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    From the Editor

    Sheep and Sheep Hunters
    column by: Lee J. Hoots

    Readers will enjoy an unusual Dall’s sheep feature by antique firearms restoration expert Doug Turnbull. “Unusual” is used because, unlike many such stories I have perused over my career, if you “read between the lines,” it’s more about the journey than the end goal, as all sheep hunting should be. ...Read More >

     

    Backcountry Bound

    Backpack Basics Part II
    column by: Jack Ballard

    In the previous issue’s column, I outlined the basic practicalities of hunting from a backpack camp. This missive will tackle the topic in a more specific fashion, addressing just what goes into my pack for a backpack hunt. Although the equation invariably involves some basics, modifications in relation to distance, number of days and expected weather dramatically affect what winds up in the pack, and the weight thereof. Here’s the skeletal list and the considerations related to each item. ...Read More >

     

    Predator & Prey

    Selling Fur
    column by: Gordy J. Krahn

    Fur is a renewable resource, a gift from nature that just keeps giving. In addition to extending the hunting season into the doldrums of winter and providing a ready cure for cabin fever, the fur hunters collect has monetary value. But it’s those steps taken after the hunt – along with current market conditions – that determine how much coin the local fur buyer or auction house is willing to fork out. ...Read More >

     

    Going Public

    Limited Draw Dream Bull
    column by: Brad Fenson

    Last year, September 14 was opening day for fortunate holders of limited-entry elk licenses in Utah. Gary Hansen had been applying for nine years and felt lucky to have the coveted opportunity. He had drawn a limited-entry license in the past, but it took 18 years to secure. Waiting the required five years to apply again for any limited-entry draw in Utah, it took another eight years to get a mule deer tag, then nine more for another elk tag. ...Read More >

     

    Observations

    Judge Not, Lest
    column by: Lee J. Hoots

    In my mid-20s, I left a weekly regional fishing and hunting newspaper for a junior editor position with a much larger publisher of firearms and hunting magazines, knowing there would be greater salary potential, as well as opportunity to hunt in other parts of the country and possibly the world. One of the first deer hunts I made was to Texas. Sometime later, I faced a bit of condemnation from a bowhunting buddy. This fellow, who remains a very near and dear friend to this day, laid on some heavy criticism because I was hunting almost exclusively with a rifle. To paraphrase his words: What kind of (insert the ugliest word your morals allow) hunts with a rifle?! ...Read More >

     

    Telegraph Creek

    Poacher
    column by: Terry Wieland

    Her first name was Dorothy. I never knew her last name. She had a rather strange husband, Wilton, and an equally strange son, whose name I think was Donny. We were never formally introduced, but I can still see him, sitting across the breakfast table with that derogatory little smile on his face while his father moved around, offering more coffee. Wilton had been a miner, had an accident, had a plate put in his head, and he’d never been the same. This left Dorothy and her son to eke out a living for the family, which each pursued in his or her own way. They lived in one of those 1960s cement block and clapboard houses, the kind that has a garage for a ground floor and everyone lives upstairs. It was located in the lake country of southern Ontario, a land of granite outcrops and juniper bushes, where a 50-acre farm might support one or two lonely cows, if they could be protected from the wolves. Since the mine closed down, there was no other real work to be had. ...Read More >

     

    Giant Coues’ or Hybrid?

    Perfectly Timed Arizona Buck
    feature by: Jim Matthews

    Tol Gavett and his longtime friend and hunting buddy Stan McDaniel were celebrating on the top of a knoll in the Arizona desert. It was good to finally have something for the hunters to celebrate, and on the ground some 370 yards away was a buck with whitetail-like antlers that, pending DNA analysis, could be a new record. Two shots from a .270 Winchester Short Magnum had put the buck down for keeps. ...Read More >

     

    Grizzly Encounter

    Hunting British Columbia’s Backcountry
    feature by: Dawson Smith

    Thane and I were sitting on a high rocky outcropping we found earlier in the week. We had sat in the same rock pile the morning before and had seen caribou on the distant plateaus. There were a couple of bulls in the groups, but they were not legal. We whispered back and forth in the predawn darkness; hopefully a legal bull for Thane would be in the mix. Dawn crept slowly toward us as we waited for better light. It was a crisp and still morning, but the red tinge to the blossoming sky lent suggestions to what the day would be like. As daylight provided, we glassed farther up distant draws. “Bear.” I whispered to Thane. “Where?” he asked. ...Read More >

     

    Antelope Ambush

    Tactics for All Situations
    feature by: Jack Ballard

    Frequent showers and a half-dozen spring snowstorms sent moisture seeping into the hard prairie soil, softening the earth and sprouting seeds of sweet clover. As the damp ground warmed under the rays of the bold summer sun, the clover and grasses in an abandoned farm field grew tall and green. Mule deer nipped the leafy foliage in June and July. A brood of gray partridges called the retired wheat patch home in August and September, plucking grasshoppers from the grass, hiding from the piercing eyes of soaring sharp-shinned hawks and marauding coyotes beneath its cover. ...Read More >

     

    Missouri River Mule Deer

    A Last-Ditch Bowhunting Effort
    feature by: Darron McDougal

    When the morning hunt had concluded, 21 mule deer had been spotted on a South Dakota game production area. None of them were the type of deer I came to hunt, but I left that chunk of public land a happy camper. To see 20-some deer by 10 o’clock in the morning while hunting public land on an over-the-counter tag is a successful day. South Dakota’s prairies and terrain breaking along the stunning Missouri River have been special to me ever since my first hunt there in 2009. In fact, I consider it some of the most underrated country in terms of beauty, but it’s the region’s large white-tailed and mule deer bucks that regularly bring me back for fall outings. ...Read More >

     

    Levergun Ram

    Dall Sheep Hunting in the Brooks Range
    feature by: Doug and Sara Turnbull

    I have a love/hate relationship with sheep hunting. To me, sheep hunting is about getting wrapped up in the experience. I love the beautiful mountains to the west, smelling the crisp air. I love the Alaskan country; seeing the mountains, moose, bear and eagles. But there’s also the “hate” part: six to nine months spent getting into shape for climbing the mountains with a 50- or 60-pound pack, sleeping in a small tent, trying to stay warm and dry and eating freeze-dried meals. Somehow none of that is enough to keep me away. At the end of the day – exhausted, cold and wet – nothing beats the experience of hunting Dall sheep in the Alaskan wilderness. ...Read More >

     

    Hunting Gear

    Trijicon IR-Hunter MK3
    whatsnew by: Patrick Meitin

    Trijicon’s tritium/fiber-optic ACOG optics are now fitted to most military rifles. Riflescopes like the AccuPoint 5-20x 50mm on my custom-built AR are ruggedly trouble free and precisely built. More recently, Trijicon entered the battery-powered thermal imaging arena and, true to form, set a standard other manufacturers follow. ...Read More >

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