NatBlogs

Fine points on color and action

Color is definitely a factor when fishing. I see it on rivers, lakes, and reservoirs, everywhere I wet a line. Walleyes, especially, have preferred food sources, depending on the environment they live in and what’s available to them at the moment. And there’s a time frame when we’re “matching the hatch” for a current forage. You want your bait to…

Roadkill Café Gets Green Light in Illinois

Granny, the lovable and eccentric backwoods culinary expert from the popular 1960s television sitcom, The Beverly Hillbillies, would love Illinois Rep. Norine Hammond. Or maybe the admiration society is the other way around? In February, Rep. Hammond (R-Macomb) introduced a measure that allows citizens to retrieve deceased furbearing mammals (a nice way to say roadkill) from Illinois roadways for personal…

Training Your Hunting Dog to Drink

I received the following message via Twitter from @bulldog2012 yesterday: My GSP won’t stop to drink water out in the field, any ideas? I admitted to @bulldog2012 that my shorthair also often refuses water in the field, so I promised to get some expert guidance from a few pro dog trainers. This morning, I sent emails on the topic to…

This Blog Smells

This week we’ll tell readers about one state’s cash incentive for fishermen that–at least for us–never passed the smell test; and about a rambunctious Lab-mix that digested–and deposited–$800 in cash. Fisherman Fingered in Fish Head FraudHere at the Outdoor News, it’s hard for us to fathom that someone didn’t predict the following story was going to happen.An incentive program implemented…

Do You Want More Public Hunting Land?

I am proud to work at Pheasants Forever. It’s an organization built on the shoulders of passionate people dedicated to creating habitat and ensuring the future of our hunting heritage. One area of particular personal pride is Pheasants Forever’s ability to acquire land for public hunting. To date, we have participated in the acquisition of more than 1,200 different wildlife…

Top early season baits and lures

Here’s a quick rundown of what I’ll have in my arsenal for fishing walleyes in May and June. My top presentations include: jig and minnow, live bait rigs, three-ways, a Guppy weight system, and crankbaits. Now, allow me to elaborate on some of these techniques.Crankbaits are an underused option, but more productive than many people realize. In colder water temperatures,…

Is Your Dog Ticked Off?

There seems to be a bumper crop of ticks afield this spring. Each evening after walking my bird dog through the prairie and woods, I’ve pulled dozens of deer and wood ticks off each of us. Hours later, at 3 a.m., I wake up in a cold sweat and find what I hope is the last one crawling up my…

Poor Choices

This week you’ll be treated to a story about two ne’er-do-wells who chose the wrong venue to attempt to steal some trophy elk racks, and a motorist who tangled with a wild fox inside his SUV. Poor choices, both. Duo Nabbed Filching Elk Racks at NRA ShowOver the years, I’ve brought readers numerous reports of the lame-brained exploits of wildlife…

October 2011

As the snow falls outside the window behind me again today, I can’t help but think about pheasant hunting season. Apparently, I’m not alone. According to our website’s analytics, the most commonly searched term driving pheasant hunters to our website the last few weeks is “October 2011.” My hunch is that folks are already planning their 2011 fall pheasant hunting…

Right to Bare Arms, and Other Stuff

The members of a private Washington recreational social club are upset over the prospect of a public shooting range proposed near their rural facility.  The growing conflict has the members of the Lake Bronson Social Camping Club heading to court to block Snohomish County’s plans to construct a multi-discipline range near the club’s sprawling 320-acre encampment, lake and hiking area….

Pulling that boat and trailer from storage

As hard water fishing wraps up, it’s time to start thinking about spring river fishing or inland open water seasons. Here’s where those boat storage tips from last fall really pay off. For starters, before embarking on an ice-out crappie adventure, make sure that battery is charged. You don’t want to arrive at the access with a dead battery, and…

I Am a Hunter. I AM NOT A REDNECK!

I fielded an interview yesterday from a freelance reporter writing a story for a travel publication. The journalist was penning a feature story about Omaha and wanted to talk with me about Pheasants Forever’s experience in the Nebraska town this past January during National Pheasant Fest 2011. After a few minutes of discussing some marketing rationale for selecting Omaha as…

Critter Control Goes Terribly Wrong

This week you’ll learn how not to extricate an invasive critter from your home and about a new Coast Guard regulation that proves Americans are getting fatter. Let Us SprayThere’s a squirrel loose inside your house. Do you:A. Call a professional nuisance animal trapper?B. Open all the doors and windows and try to chase it back outside?C. Use pepper spray?If…

Late ice safety

Many anglers bag on ice fishing by mid-March but if I can find good ice, I love late ice fishing for crappies, sunfish, and perch. It’s a great time for fishing, but attention to ice safety becomes paramount.Fishing’s good because snowmelt has rejuvenated oxygen levels, but that running water can cause problems, too.To monitor conditions, learn to read the ice. You’ll…

Lightning Toasts Wisconsin Whitetails

This week we bring you a new quick-roast venison recipe from Wisconsin and a dumb outdoor criminal report from sunny Florida. Wisconsin Deer Slammed by Lightning BoltAuthorities in southern Wisconsin report seven whitetail deer were apparently killed when lightning struck a farm field during a severe thunderstorm on March 20.After receiving a report from a neighboring landowner the following day,…

Shark, Stingray Leap into Boats

You know it must be time to go fishing in Texas and Florida when big ones are literally jumping into boats there. Decked OutThis week, two potentially dangerous marine critters went airborne and landed on the decks of watercraft, in one instance smacking down a woman tourist.A five-foot spotted eagle ray estimated to weigh as much as 300 pounds leapt…

How many ice rods and why?

Many attendees at my seminars ask how many rods I carry when going ice fishing. My answer: If you own four or five ice rods, take them all. That’s the easy part of the question. Now the part that requires effort: What species will you fish? Decide, then have rods pre-rigged at home. If you’re pursuing panfish, take all of your…

Top Ten Reasons Bird Hunting is Better than Deer Hunting

I love to eat venison. There is no better meat on the planet than a whitetail deer’s tenderloin. That being said, I’ve never really enjoyed deer hunting. When deer season opens in Minnesota each November, I travel to a different state to chase birds. There is no doubt all of you deer hunters are going to blast me for today’s…

Loincloths and Roadkill

This time, we report on blockage of a measure that could have allowed hunting to go way retro in the American West. No Stone-Age Hunting in MontanaA measure to allow spears to be used for big game hunting in Montana-which already passed the full Senate-was tabled in the House Fish, Wildlife and Parks committee last week, effectively blocking it from…

What is the Difference between a Birder and a Bird Hunter?

Last Saturday morning on FAN Outdoors radio, host Billy Hildebrand and I interviewed one of our favorite guests, naturalist Stan Tekiela. The topic of the morning was bird watching. Did you know that according to a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service study published in 2001 that one in five Americans are considered birders, or bird watchers? That ratio represents 46…

Officers Foil Fowl Affair, and More

Who says nothing exciting ever happens in the nation’s heartland? This week we bring you a pair of wild happenings from Central Ohio, where law enforcement authorities exhibited some ace detective and police work in two extremely challenging critter cases. Police Pluck Pilfered Park Poultry from Perps Over the weekend, police in Chillicothe, Ohio reportedly stopped a suspicious vehicle after…

Jumbo perch March tactics

I love targeting jumbo perch in March via spring bobbers and waxworms. Use a No. 12 ice lure, a panfishing lure, for tougher bite finicky perch. And don’t be afraid to bring the maggots!This winter, I’m using a standard minnow head on a small jig or vertical jigging spoon. I’ll vary the distance we pinch off the minnow head as a factor…

Sell Me Your Dog

It’s time for me to get serious about adding bird dog number two. As you may have picked up on through my previous postings, I am absolutely in love with my German shorthaired pointer. However, I’m open to considering other breeds for dog number two.We all know how attached bird hunters are to their favorite breed, so today’s exercise will…

No Mouth-Fishing in Pennsylvania, and More

This week, we’ll arm you with science stuff you can use to amaze your waterfowl hunting friends while you’re looking up at the duckless sky. But first, a warning for eastern mouth anglers. No Mouth-Fishing in Pennsylvania If you’re planning a trip to Pennsylvania to do some angling using only your mouth, you’d better reconsider. Why? Because mouth-fishing is strictly…

Hooking grubs for crappies and sunfish

For years, dedicated readers and attendees at my seminars have heard me explain that I always hook maggots through the beveled end. That’s changing a bit, but one rule that’s not changing is the need for a sharp hook. Why? Because you want to pierce that outer skin on your grub, not annhilate it.I take my hook and slip it just…

Welcome to Offbeat Outdoors!

Greetings and salutations Outdoor News readers. My name is J.R. Absher (call me J.R.), and I will be presenting you with my collection of offbeat and sometimes downright wacky tales from the outdoors once each week-or more often when I just can’t help myself. You’ll read about outdoor misfits, bizarre animal behavior and times when fish and wildlife turn the…