May 9, 2008
When I began deer hunting some 35 years ago, the tree stand as we know it today didn’t really exist. At least, not in my neck of the woods. The tree stands of my era were jerry-rigged wooden affairs quickly nailed into the cross limbs of a trees. The steps were crude wooden hunks imprecisely nailed (often with a single nail in the center of the step). As these steps weathered, the nail would work lose, often turning the step into a swivel, which sent the hunter down the trunk in a hurry.
Most of the time, though, I hunted on the ground. Stump sitting, we called it. You’d find a likely place in the woods and plant your butt on a stump or against a tree trunk and wait…and wait…and wait.
As a young hunter just coming to grips with scent and wind, I often heard deer moving away from me, and I all-too-often saw the characteristic white flag of a whitetail in hasty retreat.
Later, as I gained experience and started hunting in other parts of the country I encountered ladder and tripod stands, which had the... [ Read Full Post ]
The Illinois High School Association Board of Directors yesterday officially approved the addition of a bass fishing tournament as an IHSA activity.
With the historic action, Illinois has become the first state in the nation to sanction competitive fishing as a sport in its public schools.
(See “Varsity Bass,” in the February 2008 Outdoor Life SnapShots section.)
The Board, acting on a recommendation from executive director Marty Hickman, unanimously approved fishing “as an IHSA activity beginning in the spring of 2009, provided that adequate sponsorships are secured in advance for the tournament.”
Hickman and other supporters of intra-school tournaments have indicated that numerous sponsors and volunteers have already stepped forward to offer their support for the program.
“The level of support for a bass fishing tournament, from both our membership and from other non-school groups, has demonstrated clearly to our Board that this event is one with potential tremendous value to our schools,” Hickman said after yesterday’s announcement.
“Implementing such an activity will enable our schools to provide another opportunity for students that will enrich their educational experience and keep with the Association's mission,” Hickman said.
While the news of the... [ Read Full Post ]
What do 500 hardcore hunters do once deer season comes to a close? Well, go coyote hunting, of course. That’s what took place last weekend during the first-ever Sullivan County, New York coyote contest. With $2,000 prize awarded to the hunter with the biggest coyote, sportsmen came out in droves to participate. Click here to read more… [ Read Full Post ]
An unexpected chemical reaction is causing 2008 Oregon Hunting and Fishing Licenses to vanish.
Like, disappear. No fooling.
As part of a new license design implemented by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Department, the 2008 license is printed on a high-tech synthetic material intended to resist water and wear.
That’s a good thing.
On the downside, some of the 500,000 Oregon hunters and anglers who bought their 2008 thermo-paper combo license and placed it in the plastic holder issued at the time of purchase found that the writing on the paper, uh, disappeared in a few weeks.
Poof! Like magic, a vanishing license!
Imagine how sportsmen reacted when they removed their license from its holder and discovered a blank piece of paper—or, in some cases, a license that was considerably faded to the point of being illegible.
“I’m not a chemist,” said Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Doug Juergensen, “but the new paper somehow reacts to plastic.”
Beginning with the fall 2008 deer hunting seasons, Missouri firearms deer hunters will be allowed to use .40 caliber or larger air-powered rifles, thanks to a regulation change unanimously (and somewhat quietly) approved last year by the state conservation commission.
A short announcement in the February 2008 issue of Missouri Conservationist Magazine reports that legal air rifles for deer hunting must be charged only from an external high compression power source, like an external hand pump, air tank or air compressor.
The article notes that prior to the regulatory move, Missouri Department of Conservation staff members “tested large bore air rifles powered by compressed air and found them suitable for hunting deer.”
The changes officially take effect March 1, but the rifles will not be legal for hunting until regular-firearms deer season opens November 15.
“These firearms are not Daisy air rifles. They are high-powered, large-caliber, generally very expensive firearms that carry the foot-pounds of energy necessary to take down large game,” said commissioner Dennis Steward.
One of the leading makers of... [ Read Full Post ]
When you spot 12 adult gobblers in your turkey woods the day before the season opener, tag-punching prospects seem pretty darn good. At least that’s what hunting buddy Dave Streb and I thought last spring when the dozen longbeards single-filed it across the road in front of my truck. Even though we were unable to roost the bunch that evening, I still liked our chances. Well, I’m sure you already know how this one turned out. Suffice it to say, it did not go as planned. Another hunter in our camp called up the flock—and took a bird—more than a mile from where Streb and I had first spotted them. Even more surprising to me, the group vanished without a trace for the rest of the season. Surprise turned to astonishment when another hunting buddy told me he spotted a flock of 12 gobblers a week prior to opening day a full five miles from where I first saw them.
I’ve thought a lot about turkey movement since then and thanks to some early results from an ongoing three-state (New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania) study, some of the mystery surrounding wild turkey movement is gaining clarity.
New York’s State’s turkey movement... [ Read Full Post ]
It was once said that a family who hunts together typically stays together. Recently, I spoke with Dave Forbes, owner of Hunter’s Specialties and he was telling me about a very special hunt that took place this past gun season that proves this point. Dave Forbes is very fortunate to have the opportunity to hunt all across the nation, but his favorite hunting spot would have to be his farm in Missouri, where Forbes field-tests a lot of the H.S. products long before they hit the stores. The property is strictly managed for whitetails and turkeys and Forbes has put a great deal of time and work in managing his farm.
Forbes loves hunting his property in the fall with his family and it allows him to escape a very demanding schedule. In fact, the Forbes family is extremely close and tries to spend every moment they can together in the woods. This past deer season, Dave along with his wife Carman, granddaughter Morgan Michels, and son-in-law Tony Michels were all able to drop the hammer on some nice Missouri bucks. This hunt... [ Read Full Post ]
Whether you're toting a pair of binoculars that costs $150 or a pair that costs thousands, you need to get them focussed properly to get the most out of them. Follow these four easy steps for clear viewing every time. To focus field binoculars. 1. Place a hand over the diopter lens and focus the non-diopter lens first. 2. Then place a hand over the non-diopter lens and focus the dioper-adjusted lens. 3. Double-check your focus using the normal adjustment wheel and check your focus by viewing something distinct, like wire on a phone pole or fenceline. 4. Check your focus on objects that are 50, 75 and 100 yards away to be sure. -Todd Smith
Whether you're toting a pair of binoculars that costs $150 or a pair that costs thousands, you need to get them focussed properly to get the most out of them. Follow these four easy steps for clear viewing every time.
To focus field binoculars.
1. Place a hand over the diopter lens and focus the non-diopter lens first.
2. Then place a hand over the non-diopter lens and focus the dioper-adjusted lens.
3. Double-check your focus using the normal adjustment wheel and check your focus by viewing something distinct, like wire on a phone pole or fenceline.
4. Check your focus on objects that are 50, 75 and 100 yards away to be sure.
-Todd Smith[ Read Full Post ]
It can be extremely tough for a workingman to spend the time in the woods needed to connect with a monster buck. Sometimes a hunter just gets lucky and is at the right place at the right time. However, I would much rather make my own luck and put the time in that it takes to tag a giant. To me scouting and trying to pattern a crafty buck is what makes deer hunting so addictive and challenging. Dedication and discipline is exactly what it took for police officer Jason Harvison of Tennessee to finally get a shot at a buck he had spent two solid years scouting and hunting.
After countless hours spent glassing the buck during the summer months and hundreds of trail camera photos, Harvison finally arrowed this monster during the opening weekend of the Tennessee archery season. Harvison’ dream buck boasted a 25-inch inside spread with 10 points and gross scored around 160. At the conclusion of the hunt, Harvison left the woods with mixed feelings.
“Over a period of time, I had developed a personal relationship with this deer,” says Harvison. “I had spent... [ Read Full Post ]
On the opening morning of the 2008 SHOT Show in Las Vegas, Ruger announced the introduction of a new pistol--the Ruger LCP (Lightweight Compact Pistol), a .380 autoloader. Following quickly on the heels of the successful introduction of the Ruger SR9 9mm pistol, the LCP is the latest addition to the Ruger Hard-R line of products.
“The development and introduction of the Ruger LCP is in direct response to customer demand,” said Ruger president Stephen L. Sanetti. “We have not been part of this market, but the growing number of states authorizing the licensed carry of pistols for personal protection by law-abiding citizens, and continued demand by law enforcement for quality back-up guns, cannot be ignored.”
The 9.4-ounce LCP has a capacity of 6 + 1 rounds. With a height of only 3.6 inches and a width of .82 inches, the LCP is definitely worth considering as a reliable back-up or concealed carry pistol. Given it’s small size, Ruger also believes it will appeal to women looking for a lightweight easily concealable personal defense option.
Each LCP comes with a soft case, instruction... [ Read Full Post ]
Hunting and the outdoors have always been a big part of my life. As a young boy, my father kept me in the woods or on the water, which created a strong bond that we still share today. Cool, fall-morning squirrel hunting trips with my dad that started my addiction to the outdoors and enabled me to fine-tune my skills in the woods. My entire family hunts, fishes, and usually schedules vacations along with occasional sick days around hunting season. I grew up hunting the tough and rugged mountain country of southeastern Kentucky. Here a hunter simply doesn't have the luxury of guides, foodplots or fences. In fact, there are not a lot of agricultural areas in the mountain country and just about everyone hunts making it extremely difficult to connect with a wall-hanger. I mainly hunt high-pressured tracts of public-land in the fall and love matching wits with these hard-to-handle whitetails.
Like most hunters my personal schedule is very demanding and sometimes it's tough to spend the time you need in the treestand to consistently tag mature bucks. Being... [ Read Full Post ]
In an interview on ESPN yesterday, Bobby Knight reflected on his recent retirement announcement. He said that shortly after he made his announcement he heard from an old friend who said, “it’s about time.” Knight responded by saying that he was happy to be retiring because now he’d have time to do some hunting and fishing. Nice to hear our sports mentioned so prominently.
Interestingly, very little being said by any of the major presidential contenders on hunting or the Second Amendment…yet!
-Todd Smith [ Read Full Post ]
By now, New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan has become a familiar personality to most everyone. But long before he stomped out the Patriots in the Super Bowl, Strahan was stomping through the hills and ridges of western New York hunting wild turkeys. Click here to see our exclusive photographs of the hunting Hall of Famer.
— Gerry Bethge [ Read Full Post ]
When you think about Playboy Magazine centerfold girls, you naturally think about women who are unafraid to bare it all, right?
Like every month since the mid-1950s, the February 2008 Playboy Playmate of the Month is willing to share her, uh, physical attributes with millions of young male readers.
She even reveals intimate details about her personal life, like the fact that she’s turned on by “blue eyes, baseball and bubble baths.”
Deep and introspective stuff, huh?
But beyond these and other character traits, we were delighted to discover that not only was Miss February willing to pose bare, she’s also interested in hunting bear.
Michelle McLaughlin, whom Playboy’s writers describe as “a 21-year-old supervixen,” hails from the Northern California “sleepy town” of San Carlos, and lists hunting and fishing among her favorite hobbies and interests.
While the word “supervixen” appears in neither the Outdoor Life nor the Associated Press stylebooks, I’m utilizing editorial license in this case—even though I haven’t yet viewed the February centerspread. I’ll use Playboy’s vernacular—especially considering everything Hugh Hefner and his photographers did for me during my late teens and early 20s.