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Archive for the ‘Hunting’ Category


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Each year, the summer heat lifts and the first fall breeze fills my head with excitement. This is a time for hunters, near and far, to dial in their groups, rig decoys, ready their best four-legged friend and put the finishing touches on the gear. Yes! This is a magical time — when we reflect on seasons past and prepare with anticipation for this years harvest.

With the 2011 hunting season upon us, there’s no better time then RIGHT NOW to start setting goals.

Having yearly goals is a great way to achieve success.

The same principles translate to everyday life. When we focus on something important — something we really want to achieve and work hard towards, we truly maximize our potential. From a hunting standpoint, you’ll soon realize that by doing this, you gain much more from the experiencee of planning. Before you know it — your skills, knowledge and overall enjoyment of the outdoors has also increased!

The goals you set — whether it’s herd management, shot proficiency, gaining greater knowledge or simply forming a better attitude; the fact is…it makes you a better hunter! The next step is to recognize what’s realistic (especially with the amount of time you have to invest with each goal).

For as long as I can remember, I’ve set goals for each season. Because I have new goals, I’ve matured as a hunter and a man. I remember some of my earliest goals: “Shoot my first grouse” or “hear a buck grunt.” Even as a bright-eyed youngster, I became less concerned with killing the buck I saw chasing a doe, but rather —  THRILLED with seeing the whole experience! I realized that it isn’t so much about the destination, as it is the journey getting there.

There are many ways to measure success. If you fall short of reaching your goal — what matters most is the experience you gain and lessons learned in the process. It will certainly give you a sense of accomplishment and a better outlook on what it means to “pursue game.”

Whether you enjoy chasing fur, fins or feathers — start setting seasonal goals and before-long, you’ll start to experience what I like to call, “Increased Hunting Success!”

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So what is the best waterfowl ammo? I hear this question a lot, so I decided grab my trusty Remington 870 and pattern the new 2011 steel loads myself. Last year — Black Cloud was a big-hit (no pun intended). In 2011, Winchester is introducing a new load called, “Blind Side.”  I purchased the top six waterfowl loads for 2011 and shot them into a 30-inch circle at 30 yards. Here is a list of what I tested:

Winchester (Blind Side) 3-inch, #2 and BB
Federal (Black Cloud) 3-inch, #2 and BB
Remington (HyperSonic) 3-inch, #2 and BB
Hevi-Shot (Hevi-Metal) 3-inch,  #2 and BB

A pellet in the wing doesn’t count as a Kill Shot

Together, I shot a total of 16 times; 8 each (#2’s and BB) with improved cylinder and modified chokes. I then took a picture of the large pieces of paper and increased the contrast so that you could see the pellet holes. I then counted all the shot inside the 30-inch circle.

What I found is Black Cloud is still the superior load at 30-yards. The pattern is very tight. I counted a total of 10 pellets within the Kill Zone. You will see that the improved cylinder choke with BB is a killer! Next was Black Cloud with #2’s (8 pellets in the Kill Zone) using IC choke. It was interesting to see that the Winchester’s Blind Side did not do as well with the improved cylinder choke tube, but I DID noticed the increased number of pellets! The third runner-up was Hevi-Shot’s, Hevi-Metal with #2 (6 pellets in the Kill Zone) and a modified choke — I also notice that Hevi-Metal was 10 less pellets then Winchester’s Blind Side! Less noticeable, was Federal’s HyperSonic with OK number in the Kill Zone, but found the pattern wide — even with the modified choke.

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Come visit Twin Cities Outdoor Adventures Group (TCOA) new site. It’s the best way to connect with other outdoor enthusiasts!

Located in the heart of the Twin Cities Metro area, TCOA consists of a growing number of outdoor enthusiasts who thrive on sharing new experiences, while building camaraderie with others who also appreciate the great outdoors.

Get Off the Couch

If it’s exercise you’re after…come breath in the fresh, clean air and feel rejuvenated. Join us in planning fun-filled activities such as hiking, biking, camping and many other exhilarating outdoor pleasures.

Outdoor Learning Activities

If you’re interested in knowing more about the outdoors…growing TCOA connections in the community have led to a plethora of learning opportunities, including how-to camping seminars, wildlife identification field trips, local geocaching events and more.

The Right Gear

Having the proper equipment is essential to every safe, successful outdoor experience. If you’re a little low in the outdoor gear department, don’t worry. TCOA’s 1000-plus membership allows us to pool our efforts, so participants have access to the appropriate equipment for their event. Additionally, local sponsors offer informative seminars highlighting equipment, tips and techniques to further ensure that our outings proceed as planned.

Community-Grown Success Starts with our Members
As the foundation of our growth and success, TCOA members are committed individuals who generously share knowledge, volunteer and help plan outdoor activities while engaging others to do the same.

Join us in pursuing our mutual passion for the outdoors! FREE! Join TODAY!

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“Coyotes Mousin”

Picking my daughter up from skiing, we came across coyotes looking for lunch.

FML Outdoors picture of the Day

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“The Gods Must Be Hungry!”

A special occasion centered around the enjoyment of the outdoors and to celebrate the fall harvest with friends; once again we gather to tantalize our taste buds with unique dishes — all cooked with wild game. Starting with a variety of appetizers, such as Pickled Dried Venison with Home-made Wine Cheese and Pickled Northern Pike served with Pineapple Infused Vodka. Leaving our guests guessing, we sampled (for some, their first time) Dove Pate and Pheasant White Chili. The main course was Bacon-Wrapped Venison Tenderloin served over Garlic Mash Potatoes and my own steak sauce, made from reduced stock and carmelized onions.

It only goes to show that….the Gods must have been hungry when they create wild game, because it sure is good!

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