NatBlogs

Retrievers Behind the Wheel

Here at the Offbeat Outdoors blog, we know how passionate retrievers are about the water. Here are three Labs that showed equal enthusiasm for driving. Lab Takes SpinCharlie the black Lab was so thrilled to see his owner return home from a trip to the store that he leapt into the car’s open door as Mark Ewing carried a fresh…

The Categorical Bird Hunter

On a recent road trip, my hunting partner Rick Young described a buddy as “being in love with planning the hunt,” while Rick described himself as “loving the act of actually hunting.” That got me thinking about which category I fit into and if there are other categories folks would classify themselves as fitting into. Here’s what I’ve come up…

Post-turnover casting tactics

Casting is very productive for fall walleyes, but I don’t see many people doing it. The same summer rules apply: Position your boat so you can cast at angles toward structure, vary your retrieve, and work with different colors and styles of crankbaits.Boat control is always important, and it needs to be very precise this time of year. You can’t go…

Outdoors Products That (Somehow) Never Caught On

There are literally thousands of new and innovative products for the hunter, angler and shooting enthusiast being introduced to the market every year, but not all are destined to be sales and marketing success stories. Shoot and Season Birds-Simultaneously?Here at Offbeat Outdoors, we’re always on the lookout for new and innovative hunting, fishing and outdoor-related products. Still, we’re not sure…

Top techniques for hammering autumn walleyes

There are a number of 'best' ways to catch fall walleyes. Crankbaits via leadcore line or longline trolling lead the pack in my opinion. You'll also find me casting crankbaits at rock piles, reefs and green weed flats. When trolling cranks, I'll sticks with No. 5s, 7s and 9s, depending on how thick and troublesome weeds are. For casting, I'll…

Gun (Un)Safety

This week we bring you some examples of how not to safely handle firearms and ammunition, brought to you by instructors in the Offbeat Outdoors blog’s Firearms and Shooting Safety for Dummies course. Half-Baked Gun StorageFirst we offer the story of the Wisconsin man who thought he had a bright idea when he stowed his handguns and ammunition in the…

Walleye locations in the early fall

During late summer and early fall patterns, walleyes can be deep, shallow or anywhere in between. If I've tried to convey one message to other anglers the past few years about fall walleye fishing, it's that walleyes likely will behave differently from one lake to another. People ask me about walleye depth in late summer. That's easy! The depth of…

Unconventional Bear Defense Techniques

We’ve heard about using pepper spray, loud noise and aggressive posturing when confronted by bears in the wild, but here are some examples of unorthodox bruin defense. Black Belt Beats Brown BearA Canadian man attending a Bible retreat in Alberta says he thanks both God and his martial arts training after he kicked a charging grizzly bear in the nose– and…

Ringing in the Fish

This week we bring readers the tale of two fish, and two rings. Truth, Lies and SailfishOn December 28, 2002, Eric Bartos was fishing with two friends off the Florida coast near Ft. Lauderdale when he caught and landed a sailfish. Bartos was in the middle of a bitter divorce at the time–so his fishing buddies suggested he place his…

I’m Just Dating my Shotgun

Recently, I posted the following request to the fans of Pheasants Forever on Facebook: “Tell us the Story of your First Shotgun.” As the lengthy comments extolling the virtues of their favorite scattergun stacked up, I came to the realization that I don’t have a relationship like these folks with any of the three shotguns I own. I mentioned this…

Great Lab Work

This week we bring you three tales about everyday Labrador retrievers that performed heroic acts to save the lives of their fortunate-and grateful-owners. Junior AchievementYou don’t have to tell most sportsmen that Labrador retrievers are great all-around dogs, but 29-year-old Iowa waterfowler Brent Teel has even more reason to love his black Lab, Junior. That’s because Junior saved his life…

A Yooper’s Pheasant Jambalaya

A good friend of mine processes a few of his pheasants into Andouille sausage each season. I’ve always associated Andouille sausage with jambalaya, so that’s how I’ve used his generous gifts of frozen packets.  Last night, I put the final pack of pheasant Andouille sausage to work. I’m certainly no Cajun chef from Louisiana, so please forgive my Yooper take…

Little Lunkers

Despite their diminutive appearance, two tiny fish recently landed the anglers who caught them in their respective state record books. Kid Catches Record, uh, MinnowThere may be a bright future for Maxfield JonasKrueger as a fisheries biologist. That’s because the 13-year-old from Madison, Wis. correctly identified the minnow he yanked from Fowler Lake in July as a golden shiner, a…

Summer sunnies and bluegill locations

I’m getting more questions about where to find big bull bluegills in the summer. For midsummer sunfish, I start in deep water locations. Monitor those spots near spawning structure.Sparse weedflats, deep water near spawning grounds, sand locations: Those are logical places to start and, of course, will vary a little especially this year thanks to all the rain that has…

Caddyshack Revisited

This week, we tie out three unrelated offbeat stories together with the help of actor Bill Murray and the 1980 classic movie, Caddyshack. Holey Moley It wasn’t exactly a reprise of Bill Murray’s memorable role as the demented groundskeeper with a manic obsession for destroying golf course gophers, but, as Caddyshack moments go, it was darned close.  Thurston County (Wash.)…

When do Bird Hunters hit their Prime?

Professional athletes’ ages are frequently part of the conversation when talking about the best players in a country’s major sports. With millions at stake, team owners want to make sure they are signing contracts when a player is entering his or her prime, rather than when they are headed to the ‘back nine’ of their career. NFL players’ careers average…

Fowl Weather

How do you know you’re experiencing an especially severe thunderstorm? When waterfowl by the dozens begin falling to the ground – dead! It’s Raining–Duck! Some furious thunderstorms that rattled through mid-Texas resulted in heavy downpours, some severe lightning, power failures–and more than two dozen dead ducks raining down on Martha Hughes’ roof and surrounding property.When the fierce thunderstorm subsided in…

Whose Shotgun Would You Want?

Chad Love, author of “Man’s Best Friend” blog on the Field & Stream website and fellow Quail Forever blogger, recently passed along a post idea for me. It seems that famed pheasant hunting author Steve Grooms has elected to sell his favorite pheasant gun, a 12 gauge over/under Ithaca model 600 made by SKB. It got me thinking about shotguns…

Sometimes You Get the Bear…

This week we bring you the stories of two grizzly bears, and the two men who killed them by making incredible shots of a lifetime! Hunter Answers Nature’s Call, Kills GrizIt’s definitely one of those “only in Alaska” stories, but Chris Yeager swears he was simply in the woods answering nature’s call when he shot his first grizzly bear.It was…

Pheasant Feathers for the Fly Fisherman

There are a lot of pheasant hunters that spend the spring and summer waist-deep in trout streams. For many, reading a stream’s ripples is akin to assessing grasslands for likely pheasant flushing locations. One such person is John Edstrom, PF’s Merchandise Manager and owner of Headwaters Fly Fishing Company. This morning, John brought in some of his favorite flies made…

Summer crappie locations

Too many anglers associate crappie fishing with spring, then give up in the summer. Via some common sense, and a little help from your electronics, you can find crappies during the summer.There’s a myth that crappies strictly school and suspend during the summer when they actually can be belly to the bottom this time of year.Start by searching deep water….

Offbeat Eagles

In observance of the Fourth of July and the birthday of our nation’s independence, we bring our readers some unusual stories about our national symbol, the bald eagle. Talon Scout Some Offbeat Outdoors blog readers may have seen the unusual story out of Montana last week about an electrical outage that power company officials have attributed to a dead deer…

A Hat Tip to Game Wardens

As a rule, sportsmen are never thrilled to see the approach of a game warden to their boat, ice-fishing shack or treestand. But here are some stories that may help you appreciate these hard-working men and women. Litter Leads to Trespassing PoachersA convenience store surveillance videotape and some good, old-fashioned detective work led to the arrest and conviction of a…

A Pair of Painful Snake Lessons

This week we bring you a pair of unusual snakebite stories, where each victim learned a different- but very valuable-lesson about poisonous reptiles. Fangs, For Nothin’A young New Jersey man learned a painful lesson this week: snakes don’t need or desire help in their travels.Nelson Drinkwater, 24, a self-described snake enthusiast and animal lover, remains hospitalized in serious condition after…

Getting Creative With Scents

This week, we treat our readers to a pair of examples of using natural animal scents in particularly unorthodox ways. Skunk Scent Repels VerminFor many years hunters have capitalized on the use of natural plant and animal scents to cover human scent or to attract game animals. Now, enterprising law enforcement officers are learning how to use concentrated animal scents…

Finding, and Catching, Your Own Fish

Anglers I respect always recommend choosing your spots before you arrive at a lake, and I agree. There’s an old saying that still works for me: “Find your own fish and fish them.” Via lake maps, chips, and software, locate some high percentage spots before you leave your house.Heavy fishing pressure will shut down fish activity, and when it does,…