Deer Hunting

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8 Things to Know About Drought and Western Big Game Hunting

Hunters across the West are welcoming archery season with smokey skies and above-average temperatures. Many states had blazing hot streaks and little to no rain for most of the summer. This created devastating drought conditions and widespread fires. More than 95% of the West was in a drought in August...


How to Become a Hunting Guide

Being a hunting guide and spending months in the outdoors chasing critters would be a dream job, right? It surely is for some, but guiding is not for everyone. There can be a long road to success, especially financially. Here is what you need to know, with input from some...


6 Ways to Prepare for an Elk Hunt

The action was intense. Two bulls were screaming, and my heart was slamming inside my chest. A steady rain was falling, and each step I took to gain elevation and close the distance was a struggle. Mud was building on my outsoles, and on the slippery slope I had all...


The 5 Guns Every Outdoorsman Needs

If you’re like me, you’d own 20 or more rifles, shotguns, and handguns, however many you could afford. But truth is, to have a blast shooting targets and hunting every species of bird and animal across America, you really only need five firearms. And those are the ones we’re talking...


How to Recover a Wounded Elk

Thomas Baumeister studies the splayed-out carcass of a decomposed elk carcass as though it’s a crime scene. The outstretched neck points downhill like it’s reaching for a finish line, the legs extend uphill, hinting the animal may have slid on its belly, and the location of the carcass itself doesn’t...


Gifts from Our Fathers

Fathers are often the first teachers and mentors for their children in the outdoors. Here, three Realtree.com contributors and veteran outdoor writers who grew up in the woods and on the water look back on the gifts their fathers gave them — some intangible — that still have an impact...


10 Elk Calling Mistakes That Can Cost You a Bull

Elk bugles change lives. I’m serious; think about it for a moment. If you’re a big-game hunter coming face to face with one of the most challenging, most sought-after four-legged animals in the world, you certainly remember the first time you hear that throaty, raspy, deep bellow intro and high-pitched...


One Crazy East Kentucky Elk Hunt

A Kentucky elk tag was the last thing on my mind in May of 2020. For over 20 years I’d been unsuccessfully applying for one of the handful of tags, first solo, then together with my wife and kids. Honestly, we’d been snubbed so many times that I had quit...


5 Best States for Pig Hunting

Feral hogs are one of the country’s great ecological disasters. Few pests are more difficult to control, or more immediately detrimental to native ecosystems. In fact, some biologists consider hogs to be the most destructive invasive species on the planet. Though their spread across the United States has been slowed...


21 Riflescope Tips for Hunters

It wasn’t long ago that all a hunter had to consider when buying a riflescope was whether to get a fixed or variable power, a Duplex reticle or a fine crosshair. But optics — especially riflescopes — have evolved dramatically within the past decade. Tubes have gotten larger, glass and...


Elk Calling Strategies for Today’s Public-Land Hunter

When I began seriously bowhunting elk, in 1982, calls were laughably low tech, including coiled gas hoses and homemade PVC flutes. Yet in 1983, when I became a professional guide, I used these basic instruments to lure bulls into range of the compound-bow technology of the day — back when...


How to Plan Your First Antelope Hunt

I wouldn’t go so far as to say a dead antelope buck smells good , but I don’t mind their odor a bit. There’s a hint of petting zoo goat — not necessarily repulsive in itself — mixed with dry Western air and sage and musk. All combined, somehow, the...


The Country’s Best Elk-Hunting Units

There are promised lands in the elk world where a 300-class bull is just okay, compared to the mammoths roaming around. Multiple elk states have these hidden gems. The difficult part is drawing a tag. Each state handles things a bit differently, and wait times can be up to 20...


How to Become a Wildlife Photographer

Getting paid to trek through wilderness in pursuit of stunning wildlife images would seem to be a dream job for many. But the life of a wildlife photographer isn’t always glamorous. Tough weather and terrain combined with long hours at the computer are part of the job description. But pros...


Go West. Hunt Cheap.

The American West is one of our nation’s most prized possessions, long associated with adventure and land that’s as wild as it is beautiful. For many eastern hunters, it’s also a place where dreams can be found in the form of pronghorns scattered across the open landscape, mule deer grazing...


Plan Your Public Mule Deer Hunt Now

Even from a distance I could tell he was the kind of buck I was looking for. His velvet-wrapped 4X4 rack carried deep forks and heavy beams. I would have considered myself lucky just to get close enough for a shot, let alone slip an arrow through his ribs. Even...


5 Tips for Bowhunting Desert Mule Deer

Wide-open desert is tough and unforgiving country to hunt mule deer. It can seem to swallow deer before your eyes. It’s full of brush that pokes, prods and bites at every turn. That harsh environment, combined with vast public tracts and the sheer number of over-the-counter units, can make picking...


5 Things to Know About Big Mule Deer

Mule deer are a somewhat peculiar deer species. These western icons have a few tendencies that resemble those of whitetails, but with some distinct behavioral differences worth noting, too. Muleys are incredibly fun to hunt, and I’ve had the pleasure of chasing them many times in a few different states...


Elk Hunting on Your Own

Nearly every big game hunter dreams of elk hunting out West, but most of the time, that dream is not a reality. Most first-time, out-of-state elk hunters go in unprepared, and then go home without an elk. That’s why we polled these three DIY elk hunting experts for their advice...


7 Tips for Over-the-Counter Mule Deer Hunting

I tallied 28 mule deer through my binoculars by the end of the morning hunt. None were the buck I was looking to shoot — but one of them had at least required a second look. I was hunting somewhere in South Dakota on a Game Production Area open to...


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