5 HARVESTING TIPS FOR YOUR TROPHY
HUNT&FISH SUMMER/FALL 2017
54 GEAR & GADGETS
PLUS 3 WOMEN OF THE WILD BEST FISHING, BOATING SPOTS LAST-MINUTE ADVENTURES
REMI WARREN MASTER HUNTER OF BIG GAME
Finding a New Spot Photos compliments of Just For Hunting and Dave Jacobs Professional Guide Service. Learn more at justforhunting.com and sacramentofishing.com
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HUNT&FISH SUMMER/FALL 2017
Features TOP-NOTCH OUTFITTERS Six all-inclusive outdoor adventures you can arrange on a whim
ULTIMATE SPORTSMAN Avid hunter, adventurous TV host Remi Warren welcomes myriad challenges with robust energy
BRING IT ON Three badass women changing the face of the outdoors
THE REEL THING Fish taxidermy gives anglers multiple options to preserve their trophies
GREAT LAKES FISH American chefs are proving walleye, perch and whitefish pack a tasty punch
HUNT&FISH SUMMER/FALL 2017
Departments Tried and True Older turkey calls are often the favorites
Taking Aim Bowhunting isn’t luck; it’s work and skill
Antler to Hoof Five ways to get the most out of your trophy
Super Seniors Old age doesn’t mean hunting life is over for your sporting dog
ON THE COVER: Remi Warren PHOTO BY: Jocelyn Noel/jocelynnoel.com
Collaborative efforts can affect our land and game
• Shotguns • Subscription boxes • Boots • Knives
Dolphin Daze The popular offshore catch delights bluewater anglers Bet on Brookies Fly fishing North Carolina’s only native trout
Cash Box Could your tackle box be holding an antique lure worth thousands?
Forager Mark Herwig finds delectable goodies in the great outdoors
WHITETAIL OR MULEY?
Steven Rinella shares his favorite podcasts
Gun rights and patriotic themes on full display at Virginia’s newest Cabela’s
Casting a Wide Net America’s favorite fishing and boating destinations
Before you squeeze the trigger, make sure it’s the right kind of shooter buck
CAMPING Scenery + Solitude Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is a four-season jewel Multitask Masters Innovative double-duty camping gear for your next adventure
IN THE END Al’s Goldfish Lure Co. commemorates an icon
All prices and availability are subject to change.
4 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2017
DIRTMYTH; JERALD COUNCIL; PROVIDED BY CASE
Featured Contributors PREMIUM PUBLICATION EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Jeanette Barrett-Stokes email@example.com
Writer and photographer Nancy Anisfield is a contributor to wingshooting and hunting dog publications and the Ugly Dog Hunting Company’s creative director. She lives in Vermont under the governance of her German shorthaired pointers and her husband’s German wirehaired pointers. See more of her work at anisfield photography.com.
For more than two decades, Joe Healy has edited magazines, including Outdoor Life, Fly Tyer, Fly Rod & Reel and Vermont. Healy is the author of Training a Young Pointer and has edited many outdoor books. His book on the world’s worst shark attacks, Unspeakable Horror, will be published this summer by Skyhorse Publishing.
Ken Perrotte, of King George, Va., is a veteran and decades-long writer and photographer, with work appearing in more than a dozen magazines. He’s currently conservation field editor for the National Wild Turkey Federation, outdoors writer for Military Times and The Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., and wild game cooking columnist for Virginia Wildlife magazine.
CREATIVE DIRECTOR Jerald Council firstname.lastname@example.org MANAGING EDITOR Michelle Washington email@example.com GUEST EDITOR Tom Keer ISSUE EDITOR Sara Schwartz EDITORS Tracy Scott Forson Patricia Kime Elizabeth Neus Barbranda Walls Debbie Williams ISSUE DESIGNER Lisa M. Zilka DESIGNERS Miranda Pellicano Gina Toole Saunders CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Nancy Anisfield, Joe Healy, Mark Herwig, Philip Monahan, Ken Perrotte, Jed Portman, Ben Romans, Kristen A. Schmitt
PROVIDED BY CONTRIBUTORS
VP, ADVERTISING Patrick Burke | (703) 854-5914 firstname.lastname@example.org
Jed Portman is a writer and editor based in Charlottesville, Va., with credits that range from Field & Stream to Serious Eats. Until recently, he handled food and drink coverage at Garden & Gun. Having lived in Charleston, S.C., for years, he was excited to venture above the Mason-Dixon line for this issue.
Ben Romans is an avid fisherman and hunter living with his wife and two young boys in Boise, Idaho. When he’s not editing American Angler, a noted, national fly fishing magazine, he’s working for titles like Field & Stream, chasing smallmouth bass in the lower Snake River, calling elk in the Sawtooth Mountains or planning adventurous DIY wilderness treks.
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Kristen A. Schmitt lives with her family on a 36-acre farm in upstate New York where she juggles farm life with writing about wildlife, science and the outdoors for a variety of publications, including Smithsonian Magazine, Marie Claire, National Geographic, and Outside Magazine. Find her on Twitter @Kristen_Schmitt.
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FINANCE BILLING COORDINATOR Julie Marco
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Tom Keer, USA TODAY Hunt & Fish guest editor, is an award-winning freelance writer who lives in Cape Cod, Mass.
portsmen and sportswomen have made the news this year — or rather, we’ve helped to create it. We’ve spoken up about open-space initiatives, access and conservation, and in many instances, we’ve been heard. Many policies have been changed to our benefit, but the road is long. And while there is always more work to be done, we’re proving that we’re ready and willing to do it. On a national scale, many supported open-space initiatives and won. In February, hunters and anglers pressured Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, to withdraw legislation for the sale of 3.3 million acres of public land in the Western states. Access issues won in May when Montana Gov. Steve Bullock signed a bill to restore funding for Habitat Montana, a program that enhances wildlife habitat and increases public
6 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2017
Tom Keer, Guest editor
We’re Part of the Solution
access. There also are other victories that boil down to winners don’t quit and quitters don’t win. Other folks make contributions on local and regional levels, too. Kat Rand, a sportswoman and a graduate student in North Carolina, launched a T-shirt and hat company a few years ago called Carolina on Point (carolinaonpoint.com). Part of her proceeds go toward the restoration of habitat for quail, a beleaguered game bird in the Southeast. Then there are the two Michaels, one with the last name of Maynor and the other Nunnery, who followed a similar business model and formed Fowl Weather and Company (fowlweatherandco.com), also in North Carolina. Proceeds from their sales go toward the preservation of our rich waterfowl heritage. Sportsmen and sportswomen all have a say in what happens. Together, we have the ability to create a positive impact on our activities, the land and the game we pursue.
Savings can take you to amazing sights.
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UP FRONT I N T H E N OW, I N T H E K N OW
GET YOUR GOBBLER
Flip through our 2017 issue for all you need to know to cast and blast this season.
Surefire Shotguns Five good investment scatterguns for all your shooting successes BY JOE HEALY
grew up in Central New York’s historic shotgun country. Rifles weren’t allowed for deer hunting — so geography partially explains why I’m partial to shotguns. These days, I reach for one gun for all my hunting — an overand-under 12-gauge. With a 28-inch barrel, it’s a little long for deer hunting, so in the whitetail woods, I sometimes opt for my shorter-barrel, auto-loader 12-gauge slug gun, from which I can shoot sabot slugs. The truth is, though, I haven’t touched my lever-action .30-30 rifle or my bolt-action Remington Model 700 Win .270 rifle, in years. For close-range hunting and skeet, trap and sporting clays shooting, these five shotguns will cover your bases.
1 A custom semi-automatic shotgun? That’s basically what you get with the Beretta A300 Outlander, which can be adapted to fit to each shooter’s measurements and shooting style. Spacer shims are inserted between the action and the pistol grip, which customizes the stock’s drop at comb and cast (a plus if you’re a left-handed shooter). Also, the safety is reversible and easy to adapt for a lefthanded shooter. The shotgun breaks down into just four major components for fast, easy, tool-free cleaning. Available in natural wood, black synthetic or two camo finishes, the gun comes in 12-gauge for 3-inch shells. $800 to $900, beretta.com
Spacers can be inserted between the action and the pistol grip.
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To devoted side-byside shotgunners — and especially shotgun collectors — the name Fox conjures history, performance and style and is synonymous with the phrase “double gun.” The new Fox A Grade series presented by Savage Arms honors this heritage. These side-by-side, boxlock shotguns have the superb handling qualities, balance and simplicity of design. The new Foxes come with an American black walnut stock and forend and are available with 26- or 28-inch length barrels. Choose from either a 12- and 20-gauge with double triggers. $4,999,
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3 Before daybreak, when you’re settled into the duck blind, you can feel good about the gun in your hands when it’s the Fabarm XLR5 Waterfowler. The oversized trigger guard makes the semi-automatic shotgun a favorite of glove-wearing waterfowlers. The synthetic stock is coated using the Soft Touch process to give it a rubberized feel, and the standard camo pattern finish is Kryptek Banshee. This auto-loader’s recoil is lighter because it uses the Pulse Piston system and features an extended auto-loader bolt handle. Available in 28- or 30-inch barrel lengths.
$1,695 to $1,875, fabarmusa.com
4 Designed to be a field shotgun, the Merkel 40E field-grade sideby-side shotgun is the working man’s version of the company’s popular 47E, without the rich finish and hand-cut engraving. Featuring a reliable and industry-standard Anson & Deeley boxlock action, the gun has 28-inch barrels and a finely checkered Turkish walnut stock and forend. The shotgun is available in 12and 20-gauge models with 3-inch chambers and the choice of a straight, Englishstyle or a pistol-grip stock. A small bore 28-gauge is offered in limited quantities, with 2 ¾-inch chambers. $4,595,
5 The Remington V3 Field Sport semiautomatic shotgun has the company’s reliable Versaport gas system that softens recoil. Available in many finish choices that include walnut, camo and synthetic black, the V3 Field Sport cycles 2 ¾- to 3-inch shells and has a 26- or 28-inch barrel with a light contour vent rib. All V3 shotguns ship with three screw-in Remchokes (improved, modified and full). The V3 gets the job done in the field, and is also equally at home for other recreational sporting activities, such as skeet shooting and sporting clays. $995,
PROVIDED BY THE COMPANIES
Get in Gear Monthly subscription boxes keep outdoor enthusiasts excited for what’s to come STORY BY SARA SCHWARTZ PHOTOGRAPHY BY JERALD COUNCIL
onthly subscription boxes have hit nearly every consumer niche — and the hunting, fishing and camping ones are no exception. But years ago, when avid hunter and fisherman Adam Whitehead wanted one, he came up empty-handed. “After seeing multiple monthly boxes in other industries and my friends having fun with them, I decided to jump onboard and sign up for one that matched my passions,” he says. “I found companies like Lucky Tackle Box, that serve the fishing community, but nothing for the all-around sportsman.” So he set out to create one.
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While figuring out a business plan, he went on a duck hunt with a friend in eastern North Carolina and met his soon-to-be business partner, William Kornegay, who was immediately onboard with the project. Tailored to a region’s upcoming fishing and
hunting seasons, The Sportsman’s Box launched in mid-2015 with 118 customers. Today, it ships out to thousands across the U.S., Canada and soon New Zealand, Australia and Europe. The company, based in Wake Forest, N.C., partners with more than
For Every Taste There are dozens of companies creating boxes for those who love everything about the outdoors. Here are some of our favorites: NOMADIK
Boasting “no junk, no trinkets, no samples,” Nomadik delivers products created to enhance outdoor experiences. Previous boxes have included hammocks, smartphone battery backups, multitools and a know-yourknot bandanna. Plans start at $27 a month; thenomadik.com Sample product: The LUCI Outdoor 2.0 inflatable solar light, which is waterproof, runs on solar power and has four light modes
Battlbox prepares you for whatever life throws your way. Boxes are themed around survival scenarios with items that can include concealed-carry holsters, tactical pens and fire pistons. Plans start at $24.99 a month; battlbox.com Sample product: SOG PowerPlay with hex-bit kit, a multitool that combines 18 tools and can be opened one-handed
75 companies, including Mossy Oak, Browning, Farm to Feet, ScentLok, Bone Collector, Cherokee Sports and Remington. Whitehead says part of their success is that they work with about 25 “field operatives” around the country who test out and recommend products.
“Through the Field Op program, we have been able to test and gain suggestions for products,” Whitehead says. “On top of that, we have become a group of friends that all share the same passion and are able to share stories. And when we do get together, it’s like we’ve been friends forever.”
Featuring a gamut of tactical and outdoor gear, past Sportsman’s Boxes have included a vacuum food sealer and fish scaler.
Each Postfly Box arrives with handtied flies, gear and The Fly Guide with information on each fly, advice from the pros and links to how-to videos. Customers can choose from five monthly boxes — trout, warm water, salt water, steelhead and fly-tying. Plans start at $19 a month; postflybox.com Sample product: Striking lures almost too beautiful to use
Tough Treads Don’t let rocky terrain, wet weather or plummeting temps keep you from where you need to go outdoors BY JOE HEALY
4 The heavy rubber outsole of the Field & Stream Woodsman 800g Hunting Boot provides durability and comfort while HydroProof ULTA technology keeps water out and allows moisture to escape. The 800 gram Thinsulate keeps toes toasty.
$89.99, fieldandstream shop.com
The Irish Setter 4882 Rutmaster 2.0 gives hunters a stealthy, quiet boot that’s comfortable and warm with a rubber sole that provides traction and stability. EcoFlex technology gives the boot a flexible backing, making it easy to take on and off, and the ScentBan scent control process kills bacteriacausing odors. Realtree Xtra green camouflage also works great for early season bow hunting.
The L.L. Bean Technical Fishing Shoe protects feet when wading through trout streams or saltwater flats, and breathable air mesh allows for quick drainage. Air-prene cuffs and a tough sole keep debris from irritating your feet. Equally good on land or in a boat, these can be worn barefoot or with socks. $129,
2 The Gumleaf USA Field Welly is made of 85 percent natural rubber, so it won’t crack, and the neoprene footbed is extremely comfortable. The cotton-lined boots have an adjustable strap and an all-terrain lug sole, keeping you secure and surefooted. $215, gumleafusa.com
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5 Launched in 1912 with the standalone L.L. Bean Maine Hunting Shoe, the company continues to offer and improve the sturdy and warm moccasin-like boot. The classic has improved traction and durability and still offers the waterproof leather upper and steel shank support it’s always had. $129,
PROVIDED BY THE COMPANIES
Introducing the NEW
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Fits 5 gallon buckets (included) Silent spin seat lid (included) Reinforced, padded back & straps Pockets for 5 boxes of 3” shells Insulated water bottle holders “No questions asked” LIFETIME GUARANTEE
Available at your local retailer and www.peregrinefieldgear.com 800.595.3850 Hunting • Ice Fishing • Trapping • Shore Fishing • Camping • Wildlife Photography
Looking Sharp Get the right knife for your cutting needs
The striking Kershaw AM-5 opens quickly and simply using one hand — just pull back on the flipper and you’re in business. The quality stainless steel 3.5-inch blade has black-oxide coating for extra protection. The G-10 and steel handle has a hand grip and is crowned and polished for a smooth feel and classy look. $54.99, kershaw.kaiusaltd.com
This rugged and attractive Kiku Assisted folding knife by SOG was designed in collaboration with master blade maker Kiku Matsuda of Japan. It has a tough, weatherproof linen handle and VG-10 stainless steel blade with SOG-assisted technology, making the blade easier to open. The 3.5-inch straight blade locks in the open position and has a strong tip for piercing. $187,
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The Orvis Company’s Feather Inlay knife, available with a pheasant or chukar feather accent, makes a fashionable and utilitarian gift for any wingshooter — or for yourself. But because of the tang blade assist, which automatically deploys the 2-inch stainless steel blade, it’s not available to be shipped in about a dozen states.
With a blade length of 3.5 inches, the Williams Gen 1 folder boasts strong stainless steel and corrosion-resistant hardware. The knife has a hinge-locking mechanism for safety. The G-10 handle material (also resistant to corrosion) comes in blue, black, green, orange and digital camo. $150,
An XX emblazoned on a knife was once an indication that the blade had been heat-treated, and therefore, a quality knife. Similarly, the XX on the Case Sportsman Series Pheasant Trapper pocket knife is a sign of traditional quality. The TruSharp surgical stainless steel clip and spey blades are set on an embellished natural-bone handle with an engraved pheasant. $89,
PROVIDED BY THE COMPANIES
BY JOE HEALY
THE JOE ROGAN EXPERIENCE
podcasts.joerogan.net TUNE IN MeatEater podcast (themeateater.com/ podcasts) is free and available on iTunes, YouTube and Stitcher.
“Joe is one of the godfathers of podcasting. I wouldn’t be in the business if it weren’t for him. His show is hilarious, and it’s all over the place — from astronomy to martial arts to bowhunting. Joe has become an avid hunter in recent years, and he spends a lot of time discussing his motives and adventures.” Free;
available on iTunes, Google Play, YouTube and Stitcher
THE HUNTING DOG PODCAST
Podcasts allow you to enjoy outdoor adventures, even in the off-season BY PHILIP MONAHAN
ost of us don’t have the luxury of hunting or fishing whenever we want, but that doesn’t stop us from thinking about our favorite activities all the time. The rise of podcasts dedicated to these pursuits means that sportsmen and sportswomen can become immersed in the world of the outdoors anytime and anywhere. Steven Rinella, host of the popular MeatEater podcast, is a big fan and contributor to the genre. A popular writer and TV personality known for bringing the hardcore outdoor lifestyle to the masses, Rinella enjoys the fact that podcasts aren’t limited by time constraints or subject matter. Ideally, he says, a podcast should be like a “perfect BS session you’d have around a campfire, but with a hand pulling the levers to focus things so they lead to some kind of resolution.” Here are three of Rinella’s favorite podcasts:
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able on iTunes and Stitcher
HUNT TALK RADIO, RANDY NEWBERG UNFILTERED
“Besides being an excellent hunter, Randy is a dedicated force in the conservation world. He’s not afraid to take strong stances on controversial issues, such as the transfer of federal lands to the states. Anyone who wants to stay up to date on important political issues that affect hunters and fishermen should be listening to Randy.” Free;
available on iTunes, Google Play and Stitcher
Hunt. Fish. Listen.
“This host of this podcast, Ronny Boehme, is a professional tradesman and obsessive bird hunter who breeds hunting dogs as a hobby. His show, which is casual and informative, exemplifies the democracy of podcasting. He has no staff and no producers, yet he reaches thousands of listeners every week with his infectious enthusiasm for dogs, shotguns, cigars, cheap beer and birds.” Free; avail-
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Year-Round Hunter Foraging for other goodies that the great outdoors has to offer BY MARK HER WIG
y appetite for wild game and forest-foraged foods began, surprisingly, after I caught a whiff of an incredibly domestic item: my first homemade bread, right from a hot oven, slathered with hand-churned butter. This led me to dive deeper into pursuing more food from the source, fresh from the fields and waters, procured by my own hand. In the late 1960s in southern Minnesota, I shot and ate my first wild game — squir-
rels and rabbits. Around the same time, I foraged my first fiddlehead greens. I boiled my first maple syrup in 1990 and flailed my first wild rice into a canoe off a wild northern Minnesota lake in 2015. Gun hunting grabbed my youthful attention for its drama. Foraging for nongame foods came later, but the thrill of the “catch” is still there. So, come and join the ranks of the hunter-forager. You’ll love feeling self-reliant and getting closer to the land.
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If you’re a wild turkey Morels are also creatures of hunter, then keep your eyes the deciduous forest and forpeeled en route to your est edge; they’re often found hunting areas for morel near dead trees and roots. mushrooms and emergSearch southern exposures ing ferns, or fiddleheads. early, and then move deeper Fiddlehead greens grow in into the woods and northern the spring anywhere there slopes later in the spring. are deciduous forests, and Your inner morel alarm in many areas you should go off when can pick enough to the lilacs bloom. PICK fill a lunch-size bag. Like maple sap DURING Pick them before runs, morel erupSPRING they unfurl, or when tions are temperathey’re about 1 to 4 ture-oriented; the inches high, because as they best times to pick them are unfurl they get tough and when highs are in the 60s, bitter. I like eating them raw, lows above 40. There are but you can steam or lightly toxic morels, too, so use a boil them. Use a guidebook, guidebook. I recommend because some fern species Peterson Field Guides’ A are mildly toxic. Field Guide to Mushrooms: Morels are found in much North America. Fry or deep fry of the country and emerge them. Morels’ rich, savory from March through May. flavor elevates any dish.
FIDDLEHEADS AND MORELS
Tap dripping maple sap
Sap boiled into maple syrup
GETTY IMAGES; MARK HERWIG
MAPLE SYRUP The marked contrast your tap in the south face of between fake and real maple the tree trunk at waist level. syrup will have you passing Plastic taps are inexpensive, up the imposter, which is as is the tubing that runs typically just corn syrup. The from the end of the tap to best syrup sap comes your collecting jug, from sugar, silver, red and are sold at most or black maple trees, hardware stores. TAP one or more of which Sap runs best when DURING LATE are found roughly nighttime temWINTER everywhere east of peratures are below the Missouri River. freezing, followed by In early March, find a maple temperatures that hit at least that’s at least 12 inches in the high 30s the next day. diameter (ask permission on It takes about 40 gallons to public land), and using either make one gallon of syrup, 10 an electric or hand drill, bore for a quart. Collect the sap, a hole the girth and length of boil until thick and enjoy.
Wild rice (not grown a lightweight wood. As for commercial use) one person pushes the grows naturally in canoe, the other bends shallow lakes and rivers the 5- to 6-foot stalks in scattered areas from over the canoe with one Minnesota to Louisiana flail and gently brushes and all the way to the the seed heads with Eastern seathe second flail, board, but the thus knocking HARVEST core range is the only ripe seeds DURING Great Lakes and into the canoe. LATE SUMMER boreal Canada. Most folks take TO EARLY Wild rice is their raw rice FALL actually a seed (undried and that looks like a with the husk) to large, dark grain of white a finisher. rice, but has more flavor Last year as I riced and nutritional value. on Leeman Lake in St. Where I live in Louis County, Minn., the Minnesota, any lake or Ojibway people sang river with public access rice songs in their native is open to ricing with tongue as they’ve done a license. Contact your for thousands of years. state natural resource It was magical. I made agency for locations, roast ruffed grouse which change based on stuffed with wild rice water levels, rain and that autumn, and a wild wind storms that knock rice and wild turkey the ripening seeds off, soup this spring. preventing harvest. Wild rice is a fickle crop, so scout right up to harvest time. (For my region, I use 1854treatyauthority. org to get all the details.) In Minnesota, you can harvest with a canoe and push pole only. Check your state’s Department of Natural Resources website for requirements and permit regulations. It’s best to take a buddy along who can push the canoe while you harvest. To harvest the seed, Sorting you’ll need to make wild rice some flails (basically a straight, smooth, 30-inch branch) from
— MARK HERWIG is a lifelong hunter and hunting and conservation writer. He has been editor of Pheasants Forever’s magazines since 1998 and freelances for other hunting and conservation magazines.
Deer Differences Make sure it’s the right kind of shooter buck
FACIAL COLOR FACTS
BY TOM KEER
deer comes through the clearing, and you squint through your scope. The animal turns. Is it a mule deer or a whitetail? You’ve got to know the difference before you shoot. States have different rules for when you can hunt each kind of deer, and you need a separate tag for each species. It’s important to properly ID all game; in some states an innocent mistake can carry fines, result in as many as 90 days in jail and include the loss of your hunting
license for three years. In some places, identification can be tricky, especially where whitetails and muleys co-exist. The highest concentrations of both types of deer is in the southeastern corner of Montana and the northeastern part of Wyoming, but that overlap is about to expand. Idaho and South Dakota have growing populations of both, and other states will see a change, too. Wherever you hunt, check state regulations, and have yourself one heck of a fall.
WHITETAIL Mostly brown face
MULE DEER White between eyes and nose and most of snout
Rack: Horns consist of a beam that runs full length on each side. Brow tines all branch off main beam.
Rack: Antlers fork out starting a few inches above the head and are configured more like an elk.
Ear spread: approximately 16 inches
Ear spread: approximately 21-24 inches
Ear length: 6-inch average tip to head
Ear length: 9-10 inches tip to head
Whitetail hunters can find more information on the Quality Deer Management Association’s website (qdma.com); mule deer hunters should check out the Mule Deer Foundation (muledeer.org).
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GETTY IMAGES; INFOGRAPHIC BY LISA M. ZILKA
Discover some of the country’s best fishing and hunting in “Almost Heaven,” West Virginia. FISH
— More than 20,000 miles of streams and 100 lakes — Catch-and-release and fly-fishing-only trout streams — Year-round trout fishing
— More than 1.4 million acres of public lands for hunting — Older-aged buck areas — Non-resident youth up to age 18 can hunt for under $30 — Liberal bag limits
Cabela’s third Virginia store opened in March in Gainesville.
Grand Opening At new Cabela’s, gun rights and patriotic themes are on display STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY KEN PERROTTE
axidermy mounts of North American fish and game, beautiful dioramas and massive, hand-painted murals accentuate the retail space throughout Cabela’s new store in Gainesville, Va. — giving the retail space lots of the “wow” factor that customers have come to expect. Surprising, though, is the powerful exhibit that greets customers at the store’s entrance: a bald eagle perched above a replica stone bearing the chiseled words of the Second Amendment. Above it, a life-size bison charges the preamble to the Constitution. >
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According to Alyson DeGroot, the store’s marketing specialist, this is the only Cabela’s store in the nation to have that type of entranceway. “The store was designed with a patriotic theme. This was important, recognizing how important these (words) are to our heritage and our culture,” DeGroot says. The theme also features tutorials, including how hunters and anglers contribute to conservation via the collection of excise taxes on the very gear they’re buying in the store. Large displays with images of former presidents, such as Herbert Hoover and George H.W. Bush enjoying the outdoors, grace the walls. The firearms section gives a nod to Theodore Roosevelt. The store acknowledges its Old Dominion home with regionally specific murals, centered on major rivers and their habitat features. Among these are the James, Shenandoah and Rapidan rivers. This new store, which opened March 9, is the third in the state and the closest one to Washington, D.C. (about 35 miles). DeGroot estimates some 10,000 customers visited on opening day. Business has been steady since, she adds. The store is about 20 miles from the National Rifle Association’s headquarters, which donated rifles for an exhibit on military firearms. At nearly 80,000 square feet, the store isn’t among the largest in Cabela’s inventory, but it hits the highpoints in terms of the market it serves. It includes a two-lane indoor archery range, a gun library featuring used and vintage firearms for sale, a “bargain cave,” a Powersports center and more. DeGroot says store location depends on a variety of factors, including the number of catalog and club members in an area. “You start to
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Customers can sell and buy new and used guns in the expansive firearms department.
realize this area is already populated with people who are our customers,” DeGroot says. She called the store a “gateway to the outdoors” for many urban dwellers and suburbanites living in and around the nation’s capital. “They can get both the education and the products they need to get outdoors here,” she says. DeGroot says weekends are prime time for family events. Many kids’ activities, educational events and seminars are year-round. Go to cabelas.com and click “Find a store near you.” The store’s website has a rundown of activities and most don’t require preregistration. “The kids don’t want to leave,” DeGroot says. l
T N U E R V ES D A Six all-inclusive outdoor trips you can arrange on a whim to have the experience of a lifetime
BY BEN ROMANS
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here are simply so many outdoors
quests that it’s almost impossible — or affordable — to stockpile all the gear
needed to participate in “everything.” That’s why you gotta love outfitters.
Any worth their salt are able to coach you
through an outing, teach you something new and provide the essentials. But, there are
outfitters, and then there are outfitters — those that can address your every desire so all you need to pack are a few changes of clothes.
Some operations will try to assist you on short
notice, but you’ll want to contact any outfitter
in advance so there’s enough time to plan the best experience possible. With that in mind, here are six full-service hunting and fishing
experiences in six U.S. regions where you can
shoot a bird without having to purchase a gun
GETTY IMAGES XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
or catch a fish without owning a rod:
L A S T- M I N U T E
BIGHORN DIY FLY
BIGHORN ANGLER, FORT SMITH, MONT.
might need — rods, reels, waders, you name it. You can literally fly into Billings, drive to Fort Smith with a few changes of clothes, and we’ll set you up. In fact, we get a lot of people stopping in on motorcycles after they’ve gone to Sturgis or something like that, and we get them on the water.” If you’ve ever wanted to learn to row a boat, test a boat before you buy one or simply want an introduction to the river from someone who knows it best, Bighorn Angler has just the thing. “We’re the only operation (in this region) to offer a primer trip that’s $375 a day for two people, and it’s a half-day guided float trip followed by a half-day boat rental, with lunches,” Galleta says. “You put in at (Yellowtail) Afterbay Dam with the guide, and he’ll show you how to row the boat, recommend flies and get you tuned in with what’s shaking on the river. At the 3-mile mark, the guide will take off, and you’re free to float and fish on your own for a few more miles. We’ve found it’s a great way for anyone to maximize the rest of their days on the water. “There’s no other place in Montana that you can call, get an entire trip mapped out, outfitted and ready to go. You’ll have a great time on a great river.”
bighornangler.com; 406-666-2233 uAverage cost: Four nights and three days, $1,200 per person (guided)
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Consider an early winter cast-andblastpackage; shoot ducks in the morning and catch trout in the afternoon.
Thousands of fly anglers flock to the Big Sky state each season to fish the fabled waters of western Montana. But what many fishermen have come to realize is that for shots at more and larger fish, you need to land farther east. The Bighorn River has become one of the most visited rivers in Montana because anglers have learned it’s the place to catch lots of fish and lots of big fish. Once you get there, your options are limitless — you can even rent your own drift boat, and Bighorn Anglers will drop it off and pick it up at the boat ramps for you. “We include everything you’ll need to fish, rest, relax and eat,” says Bighorn Angler owner Steve Galleta. “The thing that’s different about us versus something like a high-end lodge is we have nine hotel rooms, two cabins that each sleep four and three big custom homes — the smallest sleeps six, and the largest sleeps up to 12. “Our packages include lodging, meals cooked from scratch by our chef, guided float fishing, flies and any equipment you
EVERGLADES KAYAK FISHING, EVERGLADES CITY, FLA.
When some think of “backcountry,” they don’t necessarily think Florida. But the state contains one of the largest protected wilderness areas in the country — Everglades National Park. What’s more, you are free to explore it via boat, canoe or, better yet, kayak. Folks like Capt. Charles Wright, owner of Everglades Kayak Fishing, can show you the way, outfit and provision your camp, rent your tackle and even cook your meals. All that is up to you is the fishing license. “Typically, paddle-craft anglers don’t go far from the mainland. We use a skiff to motor our gear, guides, guests and kayaks up to 30 miles away and set up a base camp,” Wright says. “At
basic info about health needs camp, a guide will take care or allergies, and based on the of duties like setting up camp, group scenario, we’ll organize meals and those types of the rest,” he says. “But this things, so you’re free to grab isn’t like a trout river trip a kayak and simply go fishing, where the group wherever you’d floats at the same like, for as long as time, gets off the you’d like.” river at the same What’s great time, eats at the about Wright’s Bring your same time. If you approach is that own reel. want to go back you can distance Renting one early for a cocktail, yourself from costs just you can do that. the crowds in as much as “If you want to one shot, and buying one. head out before there are endless anyone wakes up, miles to fish. you can do that. You can go days If you want to sit around the and never fish the same spot campfire at night and throw a twice. shark line off the beach, you “When you book a trip can do that. People need to (we prefer at least 30 days keep in mind the only things out), we’ll send a detailed an outfitter can really control confirmation, and it asks some
are the food and the gear.” If you own a kayak and gear, and an all-inclusive trip isn’t in the cards for you or your friends, Wright offers a shuttle service where guides motor you deep into the Everglades and drop you off. After that, you’re free to camp on any number of beaches or on the region’s famous chickees (elevated, sheltered platforms above the water). The shuttle returns days later at a rendezvous point. “We get a lot of people ... that spend $200 to fly down the night before, split a hotel bill, pay the $800 for the outfitted and provisioned kayak trip and a couple travel meals coming and going, and then they’re back home Sunday night,” Wright says.
EVERGLADES KAYAK FISHING
evergladeskayakfishing.com; 239-695-9107 uAverage Cost: Two nights and three days, $895 per person (group of 4)
L A S T- M I N U T E
PADDLE THE BOUNDARY
WOLVERINE STATE WILD BIRDS
WILD WING NORTH OUTFITTERS, WATERSMEET, MICH.
Few things are more thrilling, or iconic, than hunting wild upland birds in the Midwest behind dogs with championship bloodlines. And nobody knows that more than Tracey Lieske, a wellGrouse are respected trainer who has worked with hunting not difficult to kill, but they dogs for more than 30 years and advised some of are difficult to the finest bird-hunting lodges from coast to coast. hit. Carry light Eventually, his home state of Michigan lured him loads for a back, and he’s set up one of the most inclusive light gun (like upland hunting operations around. a 20-gauge) “Ruffed grouse are on many upland hunters’ that are easy bucket lists. The birds are romanticized in to carry all literature by the Burton Spillers of the world, day. and so just to be able to hunt them is a romantic experience,” Lieske says. “Naturally, this is a gentleman’s hunt. We’re not up at the crack of dawn. We get up, hunters enjoy a good breakfast while I’m tending to the dogs, we give the birds time to come down from the roost and typically start hunting around 8:30 in the morning until noon. We break for lunch, and then go out again for two or three hours in the evening.” Part of the beauty of Lieske’s program is that he hunts wild birds on public land (state and national forest) where the hatches are best and bird concentrations are high. He has close confidants within the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, including Al Stewart, who is in charge of the upland bird program for the state and always gives him a handful of locations to target. “We are a turnkey operation. All someone has to do is schedule a flight,” he says.”We’ll pick them up from any number of nearby airports, and take it from there. Transportation, lodging, meals, guiding, field presentations, gun rentals and ammo, you name it — it’s all included. It’s five stars across the board.”
lieskesprogundogtraining.com; 810-484-6800 uAverage cost: $850 per day/per person
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One of my greatest freshwater fishing adventures wasn’t in some far-off, exotic location. It was right in Minnesota’s backyard, and I have Jim Blauch, owner of Moose Track Adventures, to thank for it. Blauch set myself and a few friends up with a weeklong excursion into the reaches of Canada’s Quetico Provincial Park and the neighboring, cross-border Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA). That’s where I found untold numbers of bass, pike, walleye and lake trout, lakes that felt like I had them all to myself and countless primitive campgrounds — some of which have been around for thousands of years and frequently used by Native Americans. I thought I was special, but I wasn’t. Moose Track Adventures offers the same outfitting experience to anyone. (Just don’t forget your passport.) Blauch says one of the first things people ask is, “What’s included?” The answer is: everything you’ll need to eat, sleep and recreate — tents, sleeping bags, maps, cooking kits, personalized meals, you name it. If you’re in a pinch, you can rent a fishing rod (though you’ll have to buy your own tackle, and there’s a shop in Ely if you forget). “We’re here to make sure you have a great, safe trip. Just jumping into a canoe can be a challenge. We’ll give half-hour lessons on the lake beside the cabins to help,” Blauch says. “But that’s how we approach everything — we’ll show you how to set up your tent, how to light the stove and fill it with fuel, how to prepare the freeze-dried meals. We’ll help out with anything someone is unfamiliar or uncomfortable with. “My biggest suggestion is to maintain an open mind and be flexible,” he adds. “Come here to relax, put your electronics away and be open for an adventure.” One of the best ways to get introduced to the BWCA is a three-night, four-day trip. If you’re more adventurous, try six nights and seven days. Blauch will give you a map with personal notes on where he recommends exploring, where there’s great fishing and even where some of the nicest campsites are located.
moosetrackadventures.com; 218-365-4106 uAverage cost: Two to four days, $105 per person/per day
WILD WING NORTH OUTFITTERS
MOOSE TRACK ADVENTURES ELY, MINN.
MOOSE TRACK ADVENTURES
Troll a Rapala Tail Dancer behind your canoe to catch walleye and lake trout for dinner.
L A S T- M I N U T E
SOUTHERN BIRDS & BASS
There are few sounds that can make the hair stand up on the back of a hunter’s neck faster than the dawn-piercing sound of a mature gobbler. Nobody knows that better than Tim Chappell of Deer Creek Lodge, where his guests experience a 90 percent opportunity rate. In fact, when turkeys were reintroduced to western Kentucky, Deer Creek’s property was the original release site because it had such great habitat. “Our turkey season is pretty short, but we do a lot of hunting in that window,” Chappell says. “But our place is an all-inclusive place, so you can do a little hunting and a little fishing. It’s totally up to you. You can just show up with your clothes, and we’ll get you into the field.” If you’re fortunate enough to drop a bird during your three-day hunt (two-bird limit), an employee will dress and vacuumpack it for you to take home. What’s more, when you’re not hunting, you can enjoy Deer Creek’s trophy bass water. “We built the lake specifically to grow big bass, and we’ve got a really good system for growing big fish,” Chappell says. “The lake record is an 11-pound, 9-ounce largemouth caught on a 10-inch purple worm, but someone caught a 10-pound, 11-ounce fish late this past February.” If spring simply isn’t your thing, Deer Creek is also regarded as one of the finest upland wingshooting lodges in the nation, and it has a liberal season. In fact, it’s very long compared with turkey season, lasting from Oct. 1 to March 31. As testament to Deer Creek’s wingshooting opportunities, the lodge has a “no-limit” hunt for quail, pheasant, chukar and Hungarian partridge during that window — a package many shooting lodges don’t offer. “Just about everything we do is a custom package. We also have a partnership with
a nearby nationally known golf course, so if someone wanted to hunt or fish and spend an afternoon playing a round, we can set that up,” Chappell says, referring to Victoria National Golf Club. “We host weddings, reunions, corporate retreats and fundraisers. We’ve got that kind of flexibility.”
deercreeklodge.net; 270-835-2424 uAverage cost: Three-day turkey cast-and-blast, $2,500 per person (three days guided hunt, two days guided trophy bass fishing)
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Be prepared for lots of walking. You’ll do quite a bit while looking for turkeys, or behind dogs chasing upland birds.
DEER CREEK LODGE
DEER CREEK LODGE, SEBREE, KY.
DUCKS OVER RICE
CUPPED WINGS GUIDE SERVICE
CUPPED WINGS GUIDE SERVICE, GILMORE, ARK.
To some, duck hunting is something they’re mildly interested in — they might hunt opening day and then stash their shotgun the rest of the season. Then there are those who venture out every other weekend during the season. And there are those who are simply addicted. That’s how you have to categorize Mike Del Toro and the crew from Cupped Wings Guide Service (CWGS), one of northeast Arkansas’ premier, all-inclusive waterfowl outfitters. When they’re not hunting ducks, they’re scouting for ducks, and when they’re not scouting for ducks, they’re planning where to hunt ducks. “We are a full-service lodge, and we offer a couple different packages, but our all-inclusive packages are the most popular because it includes everything — your lodging, meals, bird processing, beer, wine, sodas and travel to and
from wherever we’re hunting,” he says. “If you choose to travel without a gun to avoid the hassle of TSA, we have shotguns for rent and shells we sell by the box.”
If it’s rainy and foggy, birds don’t like flooded timber. If it’s a sunny day with a perfect sky, but still cold and windy, that’s when the birds get into the trees and out of the weather.
If that doesn’t catch your attention like a duck call to a greenhead, the places Del Toro hunts, and the numbers of ducks in the area, will. CWGS has thousands of acres of fields and wetlands at their disposal in northeastern Arkansas, the
mallard capital of the country. “Arkansas has the most flooded timber in the United States, we’re the number one rice-producing state in the U.S., and we hunt just south of Poinsett County, the top rice-producing county in the country,” Del Toro says. “Rice is the biggest food source for ducks in the winter. But in our area, there’s also beans, corn and grains, so birds come here to winter, and they stay here.” Even if you’ve never hunted ducks, Del Toro can get you geared up, in a blind and blasting away. The days typically start early in the morning, and you’ll hunt until early afternoon, or until you get your limit (the number varies depending on the species). Then you can relax in the lodge, watch football, take a nap and enjoy dinner while the guides venture back out to scout for birds to hunt the next day.
cuppedwingsguideservice.com; 855-932-7299 uAverage cost: $450 per person Monday through Thursday; $550 per person Friday through Sunday
OUTDOORSMAN NOMADIC SPIRIT AND ANIMAL INSTINCTS GUIDE HIS HUNTING PROWESS
REMI WARREN BY KRISTEN A. SCHMITT
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PROVIDED BY SOLO HUNTER
igh above the Nevada timberline, Remi Warren glasses for deer. Outfitted with dual cameras, countless batteries, SD cards and his Prime compound bow, Warren isn’t only hunting; he’s trying to document the entire endeavor in real time. While he tries for a successful spot-and-stalk, Warren is aware of camera angles and the extreme difficulties behind trying to shoot a deer and film it simultaneously. But, by chronicling everything as it happens, Warren is able to show the whole experience — even if it means he misses an opportunity. “I try to capture as much as I can while it’s happening because that really translates to the real adventures I’m having, the real struggles,” says Warren. “I’m not afraid to show when things go bad.” >
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of being out there and continue to push myself in different ways so I can stay out there longer,” says Warren. Warren’s passion for the challenge is ingrained — and something he eagerly pursued as soon as he could. As a child, he spent countless hours in the woods and mountains, fishing the tiny streams and exploring the rugged terrain that stretched
“I’VE GOT THAT NOMADIC SPIRIT. ... IT REALLY HELPS ME TO MOVE AROUND AND FIND NEW PLACES TO HUNT AND EXPLORE.” — REMI WARREN
behind his parents’ property outside of Reno. When he was 8 years old, he started bird hunting with his dad and brothers, but he had to wait until the legal age of 12 to hunt big game, dropping his first buck on a hunt with his dad on the outskirts of his parents’ property. That was the start of something bigger. “Every moment I could go hunting, I would, whether someone could take me or whether I could just get dropped off and go alone,” says Warren,
now 32. “I just wanted to be out there hunting.” His interest in animals and desire to learn about them triggered his love for hunting. “A lot of people may not understand that,” says Warren. “But I got into hunting because I loved animals. I loved being around them; I loved being a part of that process, and I loved going out and hunting.”
BACKCOUNTRY SCHOOLHOUSE “Remi was always into nature and animals and the science of it,” says Jason Warren, Remi’s younger brother. Jason works alongside Remi as a guide for Montana OutWest Outfitters, Remi’s guide business. “At a young age, we would spend summers in Montana, running around the hills. Remi was always showing us different things and how to hunt. Remi pretty much taught me everything that I know about hunting.” Hunting was a constant current within the Warren gene pool. His grandfather, Smut Warren, ran an elk outfitting business, which was sold shortly after Remi was born, and his father, Dan, was an avid hunter who inspired his three sons to appreciate the wilds that surrounded their home. What Warren’s parents didn’t anticipate was just how much passion he would have for the woods and the wilderness, going off on his first of many solo hunts at 13 – the legal age required to do so. “There was a time in high school where my parents were like, ‘Yeah, as long as you get good grades, you can miss as much school as you want,’ and I missed the exact legal amount (you could) before getting held >
A natural outdoorsman, it’s difficult to imagine Warren stumbling or making a mistake. As one of two co-hosts of the Outdoor Channel’s popular show Solo Hunter, Warren often spends weeks hunting alone in backcountry, reliant on his own skills and abilities, which he has honed over years working as an elk and deer guide in the mountains of Montana and zigzagging the globe in search of his next challenge. It’s clear that his greatest satisfaction isn’t the trophy at the end of the hunt, but the process itself. “When I’m out hunting, I try to observe everything. I’m constantly smelling the air, looking at signs and trying to take in everything like the types of plants, the types of topography,” says Warren. “I’m really focused on a lot of things that other hunters may not be focused on: the orientation of the hill to the sun, the prevailing wind, the thermals. I try to focus on every single aspect.” Warren’s methodical approach is what distinguishes him from his peers. “He’s relentless,” says Ben O’Brien, a member of Warren’s inner circle and hunting marketing manager for Yeti Coolers. “He’ll take and do things that even the most hardcore of us might consider difficult. He makes the longest climb or the hardest hike look easy. When there’s a challenge, he does better. He steps up to it more than anybody I’ve ever seen ... he thrives under the worst conditions possible.” Heavy rain, deep snow or high winds won’t drive Warren to fill his tag as fast as he can. “I’d rather hunt for nine days and come home with the experience
Watching wolves track food led to Remi Warrenâ€™s premise for his adventurous, but short-lived show, Apex Predator.
back. I couldn’t miss another day, and it was all because I was going out hunting,” says Warren. In college, Warren only enrolled in spring and summer semesters so he could focus on hunting and guiding during the fall months. He lived cheaply during the times leading up to guiding season by spending them alone with a backpack, his bow and some supplies in a tent in the woods. His determination to spend as much time as possible outside, hunting and guiding, led him to establish his own guiding business, following in his grandfather’s footsteps. In 2007, at the age of 22, Warren opened Montana OutWest Outfitters for business, concentrating his efforts on guiding deer and elk hunts in the Bitterroot Valley. He used the time between clients to hone his expertise in the backcountry. “Most years, I probably hunted about 124 consecutive days, so I gained a lot of experience really fast, going out every single day, day in and day out, whether it was hunting for myself or guiding,” says Warren.
A deep interest in animals and learning from them has led Warren on global adventures, many of them captured by The Outdoor Channel’s Solo Hunter, above, Apex Predator, middle, and Under Armour’s Ridge Reaper, below.
Those who have used Warren as a guide say he is the real deal — a selfless hunter who will help you get your game and share expert strategy along the way. Shaun Miller, a North Dakota native, has hired Warren as his Montana elk guide for the past six years and says that Warren’s generous nature isn’t common among hunters. “Remi is so far beyond his years and his skill set with his guiding, his awareness to animals’ tendencies and habits, how they carry themselves in the wild,” says Miller. “You learn so
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A WOODSMAN’S WISDOM
SOLO HUNTER; APEX PREDATOR; PRIDGE REAPER
much being around him.” These days, Warren hunts about 200 days a year, though his record is 300 days. “I’ve got that nomadic spirit,” says Warren. “The whole reason humans made it to North America in the first place was because they were chasing the animals. It really helps me to move around and find new places to hunt and explore.” While he has a penchant for traveling, two of his most memorable adventures actually occurred closer to home. In 2009, while working on an outbuilding on his Montana property, Warren spotted debris from a capsized boat coursing through the high waters of the East Fork of the Bitterroot River; a woman floating face up quickly followed. Warren took action, tossing his cellphone to his mother so she could call 911 and running along the bank, knowing that once he dived in after the woman, it was very possible that he wouldn’t make it out. Fortunately, Warren was still wearing his heavy hunting boots, which he believes is the only reason he had enough traction to pull her — and himself — out of the raging waters. While a near-death rescue is typically a once-in-a-lifetime event, Warren is responsible for two. Danielle Hyne, Warren’s friend, had been missing for almost three days when Warren was contacted by her sister. Search and rescue couldn’t find Danielle after she disappeared from a trailhead in Winnemucca, Nev., and they were going to call off their search. Warren, his brother Ryan, and Joe Dibble — a member of Warren’s Apex Predator wolf pack and longtime hunting buddy — took to the trail.
“In my mind, I thought, ‘I’m not going to let anyone influence what I’m going to do.’ No matter what they say, where they think she is, it obviously hasn’t worked,” says Warren. After hours of searching, Ryan and Dibble headed back down the mountain to touch base with the other rescuers while Warren stayed put, wandering around the area as night settled in, conscious that he had to trust his gut. “I hunt with my instincts. My instincts told me to go to this spot, and I sat down and yelled, ‘Danielle? Danielle! I’m not leaving until I hear from you.’ And from across the canyon, I hear, ‘Remi?’” She was found 300 yards from where Warren sat, extremely dehydrated and suffering from heatstroke. Since then, the two have been inseparable. They travel together frequently when he is not guiding or filming Solo Hunter and she has time in her busy school-teacher schedule; the joke is that he stuck to a long-ago promise that he’d find her if she ever got lost.
ANIMAL INSTINCTS It seems a lot can happen on Warren’s home turf, including inspiration for one of the most unconventional hunting shows to date: The Outdoor Channel’s Apex Predator. “There’s a certain area that I hunt for elk, and I have a certain way I hunt this mountain because it’s the way that I always find elk,” says Warren, who hikes over ridges and through canyons to take a specific route that has proved successful for years, making it a favorite destination when he’s guiding a hunt. In 2013, as he and Miller started walking through the dark in the Bitterroot Mountains, his headlamp picked up wolf tracks traveling up the ridge in the same direction. They switchbacked through the rough terrain and ended up off course. Once they re-established their path, they discovered that it was already imprinted with fresh wolf tracks. Because this specific route had taken Warren years to figure out, it dawned on him that the wolves had honed in on the same crucial piece of >
information: This route always led to food. “It made me ask ‘what other animals out there are we mimicking?’” says Warren. He ended up pitching this premise for Apex Predator three months after that trip. “In some ways, we’re doing the same thing. We have a lot of our technology that we take from the natural world, like camo, like optics. It’s not us inventing these things; it’s us observing them and trying to mimic.” While Apex Predator was shortlived, premiering in 2015 with only nine episodes and then running again in 2016, investigating how humans can imitate certain key animal instincts or natural adaptations illustrates how much Warren relies upon the science behind animal behaviors when it comes to hunting. “Remi has this innate ability to recall all this information
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that he’s learned, read or stored through the previous years and put it all together and make it a success in the field,” says Jason Warren. Dibble points out that Warren’s perseverance is one of his strong points and, once the camera is rolling, he’s committed to the end. “He lets so many opportunities get away when he’s bowhunting,” he says, revealing that last year Warren let the buck of their dreams go because he couldn’t get the shot on film. “He ended up hunting for 18 days, and I think if he’d had another opportunity at that deer — and couldn’t get it on film — he still wouldn’t have taken the shot.” That juggle has spurred Warren to start rifle hunting again because archery, his preferred method, can act as a major stumbling block. With a rifle, he doesn’t have to be as
close to make the kill. Currently, Warren divides his time between his favorite haunts in Nevada and Montana (for mule deer, elk and, occasionally, bear) and the mountains of New Zealand (where he hunts tahr and fallow deer), juggling camera equipment and acting as his own cameraman and producer, filming episodes for Solo Hunter and being field editor for Western Hunter. While his hunting prowess easily elevates him to guru status, cohost Tim Burnett says Warren’s hunting skills didn’t matter as much as his personality did. “Remi is very authentic,” says Burnett. “Whether he’s hunting for television or not, it’s the same, it’s part of his lifestyle. And that’s what’s cool about a guy like Remi. He hasn’t let the cameras or the notoriety or the fame get to him. He’s what I consider a true grit, true hunter.”
REMI’S GEAR OF CHOICE
TUNE IN You can purchase the Apex Predator series for $14.99 at apexpredator.tv
“IF MY GEAR COULD TELL A STORY, IT WOULD TELL ONE OF A HARD LIFE WITH LOTS OF ABUSE,” SAYS REMI WARREN. HERE ARE FIVE ITEMS THAT AID IN HIS ADVENTURES:
1. UNDER ARMOUR RIDGE REAPER BEANIE + JACKET “Many years ago, I started wearing a beanie over my (baseball) hat and it’s caught on. People always tell me that I created that style, but, trust me, it is practical.”Beanie, $39.99, and Ridge Reaper 23 insulated 2-in-1 jacket, $249.99, underarmour.com
2. VORTEX RAZOR HD 12X50 “The added magnification of the 12 power is great for mountain hunting. They also have a good warranty, which is important because I am really rough on gear.” $1,699.99; go to vortexoptics.com for local retailers
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3. YETI COOLERS “Nothing is more important than being able to keep ice for a week in hot temperatures. It means a lot to be able to hunt in the desert and get the meat cooled and home without spoiling. The Hopper (shown) also doubles as a carry-on.” Hopper, $399.99, and Tundra 75, $449.99, yeti.com
4. GERBER KNIVES “The Gerber Paraframe is my everyday pocket knife. It’s easy to clean and sharpen and I have used it for years. I also use the Gerber Vital Pocket Folder (shown) a lot for field processing. I like that it has a replaceable blade and is always razor sharp.” Vital Pocket Folder, $49, and Paraframe 1, $29, gerbergear.com
5. PRIME BOW “(The Prime Centergy) holds steady and shoots extremely accurately, which means I’m that much more effective. I owe it to the animals I hunt to make a perfect shot.” $1,199; go to g5prime.com for local retailers
PROVIDED BY THE COMPANIES
Forestry’s impact in Louisiana • 59,352 jobs in forestry & related industries • 14 million acres — 50% of land area — of forest land • 73 million seedlings planted each year • $11 billion of economic impact
70 years of minding the forest for our future
BOLD BADASS Three women changing the face of the outdoors B Y K R I S T E N A . S C HMITT
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Jennifer Drake grew up hunting with her family in Indian River, Mich., harvesting game in the rural town nestled between Burt Lake and Mullet Lake, near the Upper Peninsula. Schooled in tracking by her father, Drake had a natural knack for guiding, helping friends on elk, coyote and whitetail deer hunts for years before deciding to become a guide. “I loved to be in the woods,” she says. “What better way for me to be able to spend my time there than to make it my career?” While it had always been a dream, it took an epiphany following cervical and ovarian cancer, and an on-the-job horse accident, before she pursued it. She credits friends for the nudge. “I sat at home, bummed, because I couldn’t go back to work at the ranch,” says Drake, who adds that she couldn’t see herself content at a desk job. “My friends asked me, ‘Why don’t you just hunt for a living? You could do this.’” Based in Afton, Mich., Drake’s Guide Services became official in 2016, the first licensed femaleowned guiding service in Michigan. For a fee, >
GETTY IMAGES; JENNIFER DRAKE; ANGIE REISCH; CHERYL BOWDEN
JENNIFER DRAKE, MICHIGAN’S FIRST — AND ONLY — FEMALE HUNTING GUIDE
YL CHER EN D BOW
Drake takes patrons on a three-day hunt, complete with videos, photographs, field dressing, meat processing and a caped-out hide for mounting, if they are successful. She’s also working closely with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to create a basic hunting course for new hunters who may not gain experience any other way. “There’s so many little tips that people don’t know if they’ve never had the opportunity to be taught,” says Drake. “Like how old the track is, or the difference between a buck and a doe’s track; these things make you a better hunter.” Drake started with small game as a child and graduated to deer, elk, coyote, turkey, bobcat and bear as she grew older. Her hunting prowess is equal to her male peers. Her biggest challenge? Having both the guiding and hunting communities take her seriously because she’s female. “It’s hard to work in an area where it’s mostly men,” says Drake. “A lot of them will downplay your abilities. ... What better way to prove them wrong than to be like them?” With nearly 800,000 hunters in Michigan, obstacles don’t stop Drake from combining her love of hunting with a successful business. And she hopes women interested in hunting will seek her out. “There are a lot of women out there who may not want to go with a male guide,” says Drake. “A lot of my girlfriends are hunting now because I was out there pushing for them to get out into the woods.” While Drake’s femininity may make her a more comfortable choice
You can do it, too
to guide female hunters, it also gives her an edge for the job. “I am quieter and more observant. I think a lot of women are that way, because women tend to look at their surroundings to find their way, to navigate,” Drake says. “As a female hunter, you’d spot the deer or notice the tracks and the little things more often than another hunter might.”
ANGIE REISCH, KANSAS GAME WARDEN Becoming a game warden wasn’t Angie Reisch’s original career goal, but after working as a biologist for several years, she wanted more. With her background in biology and zoology, Reisch explored her interests in conservation and law enforcement, which led to her becoming Kansas’ first female game warden in 2014. Three years later, Reisch is one of two female game wardens. “We need more women in this profession,” she says, cautioning that
Part of Angie Reisch’s job as game warden is to educate about wildlife.
A DVICE FR OM TH E PROS ON HOW T O G ET STA RT ED
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any scrutiny she feels doesn’t deter her from arresting wildlife violators or patrolling back roads alone. “This is a man’s field. When I got hired on, I was the only female warden (among more than) 60 men. Ninety-nine percent of the hunters I check are men. ... I encourage more women to get into this field.” The actuality is that female game wardens aren’t common: Out of the 5,630 fish and game wardens within the U.S., 22 percent are female, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The job is dangerous and the hours are often 24/7. “My purpose is to protect the resource and my primary responsibility is hunting, fishing and boating law enforcement,” says Reisch. Because her duties shift with the seasons, her daily activities can vary drastically throughout the year. Her busiest time is fall and winter during deer rifle season. “I can easily work sunup to sundown until the end of deer rifle season.” Reisch’s jurisdiction covers all of Finney County, although she helps in neighboring counties and has spent time tracking tornados for area law enforcement during major storms. She spends most of her time in the driver’s seat of her state-issued truck, windows rolled down to hear rogue gunfire along dusty back roads and gritty two-tracks. “My truck is an office with a view,” says Reisch, who keeps it fully stocked with a variety of gear, including an AR-15 assault rifle, flashlights, night vision goggles, an air compressor for her tires, her ticket book, paperwork for seizing
GETTY IMAGES; ANGIE REISCH; CHERYL BOWDEN
Female hunters should get to know their game wardens and natural resource officers because they are often their allies in the fields and forests. “Enjoy your time out there and don’t let anyone sway you from wanting to be in the woods. It makes you feel safer when you’re out in the woods, knowing they’ve got your back, too.”
illegally harvested game, a forensics bag, an evidence bag, containers for disease sampling, rain gear, a toolbox, life jackets and her tow rope, “which I’ve used plenty of times because it gets really muddy.” The best part of the job? Investigating and making a case. Reisch sees her fair share of fishing violations and has seized plenty of fishing licenses and “short fish” that don’t meet Kansas length requirements. She also investigates spotlighting (using high-powered lights and off-road vehicles to locate nocturnal animals) as well as wildlife poaching reports. “They’re hard cases to work,” Reisch says. “But I can’t wait until I get the next one.” Although arresting poachers and taking down wildlife violators is extremely satisfying, Reisch says that the highlight of being a game warden is educating the next generation of hunters. “I’m a strong proponent for getting kids away from their electronics and into the outdoors,” says Reisch, who teaches numerous hunter education classes for a variety of ages during the spring and summer. “Since Kansas began putting on the classes, hunting accidents and hunting fatalities dropped drastically.” Reisch can’t imagine being in a different profession: “Even when I have those bad days, at the end of the day, I’m glad I chose to be a game warden.”
CHERYL BOWDEN, LADY BASS CLASSIC CHAMPION When the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society decided to stop holding women’s fishing events, angler Cheryl Bowden responded by starting her own women’s bass fishing organization with co-founder Secret York in 2010. Now, in its seventh year, the Lady Bass Anglers Association (LBAA) is 90 members strong and continues to empower female anglers within the pro bass fishing circuit by holding four to five tournaments per year, with the concluding LBAA Classic in the fall. Bowden is a two-time winner of the LBAA Classic, an honor she says only drives home the idea that a woman can fish just as well — or better —
than any man. As a child growing up in east Texas, fishing was a natural family pastime, but Bowden didn’t consider the professional side until 2008. “I didn’t get Judy Skibinski and Cheryl Bowden, into bass fishing right, fish during the 2012 championuntil I was an ship in Lake Guntersville, Ala. adult,” says Bowden, who credits a guided-fishing trip as the bait that got her hooked. “Shortly after that trip, I got my first boat, joined a local club and fished a little of the women’s fishing tours.” As a full-time teacher, Bowden began fishing tournaments when they aligned with her work schedule. Like many who want to learn the pro circuit, she initially participated as a co-angler, which meant she mainly fished off the back of the boat as a teammate and used the time to learn from the more experienced angler. “Co-angler is a great place to learn because you don’t have to worry about anything but fishing,” says Bowden, who encourages women to try fishing that way. Now, with a more flexible schedule as an education consultant, Bowden, who lives in North Richland Hills, Texas, participates in 12 to 20 fishing tournaments each year. She has won three classics and come in second and third place in four other classics. “I love the challenge of chasing down the fish and figuring out what they want,” she says. “Winning is always fun, but even if I haven’t won the tournament, if I have overcome something, I’m proud of that.” Bowden also shares her bass angling know-how through the Texas High School Bass Association, by “fishing it forward” — teaching bass angling skills to the next generation. Success on the bass fishing circuit comes in different forms. For Bowden, that means quality friendships with other women anglers. “There’s camaraderie. ... I have met some absolutely phenomenal people.” l
Have a natural interest in the outdoors. “Most states require a bachelor’s degree in a field like zoology or biology. If you have hunting, fishing and law enforcement experience, that’s helpful, too.” Many states hire game wardens with an undergraduate degree and then expect them to complete law enforcement training.
Basic skills are necessary, like baiting a hook or taking a fish off. Many clubs offer classes or seminars to get started. “Starting as a co-angler is a great place to get a feel for things. Don’t be afraid to try if you have the interest. ... If you don’t have a boat, there are state parks; there are plenty of places to fish and learn.”
t was quite the catch. Blair Loveland, a business development manager in Tarpon Springs, Fla., was fishing in 2007 with his family out of West Palm Beach. His father, Joseph Loveland Jr., had chartered the Boomerang, a sport fishing boat, for a half day as a present for his granddaughter, Kaci, then 8. Loveland’s wife, Jennifer, and 12-year-old son, Dylan, were along for the adventure. The family had a good yield: Loveland caught a 3-foot barracuda; Kaci and Dylan each landed king mackerels; and Jennifer hooked a 7.5-foot sailfish, battling it relentlessly before relinquishing the pole to Loveland.
“Less than a month after having disc surgery in her lower back, she hooks this thing and fought it for about 15 minutes, and then I had to bring it in,” Loveland says. “Took me about an hour.” Loveland is big on catch-and-release, but the line had tail-wrapped the sailfish. Lactic acid, built up during the long fight, had exhausted the fish beyond reviving. The catch was impressive, though — and a possible dock record — that Loveland wanted a mount. But he had a choice — traditional skin mount or fiberglass replica. Both yield different results, looks and weight, with beauty being in the eye of the beholder. >
THE REEL THING
54 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2017
REAL OR FAKE Skin mounting requires removing the bones, meat and organs, saving the skin, head, gills, teeth and throat of the fish. The taxidermist uses a proprietary mix of chemicals to preserve and tan the skin, which is then stretched over a polyurethane mannequin. Fish quickly lose much of their color after they’re caught, so paint is used to re-create the coloring. The process is time-consuming and can be difficult to master. For decades, skin-mount fish taxidermy was the only option for preserv-
ing a trophy catch. But in the late ’80s and early ’90s, fiberglass replicas became popular because they were easier and faster to do, less messy and well-received among those who wanted a trophy but preferred catch-and-release. All that’s necessary to make a replica are some photos and measurements. (In fact, New Wave Taxidermy in Stuart, Fla., says that more than 90 percent of the mounts made today don’t have any parts from an actual fish.) Fiberglass replicas, also referred to as release mounts or replica mounts, are created from a cavity mold of a specific species. Mold makers use an actual fish to create a mold, which can be used for hundreds of replicas. Most taxidermy shops have thousands of models in different sizes and species to match the trophy fish as closely as possible. Using two halves of the mold, a gel coat is brushed on, followed by several layers of fiberglass. A fiberglass paste is added to connect the two halves, which are clamped together to create the replica’s full body. Once hardened, the body is released from the mold, cleaned up and airbrushed to match photographs.
PROVIDED BY GRAY TAXIDERMY
A Gray Taxidermy employee works on a fibgerglass replica. The shop has more than 10,000 models of species available.
RELISHING THE REPLICA Loveland opted to have a fiberglass replica of his sailfish made by Gray Taxidermy (graytaxidermy.com) in Pompano Beach, Fla. “They’re pretty much the go-to guys in Florida,” he says. He paid about $1,400, saving an estimated $400 in shipping costs by picking up the replica himself, and advises others to inquire about extra fees to avoid sticker shock: “The shipping for a mount is expensive as hell.” In operation for more than 50 years, Gray Taxidermy bills itself as the big fish in the marine taxidermy industry and produces about 14,000 fish mounts a year. Sizes range from small bait fish, which are used in mounts with larger fish, to their largest mount to date — a 26-foot blue marlin, according to sales associate Joseph Ribera. Gray got its start doing skin mounts, partial skin mounts and replicas, but today the company sticks mostly to fiberglass, Ribera notes. “We haven’t seen (a skin mount) in nine months, and I know they want to completely do away with them because they’re just very labor-intensive.” The company primarily mounts saltwater fish, but nearly a third of its business is dedicated to freshwater species like largemouth bass. The company works with charter boat captains and crews to recommend fiberglass replicas to customers who catch trophy fish. Those looking to have a replica done should measure the fish from the tip of the nose or bill to the tip of the tail — and take photos as soon as it’s in the boat, Ribera says. “Let’s say you catch a dorado — a dolphin — so you want to take a picture as soon as it comes in the boat because that’s when the colors are going to be peak,” he says. As the fish loses oxygen and becomes more stressed, the color starts to muddle and fade. Quickness is key. “Then you can release it or you can harvest it and eat it — whichever you decide to do — and then you can call and tell us the measurements. … It’s as easy as that.” Ribera also recommends measuring the girth to get a more accurate replica. Many people don’t like taking billfish out of the water, so he advises using monofilament fishing line to measure the fish while it’s along the side of the boat. Measure the line after the fish is released, and you’ve got the numbers for your mount. Customers can even opt to have specific scars shown on their replica. “Any imperfections like a shark bite on the side of a fish — we’ve done many of those,” he says. “If that’s something they want to incorporate in their trophy, we can do that.” Ribera learned the taxidermy trade working during the 1990s at the well-known, Fort Lauderdale-based J.T. Reese
PROVIDED BY GRAY TAXIDERMY
For decades, skin-mount taxidermy was the only option for preserving trophy fish. Taxidermy, now closed. And while he’s done his share of skin mounts, he’s much happier promoting fiberglass replicas. “I’ve seen skin mounts that are so horrific, it’s funny,” he says. “When I was younger, I caught a steelhead trout and I had it mounted. I thought it was the best in the world ... (but) when I got in this industry, and looked at it again, I thought, ‘Oh my God, it was square!’ If you don’t make the mannequin properly underneath, and the anatomy and the muscle structure isn’t right, the (exterior) is not going to be right.” While Loveland has owned three skin mounts — a tarpon skin mount his father caught in the mid1950s, an Atlantic marlin caught by his mother in Cape May, N.J., in the ’60s and a 39-inch dolphin — he’s very happy with >
For shipping, Gray Taxidermy encases larger fish in wooden frames wrapped in cardboard. Smaller species ship in heavy-duty cardboard.
An artist at Gray Taxidermy uses airbrushing to re-create specific details. A clear topcoat achieves a wet look and seals the color.
Sandy Margret hand-paints a skin mount at Kingfisher Gallery and Taxidermy.
how the fiberglass sailfish turned out. (Unfortunately, the dolphin fell off the wall and the family dog chewed the cardboard dorsal fin), but Gray Taxidermy, having done his sailfish replica, gave him a good deal on a dolphin replica. “Those are the first fiberglass mounts I’ve ever had, and they’re like half the weight (of my skin
Based out of South Padre Island, Texas, Sandy Margret has been in the industry for 25 years, part of a dwindling breed. After completing a master’s degree in fine art from New York University and an undergraduate degree in communications and art from Rutgers University, she learned taxidermy from renowned Wisconsin taxidermist Alan Meiers, of Al’s Taxidermy Studio. Her path led to a 20-year career teaching high school art and English, but she never stopped practicing taxidermy, and in 2009, she quit teaching to open Kingfisher Gallery and Taxidermy (kingfishertaxidermy.com). On average, Margret says she produces more than 300 fish mounts a year — 85 percent of them skin mounts. A big number considering each of her creations is hand-painted — a practice she alone might maintain, she says. “Blending is done by hand, for a completely natural look.” Margret is truly passionate about creating vibrant and realistic skin mounts — and firmly dispels the myth that they don’t hold up over the years. “My skin mounts will last generations, and they don’t turn yellow and they don’t break,” she says. “(The myth is) what’s been said to people over and over by other taxidermists who don’t want to handle the labor or the time or don’t have the skills.” Decades ago, many taxidermists used caustic chemicals like formaldehyde, oil-based lacquers and kerosenes, Margret says. She opts instead to use environmentally friendly water-based solutions and polyurethanes to help preserve the fish and prevent yellowing or cracking. Margret says another reason her work stands out in the field is that she uses the entire body of a fish — head included. Some taxidermists who do skin mounts
mounts),” he says. “I think fiberglass mounts are really going to be the way of the future.”
NICHE (FISH) MARKET Given the amount of work necessary to create a skin mount, it’s no surprise that there aren’t many taxidermists left who specialize in the process.
56 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2017
PRIOVIDED BY SANDY MARGRET
Given the amount of work, the wait time for skin mounts is five to six months on average.
PROVIDED BY SANDY MARGRET; PRINT BY SANDY MARGRET
prefer to use fake heads for numerous reasons, she says. Either they may not know how to properly clean a head or it’s too time-consuming. Sometimes customers are told this up front, in other cases, they might not realize that the head on their skin mount isn’t real. “There’s no gills; there’s no real tongue; there’s no real teeth,” Margret says. Surprisingly, she doesn’t skin mount her own catches. An avid spear fisherman and conservationist, she says she releases the big trophy fish so they can continue to breed: “Then I’ll (make) a replica.” Her company now resides in a 4,000-square-foot facility, having expanded from 1,300 square feet earlier this year. And business is booming: “It seems like the bigger we grow, the more people are sending us fish!” If you’re interested in having your fish mounted by Kingfisher, there are several specific requirements: Customers must either ship it to the shop within three days or freeze it immediately. To get it to Margret in three days requires the fish to be kept on ice with the water draining out (a cooler with a spigot works). Fish sloshing around in ice water will damage the scales, she adds. Or, the fish can be wrapped in a soaking wet towel and frozen whole. Kept this way, the fish will keep for up to two years and can be shipped overnight — arriving in perfect condition. “Don’t make any cuts on it, don’t gut it, don’t do anything like that. Just make sure the towel is packed really tight around the fish,” Margret says Understandably, the wait time for a skin mount is more than a fiberglass replica. For Kingfisher, it takes about five to six months on average. (Despite the long wait, Margret says she’ll do skin mounts for other taxidermists who want to offer it to their customers.) >
nother way to commemorate your catch is to commission a Gyotaku print. Practiced around the world, the ancient Japanese technique uses rubbings of the actual fish to print an image on rice or linen paper. Many believe the practice, dating to the mid-1800s, was a way for fishermen to record their catches. Taxidermist and artist Sandy Margret has been practicing the art form since learning it while spending a semester in Italy during graduate school. Margret says there are two benefits to opting for Gyotaku: It’s great for those who want something to show for their catch but don’t want a fish mounted, and the process does not adversely affect the taste or quality of the fish meat, meaning you get your cake and can eat it, too. “When they pick up their fish print, they (also) pick up perfectly delicious fish fillets to take home and enjoy” she says. To make a Gyotaku,
Margret hardens the scales of the fish with chemicals and then adds species-appropriate ink colors. Fish with harder scales can be used to create three prints, while softerscaled fish, like trout, can usually make just one for each side. With this process, Margret can make multiple prints. “Sometimes (clients) buy one for every member of a winning fishing team,” Margret says, adding that if there are extra prints, she sells them at her business, Kingfisher Gallery and Taxidermy in South Padre Island, Texas. With each print, the colors, shape and size of the fish are recorded exactly, and Margret includes the angler’s name, date, location, size and weight on the print. “Now your trophy catch can be displayed in formal and elegant settings. It is wonderfully popular when you think about all the places fine art is appropriate,” she says. — Sara Schwartz
Recent projects at Kingfisher included a 12-foot conference table built for the Green Law Firm in Brownsville, Texas. A redfish, speckled trout, snook and southern flounder are mounted to look as though they are swimming through the table. Each species is
Sandy Margret makes about 300 fish mounts a year, most of them skin mounts. chasing a baitfish, shrimp, finger mullet, piggy perch and blue crab, Margret says. For the grand opening of a Dick’s Sporting Goods in Brownsville, Margret created a massive $10,000 display that includes three
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large bull redfish, two snook, two Texas slam stringer mounts with trout, flounder, a school of snappers and redfish. Carlos Benavides, a rancher in Laredo, Texas, has “about 100” taxidermy specimens, a half dozen of them fish mounts made by Margret. One of his favorites is a 52-inch red drum he had done about 12 years ago. “It’s really, really beautiful; it’s like sunshine,” Benavides says. “It looks as beautiful as when I first put it up.” He caught it in Port O’Connor, Texas. “It’s just a thrill to be on a boat trying to wrangle one of these big fish in.” A longtime friend of Margret’s, Benavides praises her artistry, adding that she’s equally good at re-creating lifelike fiberglass mounts. “If you get somebody like (Margret) who knows how to paint, it really makes a huge difference,” he says. “She’s a great artist first before taxidermist, so she just brings all these fish back to life.” Of course, there are those who opt for neither skin mount or fiberglass replica, choosing instead to remember their big catches through shared stories and photographs tucked into dusty albums. John Zilka, who lives on Gull Lake in Minnesota, fishes just about any chance he can get. Last fall, he caught an 8-pound, 28-inch walleye. He and his brother took a quick photo and slipped the fish back into the water. “I figured that fish could put out a lot of eggs and have a lot more walleye,” he says. l
PROVIDED BY SANDY MARGRET
Sandy Margret holds a redfish skin mount and says her skin mounts will last decades if properly taken care of.
Three virtual reality shows each week full of adrenaline-pumping adventures you can only get from the USA TODAY NETWORK.
CATCHING ON 60 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2017
Great Lakes chefs show the rest of the world that walleye, perch and whitefish pack a tasty punch BY JED PORTMAN
isconsin’s fish fries are still a popular weekly tradition. “Friday nights, you’ll see fish on the menu everywhere from bars to high-end restaurants,” says Tami Lax, owner of The Old Fashioned restaurant in Madison, Wis. She grew up on bluegill, perch and walleye with the fixins in the blue-collar dining rooms known statewide as supper clubs; her fond memories of fish fries revolve around the 95-year-old Eddie Whipp’s Dining Hall, just outside her hometown of Green Bay. Catholic immigrants originated the fish fry, but today it’s an entirely crosscultural rite. “At the supper clubs, they always give you dark rye bread with your fish,” Lax says. “Plus coleslaw and thick slabs of white onion.” Many locals also consider hush puppies, hot sauce and tartar sauce essential accompaniments.
Lax doesn’t stray far from tradition at her shrine to regional flavor, where she serves shaved prime rib and beer-battered walleye. Midwesterners cook lake fish such as walleye, bluegill, perch, cisco and whitefish in many ways, but for home cooks, frying is probably still the most popular method. “Everybody around here claims a secret recipe, but I don’t think frying fish is complicated,” Lax says. “It really comes down to dredging a fresh piece of fish through milk, flour and seasoning and then frying it until it’s golden-brown.” She isn’t the only accomplished chef with a surprisingly relaxed attitude on the subject. “Yeah, I think simple is the way to go,” says Paul Berglund, chef at The Bachelor Farmer in Minneapolis. “My batter is actually just sparkling water and flour.” Berglund does have a few tricks, though. He pours the flour into the water, stirring >
Flaky white texture
Flaky white texture
Fine, textured skin
the mixture as little as possible to ensure a light Of course, there are ways to prepare your catch and delicate batter. “Then I only get the batter that don’t require a skillet. “Traditionally, we’d about 90 percent blended,” he says. “Japanese eat lake fish dried and smoked,” says culinary tempura chefs will tell you that whatever you’re ethnobotanist Tashia Hart, the daughter of a frying, dragging it through the batter will mix commercial fisherman from Minnesota’s Red (the batter) the rest of the way.” Berglund seasons Lake Indian Reservation, near Bemidji. “Our his fish with sprinklings of salt and pepper after family used to go park by the lake and devour it comes out of the fryer. smoked whitefish all by itself. It was probably my You shouldn’t hide the flavor of fresh lake favorite food.” fish behind paprika or garlic powder, Walleye, in particular, was the agrees chef Iliana Regan, who owns lifeblood of the community, until Elizabeth in Chicago. overfishing led to a disastrous species You It’s easy to buy salmon or mahi collapse in the late 1990s. “I was 14 shouldn’t mahi, but lake fish is a treat — espewhen the fishery shut down,” says hide the cially for her, if it’s bluegill. Hart. “It really did have an effect on the flavor of “I just put a little flour on it, salt and daily lives and economy of the tribe. fresh lake pepper it, and then shallow-fry it in a Daily life seemed less fruitful. The fish. bunch of butter,” Regan says. “Then I absence of the fish brought an absence squeeze some lemon on top to finish.” in the life of the community.” When the recipe is that simple, The fishery reopened a decade ago, though, every detail matters — especially the and it has since rebounded under careful mantexture of the fish, which can dry out quickly. “I agement. “I hope the future of the fishery is one like to test my fish by sticking a little cake tester of sustainability and balance,” Hart says. “The or a thin blade into it,” Regan says. “When the life of the people reflects the life of the fish, and I blade feels just a little bit warmer than my body want the people to have that kind of future.” temperature, I pull it off the heat and let it finish Hart is now the plant expert for The Sioux Chef cooking while it rests.” Always let your fish rest, in Minneapolis, a Native American food consultwhether it’s coming out of the skillet or the deeping and catering company founded by fryer, she adds: “It will continue to cook.” the Oglala Lakota chef Sean Sherman. >
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Prepare the fish breading: Combine the flour, cornmeal, onion powder, salt, garlic powder and paprika in a 1-gallon plastic bag. Shake to mix. Roll up and seal. Prepare the potato packets: Tear off two 24-inch lengths of heavy-duty foil. For each packet, fold one piece of foil in half crosswise with the shiny side in. Place two pats of butter on the foil. Top with one-quarter of the potatoes. Scatter half of the bacon and half of the onion over the potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Top with another one-quarter of the potatoes and two more pats of butter. Fold the long edges of the foil together, then fold edges three times toward the center.
WALLEYE SHORE LUNCH
PHOTO BY DAVID PAUL SCHMIT, USED WITH PERMISSION FROM STOREY PUBLISHING
Excerpted from Dishing Up Minnesota by Teresa Marrone Serves 4 This dish is best prepared on an open fire. The first key to preparing this meal in a rough outdoor setting is advance preparation, which means bringing along the right ingredients. The second key, of course, is catching walleye to cook. You will also need a cast-iron skillet, a small plastic bottle of liquid dish soap, utensils, a sharp fillet knife and heavy-duty foil. Fish breading: 1 cup all-purpose flour ¼ cup cornmeal 2 tsp. onion powder 2 tsp. salt 1 tsp. garlic powder 1 tsp. paprika Potato packets: 4 T. butter, cut
into eight pats 2 large russet potatoes, peeled, boiled, cooled, and sliced ½ inch thick 3 bacon strips, cooked until crisp, then crumbled ½ cup sliced onion, cut crosswise from a
wedge Salt and freshly ground black pepper ½ cup (1 stick) butter, cut up 4 small to medium walleye fillets (or 2 larger fillets, cut in half crosswise), skin and rib bones removed
Build a good-size fire under a fire grate. Let it burn until you have a lively bed of coals with a few flames licking out; feed the fire as needed during cooking to maintain a hot, but not roaring, fire. Put the foil packets on the grate and cook until you hear sizzling, then turn and cook until the second side sizzles. Cook for about 10 minutes longer, turning frequently. Move them to the edge of the grate to keep warm. Place the skillet on the grate and add about 2 tablespoons of butter. Shake two fish fillets in the bag of breading and add to skillet, cooking until golden brown and crisp, adding more butter if needed. Poke the fish at the thickest part; if the flesh is opaque, the fish is done. Serve the fish and one of the potato packets to the first two lucky diners while you cook the second batch. When done, remove skillet from heat and allow to cool.
She also helps out in the kitchen, where the team blends her beloved smoked whitefish with beans, herbs, smoked salt and sunflower oil to make a dip that they serve with wild rice or amaranth crackers. They also give walleye fillets a healthy crunch with a crust of puffed wild rice, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. “We keep our food simple,” says chef de cuisine Brian Yazzie. “We try to stay as close to the original flavor profiles as we can.” Other chefs are less bound to tradition — indigenous or imported. “Walleye, I like to treat like Japanese unagi don,” says chef Jonathon Sawyer of The Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland. Unagi don is eel glazed with a sweet, soy-based sauce. Sawyer substitutes a 50-50 blend of sugary barbecue sauce and soy. “As I’m grilling the fish, I repeatedly dip and brush it with the sauce until it looks brown and crispy,” he says. After 15 to 20 minutes, the sauce forms a caramelized crust. Sawyer grew up hooking walleye and perch, which has long been his go-to for fried fish sandwiches: “I don’t think perch gets the love it deserves. I think it’s as interesting as bass, if not more.” It can be mild, but he has a solution for that. “I’ll
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Mild taste, flaky texture
Sweet taste, delicate skin
add just a little bit of fish sauce into the batter,” he says. “It ups the umami and that fish flavor.” Like Sawyer, Berglund isn’t necessarily a traditionalist. He makes a whitefish pasta dish using a basic formula that works with any rich, flaky fillet. “Whitefish has a nice succulence that other lake fish don’t have,” he says. “That makes it ideal for sautéing.” After browning the fish in a screaming hot pan, he breaks it into pieces with a wooden spoon and sets it aside. He scrapes up the golden-brown fond left on the pan’s surface with a pinch of minced garlic, a glug of white wine and a splash of fish or chicken stock. Once the liquids reduce to a glaze, he adds the fish back to the pan and finishes the sauce with a knob of butter and a sprinkling of parsley. “It’s the easiest pasta sauce you’ll ever make,” he says. “Just toss it with some linguine.” Midwestern chefs and home cooks have embraced local fish for generations, even as exotic imports have taken over menus in other parts of the country. “This is not a fad for us,” Berglund says. “Around here, I think walleye can still compete with scallops or halibut or salmon.” l
From Jonathon Sawyer, chef at The Greenhouse Tavern, Noodlecat and Trentina, in Cleveland Serves 2 This classic technique is practically foolproof and while it sounds complicated, it’s not. En papier, or en papillote, just means wrapping ingredients, like fish or vegetables, in parchment paper and steaming it in a hot oven. The flavor of the poaching liquid is integral to the quality of the finished dish, so take it seriously. You can take care of the first half of this recipe a day or two before serving the fish. You can also try pairing other ingredients with the fish, including sun-dried tomatoes, olives, caramelized onions and sausage.
66 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2017
In a large pot with a steamer insert over medium heat, combine ½ gallon of water, salt and wine. Bring this to a low simmer. Add mushrooms to the pot and steam until cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove, chill and slice into 1-inch-thick pieces. Add potatoes to the pot and steam until cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove, chill and slice into 1-inch-thick pieces. Reserve 1 cup of cooking liquid. When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place two sheets of parchment paper on the counter. Toss sliced mushrooms and potatoes with olive oil and a pinch of salt, then build your packages. Place a few slices of potato and then a few slices of mushroom in the center of each sheet. Top each with a fish fillet seasoned with salt and pepper. Then layer that with lemon slices, thyme, butter and ¼ cup of cooled cooking liquid from the vegetables. Fold the edges of each sheet over themselves to make a square package. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until just cooked through. Remove the package from the oven and let it rest for 2 to 3 minutes before opening. Garnish fish and vegetables with olive oil, lemon zest and salt to taste.
LAKE FISH EN PAPIER
2 5-ounce pieces of lake fish, such as yellow perch, walleye or trout 2½ cups dry white wine, about ¾ bottle ¼ lb. fresh wild mushrooms 6 fingerling potatoes, peeled 2 lemons, zested and sliced Splash extra virgin olive oil, plus more to garnish 1 T. thyme 4 T. butter, in 2 pieces 2 T. salt, plus more to taste
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INTO THE WILD HUNTING 70
IN THE END 112
Sporting Dogs We Love We asked Hunt & Fish readers to tell us why their dogs are the best and were overwhelmed by the amount of respect, admiration and love that owners have for their hunting buddies. Here are just a few of the responses:
“Though training Moxi to be a bird dog has been challenging, nothing brings more joy and happiness to my heart to see her gleam with joy as she retrieves a bird back to hand.” — Kevin Billy, San Clemente, Calif.
“My springer spaniel, Hunter, has a great nose for upland birds and, being a tall, leggy springer, great speed for flushing and catching cripples. His tell for when birds are close is to yip/bark, giving me a heads up for the shot.” — Mark Herwig, White Bear Lake, Minn.
PROVIDED BY THE READERS
“Whether hunting upland, waterfowl, or training for the next hunting season, my Griffin eagerly gives his top effort to please me.” — Gary Johnson, Barstow, Calif.
“As a professional ruffed grouse and woodcock guide, my dogs are my most important partners and I could not work without them. Here, Sasha, a Gordon setter, points a Virginia grouse.” — Stephen Faust, Statesville, N.C.
“Harley, found in the wild in Down East Maine and named for my fatherin-law’s love for HarleyDavidson bikes, is a hardcharging English pointer who responded well to field training and hunts close with dedication. He’s a good dude.” — Joe Healy, Waterford, Vt.
“Bella (pictured) and Luca are not the quickest bird dogs. They shed enough hair to knit a sweater. Hair and slobber are synonymous. They participate in a self-pity only to be appreciated by Saintly Francis of Assisi. So why these two? I am an old man. I do not care about killing birds; I simply like being with my two irreverent scalawag pals while in the woods or fields.” — Bob Priest, Frederick, Md.
è TO LEARN HOW TO keep your sporting dog hunting well into his later years, head to page 87.
GOBBLER GETTERS Tried and true turkey calls often beat out ‘new and improved’ BY KEN PERROTTE
xperienced hunters like trying new stuff, but a peek at their turkey-calling tools usually reveals one “old faithful.” This is often the call that looks a little road weary, high in mileage and years. It always makes the cut when the hunter is figuring out what to carry. It may not be first choice on any given morning, but when things are tough for the starters, it’s the call that gets summoned from the bullpen. We asked four well-traveled professionals to share their favorite vintage calls and what makes them bad mojo for difficult birds. >
70 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2017
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JIM CASADA and his custom wingbone yelper
Casada has written hundreds of articles and several books about turkey hunting and making turkey calls, and owns an impressive collection of vintage and custom-made calls. The South Carolina resident’s favorite is a homemade job, a two-piece wingbone yelper made decades ago by his hunting mentor and call-making master, the late Parker Whedon. Wingbone calls are fashioned from the fitted-together pieces of a turkey’s wingbones. The little wingbone (radius) of a hen serves as the mouthpiece, while the larger wingbone (ulna) of a wild gobbler serves as the trumpet or amplifier. The trumpet end of Casada’s call came from the first gobbler he ever killed. The suction end came from the first fall hen he took. The caller sucks on one end to elicit turkey sounds. Wingbones are among the most difficult calls to master. “I’ve used it probably 90 percent of the time, for the better part of 40 years,” Casada says. “I feel it has a number of advantages — it’s a call with a slightly different sound from the more popular boxes, slates, diaphragms, etc. It’s versatile in terms of the various ‘words’ in the turkey vocabulary you can produce, including yelps, cutts, purrs, whines, kee-kee runs and even gobbles.” He especially likes the call when he is hunting on highly pressured public land: “The call’s high decibel level will carry a long way, yet it can also be toned down to the softest of tree yelps.”
72 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2017
Casada says his favorite hunting call was made for him by his mentor Parker Whedon, one of the early names associated with exceptional handcrafted calls.
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BRIAN LOVETT’S go-to call is the MAD Super Aluminator
Lovett, one of the most widely recognized names in turkey hunting for more than 20 years, has chased gobblers across North America, notching several Grand Slams and one Royal Slam. He’s written and edited thousands of turkey-hunting articles and, today, serves as the hunting editor for the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Turkey Country magazine. Lovett hails from Wisconsin and his longtime favorite call is a production number, an original MAD Super Aluminator, circa 1996. (Citing popular demand, Flambeau Outdoors, owner of the MAD brand, has resurrected the Super Aluminator Pot Call.) “It was, without question, the hottest friction call on the market when I started my career at Turkey & Turkey Hunting magazine,” he says. “It was also the first call I ever brought home from a National Wild Turkey Federation convention.” Tad Brown, then a MAD employee, hand-picked an Aluminator for Lovett, matching it with a hickory striker. Lovett later lost the striker somewhere in the woods, but says the call still sounds as good as ever: “It just has a piercing, high-pitched ring to it like no other friction call before or since. I consider it to be one of the greatest production turkey calls ever made.” He’s such a fan that he acquired two more Super Aluminators long after they were out of production. Those grace the shelf bearing his collectibles. The original, though, is carefully stashed in his hunting vest.
74 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2017
Lovett’s favorite call is one he got more than 20 years ago.
For all things turkey, head to the National Wild Turkey Federation’s annual convention (nwtf. org/convention) in mid-February. PROVIDED BY BRIAN LOVETT
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Marsh regularly summons birds with his venerable Quaker Boy Little One Sider box call.
MIKE MARSH Marsh is a full-time outdoors writer and highly accomplished turkey-hunting fanatic. What makes his success so impressive is that he takes his gobblers on mostly public land across the Southeast. The North Carolinian’s favorite vintage call has sentimental value as well as great sound. It’s a box call, a Quaker Boy Little One Sider — no longer in the company’s lineup. The late Dick Kirby inscribed it to him at the SHOT (Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trades) Show in 1997. “It has accounted for a lot of turkeys over the years, even though a partner ran over it with a truck, and I had to glue a crack back together,” he says. “I like it primarily because it works well. But also because it is small enough to fit in a vest pocket without taking much space. The main thing is, the gobblers like it. “Dick signed the call with his trademark drawing of a strutting gobbler and it’s probably worth a lot of money to a collector. However, I am wearing the ink off the signature and artwork every time I use it,” Marsh adds.
76 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2017
Pearcy always carries a vintage Primos Box Cutter call with him when he ventures afield.
GENE PEARCY and his favorite call — the Primos Box Cutter
GENE PEARCY Native Missourian Pearcy has been a hunting and fishing guide his entire adult life, including 15 years working with Lohman Game Calls. Today, he owns Kansas Whitetail Adventures, outfitting and guiding hunts for trophy deer and Rio Grande and Eastern wild turkeys near Benedict, Kansas. He’s also host of On the Right Track (ontherighttrack.tv). His go-to vintage call, a Primos Box Cutter box call, wasn’t always a favorite – until he broke it. “I leaned on it and broke the paddle. I glued it back together, sanded it and, amazingly, it sounded better than ever. I don’t even have to put chalk on it,” he says. Like many favorite calls, Pearcy’s Box Cutter is a little shopworn. “I’ve had clients offer to buy me a new call; this one looks so rough,” he says, laughing. Pearcy says the call is deadly on Rio Grande birds. “Rios like a high-pitched call. This call delivers that pitch, as well as a raspy tone that the birds love. It’s often tough to find the balance between pitch and rasp in a call.” l
PROVIDED BY MIKE MARSH; PROVIDED BY GENE PEARCY
MIKE MARSH with his Quaker Boy favorite
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Dylan Ricky took this buck on the third day of the archery deer season, after weeks of observation and planning.
Bow hunting isn’t luck, it’s work and skill
utumn is bow season, a time when the honest and hungry take to the fields to connect with their role in the great wheel of life. Dylan Ricky of Gladwin, Mich., lives for bow-season opener. And although Gladwin, 22, is not known for producing monster bucks, he took a 19-point in 2011 during the youth hunt, and in fall 2016, he harvested a buck with an official Pope and Young green score of 160 6/8 with a whopping 7 7/8-inch base measurement. Two winters ago, after devoting several years silently trying to grasp the behavior patterns of the wild animals in his world, Ricky built an elevated
78 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2017
archery stand where he anticipated his target buck might emerge to feed. “The previous season, we saw him,” Ricky says. “I could have shot him a handful of times but decided to hold off. We found his dropped sheds and scored them in the mid-130s, with 5-inch bases.” In June 2015, he began watching for his prey but doing so without detection isn’t easy. Although deer seem tame and available in city limits, the same cannot be said of their behavior in the country. Through some magical intuition that science will one day explain, they know that they are fair game in the wild. Their superior hearing, smell and speed are never more evident than when they are hunted, >
PROVIDED BY DYLAN RICKY
BY LYDIA LOHRER
HUNTING death. Every year there’s a video or story of a buck killing his sparring mate but remaining entangled, dragging the body with him, unable to get free. The sound of the battle drew the attention of the elder, alpha buck. Alpha didn’t like it. He charged the other two, but Ricky was at the ready for his shot — a perfect instant
Their superior hearing, smell and speed are never more evident than when they are hunted.
80 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2017
drop at 45 yards with an expandable broadhead. “It dressed out at 225 pounds.” Ricky says. “That’s a lot of meat.” He didn’t anticipate the size of the antlers, either. “We had them at 5 inches.” Ricky attributes the health of his local herd to good genetics, the chance to grow and the mineral supplementation he began providing years ago. Now Ricky can turn his attention to the rest of fall’s bounty: geese and grouse, smallmouth bass in a feeding frenzy, wild steelhead rushing. — LYDIA LOHRER is a professional archer, conservation educator and a Detroit Free Press outdoors writer.
Mekco’s Timber Locker
AT THE READY Rather than lugging supplies in and out every time you visit the woods during hunting season, keep your gear ready, safe and dry. Mekco Outdoors (mekcooutdoors. com) launched in late 2016 with a series of products geared to hunters who hate lugging gear back and forth. The brand is part of Mekco Manufacturing, a Wisconsin-based company that makes high-end composite products. The 75-galloncapacity Hunt Locker sits on the ground, while the smaller Timber Locker storage unit is designed for tree stands. The Hunt Cube is a fully enclosed hunter’s shelter that can withstand weather and varmints. Jason Schneider, a design engineer and operations manager for the company, says the hunting products were tested in northern Wisconsin, where bears tried with no success to open the locker. The team also ran a Jeep over the Hunt Locker. It flexed under the weight, but popped right back into place. “It’s not a fancy heirloom,” he says, “but it’s going to be there and it’s going to last.” — Josh Lintereur
especially at the proximity required to make a good archery shot. Ricky began hunting at the age of 8, practicing by shooting 3-D targets at youth leagues. He learned to judge distances and shoot under the gaze of his competitors. Ultimately, he emerged as a victor in the world Trophy Cup class in 2005, which motivated him to participate in the National Triple Crown. The series is three competitions held in a year. He placed second in two legs of the competition and third in one. Although he’s never won the event outright, Ricky placed second overall in 2008 and 2010 and placed third in 2013. Today, he shoots as a pro-staffer for Michiganmade bow-manufacturing legend G5. “Whenever I try another bow, I realize how incredible the one I shoot is.” He chose his red target bow for the hunt. The first day of his hunt, his prey was evasive. The wind swirled his human scent to some does in the field, and the buck approached but stopped about 85 yards away — an easy shot for a gun, but a risk for an archer. “I didn’t hunt on the second day,” Ricky says. “I wanted to let the deer calm down. They had scented that something was wrong, and they might not return if it happened again.” The third day, Ricky watched two bucks knock antlers in the field. For a buck to climb the ranks of the whitetail social hierarchy before breeding season, he must compete in what can be a dance of
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HEAD TO TAIL Five ways to get the most out of your trophy BY BEN ROMANS
didn’t realize it, but for years, I let a lot of my harvested deer go to waste. I field-dressed the animal and relished every ounce of meat. But what I’ve come to learn is there’s so much more
usable protein, bone, hide and antler on every deer — materials that help you make the hunt more memorable. If you have the time, here are a few ideas for leveraging parts and pieces you might be neglecting:
DON’T TOSS THE TAIL
For fly fishermen (and fly tiers), there are few things more valuable than a good swath of hair. Depending on the deer’s genetics, or even the time of year (late-season deer hair is typically longer, thicker and brighter than early-season hair), your next harvest might offer enough quality patches to last a lifetime. Start with the belly hair — the white underside is thick, buoyant and great for tying bass bugs. The neck and backside has short hair with black tips — great for dry-fly wings. But the crème de la crème is the tail. Kelly Adams of Wild Touch Taxidermy in Meridian, Idaho, says it’s easy to remove and preserve. “Cut through the tailbone and remove the tail entirely from the animal. Then fillet the bone out of the tail and remove as much fat from the skin as possible,” Adams says. “After you’ve scraped down to hide, compress salt or Borax powder
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into the skin, store it for 24 hours, then apply more salt or Borax. The goal is to remove as much moisture as possible until the skin is dry and stiff. The cut, scrape and drying process is the same for any patch of deer hair.” To alter the color, soak the dried patch or tail in soapy water overnight, rinse and then submerge it in a warm solution of Rit fabric dye (your choice of color), mixed with a splash of vinegar. When the color takes, remove the tail, rinse it and let it dry. With a few tails, you’ll be ready to tie fish-catching patterns like a Clouser minnow — one of the most effective flies in history. If you’re not into fly fishing, use the deer hair on homespun spinners or unbelievably large musky lures. If you’re ambitious, collect the tails from all the harvested deer at your hunt camp and dye each a different color. You’ll have more bucktail than you’ll know what to do with.
Just because you harvest a small deer doesn’t mean you can’t utilize some parts to draw in something larger next season. Rattling can be an extremely effective technique for attracting big bucks. And for that, you need a set of rattling antlers. Drill a hole into a set of the antlers large enough to slide the tag ends of a 24-inch piece of 3/8-inch nylon rope through the main beam, just between the brow tine and base of each antler. Knot the tag ends so the antlers are paired with just enough room for you to smack, rattle and whack them together.
The popularity of primitive archery has grown, and not only are hunters interested in shooting traditional weapons, they’re interested in constructing their own from deer legs. Truth be told, dried and hammered deer tendon, or sinew, is an amazing material. Prepared correctly, it’s a strong, durable fiber you can
use to back the limbs of a primitive bow, secure broadheads to arrow shafts or braid your own bowstring. The tendon connects the muscle to the bones. To remove it, skin all the way down the legs to the hooves and feel for the tendons from the hoof up through the joints on the front and back of the legs. Pierce a knife between the bone and tendons and completely
separate the two. Then cut up and down along the bone to both ends of the tendon before cutting it free. To create fiber, dry the sinew in the sun. Once it’s slightly translucent, hammer one end to splinter the fibers. Then pull the fibers apart. For more ideas, check out the “Preparing and Using Sinew” tutorial from sensiblesurvival. blogspot.com.
BEN ROMANS; CHUCK CARES; SENSIBLE SURVIVAL
If you don’t plan to use your deer cape for a shoulder mount, talk with a few local taxidermists to see whether they need it. “Sometimes other hunters make errant cuts and ruin the skin. Some taxidermists will pay money for a clean, unblemished cape to pair with someone else’s trophy rack,” Adams said. “Just be sure to check regulations to make sure it’s legal in your state, and talk with a taxidermist before your hunt.” If you’d prefer to do a good deed, look around your community for deerskin glove programs. Some organizations tan the hides and create mittens for people in need. An example is the Elks fraternal organization. Last year, several Elks lodges collected 4,729 hides from Missouri deer hunters, which they turned into warm leather gloves.
FOOL TROPHY BUCKS WITH RATTLING ANTLERS
84 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2017
SAVE THE CAPE
SMOKED DEER HEART
(for up to 2 hearts) Brine: 2 T. soy sauce 2 T. Worcestershire sauce 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 tsp. cracked pepper 1 tsp. McCormick Meat Tenderizer 2 cups water Dry Rub: 1 tsp. dried garlic 1 tsp. paprika ¼ tsp. cracked pepper ¼ tsp. garlic powder ¼ tsp. onion powder
HEART AND STOCK
In the past, when I harvested a deer, I liked to think I got as much out of it as possible. But that was until I met Jeremiah Doughty, the creator of From Field to Plate (fromfieldtoplate.com), an online resource for hunters and “organic meat harvesters.” I now realize I was missing out on some delicious meals. “I use 90 percent of my deer. I eat the heart, liver and kidneys. I take the rib meat and the tongue. If it’s a buck, I’ll even eat the ‘oysters,’ ” Doughty says. “Deer heart is one of my family’s favorite recipes. Every time I kill a deer, my 7-year-old asks, ‘Can we have smoked heart? Can we have smoked heart?’” The key, Doughty adds, is the preparation. “As soon as you remove a heart from a deer, rinse out all four valves with cold water to get all the blood out. Literally shove the faucet into the valves. You’ll see the heart color go from a rustic red to an opaque pink — that means you’re flushing out the blood clots,” Doughty explains. “When the animal dies, the heart stops, and the
blood inside starts to coagulate, which can add a liverlike taste. When all the blood is gone, pat it dry and vacuum seal and freeze it if you’re not smoking it right away. When you smoke it, pull it out as soon as the internal temperature hits 145 degrees. Cooking it higher can make it tough.” Deer bones are another often discarded deer part that Doughty goes the extra mile to preserve. After removing the choice cuts of meat, you can use select bones to create a deer broth or stock that he says will give your venison stew or winter soups an incredible flavor. For about every pound of bones, you can create a gallon of stock. “I’ll roast all my leg and rib bones with carrots, onions, celery, thyme, rosemary, all that good stuff. Then I’ll load it all into a big stockpot filled with water, add more fresh herbs, and let it simmer for about 12 hours. The final product is this amazingly good bone broth. You can go to the store and spend $4 for some organic beef stock or make two gallons yourself from parts the butcher is probably throwing away,” Doughty says. “I do the same recipe with every animal I harvest.”
Thoroughly rinse all the blood from the heart and soak in brine for 1 to 2 hours while you prepare your wood chips. Hickory chips offer a mild flavor, whereas mesquite tends to add a bitter flavor to red meat. Remember, because hearts have a spongelike texture, they suck up a lot of flavor. Prep your smoker up to 230 to 250 degrees and add the wet wood chips. Remove the heart from the brine and rinse well with cold water; pat dry and coat the inside and outside with dry rub. Place heart in the smoker and cook for 2 to 2 ½ hours or until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees (medium rare). Cooking hearts past this temperature will make them chewy. It helps to use a wireless or app-enabled thermometer so you don’t have to continually open the door and release the smoke to check the temperature. When the heart is finished, remove it from the smoker, wrap it in foil and let rest for 10 minutes to help retain juices and keep it moist and tender. Slice against the grain starting at the base. Serve and enjoy!
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SEASONED SENIORS Old age doesn’t have to mean retirement for your sporting dog STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY NANCY ANISFIELD
crub, a large houndy-looking German wirehaired pointer, was getting unsteady on his legs. He wasn’t quite at the stage when his back end would sink if he stood still for too long, but his footing was less sure, and his gait had slowed. A veteran New England ruffed grouse and woodcock hunter, Scrub was a master at relocating to pinch a bird for the gun. His ungainly corkscrew points were a source of delight to those who saw him hunt. His long, moose-like nose could track a pheasant across 200 yards of South Dakota prairie. Eventually, though, working through the woods’ deeply cracked ledges, ragged blowdowns and tangled
grapevines became difficult. But he still wanted to hunt. When he’d see me or my husband, Terry, pick up our guns or hear the turn-on tones of his e-collar, Scrub danced a jig with a twinkle in his eyes under magnificent, white, bushy eyebrows. He’d howl a tune of sheer delight at the thought of some rich ruffed grouse scent and prance to the back door like a 2-year-old pup. After leaping off the porch, Scrub circled enthusiastically, and his tail was a blur — for about 30 seconds. Then, with the canine equivalent of a chuckle and sigh of resignation, he’d give us a look that expressed, “Phew, I’m not as young as I used to be,” and get to work at a slow, >
Scrub, the author’s beloved wirehaired pointer, was still eager to hunt well into his golden years.
Your dog’s hearing may not be as sharp and his eyes may be a bit cloudy, but the wisdom of years in the field or near the water prevails. methodical pace. He was nearly 15. To accommodate Scrub’s never-ending desire to hunt, Terry shortened their time spent in the field, often to no more than a half hour. We brush-hogged a few trails through a prime woodcock cover to make it easier for the old guy to search the woods. Scrub’s range had narrowed so
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that he was rarely out of sight, but we kept a tracking device on him just in case. Scrub loved it all. And watching him work at his own pace, drawing in the scent of game and holding a distinguished point, was worth more to us than a day’s bag limit. He hunted a little bit in his last season when he was 14 and a half. We said goodbye to him in January 2014, after he had turned 15. Time and experience do teach old dogs new tricks. Like aging magicians pulling their rabbits out of a hat, older hunting dogs can still evoke astonishment. Their hearing may not be so sharp and their eyes may be a bit cloudy, but the wisdom of years in the field or near the water prevails. Some hunters are too game-driven to adjust to their aging dog’s abilities by shortening hunts or choosing easier — though less productive — covers. They leave their senior dogs home, preferring the results from younger, quicker, stronger dogs. Other hunters operate in denial and push the veterans beyond their capabilities. It’s a tender balancing act, knowing when to reward your senior dog’s years of service with more days afield or when to be smarter than they are and realize the risk is too great. Fortunately, canine nutrition and veterinary care can help grant our best hunting buddies longer lives and a greater ability to stay active for more of those years. “In the same way that a starting pitcher who’s lost his best stuff can still be effective in relief, an aging hunting dog can still put birds in the bag if you pick his spots, play to his strengths and choose matchups that favor wisdom and experience over speed, stamina and sheer athletic ability,” says Tom Davis,
who’s been writing about wingshooting, hunting dogs and the sporting life for more than three decades. He lives in Green Bay, Wis., and currently owns English setters but previously had pointers. Charles Ellithorpe, a veterinarian in Richmond, Maine, currently owns a Deutsch Drahthaar and has owned golden retrievers, a lab and a Gordon setter. With many years of experience treating and working with hunting dogs, Ellithorpe says the most important things you can do for older hunting dogs are keep them wellconditioned to maintain their stamina and flexibility, and keep their weight appropriate. “You cannot take them off the couch and hunt them late in life. They have to stay in shape,” he adds. Ellithorpe also recommends giving pain medications to older dogs before exercise and hunting: “Anticipate their pain and head it off. Start medicating a couple of days prior to weekend hunts and continue for a couple of days after.” “We want them to continue as long as possible, but ultimately it is our responsibility to them to know when to quit. If they suffer a lot after a hunt or take a long time to recover — days rather than hours — it’s time to accept their retirement,” Davis says. “When your satisfaction at allowing your best hunting buddy to do the thing that gives him more joy than anything else in the world is likely to be outweighed by your fear for his well-being, you should leave him in the truck — as hard as that will be on both of you,” he says.
Tips for Hunting with a Senior Dog Look beyond the graying muzzle and slowed gait, and you’ll find the heart and spirit of a passionate hunter — and one that wants to hunt. Here are other tips to keep your senior dog on the hunt:
» Pay more attention to temperature and hydration, not just while hunting, but at home. Older dogs may have more difficulty regulating their body temperature and may suffer from hyperthermia or hypothermia more quickly than a younger dog.
Look for soreness, lameness or uncontrolled panting. Start the season with short hunts to see what your dog is still capable of doing.
Evaluate nutrition options, ensuring the best protein-to-fat ratio for an active but older dog. Consider energy boosters like Kronch Pemmikan bars or Rehydrate water tablets. Never feed a dog right after exercising, drinking a lot of water or while overheated.
Use a beeper collar, a training collar with a loud locate tone or a GPS tracker to help find your dog if he or she gets lost, disoriented or can’t hear you.
Don’t ignore sloppy skills or too quickly forgive early training regressions. Basic commands like “come,” “whoa,” “leave it” and “stay” are important safety tools for any dog that wanders into the road, needs to take a break or may get in trouble pursuing game in terrain that is too difficult.
Many older dogs have arthritis. With a vet’s advice, consider using joint support supplements such as glucosamine with chondroitin sulfate or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory like Rimadyl.
If your dog’s eyesight isn’t sharp, wear a bright white hat or shirt unless you’re in snow. (Don’t forget that dogs can’t see blaze orange.) If you call your dog but he or she has trouble orienting where the sound is coming from, flap your arms or move around. Dogs see motion better.
If your dog is losing hearing, use a quieter bell (or running beeper) so your dog can still hear whistle or voice commands. Another option is to train him or her to respond to a vibration collar.
Remember to move at a pace that matches your dog’s comfort level and working range without pushing beyond his or her abilities. — Nancy Anisfield
Grizzled jowls and a slower gait are no match for the iron will at the heart of a great dog. Partridge will be found; ducks will be retrieved. Gun-dog-loving hunters know that finding just one more covey of quail or retrieving one more mallard can be as special for the senior dog as the first of each for a puppy. We need to be smarter than our dogs, but we need to listen to them, too. For all the years they worked for our guns and shared our adventures, we owe it to them to let them live the lives they were bred for as long as possible, start to finish.
è WEBB LAKE, FLORIDA Women’s sportfishing advocate and outdoor writer Debbie Hanson loves the fishing and wildlife at Webb Lake, north of Fort Myers. “Not only is Webb Lake great for numbers of largemouth bass and bluegill, but there are also some fantastic wildlife viewing opportunities,” she says. “I’ve spotted sandhill cranes, great blue herons and whitetailed deer on my visits.”
Family-friendly fishing and boating destinations to please everyone
very year, family and friends look forward to creating memories on the water. With stunning scenery, good company and natural challenges, it’s no wonder fishing is so popular. If you’re looking to find where the bass are biting, the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) has released its annual Best Family-Friendly Places to Fish and Boat list. Casting a wide national net for 2017, the RBFF asked celebrities and industry experts to chime in with their favorite spots. Country music star Luke Bryan shares where he fishes with his kids in Tennessee and pro football player Alejandro Villanueva touts his Lake Erie fishing spot. “Fishing and boating are easy ways to escape life’s tensions, so whether you’re getting over a stressful week at the office or simply trying to cut back on screen time, this is the year to get out on the water together to conserve and restore our nation’s aquatic resources,” says Frank Peterson, RBFF president and CEO. And we can’t agree more. Here is just a small sampling:
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The entire list and an interactive map of regions for the 2017 Best FamilyFriendly Places to Fish and Boat can be found at takeme fishing.org/ bestplaces
J. PERCY PRIEST LAKE, TENNESSEE Country music star Luke Bryan says that “a good fisherman never shares his best spot,” but still offers up his favorite place to escape his fast-paced world for some relaxing time on the water. The singer’s favorite spot near Nashville is a natural addition to this year’s list. Fans of the megastar can catch Bryan on his Huntin’, Fishin’ and Lovin’ Every Day tour, which runs through October. A clothing line named for the song, HFE, is also available at Cabela’s.
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è OLD HICKORY LAKE, TENNESSEE Stephen Barker Liles, singer for country band Love and Theft, learned how to fish at his grandpa’s side, boating around lakes in Arkansas in an old pontoon that Liles is restoring. When he’s not on the road, one of his favorite ways to unwind is to take his son bass fishing on Old Hickory Lake just outside Nashville. “My son, Jett, is obsessed with fishing, and he’s pretty good at it, too. He’s a good-luck charm for sure. We love to just float around and fish together.”
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PRESQUE ISLE BAY, PENNSYLVANIA Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman and former Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva knows a thing or two about good tackle and a strong line. He picked this popular spot on Lake Erie. When he’s not protecting the quarterback, he says, “I spend a lot of my free time fishing and really cherish any time on the water.” — THE RECREATIONAL BOATING & FISHING FOUNDATION is a nonprofit organization that works to increase participation in recreational angling and boating, as well as protect and restore the nation’s aquatic resources.
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Professional angler Cindy Nguyen adds this spot in Galveston Bay, noting, “I grew up fishing in Texas City Dyke and the surrounding areas. It’s still one of my favorite places to bring the family.”
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The popular offshore catch delights bluewater anglers
t was the best mahi fishing I ever had.” Mike Yavorsky didn’t mince his words. He meant it. After all, Yavorsky, friends Shawn Ninesling and Jimmy Nelson, all from Fort Pierce, Fla., had just boated five of the popular ocean-going game fish known as dolphin. The five that the trio caught were true specimens. The smallest weighed 30 pounds, while the largest,
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caught by Nelson, tipped the scale at 69 pounds. Yavorsky’s weighed 57. Ridiculously good fishing. On menus throughout the country, dolphin are better known by their Pacific name — mahi-mahi. Throughout Central and South America, they are known as dorado. But off the coast of the southeastern United States and through the Bahamas, where they roam the warm currents constantly in pursuit of an easy meal, the green-
and-gold fish dotted with iridescent blue specks are called dolphin. And they are one of the most beloved catches by bluewater anglers. Often traveling in schools, they are fun to find and once the action begins, a boat’s cockpit can turn into organized chaos, with multiple reels screaming and rods bent while fish are brought to the gaff or inside the boat. Dolphin small and large leap high into the air, sound and circle the boat during the battle.
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Once caught, they produce a mild flavorful fillet easy to prepare for the table in numerous ways. Springtime off Florida’s east coast is dolphin time. Between March and June, the fishing along the edges of the Gulf Stream can be excellent.
ON THE TROLL On a calm day in April, Yavorsky and Nelson boarded Ninesling’s boat Deep Trouble, a 32-foot SeaCraft. They left Fort Pierce Inlet two hours before dawn in an attempt to locate a migrating school of yellowfin tuna on the eastern edge of the Gulf Stream. “On social media, guys fishing off Miami had been seeing these schools of yellowfin tuna migrating north,” Yavorsky remembers. “I used a Hilton sea surface temperature chart and saw that on the day we went, the eastern edge of the Gulf Stream was way west of where it usually is. I thought we might have a chance to get lucky and find a few tuna.” They set out to the south and east
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to see if they could find birds diving on scraps of fish being hammered by a school of tuna. “We saw very few signs of birds or flying fish, but about 38 miles off Jupiter (Fla.), the chart was showing these warm water eddies spinning off the Gulf Stream,” Yavorsky says. “At one point, as we begin trolling north along one of the current edges from an eddy, we saw a school of flyers get pushed up by something. We trolled through it, and that’s when we had hits from the two biggest dolphin we caught.” Yavorsky noticed that the floating brown sargassum seaweed was mainly lined up loosely in an east-west pattern. But all their hits came in spots when the grass lined up north-south and they were trolling north. When fishing for dolphin, it is common to find the best fishing along the edge between two surface currents, which can be identified by temperature changes, sometimes only a couple of degrees different. There is frequently floating vegetation, such as seaweed,
“Find a spot away from other boats and get out by yourself. Be prepared so that when you find the fish, you are ready to go, with no fumbling around.” — CAPT. GLENN CAMERON
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Left, anglers can catch dolphin in Southern California, the Gulf states, the Caribbean or the southeastern U.S. Below, dolphin are colorful, good fighters and make great table fare.
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or other objects carried along by the currents — this offers habitat and structure for the fish. In the northern Gulf of Mexico, oil platforms provide reliable structure for dolphin and many other fish as well. Off the coast of Southern California, primarily during El Niño weather cycles, warm water pushes north along the coast from Mexico, and anglers will target floating patches of kelp, called paddies, to find aggressively feeding mahi-mahi.
BE READY Capt. Glenn Cameron, owner and operator of Floridian Fishing charters based out of Sailfish Marina in Stuart, Fla., says anglers can employ several methods to successfully catch dolphin for dinner, and he will use as many as necessary to put a few in the fish box. Trolling dead baits or artificial lures, drifting with live baits or using run-and-gun methods to seek out floating structure and using pitch baits or chunk baits on spinning rods — all will score dolphin. “I like to move a little faster and fish a simple spread in order to get through the floating grass,” says Cameron. “When I find a spot that is holding fish, I might choose to drift and deploy live baits up top and down deep, and even put out a little chum.” Cameron says the chum can get a school of dolphin into a feeding frenzy, but it’s usually baits deployed deeper that get the bigger dolphin.
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DOLPHIN BY THE NUMBERS ALL TACKLE WORLD RECORD
POUNDS Papagayo Gulf, Costa Rica, Manuel Salazar, Sept. 25, 1976 FLORIDA RECORD
POUNDS Lantana, Robert Vail, June 9, 2007
“If I’m drifting, I’ll put a sinker on one to get it down deeper,” he says. “If I’m trolling, I’ll use a planer to get it farther down in the water column.” Even when a boat is surrounded by visible dolphin, Cameron says, there are more there that are not seen. “We use chunk bait and live baits to try to bring in bigger ones that may be deeper, under the school of smaller fish.” Cameron says it’s important to be ready. “Don’t be afraid to start in close when dolphin fishing, and you can’t go too deep,” he says. “They could be in 50 or 60 feet of water, or out in 600. But try to find an edge. Break out and find a spot away from other boats and get out by yourself. Be prepared so that when you find the fish, you are ready to go, with no fumbling around. Have a few spinning rods rigged and ready to pitch a live bait or a chunk bait to them.” Because you never know. The next time out to fish the rigs off the coast of Texas or Mississippi, or to troll the edges of the Gulf Stream off the Carolinas or the Florida Keys, it could very well be the best day of dolphin fishing ever. — ED KILLER is an award-winning multimedia journalist, photographer and radio host, and the outdoors columnist for TCPalm.com, based in Stuart, Fla. He is a third-generation native of Florida’s Treasure Coast, where he grew up fishing, boating, diving and surfing.
PROVIDED BY ARTIE OLSON; GETTY IMAGES
The southeastern U.S. sees some of its best fishing for dolphin during the spring, with another migration of the popular game fish in the fall.
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BET ON BROOKIES North Carolina offers some of the best fly fishing east of the Mississippi River BY TONYA MAXWELL
t’s not a large fish, the brook trout — sometimes called a “brookie” or a speckled trout. A respectable catch, one worthy of a photograph, is about as long as a standard piece of notebook paper is wide. If a brook trout spans the length of that same piece of paper, it’s a trophy-sized prize. No matter the size, nothing causes North Carolina anglers to wax poetic quite like being on a high mountain stream with a fly-fishing pole flexing under the tug of a brookie, the state’s only native trout. The quest for brook trout, as well as their rainbow and brown trout cousins, leads anglers to streams and rivers in the mountains of western North Carolina that rank as some of the best fly-fishing east of the Mississippi River. The thousands of miles of trout streams that course down the Appalachian Mountains also are
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DID YOU KNOW?
North Carolina’s only native trout isn’t a trout. The brook trout is actually a char, though it’s related to the rainbow and brown trout. Anglers admire brookies for their jewellike appearance, one that includes red dots surrounded by blue halos.
some of the most picturesque and relaxing locations in the region, says John Miko, president of the Asheville, N.C.-area chapter of Trout Unlimited. “Because trout need clean, cold streams, when you’re trout fishing, you’re going to be in an area that’s almost by definition a pretty place,” Miko says. “Maybe you do a little hiking into the forest, a little picnicking, a little bird watching. I know fly fishermen who are avid mountain bikers and do that to get to more remote areas.” Because trout are opportunistic feeders, look for them in slow water adjacent to fast water, behind boulders or blowdowns, in the pools below feeder streams or in undercut banks. The mountains of western North Carolina are filled with remote streams for more experienced anglers, but Miko — who is also a guide — recommends that first-time fly fishermen seek out an instructor who can not only provide gear, including a fly rod and waders, but also teach the basics of the sport. From the non-intuitive motion of casting a fly line, to understanding where fish lie in the river and their feeding habits, the information overload can be frustrating for beginners, says Starr Nolan, owner of Brookside Guides in Asheville. She says fly-angling attracts people who are curious and eager to learn about nature, and like many longtime practitioners, she believes the sport holds therapeutic value. Nolan, the executive director of Casting Carolinas, a nonprofit organization that offers retreats for women >
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Guide John Miko recommends the North Mill River for catching brookies.
Don’t poach. Know and follow waterway regulations, such as the “delayed harvest” designation, which runs from Oct. 1 to the first Saturday in June. During that period, anglers should practice catch and release, which helps stocked trout acclimate to a stream.
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recovering from cancer, says part of the benefit of fly-fishing is the mindfulness from being on the river. “You’ll learn to be successful at fly-fishing if you learn to think like a fish. Trout have a set of habits; they’re in different places at different times of the day and year. They behave differently when the moon is full,” she says. “It really is a oneness with the river and the fish and the environment.” Many areas with great fishing are overlooked by anglers, even as they are wildly popular with hikers, she says. A fan of fishing for brook trout, which thrive in higher altitudes, Nolan says Graveyard Fields, on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, and the Big East Fork area of the Shining Rock Wilderness, are good spots to cast. Alex Bell, proprietor of AB’s Fly Fishing Guide Service, urges anglers to head farther west into Jackson County — which, with
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For a fly-fishing getaway closer to Asheville, N.C. look to the North Mills or Davidson rivers. Headed farther west? Jackson County hosts the WNC Fly Fishing Trail, which details 15 great spots for casting a fly. Maps are available at flyfishingtrail. com.
nearly 93,000 stocked trout, has more than any other Tarheel county. Last year, state legislators made Jackson’s status as a casting must-do official, naming it North Carolina’s premier trout fishing destination. That designation came largely after the establishment of the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail, which maps 15 spots throughout Jackson County, and one on the Cherokee Indian Reservation, for catching trout. “We tried to find something that would be for everyone, so we have big water of the Tuckasegee River. We’ve got smaller streams, we’ve got easy access, we’ve got some like in Panthertown Valley that you would have to hike into a little bit,” Bell says. “We didn’t give away a lot of secret fishing holes, but we got them in the neighborhood, anyway.” His advice is to fish the Tuckasegee near Webster until June, or for more experienced anglers, the trophy section in Cherokee. Miko recommends a trip to the North Mills River for an experience near Asheville that has a remote feel, or casting inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, though that drive passes a lot of good fish, he says. Miko urges fly-fishers to consider practicing catch and release: “You go through a natural evolution where you just want to catch fish. Then you want to catch a lot of fish, then you want to catch big fish and eventually you just want to take care of those fish. You want to make sure they’re there for your kids and your grandkids.”
JOHN ROUNTREE/ASHEVILLE (N.C.) CITIZEN-TIMES; GARY GARTH FOR USA TODAY
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Photo courtesy of TakeMeFishing.org
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TRASH OR TREASURE? If you think you’ve got an antique lure, contact Terry McBurney at trmcburney@ comcast.net or set an appointment at North Star Antiques in Lowell, Mich.; 616-897-0898, facebook.com/ northstar antiques
The Hosmer Mechanical Froggie
Antique lures worth thousands could be among tangled messes of snagged fishing line and rusty hooks
erry McBurney believes every antique lure has a story, each represents a piece of history. The vintage lure expert is currently updating the famous Made in Michigan Fishing Lures book by the late George Richey. Like Richey, he understands lures are about more than monetary value. “I never realized I was collecting,” says McBurney, who lives in Michigan’s Ada Township. “I kept my father’s and grandfather’s lures. I discovered Richey’s book. Finally when I retired in 2001, I started getting into collecting.” McBurney soon narrowed it down to Made in Michigan lures, reels, rods and accessories. “Michigan is a marvelous state for early fishing tackle manufacturers.” McBurney began displaying antique lures, minnow buckets and reels at fishing shows, taking questions and helping people: “Some of these vintage lures aren’t collectibles, but they can sure catch fish. Others are something you keep on the
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mantle. And a few rare ones are worth a lot.” McBurney’s holy grail just might be the Hosmer Mechanical Froggie manufactured in Dearborn, Mich. “It was made in (the) late 1930s and just after World War II, of wood with hinges and pulleys. There are 55 parts to it in all,” McBurney says, adding that the lure originally sold for about $1.95. He guesses fewer than 500 were made. Several years ago at an Outdoorama event in Novi, Mich., McBurney was approached by Virginia and Jack Hosmer, the grandson of John Hosmer, the man who created the lure. They had two green Froggies — one new in the box and one still being used. She guessed the new one was worth about $150. “She had no idea of the value,” McBurney says. “Most of the Hosmer Froggies were green and spotted, but he also painted some in yellow and in white with spots. One new in the box would be worth $8,000 to $10,000 (green-spotted ones can be $1,500 to $2,000 or more).”
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SCENERY + SOLITUDE Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is a four-season jewel on Lake Superior
espite its remote location on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore has seen its visitor traffic almost double in the past decade. Last year, nearly 800,000 came to see the cliffs that give the park its name. But the park, which stretches across 43 miles of the southern shore of Lake Superior, is more than just those cliffs. It includes rolling woods filled with rivers and waterfalls, a 12-mile-long beach and perched sand dunes that, along with sandstone cliffs, were created by retreating glaciers 10,000 years ago. Aside from locals, the area had few
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visitors before World War II. Conservation efforts began in the late 1950s, and President Lyndon Johnson signed legislation in 1966 creating the national park. “There is the ability to explore and see northwoods habitat that you would see in Alaska,” says acting park Superintendent John Madden. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s epic poem Song of Hiawatha describes the area, and its wildlife and scenery make it a big draw for hikers and kayakers. “There is unparalleled hiking along the North Country (National) Scenic Trail inland where man’s impact is very light,” Madden says >
BY JOHN WISELY
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Miner’s Castle is one of the signature formations at the Pictured Rocks park.
CAMPING THE BACKCOUNTRY Permits are required for all overnight stays for backcountry camping, and campers must stay in specific campgrounds. Sites are within 2- to 5-mile intervals along the North Country National Scenic Trail. When planning, consider weather and terrain. Fifteen miles of the trail are on top of 50- to 200-foot-high cliffs that are covered with loose sand and gravel. Cellphone service is spotty, and in many areas, there is no reception. 877-444-6777, recreation.gov
of the 73,000 acres of park. “It’s Superior as well as in the inland remote. lakes that dot the four-seasons It gives you a different flavor.” park, which draws deer and Lodging is sparse, so only bear hunters and other outdoor about 40,000 people camped enthusiasts. In winter, ice climbin the park last year. For those ers scale frozen waterfalls and looking for even more isolation, explore the ice caves that form the park also offers 14 along the shore. Snowmobilareas (each with ers enjoy the multiple sites) unplowed roads. including indiThe towns of FOR MORE INFORMATION vidual campGrand Marais and The visitor center is at sites dedicated Munising bookend 400 East Munising Ave., to backcountry the park to the Munising, Mich., at the camping. east and west, western end of the park. 906-387-3700, Nearly 100 respectively, but nps.gov/piro. miles of trails, the lack of developincluding the ment in between North Country makes for dark National Scenic Trail, skies and good stargazing, which passes through the more including an occasional show than 40-mile park and runs put on by the northern lights. adjacent to Lake Superior, offer “The serenity and the isolaforests, dunes, beaches and tion, they can still get that up physical challenges along with here,” says longtime park ranger solitude. Bill Smith. “There are those Fishing is popular in Lake magic moments like that.”
Whether you hunt, ﬁsh or enjoy both, a LEER truck cap or tonneau gives you the cargo space to protect your gear. Built with legendary LEER quality, we also and innovative storage solutions, like LEER Locker, that help keep everything organized and easily accessible when you need it most.
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Use Code “USA” at checkout for free shipping
www.covercraft.com • 1-800-274-7006
Multitask Masters When there’s limited space for all your camping gear, pack these double-duty options BY KRIS MILLGATE
Cabela’s West Wind 4-Person Dome Tent’s mesh pocket gear loft and hanging entertainment system attaches to ceiling or walls. A zippered power port connects to external power sources. $199.99, cabelas.com
Eat, drink, measure and store with the GSI Outdoors Fairshare Mug II. Comes with screw-on lid, insulating sleeve and folding handle. Loop lets mug dangle from your pack when it’s not in your hand. $15.95, gsioutdoors.com
This hand-crank L.L. Bean Eton FRX5 All-Purpose Bluetooth Weather Radio receives NOAA weather alerts and charges other devices via a USB. It also serves as a light and emergency red beacon. $99.95, llbean.com
The knife and bottle opener are a given. The talk behind the Amber Bone Hobo multitool is what else pops out: a fork and a spoon, making oatmeal for breakfast and meat for dinner a convenient reality. $89.98, casexx.com
The weather-resistant Granite Gear 20-inch Packable Duffel has multiple attachment points, plus two straps for backpacking or one strap for shoulder sling. Attached carrying case holds extras. $49.99, granitegear.com
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PROVIDED BY THE COMPANIES
The creative side of this 2-pound portable UCO Gear Mini Flatpack Grill is its packability. It folds flat into a zippered pouch, and a removable grate turns the grill into a fire pit after dinner. $39.99, ucogear.com
NOT JUST BRIGHTERâ€¦ BETTER
STYLE AND SUBSTANCE
FL75R RE CH ARG E ABLE DUAL POWER LITHIUM OR ALKALINE PURE BE AM F OCUSING DUAL C OLOR WHITE & RED
C OA STP OR TL AND.C OM /FL75R
IN THE END
BEAUTY IN BAIT
The set of six lures can be bought for $26, or $5.09 each, at alsgoldfish. com.
Get Hooked For almost 50 years, Bob Christopher has been designing and hand-painting lures — many probably found in your tackle box. “I devoted my entire life to making lures that catch all species of fish,” says Christopher, adding that he finds inspiration in popular baitfish and blends
112 HUNT & FISH | SUMMER/FALL 2017
five applications of hand-mixed color schemes. “The catch rates are off the charts.” In Providence, R.I., Christopher still paints Kastmasters, Little Cleos and other lures for Acme Tackle. To honor Christopher’s dedication to the niche field, Mike Lee, owner of Al’s Goldfish Lure Co., launched a series
ahead of the 2017 season that features a combination of attractor and imitator spoons in brilliant colors. The Bob Christopher Premium Goldfish Series is popular, Lee says: “Adding more color options has helped bring visibility to the line and something new for the long-term fans.”
BY TOM KEER
Camo Special Edition Notebook
Dressed to blend in. Designed to stand out.
Inspired by the great outdoors Official Realtree Xtra® camo pattern
Dependable performance Intel® power and plenty of storage1
Vibrant display Crisp HD screen2
Look for this notebook and matching accessories in Walmart stores and at Walmart.com.
1. Multi-core is designed to improve the performance of certain software products. Not all customers or software applications will necessarily benefit from use of this technology. Performance and clock frequency will vary depending on application workload and your hardware and software configurations. Intel’s numbering is not a measurement of higher performance. 2. High-definition (HD) content is required to view HD images. © Copyright 2017 HP Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. Intel, the Intel logo, Intel Inside, Pentium, and Pentium Inside are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the United States and other countries. Realtree Xtra is a trademark of Jordan Outdoor Enterprises, Ltd. Windows is a registered trademark of the Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.
USA Today's HUNT&FISH magazine