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Seeing What You Can’t See, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Thermal Vision

December 17, 2014

Here's the FLIR view of the brand new Smith & Wesson M&P Pro Series CORE with compensated barrel.

If you really want to be able to see, sometimes you have to use a lens that you can’t see through. I recently toured one of FLIR’s manufacturing facilities and got quite the lesson on how to see things you can’t really see. While FLIR makes a wide variety of "sensing" gear, not just infrared products, they’re most commonly known for commercial and military products that help folks see things not normally visible to the human eye. By using lenses made from exotic materials like Germanium and Zinc Selenide and adding a touch of...

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26 Amazing Women in the Outdoors, from A to Z

December 11, 2014

Women like Nancy Jo Adams (pictured) are making a difference in the outdoor industry. Image courtesy Nancy Jo Adams.

There are some amazing women in the outdoor world; many I am proud to call friends and colleagues. Here’s my list from A to Z of women making a difference in their own unique ways. I respect this group of gals and here’s why (please forgive the need to use a last letter rather than a first letter on occasion to make this fit). A: Nancy Jo Adams Nancy Jo is a hardcore hunter and I love her social media flare. She names her truck (Cletus) and her bow (Thalia) and balances enjoying the outdoors while blogging and uncovering great photography. Plus, as a Northerner, I need friends who show...

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Study: Plants Adapt Defensive Mechanisms to Survive Deer “Predation”

December 9, 2014

Orange jewelweed, also known as the spotted-touch-me-not, is native to North America.

Most outdoorsmen rarely think of deer in a predatory light, but scientists say that an unchecked deer population can rapidly eat its way through a healthy forest---a self-destructive act that can lead to mass starvation. However, plants are not just hapless victims, either, and a study recently published in the Journal of Ecology found that at least one plant found defensive mechanisms to combat the deadly molars of deer. According to the study, which...

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What Makes Deer Grow Strange Antlers?

December 3, 2014

The skull of a "unicorn" deer harvested in Slovenia.

Like fingerprints or snowflakes, no two sets of antlers are ever exactly alike. For humans they are a source of fascination and can be surprisingly useful, if the tools of our early ancestors and the powder flasks of the 19th century are any indicator. For deer, however, they have a single purpose: to secure their right to mate. So why do these bone structures vary so widely and drastically? Recently a hunter in Slovenia harvested what appeared to be a "unicorn"---only to find out that it was...

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Study: Impact of Wolves on Minnesota Moose Greater Than Expected

November 17, 2014

Minnesota's wolf population seems to be having a bigger impact on the state's moose than previously anticipated.

A new study recently published in the Journal of Wildlife Management found that wolves may be a bigger factor in Minnesota's moose decline than experts previously believed. The study, authored by two adjunct professors at the University of Minnesota, David Mech and John Fieberg, concluded that there was a correlation between the number of wolves in moose territory and the population of the moose themselves. Following up on a previous study that also took into account climate changes, Mech and Fieberg said that...

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Suspected Cop Killer Caught in Pennsylvania, Hunting Bans Lifted

October 31, 2014

Eric Frein is now in police custody after two months on the run.

Update 11-3-2014: As of Friday evening, restrictions on hunting and trapping in the areas affected by the search had been lifted. For more than seven weeks, Eric Frein, 31, has been on the run in northeastern Pennsylvania after he is believed to have shot two State Police officers in September. Inch by inch, law enforcement officials from multiple agencies combed through the forests of Monroe and Pike Counties for Frein, who was described as a dangerous "survivalist" and armed with a rifle. The manhunt grew so intense that it prompted the state's Game Commission to...

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Wisconsin Leopold Fans Reflect as They Reenact “Good Oak” Chapter

October 30, 2014

Janice Penn, left, of Highbridge and John Olson of Ashland cut into the good oak with a crosscut saw.

When felling an old red oak by committee, you learn plenty about the tree, the land that nurtured it, and the animals, birds, and people who benefited from its long life. That was just one lesson learned when 18 hunters, tree-huggers, and other conservationists of various ages and backgrounds gathered October 4 in northwestern Wisconsin to re-create the “Good Oak” chapter from Aldo Leopold’s famous book, A Sand County Almanac. Leopold wrote the chapter after pulling and guiding a two-man crosscut saw through his lightning-killed oak north of Baraboo on the Wisconsin...

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Wisconsin Leopold Fans Reflect as They Reenact “Good Oak” Chapter

October 30, 2014

Janice Penn, left, of Highbridge and John Olson of Ashland cut into the good oak with a crosscut saw.

When felling an old red oak by committee, you learn plenty about the tree, the land that nurtured it, and the animals, birds, and people who benefited from its long life. That was just one lesson learned when 18 hunters, tree-huggers, and other conservationists of various ages and backgrounds gathered October 4 in northwestern Wisconsin to re-create the “Good Oak” chapter from Aldo Leopold’s famous book, A Sand County Almanac. Leopold wrote the chapter after pulling and guiding a two-man crosscut saw through his lightning-killed oak north of Baraboo on the Wisconsin...

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Video: 10-point Buck Rescued from Iowa Sinkhole

October 8, 2014

These three Iowans helped a 10-point buck escape from sinkhole.

Thanks to three young men coming home from a football game, a 10-point buck in Iowa has a chance to spend the fall somewhere other than a sinkhole. Eric Smorstad, Gavin Nimrod, and Dryton Meyer used some rope and a tractor to rescue an unfortunate buck last Friday night on Smorstad's family farm east of Decorah. Smorstad's father, who runs the farm, was the first to find the animal after the tractor nearly got stuck in the sinkhole itself. Seeing as how Smorstad and his friends were home from college, his father recruited them to haul the deer out. “It was hard to see; only three or four...

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Study: Efforts to Preserve Sage Grouse Also Benefit Mule Deer

October 7, 2014

Protecting grouse habitat also means protecting the habitat of other critters.

Researchers have found that conservation efforts for sage grouse in Wyoming may have benefited the local mule deer population as well. Scientists at the University of Wyoming, US Geological Survey, The Nature Conservancy, Western Ecoysystems Inc., and the University of Montana recently published a study confirming "umbrella" benefits stemming from grouse habitat conservation. Many conservationists have long argued that protective measures for sage grouse would benefit other species as well. "The study results are heartening, because they show that benefits of sage grouse conservation by...

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