The memory, much like the ice that was hanging from my moustache that day, remains crystal clear. I had been sitting in that treestand for several hours in late December during the most bitter winter conditions I have ever bowhunted in. Blowing snow, high winds and frigid temperatures conspired to make even this Canadian boy start to question if it was time to find warmth. At the time, I was using a 67-pound compound bow with a 50 percent let-off.  During normal practice sessions, I could draw that bow hundreds of times without any great loss in accuracy. But when…
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Last week, I arrowed a nice little buck, and I’m happy to say the bowhunting factors I always go on about came together resulting in a quick and clean kill. First, I waited for the right shot angle (broadside, but slightly angled away) before releasing my arrow at a relaxed, unsuspecting animal. Next, my aim was true and the razor-sharp broadhead sliced effortlessly through both lungs before burying the arrow to the fletches 10 yards past where the animal stood.   Climbing down from your deer stand or making a lot of noise right after the shot can mean a…
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The crowds of deer hunters are gone and the woods are again silent—and that terrain suddenly appears barren to most hunters. You’ve got an unfilled deer tag in your pocket, and you’d like to fill it. The clock is ticking and your hours of opportunity are shrinking. What will you do? Taking a big buck during the home stretch of deer hunting season is sure to make you, and your taxidermist, very happy. Be positive—and think. There are still deer out there—somewhere. You need to determine where they are, what they are doing, and then make a plan that will…
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Just as the broadhead is the most important item in the bowhunter’s tool kit, the hook is what gets it done for anglers. Like all tools, you need the right fly fishing hook for the job. That’s because a fly is most effective when tied on the proper frame. Most times, we’re lucky. The pattern we choose to tie, if published, will suggest the proper hook(s) that can be used. Choose your hook for the task at hand. For instance, this Tiemco 400T Swimming nymph fishing hook is ideal if you want to add animation to your nymph pattern. But…
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Declination, triangulation, contour lines, scale … with lots of jargon and no “on/off” switch involved, navigation with a map and compass can be daunting for first-timers. But it doesn’t have to be. We’ve distilled what can be a very complicated process down to the basics. If you’re going to navigate across the ocean or vast expanses of land, you probably want to learn beyond these simple basics. But for most people, these steps will get you into the forest to a given point and, most importantly, back home again. Click for larger view of the topographic map guide. Orient the…
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Silence is sometimes golden, and when the woods are full of loud bugling and constantly mewing elk hunters, pressured elk simply go silent—and hunker deep into thick cover. Maybe you should also go silent and move less. The less you do, the greater your chances of filling an elk tag.   Staying silent and moving less while scouring the area for antler tips, moving ears and shiny eyes can help elk hunters fill their tag.  1) Know the Turf: Study all available topographical maps and carry a handheld GPS unit (with fresh batteries in your pocket), so you know what’s…
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This autumn, your favorite trout fishing river may be faster and higher due to heavy rains. While fly fishing and wading may be difficult, you can always try swinging streamers. Swinging a fly streamer is one of the easiest, most intuitive and effective ways of catching trout I know. Essentially, you cast slightly upstream, mend the line as required, and let the flow take the streamer until it swings in the current below you. At the end or during the swing, you can add life to the streamer by twitching a rod tip or raising and lowering it here and…
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My guide client Dave and I were drifting along a river section that split around a small, gravel-covered island.  We were concentrating on the main bank, where a deeper trough hugged the shoreline.  We saw steady action all morning, but nothing for 15 minutes or so and were just about ready to move to another area.  Then I happened to look over my shoulder, toward the island, and noticed surface disturbance and a spray of jumping minnows.  Excitedly I asked Dave to fire a cast in that direction.  A moment later he was hooked up with a three-pound-plus river smallmouth. …
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Stand placement is always a tricky thing. So many deer hunting factors need to come into play. One important thing I’ve learned over the years is to try to visualize what you will have to consider on the stand at the time of day and part of the season you want to use it. While this is clearly a good place for deer, the cedars mean that treestands cannot be too high or visibility is affected. With that in mind, here are a few key things to consider before setting up any treestand  or ground blind. 1. Wind direction —…
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It may surprise you to learn that the fabled toothy monster of the Far North, the muskellunge, occurs in a growing number of lakes and rivers throughout Dixie. In highland reservoirs, where muskies gravitate to offshore humps and dropoffs, fish are most commonly caught using trolling methods. Fall and winter are prime times to fish for Southern muskies. As the water chills, muskies suspending in cavernous reservoirs or holding in dark river holes move shallower and feed more aggressively. It can't get too cold for these beasts — they're highly catchable in Dixie all winter long. Want to experience musky fever?…
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