There are few things more exciting than packing carefully thought out gear into a float plane for a remote wilderness moose hunt. My good friend Kevin Howard and I planned a trip into northern Alberta, and after flying over an hour—across wild country, without a single road—we landed at our destination lake. We set up a comfortable wall-tent camp and outdoor kitchen, then prepared a boat stashed at the lake as our mode of transportation for the next week. It was mid September. With any luck, we’d be able to call a moose into gun range.
The high-pitched drone of the aircraft reverberated through the cab as our pilot brought us up on step, slowly lifting the pontoons off the water. Kevin’s big smile made it impossible for him to hide the thrill of heading into an area where you know it is just you and the wilds in their natural state.
The autumn scenery was breathtaking, with the deciduous trees painted in an array of bright colors with the turning of the seasons. For many, it signals the end to summer, but for a moose hunter it is the start of calling season.
Our Cessna 185, often referred to as the “pickup truck of the north,” dropped us and our gear at a strategically chosen lake to hunt moose. It is hard to describe the feeling you get as the plane flies away, leaving you to fend for yourself in the wilderness.
The next morning, a spectacular fall sunrise drenched the distant shoreline in hues of gold. Geese migrated overhead by the thousands while pike created a ruckus chasing baitfish in the shallow water beside camp. All signs we were in for a spectacular week.
Our first order of business was to start calling moose. It isn’t unusual to shoot one right at camp, so I call whenever I am there, whether I’m brewing fresh coffee in the morning or tying the tent shut at night. Consistency usually pays dividends in moose meat, and although we planned to explore our lake it didn’t mean we had to overlook camp as a prime location to draw a bull.
An incredible sunset was our reminder it was time to head back to camp. We spent the first day exploring back bays and sandy shorelines looking for moose sign. There were key locations where the ground and lake bed were heavily poked with moose tracks. The immense weight of these large ungulates leaves an impression difficult to wash away, giving the hunter strategic information on where to set up and call.
The hiss of our lantern was the only thing we expected to hear at night inside the confines of our wall tent. Exploring the backcountry allows you to go to bed at night and take a deep sigh—which is one of content and not stress when you lay your head on the pillow. Through the darkness we were serenaded by the tremolo of loons and geese utilizing the lake along their migration.
May the vigil begin! We found a peninsula on the north end of the lake ideal for calling. The wind would be in our favor and an incoming moose would have to expose himself coming through the burnt timber of a fire that swept through the area just 5 years previous. With moose tracks everywhere, we planned to camp out there from dawn to dusk and serenade the landscape with the sounds of a lovesick cow moose.
On Day 3, our first call was answered by a distant bull. Scouring the far shore of the lake, we found the bull marching the shore, grunting with every step. He came from well over a mile away and covered the distance in little time. It was exciting to watch him close the distance and end up at the mouth of our shallow bay, allowing Kevin to anchor his first bull with a well-placed shot from his .300 WSM.
Now the work begins. I started a small smudge fire upwind of the downed moose to keep the black and sand flies away from us. We tag-teamed the bull with our knives, boned all the meat from the carcass, and packed it carefully in game bags to keep it clean and protected. There would be fresh moose tenderloin for dinner to celebrate the success.
We packed our moose back to the boat for transportation down the lake to camp. I took the bag off my ALPS OutdoorZ Commander frame to pack the meat and moose head. It made the job quick and efficient, allowing us to head back to camp to cache the meat before the warm afternoon sun appeared. We reduced the entire moose to a hide and clean bones that we left with nature.
There is nothing better than a campfire to spend an evening in camp cleaning up moose antlers to fly home. It provided the opportunity to reflect on where we really were and how fortunate we are to enjoy earth’s bounty in such a spectacular way.
Feed #theHUNGER! The old burn sites on the lake were absolutely loaded with wild blueberries; we stuffed ourselves with the delicious, tangy treats. Our remote lake provided food in many forms, and fresh pike often graced our Camp Chef frying pans.
What better way to reminisce about a fantastic moose hunt than by firing up the Camp Chef Smoke Vault to prepare moose brisket? It is a surefire way to ensure you plan your next trip.
Jigging the depths of the Pacific Ocean, off the west coast of Canada, is nothing short of an angler’s dream. Monster halibut, trophy-sized ling cod, red snapper the size of pumpkins, and dozens of species of rockfish and other bottom dwellers keep you busy playing fish until your arms are sore from working the rod.
Planning a trip with my fishing buddies Cam Morrison and Wes David for early June put us on the saltchuck during prime time for a plethora of strange-looking ocean fish. We booked with Serengeti Fishing Charters, based out of Port Hardy, on the north end of Vancouver Island. Seeing this part of the world was worth the trip alone, but the insane fishing made it an adventure that was off the charts.
Port Hardy is located on the north end of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, providing access to productive waters that stretch right up to the Alaskan panhandle. The harbor comes alive with boats and anglers every summer, anxious to tackle the bounty of saltwater fish.
Serengeti Fishing Charters use 27-foot Grady Whites, which are stable and comfortable boats for the various conditions encountered on the open seas. More importantly, the boat is set up for fishing and has two holds to store what you bring over the rail.
A brace of black rockfish, also often referred to as black bombers, black sea cod, sea bass or black snapper, was a great way to start the trip. This species of rockfish is tremendous table fare and a welcome sight on the end of the line.
Check out the size of the yap on an average ling cod. The best nickname for these feisty predators would be “water wolf.” They never quit pulling from the time you hook them and often grab onto rockfish being reeled to the surface, changing the nature of the fight in a split second.
Red snapper are aggressive bottom dwellers that hit bait with authority. They are usually found in water 200 to 300 feet deep, and will test your arm strength before getting them to the boat. Cam Morrison proudly shows off a pair of pumpkins that will likely hit a Camp Chef cast-iron pan with some blackened seasoning.
Bottom dwellers live in an eat-or-be-eaten world. This snapper thought he’d have one last snack of a quillback rockfish while in the hold of the boat. Wes David laughed when he found the glutton hoping for one last meal before hitting the filleting table.
When you see a double header on the jigging rods you know the action is intense. The boys hooked into a pair of big halibut that pulled the 100-pound test braided line off the reel with the wave of a tail. Fishing like this turns adult men into giggling school kids, like a retroactive sip from the fountain of youth.
A pair of big butts finally surfaced leaving the deck crew running circles, like they were caught in a fire drill, trying to measure then land or release. Anglers can keep one halibut a day with size restrictions. The biggest fish here is still swimming, as she was too big to legally keep.
Cam Morrison used both hands to hold up his keeper halibut for the day. We caught dozens of halibut on the trip with the biggest tipping the scale at 155 pounds. We fished one spot so hot someone was always reeling in a fish and we often had triple headers.
I love ling and when this toad smashed my bait it almost ripped the rod out of my hands. They make incredible fish and chips with a good beer batter and deep fryer, but are the most versatile fish for the plate being equally as good steamed, smoked, barbequed, poached, baked or pan fried.
Check out the melon on this ling! No wonder the smaller rockfish hide in the nooks and crannies of the ocean floor. Ling can live to be incredibly old and weigh over 100 pounds. The 20- to 30-pound fish we caught were ideal candidates for an Engel Cooler ride home.
Blue skies, bright warm sun, and the last snapper needed for a full limit. Red snapper are actually called yellow-eyed rockfish but most people refer to them by their nickname as a snapper. The otolith, a structure within the organs of the inner ear, used for gravity, balance, movement, and directional indicators in all vertebrates—snapper have big, dish-shaped structures that can be used to age the fish, but are also used to make unique ivory-like jewelry.
I’m a sole man…da da da dadunda da da. Not only is it a catchy tune, but a great fish that shares the depths of the Pacific with other bottom dwellers. They are diminutive compared to other deep-water fish, but are a flavorful flatfish all the same.
The first thing I did when I returned home with fish was fire up my Camp Chef Smoke Vault and put Hi-Mountain brined salmon, halibut and cod on the racks.
If battling bottom dwellers on a rod and reel doesn’t get you excited, chances are a whiff, or better yet, a taste of the smoked fish will force you to make plans for a fishing adventure.
Despite unusual late-winter warmth in several locales, predator hunting is still going strong in several prime states. Check the HuntStand app to ensure you’re hunting the right places and times.
I settled my seat under a densely limbed tree and rested my rifle on a set of shooting sticks, so I’d be pointed directly where I expected the local predators to appear. Here, I could sit perfectly still; my confidence was high as my hunting partner tip-toed back towards me after setting out the e-caller. Then the screeching and squealing began.
The call had been running about five minutes when I heard the first faint whispers of animal movement at the caller. I strained my eyes, but before I could get the shifty fox in my riflescope crosshair, it was gone. I shrugged with disappointment, knowing I’d be far more prepared on the next encounter. The little lightning-quick predator had caught me flat-footed.
Now that I knew what look for, it would be easier to pick out the local foxes from their unique (and new to me) environment. I had never hunted gray foxes before, much less in this type of terrain, but that wasn’t going to slow me down. A minute later another speedy fox came charging in from the opposite direction. This time I locked my crosshair on the gray/blue hair on the fox’s chest and squeezed the trigger. The resounding “whack” of my American Hunter hollow-point bullet was the audible confirmation that the first critter of the trip was on the ground.
Driving to the next set location there was plenty of discussion about the most-effective local fox calls. The jackrabbit in distress we had just used was the obvious favorite, followed closely by the cottontail, and then several bird sounds. Hunting the game-rich brush country of Texas there were plenty of local rabbits and birds to imitate.
As we reached our next destination my buddy Mario Friendly quickly walked out the Flextone FLX 500 e-caller (see above) some 80 yards in front of us. The spot offered a great view of the surrounding area, which would allow us to detect movement well before anything got to the caller. It would also keep us well protected from the discerning noses of the many foxes, coyotes and bobcats in the region. Mario hit the “On” switch and the blood-curdling screams of a jackrabbit in distress echoed off the hills. It was a relatively calm day and we ran the volume between 10 and 12, knowing it would be heard for at least a mile. Just like on our first set, a curious gray came dancing into the site within minutes, and Mario anchored it with a well-placed shot.
We ran two more sets with similar success before the action suddenly died. It was as though someone had flipped the proverbial switch; the immediate and aggressive behavior of the local foxes had turned to “zero.” As in, zero response and zero interest. Luckily, I had a secret weapon. I use my HuntStand app so much that I instinctively took my phone out of my pocket to check the major and minor wildlife movement times for the day. I found we had struck it lucky with our first attempts, setting up during one of the best time-frames of the entire day. And it was almost eerie how accurate that prediction would be. A mere 15 minutes ticking off the clock proved the difference between seeing predators in a “major movement” pattern, and seeing none. A check of the app showed a minor movement period later in the day, and so I suggested we head back to camp and return when HuntStand showed the odds were more in our favor.
Again, my HuntStand app came through; a return to hunting during the predicted “minor movement” period resulted in two more sets, and adding two more foxes to our day’s bag. The successful hunting period was short lived, just like the app had predicted, and there were some other notable results as well. Suddenly, many of my hunting partners wanted to know more about the app, which of course takes things like weather, moon phase, and environmental factors into account to predict wildlife movement and activity. Before long, most everyone in camp was downloading the HuntStand app and sifting through its various hunter-friendly features.
We hunted later that same night for a few hours and shot a couple more foxes with help from Cyclops Varmint Lights mounted on our scopes. As there were two groups of us hunting, I talked Mario into bypassing the next hunt, a classic predawn period, in favor of focusing on later in the morning. The reason? The app was predicting a prime, or major, game movement would occur between 10 a.m. and noon. The second group in camp was made up of some serious, diehard predator hunters and they just couldn’t get over the fact we were skipping the opportunity to be out at first light. They opted to get up and head out of camp by 6 a.m. to take advantage of what they thought would (or should) be “prime time.”
As it turned out, Mario and I enjoyed a few (welcome) extra hours of sleep and a great breakfast before casually rolling out of camp at 9:45 a.m. Our hunting companions were texting regularly, and having already put in close to four hours afield they were headed back to camp in search of fresh coffee. Our first set was just 10 minutes from camp, on the edge of a large meadow, with the road at our backs. We set out the Flextone caller and Mario hit the “jackrabbit” to start our sequence. After sitting for about 10 minutes, movement behind Mario caught my eye, and I could only hope my unaware hunting partner would sit perfectly still. As if on script, the big gray soon emerged from the brush less than 10 feet from Mario. The fox stalked right past the Mossy Oak-clad hunter and headed straight upwind towards the caller. Mario played things perfectly, waiting for the fox to create a gap between the two before he slowly raised his rifle and anchored the big male.
With the fox on the ground, Mario immediately changed the calling sequence to a cottontail and let it screech away for another 10 minutes. We had just started to hand-signal that we would wrap it up when a second fox came sneaking through the brush beside me. I tracked it in my Bushnell scope until it stopped, and I gently squeezed the trigger. Two foxes on our first set was a great way to start the day.
Next we headed five minutes down the road and set up in a large L-shaped meadow; we placed the caller about 60 yards in front of us and let the screeching begin. In less than two minutes a fox appeared at the caller and Mario smoked it with one well-placed shot. Moments later a second fox showed up on Mario’s side and he quickly added more fur to the pile. With the caller continuing to run it wasn’t but minutes later when two more foxes emerged from the treeline. I tracked the closest in my scope and when it came to a stop we had a triple-header. To say the action was insane would be an understatement. Before we left the site we had two more foxes run through our sight window so fast neither of us could shoot. But our faces held wide grins. Just one hour into our hunt and our truck bed held five beautiful gray foxes.
Our string of amazing success would continue. In the two sets that followed, we shot a double and a single before finally heading back to camp. As you might imagine, our hunting buddies were more than a little shocked by our daytime success. With a full moon, they were sure our midday hunt would be a bust, but the pile of fur in the back of our truck said otherwise.
We planned to hunt a couple hours later in the afternoon and again at 10 p.m., when the app said hunting would be good for just shy of two hours. There was lots of discussion about the full moon, warm temperatures and the weird hours most of the predators were being shot. Mario and I continued with the “unconventional times,” as they was providing excellent opportunities.
Our afternoon timeframe was short but we fit in a couple sets along fencelines with good results. When the timing was right the foxes would normally show up within minutes, and we never had to work them hard to convince them to come in. We went in for dinner at dark and carefully watched the clock to ensure we were out at “prime time,” which the app showed was just before 10 p.m. This time the other hunting party followed our lead.
It’s funny how a phone app can make a person look so smart. Soon everyone in camp had downloaded the HuntStand app and was watching for game movement times, as though provided from the gospel. I’d have to say it was also a big learning experience even for me, a dedicated HuntStand user.
Our final night hunt was the “crowning glory” of the trip, as we set up on a large meadow and put the FLX 500 caller to work. It wasn’t long before my Cyclops REVO spotlight (offering 1,100 lumens) picked up movement across the meadow; as I tracked the glowing yellow eyes in my scope I waited for a pause. When it finally came, at some 150 yards, the first fox of the night was down. And that’s when things really got crazy.
I was shooting a Savage 110 Predator rifle in .222 and had it dialed-in perfectly. A minute later Mario shot a fox off the back of the truck with a shotgun, and that got one of the local male foxes really fired up. It started barking and howling at us, complete with some evil sounds I’d never heard before. Eventually that fox came out of the brush and headed out across the meadow in front of us, bemoaning our presence the entire way. My attempts to get on target in the truck bed were futile, what with my partner moving and shifting about, but what I didn’t know was that still another fox had snuck in from behind us and Mario was trying to get on it, but was waiting till I shot first. When my crosshair finally settled on “my” fox I squeezed the trigger and added the third fox of the set to the pile. One second later a shotgun roared and Mario began giggling. Turns out he had several foxes come and go as he politely waited for my shot. We had taken four foxes in one set and had seen several more.
We squeezed in one more sequence before calling it a night, but we could quickly tell when “prime time” was over. When things ended, it didn’t matter how much you called—nothing was coming in. Even the local deer were seen bedded in the brightness of the moon.
My advice from this eye-opening experience? To become a more-successful predator hunter, you need to try the HuntStand app. Pay particular attention to the moon phase, as well as major and minor time movements, and your diligence will surely pay off. And don’t forget to use the app’s “Log” feature to enter your sightings, successes and quiet times, as they will quickly show you the patterns that work consistently for your local predators. Good hunting!
Make spring and summer practice sessions count with these neat new designs aimed at increased shooting enjoyment, and making you a better, more-confident shot.
Champion VisiColor Real Life Big Game Targets. If you’re looking to shoot some targets this year before heading out big game hunting, why not use some that look like the real McCoy? Take aim at trophy animals from across North America with Champion VisiColor Real Life Big Game targets that feature a black bear, pronghorn and whitetailed deer. A successful shot shows a burst of color in each vital zone, giving you instant feedback. A visible sight-in bull’s-eye on each target lets you zero-in your rifle before you set your sights on living breathing big game. There are 12 targets in a package ($28; four of each animal) with vital zones marked by different colors.
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Cabela’s 10-inch Rifle Gong Target With Stand. The World’s Foremost Outfitter has developed a steel gong that will provide an audible response, as well as movement, when your bullet hits the mark. The 10-inch Rifle Gong Target ($100) is 0.55 inches thick and 10 inches in diameter, capable of withstanding centerfire rifle bullets from a minimum of 100 yards and beyond. It is easy to assemble and includes a powder-coated steel frame that can take some misplaced lead. There are steel chains and “S” hooks for easy setup and takedown. Even better? This durable target’s lifetime guarantee.
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Rinehart X-Bow Bag. The X-Bow Bag target ($50) was designed with layered, arrow-stopping material, and is rated for crossbows shooting up to a blistering 450 fps. As most crossbows have a scope, the target has a sight-in grid with Minute of Angle (MOA) graduations. It has never been easier to see the exact adjustment required to put your arrows on the “X”. The bag also has 12 dots for practice, distributing shots across the target for longer life. At 18 inches, and with a carry handle, this compact design can be used in the field or as a discharge target.
Delta McKenzie Mo’ Go Target. The smartly-designed Mo’ Go Target ($75) offers more foam for stopping power and longevity, yet is compact enough to take with you most anywhere. Mo’ Foam is the most dense and durable foam on the market, which reduces chunking and slivering when compared to other layered targets. The weld-bonded process eliminates the need for bands, allows for shooting on all sides, and reduces slivering from broadheads. The Mo’ Go is designed to handle both vertical bows and crossbows, shooting field tips or broadheads. It weighs 15 pounds and measures 20x18x11 inches.
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Rinehart Pyramid Target. Building a target as a pyramid, shooters are provided with four sides to shoot at, in an easy-to-carry design. With a stable base, it can be set up anywhere for practice. The target features the MOA grid, which allows for easy and effective adjustment of an archer’s sight or a crossbow shooter’s scope. Made of solid foam, the Pyramid Target ($70) measures 14 inches high and 18 inches wide, and weighs just 7 pounds. The highly visible target zones on the Pyramid allow shooters to practice in low-light conditions without a doubt in their mind on where the bull’s-eye lives.
Ultralight construction. Impressive durability. Cutting-edge camo patterns. This selection of the year’s newest huntwear offers up these and much more, all ready to help make the most of your upcoming adventures.
Cabela’s Scout Camo Huntwear. Great for early season hunting adventures across North America, Cabela’s new line of Scout Camo hunt clothing is not only nicely affordable, it’s also lightweight, breathable and ideal for fickle weather and covering lots of territory, especially when temps are variable and/or otherwise hard to predict. The Pants and Seven-Button Shirt ($60 each) are constructed of quick-drying 130-gram polyester ripstop, with stretch panels in key areas for enhanced comfort and mobility. Completing the line are a versatile polyester Hoodie (shown above) ($40) and a Long-Sleeve Tee Shirt ($35), both featuring double-needle stitching for durability and flat-lock seams for comfort. They’re available in popular, field-proven Realtree Xtra camouflage.Huntworth Mid-Weight Soft Shell Apparel. Huntworth has added a new, mid-weight soft shell jacket and pant, with matching beanie and gloves to its well-rounded line of functional, affordable hunting clothing and accessories. To make it unique, the new huntwear is covered in the company’s great-looking Disruption camouflage pattern, which is a computer-generated abstract design that blends seamlessly into a wide variety of terrain. The Mid-Weight Soft Shell Jacket ($100) has a full-length zipper with a durable, water-repellent shell made of stretch polyester and bonded to a honeycomb fleece. The fleece is treated with an antimicrobial for scent reduction. It is harness-ready, has a high stand collar with beard guard, tapered arm construction and draw cord. Hunters will appreciate two large zippered side pockets, a zippered upper left chest pocket and two large open interior pockets. The Mid-Weight Soft Shell Pants ($100) are made of the same material as the jacket, and offer five pockets, side leg zippers with storm flaps to accommodate boots, a knife pocket on the right leg, abrasion-resistant reinforced knees and seat, rubberized non-slip grip inner waistband, five belt loops and suspender loops. The Stealth Gloves ($20) offer great dexterity while providing wind and water protection. Rounding out the outfit is a four-way stretch fleece beanie ($13) that will keep you dry and warm from the mid-season on into bitter late-season adventures.Carhartt Buckfield Jacket & Pant. Carhartt is synonymous with durability and value, and its Buckfield Jacket and Pant will keep you in the woods no matter what Mother Nature has in store. The 9.7-ounce, 100-percent polyester jacket and pant, with a Realtree pattern, are equipped with a durable water repellent to
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keep you dry. The Jacket ($140) features a detachable hood, a map pocket with a magnetic closure near the chest, as well as ventilated underarms, and a safety harness exit on the back. The Pant ($109) features a partial elastic waistband with hook-and-loop adjusters, and also includes ankle-to-knee zippers with storm flaps, articulated knees, magnetic pocket closures and triple-stitched main seams. Sitka Optifade Subalpine Ascent Series. New this year, Gore Optifade Concealment’s Subalpine pattern is designed specifically for stalking and ambushing ungulates from ground level in tree-covered and otherwise vegetated terrain. The concealment technology is optimized for engagement ranges of 50 yards and less. The Ascent Series is designed for the steamy temperatures of early season elk and mule deer pursuits, with the Ascent Shirt ($169) weighing just 5 ounces and the Ascent Pants ($189) weighing a mere 12 ounces. These incredible garments are both highly breathable, and as you might guess, they are also the lightest garments that Sitka has ever produced.Under Armour Threadborne Wool. Wool has made a comeback amongst hardcore hunters looking for silent comfort under most any conditions. Wool regulates body temperature to keep you warm when it’s cold and cool when it’s hot. It also naturally fights mold, mildew, and odor. UA Threadborne Wool starts where synthetic wool left off, being engineered down to the thread level to be more durable and stretchy to allow
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greater mobility. The Mid-Season Wool Jacket and Pant are made of a stretchy wool-blend material with a brushed inner layer for lightweight warmth. They are quiet, feature scent control and repel water while continuing to provide breathability. The Jacket ($250) is harness-ready and the Pants ($225) feature 22-inch side zips. Walls Xelerator Jacket & Pant. The Walls Pro Series is expanding to include the Xelerator Jacket and Pant this fall. This ultra-quiet combo is built for serious cold-weather performance complete with 315 grams of bonded polar fleece and Scentrex scent-control technology. More smart features include a through-jacket harness opening, durable water repellant finish, three-piece adjustable removable hood, and an athletic fit, making this combo a great choice when the mercury plummets. The Xelerator Jacket ($190) and Pant ($180) will be available in Realtree Xtra and Mossy Oak Country patterns. First Lite Phantom 3D Jacket & Balaclava. Designed and built for those who want to simply disappear when in range of wary gobblers and other game, the Phantom 3D Leafy Jacket ($100, shown above) is a leafy concealment piece in the First Lite Fusion line that allows the user the very best in 3D camouflage. With features like extra burly YKK zippers and printed mesh, this leafy top is built to last. The Phantom is designed and sized to fit over whatever you’re wearing in the field and can be worn in any weather over your layering system; a matching Phantom 3D Balaclava ($35) is also available. Available in men’s sizes S, M, L, XL, XXL at www.firstlite.com and with participating dealers.
Hunt ducks beginning Sept. 1? Experience a mixed bag of plentiful species? When looking for an early waterfowl fix, you can’t beat waterfowling in western Canada.
A handful of gadwall buzzed over our heads and spun in a tight circle to get back to our decoys. Their feet were splayed and toes dragging in the water when we stood up to open the duck season. Minutes later, seven mallards swung past the decoys, and we quickly turned four of them into floating markers on our wetland. It was a wonderful way to start the season. We shot a wide variety of ducks that morning, and never waited long between volleys.
Most waterfowl seasons in western Canada open September 1st, providing some of the earliest gunning available in North America. It’s always an exciting and important day for hunters who flock to the bigger wetlands where it’s easy to target ducks without any spotting or planning.
Hunting early season ducks is a much different game than later into the fall. The birds have dull plumage and respond in family units instead of in big flocks. Most flights are four to eight birds, with the hen doing the talking, and the rest listening. There isn’t any social chatter yet, so understanding what the birds are doing, and what they respond to, will help you find early success.
Small Decoy Sets Get Noticed. There is no magic in decoy layouts for early season birds. Place decoys in small groups to imitate family units feeding, loafing or resting together. These groups gather in prime locations or are concentrated by weather. A dozen, or two, floating decoys on your favorite wetland will consistently bring birds to the gun. In most cases, the local birds are flying over or headed to an area where they’ve been before. A little scouting before the season opener will quickly tell you where birds are flocked up or concentrated.
Running Hen Decoys Pays. Most all of the early birds are drab in color, and the best way to draw them close is with decoys that look much the same. Avian-X early season mallard decoys are indicative of early season plumage, or you can also use your hen decoys exclusively, as they will look very similar to young drakes and provide a natural look to your flock.
Mixed Bags Are The Rule. The prairie provinces, often referred to as the “bread basket” of Canada, act as a catch net with productive wetlands and feeding opportunities for ducks to fatten up along their migration. Many of the birds are raised locally, but an incredible number also nest and fledge young in the boreal forest region located farther north. Many of North America’s wigeon, green-winged teal, mallards and other dabblers originate in the boreal region.
Finding Beauty In Early Hunts. There are some hunters who don’t want to shoot ducks until they are fully feathered and sporting prime plumage. The problem with waiting for colorful feathers is half the season will be over in the north. Shooting drab birds means you will have a mixed bag of drakes and hens, but the law of averages means you never hit the hens too hard. Consider our goose hunting opportunities—we can’t hold out for just males, but that doesn’t stop us from hunting them, and it hasn’t hindered their populations. That said, I still target greenheads whenever I can spot one.
Teal, gadwall, shoveler, pintail, and mallard broods are all fledged and regularly exercising their wings to build strength and stamina for the migration ahead. Most dabblers are still feeding exclusively on the water and opening-day hunts for local hunters usually consist of a dozen floaters set close to shore. Lots of the ducks will have left the small potholes and drifted to mid-sized wetlands. Go Easy On The Calling. Calling is something that often makes hunters feel good about their skills. However, at this time of year, there is very little chatter amongst the family waterfowl groups; most dialogue is between a hen and her grown brood. Calling typically works as a confidence card when hunting most any duck, so it certainly can play a role in producing more fly-bys, or birds to look at your decoys. However, early season calling should never be aggressive, as the birds are not nearly as responsive as later in the fall when hormones start to dictate social interactions. Keep An Eye On Local Farm Fields. Dabblers that feed on crops make their transition from wetland vegetation to grains as soon as crops are swathed for harvest. Peas are often swathed as early as August, giving ducks a head start on high-protein feeds. When the ducks do get in these first-cut fields, they are usually mixed with local geese, and early migrants out of the Arctic.
During the first two weeks of September, most of the duck flights into a pea or barley field are small flocks. They still consist of a single family, or two, traveling together, but this is the start of a big social change for the birds. They mix on the ground in greater numbers and often take off in large flocks to head back to roost, where they disperse back into family units. By the end of the second week in September, you can see the melding of birds into larger flocks on a regular basis, and family groups are no longer identifiable.
Lean On The HuntStand App. Whether you are shooting over water or in a field, the newest measuring feature on your HuntStand app will help you set up where the ducks are in range. Measuring distance, down to the yard, you can place decoys and blinds to know your shooting distances. Using features in a field you can ensure your decoys are all set within 40 or 50 yards, to know birds are in range once they hit the edge of your spread. I like to place decoys at specific ranges to get a quick reference on incoming birds.
The accurate weather forecasting of the HuntStand app, including wind direction, will help you find the quiet shorelines where birds like to stay out of the wind, and where they will be feeding or loafing on wetlands. Whether on the water or in a field, the app’s helpful Set Zone feature will let you know exactly where to place your decoys to position incoming birds in your face.
Checking your ScoutLook Logs can help you predict when and where birds will be on the water to feed and rest. After accessing your historical info, you can instantly check the current weather forecast to fine-tune your setup locations. Especially helpful is knowing when the birds will want to be out of the wind, or looking for cover. For example, if you find birds using a particular wetland wedge during an unusually strong north wind, chances are the next time there are similar conditions, the birds will be back. Log it and learn!
The Magic Of Transition Day. There is a magical day on or near the 10th of October when you will bag your first drake mallard sporting his full palette of eye-catching colors. The head will glow iridesent green and purple, and the curls in his tail will twist around to touch his back. This transition date seldom changes from year to year, and is the turning point when serious duck hunters start gunning for those valuable limits of green.
Early Challenges. Be forewarned, the days are extremely long this time of year and getting set up for first light often means a nasty 3 a.m. wake-up call. It is also a time of year when the biting insects can be atrocious. Mosquitoes can make it next to impossible to sit still, so be sure to pack your Thermacell unit…or two. Check your HuntStand app for daily mosquito reports so you’re not caught off guard.
Early Rewards. Where else but in Canada can you hunt ducks this early in North America? There are always lots of birds north of the border, and they decoy extremely well, having not yet been hunted. With seasons in the southern states months away, why not head north for an early-season warm up.
The best angle for a stalk. The best setup distance. Smart gear. Years of hunting trophy-class prairie mule deer have provided the answers.
With our well-tuned bows in the back of the truck we were headed to a local reservoir situated in wide-open prairie country, where we’d seen plenty of wide-racked mule deer in the past. Minutes later we were glassing the shoreline and the edges of surrounding willow patches, and once satisfied we’d seen everything we moved farther down to inspect the next stretch of cover. We’d just stopped when I spotted antlers sticking up out of the grass on the far bank. When the buck stood and started to feed, it took just seconds to know I’d be more than happy to put my tag on him if I could somehow make it happen.
And then came another surprise. As I continued glassing I picked up another antler tip in the sea of tawny prairie grass. I couldn’t tell the quality of the second buck’s headgear, but sitting patiently gave us a better look when the deer finally stood. The young buck was a funky non-typical with a big drop tine and weird configuration up top. At this sight my attention again turned to the first buck, with its deep forks and sticker points off both antlers looking far more appealing. We sat back and watched the duo slowly feed their way up the reservoir edge.
One thing I’ve learned about hunting deer in open country is to wait for them to bed before starting a stalk. The bucks worked far enough away that we had to reposition to continue our surveillance. Eventually, the pair moved into a brushy hedge left behind by an old farmstead, and bedded. I have too many stories of getting busted by prairie mule deer on spot-and-stalk hunts due to changing wind and weather conditions. But thankfully, I’ve learned. I now depend on modern technologies, such as the feature-packed HuntStand app, to help increase my success on prairie mule deer bowhunts. These days I pay careful attention to the accurate wind and weather forecasts in the HuntStand app, which allows me to plan careful stalks, even several hours in advance, taking into consideration upcoming wind and weather changes that will help keep me undetected. Opening the app, I checked the wind direction for the next four hours and was satisfied I could get in place without being detected. In seconds we were headed to the point I had guessed would be the best locale to begin my stalk on foot, a full six miles by truck to circle the water and start directly downwind of the bucks.
As we worked down the edge of the reservoir on foot, keeping out of sight by staying low along the shoreline, the wind completely hid any noise we made. After covering about 900 yards, we began to slow down and watch every step. Soon we had slipped to within 50 yards of where the buck had bedded, and started to search for antlers with our binoculars. Joe found them first, moving back and forth at the base of a large brushline. Knowing exactly where the buck was bedded allowed me to cut the distance to under 40 yards. I set up in a comfortable position, nocked an arrow and attached my release to my D-loop. It was time to sit quietly and simply wait for the buck to stand.
I used my Bushnell Fusion binoculars with a built-in laser rangefinder to pick apart the cover in front of me. If the buck stood up, I would have a 10-inch window to thread an arrow through shrubby limbs at exactly 35 yards. Having the time to look for every possible arrow deflector would allow me to make a quick decision on a shot if offered. We had only been sitting for 30 minutes when the buck suddenly lifted his head and stood without warning. I was ready and immediately drew my bow, placing my 30-yard pin just above my target. The buck was quartering away, and when I squeezed my release trigger I watched my arrow fly straight into the deer—and pass right through.
Just like that the deer was off and running with his funky-antlered friend following close behind, trying to determine what had happened. I watched the deer streak across the prairie and head back toward the reservoir shoreline. The open country allowed us to watch where the buck ran and, even when he disappeared, our knowledge of the terrain told us he had to be along the shoreline. And that’s where he ended up.. The recovery was short and sweet. It was the biggest mule deer buck I’ve ever taken with a bow, complete with hunt memories to last a lifetime.
On the last day of our hunt, we were out early and barely had enough light when we found three big bucks about three miles east of where I had shot my deer. We sat and watched them for close to two hours as they wandered through a dry slough bed and up a shrubby draw before bedding. We knew there was no way to drive closer, so Joe headed out from our position for the long stalk to the draw where the deer disappeared.
I opened my HuntStand app and checked the wind forecast. It told us Joe would have about two hours to get close and hope the deer would stand, before the wind changed direction. We had hunted the same area the year before, when I belly-crawled through some rough prairie and cactus to get within 38 yards of three other dandy bucks. I laid there for close to two and a half hours before the two smaller bucks stood and fed right in front of me, but the largest never budged. With the sun high in the sky, I could feel the wind shifting, as it often does during late morning, and in seconds as a breeze cooled the back of my neck, the big buck blew out of his bed like he had dynamite under him. I was flat-out busted. If I had known the wind was going to change, I could have backed out and watched until the conditions were again in my favor.
I drove to the main road to head back around to the top of the draw and parked where I could watch the dry slough and the north side of the draw Joe was hunting. I got to see the events unfold, and when two of the deer ran out across the prairie, I knew the reason the third buck wasn’t with them. Joe had snuck to within 30 yards of the bedded deer, and as luck would have it, the big three-point presented the first shot opportunity. Joe drew his bow and sent an arrow right through the big-bodied buck, which turned and headed down the draw, crashing into the cover about 100 yards away.
We had seen and debated about the big three-point several times that week, and I thought it was the oldest, mature buck in the herd and outweighed his closest competitor by 60 pounds.
Hunting prairie mule requires patience and strategy. We never stalk a buck from above, as we seem to get busted almost every time. Coming from below has proven to be the best way to stay undetected.
Don’t get too close. Stalking to 35 or 40 yards seems to provide enough distance to make a deer comfortable if he does stand and look right at you. It may stare for a minute, but if you don’t move it will likely turn away and start feeding. At 20 yards, a deer normally raises its hackles and gets nervous right away, and the second the deer stands it will typically catch sight of you. The new distance-measuring feature in your HuntStand Hunting app is accurate enough to predict exactly where you need to get to on any given stalk.
As a rule, we only stalk deer after watching them bed. It often takes hours of watching and following, giving you plenty of time to check the HuntStand Hunting app for wind direction changes over the next four or five hours, which is how long you often need to stalk, then wait for a deer to stand. The app will help ensure the wind stays in your face through the lengthy process. It is virtually impossible to stay hidden in the open grassland, where deer can see for miles. However, when they do bed, they often pick a small depression, creek bank, or some other feature that keeps them out of the wind or direct sunlight. A hunter must take advantage of this to stalk close, while the animals are in their beds. It can be more challenging when there is more than one deer in the herd, but keeping a constant eye on the known bedding site, means you can hit the ground if your target buck stands before you get within range and/or reach your final setup.
Don’t be in a rush to draw your bow. A deer that stands up to feed will first survey its surroundings. It is extremely difficult to hide movement from a deer on high alert, so wait. When the ears on your target animal look relaxed, and it begins feeding or turns away, you will have plenty of opportunity to draw your bow. Learning the ropes that are required to complete a successful stalk on wily mature, prairie-country mule deer has indeed made it easier to find consistent success, but I’ve certainly paid my dues, and the process has taken years. Even today I know it is impossible to have every stalk work out with a harvested deer, but win, lose or draw, the excitement of these up-close-and-personal encounters is special. In the end you’re left with a unique, addicting adrenaline rush that will have you coming back for more—year after year.
Does rattling work only during the peak rut? Can your rattling be too loud? Too soft? Stop here for a crash course in this deadly, but wildly misunderstood deer hunting tactic.
There’s no doubt that at the right time and place, a rattling system can work wonders to draw inquisitive or territorial bucks to your stand site. Of course, rattling is by no means a modern advancement in hunting technique, as the original antler rattlers were First Nation hunters, and long before European settlers colonized North America. What has changed since then about rattling for deer? Well, for one, modern-day hunters. We like to make every excuse in the book about our lack of success. And when it comes to rattling, I’ve about heard it all: The rattling was too loud, too frequent; rattling makes it easy for local does and fawns to bust you, and rattling works only during the very peak of the rut.
To be sure, rattling doesn’t work each and every time you tickle the tines or bash those beams together. But experience has shown it works often enough that I’ll keep it in my arsenal of tools, when it’s time to locate and ambush mature whitetails most anywhere in North America. That said, here are some of my all-time favorite rattling myths and misconceptions: Rattling Myth No. 1: It works only in Texas where there are LOTS of deer. I rattled-in my first buck in northern Alberta when it was -30° F. It was a far cry from a deer hunting experience in south Texas, but it worked. Of course, the higher the density of local deer, the better rattling works, as there are more deer to create competition. I’ve found that if you maintain the attitude, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how often rattling works anywhere white-tailed deer live.
Rattling Myth No. 2: You’re rattling too loud or too softly. I’ve watched deer playfully sparring back and forth, as their antlers tickled together to make audible sounds, but you’d never call it a fight. And maybe not surprisingly, even those soft sounds lured-in other bucks, presumably to see who was pushing, playing, or sizing up the competition. I’ve also seen full-blown fights where bucks fought till one of the opponents died. Not only did the fight sound intimidating, it was. Other deer ran back and forth through the same field in a frenzy of activity. The large 5×5 buck in the heat of battle took a full-on assault from the side, and antler puncture wounds into his vitals stole his life. Is there such a thing as too loud, or too soft? I don’t think so. Rattling often boils down to the intensity of the encounter, and the light “tickles” can sometimes generate as much interest from other deer as an all-out battle to the death. Rattling Myth No. 3: Responding bucks approach only from downwind. I set up in some Texas mesquite and rattled intently for an hour. I had at least five different bucks come to investigate, and all came from different directions. Of course, the ones that approached from downwind eventually smelled me and took off like any whitetail would, but the encounter taught me to keep my senses on high alert, as deer could (and do) approach rattling sounds from anywhere. But it’s also smart to play the odds. Setting up where you have an open stretch of country downwind can be very beneficial for spotting incoming deer before they can smell you. Rattling Myth No. 4: Bucks that have been rattled in won’t ever respond again. I was invited to Texas to hunt an old white-tailed buck a friend had been watching for years. He was an old, Brahma-nosed stud that had to be one of the oldest deer in the herd. As luck would have it, we rattled the buck in on our first sequence of the first day and never got an opportunity for a shot. We worked the area for the next five days, and on the final evening of my hunt, the old floppy-eared buck again showed up. He raced from the tangle of shrubs he lived in and stood with his head high, checking for any neighbors participating in a Fight Club. It was all the proof I needed to confirm that you can rattle in even the wisest old buck more than once. Rattling Myth No. 5: You must sit still when rattling. Deer have exceptional eyesight, so being relatively still when rattling will certainly help your chances of remaining undetected. After all, the noise you are making will draw bucks directly to your exact location. However, I have never seen a deer fight, or even playful pushing, where you didn’t hear hooves pounding the ground and vegetation rustling and sticks breaking. Making additonal noises while rattling can help make your entire setup sound more natural. A hunt with Steve Ray, the inventor of Rattling Forks (see him in action above), taught me a few tricks. Ray always carried an empty, plastic water bottle that he left the cap on. When rattling he simultaneously twisted or rubbed the bottle against a solid surface, producing loud crinkles, crunches, and cracks. Ray doesn’t have three hands; he often dropped the bottle on the ground while rattling and worked it with his foot. The extra noise is significant, and sounds like a real battleground. Rattling Myth No. 6: It works only on small bucks. If you think rattling will work only on small bucks, you haven’t spent enough time at it, or you hunt in an area with few mature bucks. All sizes and age classes of bucks will respond to clashing antlers. It is part of their communication with each other, and is used to set the pecking order of any herd. A fight means someone is either trying to challenge the pecking order or find out where they belong. I’ve rattled in little spikes to old, mature warlords of the whitetail woods. Rattling Myth No. 7: You can rattle too much and too long. I used to think you had to rattle, take a break, then rattle some more. What I’ve found out by hunting with experts like Steve Ray and Larry Weishuhn, is that your rattling sequence doesn’t need any breaks. In fact, I’ve seen deer coming to clanking antlers, only to stop when the noise of the scuffle ended. Rattling continually, for 30, 45, or even 60 minutes can prove productive. You just don’t know precisely when a buck will wander into earshot of your rattling, or eventually get annoyed, feel intrigued, or suddenly just want to fight. And, just because one buck shows up doesn’t mean you should quit. A good long rattling sequence can often generate multiple buck sightings, so my advice is try several different approaches but don’t limit yourself. Rattling Myth No. 8: Does and fawns will bust you. I’ve heard other hunters tell me that if does and fawns come to your antler sounds, they will spook all other deer away. I will admit that an old, nanny doe can blow and snort when she sorts out a hunter from the real McCoy, but it hasn’t hampered my efforts to bring in other deer during a rattling sequence. Stay vigilant and let the natural deer noises help attract more bucks to your location.
Rattling Myth No. 9: Rattling only works during the peak of the rut. This theory is an absolute myth. In fact, I’ve found you get more responses during the pre-rut when the bucks are developing their pecking order and starting to lay down scrapes. Post-rut bucks are on the hunt for any remaining does that haven’t been bred, and competition can be fierce. Rattling works from early fall right into winter, so don’t be afraid to carry your rattling system anytime you plan to hunt. Rattling Myth No. 10: Only real antlers will consistently draw bucks in. Another foolhardy myth. Heavy, hardened natural antler beams do resonate great sound, but there are a multitude of materials, and incredibly effective modern rattling systems that in no way shape or form resemble natural antlers, yet produce incredibly realistic sounding fights and antler clashing. And if you haven’t tried them, you’re missing out.
Rock, Rattle & Roll On… Don’t believe all the horror stories you hear about rattling for deer. The best way to find out what really works is to experiment when you are in the deer woods. Rattling is a natural sound, and if your efforts don’t immediately draw a big buck to your location, don’t think you’re sending all of them to the next county. There are lots of myths about rattling, and hunting in general, but dispelling them is the best way to advance your deer-hunting game. When you’ve truly mastered the technique, rattling can one of the deadliest tools in your deer-hunting tacklebox.
Great bargains. Stunning looks. Faster cycling. You’ll find these traits and more in the hottest new-for-2018 hunting shotguns.
Mossberg 930 All Purpose Field Shotgun w/Mossy Oak Bottomland Camo. The Mossberg 930 autoloader is a workhorse in every sense of the word. The newest version, now available in a Field Model ($640), is fully concealed with Mossy Oak’s historic Bottomland Camo pattern. The shotgun is chambered for 3-inch loads and
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weighs in at 7.75 pounds. The 26-inch, ventilated rib barrel is equipped with an Accu choke that comes with a variety of tubes to pattern different hunting options. A durable synthetic stock rounds out the package, which offers extreme value.Tristar Cobra II Field Camo Pump Turkey Gun. If you’re a turkey-holic, the fit and feel of the new Cobra II Camo Pump is worth a strong look, but even better might be its killer price ($364). With a 24-inch barrel, and weighing just 6.7 pounds, it is easy to
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conceal, or swing on a wily gobbler trying to give you the slip. The shotgun is chambered for 2 ¾- or 3-inch shotshells, and is chrome lined, including the barrel. It comes with three choke tubes (IC, M, F), and is built off an injection molded stock and forearm in Realtree Advantage Timber. Recoil pad, swivel studs, and fiber optic sight make the Cobra II ready to hunt.
Browning A5 Wicked Wing. There are few waterfowlers who haven’t shot or looked at, a Browning Auto-5. It has become a classic with its unique humpback looks. The original Auto-5 autoloader design might look similar to the A5 Wicked Wing ($1,979.99), but with a Kinematic Drive System, soft-shooting and fast-cycling design it isn’t the same
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shotgun your grandpa used. The new shotgun also features stunning good looks, with its Cerakote Burnt Bronze camo finish, proven Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades Camo on the shotgun’s stock and forearm, and the new Browning Goose Band Extended Invector-DS Choke Tube system.
Winchester Super X4 Universal Hunter Shotgun. Winchester has developed a strong following with its Super X3 and X4 autoloader shotguns. This year the company has upgraded its Universal Hunter version of the Super X4 ($1,069.99) with features like a dipped coating of Mossy Oak’s Break-Up Country camo pattern. Add in the SX4’s vented rib, a TruGlo fiber-optic bead, chrome-plated chamber and bore, and a proven gas operating system and it’s ready to hunt. The stock has spacers to adjust length-of-pull, as well as a textured grip, and the barrels come with Invector-Plus Choke Tubes. Benelli Ethos Sport Shotgun. The Ethos is a smooth-cycling semi-automatic shotgun with a recoil-reduction system that will help you stay on target. The Sport Model ($2,269) is made with fast-paced action in mind. Dove hunters and clay shooters will
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appreciate the oversized cheek comb, raised carbon fiber rib, and ported barrels. With a high-end walnut stock and nickel-plated receiver, it looks as nice as it shoots. The Ethos Sport is available in 12-, 20-, and 28-gauge models. Remington 870 Wingmaster Claro. Many waterfowl and upland game bird enthusiasts started in the field with a Remington 870. They have proven to be rugged and dependable, even under adverse conditions. The new 870 Wingmaster Claro ($959) is a
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handsome upgrade from any of the older models you may have started with. The high-gloss dramatic-colored walnut stock and forend are a standout. With a blued barrel and receiver, and a chrome bolt, the affordable Claro has the looks and feel of a top-end shotgun. The newest Wingmaster comes equipped with a 28-inch Rem choke barrel, recoil pad, and gold trigger. CZ Reaper Magnum. A good turkey shotgun needs to be built to accommodate 3 ½-inch shotshells, and allow the user to manage the recoil. The CZ Reaper Magnum ($959) offers unique versatility, allowing a hunter to access two vastly different chokes, covering short or long-range constriction, with the flip of the barrel selector switch. With two 26-inch barrels, the 7-pound, polymer-stocked gun is easy to maneuver in tight spots or in a blind. A Picatinny-style rail tops the Reaper, allowing the addition of an optic. The Reaper Magnum ships with five extended interchangeable chokes, including an extra full.
Exciting combo loads. Deadly sub-gauge options. Devastating long-distance performance. Today’s latest turkey ammo is too good to miss.
Federal 3rd Degree w/Heavyweight TSS. Popular and proven Federal Premium 3rd Degree gets an upgrade for 2018 with the addition of Tungsten Super Shot (TSS). Also, the new wads used allow you to use these shotshells with any choke or ported gun. The big news is a three-stage
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payload consisting of No. 5 copper-plated lead, No. 6 Flitestopper lead and now No. 7 Heavyweight TSS shot, providing large, heavy-hitting patterns whether your target is up close or at extended ranges. Available in 12- or 20-gauge options ($17.99 to $20.99).Winchester Xtended Range Bismuth. Winchester Xtended Range is now offered with bismuth shot ($30-$35), not only extending range, but offering hard-hitting consistency.
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Specialized wads allow for any choke options. Bismuth performs much like lead does, providing solid downrange energy and penetration. And a bonus: Bismuth is classified as non-toxic, meaning you can use it in areas that require lead-free shot, targeting turkeys, waterfowl, or upland birds. Federal Heavyweight TSS .410. The 20-gauge is becoming more popular for hunting turkeys, but have you ever considered a .410? Federal Premium is offering Heavyweight Tungsten Super
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Shot ($37.99) in 12-, 20-, and even .410-gauge loads, which are most interesting. The 13/16-ounce payload patterns tight with rear-braking wads. The real secret is the tungsten-alloy pellets are 22-percent more dense than other tungsten pellets. They hold more energy and hit harder, leaving no doubt a .410 is enough gun. Aguila 28 Gauge High Velocity. More and more turkey hunters are challenging their skills with sub-gauge shotguns. Aguila has extended its shotshell loading to include 28 gauge, which will ground-truth
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any gobbler at your decoy. Available in 2 ¾ inch, there are lead options for 6, 7 ½, 8, and 9 shot sizes ($10.69 to $11.40). Aguila uses a 236-foot tower to roll all its shot. The height of the tower ensures perfect spheres and consistency in the making of each pellet. Federal Premium Grand Slam. If you’re a veteran turkey hunter, you’ll appreciate the copper-plated lead shot in the new Federal Premium Grand Slam. New wad technology allows you to use this shotshell with any choke or ported gun, for long-range consistency. Most turkey hunters
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started by shooting lead and still have that option, which is economically priced. And included is a nifty bonus: Every shotshell hull offers a measuring device to check length of spurs and beards in the field. Available in 10-, 12- and 20-gauge options ($14.95 to $23.95).
Kent Ultimate Diamond Shot Turkey Loads. Savvy turkey hunters demand the utmost in lethality and consistent tight patterning—because they know every shot counts. In patterning percentages and velocity, Kent Turkey loads are favored by seasoned shotgunners over equivalent lead loads. All Ultimate Turkey loads contain Kent’s hard-hitting Diamond Shot lead, and are available in 2.75-, 3-, and 3.5-inch 12-gauge loads, and 3-inch 20-gauge, in 4, 5, or 6 shot.Hevi-Shot Triple Beard. Always respected for the innovation it has brought to shotshells, HEVI-Shot has brought its winning formula to 20- and 12-gauge loads for turkey hunting. This all-lead turkey load combines multiple technologies to deliver better performance. The Triple Beard load combines an
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equal mix of premium lead antimony pellets in sizes 5, 6 and 7. Available are a 3.5-inch 12-gauge, and 3-inch 20- and 12-gauge loads. Those old longbeards better keep their heads down! Suggested retail: $16 to $20 per box.