Moose Season is what I look forward to every year. For our family, a full freezer of red meat is depended upon. During the September season, hunters in Alaska who are on a 10-day hunt will get one great opportunity at a legal bull. Sometimes, however, not at all.
So far, this season has been a tough one for me. I had my target buck come in after dark during bow season. The last time I saw him was a month ago… that is until the other night when he showed up on someone else trail camera six miles away!
Although no one can control what animals do, we can control how we prepare and how we react in the moment. If you can avoid making these three common hunting mistakes you will be well on your way to enjoying a successful hunting season.
Don’t get me wrong, I eat what I harvest and I love getting more meat for the freezer. But I believe that hunting is not just “getting meat for the freezer”, it is about so much more than that - so why do I hunt?
From brown bears to blacktail deer and everything in between, Alaska puts the “Big Game” in the Winchester Expedition Big Game Long Range lineup.
What goes up, must come down. It’s the main mission when you’re a waterfowl hunter. As ducks and geese soar overhead, perfect aim isn’t the only priority for a hunter…it’s just the start. The finish is all about having the perfect ammunition, designed to penetrate the birds with precision and power.
Hunters often flock to the Lone Star state to dial in on whitetail deer and mule deer. When the Winchester crew visited Texas in January, they had their sights set on antlers. But the hunters got a firsthand look at the wild pig problem in Texas…and got the chance to take a shot at swine.
If you’re like me and always struggle with gift ideas, I put together some of my FAVORITE items that have changed hunting for me…and they may do the same for you.
Many lessons are learned from our own mistakes, but you don’t always have to make a mistake to learn. For example, so many issues can be avoided by simply being prepared. This means putting in the time before the season to ensure you have given yourself the best possible chance at success.
It’s heartbreaking for a hunter to land the shot, but not locate the buck. We know the scene: The blood trail stops. The search slows. You finally have to admit to yourself that maybe that bruiser is gone……and steals some of your pride and ego right along with it. The trek back to the truck empty-handed can feel like a walk of shame. But there’s no real shame in it, because it happens to the best of us.
The time has come.
When the rut is on, it’s on. A flip is switched. The big bucks move, while you stay still in the stand…hoping all of your hard work will pay off. If you’re shooting Winchester, reliability and power will be delivered every single time. But you need to make sure you’re in the stand when those bucks are on the move.
Paul Sawyer snagged a 2-for-1 deal when he hit a duo of gobblers across Kansas state lines. He fed the long beards’ a dose of Long Beard XR. The takedown was one for Paul’s history books.
When it comes to turkey hunting, every step counts. One forgotten move could be the difference between bringing home a fan of feathers or letting that gobbler live to see another day.
The Keefers use the innovative Winchester Pattern Board App to get a clear picture of their shot pattern.
If you haven’t hunted for turkeys yet or are a beginner, you have come to the right place. However, I must warn you…once you hunt for turkeys you will be hooked! Hunting wild turkey may look easy on TV shows but it is no easy feat to get an gobbler to follow your plan. From gobblers running to your setup right off the roost, or struggling to get that big gobbler to commit to coming into gun range…each hunt is different and comes with its own set of excitement and challenges.
One of the reasons I love hunting new places and with new people is because it allows me to experience different styles of hunting and learn new tactics. Being able to connect with people and approach conversations not only with an open mind and a willingness to learn, but also an eagerness to learn is what makes my hunting experiences fun!
…drinking behavior until Memorial Day weekend. I don’t think that the majority of us really know what is involved with “corning” a hunk of meat.
You may not know that “corning”, or more accurately called “pickling” can be done with any antlered game meat or waterfowl. Actual corn plays no part in the process.
Every single mount has a backstory, an adventure, a memory that I will cherish forever. But when space becomes limited, I decided to start looking for alternative methods to hang mounts. Lowering the number of animals I mount would be one option, but I was still hoping for an alternative- and I found it.
I serve people snow geese often, but I don’t tell them it’s snow goose until after they’re just about done eating it. I did have one guy tell me that snow goose was, by far, the best tasting goose out there. He told me about how he cut the breast fillets into little strips and then marinated them in teriyaki sauce for 2 days. After that he wrapped the marinated goose in jalapeno, cream cheese and bacon. I’m fairly certain that you could do the same thing with a piece of your shoe and it would taste about the same.
He and his friends would harvest tons of coyotes each season with my brother and I being pulled through fields in a sled with dad on snowshoe. This was what we loved and this is what I still love it to this day. Even though the tradition of coyote hunting in our family hasn’t changed, the ammunition and technology sure has.
What’s a sounder? It’s a large group of hogs. I was going to go with a “pack,” but I knew that wasn’t correct. They are sexually mature at 6 months of age and they have between 1 and 2 litters of 5 to 6 little piggies each year. They have no real natural predators and they reproduce faster than we can kill them. They also cause billions of damage every year in the United States. So, what’s the solution to the wild hog population explosion? I think the answer is obvious.
Winchester has employed their shot-lok technology enabling you to get the most out of your ammunition. I was lucky enough to test it out at this year’s SHOT Show Media Day in Las Vegas. Needless to say, I was very impressed. What is your favorite gun/ammo combination for tom turkey? Want to see how it works…click on the video!
It’s just not my thing. Go there the day before or after and choose from their normal menu and there’s probably no waiting. A few years ago, we started our own holiday tradition of inviting another couple or two to our house for Valentine’s Day. The steak and lobster is at least as good as any restaurant and the wine is considerably better.
Two questions I often get asked are why do some people seem to find all the sheds and how can one be more effective? This comes down to a few important aspects in my book.
First, shed hunt where the animals are.
Fortunately, the darker-fleshed ducks can still make great table fare with just a few extra steps and some additional time to tame the more “pronounced” flavored game meat.
Lean, dark-fleshed ducks and geese have a deeper, earthier flavor as compared to an otherwise fat and lighter-fleshed mallard or pintail. It should come as no surprise that ducks and geese are what they eat.
This time, I won’t be the one hunting however. Two young South Dakota boys will be taking part in the late-season youth-hunt for does. Quite frankly, I can’t wait! South Dakota participates in the Youth Deer Mentored Big Game hunt. I’m a huge proponent of programs such as this.
…some animal parts manage to last a year or two longer than they probably should. Of course, the purpose of putting a label and a date on everything that goes into the freezer is so you know what the heck it is after it has been packed along with 100 other packages.
Not that you have to be a hunter to know how to prepare wild game. I’ve never killed a cow, but I can cook one, although preferably not the whole animal at once. If the recipe author mentions “catching” wild game, he or she doesn’t hunt. OK, maybe they’re trappers, but I don’t think that’s the case.
Figure out how to beat the weather, and the non-stop action of coyote hunting will truly amaze you.
Having the right gear is always helpful, but sometimes it takes a little hard work and suffering before knowing what gear is truly helpful. I’ve put in a lot of time and learned the hard way on things that make a difference in the field. So, skip a little of the heartache and add some of these items to your gear bag to make your season more comfortable and successful:
I just finished packing my gear to head south for my last hunt of the season in the Texas panhandle. I checked in my bags at the airport counter and made my way through security. As I boarded the plane and the wheels lifted off the runway I happily waved goodbye to frigid below zero temperatures and looked forward to landing in warm Texas.
It adds moisture, flavor and mellows out, not disguises, the natural flavor of waterfowl. I do not cook a duck or goose without first soaking it overnight in brine.
Those of us who have discovered how much better the Thanksgiving turkey tastes after a brine bath for 24 hours know that the bird will not only cook a little faster, it will also bemore moist and flavorful than an unbrined bird.
The last thing you want to do when the temps drop and the hunting heats up is stay at home because you aren’t prepared for the chilly temps. I’m not saying everyone has to go out and buy all new arctic gear and apparel, but there are a few easy tips you can do to stay warm and make your hunts more enjoyable.
Try some of these tips to end your season with a strong finish and make the most of those days in the blind.
Hunt Big Water—Smaller bodies of water are freezing up so ducks will head for larger rivers and lakes where water is still liquid. Hunt from a boat blind, set a layout blind on a sandbar or set up on a finger of land jutting into the body of water and set your decoys close.
Hunting has become less and less about the animal, the hunt, or even the location. Now I reminisce about the people I was with more than anything. This is what I now look forward to the most.
Last year I was super fortunate to take several friends and family in the field with me, but one hunt stands out in particular. I got the privilege to take Grandma Rose on a mule deer hunt in Southern Colorado.
For me, most of those memories were formed in my home town in Western New York; and more importantly with my dad.
Every year, my dad and I put out trail cameras in hopes of getting pictures of good bucks. This year was no different. After pulling the cards and scrolling through hundreds of pictures, I came across a tall 8 with good mass. At that moment I knew which buck I had my sights set on for the season.
Perhaps you may have learned that the legs and thighs from pheasants and turkeys are tough, sinewy and unfit for table fare. In some respect, you’re right, but it is probably because you cooked whole birds and discovered that, if the breasts are just cooked and not overcooked, the other parts aren’t fit to eat.
And why not? Not only does the hunter see these creatures as competitors for the game animals they wish to keep in abundance, but the varmints also present an opportunity for additional time in the woods by hunting them year-round in most places, night in most places and can sometimes even get them access to lands that would otherwise be closed to them for other types of hunting.
Those, in turn, gave me days of hunting adventure you can’t tie a bow around or put under a tree. Cottontails in the woods. Fox squirrels raiding the corn bins. And — best of all — big, white-tailed jackrabbits racing over the pastures and cornfields. South Dakota’s winter landscape was the ultimate rifleman’s training ground, and those 22 Long Rifles made it all possible.
Winchester has devoted an incredible amount of time and energy to help hunters and shooter be the most effective they can possibly be. One of the most noticeable changes is the extensive range that’s been proven to be effective for turkey hunting with LongBeard XR. This also goes for waterfowl hunting with Blind Side and continues on through with DeerSeason XP, Varmint X, AA TrAAcker, and the list goes on.
Getting feathers to fall can be a hard-core task when it comes to waterfowl hunting. As the weather shifts from bad to worse, waterfowl warriors know it's time to scan the skies. Sleet, snow, rain, hail, and cold push the birds to use their wings, and hunters head out to bring them down.
And many times, the hubs or bars are also damaged. Usually I don’t like to take blinds out of the field until the season is completely wrapped up. That can be late Dec or even mid-January depending on the state I’m hunting. Once a blind is up, deer get used to them so the last thing I want to do is take them down to avoid snow damage.
Add some onions, celery, carrots and any other vegetables that make you happy. Top the whole mess with a pile of whipped potatoes and pop it in the oven. In about thirty minutes, it’s dinner. Mom used to make something she called “Hamburger Pie.” It was a big hit with dad and the three boys.
Ever since the advent of the first metallic cartridge (the 22 BB Cap in 1845,) hunters have demanded rifles, cartridges and bullets capable of terminating everything from ground squirrels to elephants. This is why the world has seen the creation of — literally — hundreds of rifle cartridges.
This is a list that I used to purchase gifts for my own family and friends and hope there may be something that could spark some interest for that hard to buy for person in your family.
S4 Gear Bino Harness– This is a binocular harness that keeps optics dry, clean and at the ready. It fits most styles of binoculars and not only makes it much more convenient, but also keeps binos snow and water-free so you can see regardless of weather conditions.
When it comes to sealing the deal, there are a few tricks I keep up my sleeve to utilize when the time is right.
Never let deer know they are being hunted
It may sound like a no-brainer and pretty simple, but it takes discipline. After gun opener, deer seem to be on edge. So, I keep the location I hunt low pressure and take every precaution to be stealthy in hopes that deer use my section of property as a safe haven.
If you’ve ever taken a bite into a fresh, unsweetened cranberry, you know that the taste is nothing like what you get from something that’s been made with cranberries. Cranberry sauce, chutney, relish and, of course, the cranberry juice that occasionally floats on top of a vodka drink have all been sweetened or they would taste sour.
But not the 308 Winchester and 300 Winchester Magnum. Here there is such a performance differential that one must seriously consider what each does and which hunting applications each handles best. So let’s dig in. Both these popular and vastly different cartridges throw .308-inch diameter (30-caliber) bullets. The big difference is their powder capacity.
I put in so much time during the off-season training and throughout the season scouting and hunting that when the moment of truth comes…I want no excuses. Winchester introduced Deer Season XP because they wanted to ensure deer hunters had something specific to their needs. This round was designed with only one thing in mind: dropping big deer in their tracks.
With so much to do and so little time, I like to have recipes on the back burner (pun intended) that I can turn to when I am in a time crunch. Here are a few quick snacks that the entire family will enjoy. The best part is both recipes share the same 3 core ingredients!
Let’s face it, we’ve all had some pretty funky venison. Hopefully, any unpalatable dishes you prepared in the past resulted in a learning experience. Sometimes we gain as much knowledge by making mistakes as we do by our successes, a concept I’ve reminded my 20-year old son about for years. In my formative years as a wild game cooker, I had some remarkable culinary failures.
Big on Optics: Quality optics, both in the form of binoculars and a scope, are your best friends in low light scenarios. A good pair of binos in the 8x to 10x range, but with a larger objective, can help gather more light and make creatures almost invisible to the naked eye easily identifiable in low light.
The result is you can hold the crosshair in the right spot, but it could really be pointing an inch or more off that spot at 100 yards. This isn’t a big deal, but as distance increases, that one-inch difference expands to 2 inches at 200 yards, 3 inches at 300 yards, etc. For precision, long range shooting, a tiny big of parallax in a scope can result in significant misses.
I’ve been in camps where everyone is so exhausted by the time dark comes that food preparation is the last thing anyone cares about. When this is the case, I’ve found a great solution: freeze dried meals. Most people think that freeze dried food would be a last resort or something that is less than desirable to eat. This may have been the case years ago, but this is an area that has really come a long way!
For me, determining a buck’s age beyond 4.5 years old becomes more difficult due to variations in genetics. Therefore, I am going to break down bucks into a couple different age groups: fawns, yearlings, 2.5 year olds,3.5 year olds, and 4.5 or older. Whether you are new to aging bucks or just want to brush up on your skills before heading to the tree stand, here are a few tips and body characteristics that you should pay close attention to.
It’s true comfort food that greets you with an inviting aroma as you open the door. No waiting for dinner. Let’s eat! The bigger challenge is to roast a venison hindquarter and have it come out medium-rare like sliced roast beef that you might put into a sandwich. Cooking lean venison isn’t nearly as forgiving as fatty beef. It requires more time and attention, but the end result can be just as delicious as any thin-sliced beef you may have had in a French dip.
Whitetails, mule deer, elk and even small game such as squirrels and rabbits are crepuscular, meaning they feed primarily at dawn or dusk (twilight hours) when night is transitioning to day and vice versa. For this reason, much of a hunter’s time—for sake of this blog, a deer hunter’s time—is going to be spent in the woods, most likely on a stand during…
In this era of laser-measured ranges, turret dialing scopes and multiple-stadia-line reticles, wind remains the biggest roadblock to precise targeting. That’s because wind, unlike gravity, isn’t constant. You can’t depend on its velocity or direction. Inside of 200 yards or so, this isn’t generally a big problem, but as distance increases and/or wind speed increases, so do your chances for missing.
Another important aspect is keeping yourself warm and comfortable and using the best gear possible. The more prepared you are for the weather conditions, the more you’ll enjoy the hunt. First, when calling or setting decoys remember you’re probably hunting pressured birds. With this, the adage “less is more” holds its own weight. I try to setup in locations where the birds naturally want to be or will be going through. As far as calling, this is absolutely true.
November is finally here! We have waited in anticipation all year for these next few weeks. The rut is heating up in many parts of the country and bucks are beginning to build aggression – this means it is time to break out those rattling antlers!
As for the millions of deer hunters across North America who dropped a deer using it in the field, they were convinced. Now it’s been confirmed by one of the most prestigious magazine titles in the hunting and shooting world; Guns & Ammo has named Winchester Deer Season XP as its 2017 Ammo of the Year.
One of my most frequently reoccurring rants concerns the amount of whole muscle game meat that gets ground into burger. I think it’s because ground meat is easier to prepare, it’s more forgiving than steaks and roasts, especially when it’s a bit overcooked. Ground game usually ends up in tacos, meatloaf and, most often, chili.
BC might sound like a bunch of hooey, but it’s really at the heart of bullet performance. With the right BC you can make a light bullet hit with twice the kinetic energy of a bullet twice its weight because doubling a projectile’s velocity quadruples its energy. Doubling its weight only doubles its energy.
Across America, hunters have pursued wild game for decades with Winchester. They have made choices on the perfect caliber, bullet type, bullet weight … choices that have then been proven in the field, when the moment of truth presented itself. They have stepped out beyond their own backyards to find diverse backdrops and hunt thick-skinned, powerful, and challenging opponents.
Time of Year – Over the years, I’ve had the most success with rattling during the peak of the rut. However, that’s not the only time it works. Pay attention to what is happening, and take of your surroundings. Study the behavior of the deer you’re hunting while on stand. See how they interact with each other and take note.
The stuffing allegedly draws out the evil spirits and adds a fruity and, um…vegetably flavor to the cooked bird. I’m not buying it. Oh, I’ve tried stuffing my turkey and ducks a number of times. It just didn’t seem to make a difference. I know some of you are going to keep doing it the way you’ve always done it. For the rest of you, I’ll continue.
Come along on this video blog by Winchester Deadly Passion’s Melissa Bachman to learn how to do it. It’ll take a little sweat-equity, but will surely pay off in spades down the line. We will give you a few hints: cover, food and water. Check out his video to learn more.
Have you ever been so close to a deer or turkey that you could reach out and touch them while out hunting? I have had serval of these experiences when hunting from blinds, there is nothing quite like being “one with nature” and seeing animals up close and personal in their natural habitat! First we must first consider where and what type of game we are hunting. This is key when deciding on the type of blind and camouflage pattern that would be most effective.
The whitetail rut one of the most anticipated times of the year. Don’t miss out on this golden opportunity, and don’t flub your chance at a monster when the moment of truth arrives. But to make that moment arrive, try these tips this fall.
Take Winchester Blind Side for example. The amount of time, energy and innovation that has been put behind ways to make a waterfowl load better is truly mind boggling. Winchester took something that most people thought was just fine and made it more effective than most people could ever imagine.
Being new to waterfowl hunting and not having a dog of my own, I decided to turn to gun dog trainer, hunting enthusiast and president of Lone Duck Outfitters, Bob Owens, for some knowledgeable insight on what it takes to get a dog ready for the season. We touched on everything from strategies for good conditioning, proper nutrition, and “must have” products to help keep a dog safe and performing at their best while out in the field this fall.
How you slice any hunk of meat can make a big difference at the dinner table. You’ve heard about slicing meat “across the grain.” If you haven’t heard, then you’re probably just not paying attention. Take a close look at a piece of meat, the bigger the better. Notice that the muscle fibers run parallel to each other in long bundles or strands.
That is a byproduct of correctly adjusted parallax, but it does not explain the phenomenon nor will merely turning the ocular to bring the reticle into focus correct it. Parallax occurs when the target and reticle are on different planes within the scope.
This list is something I’ve come up with over the years that I personally use before the season starts to ensure I’m prepared for as many obstacles that may be thrown my way. I can’t count the number of times I’ve run to my truck and grabbed one of these items which allowed me to repair or get out of a sticky situation. All because I have had the necessary tools.
Nothing is worse than missing birds and then deciding to pattern the gun just to find out that the shot pattern is not hitting what you expected. Finding the right ammunition and choke for the gun you intend to shoot is critical to success in the field. When I am unable to get to the woods one of my favorite things to do is to hit the range, or in my case a nice hilly farm field to sight or pattern guns for the upcoming season.
Barley’s full of fiber and it’s supposed to boost your immune system. It’s also a complete protein that also regulates blood sugar. Why someone hasn’t come up with an infomercial selling barley capsules as a miracle cure for anything that ails you is a mystery to me.
So forget the perfect, all-round bear cartridge. Instead, let’s concentrate on a good black bear round. This is assignment enough because black bears can grow to weigh more than 700 pounds! Most, however, are going to fit into the 150 to 400-pound range, and that’s doable for a great number of cartridges. Before we dive into those, however, let’s pay homage to something even more important — the bullet.
- Quality decoys- Just like turkey or deer decoys, waterfowl decoys can make a huge difference on the overall success of a setup. Quality decoys may take time to purchase but you’ll be very happy in the end. Once you have everything you need, keep them in good shape by cleaning them each year and taking care of them both in and out of the field.
Yes, if you show me a picture of a duck I can identify it immediately. However as with most things in life, learning about it through books and actually testing knowledge in the field when birds are flying at various distances and lighting conditions, it is a whole different ball game! My first couple of trips to the blind resulted in me being more of an observer; watching and learning how to identify each duck as they flew past our setup.
Some of us tend to grind up way too much of our good game. There are other options. Before you go grinding up both hindquarters, consider turning the better muscles – sirloin, top round, bottom round – into steaks or roasts. Take a sharp, thin-bladed knife and separate each muscle from the hindquarter. Trim away anything that is not muscle. Give one of the cuts a good soak in olive oil, red wine, garlic and herbs.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use enough gun. The confusing thing about elk is that one bull collapses after a single lung shot from a 243 Win. 95-grain Ballistic Silvertip at 100 yards while the next one takes three 180-grain AccuBond CT slugs through the shoulders inside 50 yards — and keeps walking. Yes, elk are big and notoriously durable, but they’re also known to give up the ghost with what most shooters would deem “minimal persuasion.” Does this mean you should load up your 243 Model 70 or 30-30 M94 for your big bull hunt-of-a-lifetime?
Not only are distances away from the shooter and speed of the targets factors a hunter must consider, but having the right shot size for the size of the ducks or geese likely to be encountered is a critical consideration. Common shot sizes used for waterfowl (from smallest to largest) are No. 4, 3, 2, 1, BB, BBB and T shot. Naturally, smaller shot sizes are best suited for ducks, while the larger shot is better for geese and swans.
Ah, but whack that golf ball with a 100-miles-per-hour club swing and you might change your mind. A basic rule of physics is that double weight doubles energy, but doubling velocity quadruples energy. This is what enables us to terminate 1,000-pound moose with bullets weighing less than a half-ounce! Knowing this does little, however, to clear up the confusion over various bullet weights offered in most cartridges.
Although I don’t get much time to hunt with my family anymore, this season I’m getting the best of both words. I’m heading to Saskatchewan at Buck Paradise Outfitters with my dad for an early goose hunt. So what makes these early hunts so great? In my opinion it’s tough to beat hunting with family and hunting birds that have had little to no pressure is a blast.
If mean, if I can’t keep calm when people are watching, what I am I going to do when buck fever kicks in? Luckily for me, I was in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia so a sense of peace filled my veins. As I wrote last week, I was taking a long range shooting course taught by Phil Conklin. Phil is an accomplished instructor who had me hitting long range targets, calculating wind compensation and elevation changes in just a few hours. Most certainly a testament to his teaching ability all on its own.
Most hunters understand that steep shooting angles alter where bullets strike. If your rig is zeroed at 200 yards on the level and your target stands 200 yards up a steep mountain slope, your bullet will strike lower than usual, right? And if its below you, you’ll shoot high? No? Well, at least half no.
I like to do this at 30-yards as it’s a great way to test out the gun, choke, and ammo combination to ensure perfect patterns when it’s time to hit the field. I always recommend shooting from a lead sled on the bench because it really helps reduce recoil and ensure that shots are consistent, and human error has been taken out.
From the hides to the nether regions, nothing was wasted. By comparison, think about how much of your wild game gets thrown in the trash. Based on a lifetime of talking to others about how they prepare their harvested game, I’d guess that only a very small percentage of them make the most of their critters. I’m not talking about making coin purses out of venison scrotums, but the tasty shanks and flanks are often discarded.
Veterans of the syndrome recommend all hunters begin their anti-buck fever training as soon as possible. A great way to begin is by working with your rifle until you can operate it with complete function and confidence in the dark. Figure out how you’re going to carry it, get it off your shoulder and into shooting position.
But where the country opens up and mountains rule the terrain, most certainly out West, taking shots uphill or downhill, and sometimes at fairly long ranges, definitely comes into play. Compound that with the interest—and modern capabilities—of shooting longer ranges courtesy of technological advances in optics, firearms and ammunition (think Winchester Big Game Extended Range) and you have a world where considering angles when shooting becomes critical.
The blind keeps weather from becoming an issue if it’s raining or snowing allowing you to sit longer. Last but not least, it’s pretty tough to beat being eye-level with a big buck only steps away from the blind. With all these benefits, it does however take a little work to make them as effective as a treestand, but it can be done by utilizing a few simple tips.
Leaving a dead or mortally wounded animal on the ground in hot weather happens, but we’d all prefer a solid kill shot with an animal that drops dead immediately. Fortunately, we found this one before it got too hot. Since this was a “TV hunt”, part of what it is that I am supposed to do is to show viewers how to cook it, or at least part of it.
A thick slab of fatback bacon sizzles on a well-seasoned cast iron griddle. A trusty Model 94 30-30 waits for the sunrise at the front door, alongside a notched up .270 and a walnut-stocked 30-06. The woods are still quiet, but the camp is starting to wake to the sound of hot grease, and the sweet smell of early morning at deer camp. Behind the spatula is an artisan of sorts. A specialist in the nuances of rustic dining. A seasoned stove operator who wants nothing more than to follow up the bacon breakfast with a backstrap supper. It’s The Camp Cook, and every deer camp has one.
Despite all the hype in this day and age over larger game such as whitetail deer and wild turkeys, for many hunters who grew up prior to the Millennial generation, small game is what we first hunted—with much of that focus on squirrels and rabbits. Long a perennial favorite firearm choice for these smaller critters has been the .22 LR. The .22, with its low recoil, minimal cost per round and light weight of most rifles chambered in that caliber, makes it a favorite.
Most accidents happen going in and out of the stand before people are safely strapped in. The good news is this can be avoided simply by using a lifeline. The idea behind a lifeline is to keep you connected from the moment you leave the ground until the moment you return. This eliminates the chance of falling from the tree on the ascent or descent; plus it make things easier when you get into your stand because you’re already connected.
Tall grasses, cornstalks, pine, and cedar work great if they occur in the landscape you are hunting. When collecting materials you will need a folding saw for the larger branches, pruners, and some zip ties for holding everything in place. When covering the blind don’t worry if you cover the windows as you can use the pruners to cut any obstructions out of the way once you get into your blind.
Training with an empty rifle helps shooters forget about recoil and concentrate on proper form and trigger control. They can see where their sights were when the firing pin clicks. So load for the shooter behind his back. When she’s doing everything right, slip in a live round and score!
The Canada goose population in the East and across the rest of its migratory range has exploded. Not to the point of snow geese, but certainly, what they tend to call “resident birds,” those that have adapted to staying put in areas of warmer weather and abundant food and nesting conditions, are quite plentiful.
As a young girl growing up in Central Minnesota, teal hunting is something we always looked forward to. Sure they’re fast as can be, but what a great way to get back in the swing of things to kick of the season. A few tips to make your hunt more successful and enjoyable for early season teal usually involve bringing a couple key items to make your time in the field more comfortable.
With every bite it always takes me back to my grandma’s home cooking! Presume the same is true for you as well. I really love how that it only takes a few ingredients that I usually have on hand. I just mix it all together and throw it in a pan for a quick and easy healthy meal!
I’m all for rewarding my dogs, but they feel equally rewarded with a good scratching or maybe a rawhide chew. For me, one of the best rewards is a slow-cooked deer shank bathed in a tasty sauce. Discarding venison shanks is about the same as throwing away bones and carcasses that could be used to make a stock that is infinitely more flavorful that something out of a can or a bouillon cube.
However, beyond the opening day hubbub or the groups of hunters gathering on those first few warm (often still downright hot) Saturdays, some hunters like to sneak out after work or even before, once the season permits, and oftentimes, they find themselves without the benefit of the other hunters to keep birds moving around.
Heck, even veteran hunters are susceptible to buck fever. And sometimes doe fever. We overthink, worry, hyperventilate, get the shakes, rush our shots, panic and miss, miss, miss. But we don’t have to. It’s possible to train to keep cool, shoot straight and score. It isn’t necessarily easy, but it can be done. Here’s how:
There are several reasons for this. First, it’s usually beautiful weather and a great way to spend a morning or afternoon. Secondly, it’s a fun hunt that can be very social. Third, I believe it’s a great way to get in some much needed real life practice which will help you for the upcoming waterfowl season.
But then, so does setting up trail cameras and scouting for good animals, but both of those activities are more fun than thawing out your freezer and deciding what is worth saving. Look, I know that you’ve been planning on doing something with that trout you caught last year, or was it three years ago?
For close shots on birds such as released quail or other tight sitting upland game that present close shots, a more open choke such as skeet, cylinder bore or most likely, improved cylinder are best. For late in the season ducks and geese, where birds are reluctant to decoy and will likely flare at the edge of range, a much tighter full choke is better.
Some people keep things like this locked up or under glass, but in our family we like to take them afield. This keeps the stories going and adds to the history. In our family, a particular heirloom is a Winchester 30/30 that my grandfather had. He was a guy who loved Winchester, and was so proud of this particular gun. It was then passed on to my father, and now my brother and I both get to use it.
But, what happens if you find yourself in a survival situation while hunting in the backcountry? Do you carry the appropriate fire starting materials with you and would you know where to begin? The foundation of starting a fire is in proper planning. There is nothing more frustrating than getting a flame started just to have it go out due to a lack of preparation.
But Winchester Life isn’t centered on taking every shot when you see any opportunity walk your way. It’s knowing the difference between the right opportunity and the wrong timing. It’s effective discernment. Most of all, it’s patience.
We’ve all heard tales of lips, ears, glands and all things gristly that, once passed through a meat grinder, get crammed into a casing and loaded into boxes destined for your local market. And while there are plenty of sausage horror stories, most them are just that…stories. Make your own and you’ve got nothing to worry about. “Hey, has anyone seen my Band-Aid?
It’s near the end of firearm season, and Paul Sawyer heads to Oklahoma to dial in on a 9-point he has his heart set on. When The Big Nine makes an appearance in the field, the Model 70 is warm and the Deer Season XP is ready…and Paul learns that patience really does pay off.
But, I am not alone in realizing the many drawbacks to having seemingly endless technologies available at our fingertips 24/7, 365 days a year. These drawbacks become especially present in regards to our developing youth and a growing disconnect with nature and the environment around them!
Rarely does the most expensive wine get the most votes. It’s usually somewhere in the mid-price range. One time, a $7 bottle of Smoking Loon Cabernet Sauvignon beat out the competition. Boy, were the wine aficionados all worked up about it. Fun to watch. I’m guessing that there are as many people reading this that are wine lovers as there are those who don’t really care for wine or would just rather drink something else.
Remember to get comfortable using your full-body safety harness with your treestand at ground level before climbing into the tree and never leave the ground without wearing your full body harness! Safety first, safety in the middle and safety at the end makes for a great and memorable outing.
The rest is divided into smaller batches, cooled and packed for the freezer. When I’m short on prep time, I can quick-thaw the basic red sauce and throw in a few fresh ingredients like mushrooms or diced tomatoes and dinner is served in less than an hour.
First on this list would be prairie dogging! In many areas prairie dogs have become a huge nuisance and can be difficult to get rid of. There towns cause big holes that cattle can step in, and they also carry tons of disease. On a recent trip to the Rosebud Reservation in SouthDakota with my good friend Ben Bearshield, we took an afternoon off to hunt prairie dogs with little Miss Pork Chop.
So, before heading out to hunt this fall, be sure to look at the contents of your pack to ensure that you have basic survival tools that would help you if you were unable to make it back home. My pack contents vary depending on factors such as: where,when and for how long I will be away. However, here are the staple items that I always keep in my pack.
It’s basically a cooking method that slowly and evenly cooks things like venison steaks and roasts and holds them at a precise temperature. You know how you like how your slow-cooker cooks your dinner while you’re away from the kitchen all day? It’s pretty much the same with sous vide, only different. A slow-cooker uses relatively low heat and moisture to transform lesser cuts into pot roast tender stews and more. If you have a tough hunk of meat, throwing it onto a hot grill won’t do anything to make it more tender.
After all, the bullet is the reason for the rifle, case, primer, powder and scope! The bullet gets the game, does all the work. All the rest is just the launch pad. Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, ammo and bullet makers like Winchester have done the hard work for us. By testing and modifying and retesting bullet after bullet, they have freed us from even thinking about this critical ingredient.
In situations like these, it is important to be mindful of a few practices that will aid in navigating your way back to safety. One practice that we should always be aware of is being able to accurately keep a pace count. Keeping track of a pace count gives us the ability to estimate our distance traveled and hopefully provide us with the confidence to orient ourselves.
One man’s delicious burger just might be another man’s bland and dry one. And based on the huge quantity of deer meat that is ground into burger, it seems appropriate to add a twist or two to the grind without compromising the deliciousness of a properly cooked burger. If you’re not overjoyed with the way your venison burgers taste, here are a few tips to make them better next time.
Heck, there was no 270 Winchester either. No 270 WSM, no 7mm WSM or 243 Winchester or…Last time I looked, the Winchester ammo catalog offered ammunition for 66 different centerfire rifle cartridges. I didn’t even count the handgun options. Sixty-six is more than enough to choose from for this big gamehunter. Obviously, some rounds like the 17 Hornet and 458 Winchester Magnum are easy to brush from consideration. But that leaves plenty for a dilemma: which cartridge do you pick for your deer rifle?
This video will give you a visual of what the choke patterns look like and help you to decide what choke is best for the type of shooting or hunting you will be doing. I hope this video gives you a better understanding of what choke you should use before heading out on your next adventure!
The Keefer Brothers and longtime friend Jason Brown made cherished memories while hunting Merriam’s wild turkeys in South Dakota. Though they traded the Midwest timbers for the golden prairies of the west, the crew never leaves home without Winchester. For good reason.
In many ways, choosing a scope these days is harder than selecting a rifle. You have to decide among 1-inch, 30mm and 34mm main tubes. Will the objective be 36mm, 40mm, 44mm, 50mm, or 56mm? Parallax adjustment dial or not? BDC reticle, duplex, fine, post, heavy, illuminated? Dialing turrets?
VIDEO – Jan “Boland” Coetzee, owner of Vriesenhof Winery near Cape Town, South Africa. Jan is a legendary professional rugby player, food and wine lover and hunter. Jan demonstrates a typical marinade and style of cooking for kudu and oryx loins. Of course, if you’re out of kudu, you can always substitute whitetail.
Usually I have everything from fish, to pheasant to deer and elk with the assortment of other game along the way as well. Although I may have some specific go-to recipes, I’m always looking to try new things and prepare wild game different ways. I’m a firm believer in learning from the best so you’ll often catch me browsing through Scott Leysath’s website, the Sporting Chef, for new ideas and recipes to try.
Note: I used the Big Game Rub by Traeger and cooked them on the Traeger to add a smokey flavor! You can also use a marinade of your choice and cook them in the oven. If you are using a marinade, place the pheasant in a bowl and let it marinade overnight in the refrigerator for extra flavor!
Research from organizations like Southwick Associates repeatedly reveals that access is one of the biggest challenges facing sportsmen today. With that in mind, unless you own your own land, searching for a place to hunt really isn’t something you can afford to concern yourself with just now or when you need a new place to hunt, but rather should be an ongoing search every year, always working leads to improve your odds of finding decent spots to recreate.
Recently, I was able to grant Pork Chop a wish come true. Her very own hunt in South Dakota with my good friend Ben Bearshield on the Rosebud reservation. We went into this thinking the squirrel hunting would be a slam-dunk, but unfortunately things always come up along the way.
For many, booking a guided hunt for the chance to seek a trophy in one of our nation’s best game units, is often the culmination of years of planning and saving money. Even preparation for a self-guided hunt is not without planning time, expense and the need for physical conditioning. As part of preparation for the hunt, a sportsman often purchases or makes sure he has the best firearm he can afford along with a top optic.
All last fall I took little Miss Pork Chop on almost every single hunting adventure. She sits in the blind patiently with me from sun up until sun down. Of course I bring her treats, toys and keep her busy, but I’m assuming it’s not all fun for her. Well all that’s about to change on this next hunt!
By adding in an overhead element to this exercise, you will not only work the muscles in your lower body but also challenge the muscles in your shoulders, back and core.
Winchester Life co-host Nikki Boxler gives us 3 tips for setting up for trail cameras.
Luckily for hunters, there are plenty of opportunities for us to get outside and sharpen our shooting skills, doing some pest control, and have fun while doing so. Here are 4 reasons why you should hit the fields and woods this summer!
When the company’s second lever-action rifle, the iron-framed Model 1873, which would come to be known as the “Gun that Won the West,” was introduced in 1873, it was originally released in .44 Winchester Centerfire, a new cartridge that was the first to carry the Winchester name. It included a 200-grain bullet that left the muzzle at 1,250 fps powered by 40 grains of blackpowder.
The number of coyotes has increased all across the country, but as hunters we understand the need for a balance. To accomplish that balance it takes a hunter willing to go the extra mile to outsmart these predators. They use every advantage possible so we need to ensure we are doing the same! Here are few tips about how to become a more effective predator hunter this year in my latest video-blog…come along.
Many stores limited buyers to no more than two boxes of the rimfire ammunition at a time and even other stores were left to simply tell their customers to search elsewhere. As a result, prices also went up. The ammo was still relatively cheap when compared to larger caliber centerfire loads, but it was no longer the bank account afterthought that many outdoor writers had once waxed poetic about for its availability and low cost.
I knew most shots would be close as we were calling, so I decided to just bring my shotgun. Before heading out however, I wanted to do a little test at the range to see what changes needed to be done to get my SX3 ready for hunting all three. The first thing I did was get my turkey gun all setup with the LongBeard XR using 3 1/2 inch 5 shot. Once that was dialed in, I switched over to the Varmint X in BB, and swapped out my extra full choke for a full choke.
Sure, you can still enjoy all of those fun activities as well, but there is no need to leave your shotgun or rifle neglected in the gun safe, just waiting for the fall to return. There are still ample summer hunting opportunities out there as long as you don’t mind the heat and insects. Here are some of the top hunting opportunities you will find, many in a location near you.
If you’re looking to get someone new into hunting or just prefer to tone that recoil down a bit, a 20-gauge is a perfect solution. Earlier this spring Winchester announced the addition of LongBeard XR in 20-gauge so everybody can experience the Shot-Lok technology regardless if they’re shooting a 12 or 20 gauge.
Here is a great video blog from Winchester Life co-host Nikki Boxler who will explain and show just how to properly go about stretching and saving artifacts from your successful outing. Grab some salt (or borax), stick pins and a sheet of cardboard and come along. It’s not only fun to keep a journal of your hunts through the years, but to also save some of what tome once was.
One of the first tips I will try late season while hunting turkeys is to get out of the blind. The more mobile you are, the better off you’ll be in the long run. Also try to use any vantage points to your advantage so you can potentially see what’s going on. If the birds are talking use your eyes to find them and make a plan.
Here are a few basic (and simple – yes!) exercises I use and would recommend to you as a great pace to start. I’ll show more in this video blog, but here is a rundown on them. Come along on this video and learn more!
Most shotguns today utilize screw-in choke tubes to change the constriction at the muzzle end of the barrel. The purpose of the choke is to improve the pattern of shot delivered when fired from the shotgun—primarily through achieving better range and pattern density.
When it comes to bringing kids out hunting, going after turkeys is one of my favorite places to begin. Turkey hunting is an interactive experience and lends itself well to hunting with kids.
Tip 1: Start by hunting out of a blind. This helps with the early mornings and allows them to lay on the ground and take a nap until the action heats up. A few things to keep in mind is mornings can be pretty chilly. Make sure they’re bundled up enough with layers so they can be comfortable. Nobody likes to be cold and it’s all about making this a fun experience.
Give this recipe from Winchester Life co-host Nikki Boxler a go. It’s quick and delicious – turkey and stuffing casserole may just become a new favorite. To learn more and how easily you can make it, come along on this video blog from Winchester. Bon appetit – enjoy!
It is critical to get comfortable not only with your gun as the season approaches, but also determine the best load-choke combination. In this video blog Melissa shows just how great (and how lethal at long distances) LongBeard XR is and then stretches it out for some long-distance patterning.
Canada represents the most spring black bear hunting opportunities by far with British Columbia offering a two-bear limit to hunters and some of the best spot-and-stalk hunting anywhere. Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba also rank high though the style of hunting is decidedly different. Because of the thick, evergreen forests of these western and central provinces, sitting over bait remains the primary method for hunting bears here.
Unfortunately many of the things I’ve learned have been by trial and error so I decided to put a video together highlighting some of the tactics I utilize to get that stunning video. Maybe you’re filming just to show family, for Youtube, or you’re looking to start a TV show.
Here’s why: the key feature behind Long Beard XR’s long-range capability is the shell’s Shot-Lok technology. Instead of traditional buffering materials, Shot-Lok is injected as a liquid resin into the hull among the lead shot during assembly. The resin hardens to keep pellets locked in place until the round is fired. When fired, Shot-Lok immediately fractures into a micro-buffer that protects the shot deformation caused by set-back forces.