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>> READ THE WATER, REEL IN THE FISH

YOUR OUTDOOR GUIDE

HUNT&FISH SUMMER/FALL 2015

TOP GAME

DESTINATIONS

Stripers in Cape Cod i Deer in Illinois i Salmon in Alaska i

Jim and Eva Shockey

A HUNTING LEGACY

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BEST WAYS TO BAG A BUCK

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HUNT&FISH SUMMER/FALL 2015

TOP-NOTCH DESTINATIONS 9 places in the U.S. where fish and game are abundant

34

è

COURTESY OF RUSTY RODRIGUEZ; COVER PHOTO COURTESY OF OUTDOOR CHANNEL

Features

52

A FATHER/ DAUGHTER TEAM TV stars Jim and Eva Shockey make hunting a family affair

60

AT THE TOP OF THEIR GAME Three women prevail in outdoor industry

66

HIGH STAKES How conservation efforts are paying off for hunters

76

NOW YOU’RE SMOKIN’! Top chefs serve up secrets to succulent fish and game

When it comes to taking prize elk, hunters can find golden opportunities in New Mexico.


HUNT&FISH SUMMER/FALL 2015

26

PREMIUM PUBLICATION DIRECTOR

Jeanette Barrett-Stokes jbstokes@usatoday.com MANAGING EDITOR

Michelle Washington mjwashington@usatoday.com CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Jerald Council jcouncil@usatoday.com CREATIVE MEDIA MANAGER

Christine Neff cneff@usatoday.com GUEST EDITOR

Tom Keer

Up Front 6 10

20

EDITOR’S NOTE

A right to be proud

GEAR • More than camo • Craftier casting • Expedition basics • Better shooting

EDITORS

26 30

BEHIND THE BRAND

22

DESTINATIONS

A sporting world comes to Memphis

WILDLIFE Going on a hog safari

10

Cortland Line

Nikki Dobrin Chris Garsson Elizabeth Neus Amanda Shifflett

PERSONALITIES The benefits of waltzing with sailfish

DESIGNERS

Marlece Lusk Gina Toole Saunders Lisa M. Zilka INTERNS

Miranda Pellicano Alexa Rogers CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Nancy Anisfield, Peter Cary, Kirk Deeter, Gary Garth, Joe Healy, Lars Jacob, Russ Lumpkin, Brian McClintock, Kris Millgate, Philip Monahan, Jed Portman, Ben Romans, JR Sullivan, Shane Townsend, Stephanie Vatalaro

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Are You Ready? 86 92 94 98

Crossbow basics: What to know 10 ways to lose a deer Smart ways to improve your aim Choose a gun dog with care

FISHING

102 104 110

Best tips to read the water and find fish How to prepare for a tournament Hiring a guide? Avoid the fish tales

4 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015

112 114 116 123

128

Make a bamboo fly rod to pass down Top places to boat and fish with your family

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IN THE END Celebrate National Hunting & Fishing Day

Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved herein, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or reproduced in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the written consent of USA TODAY. The editors and publisher are not responsible for any unsolicited materials.

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HUNTING

ACCOUNT DIRECTOR

Patrick Burke | (703) 854-5914 Justine Goodwin | (703) 854-5444 pburke@usatoday.com jgoodwin@usatoday.com


EDITOR’S NOTE

Tom Keer, USA TODAY Hunt & Fish guest editor; his daughter, Morgan Wolfe; and English setter Ocracoke enjoy a banner day grouse hunting in New Hampshire. Keer is an awardwinning freelance writer who lives on Cape Cod, Mass.

A Right To Be Proud

6 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015

and upland birds, to the tropical coastline for redfish, snook and tarpon and for largemouth bass just about anywhere. He also talked about getting his entire family into fishing and shooting. When my cinnamon doughnut was ready, I left with a bounce in my step, because for sportsmen, America is our land of opportunity. If we’re not careful, it can all go away, however, and that’s why heritage, tradition, conservation and legacy are cornerstones of this issue. The very best part of our sporting year is upon us, so this season, make it a point to introduce someone to fishing and hunting, particularly your kids. Maybe they’ll be a little cranky when you try to pull them away from their digital world, but when they see the purples, greens, soft yellows and vibrant oranges of a fall sunrise as a trout rises, a pheasant flushes or a puddle duck glides in, the expressions on their faces will be more than worth it.

Tom Keer, Guest editor

ANGELA KEER

T

here is a doughnut shop in Eastham, Mass., that’s on the way to one of my favorite fishing and waterfowl hunting spots. It’s called the Hole in One, and it’s the only one open early enough for a visit. Late this spring, I was at the shop talking about the hot fishing with a few pals when a man with a British accent joined the group. “I caught a few bass by the outflow,” he said, “but those bluefish are cheeky little monkeys, really.” Cheeky little monkeys? I suppose they are that, indeed. The reason for his visit was a sightseeing holiday with his family, but unless you count the ponds, rivers, estuaries and flats, the angler from the United Kingdom didn’t see much of America at all. For a sportsman, though, he saw everything and much, much more than he’d planned, and he appeared to have gained a newfound respect for our open space, ease of access and equality for all. Back home, he’ll pay exorbitant rates for limited access for the average sportsman. He vowed to return to areas of the American West for elk and mule deer, to the Southeast for waterfowl


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| HUNT&FISH

UP FRONT I N T H E N OW, I N T H E K N OW

DUCK DATA

About 1.5 million federal duck stamps are sold annually, with 98 cents of each dollar going to buy and protect wetland habitats.

GEAR 10 | BEHIND THE BRAND 20 | PERSONALITIES 22 | DESTINATIONS 26 | WILDLIFE 30

DIGITAL STAMP OF APPROVAL

Note: The cost of the stamp goes up this year from $15 to $25 (the jump is attributed to inflation and rising land prices).

è

U.S. FISH & WILDLIFE SERVICE; THINKSTOCK

If you’re in a hurry to buy your annual federal duck stamp (you must have a current one to hunt migratory waterfowl if you’re 16 or older), opt for the e-stamp online and use the receipt to hunt for up to 45 days until the paper stamp is sent to you. A number of states are authorized to sell the federal e-stamp; you don’t even have to live in the state. Not in a hurry? The paper duck stamps are available at many sporting goods stores and national wildlife refuges as well as U.S. post offices and at duckstamp.com. Check out fws.gov/birds for more information.

Bonus! Purchasing the stamp also gives you free entry to national wildlife refuges.

9


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Camo Essentials

1. Cabela’s Men’s Camo Pants with Insect Defense System does double duty by keeping you hidden from game and protected from insects. No-Fly Zone technology binds the insecticide permethrin to the fabric, repelling mosquitoes, ticks and more. Lightweight polyester construction. Matching shirt available. $99.99 each, cabelas.com

1 2 3

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2. Forget traditional footwear. Cabela’s durable Instinct Accelerator 9mm Rubber Boots protect against cold temperatures, resist abrasions and are water resistant. Boots have cushioned 5mm TC3 OrthoLite footbeds, fleece lining and a layer of 9mm neoprene throughout. Fiberglass shanks provide stability, and large treads create traction. $159.99, cabelas.com 3. Stay concealed on the hunt with the Field & Stream Men’s C3 Everyhunt Soft Shell Hunting Jacket. The trademarked NOSCENT C3 controls human odors that can give you away. Water-repellent fabric; jacket comes with a safety harness slit for use when you’re in a tree stand. Matching pants available. $89.99 to $99.99, dickssportinggoods.com 4. Avoid noise with Cabela’s Outfitter Series Whitetail Day Hunting Pack. Made of durable but soft material, the pack has a waterproof shell and is lined with a waterproofrated, puncture-resistant fabric. Zippers have cord pulls instead of noisy metal tabs. Comes with reinforced stitching at stress points, load-stabilizing straps and a lined leather bottom. The main compartment is 19 inches by 13 inches by 6 inches. $99.99, cabelas.com

10 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015

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Make a Craftier Cast 1. The TH RubberLegged Bugger’s barred rubber legs and two-tone tail will entice fish to bite; a tungsten head helps the fly drop rapidly into the feeding zone. Three colors available. $2.75, orvis.com

2. The newest version of Bass Pro Shops’ Johnny Morris Signature Series Spinning Reel has a skeletonized rotor and frame for smoother performance. With a 30 percent wider spool than most standard spinning reels, anglers will see longer casts and less line twist. $99.99, basspro.com

12 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015

3. The XPS Swimming Minnow at Bass Pro Shops is designed with a soft plastic body, swishing tail, realistic paint and 3-D eyes. Its erratic, lifelike movement will lure almost any predatory fish. Available in five colors. $5.49 for four, basspro.com

4. A body made of deer hair makes the Floating Dragon Nymph more buoyant, keeping it higher in the water column. It’s great for use over weed beds when dragonfly nymphs are active, and works on either a floating or an intermediate line. $2.75, orvis.com

5. Bass Pro Shops’ Jiggy Twitch It HD Spoon features a proven design with a high-definition finish that can help anglers catch a variety of fish throughout the year. Its slim shape gets into the strike zone quickly. $4.69 to $5.29, basspro.com

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1. For a day spent fishing, the Field & Stream Men’s Latitude Solid Woven Long Sleeve Shirt offers lightweight construction, UPF 50 sun protection and SMARTCOOL technology that wicks away moisture. Three-pocket design and a rod holder for anglers. $44.99, dickssportinggoods.com 2. There’s a reason the Buck Knives 110 Folding Hunter Knife has been around for more than 50 years; the popular folding lockback handles a wide range of tasks and comes with a lifetime warranty. Has a 3¾-inch stainless steel clip blade and natural wood-grain handle. $37.98, amazon.com 3. Get the lay of the land (or water) with the latest from Garmin, the waterproof eTrex 20x GPS handheld. Has a 2.2-inch color display and maintains GPS location in heavy cover and canyons. Includes a worldwide base map. Use the microSD card slot to add data such as Garmin HuntView and BlueChart. $199.99, garmin.com

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14 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015

4. The design of Orvis’ Access Wading Boots puts a premium on surefootedness. The durable rubber, abrasion-resistant boot features a new outsole with a proprietary lug pattern for solid traction in a variety of conditions. Screw-in studs can be added for more traction. $179, orvis.com 5. Cabela’s + Icebreaker Men’s Merino Thermal Zone ½-Zip Top base layer is composed of three fabric weights to keep you warm where you need it (like your core) and provides lighter coverage for other areas. Lightweight, breathable, odor-resistant. Bottoms also available. $149.99, cabelas. com

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GEAR

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Hunt-Worthy Set your sights on new guns and ammunition this season BY BEN ROMANS

V

enturing into the field with complete faith in your equipment can give you a huge mental edge over your quarry. You plan, you scout, you labor and sometimes you even wait patiently, all for encounters that often last only a few fleeting seconds. Don’t trust the moment of truth to second-rate gear. Consider some of these new gun and ammo products if you’re even remotely concerned about spending another winter feasting on “tag soup.”

WINCHESTER XPR

Winchester is once again proving you can get a quality, accurate and dependable hunting rifle without draining your bank account. The new XPR is a tough, practical, big-game gun available in .270, 30-06, .300 Winchester Magnum and .338 Winchester Magnum calibers. Notable features include a nickel Teflon-coated bolt to reduce friction, a two-position safety, a no-nonsense polymer stock and an M.O.A. trigger the company says doesn’t creep or over-travel. The trigger comes factory set at 3½ pounds. $550, winchesterguns.com

SYREN XLR5 WATERFOWLER

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SAVAGE ARMS A17 .17 HMR SEMIAUTOMATIC RIMFIRE RIFLE

3 16 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015

For years, gun makers have had trouble perfecting an autoloading rifle for .17 HMR loads — a popular caliber among varmint hunters. One of Savage Arms’ latest offerings, the A17, appears to solve the caliber’s cycling issue with a delayed-blowback action. It comes with Savage’s popular adjustable AccuTrigger and a 10-round rotary magazine. The back of the action opens up so you can remove the bolt, making barrel cleaning a snap. $399.99, Cabela’s

COURTESY OF THE COMPANIES

With the number of women hunters on the rise, it’s no surprise more gear and clothing manufacturers are creating goods tailored specifically for the female frame. Case in point is the XLR5 from Syren, a company dedicated to the outdoorswoman. The XLR5 shotgun is designed to be light with shorter components so it’s easier for women to shoulder compared with a majority of guns. It has a gas-operated action to reduce recoil, can handle up to 3-inch shells, comes with a 28-inch barrel and is finished with Realtree MAX-5 camouflage. $1,995 to $2,170, syrenusa.com


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In early 2015, Benelli wowed sport hunters with the 828U, an over-under that does an excellent job of combining the classic look and feel of a double-barreled gun with modern aesthetics and features such as a free-floating locking plate. Available with either an engraved-nickel or black anodized finish and 26- or 28-inch barrel, the gun is light — a mere 6½ pounds — and features a walnut stock and the company’s proprietary Progressive Comfort System to reduce recoil. From $2,499, benelliusa.com

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SAKO 85 CARBONLIGHT

For the weight-conscious hunter, Sako created what the company touts as its lightest hunting rifle. Weighing in at less than 5½ pounds, the main draw is its carbon-fiber stock, which helps keep the gun’s weight to a minimum while also offering a soft, clean feel compared with other synthetic stocks. It features a stainless steel barrel and components, making it a terrific choice for backcountry hunting, where nuisances like inclement weather or heavy gear can sour the experience. $3,000, sako.fi

WINCHESTER DEER SEASON XP

Winchester has always prided itself on producing effective and affordable hunting ammunition — in fact, 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the company’s famous AA light target load. But Winchester’s not resting on its laurels. The new Deer Season XP ammunition is its first and only bullet engineered specifically for deer hunting, with a tapered jacket, precision lead core and an oversized polymer tip that expands immediately upon impact. From $23.99 per box, cabelas. com

6

18 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015

FEDERAL PREMIUM 3RD DEGREE

HORNADY FULL BOAR

According to Federal Premium engineers, modern turkey loads allow hunters to shoot tighter patterns at greater distances but aren’t forgiving at close range. So the company designed 3rd Degree, a shell with three distinct and stacked shot payloads. The first 20 percent is No. 6 nickel-plated pellets for close range, the middle 40 percent is No. 5 copper-plated lead shot for medium range and the final 40 percent is No. 7 tungsten-iron pellets for over 40 yards away. From $17.99 per box, cabelas.com

7

Taking down big, wild pigs is no joke — they’re headstrong animals that don’t always go down easy. Hornady has created an ammunition lineup, appropriately named Full Boar, designed for hogs. The company started with its GMX bullet, a copper-alloy projectile known for its weight retention and penetration, and fitted it with a hard plastic tip over a hollow cavity. The result is a bullet that expands on impact and rips through tough animals like wild pigs or any other big-game animal. From $29.85 per box, hornady.com

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BEHIND THE BRAND

CORTLAND BIG FLY LINES

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Watch your large, “full-dressed”fly go sailing.

BY JOE HEALY

è

O

ne hundred years ago, clothing merchant Ray Smith adapted braided silk lines to sporting applications and created a niche market in fishing lines. Smith’s Number 1 Wardwell braiding machines spooled out woven lines and, by the 1950s, his Cortland Line Company (named for its location in Cortland, N.Y.) introduced the 333, an innovative PVC-coated, tapered fly line that changed fly-fishing forever by making a true floating line. After a period of employee ownership, a new leadership team — Cortland Line Partners — took the helm in 2012, and Cortland Line is now preparing for the next 100 years of fishing. Here are two of the company’s latest offerings:

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» Various weights available. » Suitable for fish from trout to tarpon.

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That all-important saltwater fly-fishing moment comes when big fish are blitzing baitfish within reach.


PERSONALITIES It takes a lot of grunt work to reel in a large, fighting Pacific sailfish — as writer Stephanie Vatalaro discovered on a trip to Costa Rica.

Waltzing with Sailfish Hooked on a new way to reel in a 120-pounder BY STEPHANIE VATALARO

22 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015

Rica, to catch Pacific sailfish. I was in the midst of a divorce, and this trip was meant to be a refreshing break. It turned out to be a new challenge. The first day, I caught two sailfish — good-sized ones — but halfway through reeling in each one, I had to sit in the boat’s fighting chair to complete the catch.

A VIEW FROM THE BIG CHAIR The captain and crew, however, had given me grief for using the chair. “Oh, c’mon,” they teased, “real anglers don’t need the fighting chair!” Typically, you pull up on the rod and lower it down as you reel in the slack — something I’d practiced my whole life. But I’d never fished for anything as big as

MICHAEL VATALARO

I

wouldn’t call myself an avid angler, but I come from a long line of fishermen. In my family, fishing is a rite of passage. My legacy began on Lake Erie. I reeled in walleye there as a youngster and continued angling in the Florida Keys, where I grew up exploring the pristine waters and grass flats with my dad, a flats fishing guide. Despite our differences, we always had a good time fishing together. But being a captain’s daughter comes with some pressure, too. I never want to let Dad down by missing the hook set, snapping my line or creating a bird’s nest. I suppose some of it’s just in my DNA. In 2002, I traveled with my parents to Quepos, Costa


PERSONALITIES

DAY 1

me before, and my muscles clearly couldn’t keep up. Back muscles burning and aching with pain, I didn’t see any other option. Isn’t that what the fighting chair is for, after all? Over dinner that night, however, my dad’s good friend (also a fishing captain) gave me what turned out to be winning advice that would keep me out of the chair: Walk backward instead of pulling up on the rod, and then walk forward while reeling in the slack, all the while keeping my body upright. It would be like a waltz, of sorts.

While the writer first sat in a captain’s chair, Day 1, to reel in Pacific sailfish in Costa Rica, she eventually learned a new technique that had her walking backward and forward, Day 2.

2 DAY

So when my alarm clock went off at 5:30 a.m. the next morning, I rolled out of bed, threw on my fishing shirt and met my parents and their friends for hot coffee, gallo pinto and fried plantains before boarding the 46-foot sportfisher that would take us 25 miles offshore. Intense heat and humidity filled the air, but the beauty of the setting overshadowed it, and I enjoyed watching the mountains disappear on the horizon as we rolled out to sea. Ticked off and determined, I was ready to try my new technique. I have to admit, it felt ridiculous to waltz with a fish, but it worked. Standing up — armed with only a fishing belt and determination — I danced with a beautiful 120-pound Pacific sailfish. At times, I thought the fish would yank me into the water. It took every bit of balance, strength and bottled-up emotion I had to pull it in. But as the mate grabbed the bill, unhooked the fish and released it to fight another day, I felt like we were both getting a second chance. My renewed excitement for fishing eventually landed me a job recruiting newcomers to the sport. I now work to get people out on the water and help them understand that sometimes fishing isn’t about fishing at all. Often, it’s about connecting with your family and friends, being in nature and recharging. And sometimes it can be about even more. — STEPHANIE VATALARO is director of communications for the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation and its Take Me Fishing and Vamos A Pescar campaigns (TakeMeFishing.org), where she works to recruit newcomers to recreational fishing and boating and increase awareness of aquatic conservation. She spends summers fishing and boating with her family on the Potomac River in the Northern Neck of Virginia.

24 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015

TOP AND BOTTOM: COURTESY OF STEPHANIE VATALARO; MICHAEL VATALARO

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DESTINATIONS

A Sporting Wonderland Bass Pro moves into Memphis Pyramid to create a world of attractions for outdoor enthusiasts

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26 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015

Cypress Lodge hotel with more than 100 rooms, and the Cypress Swamp Waterfowl Habitat. An ode to the nearby Mississippi River Delta, the “swamp” occupies much of the ground floor, with ponds, streams, tanks and aquariums. It’s spanned by footbridges and showcases a floating selection of fishing boats. The waters are full of live ducks, catfish, sturgeon and even alligators. The Memphis Pyramid was built as

a sports arena in 1991 and once hosted the Memphis Grizzlies. But the NBA team moved in 2004 and the world’s sixth-largest pyramid has sat empty ever since. After a major investment and early success, it’s been received as a vital part of the city’s larger current renaissance. “The pyramid presented a remarkable opportunity for us to develop one of the most dynamic

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DESTINATIONS

retail stores anywhere in the world,” says Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris. Known as the “Walt Disney of retail,” Morris executed the largest investment the company has ever made outside of its flagship Springfield, Mo., headquarters. Expending more than $190 million, the basketball court has been replaced with 600,000 gallons of water, ultrarealistic faux cypress trees towering 100 feet in the air and dripping Spanish moss, and endless animal mounts. More than 35,000 customers came for opening day on April 29, the best debut in the chain’s history, with more than 500,000 visitors in the first 27 days. Indoors, families scramble in and out of boats moored at docks. One restaurant even has an underseathemed full-size bowling alley. The store also features separate shooting and archery ranges. The Lookout observation deck at the top of the 32-story Pyramid — along with the Lookout at the Pyramid restaurant — offer unique perspectives and views of the river, Mud Island and downtown Memphis. But perhaps the most unique touch is the hotel, the only one of its kind at any Bass Pro Shops location. Overlooking the swamp and retail space, the rustic-style Big Cypress Lodge is comprised of suites and themed rooms such as duck cabins. Available room features include screened-in porches, handcrafted furniture and electric fireplaces. For more information, go to basspro.com/ pyramid.

28 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015

BASS PRO SHOPS

Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid in Memphis, bottom, opened in April. Amenities designed to wow visitors include, from the top, the Big Cypress Lodge hotel, a freestanding elevator that glows in neon and aquariums.


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WILDLIFE

Hunter Jeff Harris uses a thermal imaging scope to look for wild hogs at night in Alabama.

Alabama Safari In the battle against feral pigs, hunters embark on a unique adventure

O

n an inky black Saturday night near Lowndesboro, Ala., Barry Estes uses a thermal scope to scan a sprawling soybean field. His quarry shows up as white-hot blobs against the cooler blacks and grays of the background. His group is armed with militarygrade semi-automatic rifles, fed by high-capacity magazines and topped with military-grade thermal scopes that allow hunters to “see” in the dark. And it is a war of sorts — a battle against wild, or feral, pigs. “I hate pigs,” Estes whispers as he turns the scope back to the bean field.

30 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015

WHEN PIGS RUN WILD

natural wildlife. Their rooting and Descendants of domestic hogs that wallowing create runoff, which pollutes escaped or wandered away from farms, water sources. And they reproduce at feral pigs are fueling an ecological train high rates, having two litters of 10 to wreck across the U.S. The four-legged 15 piglets a year starting at 6 months rooting, breeding, eating machines exof age. ist in at least 40 states and cause damSince they have no natural predators ages to agriculture to keep them in check, and timber industries hogs can overrun In 1982, wild pigs were estimated, by the a piece of property in just a few counties U.S. Department of quickly. in 17 states, according Agriculture, at several Estes and his to the USDA. In 2012, their numbers were billion dollars a year. brother, Bart, own and estimated at more Hogs can and do operate Alabama Hog than 6 million, and eat anything, which Control, a Prattville, today they are in at means, in the wild, Ala.-based business least 40 states. they compete with that takes hunters

MICKEY WELSH/THE MONTGOMERY (ALA.) ADVERTISER; THINKSTOCK

BY MARTY RONEY


“Not many people can afford the equipment Barry has,” Jaworowski says. (Thermal scopes cost between $4,500 to more than $14,000.) “Trapping is the only way you can control hogs. We have had success in trapping entire sounders, or groups, of hogs. You work one area and form a doughnut hole, then expand that doughnut hole through trapping in a wider area.” Alabama Hog Control also sells and leases traps, which have metal panels that form a corral with a feeder inside. Keeping a lookout for repopulation is important, Jaworowski says. About 80 percent of hogs have to be killed or captured each year just to maintain current numbers, he adds. “So if you have 100 hogs on your place, you have to remove 80 hogs a Feral swine cause agricultural damage and can carry disease. year just so you can have 100 hogs next all over the state looking for feral first row he had planted, and there was year,” Jaworowski says. “That kind of pigs to hunt. The sod and bean fields a group of hogs following behind him puts things in perspective.” located along the Alabama River are rooting out the soybean seeds,” Becca Biological efforts may be the ultimate prime habitat. Estes says. deciding factor in controlling the pig On this night, his clients were George population. The Alabama Farmers Harris and his son, Jeff, who came TAKING CONTROL Federation is working with Auburn down from Hancock County in West The Alabama Department of University to come up with a speciesVirginia. “We’ve hunted hogs before, Conservation and Natural Resources specific birth control formula to cut but never at night,” says George Harris. has pulled out all the stops in an effort back on the hog population. “That’s why we came down here.” to manage the hog population. Two The need to get rid of these animals “It’s a little different looking through years ago, the rules were changed to is clear: Along with crop and ecological the thermals,” observes Jeff Harris, allow for shooting damage, the wild pigs another client. “Once you get used to it, hogs at night using present health risks. it’s amazing what you can see.” thermal- or nightBrucellosis is Hunters and others Hogs are more active at night, which vision devices and common in wild pigs handling the raw meat of wild hogs should is why Estes plans nighttime hunts. hunting the hogs and can be transmitwear impermeable Using thermal scopes that “see” by heat over bait. Permits are ted to people through gloves. And as with signatures, the hogs show up as white required for both, but the bodily fluids of an any pork, the meat of blobs in the hunters’ fields of vision. the animals can be infected animal. Once wild hogs should be cooked thoroughly. Becca Estes, Barry’s wife, assists with hunted year-round. diagnosed, the disease the unique safari. She drives a blackedSeveral companies can be treated with out pickup truck through the fields like the Estes antibiotics. while her husband and other hunters brothers’ have sprung up in Alabama to Feral hogs can also carry pseudoride along in the back. handle the pig problem, either through rabies, a viral disease that was eradiWhen pigs are spotted, the hunters hunting or trapping. But experts cated in domestic swine herds in 2004, get out of the truck and get upwind agree the wild-pig population can’t according to an Iowa State University of the pigs. Then, they begin a stalk. be controlled by one bullet — or one report. The disease can spread to other Estes likes to get within 75 yards before barbecue — at a time. animals, livestock and pets, but no shooting. “Hunting is important because cases have been reported in humans. Farmers and hunting clubs that need you keep pressure on the pigs. But With such a reputation, it’s no help eradicating the pigs welcome the trapping is the only current way we wonder the feral pigs have garnered so company. The farmer who has these have of controlling hogs,” says Chris many enemies. fields was planting his soybeans and Jaworowski, a state wildlife biologist called Barry Estes to come over. who is the conservation department’s — MARTY RONEY also writes for The “He turned his tractor around on the wild-pig specialist. Montgomery (Ala). Advertiser.

32 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015

THINKSTOCK

WILDLIFE


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In Your

Wildest Dreams NINE OF AMERICA’S TOP SPORTING DESTINATIONS B Y RU SS LUM P K I N


MIKE WINTROATH/ARKANSAS GAME AND FISH COMMISSION

Bayou Meto, Stuttgart, Ark.


The hunting or fishing may be very good in your backyard, on the grounds of a local club or at the wildlife management area down the road, but every sportsman envisions a dream destination that can offer up a spectacular outdoor experience. Here are nine of the best spots the U.S. offers:

Fishing on Cape Cod, Mass., for striped bass can yield some impressive results.

Striped Bass

Nearest city: Boston Handy websites: Massachusetts Department of Fish & Game, mass.gov/ eea/agencies/dfg; Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, cape codchamber.org

Cape Cod, Mass.

36 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015

While you’re there: The Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass & Bluefish Derby celebrates its 70th year in 2015 from Sept. 13 to Oct. 17. mvderby.com

autumn migration, which begins in September and extends into late October and early November. The spring blitz spans parts of May and June and is triggered when water temperatures top 50 degrees Fahrenheit. In autumn, many south-swimming fish head around the cape — an ocean route that brings hot nearshore action. Other stripers plunge through Cape

Cod Bay, swim through Cape Cod Canal and move on to Buzzards Bay. No boat fishing is allowed in the canal, but the angling from shore can be spectacular. Boats are great for chasing the blitz on the ocean and bay sides of the cape, but plenty of good fishing can be had from jetties, in the surf and around Martha’s Vineyard and other islands south of the cape.

REEL DEAL FISHING CHARTERS; CHRIS MEGAN

The migrations of striped bass down and up the East Coast are known simply as the blitz, which describes acres of stripers attacking acres of baitfish near the surface. Stripers range from Nova Scotia to northern Florida, and a blitz occurs each autumn and each spring. During the fall, stripers leave the cool waters of their northern range to follow baitfish southward. In spring, they move north to follow the same baitfish and routes. Anglers on the East Coast intercept the runs, which are heaviest from Maine to Virginia. In between are places famous for stripers, but few yield as many huge fish — including a thenworld-record 73-pound striper caught in 1981 by a local icon, the late Tony Stetzko — as Cape Cod. Capt. Dave Bitters, who runs Baymen Charters out of Duxbury, Mass., says shorter days are the harbinger of the


Waterfowl Chesapeake Bay

Canvasback ducks stop over in Maryland during their annual migration.

Nearest cities: Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

EUGENE HESTER/U.S. FISH & WILDLIFE SERVICE

Handy website: Maryland Department of Natural Resources, dnr2. maryland.gov

The Atlantic Flyway extends from Canada’s Maritime Provinces to the Caribbean, and the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland and Virginia is one of the more important stops along the way. More than 1 million ducks, geese and swans winter on the bay, and many others pass through. Such profuse migrations make the Chesapeake a must for avid waterfowlers. The size (4,479 square miles) and diverse wetland habitats of the bay attract a wide variety of waterfowl, including green-winged teal, mallards, black and wood ducks, buffleheads, scaup and canvasbacks, as well as sea ducks such as scoters and long-tailed duck. In Maryland, the annual duck harvest generally runs between 125,000 and 130,000. Maryland’s teal season runs from mid- to late September. The rest of the birding season spans

about 120 days between early September and the end of January. Larry Hindman, wildfowl project manager for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), says the best hunting generally belongs to clubs or individual landowners, but good shooting can be found in Maryland at: • Deal Island Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Somerset County. • Fishing Bay WMA in Dorchester County. • Assateague Island National Seashore only in designated areas. You can find other public waterfowl areas through the MDNR website, but be sure to check the laws and regulations, which vary among WMAs. Note that hunting within 800 yards of shore is generally not allowed, and hunting offshore has special regulations outlined on the MDNR website. »

While you’re there: The annual Waterfowl Festival in Easton, Md., celebrating Eastern Shore heritage and featuring art, decoys and calling contests, will be held Nov. 13 to 15. waterfowl festival.org The Havre de Grace Decoy Museum is in Havre de Grace, Md., which calls itself the “decoy capital of the world.” decoymuseum.com

37


Bobwhite Quail Thomasville, Ga.

Nearest city: Tallahassee, Fla.

In the 1960s, hunters in Georgia and Florida harvested millions of bobwhite quail — today, just a fraction. Quail populations in the Southeast have declined dramatically over the past four decades (due in large part to changes in land use), but “Gentleman Bob” continues to thrive in the birthplace of bobwhite management — the Red Hills area of southwestern Georgia and northern Florida. There, Herbert Stoddard, one of the founders of the region’s Tall Timbers Research Station & Land Conservancy, researched prescribed fires as a way to successfully perpetuate bobwhite habitat. Coupled with selection logging, which helps establish trees of varying ages along with areas where sunshine can reach the ground, prescribed burns create an understory of great diversity

38 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015

Handy websites: Georgia Department of Natural Resources, gadnr. org; Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, myfwc.com; Tall Timbers Research Station & Land Conservancy, talltimbers.org While you’re there: Celebrating its 20th year in 2015, the Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival in downtown Thomasville, Ga., kicks off quail season Nov. 20 to 22. pwaf.org

comprised of grasses and forbs that quail use for cover and forage. As a result, bobwhites are proliferating. In fact, says William Palmer, president of Tall Timbers, “It’s not uncommon to flush eight coveys in an hour in the Red Hills.” Opportunities exist to purchase

hunts on private land — such as the Sinkola and Millpond plantations in Thomasville, Ga. — but note that such hunts can fill up early, so book well in advance. Good quail numbers, however, can be found in the River Creek and Silver Lake WMAs, both in Georgia. »

GEORGE CALES; U.S. FISH & WILDLIFE SERVICE

A hunt for bobwhite quail on the Sinkola Plantation in the Red Hills region in Thomasville, Ga., gets under way.


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George Dunklin Jr., left, chairman of the board of Ducks Unlimited, and Luke Naylor, waterfowl biologist with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, duck hunt near Stuttgart, Ark.

Nearest cities: Memphis, and Little Rock, Ark.

While you’re there: The World’s Championship Duck Calling Contest, which celebrates its 80th year in 2015, and the Wings Over the Prairie Festival will be held in late November in Stuttgart, which bills itself as the “Rice and Duck Capital of the World.” stuttgart arkansas.org

Waterfowl Stuttgart, Ark.

40 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015

When the rice farmers of eastern Arkansas complete their harvests in early fall, waterfowl hunters know their favorite time of the year is nigh: Duckhunting season. Nearly 2 million ducks following the Mississippi Flyway pour into the area, drawn to the shallow-water bottomlands created at the confluence of the Arkansas, White and Mississippi rivers northeast of town, and by harvested fields that have been flooded by farm-

ers and hunters. More mallards wing through than any other species, but black ducks, redheads, pintails and canvasback also find their way through Arkansas. “Killing something other than a mallard is like taking a trophy buck,” says David Luker, a local hunter and habitat biologist with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC). Teal season opens in mid-September and lasts two weeks. The general waterfowl season runs from mid- to late November through the end of January, with some goose hunting available in September. The flight generally peaks in mid-December but remains heavy through the end of the season. In the Stuttgart area, public hunting is available on the Bayou Meto and Petit Jean River WMAs, as well as the Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge (note that during the height of the season, these lands get crowded). »

MIKE WINTROATH/ARKANSAS GAME AND FISH COMMISSION

Handy website: Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, agfc.com


The flats of the Florida Keys are well known for tarpon, bonefish and permit fishing.

Tarpon Florida Keys

Nearest city: Miami

42 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015

While you’re there: The Gold Cup Invitational Tarpon Fly Tournament in Islamorada, Fla., is held in June, goldcuptt.com

necessary — and it will be a genuine fight. The key is to land the fish quickly while it retains some energy; a hooked and tired tarpon is very vulnerable to shark attack. When it comes to area competitions, the work of the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust is changing the face of tarpon tournaments. According to Alex Lovett-Woodsum, the trust’s director of development and communications, the effort to educate anglers about the

importance of proper catch-and-release fishing and minimizing handling is maximizing the chances of tarpon surviving post-release. If you’re new to tarpon fishing, hiring a guide who knows the tides, knots and areas where tarpon congregate as well as the etiquette is a necessity. Late spring and early summer is a great time to catch the “Flats Slam” — reeling in a tarpon, a bonefish and a permit on the same day. »

STEVE BLY/ FLORIDA KEYS NEWS BUREAU; THINKSTOCK

Both juvenile and adult tarpon are in the Florida Keys year-round, but come late spring, when the weather tends to be more stable and more tolerable than other times of the year, the migratory tarpon come swimming through, bringing greater numbers of adult fish — and hordes of angling tourists. The migratory tarpon begin showing up in April, and the peak of the season is sometime in May. Fly-fishermen typically fish the ocean side of the Keys with hopes that blue skies and light wind will deliver sight-casting opportunities for streaks of leaping silver as big as 150 pounds. Anglers with conventional tackle and bait can handle even larger silver kings and tend to fish near bridge stanchions and current-filled channels. Regardless of tackle, always bow to the king when he clears the water — else the acrobatic fish may sever your connection. Fish-fighting skills are

Handy websites: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, myfwc.com; Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, bonefishtarpontrust. org; Florida Keys tourism, fla-keys. com


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Michigan accounts for a large share of American woodcocks harvested in the U.S. each year.

Nearest cities: Milwaukee (U.P.); Flint and Grand Rapids, Mich. (Lower Peninsula) Handy websites: Michigan Department of Natural Resources, michigan. gov/dnr (search “GEMS” for more information on the program); DNR interactive hunting map, michigan.gov/mihunt

Grouse & Woodcock Michigan

Many hunters in Michigan live close to public land, which is a genuine perk come September when the ruffed grouse and woodcock seasons open. The Wolverine State accounts for nearly one-third of woodcock harvested (some 79,000 birds in 2014) in the U.S. and is one of the top states for ruffed grouse hunting. The birds are found across the state, but the greatest densities are in the Upper Peninsula — known to locals as the U.P. — and the northern Lower Peninsula, the fingertips of Michigan’s “mitten.” Forty percent of the U.P. is public land, compared to 30 percent of the northern

44 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015

Lower Peninsula. Al Stewart, upland game bird specialist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), says that Marquette, Gogebic and Iron counties have the best hunting for ruffs and woodcock in the U.P., while Benzie, Montmorency and Otsego are best in the northern Lower Peninsula. The two game birds share similar habitats. Ruffs prefer thick stands of young aspen with dense understories of forage-supplying hazel or ironwood. Woodcock can be found in young stands of aspen, birch or alder where the ground is moist and rich with

earthworms. The seasons are long. In 2015, the woodcock season opens Sept. 19 and lasts through Nov. 2. The first grouse season begins Sept. 15 and ends Nov. 14, and the second runs from Dec. 1 to Jan. 1. The DNR makes it simple to find places to hunt. An online interactive map allows hunters to search for habitat types on public land. And the agency’s seven Grouse Enhanced Management Sites (GEMS) are intensively managed, walk-in hunting areas; the program also offers hunters discounts at businesses near the GEMS. »

DAVID KENYON/MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES

While you’re there: From harvest festivals to fishing tournaments, the U.P. is a busy place in the fall. In the northern Lower Peninsula, the Traverse City region is home to a number of wineries. uptravel. com; michiganwines. com


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White-tailed Deer

A number of factors combine to make Illinois a prime destination for hunters looking for big bucks.

Nearest cities: St. Louis, Kansas City, Chicago Handy websites: The Illinois Department of Natural Resources site includes a map that details the locations of public land. dnr. illinois.gov While you’re there: Cool events such as the car-crazy 14th Annual International Route 66 Mother Road Festival in late September can be found through the Illinois Department of Tourism. enjoy illinois.com/events

46 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015

Midwestern states are known for producing bruising white-tailed bucks, but several factors set Illinois apart: • The state’s status as a top U.S. producer of both soybeans and corn means that deer have ready access to food throughout their lives. • No firearms greater than slug guns or muzzleloaders are allowed, which means virtually no one kills deer beyond a couple hundred yards and many deer live to see ripe ages. • The rut, which is generally hottest early in November, has often peaked before firearms are allowed in the woods. • The federal Conservation Reserve and Wetlands Reserve programs increase the amount of cover habitat in areas that may be lacking. Habitat types vary across the Land of Lincoln — from low rolling hills and hardwood bottoms to croplands that stretch to the horizon, but John Brown, who guides Gallatin County land in southern Illinois, believes big-buck habitat comes down to two things — row crops and cover. The most productive counties for trophy bucks are in western Illinois — Pike, Brown and Adams counties — but huge bucks are also taken in Hancock, Iroquois and Randolph counties and dozens of others that have the right combination of agriculture and cover. There are plenty of outfitters and guides who can cater to your every need, but public land is also available, though in small doses — only 1 to 2 percent of the state. Still, hunters take about 5,000 deer off public land each season. »

ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES

Illinois


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New Mexico offers opportunities to take your own trophy elk.

Nearest city: Albuquerque, N.M. Handy websites: New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, wildlife.state. nm.us; New Mexico Council of Outfitters & Guides, nmoutfitters.com

Elk

New Mexico New Mexico is known for producing trophy bull elk — a population built by careful wildlife management. The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish manages its 70,000 to 90,000 elk with an intent to maintain a ratio of 40 to 50 bulls for every 100 cows. That’s not only a lot of bulls, but also a lot of lonely bulls. While some natural resources de-

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partments in Western states host hunters in numbers nearly equal to the total elk population in the state, New Mexico Game and Fish keeps the number of hunters relatively low. According to the 2013 New Mexico Elk Hunter Harvest Report from the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, 29,637 hunters took an estimated 7,881 bulls and 6,238 cows, for a reported success rate of 40 percent. It’s worth noting that while states such as Colorado offer tags over the counter, New Mexico has a draw system based on quotas that heavily favors state residents. But since New Mexico can offer prime hunting for

elks with commendable success rates, check out New Mexico’s draw requirements and your odds. The Land of Enchantment has a lot of public territory, including five national forests and extensive Bureau of Land Management holdings, much of it in the elk’s range in the western two-thirds of the state. The area is marked by mountains and ponderosa pine forests, shrub lands and prairie habitats. The peak of the rut is generally the last week of September and can extend another week or so. The firearms season doesn’t begin until the Wednesday after the first weekend in October. »

COURTESY OF ONE ON ONE ADVENTURES

While you’re there: New Mexico has a rich food and musical culture all its own. newmexico. org/events


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Nearest city: Anchorage Handy websites: Alaska Department of Fish and Game, adfg.alaska.gov; Trout Unlimited’s Alaska program, savebristolbay.org While you’re there: Take advantage of the numerous national parks in the area, or check out King Salmon lodges and activities. nps. gov/state/ak; guide. alaskatravel.com Opportunities for salmon fishing abound in the waters of Alaska’s Bristol Bay.

Salmon

The name says it all — King Salmon, a small town in southwest Alaska that provides access to the Bristol Bay watershed and its run of the five species of Pacific salmon. The fishery hosts more than 37,000 anglers annually, but don’t worry about crowds — we’re talking 40,000 square miles of unspoiled wilderness the size of Wisconsin that encompasses five national parks and streams so numerous many of them aren’t even named. Among salmon, kings and silvers draw the most attention from sport anglers; kings arrive mid-June and silvers in August. In between, sockeyes, pinks and

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chums return to their natal waters — the sockeye run can reach 40 million. The Naknek and Nushagak rivers are best for kings but also boast strong runs of silvers, which return to streams distributed throughout the watershed. From King Salmon, you can fish the waters of Katmai National Park &

Preserve or rent a boat on the Naknek. Most other waters lie beyond road access, but booking a lodge will put you in the hands of people who will help you deal with bush flights, requirements for fishing Native American holdings — and handling brown bear encounters. If your goal is to catch rainbow trout that exceed 30 inches, there’s no better place than the Lake Iliamna drainage. The Kvichak and Copper rivers, along with Talarik and Dream creeks, are legendary for huge rainbows. — RUSS LUMPKIN is editor of Sporting Classics magazine.

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Jim and Eva Shockey hunt moose on location in the Yukon.


DYNAMIC HUNTING DUO Jim and Eva Shockey make the pursuit of game a family affair

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BY JR SULLIVAN

OUTDOOR CHANNEL

here’s a moment when Eva Shockey doesn’t seem sure if she can pull the trigger. The warthog stands 76 yards away, on the cusp of a small embankment, staring her down, but Eva — sporting pearl earrings and pink lipstick, glossy in the South African sun — looks as if she might call the whole thing off. She killed a gopher once, as a child in her backyard, but this is different. This, at 20, is her first real hunt. “When do I shoot?” she asks her dad, who hovers at her shoulder, but her voice wavers. He whispers for her to aim two, no, three inches beneath the tusks. Then Eva pauses for half a beat. The rifle bucks against her shoulder, throwing smoke into the air. The warthog runs a short distance before collapsing. And then Eva begins to cry.


DYNAMIC HUNTING DUO We know it happened like this because Eva’s father, Jim Shockey — a renowned hunter and outdoor television personality who’s hunted in more than 45 countries and taken more than 350 species — filmed it for a segment on his show, Jim Shockey’s Hunting Adventures, which this summer celebrates its 14th season on Outdoor Channel. The program tracks Jim’s excursions across the globe, which often highlight the exotic: pursuing kri-kri ibex in the Greek islands, moose in the Yukon, polar bear in the Arctic and Cape buffalo in Mozambique. Despite her initial reservations about hunting, Eva, 27, has been a fixture on her father’s show since that first hunt in South Africa and now serves as his co-host — a bubbly foil for his steely machismo. The show has garnered her attention and fame atypical for a female outdoor enthusiast, landing her endorsement deals with Bowtech, Crosman, Mossy Oak and Under Armour, among others. In 2014, she graced the cover of Field & Stream, only the second woman to appear solo (the first was Queen Elizabeth II in 1976), and she’s appeared on ABC’s Nightline and the Fox Business Network as the “new face of hunting.” She’s the outdoor industry’s homecoming queen and its greatest cheerleader. But before that warthog hunt, she thought hunting was only a man’s game.

ACCORDING TO EVA

ESSENTIALS FOR YOUR FIRST BIG OUTING Ask for help. Always feel comfortable asking for help. It’s more important to ask and learn the right answer than to pretend you know and mess up. Experienced sportsmen are generally very happy to share the knowledge they have. Wear layers. I get really cold so I always bundle up! I used to hunt only with a jacket and a big shirt, but now I wear 10 layers ... so that I can always take off and add on more as I go. Desperate measures. When I’m in Saskatchewan for white-tail season, and it’s really, really cold, my favorite thing is my bodysuit. It’s like this big heated sleeping bag with a neck hole that keeps you warm. I don’t know what I’d do in deer season without it.

When I speak with Eva by phone on a late spring evening, she’s at home, south of Naples, Fla., enjoying a few days of relaxation with her then-fiancé, Tim Brent — who has played for both the National Hockey League and ice hockey teams in Russia — before she takes off for the next hunt. (Eva and Tim were married June 20.) She’s chatty and upbeat, and her curlicue way of talking comes across as unflinchingly earnest. It doesn’t take long to realize why Eva attracts fanfare: She’s the better-looking version of your typical

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OUTDOOR CHANNEL

‘I LOVE TO HUNT’


Filming also took Eva and Jim to the Yukon for caribou.

high-school sweetheart who happens to enjoy hunting (bonus points!) yet retains her femininity in the field. “There’s nothing wrong with being a tomboy, but I love to dress up and wear makeup and go shopping,” she says. “But I also love to put on camo.” She doesn’t obscure the fact that, un-

Uncharted (another Outdoor Channel show that his son, Branlin, produces), which takes him on even more remote expeditions than those on Hunting Adventures. With Eva, however — who has been hunting only once without a camera in tow — it’s not her strategic or technical insight that appeals to hunters. Whether stalking white-tails on Hunting Adventures or posting on her socialmedia accounts — which boast more than a million followers collectively — Eva radiates positivity and warmth, combatting the common beliefs that hunting is difficult to break into or a wholly masculine interest. “I’m not always the most confident hunter in the world,” she says. “And you’ll never in a million years hear me claim that I’m the most hard-core hunter or the most experienced — but I love to hunt, and I think that anyone that loves to hunt and loves the outdoors should do it, regardless of their gender or age. That’s something I try really hard for people to see.”

OUTDOOR CHANNEL

EVA ONCE THOUGHT HUNTING WAS ONLY A MAN’S GAME. like her father, she’s not among the most knowledgeable sportsmen in the field. Over the years, Jim has achieved dozens of world records for hunting, many for muzzleloading (also scoring the North American Grand Slam for North American species), and has been a prolific outdoor writer. He’s also accomplished in archery and rifle, and has developed and honed skills learned, in part, from his travels around the world. When we spoke, he’d just returned from Russia, where he was filming for

ACCORDING TO JIM

WORDS OF WISDOM FOR THE FIELD Be strong. Don’t worry about what other people say about the fact that you’re a hunter. Know that what you’re doing is something humans are designed to do, and have done since the beginning of time. The people that are trying to stop you from doing that have lost touch with nature. Enjoy it. Breathe the fresh air. Look at the mountains. Listen to the birds. Get away from the telephone and the computer and the demands we have in our lives, which are so far from being natural. Whether you get an animal or not, the process of hunting is so much larger than just killing something. It’s about the factors we’ve lost in our urbanized world. Hunting puts life back in perspective.

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Eva is an integral part of Jim Shockey’s Hunting Adventures.

A POPULAR SPOKESWOMAN Eva represents a growing surge in female hunters, whose numbers increased by 85 percent to a total of about 3.3 million between 2001 and 2013, according to the National Sporting Goods Association. She and a handful of other female sportsmen have amassed even more fans than traditionalists would have thought possible. Whether on her father’s show or on cable news, she speaks confidently about hunting’s positive effects on the environment and on wildlife populations, as well as the money hunting generates for conservation and wildlife management through permit and license sales. Many of her conservation ideals reflect her father’s views; Jim believes

hunting places value on wildlife through this generation of revenue. Otherwise, he fears developers will run off the animals and exploit the land for its moneymaking potential. Despite their convictions, Eva generally refuses to entangle herself in polarizing Internet frays and fruitless discussions with those who are singlemindedly opposed to killing game. Instead, she focuses on portraying herself as a symbol of empowerment and poise. She hopes to encourage young ladies fascinated with the outdoors to give it a chance and tries to present herself as a positive role model. “I’m aware there are all these impressionable young girls who look at me and … I take that responsibility very seriously,” she says. “I try to keep my clothes on and say things that

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inspire them to go outdoors more or to try something they weren’t willing to until they saw a girl like me, who’s clearly very girlie, do it.” Though Eva tirelessly champions hunting’s merits, adhering to the tenets of the locavore and the field-to-table movements, she doesn’t discredit non-sportsmen’s apprehensions about hunting.

A SLOW EVOLUTION Growing up on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Eva never wanted to kill an animal, despite Jim’s longtime television career spent documenting his hunts. As a teenager, she would travel with her family for show tapings, but she’d stay at the campsite or lodge while Jim went afield. While not opposed to her father’s profession, she found dance more interesting than aiming a rifle, an affinity she shared with her mother, Louise, a one-time vegetarian who was making her living as a ballerina and a model when she first met Jim. “Even though I was very athletic and outdoorsy, I would always think, ‘Well, if I hunt, people are going to think I’m a

FOLLOW THE HUNT Jim Shockey’s Hunting Adventures, now in its 14th season on Outdoor Channel, stars Jim and Eva Shockey, who travel around the world in their pursuit of game. This season, hunts include whitetailed deer in Saskatchewan, Canada; Aders’ duiker in Zanzibar, hog deer in Australia and Cape buffalo in Mozambique. Sundays, 8 p.m. ET. Jim Shockey’s Uncharted, which takes Jim and crew on challenging hunts to far-flung corners of the globe, such as Mozambique for crocodile and Paraguay for buffalo, is in its second season on Outdoor Channel. Mondays, 10 p.m. ET.

boy,’” Eva says. “Looking back, of course that’s not true; it’s just something that girls feel … It wasn’t normal for girls to hunt.” During her high school years, Jim never pushed her toward the outdoors. Both gracious and eloquent, he speaks lovingly of Eva, describing her as “pure” and having “a heart of gold.” A man with a Viking-like build and hard oaken features, hunting has

OUTDOOR CHANNEL

EVA FOCUSES ON PORTRAYING HERSELF AS A SYMBOL OF EMPOWERMENT AND POISE.


DYNAMIC HUNTING DUO “could be friends again.” She’d also begun to shed her adolescent reservations about hunting, recognizing it as an environmentally responsible way to harvest meat and as an avenue for spending time with her family — and her father, in particular. “I’ll never forget when I walked into his office and said, ‘I want to go on a hunt with you,’” she says. “I’m pretty

Jim has traveled to Russia to hunt chamois and tur.

A MAN WITH A VIKING-LIKE BUILD AND HARD OAKEN FEATURES, HUNTING HAS BEEN A CENTRAL PART OF HIS LIFE. by resourceful people who relied on the land — and his love of hunting. It’s not hard to imagine that Eva’s indifference to pursuing game when she was younger may have affected their relationship. “I didn’t hunt; it was hard for us to get on the same level,” she recalls. After graduating from Bond University in Australia, Eva moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, where she taught competitive salsa dancing. Though her relationship with Jim hadn’t strained beyond what teenagers and parents regularly endure, she soon matured to a point where she felt they

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sure his jaw actually dropped like in a cartoon … Now I think I’m just as close to my dad as I am my mom. If you would have asked me as a teenager, I never would have thought that would have been possible.”

A FAMILY ENDEAVOR Jim was excited when Eva took up hunting and, in the years since, they’ve shared numerous memorable outings, including a white-tail hunt in Saskatchewan with Jim’s dad, Hal, shortly before his death, during which he and Eva each scored a buck. “For us, hunting is all about family,”

Eva says. “It’s just something you do with each other. … I really appreciate that last memory of us hunting altogether.” In front of the camera, she is no longer the quivering girl with the gun as she was during that first warthog hunt. She’s pursued game all over the world and seems comfortable with her role in the outdoor industry. In response to the attention she’s received, Jim humbly admits, “If you would have asked me five years ago whether it would be Eva or me on Fox News representing hunting, I would of said it would’ve been me, for sure. But I’m not the chosen one; it’s Eva.” Eva has made tremendous strides in challenging hunting’s gender roles. Her looks adhere to traditional ideas of beauty, and, during our conversations, she and Jim acknowledged that her appearance has bolstered her following. The majority of those commenting on her Facebook page are male, as are Outdoor Channel viewers. But she makes valid points about conservation and wildlife management. And after listening to her talk for any amount of time, it’s impossible to deny her fervor for the outdoors. I ask her about that first warthog hunt in South Africa, the hunt that forever divided her life into the before and the after, and why she cried. She pauses for a moment. “There was so much more to that hunt than that little 20-second segment,” she says. “I had to take the hunter’s course. I had to take the gun course. I had to travel to Africa. I had to take time off work. “But then I got to go out with my dad. See the animal. And then, at that point, I took the shot. ... It wasn’t sadness, in that I regretted it or shouldn’t have done it, but a moment of reverence for this animal that just gave its life for me.” — JR SULLIVAN, a native of Nashville, lives with his wife in New York, where he is an editor for Field & Stream. He has written for numerous publications. Read more at JR-Sullivan.com.

OUTDOOR CHANNEL

been a central part of his life. A former antiques dealer who began buying handmade furniture at yard sales, Jim once sold his entire inventory of antiques to clothing designer Ralph Lauren and used the money to buy prime bear territory. He even draws a comparison between the kind of art he loves — Canadian ethnocentric folk art handmade


Women Take Charge An inside look at outdoor ladies who don’t let anything stand in their way BY KRIS MILLGATE

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HERE’S A FISH ON THE LINE, A DOG ON point and an elk in the sights, and the outdoor enthusiast in each encounter is demonstrating the expertise and confidence that comes from years of experience. The only difference? All three are women who have successfully made their way in what has traditionally been a man’s world. Here’s a look at an angler, a wing shooter and a big-game hunter who’ve earned their own places in the world of fins, feathers and fur.

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Angler Cathy Beck gets the most out of a fishing trip to Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean.

FINS CATHY BECK of Benton, Pa., started fly-fishing for the same reason many women enter the water — her husband. She met him in 1979 and quickly realized “together time” meant having a fly rod in hand. “Initially, fly-fishing appeals to women because we don’t have to handle bait,” Beck says. “We’re not getting dirt under our nails, but it goes so far beyond that. Just understanding the lifecycle of insects and the seasons of trout is a beautiful spiderweb that probably brings a lot of people to fly-fishing.” Beck, now in her 60s, travels the world with her husband, Barry. For the last 30 years, they’ve hosted fishing trips for other anglers through the luxury travel company Frontiers, and also manage their wellregarded fly-fishing school and guide service on Fishing Creek in Benton. The program covers a wide range of fly-fishing know-how, from assembling gear to casting techniques and the study of insects. Despite three decades of teaching others to cast, however, Beck can still be the only woman on the water most days. “I wish I could say we’re making phenomenal headway in that area, but I don’t see a lot of women fishing on the open, public water,” Beck says. “I think it’s a big step for a woman to step out on water she doesn’t know by herself. I’d love to see more women fishing. This is a sport they could truly enjoy. There’s nothing about the sport we can’t do and can’t be good at.” »

Beck’s Tips

BARRYANDCATHYBECK.COM

• Fly-shop employees are in the business of encouraging people to take up fly-fishing. Don’t be afraid to walk into a fly shop and bare your soul. Tell them you’re just starting and you don’t know what you’re doing; then ask for help. • Join your local Trout Unlimited chapter (tu. org) or fishing club. You learn more when you spend time with people who have similar interests.


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Nancy Anisfield became a wing shooter after being captivated by hunting dogs. She’s hunted extensively, including for ruffed grouse and woodcock in the Miramichi River region of New Brunswick, Canada.

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FEATHERS NANCY ANISFIELD was drawn into the world of wing shooting by canines. “As soon as I saw a dog on point, that was about the coolest thing I’d ever seen,” Anisfield says. “I just wanted to be a dog handler, but I quickly learned that to train my dog properly and give my dog hunting experience, I needed to hunt myself.” Now, Anisfield, 61, of Hinesburg, Vt., is an accomplished wing shooter claiming 20 types of upland birds and waterfowl across hunts in 17 states. She also shoots professional hunting-dog photographs and has published hundreds of images through her company, Anisfield Hunting Dog Photography. When she’s not shooting photos or birds, Anisfield is training her German shorthaired pointers — and sometimes

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she even hunts with her husband. “My husband got into upland hunting after me,” she says. “When we travel, we hunt together, but around home I primarily hunt alone. A lot of women get into hunting because of their husbands and that’s wonderful, but my hunting is my very own pathway.” That path wasn’t easy to navigate in the beginning. Awkward exchanges at hunting clubs and resentment from men who thought she was changing the hunting dynamic among the guys bothered her at first, but not any more. “I’ve evolved to the point where if someone has a problem with it, I find it funny more than intimidating,” Anisfield says. “Hunting is such a part of my identity it has nothing to do with gender anymore. It’s just part of me as a person, not part of me as a woman.” »

Anisfield’s Tips • Avoid “pink marketing,” which creates gender separation. Marketers don’t have to feminize or soften the experience and cater to you in a different manner. Hunting is a detailed sport requiring your senses to be more attuned, and pink doesn’t get you there. • Some women think hunting is a man’s world, but you can do everything that needs to be done to be a successful hunter. There’s nothing men have that women don’t have equally to make them accomplished hunters.

ANISFIELD PHOTOGRAPHY

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WOMEN TAKE CHARGE

Kim Cahalan in the field with an AR-15 in Texas and hunting hogs, below, in Florida.

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KIM CAHALAN is a big-game hunter from Geneseo, Ill., whose refined shooting skills translate well from the weekend to the workday. As vice president of Media Direct Creative Group, Cahalan’s specialty is marketing hunting-related firearms and products. And when she’s in the field, she stalks just about anything wild with just about any weapon — so she knows what works best. “I do a lot of research to learn how products perform and why,” Cahalan, 48, says. “I have an advantage over the average hunter because we can see a lot of what is on the market and what’s being tested.” Over the last decade, she’s watched more women enter the hunting fold and knows that manufacturers are starting to take note as well. Lighter firearms and smaller bows and backpacks are being made for female body frames. “My beef used to be (that) I couldn’t get clothing and gear that performed and fit me,” she says. “Now, that’s all being addressed.” From going after gators and hunting hogs to bugling for elk and calling turkeys, she approaches every scenario as a confident hunter who knows when, and when not, to take a shot. “There are instances when you just have to stand up and be that person who says, ‘This doesn’t look good to me,’” she says. “Women may feel uncomfortable doing that, but don’t be afraid to not take a shot.” Cahalan prefers the challenge of spot and stalk and enjoys hunting with any one of her four grown children (two daughters and two sons). “It’s neat to share an experience like that with your kids,” she says. “You have quality outdoor time one-on-one with them. ... If they’re having any struggles, you really learn about those when you’re out in a situation like that.” — KRIS MILLGATE, an outdoor journalist, is based in Idaho. From reports on water wars and wildfires to grizzlies and salmon, see her work at tightlinemedia.com.

Cahalan’s Tips • One of the biggest obstacles for women is scent elimination, especially when it comes to hair. Try shampoos and conditioners that are scent-free but still leave your hair manageable. • Make sure you stay warm. If you’re not, you’ll be miserable. Use foot and hand warmers on hunts (and try sticky foot warmers on the back of your neck and inside your hat, too).

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COURTESY OF KIM CAHALAN

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BEYOND PRESERVATION 66 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015


How conservation groups are working to ensure a plentiful supply of game BY TOM KEER

he land was once ideal for hunting. A stand of centuryold pines was interspersed with broomstraw and other native grasses. A few coveys of bobwhite quail lived in the rolling hills and migratory waterfowl tucked into its marshes. But when the privately owned tract was sold to the town to be preserved and subsequently untouched, things changed. Now, 20 years later, there are few signs of wildlife. Annual burnings that once helped to renew the land have stopped, and native grasses havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t grown back. Selective cuttings to open areas for sunlight were curtailed, as were supplemental plantings. The lack of cover crops and food plots caused the quail to disappear. Shortly after, the

MATT SOBERG

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A Minnesota aspen run is perfect for ruffed grouse and woodcock.

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birds left, along with the squirrels, chipmunks and rabbits. For sportsmen, such a scenario impacts the scope and variety of available game. “The notion of preservation is appealing to a lot of people,” says John B. Eichinger, president and CEO of the Ruffed Grouse Society and the American Woodcock Society. “The concept began in

the late 1960s in response to the expansion of sub-developments and economic zones. Preservation secured open space, which was a great first step, but more recently it signifies a ‘hands-off’ approach.” But, as many sportsmen understand, Eichinger says, “Preservation is not enough.” Instead, they say, the emphasis should often be on conservation,

which allows for human use and management of the land. Conservation groups around the country are doing their part to identify areas where they can help create healthy ecosystems that will be conducive to wildlife habitats and ensure game is plentiful. Read on to see how four of these organizations are taking the lead as stewards of the land.

Clear-cutting in Minnesota is the first step toward creating young, healthy forests suitable for ruffed grouse and woodcock.

rouse and woodcock prefer young forests, so maintaining forests with a diversity of age classes is particularly important for bird hunters. “Grouse and woodcock hunters look to the future perhaps more than any other group,” notes Eichinger. “And since our favorite game birds favor young forests, our efforts in a given tract of land must be renewed every 15 or so years.” Ideally, young-growth forests are “under 15 years of age, where the shoots and sprouts of young trees emerge as shrubs and saplings” to provide food and protection, says Eichinger. “When flora and fauna is older than 15 years, we see dramatic declines in not only these game birds, but also in other species as well.” While modern society often tries to prevent or control forest fires, windstorms and floods, such natural occurrences actually serve as a form of renewal. “So part of our mission is to proactively help Mother Nature,” Eichinger says. The organization’s method includes selective cutting or clearing followed by planting and prescribed burns. “In the end, our objective is to take preserved lands and to make them healthy enough to support a sustainable population of wild birds,” he says.

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Their work: Involved in more than 700 projects in 28 states, encompassing more than 520,000 acres. Info: ruffedgrouse society.org

JAMES BOBURKA

THE RUFFED GROUSE SOCIETY AND THE AMERICAN WOODCOCK SOCIETY

Their focus: Biologists help public and private landowners enrolled in a land management plan create ideal habitat for grouse and woodcock. The organizations also sponsor hunting and shooting events that enhance and contribute to the legacy of upland bird hunting.


BEYOND PRESERVATION Ducks Unlimited promotes healthy ecosystems for birds along their migratory routes.

Its focus: Ducks Unlimited works to acquire and manage strategic private and publicly held areas where waterfowl breed, nest and migrate. Scientific research is applied to efforts to restore grasslands and watersheds and replant forests.

rotecting the habitats of bird species that travel from breeding grounds in Canada to wintering grounds in Mexico — whether they’re Canada geese or mallard ducks — requires continental efforts. Paul Schmidt, chief conservation officer for Ducks Unlimited, is up to the challenge. Schmidt came to the organization after a 33year career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). “At USFWS, we worked on creating a National Wildlife Refuge system that preserves wetlands. At Ducks Unlimited, we focus on creating healthy ecosystems that increase bird populations,” he says. In order to thoroughly restore wetlands, Ducks Unlimited partners with a number of different stakeholders in local, state and federal governments, as well as international agencies. Depending on the situation, the organization may serve in an advisory

P

70 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015

capacity or take a hands-on approach. “What is most important is to study the entire landscape,” Schmidt says. “Restoring grasslands, replanting forests and improving the quality of our watersheds knows no bounds, and when the opportunity arises, we’ll work with landowners to acquire property or to enter into conservation and management agreements.” The group is focused on conservation practices at every step of the migratory route, from the critical breeding grounds in Canada and the northern tier of the U.S. to the flyways and wintering grounds in Mexico. “Healthy ecosystems along migratory routes provide high-quality feeding and resting zones,” Schmidt says. And attention to the wintering grounds “ensure(s) excellent water quality and feeding areas so the birds are in good shape for their return migration.”

Info: ducks unlimited.org

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Its work: Since 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 13 million acres of waterfowl habitat.


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BEYOND PRESERVATION

PHEASANTS FOREVER/ QUAIL FOREVER heasant and quail country often overlaps agricultural areas, so managing a finite resource — land — for both can present challenges. But through strategic conservation planning, both wildlife and agriculture can benefit, says Bob St. Pierre, vice president of marketing for Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever. “America’s grasslands are the equivalent of rainforests in South America,” say St. Pierre, calling it one of the planet’s “fastest-disappearing ecosystems.” “Since 2008, for instance, there have been more than 20 million acres of grasslands converted to row crops. As you can imagine, habitat declines of that magnitude have had severe impacts on pheasants, quail, prairie Their focus: The grouse, pollinators, groups are dedicated monarchs and many to the conservation other wildlife dependent of pheasants, quail upon prairie flowers and and other wildlife grasses.” through habitat The mission of improvements, Pheasants Forever/ public awareness, education and land Quail Forever is to foster management policonservation opportunicies and programs. ties in the agricultural landscape. Their work: Since “We work diligently 1982, the groups with farmers to create have created or enhanced wildlife a sustainable environhabitat on 12 million ment that benefits acres in the U.S. and both groups,” St. Pierre Canada. says. The organizations not only develop Info: pheasants wildlife habitats, but also forever.org, quailforever.org improve water quality, protect soils for future generations and help to provide a stable revenue stream for farm families. Their conservation mission takes a holistic approach: “If we eliminate prairie flowers then we lose the pollinators, and if we have no pollinators then we lose a massive amount of our food production, from almonds to apples to blueberries, and also the insects pheasant chicks need during their first months of life,” St. Pierre explains. The organizations also team up with other conservation groups in an effort to reach “the highest and best use of land,” St. Pierre says.

Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever put a premium on taking a holistic approach to developing wildlife habitats.

72 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015

PETE BERTHELSEN/PHEASANTS FOREVER AND QUAIL FOREVER

P


Share Curiosity. Read Together. w w w. r e a d . g o v


BEYOND PRESERVATION

One focus of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership has been the Great Burn roadless areas along the Montana/ Idaho border.

he question of man’s role in the wild — should land be left alone, or should it be managed? — goes back to at least the time of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt and naturalist John Muir. While Muir landed on the preservation (or hands-off) side, Roosevelt believed in management, or conservation. The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP) operates with this legacy in mind. “Our mission at TRCP is to work to guarantee all Americans quality places to hunt and fish” by helping to strengthen federal policy and funding, says Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the partnership, which has more than 40 formal conservation partners. “Sometimes we work with agricultural

T

74 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015

groups; other times we interact with energy consortiums. And still other times our focus is on national forests or water,” he says. “Each stakeholder has a different orientation, so one of our objectives is to ensure a balanced approach.” One recent victory for conservation groups, including the TRCP, came in May when Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced that an additional 800,000 acres of land will be eligible for enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) for wildlife habitat and wetlands. “Lands enrolled in CRP allow agricultural producers to voluntarily conserve environmentally sensitive grasslands by replacing grasslands in marginal soils. (These) are areas vital for nesting waterfowl,” Fosburgh says.

Its focus: The partnership provides Americans with quality places to hunt and fish by strengthening federal policies that affect the sports. Its work: The group supports the passage of important legislation that impacts conservation and funding, including the 2014 Farm Bill and the 2013 bipartisan budget deal that provided for conservation. Info: trcp.org JOEL WEBSTER

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Award-winning chef Blaine Wetzel creates dishes, including smoked salmon, that have diners waiting months for a table at The Willows Inn on Lummi Island in Washington.


SMOKIN’ CHARITY BURGGRAAF

Talented chefs continue a flavorful tradition and share some of their top recipes

Y

BY JED PORTMAN

our grandpa might have done it. Or his grandpa. Your hunting-andgathering ancestors did it, long before the advent of the electric smoker and those 5-pound bags of chunked hickory. Smoking meat takes work, but like hunting and fishing, it’s part of our heritage. And in kitchens across the country, chefs are reconnecting with all three handson pursuits. For Matthew Jennings, renowned chef at Townsman restaurant in Boston, his first instructor in wild cookery was his grandfather, who taught him how to cast a fly rod, shoot a rifle and smoke game birds over chips of

hickory and maple wood using the electric cooker on his back deck. “He had a gun rack in his living room, and a tweed chair where he would sit and smoke cigarettes,” recalls Jennings, and he used the electric smoker “pretty much year-round, whenever he got back from his hunting trips.” Jennings is one of the best-known chefs in New England, with a menu of dishes influenced by the region — ranging from seasonal vegetable salads and raw clams and oysters, to a rib-sticking clam chowder, all smattered with ingredients foraged in the area. Years ago, his grandfather would send him home with bags full of smoked pheasant, which the family kept in the freezer and whipped into paté for guests.


SMOKIN’ smoked venison jerky 1 cup cola ¼ cup soy sauce ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce 1 T. black pepper 1 tsp. kosher salt ½ T. garlic powder ½ tsp. chili powder 1 tsp. cayenne pepper 2 lbs. boneless venison roast, cut into ¼-inch slices ▶ Combine all ingredients and pour them over the venison. Cover and refrigerate overnight. ▶ The next day, remove the racks from your grill or smoker and place the venison on them. Heat the smoker to 130 degrees and return the racks to the smoker for 4 to 6 hours, keeping the lid closed and the temperature between 130 and 150 degrees until the texture of the meat meets your standards.

Today, the chef smokes pheasant at his restaurant, and scatters it on pastas and flatbreads. “The biggest thing I learned from my grandfather was to pay attention to the coals,” he says. “Some people think you can light a fire in a box and walk away, but it takes focus.”

WORTH THE EFFORT Acre, Auburn, Ala.

78 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015

That’s the problem with smoking meat at hunt camp, but David Bancroft still thinks it’s worth the trouble. The

chef and owner of Acre restaurant in Auburn, Ala., is also an avid gardener and outdoorsman, and his cooking reflects that. Not only does he grow some of the fruits and vegetables on the menu himself, but he also serves smoked elk jerky and venison heart tartare in a town better known for its college football than its dining scene. Once a year, he and a group of his friends spend five days hunting whitetailed deer in the southern part of his

COURTESY OF ACRE

DAVID BANCROFT


GREG BAKER smoked mullet This is a refined version of the classic. Feel free to substitute amberjack, cobia or mahimahi. 1 quart water 2 quarts ice ½ cup salt ½ bunch fresh thyme, still on stalks 4 garlic cloves 1 tsp. black peppercorns 2 lbs. mullet fillets, scaled and pinbones removed

THE REFINERY; MICHAEL BOU-NACKLIE

the refinery and fodder & shine, tampa, fla.

home state. Each day, someone has to get dinner ready for the returning hunters, and after a successful hunt, the chef likes to smoke venison. When he leaves camp for the afternoon, he keeps the fire smoldering with a trick that strikes fear in the hearts of many barbecue purists but is undeniably effective for a busy cook: He adds charcoal to the oak and pecan coals, which keeps the fire going for a couple of hours. Just long enough. While the coals need babysitting, the venison does not. “Smoked meats convection cook,” Bancroft says. “So keep that lid shut for a few hours. Sit down, and have another beer or three. My favorite thing about smoking meats is drinking beer at work.” In fact, it’s a good excuse to spend a

lazy day in the woods with friends or in the backyard with a six-pack.

TENDING FISH Fish can take more work, before and during cooking. This is especially true for mullet, a hearty catch popular with Florida fishermen. Like generations of coastal cooks before him, chef Greg Baker of The Refinery and the Fodder & Shine restaurants in Tampa smokes mullet. “It was a preservation technique,” he says. “Smoke your mullet, and you have food for the lean times. Then that preservation got absorbed into the culture. I enjoy pan-roasting mullet, frying it and grilling it, but smoked mullet — around here, that’s just how you eat mullet.”

▶ Combine the water, salt, peppercorns, garlic and thyme in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Place the ice in a large bowl and pour the hot liquid over it. When the liquid has fully cooled, place the mullet fillets in a large baking dish and pour the brine over them. Cover and place the baking pan in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 hours. ▶ Remove the mullet from the brine and place on a cooling rack set over a baking dish to drain. Refrigerate while you prepare the smoker. ▶ Heat the smoker to 130 to 150 degrees, using oak and citrus woods if possible. Once it reaches the lower end of that range, put the fish on and cook for about 2 hours, or until the meat at the edges begins to flake to the touch and the middle has lost its spongy feel. Serve right away or refrigerate for later use. ▶ To heat cold fillets, sear them in a small amount of butter over medium-high heat for 2 minutes per side. Fillets can also be shredded and combined with mayonnaise and seasonings to make a dip.

79


SMOKIN’

BLAINE WETZEL the willows inn, lummi island, wash.

His restaurants are higher-end than the average seafood shack, and at work he prepares smoked mullet with more care than he might at home. He scales the fillets, removes the notoriously difficult pinbones, and soaks the hunks of fish in a saltwater brine before they ever hit the pecan-and-citrus-fired smoker. “Sometimes the purists will come in like, ‘You’re doing what? And you took the scales off?’” he says. “Well, yeah! I’m charging money for this.” He cooks other fatty fish such as amberjack, cobia and mahimahi the same way, at an extra-low temperature until the meat around the edges begins to flake.

In the northwestern corner of the country, smoked fish of a different kind anchors the menu at The Willows Inn, a hotel and restaurant on Lummi Island in Washington. With a 12-seat restaurant on an island reachable only by boat, chef Blaine Wetzel might seem an unlikely candidate for the high-profile national honors — including two James Beard Foundation awards — that he’s racked up over the past few years. But diners wait for months to taste an ambitious menu of ingredients — including wild berries, seaweed and crustaceans — harvested from the woods and waters around the hotel.

80 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015

½ cup melted butter ½ cup brown sugar

smoked salmon ½

cup kosher salt

2 lbs. ice 1 fillet of salmon, 3 to 4 lbs., pinbones removed ½ cup white verjuice, or ¼ cup white wine and ¼ cup white wine vinegar

▶ Combine 1 quart of water with the salt. Bring water to a boil and stir to dissolve the salt, then remove the brine from heat and stir in the ice. Once the brine is cold, place the fillet in a large baking pan and then pour the brine over it until it is submerged. Let the fish sit for 35 minutes, and then remove it to a drying rack set over a baking pan. Refrigerate it overnight, uncovered. ▶ The next day, preheat a smoker or grill to the

lowest temperature possible, ideally around 110 degrees. Make a glaze by combining the verjuice, butter and brown sugar in a small pot. Heat the mixture to a simmer, stir to combine the ingredients and then remove it from heat. ▶ Set the salmon skin-side down on the grill and smoke it for 7 hours, brushing with the glaze every 2 hours. After 7 hours, increase the temperature of the smoker slightly, to 200 degrees. Smoke for 30 minutes longer and then serve or chill.

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SMOKIN’ smoked pheasant 1 tsp. kosher salt 1 tsp. paprika 1 tsp. ground cumin, toasted 1 tsp. black pepper 1 tsp. ground coriander, toasted 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper ½ tsp. fresh thyme ½ tsp. fresh oregano 2 T. dark brown sugar 2-3 whole pheasants, cut in half Soaked maple and hickory chips for smoking

▶ Next, prepare a gas or charcoal grill on medium-high heat. Add a generous handful of maple and hickory chips to the smoking tray of the grill. If you do not have a smoking tray, make a packet out of tinfoil and place the chips inside. Punch a few holes in the foil with a fork and place the packet directly on a burner or hot coals. ▶ Place the pheasants on the grill and cover them right away, which will keep in the smoke and prevent oxygen from igniting the smoking wood. Grill for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until the juices run clear near the bone. Turn once, about halfway through cooking. ▶ Rest for about 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

82 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015

townsman, boston

MATTHEW JENNINGS

The island has been a foraging and fishing ground since native fishermen netted sockeye salmon off its shores, and today the chef smokes the same fish over alder from its forests. You don’t need to share his foggy shores to smoke salmon the way he does at the inn. Wetzel brines the fish first, and then, as it slowly darkens over only a whisper of smoke, he brushes it with a glaze of brown sugar, butter and verjuice (the tart juice of unripe grapes), which a home cook can imitate with a mix of wine and vinegar. Wetzel uses green wood, which sends out plumes of smoke but only gentle heat during most of the cooking process. The result is a delicate balance of sweet, sour and smoky that is worth

the hours-long wait. That long cook is one step that all recipes for smoked fish and game share. Nobody ever said that barbecue was quick or convenient for anyone except the hunting buddy who wanders into camp just in time to eat. But as generations before us have known, there is no substitute for a smoked haunch or fillet, especially when it comes from a deer straight out of the woods or a fish you reeled in yourself. “You can’t mimic the flavor or aroma of properly smoked meat,” Bancroft says. “It’s an honest cooking technique, and the results don’t lie.” — JED PORTMAN, of Charleston, S.C., is an editor at Garden & Gun magazine and a hunter, fisherman and cook.

DAVID SALAFIA

▶ In a medium-size bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Rub the seasoning over both halves of each pheasant, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.


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| HUNT&FISH

HUNT FISH BOATCAMP HUNTING 86 | FISHING 102 | BOATING 116 | CAMPING 123 | IN THE END 128

ARE YOU READY?

THINKSTOCK

No matter what your outdoor passion is, here are ways to make your next adventure a great one.

85


HUNTING

HAVE A GO WITH THE CROSSBOW Many hunters are giving this updated hunting tool a try BY SHANE TOWNSEND

86 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015

I do as he says and retrieve each arrow from the target before shooting again. Thump. After a few shots I put two bolts into the same hole. The crossbow is looking even better than advertised. Crossbows have been around for thousands of years, but until recently, hunting with one in the U.S. was restricted to all but a few hunters, primarily disabled sportsmen. That’s changing. States are easing up the restrictions; today only Oregon completely outlaws crossbow hunting. Hunters have responded to the changing laws by trying the sport in droves.

THE CROSSBOW ARC

“Energy may be likened to the bending of a crossbow; decision, to the releasing of a trigger.” — Sun Tzu in The Art of War, 5th century B.C.

THINKSTOCK

A

s kids, we studied crossbow ads relegated to the back pages of hunting magazines. “If only I could get my hands on one,” I’d think. “I’d stalk the woods, invisible to herds of trophy bucks.” But using crossbows to hunt was illegal in my state, so the magazine picture was as close as we got. Thirty years later, I sat aiming a TenPoint Titan Xtreme at a bull’s-eye 30 yards downrange. “Shoot one at a time at the target,” says Paul Godsey, owner of Double G Archery in Georgetown, Texas, “or you’ll split your arrows.”


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HUNTING

WHAT’S THE DRAW? “What I like about crossbow hunting is that it gives you the accuracy of a rifle with the close-in hunting of archery,” says Mike Luckie, owner of Archery Country in Austin. “A proficient rifle shooter can pick up a crossbow and shoot well enough to hunt in no time.” The crossbow isn’t for everyone. But if the following information sounds good, it may be for you.

Outfitting for a Crossbow Hunt Here’s a look at what you’ll need to get started:

A CROSSBOW IS:

88 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015

RANGEFINDER

Crossbows come in countless variations of weight, size, draw weight, manner of cocking mechanism and price. The best you can get is the one that suits you, your hunting scenario and your budget.

A good rangefinder is crucial to crossbow success. A misread distance could mean an animal gets wounded or missed altogether.

“When looking for a crossbow, consider two things: Make sure the manufacturer guarantees its product — moving parts can break,” says Mike Luckie of the Archery Country shop. “And, shoot them. Just because your buddy likes his crossbow doesn’t mean it’s the one for you.” The TenPoint Titan Xtreme Crossbow is versatile and suitable for new and experienced hunters. A package offered through Cabela’s features a crossbow (with a 180-pound draw weight) and a 3x Pro-View 2 Scope. $599.99, cabelas.com

The Nikon Aculon AL11 Rangefinder is rainproof, compact and measures distances from 6 yards to 550 yards. $169.99, dickssportinggoods. com

COURTESY OF THE COMPANIES

CROSSBOW

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Quieter than a gun, though louder than many bows. » Hyper-accurate at short ranges — when wind and distance are judged precisely. » Great for still-hunting, though a challenge for stalking due to its wide, front-heavy design. » Easy to draw with a cranking mechanism, but sacrifices a quick follow-up shot. » A means to hunting in seasons and on properties where firearms are not allowed. Ethical bowhunting demands time many of us don’t care to spend away from family. So, the crossbow is an opportunity to extend your season and be challenged in a new way. Will it make you invisible to big deer and guarantee you a big kill? No. But it will help you get a little closer and give you a new way to enjoy our hunting tradition. Remember to check with your state wildlife agency about regulations, and please be an ambassador for our tradition and a steward to our natural resources.

è

»


HUNTING

HARNESS Blinds and tree stands can help you get in range of game, but be sure to purchase and use the proper safety equipment if you’ll be climbing up into a tree stand. “Promise yourself and your family you’ll never hunt from a tree stand without a harness and a lifeline,” says Karen Lutto of Hunter Safety System, which manufactures safety equipment for hunters. “Whatever brand you choose, you owe it to (your family) to come home after each hunt.” The Hunter Safety System Patriot Harness is a reversible Realtree Xtra camo/ hunter-orange vest. $149.99 to

è

WHAT TO KNOW New to safety harnesses? The Hunter Safety System Patriot Harness comes with an instructional DVD and directions on using it safely.

The bolt, or arrow, consists of a shaft, fletching and nock. Bolts vary in length, weight and material (e.g. aluminum, graphite) and the variations influence performance and price. For safety and function, the bolt must match the crossbow. TenPoint, Barnett, Horton and other manufacturers sell bolts for their crossbows and include bolts in packaged deals. For more guidance, visit your local archery shop. Pro-V22 Carbon Crossbow Arrows are fitted with a 24-grain aluminum insert. From $35

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for a three-pack with fire-orange Omni-Nock, tenpointcrossbows.com

Also consider the HSS Treestand Lifeline Plus to secure two people to the same line. $49.99, cabelas.com

BROADHEADS Broadheads come in two main classes. Fixed blade broadheads are simple, have no moving pieces and are relatively inexpensive. They sport a smaller cutting diameter. Mechanical broadheads have hidden blades that deploy upon contact and have a cutting diameter of 2 inches or more. Each class has pros, cons and champions. Whatever you choose, be sure it’s made for a crossbow — and be sure to practice. Rage Crossbow X Broadheads are designed specifically for crossbow use. Features a body made of aircraft-grade aluminum, stainless blades and a shock collar for proper blade retention. Comes with a practice head. $39.99,

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LABEL HUNTING

10 TRIED & TRUE WAYS TO LOSE A DEER BY SHANE TOWNSEND

H

unt long enough and you’ll lose a deer. In the best-case scenario, you miss cleanly, so the deer moves on unscathed and you’re left embarrassed, angry or a little depressed. In the worst case, you wound a deer, never recover it and are tormented by how it all went down. Here’s what to remember when you’re in the field.


Mistakes in the field that’ll cost you a deer — and how to avoid them You forget the regulations. Regulations can vary in different counties and states. I once let four legal bucks in close range pass because I was mistaken about antler restrictions in neighboring counties. Fix: If you hunt in different counties or frequently cross state borders, consider making a cheat sheet for the day’s hunt — just in case. You buy into the horn hype. “You can’t eat the horns” is a favored refrain of many hunters. But 19,000-year-old cave paintings of antlered animals in Lascaux, France, tell us hunters have long been intoxicated by the pearl and polish of a dominant buck’s rack. So it’s only natural that even the most meat-focused among us can be seduced by the hope that the next deer will be the big one — and miss a kill altogether. Fix: If your goal is to take a deer, take the first legal animal that presents an ethical shot. Doing otherwise may leave your tag unfilled.

THINKSTOCK

You use unfamiliar firearms. You may have only seconds to read and take an ethical shot — not enough time to fiddle with an unfamiliar firearm

or second-guess the scope. You need gear you know. Fix: If you must use a borrowed gun, get to know it before the hunt. You pass on the shot. You’re caught studying a deer or awaiting that perfect shot. Fix: That first ethical shot may be the only shot you get. Take it. You bake in buck fever. When a deer enters the field, it’s exciting. Sometimes it’s downright explosive. Your heart pounds in your ears and your lungs work overtime to take a breath. Give in to this excitement and you’ll lose your deer.

5

Fix: To prevent buck fever, prep yourself for the sight of a deer before the hunt. Some hunters hang big antlers on their 3-D deer targets; others study big deer in magazines and at hunting shows. When it’s go time, don’t get lost in the horns. Focus on the target. If fever sets in — adrenaline is surging, your heart rate’s sailing and you’re panting — work to overcome that. Take slow, deep breaths. Refocus on the job at hand. Put the crosshairs on the target. Exhale.

You wait and wait — and then rush it. You waited for so long for that perfect shot that the deer starts to leave. You take a rushed shot in a last attempt, but a rushed shot is rarely an ethical — or accurate — shot.

rains can wash away all hope of finding your deer.

Fix: Take the first ethical shot. Period.

Here are the basics: Note where the deer was when you shot. Use orange/reflective tape to mark the first sign of blood. Work slowly — looking for hair, blood and other signs — and mark each clue with the tape. Call in a friend for help. And, if it’s legal in your state, use a bloodtrailing dog, too.

6

You try not to ruin the meat. “I didn’t shoot again because I wanted to save the meat.” That idea can cost you deer. We all want to make an ethical oneshot kill, but it doesn’t always work out.

7

Fix: If needed, shoot again. The biggest waste — and the worst feeling in hunting — comes when you know you mortally wounded a deer that you’ll never find. You charge in after the shot. Fools rush into love — and downed-deer scenarios. If you rush in, the deer’s adrenaline can push him so far away you may never find him.

8

Fix: After the shot, give him an hour so he can find a place to lie down and expire. You underestimate Mother Nature. A wounded deer can be like a ghost, especially in swamps and other hardto-track terrain. Even with a good blood trail, heavy

9

Fix: To increase your chances of recovery, know the area, pay attention to the weather forecast and be prepared to trail the deer.

You don’t move on. When you lose a deer — and chances are you will — you’ll be sick. You may spend days in the woods looking for it, and a week scouring ditches while you drive. You’ve just wasted meat, an animal and maybe a trophy, so it shouldn’t be taken lightly. But if you don’t move on, that sentiment can distract you in the future.

10

Fix: Next time, you’ll know the regulations, not get hung up on the horns, trust the gun in your hands, be immune to buck fever, deliver a clean shot at the first ethical opportunity and patiently allow the animal to expire. Then you’ll go fill your deer tag.

— SHANE TOWNSEND has hiked the Andes, fished with machetes in the Amazon and hunted throughout his life. He writes for several national magazines and advises on conservation programs at Texas State University’s The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment.

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LABEL HUNTING

AIMING FOR SUCCESS Four tips for better wing shooting

B

ird hunters never stop thinking about bird season — in fact, we obsess about it. In the offseason, we work our dogs in the cool early mornings and check the hatch reports, so it only makes sense that we’d also take time to improve our shooting. Wing shooting was once considered something you were naturally good at — or not. But like any other sport, it takes practice, practice, practice. Here are four ways to improve.

94 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015

1

FACE OFF IN A MIRROR

You can learn a lot by checking your gun mount in a mirror at home (after a thorough inspection of the chambers to be sure it’s safe). If you’re mounting the gun off your right shoulder, then point and mount on the reflection of your right eye in the mirror. Perfect alignment of shotgun bore and sight plane happens when your pupil is the absolute center of the rib

and the rib appears to dissect the bottom third of your pupil. If your pupil isn’t in the correct position, make adjustments to correct the alignment. Keep in mind that the correction could involve your feet and not just your head. The way you carry your body has a big impact on your gun mount. Once you make corrections, incorporate them into your mount so it becomes one fluid motion.

THINKSTOCK

BY LARS JACOB


LABEL HUNTING

DRAW LINES

At home, make the most of the many different lines that resemble the flight paths of game birds and waterfowl. Here’s how: First, check your gun to be sure it’s empty. Then, stand in the center of the room and use the muzzle of the gun to follow a line between the ceiling and wall to the corner. If you’re a righthanded shooter, teach your left hand to draw the line while the right hand hinges the stock to the cheek. Use the core of your body to swing the gun; not your arms. While the muzzle is drawing the line, the right hand is completing a disciplined gun mount. The goal is to make one fluid movement that combines the mount with finding the birds’ flight line on a hard crossing target. Alternatively, face a corner of the room and follow the line up to the ceiling for a ground-flush escaping bird, or use the lines created by the ceiling and walls that are quartering toward you to practice driven-bird flight paths.

3

SHOOT, SHOOT, SHOOT

This is the fun tip. During the offseason, shoot as much as your schedule will allow. Take advantage of the local gun clubs that offer skeet and/ or sporting clays. But remember, even though both disciplines were designed to help the bird hunter practice, the technique that has evolved over the years isn’t conducive to field shooting. The method of pre-mount, minimal movement interception only works when you’re able to predict the path of the clay and not when you’re in the field and don’t know the bird’s flight path. If you’re practicing for the field at a gun club, address each presentation with a low, gun-ready position that allows you to make necessary adjustments in the field, and practice an efficient gun mount while staying connected to the target. On the sporting clays course, stay away from unrealistic presentations,

such as targets that are so far away that they’d be considered unethical in the field. Most important, leave the score card at home.

4

FOCUS ON THE TARGET

The previous tips are designed to imbed proper wing-shooting mechanics into your muscle memory. But the truth of the matter is that good wing shooting is 90 percent focus. You can have a swing that rivals the very best in Major League Baseball, but if you can’t see the stitches on the ball, you’re not going to hit it out of the park. Even though focus is mental and not muscular, it can and must be practiced. You don’t have to be at the shooting range or even holding a gun to improve your focus, however. Whenever you’re taking a walk, gardening or doing anything at all outdoors, practice looking only at the head of the blue jay, dove or woodpecker that’s flying by. Why? When a bird flushes or presents itself, we typically look at the largest part of the bird, or we’re often distracted by its wing beats. But a hunter’s focus should be on its head, which should be as clear as a bell, and its wing beats should only be part of the subconscious vision.

— LARS JACOB is a renowned shooting instructor and gun fitter who has helped thousands improve their wing-shooting skills.

96 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015

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HUNTING

CHOOSING YOUR FIELD COMPANION

A smart pick today makes for a great gun dog tomorrow STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY NANCY ANISFIELD

F

or decades, Merrymeeting Kennels in Brunswick, Maine, has bred German shorthaired pointers for rugged northern upland and waterfowl hunting. The owners often get calls from prospective puppy buyers with specific requests, such as: “I want a medium-sized female with bright ticking, a liver head and one of those cute white blazes on her nose,” or, “I’m looking for a tall male, mostly white with long ears.” Fingers crossed and a rabbit’s foot rubbed, maybe one of the pups in the litter will come out to spec. Usually, however, the throw of the genetic dice leaves such detailed orders incomplete after the whelp date. That’s OK, though. Assuming your puppy has good conformation and no physical shortcomings, what your future hunting dog looks like is one of the least important aspects of its breeding. Great hunting dogs come from breeders who pay close attention to attributes that serve the hunt: A strong nose, a desire to work, retrieving instinct, solid points, how quickly they learn and respond to new challenges, stamina, an even temperament and a sense of cooperation. Dogs bred for these traits are the ones who will make

98 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015

the finest hunters. Case in point (pun intended): My older German shorthaired pointer is an excellent hunter, elegant on point with a beautifully proportioned body and expressive face. One of his sisters looks and hunts so much like him that they are the canine equivalent of twins. Wanting another dog like them, I signed up for one of the sister’s puppies, and my choice grew up to be a gawky, long-legged, long-nosed, houndy-looking goober with a lumpy chin and a cowlick. Like his uncle, though, he’s got a terrific nose, robust water drive, staunch (though not graceful) point, eager retrieve, stamina, enthusiasm and a people-loving personality. Whether we’re hunting ruffed grouse, pheasant or quail, it doesn’t matter that his legs fly in all directions or that he hunts with the expression of a half-crazed chimp that just hijacked a banana boat. That dog can hunt. So putting looks aside, what’s most important when choosing a hunting dog? Consider the type of hunting you’ll be doing and where you’ll be doing it. Upland bird hunting calls for the pointing or flushing breeds. Waterfowling beckons the retrieving breeds.

A little field debris doesn’t detract from the beauty of this Labrador retriever’s proud presentation.


99


HUNTING Plan on doing both? Consider a versatile dog, bred for hunting tasks on land and water. If big water and waves, very cold temperatures or snowy fields are your venue, Chesapeake Bay retrievers, golden retrievers or Labrador retrievers may be your best bet. German wirehaired pointers and wirehaired pointing griffons also have the coat density and water repellency to handle harsh, wet conditions. German shorthaired pointers are great swimmers but are less suited to extremely cold water. As with Weimaraners, vizslas and other shorter-coated breeds, however, they handle warmweather upland work more easily than the heavy-coated breeds. In pursuit of pheasant, quail, grouse and other upland birds? English setters, pointers, Brittany spaniels and the lesser-known pointing dogs such as the braque breeds and large and small Munsterlanders offer an array of hunting styles. Within each breed, where the dogs are bred and for what type of hunting can vary. Pointers from field trial lines are bred for big running. Northern setter breeds (Gordon, red, English) bound for the ruffed grouse woods are apt to hunt more closely to the hunter (which is helpful in thick woods), as will flushing dogs such as springers and Boykin spaniels. Small dogs such as English cockers are terrific for rooting bobwhites out of scrubby brush but might be hard to keep an eye on in densely treed shelter belts. Hunters with their sights on open prairies or wide mountain terrain — where the birds can be more spread out — will need a dog with a longer range and the ability to cover a lot of ground to find them. In general, it makes sense to get a dog from a breeder who lives in the

An endearing family companion, the wirehaired pointing griffon, above, excels at all aspects of upland and waterfowl hunting. The Weimaraner, below, notable for its handsome conformation, is strong in the field and in the water. region or type of habitat you plan to hunt in. When you’re considering your dog’s temperament, give thought to yours as much as your future pup’s. Do you prefer an independent dog? A Chessy or Brittany (American) might suit you. Partial to “softer” dogs? Try a Gordon setter or vizsla, but have patience, as they tend to mature more slowly. Other factors to consider may be whether you hunt wild birds for long hours or at a fast pace, or if you prefer more leisurely hunting at a game preserve. Pick a breed that suits your hunt and a breeder who understands what that hunt needs. Then, when your young pup locks on point or makes his first duck retrieve, no matter the pattern of his coat or the length of his ears, to you, he’ll be nothing short of beautiful.

HOW TO FIND A BREEDER Once you’ve chosen the breed, a little buyer’s homework will pay off in identifying a reputable, high-quality breeder: » Search for breeders in the databases and listings of breed clubs or hunting dog organizations such as the North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association (navhda.org) or the North American Hunting Retriever Association (nahra.org). » Talk extensively to breeders about their dogs’ temperaments and training programs, and ask if the breeder has a current hunting license. » Ask to hunt over other dogs in their lines or observe training sessions. » Ask to see dogs from duplicate or similar breedings. » Obtain references from owners of dogs in duplicate or related litters.

— NANCY ANISFIELD is an outdoor writer and photographer (anisfieldphotography.com) based in Vermont and the creative entity behind the Ugly Dog Hunting Company. She also serves on the board of directors of Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever.

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FISHING

HOW TO READ THE WATER Finding fish is half the game

C

onventional wisdom says that 10 percent of fishermen catch 90 percent of the fish. Most people assume that these elite “10 percenters” enjoy success because of their superior angling skills, but that’s really only half the story. While knowing how to fish is certainly vital, it’s equally important to know where to fish in a given body of water. You can be a brilliant caster, know just what kind of lure to use and be a master of the retrieve, but none of this makes a difference if the fish simply aren’t there.

102 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015

And to find the fish, you have to be able to read the water, which means being able to determine the most likely places you’ll find holding or cruising fish. There are a few basic rules that apply whether you’re fishing a lake, a river or the ocean. First, be a stealthy observer. As you approach the water, stop well back from the edge until you can be sure that you won’t scare any fish before you get a chance to cast to them. It’s a terrible feeling to watch a big fish swim away and realize that you’ve missed your chance to catch it. Seeing the fish in the water —

whether it’s a bass on a bed, a rising trout or a school of stripers crashing bait — lets you know exactly where to start fishing so you don’t waste any time prospecting. So take a moment to read the water before you approach it, and you’ll end up catching more fish. Next, as you survey the water, look for the three things that fish crave: cover, food and margins. Cover — such as weed beds, fallen trees, overhanging vegetation or rocks — offers a safe haven for prey species and a place to hide for ambush predators. Food may consist of schools of

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A careful survey can tell you a lot about where the fish are hiding è FOLLOW THE FISH Fish look for three things, and if you know what they are, you’ll increase your chances of being a more productive angler.

LAKES AND PONDS When you’re fishing in still water from the bank, you don’t have the luxury of cruising from spot to spot to find fish the way you can in a boat. So choose your spot wisely and then wring as many opportunities out of it as possible. Avoid featureless areas with little cover and uniform depth; instead, look for weeds and rocks and places where depth changes quickly. If there’s any wind, fish the downwind side of the lake. Wind and waves concentrate food against the shoreline and attract predators such as bass, walleye and trout. Your first order of business is to

identify the best cover — weed beds, a fallen tree or rocks. Bass, especially, will hold tight to cover. Next, look for places where shallow water meets deeper water — a sharp drop-off, a submerged point or a deep channel. The best places to fish are those that offer both cover and a change in depth. Cast your bait or lures along the outside edge of a weed bed or the deeper side of a fallen tree to attract larger fish that might be holding there. When fishing a submerged point, the most productive approach is to fan-cast around the tip of the structure.

RIVERS

bait or insects that are on the water or along the banks. As for margins, fish simply love them. Margins are the edges between deep water and shallow water, between fast water and slow water or between cover and open water. Wherever there is a current — in a river or the ocean — fish will look for places where they can hold in slower water while allowing faster currents to deliver food to them. — PHILIP MONAHAN, a former fishing guide in Alaska and Montana, has been an outdoor writer and editor for more than 20 years. He is the editor of the Orvis Fly Fishing blog.

Rivers present a different dimension due to the current, but the principles are similar to those applied to lakes and ponds. Because fish in moving water must expend energy to fight the current, they don’t usually live in the fast water. Instead, you’ll find them where they’re able to hold in slower water and still have access to the food conveyor belt that the faster water represents. Any area that offers cover and also breaks the current — rocks,

woody debris, a bend in the river — offers a potential fish lie. Concentrate your attention on the “seams” between the faster water and slower water, which you can often identify by looking for the line of bubbles on the surface. Since the current near the surface is faster than the one on the bottom, deep slots and pools are also good places to fish. Big rocks on the bottom of these deeper spots are capable of holding the big fish.

SALT WATER Again, focus on places where you find cover, depth change and tidal currents — a rocky jetty at the mouth of a bay, for instance. Because species such as striped bass, false albacore and bonitos often chase schools of baitfish, scan the surface for “nervous water,” a sign of bait schooling just below.

And watch for birds flocking over a specific spot. Wherever you find diving birds, you’ll find fish below. By spending a few moments reading the water and figuring out where to focus your attention before you start casting, you can become a more efficient and productive angler.

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FISHING

MAKE A SPLASH IN TOURNAMENTS Six tips to help you navigate competitive waters BY BRIAN MCCLINTOCK

J

THINKSTOCK

ust about every angler has tuned into fishing tournaments, seen the logos on the sponsor boats of the professionals, and thought, “I could do that.” Today, fishing tournaments are more localized, more diverse and more readily available for the everyday angler who wants to give it a go. But catching fish in competition is a lot different than catching fish for fun.

104 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015


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FISHING

Brian “Bro” Brosdahl, holding a 9.5-lb. walleye on Cass Lake in Minnesota, competes on the FLW Walleye Tour. The fishing guide says it’s important to have a specialty that can give you an edge, particularly when you’re just starting out in tournaments.

1

FIND YOUR NICHE

There is the type of fishing that you like to do, and there’s the type of fishing that you’re good at. Before jumping into a tournament, make sure you’re setting yourself up for success. “You have to have your specialty, and especially when you’re first starting, focus on where that specialty can give you the biggest advantage,” says Brian “Bro” Brosdahl, a fishing guide from Max, Minn., and competitor on the Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) Walleye Tour. Identify the fishing techniques that have you catching the most fish as well as the bodies of water where you have the most success.

2

ADAPT TO SURVIVE

“The best skill to have as a tournament angler is a short-term memory,” says pro Brandon Palaniuk, an Idaho native who got his start fishing local B.A.S.S. Nation tournaments

106 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015

and began his national B.A.S.S. career in 2011. “You can’t get stuck on what happened last weekend or even earlier in the day.” Have an open mind and trust your gut when it’s time to change techniques or move to another spot. “There is a quick learning curve and it can often be a humbling experience when you’re fishing in a tournament instead of just fishing for fun,” notes Palaniuk.

3

KNOW YOUR WATER

To catch fish, you need to know where they are and how they’ll behave. “I don’t rig up until I see the water,” says Paul Bourcq, a member of the North Carolina Fly Fishing Team and head coach for the U.S. Youth Fly Fishing Team. Bourcq likes to check streamside spiderwebs to determine the level of bug activity. Research the body of water before fishing it. Know: » What kind of fish are in the water; » What their feeding patterns are; » How heavily it’s been fished recently; » What the water temperature is; » Where fish typically hold.

BRO’S GUIDE SERVICE; THINKSTOCK

Whether you’re an open-water angler in the Great Lakes or a fly fisherman in the mountains of the West, here’s advice from professional anglers on how to get started.


Chris Flentye Photo

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FISHING If you’re in a tournament that allows electronics, be sure to preload data for the bodies of water that you’re fishing. “For about the cost of a video game, you can get software that allows you to view spots, pre-mark coordinates and really help you out,” says Brosdahl, who uses Humminbird electronics with Contour Elite software ($149.95, humminbird.com).

THE RIGHT ROD

»

B.A.S.S. pro Brandon

»

In a FLY-FISHING TROUT tournament, Paul

Palaniuk recommends Abu Garcia Veracity rods ($149.95, abugarcia.com) with the Abu Garcia Revo reels ($129.95$499.95, abugarcia.com).

Bourcq, head coach for the U.S. Youth Fly Fishing Team, suggests a 10-foot 3-weight rod, which provides better leverage and can handle any size fish.

Don’t get caught up in having a specialized rod and reel for every situation. Instead, outfit yourself with versatile equipment. For conventional gear, have a few different combos of medium-light, medium and mediumheavy rods with the reels to match. Be sure to have both baitcasters and spinning tackle at the ready. As for lures and terminal tackle, reading the water will help you determine what you’ll need.

5

GAIN SUPPORT

Even if you’re competing solo, cultivating relationships can help you discover more techniques and become a better angler. “The key to our success with U.S. Youth Fly Fishing Team has been our team mentality, and thinking about how each of their individual performances and experiences can ultimately benefit the entire team,” says Bourcq, who helped lead the team to gold

108 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015

medals in the World Youth Fly Fishing Championships in 2013 and 2014. Having the support of a team or other trusted colleagues can be a huge benefit and help you catch more fish. And if you’re looking for the backing of sponsors, think locally, not nationally. “Divide your boat into six spaces, and go out to the local pizza shop or other businesses in town to ask for support,” advises Brosdahl. “National tackle companies are exhausted with requests, but if you take care of your local sponsors and have some success, the national sponsorships can come.”

6

FIND YOUR TOURNAMENT

The two major freshwater fishing tournament organizations, B.A.S.S. (bassmaster.com/nation) and FLW (flwfishing.com), offer plenty of local options. B.A.S.S. Nation not

only organizes many competitions but can also provide a network for getting started. Search social media, especially Facebook, to locate public tournaments close to you. Focusing on the waters you know best and the technique you specialize in will help you narrow your search. “Everybody has that need to have a little competition in their lives,” says Palaniuk. “[In] what other sport can you have that competitive atmosphere, while enjoying time with your family and passing down a tradition to the next generation?” — BRIAN MCCLINTOCK grew up in northcentral Pennsylvania hunting, fishing and stocking trout in local streams. His work has appeared in Field & Stream, Men’s Journal, Popular Mechanics and more. He lives in Pennsylvania with his trusty black lab, Boru.

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GET THE GEAR

Pro Brandon Palaniuk, shown during the 2015 Bassmaster Elite Series on Lake Havasu in Lake Havasu, Ariz., in May, says everybody needs a little competition in their lives.


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FISHING

HIRING A FISHING GUIDE? If you want a great day on the water, remember that honesty is the best policy BY GARY GARTH

110 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015

Trolling for an Expert BEFORE YOU HIRE a fishing guide, consider these tips from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission:

» Safety is the top priority, so determine if your guide has the required federal and state licenses; take note of the condition of vehicles and equipment; and inquire about first-aid training. » Experience counts, so ask for details. » »

Request client references.

Determine the guide’s commitment to fishing ethics. Are they aware, for instance, of regulations regarding size and limits? For more information, go to myfwc.com/viewing/ outfitters-guides

THINKSTOCK

T

he fishing guide met his Scott Patton, a veteran fishing guide two customers at the based in Paris, Tenn., has heard a dock. Introductions were dozen variations of this story and has friendly but brief. The had similar experiences with clients. summer sun had cracked His advice? Customers should clue the horizon and everyone was anxious their guide in to their experience level to get on the water. (especially if they’re relatively new Arrangements for the trip had to the sport) as well as their fishing been initiated online and completed preferences. And guides should know by phone, with the guide carefully exactly what their customers expect querying his customers about their from the day. fishing preferences; the pair said they Open and honest communication were experienced “will make the day bass fishermen who more productive for were comfortable with everyone,” says Patton, Being up front with various types of tackle who has been guiding your guide about and techniques. anglers for more than your capabilities will go a long way Their goal for the 20 years, including the toward ensuring a day was straightforlast six on Kentucky successful outing. ward: “We just want to Lake. catch some fish.” Fishing guides can The group idled be masters at making away past the breakwater and raced on-the-water adjustments to keep to a grassy point ripe for the early clients reeling in fish. But success morning topwater bass bite. depends on knowing enough about The guide handed each fisherman their fishermen. a baitcasting outfit — the everyday “If someone is not comfortable or workhorse of bass fishing gear — doesn’t like to fish with a baitcaster, tipped with a topwater plug. Then he I’ll have several spinning rods rigged dropped the trolling motor and moved and ready,” Patton notes. “Some people the boat into position. like to cast a lot and some don’t. The “Cast as close as you can to the more you can tell your guide ... the grass line,” he advised. better.” He sensed a problem, however, — GARY GARTH lives in Kentucky and when one of his clients turned and writes about fishing, hunting, camping, gestured toward the close-faced canoeing, kayaking and hiking for The baitcasting reel. “Now, how is it you (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal and other publications. use one of these?”


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Bill Oyster crafts bamboo rods in Blue Ridge, Ga., and regularly offers classes on rod-making.

A THING OF BEAUTY

Make your own bamboo rod and elevate the art of fly-fishing BY PETER CARY

112 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015

flexible, they slow down your casting. You feel the rod load with the weight of the flyline on your backcast, and then when you cast forward, the rod — not you — throws the line. “The leader rolls out beautifully and the fly just drops in the water,” says Larry Tusoni, who makes bamboo rods in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains east of San Francisco. You can always buy a bamboo fly rod — they typically cost $1,200 to $2,500 or more. But there’s another, more appealing alternative — you can build your own. Rod-makers around the country offer classes in bamboo rod-building. Classes last about a week, the work is hard and at the end you walk away with your own custom bamboo masterpiece, one you can hand down to your kids. “It’s not just Granddaddy’s fly rod,

but the rod Granddaddy made himself,” says Bill Oyster, who runs classes in Blue Ridge, Ga. “They are so pretty and so classic, they had always held my interest.” Oyster was working as a fishing guide when he found old books with instructions and made his first rod in 1998. Oyster, who has crafted rods for former President Jimmy Carter, taught his first student in 2000 and now offers at least a dozen classes a year. In a typical class, students select the rod they want to build — how long, how they want it to flex, what weight line it will throw. Then they go to work. Each student is given a 12-foot stalk of bamboo, cut into sections (usually 7 feet and 5 feet long). They split each section lengthwise into 24 long slivers, about a quarter-inch in diameter. The best of the slivers are heat-

The rods themselves are beautiful: tawny, hexagonal, lithe, whippy things.

CHUCK PITTMAN

F

ly-fishing has its own mystique: The caster’s push and pull on the rod, the swishing of the line through the air, the quiet drop of the fly on the water, the chance that a fish will bite. Once upon a time, nearly all fishing rods were made of bamboo, which greatly enhanced that mystique. The best ones were made by dedicated craftsmen, and you could get one that flexed just the way you wanted for your favorite stream and your casting style. Then along came fiberglass rods, and then ones made of resin and graphite fibers, and bamboo passed out of fashion. But bamboo didn’t go away. Some people kept fishing with it, eschewing “plastic” rods, and new anglers discovered the pleasures of fishing with bamboo. The rods themselves are beautiful: tawny, hexagonal, lithe, whippy things. Fishing with them is beautiful, too. Because the rods tend to be more


FISHING

TOP RIGHT: SOPHIE BAKER; RIGHT: KELLEY BAKER; BOTTOM: COURTESY OF OYSTER FINE BAMBOO FLY RODS

treated and straightened, and then one by one, they are laid in a V-shaped groove in a 6-foot-long piece of steel. The student hand-planes the pieces from end to end, turning them and re-planing them until, eventually, each piece has a triangular cross-section. Each piece will also have a taper, that is, a specified width at discrete intervals along its length. All rods have an obvious taper, since they’re thicker at the handle end than at the tip, but custom rods are thicker or thinner than others in certain places, giving each rod its distinct action. The planing is tedious — the work is measured in thousandths of an inch — and takes about three days. Then six pieces, each with the same triangular cross-section, are glued together to make the butt section, and six thinner ones are glued to make the tip section. When the glue is dry, students sand and varnish the rod and add the cork handle, the reel seat, the ferrules that will connect the butt section with the tip section and the line guides.

Then it’s time to write their names on the rods, wait for a final coat of varnish to dry and go fishing. “Making them is fun. Using them is even more fun,” says Oyster. Does a student have to be an accomplished woodworker to make a rod? Hardly — most students have never even used a plane. “It is a lot of work,” Oyster agrees, “but in 15 years I’ve never had a noncompleted rod.” Kelley Baker, 67, who teaches rodmaking in Falmouth, Maine, has had students ranging in age from 14 to 84. One woman who didn’t even fish made “an absolutely beautiful rod” that she planned to give to her son, Baker says. Tusoni, who teaches classes in his workshop in Angels Camp, Calif., learned the art from his father and made his first bamboo rod when he was 10. He’s fished bamboo ever since. “Bamboo rods are slower, you relax with them and you feel the rod better,” Tusoni says. “And you catch more fish.”

KEEPING TRADITION ALIVE: Both Baker’s Bamboo Flyrods in Falmouth, Maine, and its students carefully craft bamboo rods, below. The work at Baker’s includes meticulous planing of the wood, above right.

Hook Yourself a Class

You can search online to find bamboo rod-making classes and check schedules. Prices generally don’t include food or lodging. Here are three to consider. (Tip: If they’re full for 2015, ask about openings for 2016.)

» Oyster Fine Bamboo Fly Rods offers one class a month at its workshop in Blue Ridge, Ga., a cute tourist town about 90 miles north of Atlanta. You can make rods from a 1-weight to a 10-weight. $1,760, oysterbamboo.com » Baker’s Bamboo Flyrods’ small, five-person classes are taught by Kelley Baker in an American Legion hall in Falmouth, Maine, just outside of Portland. $900, bakers bambooflyrods.com » High Sierra Rod Company runs classes in Angels Camp, Calif., from October through March. $950, highsierrarods. com

AN ELEGANT TOUCH Bill Oyster makes bamboo rods and also hand-engraves ferrules for the rods.

DETAILED WORK

An engraved reel seat cap from Oyster will add a finishing touch to a bamboo rod.

— PETER CARY has been fly-fishing for more than 30 years. He regularly visits trout streams in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania near his home in Fairfax, Va., but has fished waters in Montana, Florida, New York, Alaska, Scotland and elsewhere in search of trout, bass, salmon and saltwater fish.

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FISHING

A world of activities is available on a family vacation to the Everglades.

1

Everglades National Park, Fla.

2

Bahia Honda State Park, Big Pine Key, Fla.

3

Blue Spring State Park, Orange City, Fla.

4

Lake Kissimmee State Park, Lake Wales, Fla.

f you want to fish and treat the kids to a vacation at the same time, take your pick from a new list of 100 destinations deemed to be particularly family friendly. A national online vote by anglers and boaters — conducted by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) and its Take Me Fishing campaign — identified Everglades National Park in southern Florida as the No. 1 spot for family-friendly places to fish and boat in the U.S. in 2015.

5

Keystone State Park, Derry, Pa.

6

Clear Lake State Park, Kelseyville, Calif.

7

Skyway Fishing Pier State Park, St. Petersburg, Fla.

year, encompasses 1.5 million acres and offers activities from hiking and camping to park ranger programs and tours. With opportunities to fish in both fresh and saltwater, available species include snapper, sea trout, redfish, bass and bluegill.

8

Galveston Island State Park, Galveston, Texas

9

Presque Isle State Park, Erie, Pa.

10

Lackawanna State Park, North Abington, Pa.

Versatile outdoor destinations offer the best of both worlds

I

Florida, in fact, took five spots in the Top 10 and Pennsylvania scored three. Criteria to make it into the Top 100 included having: » A public body of water within an hour of a major city; » Good fishing op-

portunities for common species such as bass, trout, crappie or bluegill; » Family-friendly amenities such as playgrounds, campgrounds and picnic areas. Everglades National Park, which moved up from No. 5 on the list last

114 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015

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FOLLOW THE FISH Float away on watercraft that take you closer to the action BY KIRK DEETER

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Pontoons like Outcast’s fully frameless Stealth Pro are versatile and packable.

OUTCAST SPORTING GEAR

I

F YOU’RE LIKE MOST ANGLERS, you can’t help but wonder if the fish are biting on the other side of the lake. Or maybe you want to cross the river — perhaps float downstream a ways — to find the lunker spot and separate yourself from the shore-bound crowd. But boats can be expensive not only to buy but to maintain, especially if you’re running a motor. Fortunately, there’s been a boom in alternatives to the traditional fishing boat, from stand-up paddleboards to belly boats to some of the most functional of all — one- and two-person pontoon watercraft (also called catarafts). Highly mobile, more affordable and usually people-powered, pontoon boats can safely get you from point A to point B, help you sneak up on fish and hold all your gear. And at the end of the day (or season), you can easily pack them away. »


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WHAT ARE THE FACTORS TO WEIGH WHEN YOU’RE LOOKING FOR A PONTOON BOAT?

»

COST

»

DURABILITY

Some of the best pontoon options available right now:

FUNCTIONALITY

»

CONVENIENCE

“Fish-ability” is another factor. How much weight can the pontoon safely carry? Do you want a frame to add stability, at the cost of more weight? What type of water is it rated to handle? Be honest with yourself about the type of water where you’ll be fishing. If you’ll be in waves, you want extra buoyancy. If you’ll be out in the wind, a lower profile might keep you from blowing off course.

How easy is the boat to assemble and break down, then store or tote from one place to another? Whether you want to stuff the craft in a car trunk or even carry it on your back, the total weight of the boat, how the oars break down and how neatly accessories are tucked away are all key considerations.

118 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015

OUTCAST FISH CAT 10-IR STANDUP

Outcast boats are always reliable, always fishable and usually one step ahead of the competition by way of innovative design features. The 10-IR is smartly designed because you can row or fish while sitting, but you can also drop the oars and stand on a platform using a lean bar built into the boat frame, which gives the angler a higher vantage point for spotting fish. $949, outcastboats.com

OUTCAST SPORTING GEAR

»

OUTCAST STEALTH PRO PONTOON

Probably the hottest, most innovative pontoon craft on the market, the Stealth Pro is fully frameless (meaning you just pump it up), yet it behaves and handles like a more rigid boat. You have the option of either kick-powering it with fins or rowing it. The best feature is its pack-down weight, a mere 35 pounds. If you want to hike into a lake or river and then float, there really isn’t a smarter option. $999, outcastboats.com

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Durable materials and multi-ply construction matter. You can add life to your boat by storing it out of the sun, not inflating it fully until you use it and being careful with sharp objects like fishing knives and hooks.

è

Price matters, of course, but don’t skimp on safety. You might save a couple hundred bucks, but that won’t feel like a bargain when you pop a float on the far side of the lake.


LABEL BOATING

OUTCAST PAC 1200 PRO SERIES PONTOON BOAT

è

The versatile Pac 1200 features a split-frame design that lets you float this boat in tandem or solo. Raise the seat pedestals for a better view or replace the front pedestal with a cooler and cooler tray for multi-day trips. Has a load capacity of 750 pounds and an 11-piece aluminum frame that breaks down for transporting. $2,999.99, basspro.com

CLASSIC ACCESSORIES OSWEGO PONTOON BOAT

è

The Oswego is a perfectly functional, reliable, all-around starter boat for the individual angler, with a remarkable 450-pound carrying capacity and great maneuverability. The 10-foot pontoon length adds stability and the ability to ride in choppy water better than shorter pontoons. It has three oarlock positions and adjustable seat mounts so it can be fitted specifically to an angler’s body. $779.99, basspro.com

è

This boat isn’t a pontoon but a singleperson mini-raft that can be packed down into a 7-cubic-foot drybag backpack. The Kodiak is slightly larger than the company’s Grizzly counterpart, which results in a bit more load-carrying capacity. The best features are the pointed bow and stern, which make the boat extremely nimble and responsive to the oars. $1,595 for standard package, bigskyinflatables.com — KIRK DEETER is the editor of Trout magazine and an editor-at-large for Field & Stream. He is the co-author of The Little Red Book of Fly Fishing.

120 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015

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CAMPING

A bear at the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center in Montana tests out a product.

A GRIZZLY SEAL OF APPROVAL Is your food container stronger than a bear? Here’s one way to find out.

KURT GROEN/DICK’S SPORTING GOODS

BY ALEXA ROGERS

T

he “quality control group” that tests food storage containers in West Yellowstone, Mont., doesn’t get much reimbursement for its work. But you can be certain its members are going to give the job everything they’ve got — including sharp teeth, long claws and a thousand pounds or so of force. Eight grizzly bears at the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center play a role in testing food storage and garbage containers destined for outdoor use

in bear country. This tough team isn’t made up of just any bears — these are grizzlies that have been removed from their habitats for being “nuisance bears” or because their mothers were deemed to be nuisances. And they’re perfect for giving products such as coolers, food sacks and pack kitchens the bear stamp of approval. The program was begun in 1989 by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC). The goal of the committee, which is comprised of state and »

It’s BearCertified! PRODUCTS THAT PASS the grizzly test are on the IGBC’s Certified Bear-Resistant Products list, which is used by a number of local, state and federal land managers to help regulate the type of food storage products being used within their boundaries. These regulations vary, so check the rules pertaining to your intended destination before setting up camp so that your food doesn’t become the property of a grizzly. To view a list of certified bear-resistant products, go to igbconline.org. Also check out some approved products on page 126.

123


CAMPING federal agencies, is the recovery of grizzly bear populations and their habitat in the lower 48 states. Manufacturers apply to have their products put to the grizzly test. In the past five years, applications have grown from about 25 to 80 per year, says Scott Jackson, national carnivore program leader of the northern regional office of the U.S. Forest Service, which is one of the federal members of the committee. Before being tossed to the bears, the container undergoes a preliminary visual test that includes looking for any sharp protrusions or loose parts that

EXTREME CAMPING When the going gets tough, the tough get gear to make life easier BY ALEXA ROGERS

TAKING ON CHALLENGING terrain or weather conditions on your next camping trip? Be prepared for that next overnight trek with these extreme camping essentials.

1. Bed down in extreme cold

could harm the animals. The product is then given a healthy dose of bear kryptonite (peanut butter or honey that’s applied in or on the container), and then put into the habitat to be scratched, bitten, jumped on and tossed around for the next 60 minutes. “It’s also really simulating and enriching for the bears,” Jackson notes. “It provides them with something to occupy their minds.” If the bears can use force or teamwork to break the item open (ever seen two big bears pulling at the same food sack?), the product fails the test. But if the item is able to withstand the force of the grizzlies (who weigh in at 700 pounds to 1,000 pounds), the container passes. Jackson says products are approved about half of the time.

124 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015

1

2 2. For serious light rein-

forcements, the Princeton Tec Vizz Headlamp provides three light options, including one 150-lumen LED for powerful distance illumination, two Ultrabright white LEDs for a dimmable flood beam and two Ultrabright red LEDs for night vision. The headlamp is waterproof to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes. $49.99, dickssportinggoods.com

KURT GROEN/DICK’S SPORTING GOODS; COURTESY OF THE COMPANIES

Grizzlies at the center take their quality control work seriously.

with the Ascend -40° Mummy Sleeping Bag, which is filled with four-chambered hollow-fiber synthetic insulation and has a double-layer quilted construction to prevent cold spots. An adjustable contoured hood and chest baffle locks in your body heat, while a full-length draft tube behind the bag’s nylon zipper provides even more protection. Carrying weight is 6 pounds, 3 ounces for a regular-size sleeping bag. $119.99, basspro.com


CAMPING

6 3

5 7

8

4 carrying in a heavy load, bring along Cabela’s XPG 70-Liter Backpack with a 60-pound load capacity and a balance load bar that helps you walk upright comfortably. The backpack has a durable polyurethane coating to seal out moisture and an additional rain cover. Tear- and abrasion-resistant. $269.99, cabelas.com

4. Cot setup be-

comes a breeze with Cabela’s heavy-duty Outfitter XL Cot and its built-in pivot arm. The arm adds extra leverage to help you lock the lightweight aluminum frame (with spring-loaded connecting pins) into place. Features a tough nylon fabric and an impressive 600-pound weight capacity. $129.99, cabelas.com

126 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015

5. Ideal for

long trips or emergencies, the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter processes up to 1,000 liters of water, eliminates 99.9 percent of waterborne bacteria and removes 99.9 percent of waterborne protozoan parasites. The compact filter has a high flow rate and uses neither iodine nor chlorine. $21.99, dickssporting goods.com

6. Get some rest

after pitching the Ascend H2.3V Three-Person Tent. Provides protection from the elements with 70-denier nylon walls coated with 600-millimeter polyurethane. Fully taped seams on the tent body and rainfly protect you from extreme weather, while the 70-denier nylon tub-style floor keeps out ground moisture. $189.99, basspro.com

7. The compact

Yeti Tundra 50 Cooler holds up to 32 beverage cans that stay cold with Permafrost insulation. A no-sweat design keeps it dry on the outside. Rotomolded construction makes the cooler strong to the core. Certified grizzly bear resistant by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC). $379.99, basspro.com

8. To help pre-

vent bears from chowing down, the Ursack S29 AllWhite food sack is made with durable Spectra fabric and a 6-foot, 2,500-lb. tensile strength cord. If packed efficiently, it can hold about five days worth of food for one person. Certified grizzly bear resistant by the IGBC. Odor barrier bag sold separately. $68.88, ursack. com

COURTESY OF THE COMPANIES

3. If you’re


IN THE END

S

PASS IT ON Head outside and introduce someone to your favorite sport!

ometimes your programs at Wonders of time outdoors is Wildlife in Springfield, Mo., about tracking that which coordinates the day. The buck or landing that organization also provides grants, bass, and sometimes it’s with support from Yamaha, for some about teaching someone else to do the local events. same. From fishing ponds for kids to free fishing If you’ve ever thought about introducing your days and archery, fly-casting, wilderness next-door neighbor or your nephew to your fasurvival and shooting demonstrations, activities vorite sport, National Hunting and Fishing Day are centered around giving the public an intro on Sept. 26 could be your chance. to outdoor sports. The day, which recognizes outdoor sportsThis year’s co-chairs of National Hunting and National Hunting men and their contributions to conservation Fishing Day are father-daughter hunting duo Jim and Fishing Day and science-based wildlife management, is also and Eva Shockey, who are stars of Jim Shockey’s designed to encourage even more participation Hunting Adventures as well as conservation through open houses, hunting and fishing expos advocates. and other events around the country. A number of companies and outdoor Whether it’s taking a hike or visiting your favorite fishorganizations sponsor or partner with National Hunting and ing hole with a buddy, “the key is just to get the next genFishing Day; check out nhfday.org for more info on upcoming eration outside,” says Misty Mitchell, director of conservation events and how to get involved.

128 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2015

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SEPT. 26



Hunt & Fish