NatBlogs

Training your Dog to Hunt Dead Birds

One of the most frustrating scenarios in pheasant hunting is crippling a bird, then not being able to locate it for the retrieve. Who among us hasn’t spent an hour beating the grass where we “know it went down?” I have a pretty solid retrieving German shorthair, but there is room for improving her ability to hunt “dead” birds without…

Golf Hazards of The Wild Variety

At some courses, sand bunkers and water aren’t the only hazards faced by golfers. Bear Attack Par for the Course? At 300 pounds and standing 6 feet and change, Hardyston, New Jersey golf course groundskeeper George Petta is not a man likely to be easily intimidated. But Petta met his match in June on the 17th hole at Crystal Springs…

Pilfering Plants is Poaching, Too

If you associate poaching only with those ne’er-do-wells who take game animals illegally or out-of-season, here are some examples of another type of outdoor thief—the plant poacher. Rooting Out Root Poachers Investigators in Ohio believe rising unemployment and a tough economy is driving some ginseng diggers in the state to illegally harvest the root on private land and out of…

Do Unrecovered Roosters Count Against Daily Bag Limits?

You do, however, have to put in reasonable effort searching for that downed bird.  If you simply knock it down, but never search for it, then it does become a legal issue of wanton waste.  The next question is one of personal ethics.  Even though it’s not the law, do you personally count unrecovered roosters against your daily bag limit?  …

More Weird Catches

Here at Offbeat Outdoors we can’t get enough of ‘em, and neither can our readers. Fluke Angling, Indeed Warwick, Rhode Island resident Tom Walason was jigging for fluke on Greenwich Bay when he landed a 10-carat gold ring, which was a fluke of its own. According to The Warwick Beacon, the man’s class or school-type ring is engraved with the…

Toll-Free and Long-Distance Ducks

Two totally unrelated stories about ducks, and luck. As The Duck Flies A duck hunter on the Mississippi Delta noticed that a pintail his retriever brought him on January 2 had a band attached to its leg, which is not an unusual occurrence on the waterfowl-rich flyway. Freddie Scott took the banded bird over to a well-lighted corner of the…

Prairie Chicken Stir Fry

Depending upon what state you’re focused on, there are approximately 60 days left on the calendar until we’re able to chase birds behind our flushers, pointers and retrievers.  That’s right; this is your official two month warning.  In fact, I’m excited to report my calendar is starting to fill in with September ruffed grouse hunts, as well as an early…

Reintroduce yourself to slip bobbers

I’m seeing renewed interest in slip-bobber fishing for walleyes, a technique that can be extremely productive along inside weedlines, rocks, and reefs – especially in wind-blown areas. A prime way to fish, for example – if you have wind coming into a rock pile, reef, or weed edge – is to drop a jig or hook with some live bait…

Rolling the Dice

In hunting, fishing and the outdoors, there’s luck—and then, in some cases, there’s damned good luck. Here are some stories exhibiting the latter form retrieved from our Offbeat Outdoors archives for your reading pleasure. 7-7-7 Not Lucky For Tarpon Angler An avid Florida saltwater fly angler experienced a near miss with tragedy when he tumbled overboard while fighting a 90-pound…

Weird Catches, Revisited

Every few months, Offbeat Outdoors offers a heaping portion of wild angler catches, and with the dog days of summer approaching, we figured the timing was right for a fresh serving. Bon Appétit! Michigan Angler Snags Omni Michael Foor has fished Michigan’s Grand River for the better part of two decades, so when he felt the pull on his line…

Fishing plastics: the method

While fishing, I observe lots of angler behavior, and I can definitely say many people tend to fish plastics too fast – especially for bass – whether it’s a tube rigged wacky or Texas-rigged. We need to slow down and try new techniques for retrieving a lure. Most anglers simply work the lift-drop, lift-drop. There’s nothing wrong with casting out and…

Acronyms: The Ineffective Language of Conservation

A decade ago when I left my front office baseball career, I thought I was also going to be free from the world of acronyms.  RBIs and ERAs had dominated my everyday conversations and I was ready to use real words again.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  On my third day with Pheasants Forever in 2003, I was pulled…

Myth America

In the outdoors, you just never know when you might run into a mythical creature, including a jackalope, mermaid or even Sasquatch. Jacks or Better In Douglas, Wyoming, seeing a mythical jackalope (half-antelope, half-jackrabbit) is commonplace, considering that a taxidermist from there is credited for creating the first whimsical creature nearly 74 years ago. Douglas taxidermist Douglas Herrick is known…

Poaching Begets Poetic Justice

There will always be those persons in the outdoors who believe game laws are in place for everyone but them. They just provide more material for the Offbeat Outdoors blog! It Ain’t Rocket Science It should come as no surprise to regular readers of the Offbeat Outdoors blog that those who choose to deliberately break game and fish regulations are…

It’s always time for crankbaits

Crankbaits are one of my favorite multi-species lures, but they don’t perform unless you employ them properly. Set your crankbait at the correct depth, or in a tough bite or with less-aggressive fish, fish won’t chase it. Use your electronics to mark the location of fish, then put the crankbait in their zone. We need to match crankbaits with conditions….

Summertime is ‘Gator Time

Now that the calendar tells us it’s officially summer, here are some of our favorite stories about alligators, those amphibious reptiles of the South that are most active in the next few months. Hard to Swallow You think you’ve had a bad case of indigestion or heartburn? Judging from the stomach contents of the 13-foot nuisance alligator trapped and killed…

Offbeat Outdoors’ Summer Safety Tips

With summer poised to officially begin next week, The Offbeat Outdoors Blog shares some seasonal safety reminders with readers—as only we can! Up in Smoke “Keep your powder dry,” is a popular adage among black powder hunting and shooting enthusiasts, with its roots in America’s colonial days, when soldiers were reminded by their commanders to always be prepared for adversity….

Gross Fishing Offenses

What constitutes a gross fishing offense? How about when you exceed the limit by 443 fish, like a Minnesota angler was charged with doing last month? Gross Overfishing, Indeed! A Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officer investigating Chien Van Tran on a Wright County lake found 134 sunfish and 19 crappies on his boat, and more in a freezer…

Kayak Attack!

With more and more adventuresome anglers turning to one-person kayaks these days, that means great fodder for the Offbeat Outdoors blog! Great White Leaves Mark A great white shark dumped a fisherman from his one-man kayak into the ocean for a brief time as he fished with a group of kayak-angling enthusiasts off California’s San Mateo Coast. The angler fortunately…

Patterning Your Pheasant Hunting Shotgun

Earlier this week, I received an email from a Pheasants Forever supporter who recently purchased his very first over/under shotgun.  The gentleman asked a variety of very good questions.  I couldn’t immediately answer all of those questions, so I reached out to Ryan Bronson at Federal Premium Ammunition for some help.  Following are those questions with answers thanks to Bronson’s…

Offbeat Dispatches

This week we bring you a collection of unusual ways to deal with wild animal attacks—all with a definite Offbeat Outdoors touch! Teed Off Wildcat A pair of 60-something golfing buddies, Ira Girard and Jerry Crown, was finishing up at the 18th green at Tucson’s Skyline Country Club when a full-grown bobcat raced toward the pair in full-attack mode. “Jerry…

Naming my Second Bird Dog, Part 2 of 2

As I reported in the first installment of this blog, my wife and I will pick up our second bird dog this weekend.  The pup will be a 10-week old female German shorthaired pointer from the same bloodlines as my five-year old GSP, “Trammell.”  Trammell is named in honor of my childhood hero, Alan Trammell, who played baseball for the…

The Charge: Criminally Stupid

We’ve searched long and hard this week for some of stupidest ways to get arrested, and yes, we have some winners! Example 1: Selling Stolen Gun on TV Reality Show Here’s one from this week’s headlines. A Colorado man is being held on charges he stole a highly collectible mid-1800s Colt Dragoon black powder pistol from a private museum in…

Fun fishing in early walleye territory: crankbaits!

I hear from anglers who assume that crankbaits only work in warm temperatures. Not true! Crankbaits will work opening weekend and all the way through summer, trolling or casting. Most people troll crankbaits, but in a rip-rap area or other structure, there’s nothing wrong with experimenting with some crankbait casting. When trolling cranks, you have three choices: long-line, use lead-core, or…