Turkey hunting tends to get us up early. Normally, it feels like a death march from bed to the kitchen. But not the other day. I practically sprang from bed, not having slept very soundly all night. It was my daughter’s first-ever day of turkey hunting.Continue reading “Three Magical Days: Part II- First Turkey Hunt”
It was Sunday, the second day of deer camp. My daughter and I sat quietly in the stand for the second morning in a row, eyes and ears straining for signs of life.Continue reading “Moments to Remember”
I’ve been here since it was darn near dark. Literally tiptoed into place, if you can believe it. Heard every bird chirp and swish of leaves. Adrenaline has been on a steady drip for hours now.
I haven’t been so tense for so long in my life.Continue reading “Turkey Reigns King at Blackhawk Lake”
Toward the end of May, the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers (AGLOW) assembled a writers camp at Blackhawk Lake Recreation Area in southwestern Wisconsin. We fished, we hunted turkeys, and we tested gear— lots of it. It was a good, full trip. I only wish more gobblers had accepted the invitation.Continue reading “Turkey Hunting Gear 2021”
Hanging some antlers on the wall is a dream that sparkles in every deer hunter’s eye. Unsurprisingly, big bucks dominate deer hunting marketing and media. I will admit I’m not immune to the images and hype.
But at this time in my life, my main priorities each deer season are observing tradition, pursuing new experiences, and doing all I can to secure meat for my family. My 2020 deer hunt embodied those three as much or more than any other, spread across two weeks and three distinct settings. Continue reading “The Year of Untouchable Bucks”
It all started about two years ago. My deer season had almost passed without a single deer sighting. I’d spent two rainy days in a deer stand on private property, then one especially frigid day hoofing it on state forest land. If it weren’t for the good fortune of my brother and dad, we’d have been short on meat for the year.Continue reading “Do Something New: Minnesota State Park Deer Hunt”
After my incredible deer hunt in the Mississippi bottomlands of southeast Minnesota last season, I’ve been hot to find similar territory for future excursions. And since the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge contains almost limitless opportunities for somebody with more ambition than sense, it was an obvious place to start.Continue reading “Trip Report: Bottomland Paddling and Sanborn Canoe”
I hit the road a little after 6:00 a.m. Fargo was my first real stop, for a PLOTS Guide and hunting license. Then it was a matter of winding through the countryside on the smaller roads, surveying some public parcels with the PLOTS Guide pages showing me the way.
Good things are worth waiting for. When my 12 gauge side-by-side shotgun arrived in 2008, it obviously deserved a worthy case. A breakdown case- finely made and fleece lined- seemed just right. Problem was, I could never find one that fit my minimal criteria: a) it can’t be chintzy, and b) it can’t break the bank. Continue reading “Product Review: Galco Field Grade Breakdown Case”
It seems every year I tell myself I’m going to get new hiking boots. And ice fishing boots. And snow bibs. And winter clothing layers. And a new backpacking stove. I’m sure I’ll get around to all those, but most of my procrastination has to do with finding the right items at the right prices. Well, now is the time of year when prices get slashed and I need to be on top of my shopping game. You should too, especially if you need any type of outdoor clothing. Continue reading “The Season for Outdoor Savings”
Well, I should have. Astonishingly, I wore those boots out in just one October. The leather in the toes completely disintegrated, and the waterproof layer underneath could clearly be seen. I regret to this day I didn’t take pictures, but I was livid as I packed up the box. I wanted them out of my sight. Ever since then, I’ve been in search of a boot that could stand up to the way I hunt. Continue reading “Product Review: Irish Setter VaprTrek Boot”
I’ve long dreamed of hunting in the mountains, spending days climbing, glassing, and stalking. This kind of trip has always seemed quite accessible to me, except for one aspect: getting the meat out of the woods. It would be impractical to expect to drag a deer back to the truck. Foolish, really, and out of the question with an elk. So that would mean quartering and packing the animal out. This is nothing to the hunter on horseback, or even one who is accustomed to doing it. Continue reading “Do Something New: Quarter and Pack Out a Deer”
Everybody’s gotta eat. Even when they’re on the road. There are the hidden gems, and there are the inevitable sore disappointments. On my adventures, I’ve found my share of each. In the interest of rewarding the proprietors of first-rate eateries, I would like to share some of my favorites with you. Hopefully this will also serve to help you avoid some of the duds lurking out there. The map below is interactive, so click on the icons to obtain addresses, phone numbers, and websites. Have at it, and let me know what you think!
“It’s a work truck. You’re a smaht guy.” Those were the last words spoken to me by salesman Sean, through the truck window, as I drove my F-150 Heritage off the lot in April of 2004. After I rolled the window up, my wife and I looked at each other and wondered aloud what that was supposed to mean. It seemed nonsensical. We laughed and shrugged it off, but never forgot that moment. I’m not sure what made those words so immortal, whether it be their cryptic nature or because it was fun to say “smaht” in our best manufactured Massachusetts accents. Either way, they stuck with us. After fourteen and a half years, however, Sean’s absurd adieu now seems strangely prophetic. Continue reading “Product Review: 2004 Ford F-150 Heritage”
The Deer Hunt
It was the third day of deer season. My dad, my brother, and I were done hunting and were standing around by the new blind I’d been sitting in. I glanced westward and noticed somebody in blaze orange walking straight toward us across a neighboring soybean field. Having no idea who it was and what they might want, we went to meet him at the property line. When we got close enough to each other, I could see he was wearing a badge that identified him as a state conservation officer. He introduced himself as Jeremy, we shook hands, and I invited him across the fence so we could talk properly. He asked us about the hunt and checked our licenses. Continue reading “Compliance”