Michigan Hunters: Beware of Bovine Tuberculosis

If you kill a deer in certain Michigan counties, you should exercise caution and get your deer tested for bovine tuberculosis before consuming it. Officials from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources are reminding all hunters to be careful with any deer that they kill this year and get it checked for bovine tuberculosis before eating …

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Cornell Scientists’ Doe Sterilization Program Accidentally Created “Buck Magnets”

A costly attempt to reduce Cornell University’s urban deer population backfired in a bizarre way.  In an effort to reduce urban deer populations on Cornell University’s campus in Ithaca, NY, scientists sterilized does and mistakenly created “buck magnets”, according to the Washington Post. Cornell scientists began the sterilization project in 2009 after residents of central …

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Orphan Deer Has a New Mom: A Chocolate Lab

Believe it or not, here’s an orphan deer being nursed by a chocolate lab. Want to show your girlfriend that you have a sweet and softer side? Look no further, this video is for you. This is one of the cutest things you will ever see—a chocolate lab nursing an orphan deer. This momma chocolate lab takes care …

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The 10 Best Pictures of New England’s Fall Foliage [PICS]

Ten must-see places for New England leaf peepers this fall! This time of year, New England is set ablaze with autumn color. Peak leaf-peeping season is finally upon us! Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island and Connecticut prove fall is truly the best time of year to enjoy the spectacular weather and majestic vistas. …

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Ask the Experts: Understanding Base Layers for Hunting

Photo by Cliff Gardiner & John Keller

Q: Between a pair of hunting bibs and a base layer of long johns, what’s a good middle layer for
cold-weather hunting? Dominic DeJulio, via OutdoorLife.com

A: Layering is one of the most fundamental, and most fundamentally misunderstood, questions of hunting preparation. The easy answer is that there is no single answer. Instead, you want to layer according to your activity level and the ambient temperature. 

I am not a fan of polypropylene compression layers unless I’m going to be sitting still in very cold weather. I find that they get sweaty and clammy pretty quickly. If I’m active, my go-to base layer is silk, which breathes and resists absorbing odors, but also regulates temperature, keeping you alternately cool and warm. Next, I opt for a lightweight polyprop layer, preferably with a half zipper to regulate my body temperature. Then I add a loose-fitting layer of either merino wool or a scent-controlling synthetic. And lastly, I’ll add a heavy fleece if the air is especially cold, the wind is biting, or I will be sitting. It’s a cinch to remove or add layers as conditions require.

—Andrew McKean, Hunting Editor


For submitting the question of the month, Dominic DeJulio will receive a copy of This Happened to Me!, a book containing 190 pages of the most dangerous misadventures survived by Outdoor Life readers. For a chance to win a prize, submit your question here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wildlife Encounters When You Aren’t Hunting: Moose & Elk

Sometimes you just want to get out into nature without having to be on the hunt. You may be hiking for a day or camping for a week. No matter what you do, you may encounter some wildlife, such as a protective mother elk or rutting bull moose. When you do, it can be quite …

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Puppy-Sized Spider Surprises Insect Hunter in Amazon Rainforest

This enormous tarantula will give you one more reason to hate spiders.  Etymologist Piotr Naskrecki happened upon on this puppy-sized spider while he was hunting for insects in the Amazon a few years ago. Nasrecki wrote on his photo blog that he was looking for bugs when he “heard the rustle of an animal running,” in …

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Whitetail Deer: How To Use Clues to Track the Rut

Pre-rut bucks prefer to make rubs on slender saplings of aromatic species such as sassafras and cedar. Photos by Lance Krueger

The rut is coming. We know that much. Whitetails will gather and breed, bucks will relax their prodigious survival instincts, and the odds of seeing and killing deer tip toward hunters. But the rut rarely tracks with the calendar across the country, or even within individual states. Weather, crop harvests, hunting pressure, doe populations, and other localized factors also determine what the bucks are doing where you hunt.

So the time stamps on these clues will vary depending on where you hunt, but the progression of rut behaviors is consistent across whitetail country. Observe what’s happening around you, and update your tactics accordingly. 
 

Pre-Rut
Clue: Scrapes are freshly worked and filled with tracks. Nearby licking branches are
recently tended.

Action: Bucks are working hard to attract does, but the females aren’t ready yet. Set up along deer travel corridors, funnels, and pinch points to wait out bucks on the prowl. Put out a small-antlered, yearling buck decoy to irk a dominant buck into bristling up and delivering a thrashing to the upstart. Action could come any time, but morning and evenings are prime.

Intensifying Rut
Clue
: Scrapes are frozen over and crusted or dry and inactive.
Action: Plenty of does are in estrus, so bucks no longer need to freshen their calling cards. Quit the scrape and rub lines and instead hunt where the does have moved—to food—with the expectation that bucks will soon join them. Set up on inside corners of food plots, harvested grainfields, still-green hay meadows, clear-cuts, or other feeding areas. Alternatively, hang a stand back in staging areas leading to the feed.

Heat of the Rut
Clue
: You see (or hear reliable reports of) bucks out cruising at midday. You see road-killed deer on the way to work.
Action: What are you saving that sick day for anyway? Get out and hunt now—all day. Bucks cruise in broad daylight when their testosterone is at its peak. Place a portable ground blind on the edge of an open field or pasture, and set out a doe decoy that patrolling bucks can see from a distance.

The rut’s progression follows predictable patterns, regardless of latitude or weather. Bucks, like the central Ohio bruiser at left, will begin the breeding season by tending rubs and scrapes. Evidence of increasing rut activity includes roadkill, which indicates deer are being stirred up by breeding frenzy. One key sign that the rut is peaking is the sight of bucks tending does in open fields, like the Buckeye State cornfield above.

Rut Lockdown
Clue
: Overall deer movement is disappointingly slow to nonexistent. Your friends say the rut
is over.
Action: Actually, the rut is in full swing. Does are hot and the bucks are with them in cover. You’re only seeing this year’s fawns and yearling does because mama is on a secluded date with a new beau. Some will call this hunting tactic taboo, but now is the time to set up at the edge—or even right in the middle—of whitetail bedroom thickets and hideaways. Be prepared to wait all day.
 
Redistribution

Clue: Farmers’ combines gobble up fields of corn, soybeans, and other grains, leaving swaths of golden stubble.
Action: In most places, the corn harvest continues into November. A freshly cut field is dynamite: For a day or two the whitetails find it hard to leave their once-perfect sanctuary. And bucks with estrous does love to mill about or bed in the safety of the big wide-open all day. But after a day or two, deer feel vulnerable and will leave open fields at daybreak.

Storm Front
Clue
: The sun fades behind lowering clouds—a storm is coming.
Action: As nasty weather approaches, whitetails go on the move: Does and fawns feed hard to stoke up as the barometer drops, and bucks follow to shop the local singles scene. Hunt the highest-calorie, quickest-reward food sources available—grain stubble, food plots, hayfields, cutovers, and burns.

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ATV Review: 2015 Honda Foreman Rubicon 4×4

Many companies are really starting to raise the bar for the hard-working, hard-playing machines in the utility branch of the off-roading department. If you love options and want the reliable reputation of the Honda line, then you will be glad to learn the company has stepped up its ATV improvements as well. The 2015 Honda Foreman Rubicon has garnered the latest attention from the manufacturer’s off-road engineering division. Honda has also attended to three major features: rider comfort, electronic fuel injection, and independent rear suspension.

The Hatfield-McCoy trail system in the mountains of West Virginia served as our testing grounds. If you’ve experienced this region before, then you know just how fun—and rugged—the trails can get. Fortunately, the Rubicon sports a super-plush seat that’s comfortable even after two full days of mountain trails. Honda has added extra foam padding to the seat, and the smooth, tapered styling allows for a better fit between your legs. The bars on the new Rubicon are positioned upward for better comfort and control. As a final touch to the steering bars, Honda added a new half-waffle design to the grips. There’s even a heated grip option if you know you’ll be riding in extremely cold weather. The Rubicon also comes with or without power steering, depending on your preference or pocketbook. I suggest you pay a little extra for this small but noticeable feature.

The new look of the Honda Rubicon is appealing and classy, yet stays within the traditional feel of a sporty-yet-workable machine to bring it all together. The traditional bright red plastics help the machine to stand out, and with the rugged redesigned rack system, hauling gear is easier. The front racks have integrated plates along the outer edges to provide a flat platform for securing loads. Tie down points for your cargo are also plentiful with this new design. The front rack will carry 99 pounds, while the rear will hold an incredible 187 pounds of cargo. With solid tow ratings in the 1300-pound mark, you shouldn’t have any trouble getting gear to your stand or trekking to your duck blind.

The engine in the 2015 Rubicon is straight out of the Pioneer 500. This 475cc four stroke is water-cooled and fuel injected for optimal performance on the trail or when you intend to work the machine in the hot summer months. Honda’s programmed fuel injection gave us good throttle response as we tackled the trails. Honda also claims the PFI improved fuel economy by as much as 12 percent, which was evident as it seemed to sip slowly at the fuel levels during our rides.

As far as the transmission or shifting of the new Rubicon goes, you can absolutely have it your way. There are several formats to choose from: a manual DCT/auto clutch, ESP/Electronic Shift Program, and the fully automatic form that does everything for you. My favorite had to be the manual with automatic clutch; it allowed me to choose my gear position and seemed to have just a little more pep. The manual is a foot-shifted model that utilizes the dual clutch transmission (DCT) to engage the process. With the electric shift program (ESP) you change the gears via a handle-bar-mounted shifting mechanism simply by pressing up or down on the buttons. With the right-hand mounted switch you can tell the Honda Rubicon to do everything for you. When placed in a forward gear, Low/High, you simply press the throttle lever and watch the trail ahead.

Enjoying the Honda Foreman Rubicon for two full days gave us a better appreciation for each feature on the machine. If we could change one thing on the Rubicon, it would be the foot-wells behind the heel position. This area could use better support. But overall, Honda released a great revised version of a timeless classic that’sready for you to ride.

Pros
-Fuel injection
-Sleek classy new look
-Thicker, more comfortable seating

Cons
-Heel support
-Could benefit from more low speed power steering assist in 4WD.

Specs

2015 Honda Foreman Rubicon Specifications:
Model: TRX500FM5 / TRX500FM6 (with EPS) / TRX500FM6 (with EPS) Deluxe
Engine Type: 475cc liquid-cooled OHV longitudinally mounted single-cylinder four-stroke

Bore and Stroke: 92.0mm x 71.5mm
Compression Ratio: 9.5:1
Induction: Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI), 36mm throttle body
Ignition: Full-transistorized with electronic advance
Starter: Electric with optional auxiliary recoil
Clutch: Automatic
Transmission: Five-speed with Reverse
Driveline: Direct front and rear driveshafts with TraxLok® and locking front differential

Suspension    
Front: Independent double-wishbone; 7.3 inches travel
Rear: Independent dual-arm; 8.5 inches travel

Brakes    
Front: Dual hydraulic 190mm discs
Rear: Single hydraulic 170mm disc
Tires    
Front: 25 x 8-12
Rear: 25 x 10-12

Length: 83.7 inches
Width: 47.4 inches
Height: 49.1 inches
Seat Height: 36.1 inches
Ground Clearance: 9.8 inches
Wheelbase: 50.9 inches
Turning Radius: 11.5 feet

Fuel Capacity: 3.9 gallons, including 1.3-gallon reserve

Colors
Rubicon 4×4: Red, Olive
Rubicon 4×4 EPS: Red, Honda Phantom Camo®
Rubicon 4×4 EPS Deluxe: White

Curb Weight: 679 pounds (TRX500FM5) / 696 pounds (TRX500FM6) /
688 pounds (TRX500FM6 Deluxe)

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Whitetail Deer: When Should You Check Your Trail Cameras?

A trail camera can be a hunter’s best friend, but if used improperly they can also be your worst enemy. The risk in using trailcams lies in the hunters’ addiction to looking at the photos too often. So the question then becomes, when should you check your cameras?

The answer is as infrequently as possible. Every trip in to a hunting property to check cameras puts pressure on the local deer, just as if you were hunting them. This pressure can eventually lead to local bucks going nocturnal or relocating.
    
That said, there’s not much point to using game cameras if you don’t ever find out what they’re capturing. If you need to check a camera, try to coordinate the task with a hunt, when you can simply walk by a camera on the way to your stand. Another option is to place cameras in locations where you can drive up to them when routinely traveling your property. Spots like field edges, logging roads, or an ATV path are all good options.
    
If you have to make a special trip in, I recommend refraining from checking cameras more than once a week during the season. To ensure these trips are as low-pressure as possible, wait for a wind direction that will not blow your scent toward known bedding areas. Head in around mid-day when deer activity will likely be lowest, and if possible, try to take advantage of rainy days to get in and out quietly and relatively scent-free.
    
Definitely take advantage of trailcams this season, but don’t check them so often that they end up hurting your hunt more than they help.

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