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Take Advantage of Michigan’s Outstanding Grouse Hunting

July 29, 2014

Michigan’s grouse season attracts nonresident hunters, like Pheasants Forever’s Anthony Hauck of Minnesota and his trusty bird dog, Sprig. Image courtesy Anthony Hauck.

Michigan’s great outdoors are home to many outstanding hunting opportunities. The state's ruffed grouse get scores of resident and nonresident hunters afield each fall, and with good reason. Hunting Great Lakes grouse can be one of the best ways to spend a fall day. You don’t need a ton of gear---yourself, a trusty shotgun, a pocketful of shells, some hunter’s orange, and perhaps a good dog will do. A grouse hunt is never a waste of time, even when you don't bag any of the tasty birds. Grouse can elusive, but if you simply open your ears, it's often quite easy to find...

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Starr’s South African Safari, Dispatch Three: Another Zebra and a Sunset Finale

July 28, 2014

Michelle's Zebra. Image courtesy Dwaine Starr.

Greetings from South Africa! For the past few days my “to do” list has read, “Go to Africa. Hunt. Make memories,” and I’ve been doing just that. I’m leading a group of five female hunters in the Eastern Cape with Starr & Bodill African Safaris, of which I am a co-owner along with my father Dwaine Starr and professional hunter Louis Bodill. Unfortunately, our time here has come to an end. Here are highlights from the last three days of our hunt. Michelle’s Burchell’s zebra If it seems as if Michelle and I both spent...

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Hunting Michigan’s Antlerless Whitetail Deer

July 25, 2014

While harsh winters usually mean fewer fawns, so far things are looking good for Michigan’s deer herd.

Whitetail deer hunting in the Great Lake State goes back well before there was a Mackinac Bridge, an auto industry, or even statehood. Each fall hundreds of thousands of Michigan hunters take to the woods during the youth, archery, firearm, and muzzleloader seasons. With such a tremendous responsibility to the heritage of the sport, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has to work carefully to manage the herd, ensuring that future hunters have the opportunity to harvest a Michigan deer. One of the tools used by biologists is the antlerless deer harvest, done by draw permit...

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The DIY Whitetail Hunt for Weekend Warriors

July 23, 2014

The weekend out-of-state (or out-of-your-hometown) hunt allows you to hunt aggressively with rattling and calling. If you're not successful the first time around, then the area has time to settle down before your next trip.

Can’t afford the time or the money to take an extended hunting trip out of state? Consider the pros and cons of a weekend DIY hunt. When most hunters think about a road trip to hunt big whitetail bucks, they are usually thinking about a weeklong adventure. Their tactics involve going to an area, scouting it out, hanging stands, and hoping to shoot a big one by the end of the trip. There are certainly some advantages to this approach, and for some hunters it is the only option. But there’s another option to consider: how about the weekend DIY getaway? A weekend trip...

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Dogs Gone By: On the Front Line in the War Against Prairie Dogs

July 21, 2014

The battlefield upon which the author's battle against prairie dogs was fought: Silver Spur Ranch in Encampment, Wyoming.

We awoke at dawn. Most of us were slightly nervous, but energized by the certainty of impending combat. I doubt the enemy ever sleeps. They’re too busy digging tunnel networks. We’d been the ones to choose the field of battle---the Silver Spur Ranch in Encampment, Wyoming. Encampment is an eerily appropriate name given the enemy’s permanent dug-in positions. Our foe has a great propaganda machine, although I have absolutely no idea how they can afford such a thing. As a result, most people know them as those cute, adorable, and cuddly...

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The BAREBOW! Chronicles: The Bowling-ball Ram

July 18, 2014

27 reup

After two unsuccessful hunts on Todagin Mountain (one as a nonresident in 1986 and one as a resident in 1991) I was convinced I finally understood the terrain and the habits of the local Stone sheep population well enough to be able, with a bit of luck, to outsmart one of the many resident rams. The real challenge, as always, was going to be finding and outsmarting a legal ram. There were plenty of barely-sub-legal rams around, but finding and identifying a legal one had always been the difficulty on Todagin Mountain. This meant either eight years of age, or having horns that met the...

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Starr’s South African Safari, Dispatch Two: More Hunts and an Elephant-back Excursion

July 17, 2014

Michelle, Britney, Cindy, and Andrea feeding their elephants.

Greetings from South Africa! For the past few days my “to do” list has read, “Go to Africa. Hunt. Make memories,” and I’ve been doing just that. I’m leading a group of five female hunters in the Eastern Cape with Starr & Bodill African Safaris, of which I am a co-owner along with my father Dwaine Starr and professional hunter Louis Bodill. Here are a few highlights from days four, five, and six of our hunt. Zebra Day four started with my hunting partner Michelle Whitney Bodenheimer shooting a blue wildebeest in the Fort...

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Cookin’ in Camo: Bacon-wrapped Venison Backstrap with Chimichurri

July 16, 2014

If you do everything right, this is what your final product should look like!

Editor's note: This recipe is the first in a series of several provided by Tyler Viars, a dedicated "forest to fork" hunter and professional chef. Read on to learn the culinary secrets of one of America's top home cooks---and get excited for deer season. The buck in the picture above was bitten by my Hoyt Spyder on November 12, 2013. Now I get to reap the benefits of this beautiful animal through a process I like to call "forest to fork," with the end result being a delicious bacon-wrapped backstrap with charred serrano-scallion chimichurri. How's that for "organic?" Serves...

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Emerald Ash Borer and Your Hunting Land

July 16, 2014

Clear evidence of emerald ash borer infestation can be seen under the bark of dead trees. The wavy lines are caused by burrowing larvae.

Like many of you, the area I deer hunt has a mix of hardwoods bordering some open ground that I’ve set up food plots in. The hardwoods have been a mix of maple and ash, with a few others mixed in. The ash trees have been around the longest and have provided the biggest, straightest trees for attaching stands to. Thanks to a pesky bug, things are changing for me this fall. A new pest was detected in Southeast Michigan back in 2002: the emerald ash borer (EAB). In its adult form, the borer is a metallic green beetle that is roughly one half-inch in length, munches on ash leaves, and is not...

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Film Festivals and the Future of Outdoor Recreation

July 16, 2014

Film festivals that include content portraying outdoorsmen and women in a positive light can have a noticeable impact on the public perception of outdoor sports. Seen here is a gathering for the Grand Teton Awards Gala for the 2013 Jackson Hole Film Festival.

Films, television, and video in general are the primary storytellers of our times, and stories are a prime force in creating and changing culture, including how people view outdoor sports and conservation. There is a definite need for more mainstream TV and films that show outdoor sports in a positive way. One way to encourage more positive stories about outdoor sports is through awards shows and film festivals that support filmmakers, as well as entertain and educate. You may think that mainstream media award shows and festivals are probably biased against hunting and fishing. Not so....

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