Posts Tagged ‘deer hunting’

Nail Polish and a Spikehorn

Monday, January 14th, 2013

Photo by Nancy Anisfield / Anisfield Hunting Dog Photography

This isn’t about pheasant or quail. It’s not even really about deer although it starts with a deer hunt.

This past fall, Rachel Rackliff, 12 years old, shot a nice 132 lb. spikehorn just minutes before legal shooting ended. She took the deer as it moved slowly between the edge of our cornfield and a swamp that’s popular with our resident moose, resident bear, and a few dozen beavers.  Rachel and her father, Henry, had hiked their way down to the field in the dark both Saturday and Sunday mornings of youth weekend, back in later each afternoon. On Sunday, in between hunts, Rachel had a soccer game.

When they called to ask if we could bring the ATV to help haul the deer out, it was hard to tell who was more excited, Henry or Rachel. Then again, they’d done this before. Rachel got a doe last year down by the same swamp.

Lit by the floodlight over our garage, Henry swung the deer into the back of his truck, and we told Rachel to hop on the tailgate and lift its head. That’s when I saw an image that said it all. She tilted the heavy head into her lap and grasped the narrow horns in her hands, her glittery orange Halloween nail polish sparkling in celebration.

Many of us agree that the future of hunting lies in the next generation and in getting more women and girls involved. Too often I hear that kids don’t have time, that peer pressure and school sports make it too hard to spend time in the woods or fields. I don’t buy it. With the right role models and encouragement – be that from parents, older siblings, friends, teachers or outdoor mentors – one or two trips afield will ignite the passion that fuels an outdoorsman or outdoorswoman for life. Girls can wear flashy nail polish and still take down a deer with the best of hunters.

By the way, last year, when Rachel saw I had Photoshopped out some blood dripping from the doe’s mouth, she laughed. I explained that it seems more respectful when sharing photos of the game we kill to present it in a dignified way, like when we smooth the feathers on a downed pheasant’s back.

“But that’s the way it really was,” she replied. She was right. My editing sanitized the truth, in some ways like meat wrapped cleanly in supermarket plastic. Hunters accept the reality of killing and eating what we kill, the connection to our food source and what it means. Thanks, Rachel.

Nancy Anisfield, an outdoor photographer/writer, sporting dog enthusiast and bird hunter, serves on Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s National Board of Directors. She resides in Hinesburg, Vermont.

Getting Birdy for Big Bucks

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

To be quite honest, I don’t normally think about deer hunting in June. I consider myself more of a “meat hunter” than anything else and my preseason big game preparation usually begins and ends with clearing out a few shooting lanes and checking my stands in September. This year, however, might be a bit different.

Last October a rogue buck wandered by my trail camera and I’ve had a tough time picking up my jaw ever since. Figuring he was just passing through, I didn’t think much of it when he didn’t show himself during the 2010 firearm season. In fact, by the end of the year, I assumed he had already made someone else’s day.

The "Big Boy" shows himself in a trail camera picture taken in fall of 2010.

New evidence proves otherwise.

Here, the same buck from 2010 shows some new growth (photo taken in June).


To my astonishment, not only did he survive the gauntlet known as the Minnesota Deer Season, he looks bigger and better than ever. Common sense would say I need to have my rear-end glued to my deer stand for a majority of this fall, but unfortunately I know that in order to keep the lady happy, I only get so many weekends afield and my true passion is hunting pheasants with my dog.

Do I fill my freezer with a healthy doe and be happy pheasant hunting more with my Lab, Beau?  Do I just hope he happens to wander by one of the times I plan on hitting the hardwoods with my bow or gun? Or do I devote every spare moment to taking what could be the buck of my lifetime? I do wish some of my favorite hobbies didn’t all take place within the same 4-month window of time…

What would you do?

The Over/Under blog is written by Andrew Vavra, Pheasants Forever’s Marketing Specialist.

Top Ten Reasons Why Bird Hunting is Better than Deer Hunting

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

The best thing about deer hunting - TENDERLOIN!

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 blog, but at least try and crack a grin.

Without further adieu, here are the “official unofficial” Top Ten Reasons Why Bird Hunting is Better than Deer Hunting (drum roll):

10. Sitting in a blind all day is BORING!

9. Hitting a flying bird takes more skill than shooting a buck while it eats apples at your bait pile.

8. Deer camp smells like farts and stale beer.

7. If you can sleep, read a book or listen to your iPod while you’re “hunting” . . . you are a deer hunter.

6. Bird hunters avoid being sprayed by skunks.  Deer hunters pay for bottles of skunk spray they apply all over their bodies.

5. Deer camp poker is never as much fun as pheasant camp euchre.

4. If you have a heater AND television in your blind . . . you are a deer hunter.

3. Bird season lasts three months.  Deer season lasts only two weeks.

2. If you spray yourself with urine from another animal . . . you are a deer hunter.

And the number one reason why bird hunting is better than deer hunting:

1. Chicks dig bird dogs.

Now, if you have a venison backstrap in the freezer with my name on it, I’ll take back everything I’ve said!

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.

Confessions of an Outdoors Napper

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Great pheasant habitat AND fantastic napping destination.

I love the outdoors.  I love naps.  Combined.  You guessed it, I love napping outdoors.

I enjoy hunting and fishing for the exercise and excitement of each activity, but I also value the serenity and relaxation each provide.  The chance to get away from my “crackberry” (aka Blackberry) and the demands of our “always connected” culture puts this guy in the perfect frame of mind for a good nap.  Today I’d like to share some of my favorite outdoors napping spots.

The Tall Grass Nap

I remember my best tall grass nap like I’ve just woken up from that North Dakota field.  Allow me to set the scene: for three days straight, I’d awoke at 4AM, set out 500 decoys for ducks and hunted waterfowl till noon.  After cleaning the ducks and having lunch, we’d change into upland clothes and walk miles in search of roosters, Huns, and sharpies till dark.  On the fourth day, I’d set off in a direction on my own; opposite the rest of the group.  As I disappeared from their view behind the hill, I dropped into the tall grass beneath the sunny blue sky and fell asleep to the cacophony of Sandhill cranes somewhere beyond my eyelids.  Outdoors napping utopia!

The Pheasant Hunter’s Truck Nap

Ever walked through miles of cattail sloughs in subzero temps all morning?  It’ll wear you out.  Follow the cattail march up with a lunch inside your truck at the WMA parking area.  With the heater blasting inside the truck and the cold wind blowing outside, it’s the perfect time for your eyes to get heavy.

The Deer Hunter’s Blind Nap

Seriously, who hasn’t dosed off in their deer blind?  Artists have memorialized this time-honored ritual of the deer season as often as they’ve painted drop-tine bucks.  

The Goose Hunter’s Field Nap

Like the deer hunter’s blind nap, I beg a goose hunter out there to claim never to have fallen asleep in a layout blind after waking up at 4AM to set up 500 decoys. 

The Fisherman’s Canoe Nap

The rocking back and forth of the waves, the bright sun shining down then reflecting up off the water, and the sore back of sitting on a metal canoe bench.  Lean back onto the canoe bow and drift off with the lapping waters of rejuvenation. 

The Dock Nap

With your favorite brew at hand, the sun setting on the horizon and the water splashing all around, who on earth would need a soundtrack of mating whales?

What do you think?  Have I missed one of your favorite napping spots, or are you more hard core than I and would never dream of slipping off into REM when there are birds to shoot, bucks to bag and fish to catch?

Photo by Steve Kleist