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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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Michigan Woodcock Season Opens Strong and Promising

September 25, 2014

Chris Stewart shows off an opening day woodcock.

Rub, my English setter, was locked up, solid as a statue, on point in the sort of aspens where you might not expect to find grouse and woodcock. It was an open area with more mature trees than you’d usually choose to hunt in, but the kind of place you dream about finding birds as you’d be able to swing in any direction without wrapping your shotgun around a popple. I stepped up toward Rub, but when the bird rocketed out of there, it flew to my left where Al Stewart and his son Chris were standing. I couldn’t shoot and neither could they. The grouse flew right between the two of them....

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7 Questions with Professional Shooting Instructor and GRITS Founder Elizabeth Lanier

September 18, 2014

Elizabeth Lanier, professional shooting instructor, GRITS founder, and shotgunner extraordinaire.

Elizabeth Lanier, owner of Lanier Shooting Sports, is a National Sporting Clays Association (NSCA) Level III shooting instructor and an all-around lover of all things wingshooting and clay shooting. I recently had the opportunity to chat with her about how she was introduced to the sports, and her advice to women who are interested in becoming involved. Britney: Please tell us about your background in upland bird hunting and clay shooting. How did you get started?  Elizabeth: Years ago I gave a guy who was an avid wingshooter his first...

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Why Every Shotgunner Needs a Rangefinder

September 15, 2014

A rangefinder may not seem like a standard piece of gear for wingshooting hunters and waterfowlers, but the wise sportsman will find many uses for it.

Rangefinders have become part of the standard kit for big game hunters, especially bowhunters. They take the guesswork out of range estimation leading to more well-placed shots and speedier kills. Win, win, and win! Hunters using slugs for deer and turkey hunters were some of the first shotgun sportsmen to open up their daypacks to range-finding optics. In those pursuits, rangefinders play the same role as they do in the rest of big game hunting. However, smart wingshooting hunters find many uses for rangefinders, too, particularly in waterfowl hunting. Read more »

Iowa Upland Bird Population Explodes, Hunters Can Expect a Good Season

September 5, 2014

Iowa's bird population sees a drastic boom after good weather conditions and successful conservation efforts.

Iowa wildlife officials predict a successful season for bird hunters after a recent survey recorded population booms in the state's three most popular game bird species. The August Roadside Survey, conducted every year by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), found a statewide average of 17.4 pheasants per 30 mile route. Compared to 6.9 per 30 miles in 2013, the DNR said the count represents a drastic increase. Quail and partridge saw a similar increase in density by 142 and 147 percent,...

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Essentials for Your Bird Dog Survival Kit

September 3, 2014

Hunters know that sporting dogs aren't just "tools" of the trade. They're members of the family, too, and every upland hunter should be prepared to provide care for their dog in the event of an emergency. Image by Britney Starr.

A sporting dog can be an invaluable tool in the field, and also an important part of the family. Most hunters I know are prepared to service a minor injury to themselves (or I would hope they are, at least) and carry a small first aid kit while afield, but what happens if your four-legged friend is injured during a hunt? Below are suggestions for an upland bird dog survival kit, and other ways to help your dog, should an emergency arise. Medical supplies My friend Brian Koch of Ultimate Upland spends more than 100 days a year afield with his...

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Five Reasons Why Michigan is the Best State for Hunting Woodcock

September 2, 2014

Woodcock hunting is a great way for families to spend time in the woods.

Upland hunters often aspire to bag the American woodcock, one of Michigan’s most challenging birds to hunt. Woodcock, or "timber doodles" as they are nicknamed, are small birds that inhabit cover similar to that of the ruffed grouse. Michigan is prime breeding ground for woodcock and as such, is a true hunting destination for those up to the challenge. There are some great reasons to chase doodles this fall across Michigan. 1. There’s lots of them Woodcock numbers are stable according to data reported to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR). According to hunter surveys from...

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100 Percent of Wingshooting is 95 Percent Mental

September 1, 2014

It may not seem like it, but wingshooting is primarily a mental game.

Famed New York Yankee Yogi Berra and chess grandmaster Bobby Fischer couldn’t be two more different people. What are the odds they’d both espouse philosophies applicable to hitting a flying target with a shotgun? Well, so they did. Berra is known for saying “…90 percent of the game is half mental.” Fisher once said, “I give 98 percent of my mental energy to chess. Others give only two percent. Wingshooting, done properly and successfully, is primarily a mental endeavor. Once you collect the mental pictures of what it takes to hit a goose, grouse, or clay target and train your...

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Four Must-haves for the Dove Hunting Opener

August 25, 2014

Dove hunting season is just around the corner. Make sure you venture forth into the field with these four essentials.

For the devoted wingshooting hunter, spring and summer are filled with clay target shooting. Doves represent the first real hunting opportunity of the fall. Satisfying as a smoked clay target can be, it’s never a 100 percent substitute for real feathers on real birds that can make erratic, evasive maneuvers---and result in terrific table fare. That’s why the traditional early September opening of dove season is such a big deal. Except for turkey hunting---which is a whole different shotgunning ballgame---you likely have been away from the hunting field since the spring goose seasons...

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Researchers Suspect Blood-sucking Parasitic Eyeworm Caused 2010 Quail Decline

August 20, 2014

These tiny eyeworms may be small, but they can be disastrous for quail.

It's only about an eighth of an inch, but it's the stuff of nightmares. Researchers from Texas Tech University say that eyeworms (Oxyspirura petrowi) may be responsible for the widespread decline of quail in Texas during 2010. It is no secret that quail have faring poorly in the Lone Star State for the past several years, but biologists and hunters were astonished to see a surge in bird populations early in 2010. Then, just as quickly as they came, the birds disappeared. “It was very green and lush, and we had a lot of quail,” said Ron Kendall, a professor of environmental...

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