Archive for the 'Hunting' Category

Ammo Wars

4 months, 1 week ago

It’s not likely that anything will compare to the running battle over .45 and 9mm, but rifle ammo wars are all the rage nowadays. The good news is we can learn plenty and get better with our tools by examining the outcomes. Competition is a good thing.

First: The Best .308 Hunting Ammo of 2022

Although we still haven’t climbed out of the ammo shortage, there’s good news if you hunt with a .308—many retailers have a variety of .308 hunting ammo available. The previous ammo shortages hit the .223 and .308 ammo stocks hard, while having less effect on stalwart hunting cartridges like the .30/06 and .30/30. This time, it seems that manufacturers have been able to stay on top of .308 hunting ammo production and hunters at least have something to buy.

Still, it’s a strange time, and there are both surprises and disappointments in the ammo market today (not exclusive to .308). Some ammunition has excelled, and some factory offerings that typically delivered excellent accuracy don’t seem to shoot as well as they used to. Some types of ammo seem to be everywhere, and other loads are scarce.

This year, I have tested and reviewed 11 different rifles chambered in .308 Win. I shot many types of ammo through these guns, testing it in affordable budget rifles, but also in mid-priced rifles. I’ve shot a variety of .308 Win. in specialized rifles like the Christensen Ridgeline Titanium FFT and the Howa M1500 HS Carbon. Through all this shooting, I was able to see what shot well, what didn’t, and hopefully help you pick the best .308 hunting ammo for deer or whatever your game is this year.

Best Overall: Remington 150-grain Core-Lokt Tipped

Best .308 Ammo for Deer:Federal Non-Typical Whitetail 150-grain Soft Point

Best Copper .308 Ammo: Barnes Vor-Tx 168-grain TTSX

Federal Premium 175-grain Terminal Ascent

Hornady Superformance 150-grain SST

Winchester Deer Season XP 150-grain Extreme Point

Federal Premium 180-grain Trophy Bonded Tip

Hornady Outfitter 165-grain CX

Federal Premium 165-grain Swift Scirocco II

Things to Consider Before Buying .308 Ammo for Hunting

Game and Bullet Construction

As with any hunting ammo, you want to choose a load and bullet that will suit the game you intend on hunting. The .308 Win. is an extremely capable (and oft underrated) cartridge, and is suitable for large game like elk, moose, and even brown bears. If you’re hunting heavy game, pick a bonded or monolithic bullet and keep your shot distances under 300 yards. However, most people are hunting medium-sized game with the .308 and just about any medium-weight expanding bullet will do. Luckily there’s plenty of good, affordable .308 ammo for deer that can still be found on store shelves.


Each .308 ammo offering listed here will have both five-shot average group accuracy and standard deviation. It’s always great to maximize accuracy, but keep in mind that each rifle will like a different load. If you can’t try several loads, pick one with a small standard deviation. That means that across all the rifles tested, the accuracy of the load didn’t very much, and there’s a good chance it will shoot similarly in your .308.


Ammo is expensive, and premium ammo is even more expensive. If you need top-end bullet construction or are shooting at distances that require best-in-class accuracy, it’s worth the extra cost. However, if you’re hunting deer-sized game at distances under 200 yards or so, less-expensive ammo is usually sufficient.

Interpreting the Data

To test each of these types of .308 hunting ammo, I fired and measured five-shot groups through a variety of rifles. I recorded a minimum of five groups for each type of ammo (based on my inventory), but I was able to record between 15 and 30 groups for most offerings.

Keep in mind that average group size is with five-shot groups across all rifles tested. Some rifles shoot better, some worse. The standard deviation is the average variation in group size across all rifles tested. This data only reflects the rifles tested. Accuracy, obviously, varies from rifle to rifle. I experienced a couple of loads that would shoot four-inch groups in one rifle, and one-inch groups in another.

There’s much more at the link, including good details on these nine different rounds studied.


Next: Long-Range Big Game Rivals 6.8 Western vs 7mm Rem Mag vs .28 Nosler

The 7mm Remington Magnum is one of the most popular magnum cartridges in current production. Versatile and dependable, this old-school cartridge managed to overcome the American shooter’s aversion to the metric with its incredible long-distance ballistic capabilities.

However, the 7mm Rem Mag has been around for a long time (since 1962 to be exact), and the wheels of ammunition innovation haven’t stopped turning. Could a newer long-range ballistic superstar dethrone this popular old-timer?

In terms of long-range hunting cartridges, the 6.8 Western vs 7mm Rem Mag vs .28 Nosler match-up is a good one.

If you’re a big game hunter going after long-range sheep, elk, or antelope, is it worth pursuing one of the newer hotrod cartridges like the 6.8 Western or the .28 Nosler? Or should you stick with a safe option, like the tried-and-true 7mm Rem Mag?

In this article, we dive into a deep analysis of the ins and outs of these solid long-range performers.

There’s a lot of data in this second study as well.

How Brutal Is The 45-70?

BY Herschel Smith
4 months, 1 week ago

Pat does a good job showing the results of the hog kill with his 45-70.  My recent hog harvest involved a very clean shot through the neck right behind the ear and he went down instantly.  The head (and especially bulging eyes) showed the effects of the high velocity and hydrostatic shock, but I’m not aware that much meat is taken from the neck anyway.

I got four huge shoulders (maybe I’ll use those for pulled pork like Pat), a bunch of ribs, and a lot of backstrap (what you’d find as pork tenderloin at the grocery store).  Feral hogs are too lean for bacon.

Now, Pat has opened this door, so he needs to pull this thread for us.  He was using the Hornady LeverEvolution.  What if he had been using Federal Fusion 300 grain, or a RNFP cartridge?  What would the damage have looked like?  I’m very interested in an ammunition comparison on this question.  Maybe the culprit is the ammunition selection, not the power of the 45-70?  Or in other words, perhaps 45-70 is in fact a great hog and deer cartridge, just not this particular brand?

I do agree with Pat that we “owe” the animal an ethical kill. I like his perspective. One could never charge the 45-70 with causing an unethical kill.

Does anyone have good pulled pork recipes – both grill and smoke time and seasoning?  Be detailed with your response.

Arkansas Bowhunter Falls From Treestand After Arrowing the Biggest Buck of His Life

BY Herschel Smith
4 months, 3 weeks ago

Outdoor Life.

Chase Watson shot the biggest buck he’s ever killed two weeks ago while hunting from a treestand on his family’s farm in Arkansas. The buck dropped close by, but as Watson climbed down the tree to make a follow-up shot, the strap on one of his climbing sticks broke and he fell roughly 17 feet to the ground. He fractured a bone in his right leg, along with three vertebrae in his back, and instead of retrieving the deer, Watson went straight to the hospital.

[ … ]

In hindsight, Watson says the buck was probably dead after the first arrow passed through. But in the moment, after making a good shot on the biggest deer he’d ever hunted, he was focused on finishing the job.

“So I went ahead and let the bow down to the ground, climbed over and onto the climbing sticks,” he says. “I unhooked from the rope attaching me to the safety harness, and I made it two steps down. That’s when the strap on the stick broke.”

Watson doesn’t remember the 17-foot fall. But he was so full of adrenaline that when he did hit the ground, he picked himself up, walked over to the downed buck, and put another arrow in him. He says that at first, he thought he was good enough to walk himself out, but after trudging back uphill past the stand, he started feeling the pain and sat down to call his dad.

Guys, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever NOT to use your safety equipment.  None.

Use your safety equipment at all times during the sit and climb.  Never … NEVER … NEVER … untether from the tree.  My daughter treats deer hunters who have fallen every fall and winter, many of them suffering pelvic fractures, almost all of them suffering broken ribs, if they live at all.

Use a harness.  No, don’t use those traditional hunter’s harnesses that tether at your back like you see in hunter safety courses.  Those designs are stupid.  If you fall you hang facing away from the tree where you can’t do anything to help yourself, and the harness will cut blood supply to your legs.

Get a rappelling harness.  I use a Black Diamond harness.  It’s designed not to cut off blood flow, and it hooks you up in front.  Hook your tree tether to the harness.  Wrap your tree tether around the tree, and never detach it until you’re out of the tree.  Use the tether while sitting and while climbing.  Use it at all times while elevated off the ground.

This is easy.  A climb and sit in a tree stand is safe if you get the right gear and use it at all times.

Boar Down!

BY Herschel Smith
4 months, 3 weeks ago

Readers may have noticed I was absent the last several days.  It was a good time away.  A very good buddy and neighbor of mine, Robert, and I went hunting courtesy of the fine folks with Williams Hunting in South Carolina.

I was shooting a 6mm ARC rifle with a Grendel Hunter upper, Aero Precision lower, Amend2 magazines, Brownells scope mount, Radian Raptor charging handle, Nikon Black scope, and a Viking Tactics sling.  I have no complaints about the gun.  It’s at least a 1 MOA gun all day long, and it can shoot better than I can.

I managed to tag him right behind the ear, with followup shot to the head.  Meat saved.

We then went quail hunting with Jackson Walling Quail Hunt.  I took half my bag limit in a morning hunt.  I do love quail hunting and shooting 12 gauge shotguns.  It was also a pleasure to meet Jackson and his son.  Jackson is very friendly, an outstanding guide and quail hunter, and makes the experience wonderful.  I did enjoy watching his dog work.  What a pleasure to see such a well-trained dog work so hard!  I hope he was fed well that night.

A special thanks to our fine guides at Williams Hunting, John and Richard.  You couldn’t ask to meet two better guides, nicer men or harder workers.

I’ll go back to do a two or three day deer hunt with these guys and also for a quail hunt with Jackson.  Next time it’ll be an all day quail hunt, or maybe two days.

Oh, and the low country boil was great.

Wyoming “Deer 255” Breaks All Long Distance Migration Records

5 months ago

The details of this study present interesting aspects of western Mule Deer behavior patterns. It can be read with a mind toward improving your hunting, tracking, and land nav skills. The article includes a video depiction of her route.

While a few mule deer are known to basically stay put in specific areas year-round, most migrate between summer and winter ranges, Wilde said. Distances can be only a few miles, and most deer aren’t known to travel more than about 100 miles each way.

However, extended migrations like the ones 255 take might make for larger, better and longer-lived deer, he said.

In addition to her unusual longevity, Deer 255 also is huskier than most mule deer does, he said. Most does weigh about 140 pounds. Deer 255 tips the scales to a robust 170.

It could be that traveling longer distances as the seasons change has allowed her to “ride the green wave,” he said.

Meaning that, during the spring, she follows the lushest food sources northward, moving onward before an area starts to dry out, Wilde said. Likewise, on her way back south and downward in elevation during the fall and early winter, she stays ahead of the snowfall, enjoying the best available food sources as winter closes in behind her.

Deer that don’t travel as far don’t have that advantage and are pretty much stuck with whatever they find within their limited ranges, Wilde said.

That could mean the urge to migrate long distances is genetically embedded in some mule deer, he said. Deer 255 could have come from a line of deer that migrated far. And her fawns might continue to trek vast distances across Wyoming after she’s gone.

It’s thought that a fair number of her fawns have survived, Wilde said, though there’s no way of knowing for certain.

She had a single fawn in 2016, and birthed twins each spring from 2018-2022.


How Long Does The Journey Take?

The time Deer 255 puts into her treks varies. She has numerous “stopover” places along her preferred travel routes where she might linger for as long as 20 days, Wilde said. The rate of snowmelt and when and where her fawns are born each spring factor in.

Sometimes she takes months to amble down to the Red Desert and doesn’t arrive on her winter range until mid-January, he said.

“During some years, this same deer will zip all the way down in a week” if the snow comes early and hard enough, Wilde said, adding that mule deer can frequently travel 20-40 miles a day when migrating.

Deer 255 is loath to leave her summer stronghold in Jackson Hole because the living is good there, Nickerson said. She’s picked hangouts in high, steep country where to forage is good, but the roughness of the country discourages people from going in.

Only when the snow starts to fly thick will she leave, he said. But when it does, she has to hurry out because the area quickly accumulates several feet of snow.

There’s no telling when Deer 255 will take her last steps, but Nickerson said he hopes that’s not for a while yet.

“She catches our attention as humans and biologists,” he said. “She serves to teach the public about how the migration story is important to these animals.”

Found at SurvivalBlog

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Why Don’t More Hunting Companies Manufacture Camo in the United States?

BY Herschel Smith
5 months, 2 weeks ago

Outdoor Life.

Camouflage made in the U.S. might not sound novel, but it’s a rare product. If hunters are anything, as Fulks points out, they’re a patriotic bunch, emblazoning the stars and stripes on truck sides, bumper stickers and gun stocks. But look at the tags in your new pants, wicking shirts, and down jackets, and you’ll find very few modern-made garments that weren’t made overseas. While Origin isn’t the only company making camo in the U.S.—Forloh and Voormi also manufacture stateside—the company is coming to the public with a splash that includes big namesa high-profile social media presence, and the bootstraps, made-in-America origin story that consumers can’t seem to get enough of.

Roberts and Fulks say domestic production is a matter of principle: Clothing manufacturing can and should return home to the U.S. Other camo companies, like Kuiu, say it’s about the final product: If a Japanese company makes the best waterproof and breathable fabric in the world, then they’re going to source their materials from a Japanese company.

Aaron Snyder, co-owner of Kifaru, says it’s good to see someone else joining the made-in-the-USA game, though he’s reserving final judgement until he sees Origin’s camo in person. (The camo has been available for pre-order, but most consumers have yet to get their hands on the gear.)

“I think that they have an uphill road to hoe because it is a difficult thing to make clothing in the U.S. I think it can be done. We’re doing it and have been doing it for 30 years,” says Snyder. “Only time will tell what that final product will be and what the feedback will be from the end consumer. Are they going to come through and buy it? Is it going to be high quality?”

This is a difficult one, and I have thought a lot about it.

I hate to send my money overseas, and if I can avoid it and get the best product for the money in America, I’ll do that.  Ford still makes the very best trucks, especially the ones built in their Kentucky plant.  That may soon end because of the idiotic decisions by the Ford CEO to go all EV, laying off so many internal combustion engine workers.  That’s why the price of F-250s is so high right now, and still continuing to climb.  Everybody knows it’s a stupid decision and waiting until now to buy that new truck ended up being a costly decision.

So with Ford, at least until now, the best was combined with made-in-America, but also combined with high prices.  I have always opted for the higher price product rather than cut costs and be sorry later for owning a poor product.

The problem heretofore has been mainly the loss of the Christian work ethic, combined with unionized labor, combined with economic incentives to move manufacturing overseas designed to gut the American infrastructure by the politicians in favor of the economic engineers.  They want to bust corporations, make money, and have great products too.

But that just-in-time logistics chain has proven highly problematic, yes?  And the poor quality of foreign made components has caused the regulators to prohibit the use of those products where it matters, e.g., nuclear power, or ASME boiler and pressure vessel code work.

As it applied to this point in question, do you want to be in a tree stand with apparel designed for cold weather and freeze to death because the apparel sucks?  Do you want to be in the field with rain gear that soaks through in five or ten minutes?  Or are you willing to buy gear, part of which is sourced from a foreign company, that actually works?

I opt for the later.  I wish all the best to a startup trying to compete with the big boys, but the product had better be good.  Here’s a quick note to the company: I’d rather pay more for a product that works.  The cost is important, but whether the product works is supreme.

Hunter mauled by brown bear he shot near Anchorage’s Ship Creek, official says

5 months, 4 weeks ago


A hunter was attacked by a brown bear Thursday morning [This happened at the end of August] near Ship Creek after he shot it but didn’t realize it was still alive, an Alaska Department of Fish and Game official said.

That’s a perilous situation. Any large animal and all predators can be dangerous when shot, and it can be hard to know if they are actually dead.

The hunter, treated at a hospital for injuries, was able to make his way out of the area without calling for rescue, said Cory Stantorf, an assistant wildlife biologist for the Anchorage area.

The man shot a large adult brown bear between about 9 and 10 a.m. in an area near Ship Creek and up the valley from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson land, Stantorf said. It is legal to hunt in the area, he said.

The man then approached the bear, which he thought was dead, and it got up and charged him, the biologist said.

The bear wounded him during the attack, according to Stantorf, although he said he could not provide additional details about the injuries or how severe they were.

Others in the hunting party shot at the bear, Stantorf said, and it stopped attacking and left. The hunters made it out of the area without further incident, he said.

It wasn’t clear by Friday morning if the bear had died from the gunshot wounds, Stantorf said. The hunting party was returning to the area to look for the bear, he said.

Grizz are tough critters.

There have been several other bear maulings in Anchorage this year. A soldier was killed and another was injured during a defensive attack involving a sow brown bear with cubs on a remote area of JBER in May.

A man was treated at the hospital last month after he surprised a sow brown bear with a cub in Eagle River. A woman was also injured last month when a black bear swatted at her on the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail near Point Woronzof.

Stantorf said it’s important that anyone recreating outdoors in the backcountry or even in Anchorage is paying attention to their surroundings and looking for bears.

The Herd Size Is Too Large

BY Herschel Smith
7 months ago


Across the United States, the deer population has ballooned in recent years to an estimated 30 million. Once a rare sight, deer have become something of a pest, spreading disease and causing fatal car accidents at an increasing rate. But for people like Arnow, who has a background in environmental science, the biggest issue is the impact of too many deer on the forest. With fewer bears and mountain lions around to keep their numbers in check, deer can reproduce with abandon and decimate the young trees and native plants that live beneath forest canopies.

“[If] we have a beautiful overstory of mature oak trees [but] zero oak saplings in the woods, there’s no future for the forest,” said Arnow, whose concern has turned into an obsession with herd management.

To protect these crucial habitats and carbon sinks in order to help keep climate change from spiraling further out of control, scientists say deer population density in much of the country must be drastically reduced. “For this thing to work, you have to drive the deer numbers down to a very low level,” said William McShea, a wildlife ecologist at the Smithsonian Conservation Ecology Center. “You can’t just have casual hunting.”

I don’t know if I agree with the superlative “very low level.”  But the point is that the proliferation of hunting regulations on bag limits, allowable antlered and antlerless take, time, season duration, etc., etc., has overdone it.

I agree with that.  It’s time to pull back on the overbearing regulations.

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