Articles

WATERFOWL POPULATION SURVEYS: HOW WILDLIFE MANAGERS ASSESS WATERFOWL POPULATIONS

Hunters in general can be complainers, especially when it comes to seasons and bag limits. They say things like, “The season is too short,” or “It starts too late,” or “They don’t let us take enough.” Complaints often center around how wildlife managers and biologists set limits based on population limits. “How do they know what’s really out there?” The one exception seems to be waterfowlers. More than any other faction of hunters, they seem willing to accept what they’re allowed with little

19 SHED HUNTING STRATEGIES

Late winter can be a tough time for those who love outdoor sports. Deer seasons have closed and turkey season is still a few months away. Fishing has yet to ramp up to full speed with cold water temperatures or ice still on the lakes in the north. There’s one sport, however, that can fill in this “dead time” perfectly — shed antler hunting. Some people even consider this activity more fulfilling than hunting the animals themselves, because you are always on the go, up and moving, searching for

THE CATCH-22 OF COYOTE CONTROL

Predator control is one of several management practices employed to increase productivity in game species. This is particularly true of coyotes and deer. However, like any prescription, it should be used properly, and users should be aware of the possible side effects. At first glance, it seems pretty simple and straightforward. Coyotes prey on deer, in some cases at a level that can significantly suppress productivity and population growth. Remove the predators and you reduce mortality

LATE SEASON DUCK CALLING

Depending on where you live or hunt, the chances are pretty good that your duck season is just about over. And because it’s late in the season, there’s a good chance that the ducks you are hunting are a bit call shy. After all, they have been called to, good and bad, for hundreds, if not thousands of miles along their annual migration south. If you follow social media, you are seeing photos of successful hunts. So what are those guys doing that you might not be doing? Here are a few late season

SEA DUCK HUNTING: TIPS FOR FULFILLING YOUR WATERFOWL BUCKET LIST

Sea duck hunting is a sport of extremes. The action can be hot and prolonged but the temperatures are often cold, as in northern Saskatchewan deer hunting or sub-arctic polar bear hunting cold. Rather than the local marsh or pond, you’re on the open ocean, a proposition that presents its fair share of potential pitfalls even in mild conditions, but especially when winter winds whip waves to a froth. Heavy layers of clothing help fight the cold but significantly restrict movement. It’s a true

USING NATIVE GRASSES FOR WILDLIFE COVER

Many gamekeepers try to take a holistic approach to our properties, wildlife management and the arrangement of habitats we all strive to improve. In the upper Great Plains that I consider to be “my neck of the woods,” the single most limiting factor is often cover. Since the late 1800s when settlers first homesteaded the great prairie, the horse-drawn moldboard plow and generations of later farming practices all but wiped out what once was a sea of tall and short- prairie grass from central

THE WHITETAILS’ SOCIAL STRUCTURE

The more you know about whitetail behavior, the better your odds of reducing one to possession. Included in that behavior is the local whitetails’ social structure, not only how males and females, young and old interact, but also how those interactions change throughout the year. Many a novice hunter sees a bachelor group of bucks feeding on a field edge, and then returns a month later expecting them to waltz past his stand at sunset, only to be sadly disappointed. What follows is a general

LATE SEASON DUCKS – SET UP FOR SUCCESS

If you’ve spent much time chasing ducks near the end of the season, you’ve probably experienced call shy and blind shy birds. Without question, your calling can be an important part of a successful morning, but your setup may actually be more important than the calling. Here’s what you need to know. It doesn’t matter how good a caller you are, if your setup (blind, decoys, motion, etc.) aren’t right, all the good calling in the world won’t help you get ducks in close. You will find that this is

MANAGING DUCK IMPOUNDMENTS

Managing duck Impoundments requires a year-round cycle of monitoring, with the primary goal of growing a food crop and then flooding it. The fastest way to get ready to plant after duck season is to drain all the water from the impoundment, usually beginning on the first day after duck season ends. The process of draining takes time, because the wet ground will also need time to dry out before any kind of equipment can operate in the impoundment. However, anyone watching an impoundment after the

HUNTING DEER IN THE WIND: UNDERSTANDING WIND, THERMAL AND WHITETAILS

We’ve all heard statements like, “A whitetail ‘lives’ by its nose.” It’s true! To be able to identify another deer or the threat of a human or other predator from just a miniscule, molecular whiff of odor would probably make most humans freak out. The olfactory portion of a whitetail’s brain is said to be approximately 1,000 times larger than a human’s! That’s difficult for most humans to even comprehend. So, knowing that a whitetail's number one guard is its extremely responsive sense of smell