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N EW TAC T IC S R A N G E T O 3 0 0 YA R D S




A wide, wild-
eyed Wisconsin

stamps his
hoof behind a
cedar log.
november 2017 CONTENTS vol. 224 no. 9

9 Waypoint: Cold calling
10 Letters
11 Editors Journal
13 From the Archives: Meaty meals
16 This Happened to Me: The tree I
was hunting in almost crushed me!

19 We test the load capability,
comfort, and versatility of nine
new backpacks for hunters

29 Tips on getting smart late-season
roosters to take wing
31 A guide to rattling and calling
32 We help you decide how to
respond after any shot
34 A case for reconsidering the
merits of xed-power riescopes

63 Seven tips to maximize the range
of your muzzleloader
66 How to shoot shotguns faster and
more accurately
68 Gun Test: Kimbers Super Jagare in
10mm Automatic
70 Three ways to reload the .25/06
for game of all sizes

78 Following an alarming discovery,
Tickle Tummy Hill Road gets

A banded Pacic
brant from
Alaskas Izembek
Lagoon, p. 46.

39 46 54
Confused about which days Hunting the Aleutian Chain for Hunters and anglers are among

the whitetail rut will be sea ducks and Pacic brant the worlds greatest nders.
hottest? No need. This rut the most delicious game bird But as these accounts reveal,
forecast will suit any schedule. on the planet. not all of our discoveries have COVER PHOTOGRAPH BY
by mark kenyon by john b. snow fur, feathers, or ns. LANCE KRUEGER

6 november 2017 outdoor life

Cold conditions, a chance of snow, and one tag left to ll. The late season is upon us.
Like you, Cabelas is excited for the nal hunts of the year we share your passion for
the late season. We count on our gear to perform when it matters most and endure
anything we may encounter, from one season to the next. If our names on it, its priced right and guaranteed for life.
Progressive gives you the freedom to explore on your ATV
with policies starting as low as $75* a year.


Progressive Casualty Ins. Co. & afliates. *$75 per year premium excludes state fees and taxes, and is not available in
AK, GA, HI, MA and SC. We recommend wearing protective gear. And, its not nice to point at mythical creatures.
COLD BAY, AK / November 3

While traveling the roads on the southern tip

of the Alaska Peninsula during a hunt for sea
ducks and Pacic brant (p. 46), shooting
editor John B. Snow came across this
neglected phone booth. Since the hunting had
been slow, and Snows calling had not lured any
ducks into range, photographer Matt Nager
decided to commemorate the moment with this
shot. As had been the case with the waterfowl
that morning, Snows call didnt connect.


section edited by natalie krebs photograph by matt nager outdoor life november 2017 9

humble and no-frills style of covering the from downwind, eliminating their noses
essential parts of his huntalong with as a warning device. That means you could
appropriate photos and graphicsmade for be defending your life by spraying into a 20
a great reading adventure. Thank you. mph headwind.
Colin Campbell Big handguns are capable with the right
Lander, WY ammo. I carried a stainless Redhawk in
.44 Magnum, stoked with FMJ handloads.
DRONE SPELLS DOOM Practice quick, multiple, and close-range
Have we really come to this, using drones shots with your handgun to be properly

LE T T E R S to catch fish? (Drone Attack, Fishing,

September) Where does it end? Fishing
Randy Biggerstaff
is supposed to be fun and enjoyable. This Kannapolis, NC
is the same as trophy-only hunters. Its all
about bagging the most or biggest animals, BOOK CLUB
at any costethics be damned. You should The article Light Upland Loads in your
be embarrassed for printing that. September issue was very enlightening. I
FEELING BULLISH Charlie Porter didnt know shotshells could be fine-tuned
Congratulations to Steve Felix on his elk Granite City, IL like this. Can you recommend a good book
(World Record, September 2017). That has that could teach me the finer points of
to be the most deserving bull in the record BEARING ARMS customizing shotshells?
book. It was no high-priced hunt on private A couple of points to add to the sage Albert Bataloua
landthat was a true hunt. advice offered in Bear Necessities (Hunt- Eloy, AZ
Ed Price ing, September). After spending a decade in
Craig, CO Alaskas bear country during the 1980s, and AUTHOR JOHN HAVILAND REPLIES:
having successfully tagged multiple brown The Lyman Shotshell Reloading Hand-
SOLID STORYTELLING and black bears, I know I want a powerful book (5th Edition) contains lots of great infor-
I was impressed as much by Steve Felixs firearm with me. While pepper spray is cer- mation on basic to advanced shotshell reload-
article as I was by his record elk. His tainly effective, bears are often surprised ing and shotshell cases, primers, powders, and
shots. Ballistics Products Advantages (10th
Edition) contains chapters that detail the evo-
lution of modern shotshells and the ballistics of
shotshells that enable hunters to select optimal
loads for their shooting conditions.

I am disappointed with your response
to the letters High Rollers and Sticker
Shock in the September issue. We all un-
Compact, derstand how manufacturers price and
Commercial Quality promote their products. However, when
a reader states he would prefer reviews on
Powerhouse! more affordable products, your response
should not be condescending. I will moni-
tor future issues, and if this tone continues,
will not renew. There are too many other
publications to read. I preferred the gear
round-ups and how-to articles in that issue,
such as the pieces on squirrel calls (Squirrel
Talk) and catching brown trout (Bruiser
Browns). Reviews on affordable products
would be much appreciated. Most of us save
for a long time to buy just one new product.
Dave Carty
Louisville, KY
Model 720
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EdgeCraft 610-268-0500 2017 EdgeCraft, Avondale, PA 19311

THE FINDERS Don Simensens

sheath knife.

wenty-eight years ago the surprising things that sports-
this fall, I found one men and women find in the field
(Lost & Found, p. 54). I am con-
of the great treasures
vinced that, because of the places
of my life. I was the we roam and our peculiar habit of
dirt-poor editor of a weekly news- noticing granular details, we hunt-
paper in eastern Montana and an ers and anglers are the worlds
aspiring mule deer hunter, walk- greatest finders of lost items.
The feature prompted me to
ing a dry creekbed below a ridge
retrieve Don Simensens knife from
of adobe knobs, when something its drawer. I did some sleuthing and
in the sand caught my eye. found that Don is still alive and lives
It was the aft 3 inches of a bone- about an hour from me, in a simple
handled knife, the burnished brass ranch house just down the road
lanyard hasp glinting in the sun. from where I discovered his knife. I
I dug out the rest of the knife and called him and made arrangements
knocked the slag off the blade. It to visit.
was obviously well made, because Don is up in years, and his
it had withstood the elements in memory has holes in it, but you
decent shape. It cleaned up nicely. could read in his eyes that he rec-
Owing to my povertybut also ognized his blade. Lost that when
the quality of the steelthat knife I was just a pup, he told me, turn-
became my main deer-gutting, ing the knife over in his calloused
elk-skinning, and meat-cutting hands. He wasnt sure who had
blade for the next several years. I given him the knife, or who might
made a crude sheath for it, kept the have etched his name in the blade,
handle oiled and the edge keen. I but we both felt good that, after
eventually moved to Seattle. It was so many years, that bone-handled
there, cleaning blood off the pitted knife was back in his hands.
but serviceable blade, that I noticed As I pulled out of his driveway,
faint writing. Etched in the steel, in I could see the ridge of badlands
a fine cursive, was a name I could where I had found that knife nearly
make out only under a magnifying three decades earlier, and marveled
glass: Don Simensen. at how much had changed since
I recalled the surname from my my discovery. And I wondered at
time in Montana, and I always another realization: We outdoors-
intended to find out if Don still men might be great finders, but we
lived in the area and if hed recall tend to be lousy keepers.
losing that special knife. But I
acquired other knives, and life got
in the way. And though I had since
moved back to eastern Montana,
Dons bone-handled blade
migrated farther back in my knife
drawer every year.
But I thought of that old blade as ANDREW MCKEAN, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
I worked on our feature that details



Andrew McKean Editor-in-Chief
Sean Johnston Group Creative Director

Subscribers EDITORIAL
Managing Editor Jean McKenna
Executive Editor Gerry Bethge

Senior Deputy Editor John B. Snow

Senior Editor Natalie Krebs
Assistant Managing Editor Margaret M. Nussey
Assistant Editor Tony Hansen
Editorial Assistant Hilary Ribons

Art Director Brian Struble

Associate Art Directors Russ Smith, James A. Walsh
Photography Director John Toolan
Photo Editor Justin Appenzeller

THAN DIRT access!

Production Manager Judith Weber
Fishing Editor Gerry Bethge
Hunting Editor Andrew McKean
Shooting Editor John B. Snow
Digital Director Nate Matthews
Online Content Editor Alex Robinson

Anthony Licata Editorial Director

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Joe Arterburn, Michael Bane,
Tom Carpenter, Josh Dahlke, Brad Fitzpatrick, Tyler Freel,
John Haughey, John Haviland, Ben Long, Tim MacWelch, Colin Moore,
Michael Pearce, Ron Spomer, John M. Taylor, Bryce Towsley
EDITORS EMERITI Jim Carmichel (Shooting), Jerry Gibbs (Fishing),
Patrick F. McManus (Editor-at-Large), Bill McRae (Optics),
Vin T. Sparano (Senior Field Editor)
Bill Buckley, Nick Ferrari, John Hafner, Kevin Hand, Donald M. Jones,
Mitch Kezar, Joel Kimmel, Ryan Kirby, Lance Krueger, John Phillips,
John Rice, Tony Shasteen, Vincent Soyez, Jeff Wilson

Gregory D. Gatto Senior Vice President, Managing Director

Associate Publisher Jeff Timm
EAST (212-779-5012)
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Directors Alex Garcia, Amanda Gastelum, Charlotte Grima
Executive Director, Brand Integration Beth Hetrick

Associate Directors Eshonda Caraway-Evans, Lynsey White
Manager Vanessa Vazquez
Creative Services Steve Gianaca, Gabe Ramirez, Ingrid Reslmaier
Digital Campaign manager Jessica Enns


Senior Manager Molly Battles
Financial Director Tara Bisciello
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Director Sally Murphy, ProCirc
Group Production Director Michelle Doster
CABELAS ZONED COMFORT TRAC RUBBER BOOTS. Production Manager Stephanie Northcutt


Director Kim Putman

Head of Business Area, Magazines Lars Dahmn
BARRIER OF WARMTH BETWEEN YOUR FEET AND THE Chief Executive Officer Eric Zinczenko
GROUND. AND FOR 100 BUCKS, YOU WONT HAVE TO Chief Financial Officer Joachim Jaginder
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WORRY ABOUT GETTING COLD FEET. Chief Marketing Officer Elizabeth Burnham Murphy
ONLY AT CABELAS. Chief Digital Revenue Officer Sean Holzman
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Blood Flow &
OL FAMILY Nitric Oxide
for Men

unters can agree on many things
when it comes to the consumption
of wild game: the seasoning that
only hard work can bring, the
nutrition of lean protein, and the
value earned by replacing store-
bought cuts with free-range meat.
What the single best-tasting game meat is,
however, is not one of them. We also cant
decide on which animals are edible or more
akin to boot leather. Heres a look at some of
the stronger opinions and stranger recipes
served up in our kitchens over the years.

Jack OConnors far-flung hunts introduced his tastebuds to a variety of game, and in the November
1957 issue he detailed some of the species that had made their way onto his plate. Unsurprisingly, he
declares mountain sheep merely the best meat, wild or tame, in all the worldalbeit with the caveat
that such praise applies only to fat rams shot before the rut. The same goes for bull moose (good) and
elk (superb) before mating season renders them rank. He debunks the pronghorn-is-inedible myth,
however, saying he never shot one that wasnt good eating. Poor carcass management, he writes, is to
blame for any bad experience with it. Blue grouse earns first prize as tastiest of all game birds, and
mountain lion gets an honorable mention as an offbeat delicacy reminiscent of veal. So what animals
did JOC decline to eat? Javelinas, grizzlies, black bears feeding on fish or carrion, and the greater kudu
bull, which, in his experience, requires the dental and digestive equipment of a hyena. Works Tonight!
Maximum Male Physical
The long-running Camp Chef column usually contained a variety of recipes and repeated encourage-
Response in fast-acting
ment for turning game into table fare. Often this department would include non-game recipes suitable liquid soft-gels
for camp cooking that ranged from essential (hot cocoa) and helpful (split-pea soup) to the obvious
(boiled macaroni) and suspect (a concoction called canned meat dixie). The gems, however, are the scat-
tered recipe cards, which were designed to be clipped and added to the family recipe box. A favorite
Save $2.00 online at:
is the broiled opossum entry that ran in September 1966, which can only be described as the worst by entering
coupon code: 013073
piece of reader service we ever published.* It calls for four ingredients (one disjointed and cleaned opos-
sum, sage, melted butter, and lemon juice), eschews a flavor-taming brine, and requires only rubbing

the opossum with sage, then broiling it from 1 to 1\ STEEL-LIBIDO RED
hours while basting with lemon and butter.

There are numerous instances in which our writers Consumer: Redeemable at retail locations only. Not valid for online or mail-order purchases.
Retailer: Irwin Naturals will reimburse you for the face value plus 8 (cents) handling provided it
is redeemed by a consumer at the time of purchase on the brand specified. Coupons not properly
redeemed will be void and held. Reproduction by any party by any means is expressly prohibited.
is certainly truecooking is a learned skill, just like Any other use constitutes fraud. Irwin Naturals reserves the right to deny reimbursement (due
to misredemption activity) and/or request proof of purchase for coupon(s) submitted. Mail to:
hunting. But what is perhaps the worst example of CMS Dept. 10363, Irwin Naturals, 1 Fawcett Drive, Del Rio, TX 78840. Cash value: .001 (cents).
Void where taxed or restricted. ONE COUPON PER PURCHASE. Not valid for mail order/websites.
chef chiding appears in the January 1942 issue, which Retail only.

instructs wives on the appropriate behavior for

reacting to and preparing freshly killed game. The
game comes home, and then, Mrs. Housewifeit

meat goes to the table tasting like something the

butcher saved for Towser.

*An April 1976 column might give it a run for its

money: It details how porcupine (which should be
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration.
killed by hitting it on the nose with a stick) can be This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
eaten raw without much danger of sickness.

Follow Us On...


I had the idea to turn a school bus into a mobile hunting lodge a few years back, and it had been hovering in the back of my mind
ever since. But I nally decided to pull the trigger on the project when I realized I might be able to help in the ght to keep public
lands accessible and open to the public. The bus seemed like the perfect portable billboard as I traveled between public parcels
and raised awareness about the current political battle. My plan is to travel for one year, spending time on public lands and taking
part in many of the recreational activities these lands have to oer, including hunting and shing. Its shaping up to be one hell of
an adventure. I hope youll follow along with me, and that we both learn something about the value of public land.

You can follow Sams tour at If you want to look cool and help fund public lands
at the same time, check out, where $5 from every shirt sold will go toward public-land conservation.

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the opening But 30 to 40

day of deer mph gusts
season was shook the
very windy. spruce, and
I hiked a after three
mile into the hours i
woods and decided to
climbed 40 climb down.
feet into a
huge spruce.

id just begun my
descent when a
blast of wind hit
the tree. A second i hung on for dear
gust struck, and life, but halfway
the tree began
to fall while i was hit another tree and
still 40 feet up. jolted me off!

i fell to the
ground, landing
with a painful
thud. i looked up
to see the tree
toppling right i rolled sideways
toward me! and felt the
earth shake as
the tree landed.
im still amazed
i walked away.


FIRST APPEARED IN 1940. WEVE SINCE COMPILED SOME OF THE MOST HAR- Only those used will be acknowl-

16 november 2017 outdoor life illustration by tony shasteen

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Visit your local retailer or for more information visit


backpacks rates hard-working
meat freighters, purpose-built
treestand bags, and all-around
gear carriers.

Online editor
Alex Robinson tests
the Badlands Diablo
DOS in Utahs
Uinta Mountains.

section edited by andrew mckean photographs by chad kirkland outdoor life november 2017 19


very serious night out in case our l.l. bean
hunter needs a hunt takes us far from
pack to tote the our starting point. at first glance, this 1,890-cubic-inch pack looks like a floppy
mess. But once you figure out that the wings compress over the
essentials of a day The day packs in this main pocket, you can tighten the Big-Game Pro down into a slender,
aeld: outerwear to test are designed to maneuverable pack that can expand to comfortably haul a good
stay dry and warm, pull that extra duty. We deal of gear and meat. We loved its accessible pockets and its abil-
food and water to asked manufacturers ity to snugly hold a bow or rifle. The fold-over wings are a smart ad-
dition to keep the pack in use in the event of a zipper failure, noted
remain satiated, and to send us new packs senior deputy editor John B. Snow. The rifle rest is a gimmick.
basic eld-dressing intended for various
equipment to take big-game hunting pur-
care of an animal. suits, with capacities
Most backpacks will of around 2,000 cubic

big-game pro
t that bill, but many inches. Each should
of us need a pack to have the versatility to
do more than carry be used as a treestand
the basics. We also or stalking pack, but
want it to be stout with the backbone to
enough to freight comfortably haul a
meat and have the ca- quantity of meat and/
pacity to carry enough or heavy gear.
geara sleeping bag, Here are the best of
a simple stove, and the bunch, evaluated
extra clothingto al- and rated by our panel
low us to comfortably of six Outdoor Life
spend an unexpected editors.
score: 77.8 price: $300


the 2,100-cubic-inch Diablo DOS is designed to haul a gun or bow capable meat - hauling bags
as well as meat and other bulky loads. Testers loved the security
and adjustability of the Diablos compression straps, the versatility
of the pockets, and the heavy, abrasion-resistant fabric. But while IF YOURE GOING to and soft goods.
the nylon frame was comfortable for carrying light loads, it twisted haul fresh meat out of All Caribou bags have
under heavy hauls, uncomfortably digging into the wearers back. the field, you are going drawstrings that are
Pros include one-hand zippers on the hip pockets and an external to want to pack bags to strong enough to hang
strap system that can accommodate a wide variety of loads. keep the bounty clean, full bags and reflec-
cool, and contained. tive tabs so you can find
I used to use pillow- them with a flashlight.
cases for this messy Plus, these hard-wear-
task. Then I discovered ing game bags are
Caribou Gear. washable and reusable.
The breathable syn- (
thetic game bags come A.M.
in a variety of sizes,
from small camp-meat
bags to hold trimmings
to large bags capable of
handling a whole elk or
moose quarter. We used
d i a b lo d o s

a couple of different
sizes for our pack test,
stuffing the Carnivore
($55 for five bags) and
Muley ($55 for five bags) We loaded Caribou bags with
with potatoes, rocks, up to 50 pounds of potatoes for
clothes, and other hard our load testing.
score: 81.9 price: $200

20 november 2017 outdoor life

Kuius Icon Pro 1850 is
a superb backcountry kuiu
icon pro 1850
a technical pack with
a serious price tag, the
1,850-cubic-inch Icon Pro
is designed for backcoun-
try jaunts and extended
day hunts, enabling the
goal of every mountain
hunter: to go in light and
come out heavy. The
modular packyou can
add pockets, bow or ri-
fle carriers, and straps,
or you can attach the
Icons bag to other Kuiu
framesis built around
an adjustable carbon
frame that fits a range of
torso lengths, although
it was too small for the
largest of our team and
too large for the smaller
testers. The pack is
strong as hell. The frame
is rated to 125 pounds,
and under a load of 80
pounds of rocks and po-
tatoes, the Icon was bal-
anced and comfortable.
The Icon scored well
on adjustability and
versatility consider-
ations, but the moisture-
repelling ripstop nylon
material abraded easily.
Still, for an extra-duty
meat-hauling champ, the
investment-grade Icon is
at the head of the class.
score: 84.7
price: $425

outdoor life november 2017 21


outdoorsmans muley sitka

this 1,900-cubic-inch pack is designed for a very specific audi-

ence: bowhunters who carry their treestands to their hunting area.
The unpadded For that crowd, the Tool Bucket is a smartly designed and extremely
shoulder straps
on the Muley are useful piece of gear. A large interior pocket holds portable stands,
comfortable. climbing steps, and other bulky gear. Once in your tree, the Tool
Bucket can be used as a traditional stand pack. Hang it from a large
ring in the flap for easy access to interior pockets. We loved the
quiet, durable fabric, but dinged the Sitka on versatility and value.

tool bucket
score: 76.2 price: $300


the $70 price tag on this smallish 1,800-cubic-inch day pack will
turn some heads, but we were disappointed in the fit, comfort under
load, and pocket arrangement of the Cabelas pack. This is for the
casual hunter, said senior editor Natalie Krebs. It would do for trips
to the treestand, but it wont stand up to abuse. Still, for a hunter
looking for an entry-level pack with some nice additionsa hydra-
tion bladder, a front beavertail flap that accommodates coats and
other bulky gear, and quiet fabricthe Elite Scout is a good value.

the test team split evenly on this 1,500-cubic-inch lumbar pack.

Half the crewmainly Western backcountry huntersloved the
minimalist design and the smart yoke that comfortably distributes
even heavy loads. The other halfEastern and Midwestern deer
huntersfelt the pack wouldnt serve for longer day hunts and
was poorly configured for a stand pack.
Its more like a satchel than a pack,
quipped assistant editor Tony Hansen.
The Muley would work well as a spike
elite scout

bag. Its light (just over 2 pounds), and

because it has no frame, its packable,
so a backcountry hunter could stuff it
in a frame pack, then use the Outdoors-
mans as a nimble day bag. It would be a
great go-light pack for scouting, shed
hunting, or early-season bowhunts.
score: 70.8 price: $150 score: 69.5 price: $70

22 november 2017 outdoor life


Available wherever ne books are sold


alps outdoorz big bear x browning

this 2,100-cubic-inch pack would benefit from a stouter frame and

a more useful pocket configuration. The Browning was one of the
The ambidextrous most comfortable packs in our test when it was filled with clothing,
bow hook on the
Alps pack is a smart and both the rifle carrier and the front beavertail flap worked marvel-
and useful feature. ously to tote bulky or awkward-shaped gear. But when it was filled
with 50 pounds of potatoesour starchy substitute for meatthe
straps pinched and the load became cumbersome. This is more of a
hiking pack than a hunting pack, said executive editor Gerry Bethge.


score: 69.3 price: $130


a number of packs in this testthe Tenzing includedfeature

internal frames constructed of metal rods that provide support
under tension. Its a light and strong system, but its also fragile. If
the frame gets bent or loses its tension, it can fail, as it did when
we loaded the Tenzing with 50 pounds of Idaho spuds. The lack of
a substantial hip belt meant that the TX 15 was uncomfortable with
even moderately hefty loads. Despite top and side entry, the main
pocket was hard to access, and the fabric abraded in our drag test.

a lumbar pack that converts into a light-duty backpack, the

tx 15

2,700-cubic-inch Big Bear is what online editor Alex Robinson

called a tweener.
Its stuck halfway between a fanny pack and a backpack, and it
does not excel at being either, he said.
The 800-cubic-inch lumbar pack is well designed, and the yoke
strap fit most testers well enough, but
because the 1,900-cubic-inch bag stores
in the top of the lumbar portion, the
smaller packs utility is diminished. And
when the larger bag is deployedit clips
onto the shoulder harnessthe pack be-
comes top-heavy and uncomfortable un-
der bulky or weighty loads. One brilliant
feature: the ambidextrous bow hook
that holds the bowstring while a hunter
glasses with both hands.
score: 67.9 price: $140 score: 63.7 price: $130

24 november 2017 outdoor life

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CAPACITY 8.83 8.25 7.67 8.58 6.5 6.67 7.17 7.08 6.17

FIT/ADJUSTABILITY 8.83 8.17 7.83 7.67 7.33 6.83 6.83 6.83 6.17

FABRIC 6 7 8 9 9 8 7 7 6

DURABILITY 8.5 8.17 7.67 7.33 6.83 5.83 6.67 6.83 6

VERSATILITY 9 8.67 8 6.17 6 6.17 6.67 7.08 6.5

DESIGN 9.25 8.17 7.33 8 7.17 6.67 7.17 6.5 6.33

FEATURES 8.83 8.67 7.33 7.5 6.5 6.67 7.33 7 7


MEETS PURPOSE 9.08 8.83 8.17 8.33 7.33 7.33 6.5 6.83 6.83

FIT/COMFORT 8.83 8 8.17 7.33 7.5 7 6.83 6.33 6.17

VALUE 7.5 8 7.58 6.33 6.67 8.33 7.17 6.5 6.5

TOTAL 84.7 81.9 77.8 76.2 70.8 69.5 69.3 67.9 63.7

how we test

EVALUATING HUNTING packs room for subjectivity but also eval- resistance by running each pack
is ultimately an exercise in personal uating the objective aspects of under a shower for 15 seconds, and
preference. One person may want a each submission. We measured the abrasion resistance by dragging
zipper here or a compression strap capacity and weight of each pack loaded packs along a gravel path.
there, or would prefer a strong and the range of adjustability of Subjective assessments included
internal frame over a bow or rifle straps and belts, and then awarded design, features, whether the pack
carrier. A pack that fits a shorter, points for versatility (ability to haul met the purpose for which it was
stouter frame wont fit a taller, lank- a gun or a bow, meat, bulky coats, intended, the ability to be adjusted
ier person. and smaller items like rangefinders to comfortably fit a wide range of
Theres also the matter of use. and phones). body sizes, and value.
A Western elk hunter has a differ- We tested the strength of buck- The pack with the highest score
ent expectation of a pack than an les, straps, and seams. And then the Kuiu Icon Pro 1850won our
Eastern whitetail hunter. we tested the fabric in three differ- Editors Choice award. We didnt
We tested packs with those vari- ent ways: measuring loudness with award a Great Buy, concluding that
ations in mind, leaving plenty of a digital acoustic meter, moisture no pack was a runaway bargain.

26 november 2017 outdoor life

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turning into track athletes. But a few
tricks will put them on the wing, and in
your game bag. BY BRIAN RUZZO

section edited by andrew mckean outdoor life november 2017 29

In a good South Dakota pheasant season, 2 million birds are ?
PHEASANTS bagged. Last year, hunters killed only 1.2 million roosters.

looks like a V. If he has a big enough group, hell also

position blockers at the far end of the eld. Those
blockers are in place before the drivers begin to
work the eld.
The wingmen are incredibly important because
they keep the birds hemmed in if they are breaking
out ahead, explains Foster. Sometimes they can
even keep them from breaking out. You are basi-
cally herding birds.
If you dont have blockers, then the drivers
should work the eld toward a pinch point. For
Pheasant example: If you have a triangular eld, then the V
hunters show
o a double should taper toward the point of the triangle.
limit of Texas If the birds ush out ahead instead of holding
roosters. tight for the drivers, then the wingmen should be in
position to shoot. Toward the end of the drive, the
wingmen also become blockers by closing o the
last escape routes. Foster notes that the wingmen
should also be your most mobile hunters, so they
can adapt to running birds by pushing farther out
ahead if needed.
Foster stresses that its important to mark and
recover downed birds quickly in order to keep the
line of drivers moving, thereby keeping pressure
on the birds.


3 Foster is not a fan of dog whistles because he

thinks hunters overuse them and alert edgy roost-

y late season, the dumb pheasants are dead. The ers. Instead, he says, let the dogs be dogs. Once
survivors have learned that if they run instead of theyre in the eld and have a nose full of rooster,
their hunting instincts will take over. All a whistle
ying, they can evade dogs and hunters. These es- does is distract them.
cape artists often squirt out of cover before you even Foster is mainly concerned that the dogs dont
see them. But South Dakota guide Dennis Foster (dakota range too far ahead. He wants his dogs to use their
energy ranging laterallyfrom side to sidein- has a few tips that will even the stead of racing to the end of a eld. If your dog is
playing eld and help you put more of these ground- routinely outpacing you and ushing birds out of
pounders in your bag this year. range, then slow yourself down. Dogs often mirror
the pace of their owner. And be sure to slow to a
BE READY crawl when you encounter heavy cover, such as cat-
1 Foster doesnt give wild birds any warning. When tails and briars.
he pulls into a eld with his hunters, he is ready for
a quick strike. The dogs are watered and their col-
lars are on. His clients have shells in their pockets
and are ready to grab guns from easily accessed HIT EM HARD
soft cases. Any wasted time is time that the birds 4 Foster relies on high-velocity, heavy loads to drop
will use to start running in the other direction. birds decisively. He particularly favors copper-
plated shot because it hits hard. He begins the sea-
son with No. 5 shot, but within a couple of weeks he
switches to No. 4 shot. By the end of the season
SET FLANKERS when roosters have grown dense, pellet-stopping
2 While Foster moves quickly to start his hunt, he plumagehe will use No. 3 shot.
doesnt immediately start walking a eld. First, he I have had clients question their shooting ability
positions wingmen on each ank80 to 100 yards when their birds didnt go down, but in reality, they
on either side, and slightly in front of the drivers were hitting the birds. Their payload just wasnt up

in order to corral running roosters. The formation to the task.

30 november 2017 outdoor life




eer hunting is mostly a passive pursuit. We position ourselves in a loca-
tion where scouting and intuition tell us deer will pass. And we wait. Come
November, however, active participation can pay o. Bucks are much more
aggressive now that the rut is in full swing. Your tactics should match. Calling DIY RATTLE
and rattling can be very eective. How do you know when to use them? Read on.
SCENARIO 1 using a grunt tube. Start with a few soft grunts,
EYES ON THE PRIZE and mix in some doe bleats using a can-style I dont like to carry
Its midmorning and the tall-tined buck you have call. Wait ve minutes and repeat the grunts, but big, bulky antlers.
multiple trail cam images of is in sight. Hes just increase the volume and intensity. When youre Instead, I tend to
stepped out of the timber 250 yards away and is calling blind like this, its imperative that you stay rely on small rattling
working his way along the edge of a cut corneld, alert and dont start o calling too loudly. There devices that can more
moving with a steady, deliberate pace, his nose might be a buck at close range that you just easily t in a pack.
to the ground. havent spotted. You can buy rattle
What It Means: That buck is likely on the prowl bags, but heres how
for a hot doe. SCENARIO 3 to make your own:
Plan of Action: Grab your rattling antlers. ALL LOCKED UP
Hes still a bit too far for a grunt tube. Hit the Youve devoted a full day to the woods. Its nearly STEP 1
antlers together with medium intensity. Keep lunchtime, and your patience has just been re- Find an old boot-
the sequence shortjust a couple of cracks warded. A target buck is pushing a doe around on length sock made of
and watch the bucks reaction. If he hears it, a nearby ridge. fairly heavy fabric.
hell likely stop and stare in your direction. Do What It Means: Its obvious by the does reluc-
nothing. Wait for the buck to make his move. If tance to leave the buck that shes in heat. STEP 2
he turns and starts in your direction, grab your Plan of Action: Calling a buck away from a Purchase hardwood
bow and get ready. hot doe isnt impossible, but its sure not easy. dowels at a craft or
If the buck continues on his original path, hit Employ your grunt tube and issue some aggres- hardware store. You
the antlers together again and repeat the pro- sive challenge grunts and roars. The goal is to want a dozen dowels
cess, louder each time. make that buck think he has a rival. But use the of varying diameters,
call sparingly. Often, estrous does will steer clear but all larger than
SCENARIO 2 of other deerespecially bucksonce theyve inch.
STIR THINGS UP found a suitor. Push that doe away, and the buck
The sun cleared the horizon an hour ago. Its cold will leave with her. STEP 3
and clear, but you havent seen a buck yet. Gauge the bucks response to your calling by Cut each dowel
What It Means: Bucks are likely on their feet, reading his body language. If the buck appears into 8-inch lengths.
You can use 6-inch
dowels if you want a
more compact bag,
but the longer dow-
els will make louder

Place the dowels in
the sock and use a
zip tie to close the
open end.

Start rattling by
smacking the dowels
together against the
palm of your hand,
and then grind the

dowels by rolling
them between both
hands. T.H.


RAPID Conventional wisdom directs that big-

game hunters should wait a minimum
animal bed down and bleed out, aiding
your eventual recovery.

of a half hour to pursue their quarry But on a recent safari for Namibian
after any shot that requires trailing. The plains game, my professional hunter
idea is that an animal doesnt always didnt wait even 30 seconds after my
die right away, and by giving it time shot. He would chase game that ed af-
HUNTERS HAVE BEEN TAUGHT TO WAIT BEFORE and space to expire, youre not spiking ter a hit, leaving me to scramble for my
APPROACHING A WOUNDED ANIMAL. THATS NOT its system with adrenaline that might safety and run after them both. I was in-
ALWAYS THE SMART PLAY BY NATALIE KREBS cause it to run farther. Waiting lets an trigued by this rule of the bushunless


START Did you hit the deer? Yes!

Sit tight. You

What kind
could get No Im not sure.
of hit was it?
another shot.

How did the

deer react?
Liver/ Leg/ Heart/
gut shoulder lung

He sprinted in He walked away He arched

a straight line slowly, like he his back and
and out of sight. wasnt even hit. ran o.
Wait 6 to 8 hours before
pursuing. In the meantime,
Sounds like recruit a tracking dog if
Possibly Probably
legal in your area. If not,
a liver shot. a gut shot.
the chest. round up some buddies.

Go to the site of the hit, and/or the last

place you saw the deer. Do you nd...

Slime? Hair?
Blood? Nothing?


If theres blood, and no evidence of a If sign indicates a rump, shoulder, or leg Examine the area. If you think
gut or liver shot, consider pushing the hit, and you have good tracking condi- you hit the deer, retrace your
deer. He may bleed out or get tions, consider immediate pursuit, espe- steps, widen your search
disoriented and present another shot. cially if rain or snow is in the forecast. perimeter, and recruit help.

32 november 2017 outdoor life


you see your quarry drop, grab your shooting

sticks and start sprintingand wondered
how it might apply back home. The short an-
swer is that you can immediately start track- EXPERTS
ing a wounded deer, sometimes to greater SAY
eect than if you had waited the requisite
30 minutes. It all depends on what kind of
hit you made. To help you make the call,
consult this owchart. Despite the following dierences in
opinion, every source we reviewed
agrees that you must identify the
type of hit you made before pursuing
an animal. Depending on the amount
and type of blood, a blood trail can
indicate a fatal hit or a hit that might
Did the deer cause a deer to bleed out if pushed.
run out Never push a gut- or liver-shot deer.
of sight?

An excerpt from the curriculum
approved in 45 states: You should
wait for at least a half hour to an
Yes No hour before trailing a deer, unless
the downed deer is in sight.


Is he still
standing? The NBEF states that a wise bow-
hunter gives the animal time to
expire, and that the normal waiting
period after arrowing a big-game
animal ranges from 30 to 60 minutes.
A caveat to this is quick pursuit in the
No, hes event of a poor hit outside the chest
down. or body cavity (neck, leg, rump, or
back). In such instances,
the deer might run away
quickly but then calm
down, stop bleeding, and Available for purchase with coupon in ne stores
possibly survive. If you everywhere or online at:
spine shot? can follow the animal
rapidly and aggressively, Enter Coupon Code: 013067
it will continue to bleed, even from a
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from a wound that would not normally LIBIDO-MAX for MEN
be considered fatal. 75 Count ONLY

...with ...with
a gun. a bow. Tracker, tracking-dog breeder, and Consumer: Redeemable at retail locations only. Not valid for online or mail-order purchases. Retailer:
Irwin Naturals will reimburse you for the face value plus 8 (cents) handling provided it is redeemed by
author John Jeanneney is an advocate a consumer at the time of purchase on the brand specied. Coupons not properly redeemed will be void
and held. Reproduction by any party by any means is expressly prohibited. Any other use constitutes
of taking advantage of the onset of fraud. Irwin Naturals reserves the right to deny reimbursement (due to misredemption activity) and/
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BREATHING? GET READY! lowing a shot. He recommends care-
Watch carefully, fully approaching wounded game for
and approach a nishing shot. Allowing an animal
when youre shot in the heart, lungs, shoulder, or
sure hes dead. leg time to collect its wits could result
in a wounding loss.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration.
This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


Savage 99 in .243 topped with a 4X
Bushnell Banner.
That xed-power optic is about as
simple as riescopes get, the next step up in evo-
lution from peep sights. It has an unilluminated
duplex reticle and capped turrets for windage
and elevation. Though Ive retired it, I have killed
more animals with that rie-and-scope combina-
tion than with any other I own, for reasons of
both utility and familiarity (and also because it
was the only deer rie I owned for several years).
Because it has so few moving parts, that old
Bushnell is durable (after three decades, its still
mounted on that Savage and still holds its zero).
Because it has only a handful of sight refer- A Montana deer
encesbasically the coarseness of the reticle hunter takes
and the taper in the duplexmaking holdover adjustments is free and tack-sharp image at any distance; aim with a
Remington rie
fast, if not particularly precise. zoom range has been enlarged from 3X magni- topped with a
Familiarity is another asset. Like a shooter who is to be cation all the way up to 6X and even 8X mag- 4X Swarovski
respected because he wields only one gun, a hunter who be- nication ranges. Simple crosshairs have been scope.
comes accustomed to the unchanging sight picture through a replaced with sophisticated ranging reticles de-
xed-power riescope tends to get on target faster and with signed to work in concert with turret systems
more certainty than a shooter who ddles with magnication tuned to subtensions expressed in inches, milliradians, and
and parallax adjustment in the heat of the moment. minutes of angle. In many models, the reticle can be illumi-
nated with various degrees of battery-powered intensity.
OPTICAL BRILLIANCE The conuence of all that technology has made riescopes
Putting aside subjective considerations of habit and prefer- more eective aiming instruments than ever. And in practiced
ence, there are some strong objective reasons to reconsider hands, they are capable of helping a shooter place projectiles
xed-power scopes. Chief among them is optical brightness. with greater precision and repeatability than older, more ba-
Because they contain fewer lenses, xed-power scopes tend sic scopes could. But all that adjustability creates complexity.
to be brighter. Youd notice the light-transmission benet if And complexity can be a liability in snap-shooting situations,
you put a xed 4X next to a 3X9X (the latter set at 4X) at where you need to acquire the sight picture, judge the hold,
twilight, but I have actually measured the dierence. At 4X, and make the shot in fractions of a second.
the xed-power scope is about 8 percent brighter than the Then theres price. Variable-power scopes tend to cost
variable. At 6X, the benet is about 12 percent in favor of anywhere from two to three times as much as xed-power
the xed-power model. As you move up in magnication, the models of the same brand.
brightness benet increasingly favors xed-power models. Of course, that assumes you can still nd a xed-power
Another objective benet of xed-magnication models is scope to buy. Only a few manufacturers still make them, and
their shorter eyepiece, due to fewer power-changing lenses, those that do tend to oer only one or two congurations.
which allows them to be mounted farther forward on the While some manufacturers have brought out very eective
action. For heavy-recoiling ries, this advantage of even a xed-power opticsTrijicons 4X ACOG weapons sight is
few centimeters can be measured in fewer Weatherby eye one of the besttraditionally congured scopes are about

gashes caused by a scopes eyepiece meeting a shooters as scarce as Malibu estates with Welcome Hunters signs.
brow under recoil. The models hereall of which feature second-plane reticles
Like many shooters, Ive been seduced by evolutions in the inside 1-inch tubesare among the survivors of an unfortu-
riescope category. Independent focus achieves a parallax- nately neglected, but extremely capable, class of riescopes.

34 november 2017 outdoor life

1 2

3 4

5 it could stand an upgrade.

It still has turret knobs that
with a standard duplex ret-
icle inside this very capable
are maddeningly hard to scope. The reference dots in
turn without a coin or a tool, this mil-dot conguration
and in order to focus the are not quite to spec. But
reticle, you must rotate the the rest of the scope is well-
entire eyepiece. But the 6X executed. It sports parallax
model has a beautifully wide focus on its objective bella
18.3-foot eld of view at rare feature for a xed-
100 yards, and the tube has power riescopeand it has
ample mounting dimensions. a whopping 28.5-foot eld
($260; of view at 100 yards. ($80;
Like the Weaver Classic K, BUSHNELL
the Leupold FX-II line would BANNER 4X32
1 required for longer-range benet from easier-turning This is a wonderfully versa-
BUSHNELL ELITE precision work. The Elite turrets. But the 6X features tile scopeat home on a
LRS 10X40 SFP LRS has a bright exit pupil of elegant lines, a wide duplex deer rie, a slug gun, a rim-
The massive exposed tur- 4mm and a wide eld of view reticle, a lockable fast-focus re, or even a turkey shot-
rets and mil-dot reticle on of just over 10 feet at 100 eyepiece, ample tube length, gun. The Circle-X reticle is a
this 10X Bushnell are con- yards. ($350; and very good optical coat- fast, accurate aiming point.
gured for target use. But ings. ($300; The Banners wide eld of
the lack of parallax control 2 view (31.5 feet at 100 yards)
and a rst-plane reticle, and WEAVER CLASSIC 4 and fast aiming point would
relatively limited elevation K-SERIES 6X38 HAWKE VANTAGE make it a good choice for a
adjustment, handicap it for The K6 hasnt changed much 4X32 AO MIL-DOT dangerous-game hunter on a
the range of adjustments in half a century, and frankly Hawke would be better o budget. ($80;

photographs by bill buckley outdoor life november 2017 35


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whether youve saved all your vacation time, have only one
week to hunt, or fall somewhere in between, you will hunt the
whitetail rut. heres when to be in the woods
by m a r k k e n yo n
real world rut

a slightly later peak, be-

tween November 26 and
29. On the other hand,
in Mississippi, studies
established an average
conception date of Janu-
ary 1, with significant re-
gional differences within
the statewhich seems to
be the norm for many of
need to choose your rut- cation dates now ? the Southern states. To
nail down this timing for
let biology be your guide your own area, contact a
local wildlife biologist,

who likely keeps track of
or those with a tight a similar conclusion planner regional fawn drop and
schedule and limited through the study of conception dates.
vacation time, being road-killed deer. name Midwest deer hunter
able to plan your rut From January un- Matt Ross Corey Fall has taken ad-
hunts is crucial. Fortu- til June, when females vantage of this photo-
nately, most research in- were carrying fetuses, we period consistency by
dicates that this is possi- would open up the repro- prioritizing the calendar
ble. When it comes to the ductive tract and mea- over all else when plan-
timing of the whitetail sure those fetuses, he ning his rut hunts.
rut, many in the scientific says. That would give What Ive found is that
community believe that us a pretty good estima- the actual peak breeding
photoperiod (the amount tion of when they would time around here is be-
of light over a 24-hour have given birth and location tween November 13 and
interval) is at the core of when they were bred. New Hampshire 17somewhere in that
everything. He then looked at this ballpark, every year, says
Its a domino effect, data and compared it to Fall. About seven days
says wildlife biologist a number of potential before is when youre go-
drives all phases
Matt Ross of the Quality rut-triggering factors ing to see that peak seek-
of the rut.
Deer Management As- such as the moon phase, ing and chasing happen-
sociation. As the photo- barometric pressure, and ing, when those bucks
period changes, testoster- cloud coverbut only planner are looking for receptive
one increases in a buck. one thing matched. No does.
Theres a direct line be- question, he says. It was name Fall plans his schedule
tween the deers eyeballs photoperiod. Corey Fall to be in the woods dur-
and the pineal gland in the What this means for ing this time frame re-
brain, and that releases a hunters is that timing gardless of temperature,
type of hormone, which the best rut action often- moon phase, or other
tells the testes to produce times requires nothing factors. For me, I know
more testosterone. And more than a calendar. that every year there will
its the same thing with In most areas of North be great rut action some-
doesthe photoperiod America, other than the time between November
drives the timing of her Deep South, a consistent location 4 and 10.
estrus cycle. peak of breeding occurs Iowa A perfect example of
These changing lev- around mid to late No- Falls successful plan-
els of hormones in bucks vember. A Pennsylvania observation ning came in 2015, when
and does determine when study conducted from Temperature and he cleared his job com-
deer can breed. Because 2000 to 2007 confirmed moon phase have mitments and traveled
these hormonal shifts this. Biologists examined little effect on to Iowa for a weeklong
are tied to photoperiod, more than 6,000 road- peak breeding rut hunt. Despite day-

which changes at a con- killed does and fawns and time. time temperatures that
sistent rate and at the found an average peak climbed into the mid-70s,
same time every year, breeding date between he made it a priority to be
the peak of actual breed- November 12 and 18. A in a tree on November 4
ing activity, for most the similar 2016 Illinois study and thats when he killed
country, is quite uniform. found peak breeding a 147-inch buck. Fall has
Rod Cumberland, a from November 8 to 11, replicated that success
deer biologist from New and Cumberlands New several times in the last
Brunswick, reached Brunswick study found 10 years. Hes taken six

40 november 2017 outdoor life

mature bucks between 130 important, during those any minute. Regardless a mature buck
and 170 inches during that magic few days of the of other factors, those scent-checks an
time frame across Ohio, year, he simply puts in his bucks have a strong de- ohio field edge
Michigan, and Iowa. On time even if it means all- sire to breed, and those while trailing a
these hunts, he focuses day sits. does need to be bred dur- hot doe.

on typical rut locations Youve got to grind ing that week to 10 days,
such as pinch points be- it out, he says. Even so its going to happen.
tween large blocks of tim- though its tough men- Youve just got to make
ber, terrain funnels, and tally when you go hours yourself be there when
stands downwind of doe on stand without seeing it does, and hope it takes
bedding areas. But most a deer, it can happen at place in daylight.

outdoor life november 2017 41

real world rut

two southeastern wisconsin

bucks fight for dominance in a
tamarack swamp.

writer and photographer

Charles Alsheimer and
Pennsylvania commis-
sioner of wildlife Wayne
Laroche began a study
that continues to cap-
if your rut - hunt plan revolves around the moon, tivate the deer-hunting
community. Their re-
you ll love the fall of 2017 search was aimed at
tracking and understand-

ing the timing of the rut
ow, if youre one of your next step: Keep in by analyzing multiple
those hunters with mind the aforementioned data points, such as car-
a little more flexibil- photoperiod insights and deer collisions, trail cam
ity when it comes to then add in the potential photos, air temperature,

scheduling your rut hunts impacts of the moon and weather fronts, moon
and have an interest in annual patterns. phase, and in-person ob-
digging a little deeper More than 20 years servation. What they
into rut theories, heres ago, New York outdoor found, contrary to many

42 november 2017 outdoor life

other studies, was that This also coincides most days of deer activity will
the peak of rut activity closely with photoperiod be during the rut, and on
varied and seemed to be predictions. But when the which days he should stay
Charles Alsheimer
influenced by the timing full moon occurs later in longer on stand. Based on
of the full moon each fall. the month, such as what his observations, a moon
What Laroche and I we had in 2016, according major or minor can lead
were doing was merely to Alsheimer, everything to an estimated bump in
trying to help hunters, trickles alongits going deer activity of 10 to 15
says Alsheimer. We to be hot then cold, hot percent.
werent interested in and then cold. Heading into the 2017
changing what biologists In 2017, the second season, Ehlinger is par-
said about the timing of location full moon of the au- ticularly excited about
the rut. New York tumnal equinox occurs November 4 through 6.
More specifically, on November 4. If the The afternoons of No-
Alsheimer found that observation Alsheimer and Laroche vember 12 to 14 could
the second full moon af- Unlike last fall, research holds true, were also lead to earlier-than-
ter the autumnal equinox the rut this year in store for a traditional expected action.
is the key trigger for rut should be very rut this fall. That means In addition to moon ef-
activity. intense for a that rutting activity fects, theres another fac-
That nighttime light handful of days. should be most intense in tor thats slightly harder
source really ramps up the handful of days lead- to pin down, but its pos-
buck activity, he says. strategist ing up to, and the week sibly just as helpful for
Its not going to be peak or so following, that date. choosing when and
breeding when that full name Those are the days to put where to focus your rut
moon hitsthats going Jake Ehlinger in your time on stand. hunts: annual trends.
to be sometime later. And While debates rage The number-one
that can be anytime from year after year around his thing Im looking at is
five to six daysup to 20 moon theory, Alsheimer my notes from what hap-
dayslater. has quietly used the in- pened in years past, says
Seeking behavior in sights gleaned from his Illinois bowhunter Jeff
bucks seems to pick study to amass an impres- Schelberger. He has been
up just before that full sive collection of trophy keeping a detailed journal
moon, and chasing in- bucks. Probably three- for 15 years, in which he
creases in the days fol- quarters of the bucks Ive tracks each of his hunts,
lowing. These phases of- killed in my career have the location, the deer ac-
ten offer the best daylight observation come from using our hy- tivity observed, and the
deer activity and there- The proper moon pothesis, he says. conditionswind, tem-
fore the best hunting phase can result Alsheimer and Laroche perature, moon phase,
opportunities. in an increase in dont have a monopoly on and position. He then
Its important to know, deer activity by moon-based rut theories, uses this data to deter-
though, that this full 10 to 15 percent. though. Jake Ehlinger, mine which properties
moon hits at a differ- a veteran hunter and and stand locations are
ent time each year, caus- Whitetail Properties land the best bets for each
ing different effects on specialist, focuses specif- phase of the rut and dif-
the rut based on where it ically on moon major and ferent sets of conditions.
falls in the photoperiod. minor phases. Based on this analysis,
Jeff Schelberger
When the full moon oc- There are four times Schelberger targets spe-
curs from late October to each day when the moon cific farms at specific
early November, you get is either on a horizon, di- times during the rut to
what Alsheimer refers to rectly overhead, or di- capture the historically
as a synchronized rut. rectly underfoot, says proven best times for
This timing matches up Ehlinger. When its di- deer activity.
with peak sperm count rectly overhead or un- If its the last week of
for bucks and highest es- derfoot, its considered a October, I know to be on
trogen levels in does. location moon major. When its on Farm 1, he says. If its
Thats ideal, he says. Illinois a horizon, its a moon mi- the first week of Novem-
All the years weve been nor. When those moon ber, Ill be on Farm 2. And
doing this, thats been the observation positions occur, Ive expe- I do this because I can
most intense rut. Temperature, rienced a great increase rely on the deer doing
A full moon falling be- moon phase, in deer movement. the same thing, within a
tween November 4 and 12 and weather are Ehlinger uses this couple of days, year after
results in the traditional importantas is moon position data to de- year, almost regardless of
rut, Alsheimer says. keeping a journal. termine when the best everything else.

outdoor life november 2017 43

real world rut

how to use weather forecasting to anticipate

the best days of the rut

inally, heres your scrape at the edge of
game plan if youre known buck bedding,
the hunter who can he says. I shot him as he name
Joe Elsinger
hit the woods at a mo- was working the scrape
ments notice. Look at the at about sunrise on that
calendar, the moon, an- foggy morning. I was
nual trends, and, finally, waiting to hunt that loca-
the weather forecast. tion until I had those con-
Im constantly watch- ditions to maximize my
ing cold fronts in October odds of catching a mature
and November, says Joe buck on his feet with a
Elsinger. In my opinion, spike of pre-rut activity. location
its the biggest factor for Renowned hunters Iowa
deer movement outside such as Mark Drury, Bill
of hunting pressure. Winke, and Jeff Sturgis all observation
Elsinger is a successful commonly discuss simi- Cold fronts with
public-land bowhunter lar strategies for timing temperature
from Iowa, and like many the best hunts leading up drops of 15 de-
of the best hunters across to and around that typi- grees or more will
the country, much of that cal rut time frame. And get bucks moving.
success has been driven while cold fronts havent
by timing his hunts been found to influence freelancer
around cold fronts. actual breeding dates,
Im fanatical about be- many believe they trig- name
ing in the right spot at ger the best movement Tony Smith
the right time, says El- and daylight rutting
singer. And cold fronts activity seen each year.
are one of the best ways Tony Smith, who hunts
to figure that out. The small parcels of land in
best fronts feature a large Michigan, has followed
temperature drop of 15 the cold-front recom-
degrees or more in day- mendations of Drury and
time highs, followed by a Sturgis with an impres-
very high pressure system sive level of success. location
that boosts the baromet- Because he primar-
ric pressure up to 30.20 or ily hunts on an 11-acre observation
higher. Another time for piece of land, its crucial Calm conditions
peak movement seems for Smith to minimize his immediately after
When I see the plan-
to be at the tail end of the imprint on the property a storm is a prime
ets align, the barometer
cold front, when there until optimum condi- time to hunt
high, the double-digit
is still high pressure but tions for deer movement rutting bucks.
temperature drop, and
winds switch again to a are present. conditions calming af-
southerly direction. When hunting that ter a big storm or distur-
Elsinger used this cold- pre-rut and early rut, bance passing through,
front focus to kill a ma- theres absolutely no Ill do whatever I have to
ture buck on a late Octo- question that keying in do to clear my calendar
ber morning in 2014. on those cold fronts is es- and hunt, and I go to my
My setup was on a sential, he says. best stands.

44 november 2017 outdoor life

In 2014, just such 15-yard shot. This was the detailed graphs mapping a mid-november
a front was passing third time in four years out 10 days of upcoming cold front has
through in early Novem- that one of them had changes in temperature, this ohio buck
ber, and Smith and his killed a 120- to 145-inch wind, barometric pres- on the prowl
brother-in-law headed buck following a cold sure, and precipitation. for estrous
into the property for front. For rut hunters looking does.
their first hunt of the year One of the best re- to pick the right days to

there. Just before dark, a sources around for track- take off work and sit all
4 -year-old buck walked ing upcoming cold fronts day, this level of detailed
under his brother-in- for yourself is wunder weather data is a tremen-
laws stand and offered a, which shows dous tool.

outdoor life november 2017 45

c o l d b a y
g u n n i n g f o r g e e s e a n d d u c k s
a l a s k a
i n a r e m o t e a l e u t i a n o u t p o s t

b y j o h n b . s n o w
p h o t o g r a p h s b y m a t t n a g e r
covered hills in and around town bristle with antennas, radar domes, oversize convex dishes, and
strange structures that defy easy categorization but are clearly designed to emit, or detect, electronic
signals of some sort for some purpose. They are modern-day reminders of the towns military history.
Cold Bay is part of the Aleutian chain, which juts o the southwest corner of the Alaskan
mainland. To the south, the bay opens to the North Pacic Ocean and the Aleutian Trench, a
2,100-mile-long gash in the earths crust that plunges to depths of more than 25,000 feet and fol-
lows the crescent of the Aleutian Islands. To the north is the Bering Sea.
Cold Bays aireld was constructed during the Second World War, and ghters and bombers
from the 11th Air Force were stationed there. It was used as a jumping-o point to defend Dutch
Harbor and other parts of the Aleutians from the Japanese eet.
Just between Cold Bay and the Bering is a small lagoonsmall at least by Alaskan standards at
150 square milesand it, too, is a critical jumping-o point. Called Izembek Lagoon, it is notable for
one thing in particular, and thats the reason Ive traveled to this remote, windswept location. The
bottom of the lagoon grows the worlds largest bed of eelgrass.
c o l d b ay, a l a s k a ,
isnt much of a destination for tourists, bottleneck
or anyone else for that matter. The year- Eelgrass is pretty plain-looking stu. The long, dull-green blades grow in meadows on the saltwater
round population is said to be somewhere lagoons shallow bottom. But for Pacic brantalso called black brantit is the linchpin of their
around 100 people, give or take, but after existence. They rely on it to fatten up for their remarkably long migrations, and it even provides
spending a week there I think that number is them with fresh water as they munch away.
inated. You end up seeing the same faces Like eelgrass, Pacic brant arent particularly visually striking. They are stocky little geese,
whether youre at the bar, the grocery store, with black and bu coloration on their chest, wings, neck, head, and bill, and they have a white belly.
or the post oce, or walking around the towns Mature brant get a distinctive ring of white around their neck, which is a helpful thing to look for
packed-gravel roads. What is certain, however, when they y within shotgun range.
is that there are more houses than people, Nor are Pacic brant prolic. Their population hovers at around 150,000a mere drop in the fowl
many of which look abandoned, having been bucket when compared to the millions of Canadas or mallards that course along North Americas
beaten down by the salt and wind and cold. yways. But, remarkably, every one of those 150,000 brant stops at Izembek Lagoon in order to rest
Without doubt, Cold Bay also has more and feed during their travels. Their breeding grounds are scattered for thousands of miles across
communications gear per capita than any the High Arctic. And they winter mostly down in Mexico, and in some small pockets along the Pacic
other place on the planet. The treeless tundra- Coast of the U.S. Yet they all congregate around the same time during the fall in Izembek, making

48 november 2017 outdoor life


from left: a trio of duck and this spot a singular bottleneck for these birds. raised his shotgun and shouted at it. Fortu-
goose calls ready for action; a Once the brant have consumed enough nately, the bear turned tail and ran o rather
hunter wades out to retrieve a eelgrass to continue south, they take o and than look for a ght.
harlequin drake he shot moments wont land for several days, covering the thou-
before; the author swinging on a sands of miles to the Baja Peninsula and the lady luck
duck that is coming in low and fast Sea of Cortez in a single ight. When I learned That night we went to a Ducks Unlimited ban-
just off a rocky beach. about the extent of their travels, I felt a bit quet. All of Cold Bay showed up for the party,
uncharitable for grumbling about the two days because It turns out nearly everyone in town
it took me to get from my home to Cold Bay. is a DU member. We had a classic banquet
smorgasbord with Swedish meatballs, baked
sleeping bear pasta casserole, salmon dip, and Halloween-
During my rst night in Cold Bay, the weather gods brewed up a storm that lashed the town with themed cupcakes. While drinking punch out
an elemental fury. Seventy-mile-per-hour winds drove the rain sideways against the small house of a paper cup, I browsed the rae and silent
where I was staying along with the group of hunters who had joined me to hunt brant and sea ducks. auction items propped on tables around the
The building shook and groaned as the rain hammered the window above my cot. It felt more like edges of the room. There were bar sets embla-
being at sea than on solid ground. zoned with the DU logo, framed pictures of
The rain was still coming in horizontal in the morning. We had a quick breakfast of biscuits slath- waterfowl, DU-branded shotguns, and a Taurus
ered with sausage gravy, pulled on our waders, piled into a two-truck convoy, and went to a small Judge revolver with Ducks Unlimited etched
lake to try our luck. The open water on the bay and in the lagoon was too rough to launch boats. on its cylinder. And, of course, there was the
Crossing the soggy ground around the lake, I leaned into the wind to keep my balance. We helped obligatory print showing the three avors of
Je Wasley, the owner and head guide of Four Flyways Outtters, set four dozen decoysa mix of Labs: black, yellow, and chocolate. This one
bueheads, divers, and puddle ducksin the water. They strained on their anchor lines in the wind, featured a trio of puppies in a tableau of hand-
dancing, rolling, and tugging like disobedient dogs. With our spread set to Wasleys satisfaction, we carved decoys and duck calls. They looked
tucked into a muddy bank for some protection from the wind and watched the sky. Or, in my case, slightly constipated. Perhaps, they couldnt
mostly watched the sky. Looking around, I saw torn-up chunks of dead silver salmon in the grass believe they were being immortalized in such a
and lots of bear scat. clichd representation of doggiedom.
Some ducks ew high overhead, but the wind kept them out of our decoys. Ben Teale, a young The night was great success. People
guide from Wisconsin with a bright-red lumberjacks beard, decided to walk the shore of the lake engaged in bidding wars for some of the
to see if he could jump some birds, and maybe push them our way. His plan didnt work. The only choicer items, while others popped out of their
thing he kicked up was a snoozing brown bear. The bruin popped up out of the grass and Teale chairs laughing and clapping when they won

outdoor life november 2017 49

a rae prize. The only murmur of discontent layout boats in the lagoon. This was our rst crack at the brant. With a string of silhouette decoys
was when the young woman who had sold us trailing o the stern, my little one-man craft looked like a round-bottomed soap dish that had
the rae tickets managed to win two guns. been ipped over and painted gray.
But her beet-red complexion and sheepish I lay back in the boat, shotgun between my legs, muzzle toward my feet, and waited. The boat
demeanor when she claimed her second rie rocked in the small waves, and a bit of sea water sloshed over the sides and down my back, dis-
of the night convinced the crowd that nothing pelling any notions I might have had about snoozing in the afternoon sun. The decoys werent very
but good fortune was in her favor. realistic. They were painted in a style Id dub nouveau kindergartener, but the brant didnt seem to
care. In short order, three ights of the geese came in, and I shot one bird each time for my limit.
tough bird Wasley stood behind the center console of his high-prowed boat and motored around to
I was hoping for some of that ladys luck the scoop up downed birds with a long-handled shing net. The boats battered aluminum hull was
next morning as I sat on a rocky beach with the same nondescript dull green as the eelgrass. Any beauty one might attribute to it would have
Wasleys dog Annie next to me. The 11-year- to be based solely on its utility as a working craft. After I shot my three birds, Wasley picked me
old Lab was a duck-hunting veteran, and she up and put another hunter in my place. Soon, everyone had his three geese, and we packed up
lay still on the cold stones with her teeth and headed back to shore.
loudly chattering as the tide came in, soaking
her fur. She sounded like a small gas motor as proving ground
she pressed against my leg, and I wished I had The brant were certainly the stars of the hunt. There were tens of thousands of them in the skies
more warmth to oer her. She stayed still as around us. They came in to our dekes like hungry kids being called for supper. And, as I found out,
her eyes scanned the horizon. they are about the best-tasting game animal Ive ever eaten. We still tried for sea ducks, but they
I shot one harlequin duck that morning proved much more dicult to bring to hand.
as it buzzed through the decoys, a bucket- The other star of the show was the shotgun we had come to shootBenellis next-generation
list bird for serious waterfowlers and, for its Super Black Eagle, the SBE 3. The Benelli guys
size, probably the worlds toughest feathered were eager to test the gun in the harshest
creature. It skipped three times on the water shooting conditions they could nd, and no
after its wings folded, and Annie made an place is less forgiving than Alaska. from left: a double-banded pacific
easy retrieve. Using a 3\-inch shell stued Saltwater, sand, barnacle-encrusted brant from cold bay; the author
with No. 2 high-density shot would be absurd rocksall are the sworn enemy of shotguns, with a limit of brant taken from
for most birds the size of that small duck particularly semi-autos, which will grind to izembek lagoon; a harlequin hen
but not for a harlequin. a halt if they arent built tough enough. Add surrounded by the type of heavy
By afternoon the waters had calmed to the environment hard-ying birds with magnum shells used to take down
down, and we were able to hunt from Wasleys armor-like feathers that act more like winged the small but tough sea duck.
terminators than normal ducks, and you have to take us to one of his favorite spots on the above left: plucking a brant in
the makings of a superlative proving ground fth morning. We drove out of town in the dark preparation for the grill; brant
for any fowling piece. along a gravel road, which abruptly terminated breasts and legs getting a quick
My full review of the SBE3 appeared in the in a river that was owing dark and fast in the sear; goose done rare, placed in a
May issue, and the shotgun also performed headlights of the old Suburban. bowl and ready to be eaten. below:
well in our annual rie and shotgun test (June/ Wasley eased the truck into the water. annie, an 11-year-old veteran with
July). What struck me most about the new I was seated in the front passenger seat thousands of retrieves under her
iteration of the gun was the improvements to literally riding shotgun, with the Benelli belt, brings a brant ashore.
its handling and pointability. Changes to the between my legswhen I noticed water
stock dimensionsa narrowed forend and pooling around my feet and rising fast as we
more vertical grip chief among themgave bounced along the rivers rocky bottom. The
the SBE3 a more nimble and lively feel, which water kept getting deeper, and soon our headlights were half submerged though the opposite
can be tough to achieve with a 3\-inch gun. shore was still far o. The rivers running high, Wasley said. Suddenly, I had a sickening feeling in
Benelli also improved the guns recoil- my gut as the truck began to drift sideways in the current. Without speaking a word, everybody in
reduction system, and made the bolt lockup the Suburban decided to act on the same thought: Abandon ship.
more reliable, so that having a misre We piled out of the truck and scrambled to unhitch the Zodiac we were towing, which was now
causing the gun to go click instead of bangis oating in the wateralong with the trailer it was attached toand yanking the rear end of the
less likely. truck downstream.
During the weeklong hunt, my shotgun The truck drifted another 20 feet and came to rest. We tried to push it out but it wouldnt
performed admirably, though I did have one budge. After a few minutes of rumbling and gurgling in the dark, the motor died. We were well and
curious situation where a shell I had just red truly stuck. Wasley had to call his two younger guides to rescue us. We ended up making a 40-yard
was torn in half as it was being ejected, with daisy chain with tow straps and used their two trucks to pull the Suburban back to the spot where
one piece remaining inside the chamber. That we had entered the river.
jammed the gun and cost me a bird, though I We attached jumper cables to the battery of our waterlogged truck and connected them
think it was the fault of the ammo rather than to the battery in one of the rescue vehicles. Miraculously, the motor coughed, turned over, and
any issue with the SBE3. started. The exhaust system disgorged water like a drowned man coming back to life, and we got
back into our soggy seats and returned to town. Needless to say, Wasleys honey hole remained
f lo o d wat e r s unmolested, and our luck with sea ducks failed to improve.
The diculty we had in connecting with sea In the following days, I did manage to shoot a gorgeous eider drake with the most magnicent
ducks clearly frustrated Wasley, who decided plumage Ive ever seen, as well as another harlequin. Other hunters in the group added some scoters

52 november 2017 outdoor life


to our collective bag. Other than the black brant, the most numerous fowl we saw were the emperor of your choicea good steak rub works well.
geese that ew around us, though because of their low overall numbers, they arent legal game. Fire up the grill and get it hot. Sear the meat,
turning it quickly and often. Cook it to a rare
m ag i c a l m e at or medium-rare level of doneness at the most.
The silver lining to our ongoing struggles was the brantparticularly at mealtimes. Eating them And eat it right away, while it is still steaming.
changed everything I thought I knew about waterfowl as table fare. I like a properly prepared mallard The dark meat of the bird, juicy and tender,
breast as much as the next wild-game gourmand, but brant are superior by an order of magnitude. with bits of burnt fat around the edges, was a
Keeping the fat with the legs and breast is key. Marinate the birds with olive oil and seasonings culinary revelation, rivaling the nest meat
wild or otherwiseIve ever consumed.
As cold leftovers, the meat loses much of
its magic. And if you overcook it, it takes on a
liverish avor in keeping with the reputation
that most people associate with sea-going
waterfowl. One thing I dont know is whether
brant is as delicious when hunted in Washing-
ton, California, or Mexico after they migrate. I
suspect not, since their fat reserves would be
depleted after their long journey.
So that leaves any bird hunter with a
pretty clear choice. If you want to experi-
ence some of the best waterfowl hunting in
the worldat least as measured by degree
of adventure, number of hard-to-nd spe-
cies you can potentially shoot, and taste on
the platethen a trek to Cold Bay might be
in order. The snow-covered volcanoes, spew-
ing steam and smoke, that surround the town
create a backdrop that few wingshooters will
ever experience. And another things for cer-
tain: You wont be ghting any crowds.

outdoor life november 2017 53

sk your hunting or shing
buddies about the crazi-
est things theyve found in

ready for some dandy stories.

I did just that a few years ago,
quizzing a friend who grew up
TORSOS, CURVACEOUS River about favorite nds in a
FISHING LURES...THE THINGS lifetime aeld. One year, when
was shing a rocky rie that
FISHING ARE SOMETIMES had been used as a ford by the
ries, and later by bualo hunt-
ANIMALS WE PURSUE ers. Something in the shal-

waded out and pulled up an old

rie. It was a rust-encrusted

been in the process of jacking

a shell into the chamber when

Ive always wondered

about that, my friend mused.

Indians? Was it a hunter mak-

ing a follow-up shot? Did the
rie slip out of a hand? Or was
the shooter killed in action?
Well never know. A dis-
covery like that raises more
questions than it answers,
which is precisely the thrum
of a good nd.
I asked a number of bud-

memorable losses. Here are

Andrew McKean

outdoor life november 2017 55

pector who built the shack and lived way went and killed a couple of beautiful rams.
Gary Guidice out there. And I still wish Id kept his rusty We reported our discovery when we got
old gold pan. back to civilization, and it became a major
Back in the early 80s, my brother and I got anthropological event, the oldest organi-
the idea that we wanted to oat an Alas- cally preserved human remains in North
kan river that had never seen a raft. We America, estimated at 500 years old. The
heard about a remote creek that was run- THE ORIGINAL HUNTER
ning unseasonably high and talked an out- Bill Hanlon Bill Hanlon looks over glacier elds
tter with a oatplane into dropping us at in the Tatshenshini-Alsek Park in
its headwaters. It would be a 14-day oat I was Dall sheep hunting with two buddies northwest British Columbia.
to the take-out spot. in the most beautiful real estate Ive ever
Halfway into the trip, we rounded a seen, the massive Tatshenshini-Alsek wil-
bend and there was an entire log cabin derness of northern British Columbia. We
beached on a brushy sandbar. It must have had backpacked in 55 kilometers to the
been washed down from its original loca- head of a series of glaciers and spotted
tion in the spring runo. After a week of a band of rams on a distant ridge. As we
seeing no signs of humans, we had to stop. were picking our way along the lower edge
We rummaged the place, feeling like tres- of a glacier, I found a stick, then another.
passers even though it hadnt been inhab- This is rock-and-ice country, so it was
ited in decades. We found broken jars, unusual to see wood. Then I realized I was
tools, old cans, and even a rusted-out gold looking at an artifactmaybe an atlatl.
pan. We left that cabin just as we found Just then one of my buddies said, I
it, still feeling like intruders. We knew the think I found the poor fellow who lost that
next high water would nish the task and stu. It was a partial body, 30 feet above
return those hewn timbers to the river. My us. All we could see was a pelvis. The legs
brother and I still talk about that nd, and were still frozen in the glacier.

56 november 2017 outdoor life

S T + F O U N D

Chad Schearer

When I was 10, I received a Buck Model

102 knife for Christmas. My father had
my name and hometown engraved on the
blade, and I carried that knife everywhere.
One day my brother borrowed it for a
bowhunt in the Little Belt Mountains, and
he lost it. A couple of years later, it was re-
turned via the U.S. Postal Service. Another
public-land hunter had found my knife,
discovered my name, and took the time to
return it. Sportsmen are some of the nest
people to walk this earth.

ing blacktails in the Salmon-Trinity Alps.

In three seasons, we never heard a shot
that was not fired by one of our own
party. We would always go in as far as the
fire-control roads would allow, then hike
a few miles up to a cirque lake near the
mountaintop, where wed catch trout for
breakfast every morning. The first day of
the season, I shot a buck, and we had to
run downhill for several hundred yards
before killing him. While resting prior
to dressing out and packing the meat
Tsnchi, which translates to Long Ago falling in a crevasse or getting lost in a and hide back to camp, Fred inspected a
Person Found. midsummer storm and dying of hypother- greenish boulder on the hillside.
We later learned the body was that of miahappens to me, its another hunter A rockhound, Fred pronounced that
a Tlingit hunter 20 years old and in per- who nds me 500 years later.
fect physical condition when he died.
With him, he had a robe made of arctic
ground squirrel skins and sinew from
mountain goat and blue whale, plus a CUTBANK BOUNTY
smoked sockeye salmon in a pocket and a Dallas Capdeville in diameter and more or
hat woven from spruce root. less round.
The news made a splash, but despite I was driving my boat down the Milk We went back the next
extensive searching, archaeologists River in Montana when I spotted the base season with a four-wheel-
werent able to nd the mans head. Four of an antler sticking out of a bank that drive truck, a winch, ropes,
years later, my buddies and I drew sheep had been caving o for several years. I pulleys, and even prima cordFred was
tags again for the area, and we went back started digging and pulled out a 6-point an explosives expert, too. We were deter-
to the glacier, which had receded a good elk shed. mined to remove that jade boulder. We
deal since our original visit. And not 100 spent ve days looking for that rock but
yards from where we found the pelvis, we never found it again.

found the head.

How was it that we made both these THE JADE BOULDER
nds? A lot of people have talked about A.G. Russell
the astronomical odds, but I dont think LOOKING FOR FISH
it was coincidence. Its taken me years to My story should be called Found, Then Rachel VandeVoort
reach this conclusion, but I think we were Lost.
meant to nd him. He was a hunter, and In the California deer season, back in The sh win today. Thats what my
it took a hunter to nd a hunter. I hope if the late 50s, Fred Hoy and I were hunt- Gramps said when we neglected to throw

ILLUSTRATIONS BY TED SLAMPYAK outdoor life november 2017 57

L O S T + F O U N D

our rods in the truck for a drive to the

shing hole two hours from home. And
thats what hed say when we would get
skunked on one of our many shing trips
to the lake.
He called it looking for sh, and to tell
the truth, Gramps did most of the look-
ing while I looked forward to the catching.
Miles, hours, days we looked for sh at that
lake. Thermoses of sugary coee, yellow
bags of Lays potato chips, Wonder bread
and bologna sandwiches fueled our shing
trips. Wed look for sh when it was so cold
the eyelets froze up after every third strip
of line, and when it was so windy that we
could barely cast. There were days when
wed drive right up to the lake and sit in the
cab of the truck, hoping for a break in the
weather so we could look for sh.
The sh win today, Gramps would say
when he surrendered to the weather and
turned for home.
I used to think we spent all those days
just looking for sh, but years later, I
know that what I really found on those
trips was time with Gramps. And thats
something that I can never nd again.

and started opping around again someday. I was heart-

in the muddy cattle tracks. broken. Not only did I lose
I threw down my pole and the best sh of my life up
went for him, but each time until then, but I had lost my
Ryan Kirby one of the lures from a mail- I reached for his mouth, he prized crankbait.
order catalog and couldnt thrashed and threw that A week later, my dad was
I was 9 years old and com- wait to try it on our south crankbaits giant treble hunting for mushrooms in
pletely obsessed with sh- pond. It was so heavy I could hook toward my hand. the woods below the pond
ing. I shed morning, noon, cast it all the way over the Eventually the sh got into when he saw something
and night over the sum- pond to the far shore. enough water to gain some colorful in the brush. It was
mers on our Illinois farm, The rst evening I tied leverage, and with one gi- my crankbait. Apparently,
insisting even on shing in that lure on, my dad left me ant slap of his tail he swam raccoons had nabbed the
my Little League uniform to sh alone while he rode away like a torpedo, crank- sh, which had probably
after games. the three-wheeler over the bait and all. As that orange died from exertion after
A friend had a VHS tape hill to check on soybeans. beacon in the side of his our ght. The coons carried
of a seminar given by Babe A few minutes after he left, mouth disappeared in the the sh over the dam, ate
Winkelman, shing with a I had a massive hit from a muddy water, I cried. it, and left my crankbait
large orange-bellied crank- giant bass. I nally got him When my dad returned behind after determining it
bait. Up until then, I had to shore. I was so little I to nd me at the edge of was inedible.
stuck to spoons, spinner- had to lean way backward, the pond, I told him the I never caught another
baits, and rubber worms, but doubling over my Zebco. I story. He didnt believe me, sh on that lure. I never
I just knew this crankbait was just about to swing the of course, but as a sort of made the Bassmaster tour.
was my ticket to the Bass- bass out of the water when fathers consolation, he But Ill never forget that sh
master tour. I had to have he broke the line, plopped told me that wed just have or the orange-bellied crank-
it, even though I was shing down in 2 inches of water, to try and catch that sh bait that did it in.

58 november 2017 outdoor life

Keith Balfourd
stuck in the fork of the
tree, and it died and

to pull out. It appeared

While still-hunting for to be hand-forged and
whitetails along the Niobr- pounded out of a large
ara River outside Valentine, carriage bolt. There was
Neb., I came across a split
tree. In the split was an old
hay hook, the kind with a for that matter. Mother
wooden T-handle made for Nature had taken back
handling bales of hay or
straw. A long time ago, the
tool had evidently been


Aaron Oelger

on a large sheet of twisted and bent

Remains of an aircraft wreck

in the high mountains of Colo-
rados Raggeds Wilderness.

remains of a single-engine aircraft that Jared Frasier ers who had made the fort.
had crashed in the area some 20 years
earlier. Most of the wreckage had been Last year, I tagged along with a friend
dismantled and removed by packtrains, on his Montana mountain goat hunt. I
but the mules were unable to carry the wanted to set up above himall the bet- ANGLING FOR EVIDENCE
engine. Later, I went back to the area and ter to spot and lm fromand as I was Mitch Butler

located the engine. My guide recalled looking for a hide, I found a little rock
that the plane was owned by the Colo- fort, maybe 10,000 feet up on a ridge. Long after a man was
rado Department of National Resources. Whoever made the fort had wedged lit- convicted of a high-
I never learned if there had been loss tle sheets of crystal-covered rock in prole murder in the
of life in the wreck, but it was sure a the gaps of the larger rocks they had auent town of Green-
spooky thing to nd an abandoned air- stacked, presumably to keep wind and wood Village, Colo., I
craft engine sitting in the middle of the weather out. As I made myself comfort- found the murder weapon. I
wilderness. able in the hide, I looked down and found was only about 7 years old, but

outdoor life november 2017 59

in my pack and took it back
to camp to clean it up.
Upon seeing its vintage,
and how long it must have
been buried, I developed
a theory about how it got
there and who might have
lost it.
The harmonica is a
Clover No. 130. It has pat-
ent dates stamped in its
metal: Sept. 27, 1892, and
June 7, 1898. Im guessing
it was made around the
turn of the 20th century.
The area I was hunting
was homesteaded by a
local family who raised
properly. sheep and later cattle on
the land. My hunch is that
the harmonica belonged
to one of the men hired to
herd the sheep. The valley
below the point still holds
the remains of a sandstone
corral. I can imagine a
sheep herder sitting on
the sandstone point one
evening just as I had done.
But instead of looking for
elk, he was using the van-
tage to keep an eye on the
sheep he was tasked with
tending. What did he do to
pass the time? Im guessing
he played the harmonica
until he lost it.

I was a consummate golf-course angler

and craysh collector. I was exploring Lit-
PERFECT POINT roads and bridges. The nearest source for
obsidian back in the pre-settlement era
Chris Hrenko
tle Dry Creek, probably looking for golf was probably the Yellowstone Plateau.
balls I could sell back to the pro shop, I wondered about the person who must
when I saw a square bit of metal stick- While hunting rabbits and squirrels, I found a have treasured it, and how they lost it.
ing out of the muddy bank under a bridge. large obsidian arrowhead, completely intact, I brought the point to school to show
I excavated a bit, determined the metal along the edge of a corneld behind my my sixth-grade class. Our school had
was the bottom of a magazine, and came grandparents house in Ohio. It was almost been built by a contractor that special-
up with the .45 Auto that had been used as big as todays iPhone, and its edges were ized in prison construction, and it was one
in the homicide and then apparently sharpened at parallel angles. I always won- of those modern buildings with exposed
tossed o the bridge. The authorities had dered if it was designed to spin in ight. duct work and oors of stained concrete.
combed the area for days following the Its hard to imagine what people must have Some bozo classmate of mine dropped
murder, but it took a 7-year-old sports- gone through to get that obsidian hundreds the arrowhead onto that hard oor, and it
man to produce the evidence. of miles back to Ohio in the days before shattered into pieces.

60 november 2017 outdoor life

Brenda Valentine
Some 40 years ago, my brother and I got
into a world of trouble when we lost the
two post-hole diggers that we had used to
Marc Kloker
help my father fence a part of our farm. The
I found a lure buried in the
dirt bank of a local shing
pond when I was in high
school. It was a Little Cleo
WIGL spoon with the picture
of a topless young lady (Miss
Cleo?) stamped into its metal
surface. I thought it was the
HUCK FINNS ROD coolest thing ever, especially
Gary Garth as I was a teenager with a
teenagers libido.
I have kept it in my vari-
ous tackle boxes ever since,
never once using it, for more
than 20 years. I would call it a
good-luck charm, but because
I never use it, I cant say if it

Once I discovered the

internet, I also learned more
into the hot sand. about the origin of Little Cleo.

performer in the 1930s in New

York City. The developer of
the lure was inspired by Cleo
and stamped the likeness of

of the reel. the back side of the spoon.

It may not be a sh mag-
net, but its a treasure in my

nothing else had. It still does.

The pit was full of the caninesthe fang

FIRE TO THE BEAR GODS teethof adult grizzly bears. The bones
Ben Long of bison and bighorns, the preferred prey had crumbled with time, but the harder,
over deer and elk. Only once in his career, enamel-coated teeth remained easily
It was late summer, and the irrigation res- Reeves told me, had he found a black bear identiable. Someone long ago, for some
long-forgotten reason, had cooked the
skulls of several grizzlies in that spot.
I imagined the scene: glowing coals,
pologist Barney Reeves, smell of burnt esh and sweetgrass,
looking for small circles of prayers to an ancient god oered in an
rocks, evidence of ancient ancient tongue. I snapped a picture and
we left the site untouched. The next
res had burned centu- springs snowmelt relled the reservoir,
taking the mystery with it.

outdoor life november 2017 61

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Does the
black bear in
your trail cam
photo look like
Its likely a
youngster. Typi-
cally, a mature
boar will have
shorter fur.

Rack size can be

dicult to judge
when viewed from
behind or if a buck
is quartering away.

PICTURE MAY be worth a thou-
sand words, but for deer hunters, it
can be worth a few more scorable

inches. Need proof? Post a trail
camera photo of a buck on a social
media site and ask fellow hunters to
score it. You might get one or two
accurate estimates. The rest? Not
even closeand you can bet that

most will be on the high side. Bucks
that are real-world 110-inchers sud-
denly become 120s. And borderline
140s turn into B&C bucks.

section edited by gerry bethge outdoor life november 2017 H1

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Why are so many hunters so bad Summertime antler

velvet can make a
at judging a bucks score?
great buck look like
Few people actually put a a world-beater.
tape to a deer, says Boone and
Crocketts director of big-game
records, Justin Spring. They might
ask a guy who seems to know
what hes talking about, and when
that guy gives a number, they just
assume hes right, even though
he may not be close. You have to
look at a lot of bucks and actually
confirm the score to accurately
estimate another bucks score
from a photo.
Kansas outfitter Gene Pearcy
( agrees. He
monitors 20 or more trail cameras
every year and looks at as many as
200 different bucks per season.
Lots of them top 130 inches. Few
hunters see a buck that big more
than once or twice a season, so
when a decent buck mugs for their
camera, they tend to assume its
much larger than it really is.
A 130 can look pretty big if you
are used to seeing 100- or 110- and Crockett Club has a handy and ear is about 7 inches long. Use that a 125-inch deer and a 200 when it
inch bucks most of the time, says simple scoring calculator on its as a general guide. Also, consider comes to how much mass factors
Pearcy. website. Do it often enough, and the distance between the tines into the total score. Unless the ant-
Experience is one thing, but youll be able to get pretty close and each ones individual length lers are exceptionally thin or really
Facebook photos or even buck-in- when you estimate a photo. to help you get an idea of total heavy, you will only be off by 6 or 8
hand estimates are almost always Pearcy starts by looking at a length. To gauge spread, figure inches if you misjudge the circum-
high. Nobody guesses low. Spring bucks main beam as it compares 15 inches between a young bucks ference by a half inch. The average
says there might be some psycho- to the length of his nose. The aver- ear tips, and 17 for a large, mature circumference of a mature bucks
logical factors in those generous age length of a really good bucks animal. Scores are calculated with main beam is 4 to 4 inches, says
scores. It just seems like people main beam is about 20 inches the maximum inside spread of the Pearcy.
want deer to be bigger than they maybe 22. Its about 8 inches from main beams. Every inch counts, of course, but
really are, he says. the center of its eye to the tip of Mass helps, but there isnt a nothing can boost a score faster
its nose. No side view? A bucks whole lot of difference between than the length of the main beam,
SCORING SENSE and the number of tines and their
MISJUDGING A BUCK from an lengths. Good brow tines can add
image is understandable to a point. more inches to the total score than
Trail cameras present a unique set Main beam and total tine you might think.
of variables, not the least of which length boost a bucks score The average buck will have 2-
is timing. Around mid-August, for more than spread and mass. or 3-inch eye guards, so if you are
instance, Facebook pages swell looking at a buck with 6-inch brow
with photos of bucks gathered tines, thats an extra 6 or 8 inches
around a corn pile or a feeder. They right there, he says.
all look a bit heavier, thanks to a The G3s and G4s can also add
layer of velvet, which adds mass quite a bit, assuming a buck has
and even a bit of length to the ant- those fourth tines. The difference
lers. Hard antlers can be deceiving, between a good 8-point and a 10

too. Odd angles, varying distances can be a dozen or more inches.

from the camera, and poor-quality Still not sure? Post the bucks
photos can distort them. photo on a social media site. Figure
So how can you accurately judge the average of all the guesses and
a score from a trail camera photo? subtract 10 percent. That might get
It helps to look at a lot of before- you close to the actual score. Shave
and-after bucks. In other words, off another 10 percent, and youll
capture them on camera and then probably be right on the money.
actually score them once they are Better yet, spend some time making
wearing your tag. Try to score them careful calculations. The more you
allboth big and small. The Boone do it, the more accurate you will be.

outdoor life november 2017 H3

T O C H A S E A L L O F Y O U R D R E A M S.




facebook/tcarmsco twitter/tcarmsco instagram/tcarmsco youtube/tcarmsco




section edited by john b. snow outdoor life november 2017 63


hen Jeff Lester of Hunt Hard Outfitters told me to be prepared for a 300-plus-yard shot on
my upcoming New Mexico elk hunt, I thought he was blowing smoke. Lester explained that
there were lots of really good bulls in the area, but that the terrain made it very difficult
to get closer than 300 yards. If I wasnt comfortable shooting to that distance or farther,
he explained, Id have to pass on most shot opportunities.

Like so many hunters, I had the barrel) is greater than with a

established an arbitrary effective centerfire rifle, and allowing the
range for muzzleloading rifles gun to rest loosely on the bags can
without ever truly testing their negatively affect accuracy.
limits. After speaking with Lester,
I realized Id underestimated the no. 6
potential of todays crop of class- CONSIDER YOUR POWDER
leading smokepoles. Improved Pelleted powders are very con-
bullets, powders, and optics allow venient, but dont discount loose
you to effectively take game out powders. They tend to produce
to 300 yards and, yes, beyond. But beat, but using loose propellant is both cheaper and generally more accurate. more consistent velocities and pres-
making an accurate shot at those sures, and you can adjust charges in
ranges demands the right equip- no. 1 bullets in your quest to find the small increments to find what works.
ment and a great deal of practice. CHOOSE THE RIGHT RIFLE right combination for your rifle.
After experimenting with loads Most dedicated long-range no. 7
and powders, I found I could con- muzzleloaders are bolt-actions no. 4 PLAY THE WIND
sistently slap plates out to 400 designed to increase stiffness and WATCH THE TEMPERATURE Wind is the greatest chal-
yards with the Remington 700 improve accuracy. Carbon-fiber John Fink, Remingtons direc- lenge when taking a shot beyond
UML I was carrying on that hunt. stocks, aluminum chassis, and tor of product management for 200 yards. Because of the lower
And, two days into the hunt, when hand-lapped barrels are common firearms, warns that shooting muz- velocities and lower-performance
a big New Mexico bull elk climbed on top-end muzzleloading rifles. zleloaders in temperatures above bullet shapes, wind deflection
out of a canyon just after sunrise 80 degrees Fahrenheit can cause is significantly more than with
and headed for the timber above, no. 2 problems with consistency. Also, your traditional long-range rifle,
I was ready. The shot was just a CLEAN OFTEN AND EFFECTIVELY not letting the barrel cool between says Gunwerks founder Aaron
bit over 300 yards, but I was con- For maximum consistency, shots can actually heat a sabot Davidson. At 100 yards in a 10-mile-
fident in my rifle. The Remington clean your barrel between shots. and change the composition of the per-hour crosswind, a 300-grain
delivered the bullet just behind Use a jag that allows you to get all plastic enough to affect accuracy. .50-caliber sabot muzzleloader
the shoulder, and the bull barely the way to the bottom of the barrel bullet may drift 3 inches or more.
made it 30 yards before dropping. and cleaning solvents that are no. 5 With that same wind speed, a 500-
Are you looking for that type designed for black powder. UNDERSTAND DWELL TIME yard shot will result in more than 6
of accuracy from your muzzle- Its a good idea to hold the feet of bullet drift.
loader? Its possible. Here are no. 3 forearm of a muzzleloader firmly Practice shooting in the wind,
some tips to help you increase CHANGE THINGS UP against the bags when shoot- and learn to estimate wind speed
your effective range with a black- Swap powder manufactur- ing. According to Fink, dwell time using mirage, vegetation, and a
powder firearm. ers and charge weights as well as (length of time the projectile is in wind meter, Davidson says.

three long-range muzzleloaders


Based on the Model 700 MUZZLELOADER JOHNSTON
action, these muzzleload- With a three-month wait MUZZLELOADER
ers utilize Remingtons and a nearly $5,800 price These rifles use con-
UML Ignition System, which tag, this isnt your daddys verted Remington 700
looks like the rear half of blackpowder rifle. However, actions and come with
a .308 Winchester case. A its loaded with sophis- McMillan stocks. Theres
specially designed breech ticated features like a also a model with dedi-
plug makes the system hand-lapped barrel with 5R cated long-range iron
safe and efficient, and this rifling, an aluminum chassis, sights for hunting in states
muzzleloader can handle and an external adjust- where optics on muzzle-
200-grain charges. Theres able trigger with 1 ounce loaders are not permitted.

even storage for three UML per click adjustments. And Prices start at $2,500,
Ignition System primers its a legitimate 500-yard but the accuracy is out-
under the floor plate. ($949; muzzleloader. ($5,750; standing. (from $2,500;

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Practice Your Gun Mount in the Field
f you cant shoot faster than that, you might as well not 1 Before the dogs fall on point for the
shoot at all. That was the rather blunt directive I received first time, take a moment to mount
from a grouse-hunting guide a few years back. And while your (empty) shotgun and track the bead along
the tops of nearby trees. This accomplishes two
it may not have been the most diplomatic way to convey things: First, youre reinforcing the techniques
his message, the guy was absolutely right. I had done my you have been practicing all summer and fall at
the shooting range. And second, youre making
due diligence before the hunt; I had spent time on the range, sure that theres nothing that will impede your
and I could smash 20 or more skeet targets every time out. gun mount. Shooting in a heavy coat and gloves
with an e-collar remote strapped to your chest
But when it came to knocking down birds in real time, I was can lead to hang-ups, so be sure the recoil pad
floundering. has a clear path to your shoulder.
We dont typically associate being in a hurry with improved Start the Swing as the Gun Comes Up
shotgun technique, but it is possible to become faster and 2 A proper swing originates at the hips.
shoot more accurately at the same time. This is especially But you should actually start your
swing before the gun is mounted, saving time
important late in the season, when birds are wary and tend to and promoting a smooth, clean follow-through.
flush more readily and fly hard. If you want to hit those birds, To practice this, work on making your torso track
the target. Your lower body should remain in
you have a need for speed, and these five tips will help you position with your feet planted, while your shoul-
shoot faster without sacrificing accuracy. ders remain square with the bird. As the gun

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A Brittany with a nose full of sharptail scent
goes on point in the uplands of Wyoming, while
the hunter gets ready for an explosive rise.

mount is completed, youre already in position

and youll naturally follow through after the shot.

Carry Your Gun Properly

3 Many hunters miss shots because
they lose track of their shotgun. If you
are carrying your gun propped on your shoul-
der with your free hand dangling by your side,
then theres little chance that youll be able to
mount it quickly and efficiently. Instead, keep
the recoil pad directly below your shoulder
and position your free hand on the forend so
that it can instantly guide the muzzle toward
a rising bird. Carrying in this manner is safer,
toothe barrel is pointed upward, and youll

have better control of the gun if you fall.

hands, youre applying too much force. Easing mental preparation to break the trigger the
Loosen Up up will make you faster and more precise. moment the gun finds the pocket of your
4 Tight muscles make for a herky-jerky shoulder. Our natural instinct is to check our
swing. And if you clamp down on your Dont Ride the Target bearingseven while shooting at live birds
shotgun with vise-like authority, your track 5 This is more of a psychological prob- but thats a mistake. Dont misinterpret this
to the target will look like a radio wave. The lem than a technique issue, but to mean that you should slap-shoot and rush
secret is to hold the gun firmly but not too following the target after the mount makes it the trigger, though. Instead, you need to time
hard. If your grip would break an egg or you impossible to take a quick shot. I dont judge; muzzle position and trigger break so that
can see white in the knuckles or joints of your Im as guilty of this as anyone, and it takes there is no hesitation when you are on target.


s with most semi-auto Super Jagare does even more to
pistol cartridges, the tame the 10mms recoil, though at
10mm Automatic was the cost of additional muzzle blast
developed for gun- and noise.
ghting and personal protection Kimber rounded off the bottom
rather than hunting or general of the grip, only partially check-
recreational shooting. The FBI ered the pistols Micarta stocks,
adopted the round in the wake and machined a very mild checker-
of the infamous Miami shootout ing pattern into the front and back
in 1986 that left two FBI agents of the stainless-steel frame. These
dead and several others wounded. touches keep the gun from chew-
The inability of the eight agents in ing up your hand under recoil as
the gun battle to quickly stop two well. Overall, the Super Jagare is
heavily armed criminals caused pleasant to shoot and not difficult
the FBI to reevaluate how they to control.
armed and trained their agents. The Leupold DeltaPoint is one
But the 10mm Auto was a bit of the best reflex sights on the
too much gun for the rank-and- market. The aiming point is large (it STATS
file FBI personnel, and the agency subtends 7.5 MOA) and easy to see.
soon backed away from this potent The lens, generally a weak point Caliber 10mm Auto
round. However, the underlying with reflex sights, is surrounded by Capacity 8+1
criteria that the FBI wanted from a tough steel housing that makes Weight 2 lb. 11 oz.
the 10mm Autothe ability to it more durable and able to with-
Trigger Pull 5 lb. 3 oz.
defeat tough barriers like cloth- stand a beating.
ing, automobile glass, sheet metal, It only took me a few rounds to Accuracy 2.112 in.
and drywall, yet still penetrate zero the pistol at the range. The Smallest Group 1.041 in.
deeply into a body with reliable sight comes with two exposed
Barrel Length 6 in.
bullet expansionmake the round dials to adjust for elevation and
attractive for hunting big game. windage, and I soon had the Super Overall Length 9 7/8 in.
Kimbers Super Jagare is one Jagare dead-on at 25 yards, print- Price $2,688
of the newest 10mms built spe- ing nice, small groups. Contact
cifically for pursuing four-legged
critters. It comes configured ready 100-Yard Accuracy
to take afield, and it has a number I quickly got bored shooting paper
of smart design features that at that distance and transitioned
handgun hunters will appreciate. to steel at longer ranges. Shooting Trophy Bonded Jacketed Soft dry-fire practice to develop that
offhand from a kneeling posi- Point and Hornadys XTP. speed. Without that practice, you
Taming the Recoil tion, off shooting sticks and using The pistol shot all of them well, can find yourself hunting for the
The Super Jagare is a single-stack various supports, I was able to con- though the best accuracy came red dot when youre trying to get
1911 with an ambidextrous thumb sistently ring 8- and 10-inch steel from the Federal JSP, which turned the pistol up quickly, and it is part
safety and an oversize beavertail platesgood proxies for a deers in an average 5-shot group size of of the reason Id caution against
grip safety. It comes with a long, vitalsat distances from 50 to 1.731 inches at 25 yards off sand- relying on the Super Jagare for
6-inch ported barrel and a Leupold 100 yards. bags, with the smallest group backcountry protection against
DeltaPoint Pro reflex sight affixed I shot five different loads during measuring 1.041 inches. bears.
to the rear of the slide. the evaluationall of them using The DeltaPoint is very forgiv- Another piece of advice if you
Six-inch barrels are pretty stan- 180-grain bullets. I had two full- ing, since it lets you keep your eyes plan to hunt with a pistol sporting a
dard on hunting semi-auto pistols. metal-jacket loads, from Sig Sauer on the target instead of focus- reflex sight is to take along a good
They generate a bit more bullet and American Eagle; one personal ing on a front sight. And, like other supply of lens cleaners and wipes.
velocity and help reduce felt recoil defense load, from Sig Sauer; and reflex sights, it can be very quick Even though the Super Jagare
and muzzle flip. The porting on the two good hunting loads, Federals too, though you need to do a lot of comes with a rubber cap for the


Handling Reliability Accuracy Meets Purpose Versatility Craftsmanship Ergonomics Durability Aesthetics
9 10 9 9 7 8 9 10 9 7

68 november 2017 outdoor life photographs by bill buckley

The Super Jagare is an
eective hunting tool,
especially in thick cover.


The porting on the barrel consists of six holes,

three on each side. The vents cut into the slide
Leupold, the lens still gets grungy I learned early on in the evaluation. angle the gasses forward, away from the shoot-
quickly. After cleaning and lubricat- It would spit the brass directly into ers face, to reduce concussion from the muzzle blast.
ing the gun, for instance, the first the thumb of my left hand, which I
couple of shots through the pistol normally keep in a high neutral posi-
splattered the sight with oil, ren- tion above the safety, with every
dering it almost useless. pull of the trigger. By modifying
The trigger on the pistol was my grip and stacking my thumbs
crisp, though a bit heavy at along the frame I was able to avoid
5pounds 3 ounces. My preference getting stung, but it took me a few
would be to lighten it up by a pound minutes to fix the nice little flinch I
or so for better precision. had developed.
The charcoal-gray finish on the
Reliable Operation Super Jagare is as tough as nails,
Mechanically, the pistol worked and the Micarta grips are nigh
great. The ambidextrous safety indestructible. Combined with the
functioned very well, which isnt reliability of a well-built 1911, which
always the case for left-handed is an apt description of this Kimber, The rounded portion on the bottom of the grip
shooters such as myself using 1911s. the Super Jagare is a hunting allows the pistol to roll in the shooters hand,
The pistol also ejected the emp- tool that can keep up with you no making it more comfortable to handle the recoil
ties in a very consistent fashion, as matter how rough the going gets. of the 10mm Automatic.

outdoor life november 2017 69



Ground squirrels over-
running an alfalfa field
are tempting targets.
But high-volume shoot-

ing will toast a .25/06s

he .25/06 has kept the .25 caliber alive for more bore. My inability to resist
that temptation is why my
than 50 years because a hunter shooting just Ruger M77 .25/06 wears
three loads in his .25/06 rifle is ready for game a new barrel. The .25/06 is
from marmots to big deer. The first load rock- better suited for slower-
paced shooting, like 20 The .25/06 is an ideal
ets a lightweight bullet that will tumble a coyote slink- shots a day sniping mar-
round for pronghorns.

ing along on the far edge of a farm field. The second is mots or a couple of shots 3,200 fps. Bullet choices
when calling coyotes. available to handload
for a fast 100-grain bullet for shooting deer and ante- For years I tried range from controlled-
lope across prairie basins. And the third load is for 115- 85-grain bullets in the expanding bullets, such as
to 120-grain controlled-expanding bullets that will hang .25/06 for their theoreti- the copper Barnes Tipped
cal ability to retain velocity Triple Shock, to the plain
tough on big deer up close in the timber or out across a at long distances. But their lead-core Sierra GameKing.
sagebrush flat. muzzle velocitiesfor me, Sierras have held together
at any ratealways came and punched clear through
up short. Reloading manu- antelope at distances from
als list impressive speeds 150 to 400 yards for me.
for 85-grain bullets shot With such good results, I
with some new powders. see no reason to use any-
For instance, the Hodgdon thing else. An accurate and
Annual Manual indicates a fast load is 55 grains of
velocity of 3,494 fps with Ramshot Hunter powder
52.9 grains of IMR 4451 that pushes GameKings at
powder. But 52 grains shot 3,412 fps. With the Sierra
Nosler 85-grain Ballistic bullet sighted 3 inches high
Tips at just 3,300 fps from at 100 yards, the bullet is
the 24-inch barrel of my right on aim at 310 yards.
So, instead, I go with BIG DEER
Hornady 75-grain V-MAX Firing the right bullet
bullets for marmots and in the .25/06 is essential
coyotes near and far. when hunting big mule deer
Several reloading manu- and elk. Great controlled-
als list velocities close to expansion bullets up to
3,800 fps for the V-MAX. the task include 115-grain
Maxed-out loads in my rifle Barnes Triple Shocks and
shoot about 100 fps slower. 120-grain Nosler Partitions,
An accurate load for me is Swift A-Frames, and Speer
57.5 grains of H4350 and Grand Slams. Over the
Winchester Large Rifle years, Ive killed two elk
primers in Remington with 120 Partitions and
cases for a speed of 3,653 two with Grand Slams.
fps. If, like me, you just All the bullets went com-
have to hammer away at pletely through the elk. A
ground squirrels, load the proper big-deer handload
V-MAX at a milder speed of consists of 120 Partitions
3,337 fps with 52 grains of at 3,078 fps with 54 grains
IMR 4451. of H4831.
A bonus of these three
ANTELOPE .25/06 loads is they hit
Hunting pronghorn within a deers hair of each
antelope can be a long- other at 100 yards and

range game. A 100-grain within 3 inches at 300

bullet is customary for yards. So with one sight
that type of hunting, with setting, a hunter carrying a
From left: A 75-grain V-Max, a 100-grain Sierra GameKing, and a 120-grain Nosler Partition. factory .25/06 cartridges .25/06 is ready to cover a
These three bullets allow the .25/06 to take on everything from small varmints to elk. shooting them a touch over lot of hunting ground, fast.

70 november 2017 outdoor life


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was mature, but not old. No graying around

round the time I turned 10, I learned the muzzle. The blood indicated possible
to drive Dads stick-shift Ford pickup injury, but we didnt disturb her by ipping
her over to investigate.
on gravel roads around our Nebraska Whatever the case, someone had cared
farm. As each of my three boys neared that for this dog. And they didnt expect her
to die out here. They must not have had a
age, I taught them to drive on the same roads, shovel to dig a grave, but they found a spe-
cial place as a nal resting spot. Or maybe
rst in my automatic Ford pickup. she expired right here, pheasants ushing
from under the cedars. They covered her
Later, they graduated to their grandfathers sake hill, the two-track passes a handful with a nice blanket, probably her favorite.
red stick-shift Toyota pickup, the oorboards of cedars along a section line. One of the At least that was something. We had a
so rusted out you could see gravel zipping boys spotted a colorful blanket as we ap- shovel, but it seemed more tting to leave
underneath. A kid should know how to drive proached the cedars. It was between two her as we had found her.
a stick shift, I gured, and there wasnt much trees, and there was an obvious lump un- Over the course of the deer season, we
they could do to hurt that old Toyota. der it. Way out of place. The closest home drove by the cedars a time or two, usually
It was usually hunting season when we was a mile and a half to the north; the next with my boys at the wheel of their grand-
were back at the farm, and sometimes wed closest, a lot farther than that. fathers Toyota. With each passage, wed
take a midday break for lunch and park on With an uneasy feeling, we stopped, look for the blanket; it was always there.
the hill by the shop, and the boys would take knowing we couldnt just drive by. We didnt stop. We knew what it hid.
turns driving the quads on dirt roads. Id sit We approached the quilted blanket. I The following season, there was no trace
on the tailgate, watching the plume as they lifted a corner, apprehensive, holding my of the blanket or the dog. We think about
sped along and then the big cloud of dust breath. Underneath lay a dead black Lab. her now and then, and mention her once in
they kicked up cutting cookies in a wheat- No collar, but you could see where a collar a while when we pass, now with the boys
stubble eld they thought was well out of had been worn. No obvious wounds or cause at the wheel of their own pickups. In her
my sight. It was out of sight; the dust wasnt. of death. Wait, a splat of blood on her mouth. memory, we now call this western exten-
On a road near the farm, theres a sharp Shed been dead a while; pheasant season sion of Tickle Tummy Hill Road Dead-Dog
hill that, when you go over it fast enough, opened two weeks earlier and a lot of hunt- Road. Some people might think we are
gives you that bottom-drop feeling in your ers drive these back roads. She might have being irreverent, but its our way of memo-
stomach. We called it Tickle Tummy Hill. been lying there since the opener. rializing not only a beloved dog, but also
One deer seasonHunter was 14; Jack, It seemed sacrilegious to poke around a rite of passageanother generation of
12; Sam, 9we were driving west on Tickle too much, but we speculated on what had Arterburns leaving our own place-names
Tummy Road. About a mile from the name- happened. Heart attack? Accident? She on the back roads of western Nebraska.

Vol. 224, No. 9. OUTDOOR LIFE magazine (ISSN 0030-7076, USPS 577-230) is published monthly, except combined December/January, February/March, and June/July issues, by Bonnier Corporation, 2 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10016. Copyright 2017 by Bonnier Corporation. All rights reserved.
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78 november 2017 outdoor life illustration by joel kimmel

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