A Soft Spot for Side-by-side Shotguns

November 24, 2014

Got a soft spot for the side-by-side? It's well warranted.

For a day-in-day-out, hunt-everything, and shoot-every-kind-of-clay-target shotgun, I’m sold on a quality semiauto. They’re just too good these days. They help reduce felt recoil. They are light and easy to carry. It’s easy to find one with slight weight-forward balance to promote follow-through. They make it easy to take a follow-up shot without breaking contact with the gun, added motion, or losing sight picture; and will provide another shot if you need it. And, today, they are made so well, they’ll rival the pump or over/under for reliability. Yet there’s still a place for the...

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4 Shotgunning Drills You Can Do at Home

November 10, 2014

As winter (and the off-season) approaches, don't let the cold temps get you down. Give these four at-home shotgunning drills a try to keep your skills sharp.

Winter’s coming. For a lot of us, that means shotgunning becomes a pain in the...thermometer! I tend to think I love all forms of shotgunning more than the next guy, but in zero or below-zero temps I find I love them a lot less. If I work up the fortitude to shoot trap in January or go on a last-day-of-the-season pheasant hunt, there’s always the inconvenience of accommodating bulky jackets with shorter stocks. Even if you don’t live in the North Country, getting to the range can be tough to squeeze into a busy day---and shooting (or even drilling) in the backyard might earn a...

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Utah Residents “Foster” Pheasant Chicks to Protect Hunt

November 7, 2014

Utah residents are raising pheasant chicks to help boost the population ahead of the November hunting season.

Earlier this year, the Utah Department of Natural Resources (DNR) gave out thousands of pheasant chicks for state residents to raise. The Day-old Pheasant Chick program was meant to boost success and participation in this year's pheasant hunt, which opened in the state on November 1. The state bought the chicks from a commercial grower for as little as $1.20 each, and the program seems to have been a hit with families. "Raising a pheasant, from a chick to an adult, is a terrific activity that helps kids and adults understand some of the challenges wildlife face as they grow," Dean Mitchell,...

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The 3 Things That Make a Successful Pheasant Hunt

November 6, 2014


It’s another day. Another highway. One city after another---Nashville, St. Louis, Kansas City; then the plains of the Midwest. But this time, as in all road trips with the grandeur of the outdoors at its inevitable end, the miles are just a bit shorter, and the hours spent traveling transform my body and soul into an earlier time when nothing mattered more than watching the world slowly pass by. Can you say that each hunting trip is the same? Does the elk’s bugle inject the same adrenaline rush as the cackling pheasant flushing underfoot? We all have our preferences, but there are some...

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The Center of Every Target is Exactly the Same Size

November 3, 2014

Bill Miller has found that Leon Measures' "Shoot Where You Look" philosophy is just as useful today as it was when he first encountered it.

Though our first meeting was more than 15 years ago, I remember three events of the first day I spent with Texan Leon Measures like it was yesterday. First, I saw his young shooting students (we are talking ages six to 10) hit hand-tossed dimes, then aspirin, then individual BBs in the air with a sightless Daisy BB gun! Next when I questioned how this was even possible, he did a demonstration for me. He gave me the BB gun and tossed an empty coffee can a few feet up in the air for me to shoot. I hit it, and he took the gun and told me to go pick up the can. Then, I brought it to him. He...

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5 Reasons Why Everyone Needs to Experience Michigan Upland Hunting

October 23, 2014

Michigan has a lot to offer upland hunters--including some beautiful fall scenery. Image by Britney Starr.

Busting brush in either of Michigan’s peninsulas can be an upland hunter’s dream come true. With millions of acres of public land, multiple species to hunt, and camaraderie galore, Michigan should be on the any upland hunter’s “must visit” list. Below are five reasons why you should upland hunt in Pure Michigan. 1. Multiple species of upland birds Michigan’s diverse habitats---from aspen forests to wide, open fields and everything in between---play host to myriad species for upland hunters to chase. Ruffed grouse, sharp-tailed grouse, American woodcock (migratory birds), bobwhite...

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7 Upland Essentials for Female Hunters

October 8, 2014

If you're going grousing, pheasant hunting, or pursuing any other upland bird, consider these seven gear essentials. Image by Britney Starr.

If you’re interested in trying your hand at upland hunting, there are a few gear essentials that will make your time afield comfortable and enjoyable. Below are my recommendations for basic women’s upland gear. 1. Blaze orange hat Wearing blaze orange while upland hunting is an important safety aspect that shouldn’t be overlooked. Be sure to check your state’s regulations for specifics on how much blaze orange is required by law. I’m a believer in the “more is better” mind-set when it comes to orange, especially if you’re hunting in thick cover during the early part of the...

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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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Hunting Hard for Northern Michigan Ruffed Grouse

October 3, 2014

Paul Zeman poses with his grouse and Zoey.

By now, most Michigan bird hunters understand that ruffed grouse populations are cyclical. They seem to run on a 10-year cycle (peak to peak) with the inevitable trough about halfway between the best of times. Exactly why this is, no one knows. And right now, Michigan’s grouse population should be down toward the bottom of the cycle. Yet when I spent a long morning with Fritz and Ric Heller and our mutual friend Paul Zeman in the woodlands near Kalkaska in the Northern Lower Peninsula last week, we moved better than 30 ruffs in about four hours on the ground. In a sport where three or...

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How Many Shotguns Do You Own? How Many Do You Shoot Well?

September 29, 2014

When it comes to shotgunning, are you a one-gun wonder or do you take the "golf bag" approach?

What is your approach to shotgunning? Are you the legendary one-gun man or woman? There’s wisdom in the warning, “Beware of the hunter or shooter with only one gun! He or she probably knows how to use it!” Then there is the "golf bag" approach to shooting. The golfer doesn’t play an entire round with only a driver or solely with a putter. His or her bag carries a dozen or more clubs each meant for a specific distance or type of shot. Ever watch a professional golf tournament? That selection of clubs allows them to perform some amazing feats. The caddy even makes suggestions on the...

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