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MidWest Outdoors Hunting Articles

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Getting Ready for Gun Season  
By John Bennett

If there is one single day in the year that stimulates an irresistible urge to go hunting it is the opening day of gun season. Young men and women (and some of us seniors as well) begin to develop tunnel vision and can be heard mumbling about blaze orange, slug barrels, doe pee, and all manner of outdoor accoutrements. Yep, it is deer hunting season, once again, and I love it.     Actually, my preparations begin months in advance of opening day. If the truth were known, I probably think about deer hunting every week out of the year, and frequently this extends to every day out of the year. When THAT DAY finally arrives, I know...
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Turn the Tables on Older Whitetails  
By Ken Nordberg

 It's November. If you are an avid deer hunter like me, this is the finest month of the year. The mere thought of November triggers an avalanche of fond memories in my mind. Some simple yet somehow exciting memories include sounds most other people never hear or notice: the sighing of pines in soft breezes, for example, lazy woof-woofs of raven wings passing overhead, trills of red squirrels greeting the rising sun, mournful howls of gray wolves gathering for an evening hunt, and snapping, popping and mewing of pine logs burning in my deer camp barrel stove.     The word November even brings to mind certain odors like sce...
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Create Your Own Whitetail Paradise  
By Todd Amenrud

This buck had almost ten inches of palmate antler mass above his G-2. That’s what caught my eye as he approached through the swamp. My heart was pounding and my left leg was shaking so hard it made the treetop jiggle. He was following a scent trail of Special Golden Estrus that I set up before getting into my treestand. He stopped, did a lip curl, raked the brush with his antlers, and then put his nose to the ground and continued on the trail. He scanned the area and I thought the jig was up! Not finding what was making that “sweet smell,” would he move on without offering me a shot? I fumbled for my call and executed a perf...
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Remain Undetected With These Five Tips  
By Darin Potter

It starts the minute we set foot outside of our vehicle or home, yet so many bow hunters become careless and traipse to their treestands with a carefree attitude and lack of attention to details. I’m talking about going undetected in the deer woods, becoming ghostlike in every move that we make. As bow hunters this is something that all of us should strive for. With the popularity of bow hunting on the rise, every season deer are becoming more and more educated by careless hunters and we must take every measure possible to slip into our stands unnoticed. Going undetected against the mature whitetails extraordinary senses can drive us in...
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Hunting Article Archives

Tactical Gun Handling for Upland Game  By Mike Keleher
While hunting is not a competitive sport, do you still envy “the other guy” who always seems to be more successful? Of course! Are they really better, or just seem to be lucky? Like any other sport, “luck” is really a combinat...
The Art of Decoying Waterfowl  By Troy Smutka
Tips and Strategies from 30 Years of Waterfowling Experience While sitting around a campfire this past summer, my dad, brother, and I were recalling some waterfowl hunting memories with a couple of friends. During the break between a couple of stori...
When Deer Numbers are Down Tip the Odds in Your Favor  By Ray Hansen
I’m facing a situation for the 2014 hunting season common to many other Midwestern bow and arrow deer hunters: reduced deer numbers after 2013’s rough winter. In this article, I’ll pass along some ideas that can help you tip the odd...
The Most Important Skill In Whitetail Hunting  By Ken Nordberg
What is the most important skill in whitetail hunting? Is it accuracy with your gun or bow? Is it the ability to recognize a productive stand site? Is it the ability to get to a stand site without alerting or alarming deer? Is it the abilit...
The Spring Line-Up Scouting For Gobblers  By Todd Amenrud
Sweat soaked my facemask as I ascended the huge Wisconsin ridge. I was trying to make it to the top to intercept a gobbler that had been answering my calls and I had only 30 minutes of legal shooting time left. When I found a spot to set up, it sound...
Turkeys In The Forest  By Jason Houser
Just think about turkey hunting and your mind races to green fields and forest edges with new leaves and flowers beginning to blossom. This is where many turkeys are killed every year, and is one of the best places to find a turkey.   &nbs...
The Making of a Buck Hunter  By Ken Nordberg
First light was minutes away on Sunday morning of our second weekend of our past firearm deer hunting season when my grandson Tyler climbed to the platform of his cousin Ryan's treestand. Ryan was now back in college. About a...
Making Sense Of Scents   By Doug Thalacker
    I was listening to a radio show where a contestant had to tell which was the true story. The topic was products that were designed to help women keep men from hitting on them. One of the suggestions was a set of sprays that smelled...
Ten Tips For Better Shooting  By John Bennett
  There is an old hunting adage that goes like this: “If you ain’t missed an easy shot, you ain’t hunted much.” While there is much truth in that statement, and while I have to admit to missing my share of easy shots, th...
Eight Guidelines For Treestand Success  By Todd Amenrud
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2013 Duck Numbers Remain Strong  By Gene Clifford
Despite slight declines, most species remain well above long-term averages.     The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently released its report on 2013 trends in duck breeding populations, based on surveys conducted in May and early J...
Countdown To Whitetail Hunting  By Ken Nordberg
It's October, meaning us firearm whitetail hunters still have a month to get ready. That's good; there's a lot we still can do to improve our hunting success this November.     Take our hunting clothes—we need to make sure they ...
Fishing Boat To Hunting Boat   By Garry Burch
The fall air filled with the sounds of migrating waterfowl stirs many souls to head to the marsh for a day filled with ducks, geese and the smell of gunpowder.     Many fish and wildlife areas have pre-built blinds that you can draw f...
Sloppy Campers Ruining It For All  By Mike Cyze
Let me set the scenario for you. Somewhere, here in the Midwest, along one of her many pools, you head out on the Mississippi River in your boat, looking for the perfect sandbar or that secluded island to set up a tent and spend some quality time rel...
Hunting Gear For Fall  By Ladowski Cormier
Earlier this year, two hunting trade shows-ATA (Archery Trade Association) and SHOT (Shooting, Hunting Outdoor Trade)-gathered industry manufacturers, retailers and media to exhibit their existing product lines and introduce their new products for th...
In Defense of Trophy Buck Hunting  By Ken Nordberg
At our annual garden club picnic on a Monday evening, I was introduced to a lady by a friend who informed her I was an expert on whitetail hunting. "I think it's terrible that you hunters kill all those big bucks just to get their antlers,"...
Location Can Determine Honker Success  By Jerry Carlson
It was not much to look at. The 20-acre field of small grain was tiny compared to some of the other potential hunting spots in the region. According to the landowner, the geese had pretty much been ignoring it, favoring the larger fields instead. &n...
Early Season Whitetail Strategies  By Todd Amenrud
Understanding the social structure of the herd during the time you intend to hunt is a key to getting various hunting tactics to work for you. In the “whitetail world” the time during early season is all about being social with other deer...
Campfire Memories  By John Bennett
In all of the years that I have walked this earth I have yet to meet anyone who, in one way or another, did not enjoy setting around a campfire. As a matter of fact, one of the most compelling statements that I ever heard was, “Let’s go s...
Advice For Tricky Turkey Tribulations  By Todd Amenrud
Natural turkey biology can make turkey hunting seem difficult. Throw in the mistakes we make and the sour hands Mother Nature can deal every so often, and harvesting a springtime tom can seem nearly impossible. Persistence, patience, and hunters&rsqu...
Clues To Next Year’s Trophy  By Todd Amenrud
It’s over until next year, and many hunters won’t think about visiting the whitetail woods again until the following hunting season. Those hunters are missing out on learning tons about their herd and the mature bucks that inhabit the rea...
An Inexpensive Way to Hunt —An Ageless Sport  By Robert A. Vaughn
When you open the cover of most wildlife magazines, inside you will you see pictures of moose, bear, elk, antelope, deer and wild boar. There is also a strong emphasis on the harvesting of quail, chukar, pheasant, duck and geese. They make every cali...
Big Bucks I Should Have Taken But Didn't  By Ken Nordberg
Throughout my 66 seasons of whitetail hunting I've certainly experienced my share of goof-ups, most notably when big bucks were involved. Following most error-stricken moments I usually realized what I had done wrong and vowed to never make the same ...
Field Hunting Mallards  By Jason Mitchell
For many duck hunters, duck hunting is all about cattails and mud, and ducks splashing on the water with a wet retriever shaking in the blind. Field hunting opportunities are not present everywhere but in the heartland of the Midwest; mallards routin...
Structure Hunting For Your Buck  By Jack Payne
It was Halloween before my first opportunity on a buck came along. Well actually, my first since opening night when I blew a wide-open shot. The rut was just hitting full stride and I had mapped out what I thought was a few strategic locations. &nbs...
Five Good Investment Tips To Stay Warm  By Michael Coogan
    Going from just being cold to frostnip—and worse yet—frostbite, can come dangerously fast if a hunter isn’t properly equipped. This article identifies cold factors and sensible advice in dealing with them properly...
Introducing The Next Generation Of Hunters  By Jason Houser
Like most hunters, I had a mentor at a very young age. If it were not for my dad, who passed down his love for hunting, I would have missed out on some very special times between a father and his young son. It first started with squirrels, then uplan...
It’s October And I’m Goin’ Duck Huntin’  By John Bennett
Several months ago during the intolerable heat of summer I remarked to my wife that I could hardly wait for duck season to roll around. “Gee, what a surprise,” she replied sarcastically, knowing full well that I think of ducks and duck hu...
Early Canada Goose Season Strategies  By Jason Mitchell
The early Canada goose seasons that are now available to hunters across the country creates some tremendous opportunities for waterfowl hunters. A number of states, which now have nuisance seasons or early resident goose hunting opportunities, stretc...
Gun Safety Starts By Not Pointing Fingers  By Babe Winkelman
I was recently with friends who had children between the ages of 9 and 14. Those are great ages, when lessons learned can last a lifetime. Everyone was outdoors enjoying a summer afternoon in the country, when the oldest child suggested a little targ...
Rub-a-Dub-Dub: Understanding Whitetail Rubs  By Todd Amenrud
The mark of an adult buck, the appropriately named “rub,” is one of the best scouting aids a hunter has to learn about their habits. Sure, we have trail cameras nowadays, but a hunter should still learn to read physical sign, like rubs. D...
Thirty Minutes That Make or Break a Hunt  By Ken Nordberg
About 15 to 30 whitetails inhabit each square-mile where you hunt deer. Likely eight to 11 are 2-1/2 years of age or older, three to five being bucks and five to six being does. The rest are fawns and yearlings. Why then is it so difficult to spot on...
Previously Hunted Whitetails Don't Forget  By Ken Nordberg
Over the past 17 years, my wife Jene and I have spent three months each winter photographing and studying whitetails (and other wildlife) in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. Upon returning home each spring, I'm typically anxious to write about somethin...
Deer Ticks & Lyme Disease  By Jennifer Pudenz
Being an outdoorsman, it is pretty much guaranteed that you are going to end up with at least a few pesky ticks crawling on or attached to you this spring and summer. And with this year’s weather being ahead of the curve, the ticks are out even...
Hunting Gobblers During Bad Weather  By Todd Amenrud
Doesn’t it seem like sometimes those “good gobbling days” are few and far between? You know the ones—the sun is shining, high pressure, there’s little to no wind, and the toms are all fired up! After weeks of getting up ...
We Built Our Own Cabin!  By John Bennett
As an historical re-enactor, with the persona of a “settled down” long hunter who lived on the early Midwestern frontier, I had long wanted to build my own log cabin that would be reminiscent of those that dotted the outback of Indiana, K...
Calling And Decoying Spring Turkeys  By Jason Houser
Sitting on the edge of a field of chufa I planted especially for this occasion, I watched a gobbler as he posed for me in full strut several hundred feet away on the opposite end of the field. For two hours, I sat in my ground blind just inside the w...
Gateways to Hunting  By Babe Winkelman
Hunting participation is suffering, my friends. Fewer and fewer men, women and children are taking to the outdoors. This is a problem, because the heritage of hunting does more than hold families together, nurture friendships, and promote a respect f...
Big Critters Cause Big Problems  By Jerry Pabst
As European settlers spread across the North American landscape one of the first things they did was get rid of any and all large, dangerous animals that posed a threat to their lives and property. Trying to cope with disease, injury, hostile Indians...
Bizarro World Walleye  By Ted Pilgrim
Some of the best walleye fishing you can imagine is occurring in places you might never think to look. Historic numbers of fish up to 10 pounds, even larger, are today living and thriving in lakes and reservoirs that only five years back were nearly ...
Last Day Whitetails  By Thomas Allen
Nothing like cutting it close. Bottom of the ninth, two outs and you have a tag burning a hole in your pocket, what do you do? WHAT DO YOU DO? Well, two old clichés come to mind… “You won’t kill one from the couch,” an...
Three Clues To Help Fill A Late Season Tag  By Todd Amenrud
If you’ve always hung the bow up at the end of peak rut, you don’t know what you’re missing. Serious archers and muzzleloader hunters know how productive late season can be. Even in our northern latitudes, some years you may have ru...
Whitetails Love Fencerows  By Bob "Greenie" Grewell
It's amazing that whitetails can thrive in open, sparsely wooded farm country. Sprawling crop fields, weed stubble and miles of carefully laid out fence lines offer excellent cover. Though, it's not always easy to get close to deer in open areas. Whe...
The November Scent Check  By Thomas Allen
How many articles have been written about scent control and whitetails? Hundreds? Thousands? Who knows? One thing is for sure, the whitetail’s nose is his number one line of defense and there are times when fooling it is flat out impossible. I ...
The Rut Is On!  By Vikki L. Trout
How many times have we heard that anyone can get a big buck during the rut? More often than I care to mention! However, if that were true, why aren’t all hunters in the field during this special time of year tagging a “whopper” cons...
Low Impact Tactics For Early October Bucks  By Ray Hansen
The second eight-point buck I saw from my treestand in October 2010 was a shooter. It was 9:30 a.m. He answered a call, coming in to investigate the sounds and stretching out his neck to try to get a better scent read on what the doe holding in nearb...
Make That Shot Count!  By Mike Frisch
Bow hunting season for whitetail deer is here! Many bow hunters will encounter shooting opportunities this year that will range in degree of difficulty. Regardless the shot that presents itself, being properly prepared for that shot will greatly incr...
Where There Are Does, There Are Bucks  By Bob "Greenie" Grewell
Now you see him, now you don’t. At the end of the whitetail breeding cycle, bucks will again become very private. They will join into small bachelor groups, tolerating each other’s presence. Does will also form their own small herds. But,...
Nine Rules for Treestand Success  By Todd Amenrud
Many hunters have questions about treestand placement. "How high do you go in the tree" is one of the most asked questions on the topic. Every situation is different and there aren't any rules where there aren't exceptions. However, over th...
Scouting When it Counts  By Ken Nordberg
It's September. The first of Minnesota's deer hunting seasons begins (archery) in a couple of weeks. If you are a Minnesota bowhunter and if you haven't already scouted, you ought to get at it this coming weekend. Why so soon? Well, to be productive,...
Traditional Deer Drives  By Jason Houser
More deer than I can count, dozens probably, have fallen victim to my shotgun while I was participating in deer drives on the family farm. Hmm, maybe I could take what I have learned over the last 25 years’ hunting seasons and use it to solve t...
Great New Products for This Hunting Season  By Roger Cormier
    Two major hunting industry trade shows held this past January showcased great new products for the upcoming hunting season. The Archery Trade Association Show (ATA) in Indianapolis and the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show (SHO...
Bring The Deer To The Food, Or The Food To The Deer  By Todd Amenrud
Every property is different—from the obvious disparities such as topography, natural flora and the type of agricultural crops grown in the region, to more specific, subtle variances like herd dynamics, property history and each land manager&rsq...
A Different Kind Of Mount Without The Expense  By Ray McCune
It appeared to be a good-news phone call; but it was really a cleverly baited trap.  My son Patrick called to tell me he had killed an eight-point buck.  I was thrilled for him but then he asked the inevitable question, “Say, Dad, cou...
Turkey Detour Ahead   By Todd Amenrud
As with most animals, turkeys travel from place to place, using cover and terrain to their advantage. From fish, to pheasants, to whitetails, to humans, our travel patterns are greatly dictated by the lay of the land, conditions during a particular t...
Photography Improves Hunting Knowledge  By Bob "Greenie" Grewell
  Have you ever envied wildlife photographers who are able to capture great pictures? Well, it could be you! Why? Because, your hunting experiences and skills enable you to understand wild game habits. As a hunter, you are savvy about animal be...
Double vs. Single Barrel Shotguns  By Rick Petrekovic
  My first real personal shotgun was a Winchester 12-gauge, 1300 pump. I still have it today. That gun has served me well. It has shot rabbits, squirrels, pheasants, grouse, woodcock, ducks, geese, and turkeys. When I got my first lab I decided...
Ten Steps For Finding Downed Whitetail Deer  By J. Wayne Fears
  Oftentimes your hunt really begins once you’ve shot or arrowed a deer. Only after you’ve recovered the animal can you call your hunt a success. Let’s look at 10 steps to help you locate your downed whitetail. You can learn m...
Tips For Introducing New Shooters To Our Sport  By Steven K. Ledin
  As an NRA certified shooting instructor for over 20 years, I have found a few simple basics that have stood out more than others to help introduce new shooters to our sport more comfortably and successfully.   This article assumes tha...
Calling Mature Bucks  By Todd Amenrud
    Recently I had a chance to talk with several wildlife biologists regarding whitetail vocalizations. I learned one thing for sure—we are only beginning to understand what it’s all about. I don't have the sophisticated liste...
Study Hunters, Not Deer For The Most Success  By J. Wayne Fears
  The more you know about deer hunters, the more and the bigger bucks you’ll take. Since deer react to the behavior of hunters, if you know what the majority of deer hunters will do when they go deer hunting, you can better understand whe...
Walk To Your Buck   By Ray Hansen
  In this article, I’ll pass along information I have used to take good bucks while hunting on foot. I’ll give hunters who like to walk while searching for deer a good, basic plan for success—one that I have used with memorabl...
Accurate Field Shooting Made Easy  By Ken Nordberg
  When you spot a whitetail in the woods during a hunting season, do you become excited? Of course you do. Otherwise you wouldn't hunt deer. Does your heart begin beating hard and fast? Do your knees begin to quiver? While aiming your firearm o...
Camouflage—Is It That Important?  By S. L. Merriam
  Camouflage, a French word, according to Webster’s dictionary, is defined as “something that allows an otherwise visible organism or object to remain indiscernible from the surrounding environment through deception.” Examples...
Waterfowl Hunting: Eliminating The Variables  By Joe Balog
  Perhaps no other type of hunting contains more variables, more unplanned events, and more things that could go wrong, than waterfowling. First, we must consider location, migration routes, flight patterns and times of the birds. Then, it&rsqu...
Early Season Scent Strategies  By Todd Amenrud
Knowing the social structure of the herd during the time you intend to hunt is a key to getting scent to work for you. In the “whitetail world” the time during early season (typically late August into September) is all about being social ...
Increasing the Odds for More Geese   By Jerry Carlson
Fall is definitely my favorite time of the year. I love the cool evenings and fresh mornings. I enjoy the gradual transformation of the world from summer green to colorful fall. I also greatly appreciate the hunting opportunities that coincide with t...
The Perfect Treestand  By Brian Dam
What constitutes the perfect treestand? Simple—it’s one where you can take a big buck without having to sit still until mold grows on your butt. The secret to the perfect stand is finding the perfect spot. Most hunters don’t realize...
Different Turkey Hunting Methods  By Naomi K. Shapiro
There are two different methods guide Phil Schweik uses to hunt wild turkey. In the normal scheme of things most hunters will "sit"-either in a blind (Schweik personally suggests this - you're comfortable, dry, warm and totally concealed)-o...
Recoil-How To Beat The Flinch  By S. L. Merriam
Listen to deer hunters when they get together and speak about large magnum rifles and you'll often hear the term recoil. When that word pops up in conversation the guy with the shortest, lightest rifle, shooting the biggest cartridge will usually sti...
Take Your Time When Picking A Pup  By Jerry Pabst
Theories on how to choose your next dog abound. Experts and amateurs alike have their own opinions. I guess you could accurately say such beliefs are like rear ends; everyone has one. Perhaps the easiest way to choose a new puppy is to let an expert...
Turkey Hunting Excitement  By Ted Takasaki
Co-authored with Scott Richardson When Joel Nelson talks turkey, the birds have no choice but to listen. Nelson speaks with a 12-gauge shotgun and 3-1/2-inch shells or the sharp tips on his arrow points. Nelson's methods to stalk the wary birds du...
Hunting Specific Practice for Archery Deer Hunting  By Dr. George Peter Karalis
Perhaps it is that I hunt public land and am exposed to the performance woes of my fellow hunters. Or perhaps it is the reality of hunting near an urban setting, where the sportsman is culturally further removed from the realities of nature and havin...
Attention: Calling All Turkeys  By Darin Potter
Every turkey hunter has their favorite call. Whether it is a slate, diaphragm, push-pull, or box call, there are plenty to choose from. It can be overwhelming sometimes walking down the turkey call aisle of a sporting goods store. I admit, when stand...
Learning How To Hunt Turkey  By Jason Loose
I chose to write this because I wanted to let readers know how tough it is to shoot a turkey with a bow. I haven’t had much luck bow hunting for turkeys until recently. It all started about 15 years ago when my dad asked me to go on a shotgun t...
Knife Sharpening 101  By Bob Groene
We hunters all carry knives for field dressing—some hunters go farther by skinning, quartering—even butchering their quarry. Regardless of how much we use a knife, the level of sharpness is of ultra importance. Practice makes perfect;...
Get Your Blaze On… And Odors Off  By Adam Johnson
Scent Control Counts During The Firearms Deer Hunt Too! Outdoors writers expend vast quantities of ink describing in exacting detail how to fool a buck’s nose during the archery deer season. Come firearms season, however, all that TLC disappea...
Dr. Ken on Deer Hunting - Ten Great Hunting Tips  By Ken Nordberg
1. Minimize telltale odors. To minimize the effect my personal odors might have on downwind whitetails, I wash all my hunting clothes (including boot liners) with scent-free laundry soap and then hang everything outside to dry (I wear no hunting cl...
Talking Turkey  By Larry Ladowski
If you have never been turkey hunting before, you may want to try it soon—very soon. In my opinion, turkey has to be one of the most exciting, challenging and rewarding prey to hunt. Not only are turkey, with their keen eyesight and hearing, on...




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