig:
"The whole thing weighs just a few ounces and goes along well in a day pack with some game bags. I’ve used this for hanging food in bear country, which I talk about in the video, as well as hanging quarters and leveraging big animals into a more manageable position. It sure comes in handy when you’re alone in the woods."
I’m not saying that every mule deer hunter needs to buy the Boone and Crockett Club’s new book, “A Mule Deer Retrospective.”
What I’m saying is that it will enrich the lives of every deer hunter in America, whether you’ve ever walked a steep ridge above treeline, or watched prairie bucks spar in a blizzard, or ever dreamed about heading West for high, wide, and handsome muleys.
In fact, the worst thing I can say about this remarkable new book (www.boone-crockett.org; $35.95)—286 pages of vintage photos, hunting stories, and some fresh perspectives on mule deer conservation—is that I wasn’t asked to contribute to it.
Instead, there are entries from Miles Moretti, the director of the Mule Deer Foundation, from my friend Wayne van Zwoll, and from fellow writers Guy Eastman and Ryan Hatfield on topics ranging from the factors that made the 1950s and ‘60s the golden age of trophy mule deer to the remarkable women who have tagged some of our biggest bucks to the pull of mule-deer country at a cellular level.