Words are wasted on trying to describe the relationship between bird dog and owner. From the euphoria of lifting a mallard out of your retriever’s trained mouth for the first time, to the grief that comes with their inevitable passing years later, the journey must be experienced to be known. The first few years of a hunting dog’s life are without a doubt the most critical. It’s in this time where expectations are set and groundwork is laid for transforming a puppy into a functional member of both the household and the duck blind. Training a puppy into a working bird dog is an undertaking that many don’t have the time, knowledge, or patience for. Instead, sending your dog to a capable trainer...
Raggio Custom Calls is based in Raymond, Mississippi and creates custom, handmade duck calls. Founded and owned by Josh Raggio, no two calls are made the same. We sat down with Josh to get the story of his business and what drives his passion for ducks.
What made you decide to make your first duck call?
My dad was a duck hunter and he loved calling. He was blowing a duck call all year, nonstop. Inside or outside — he actually carried a call everywhere he went in his pocket. Naturally, I wanted to learn the art of calling. At a young age he showed me how to correctly present air into the call in order to make the right sounds. My father was in the competition call scene and eventually became th...
Dick Robertson is the owner and founder of Robertson Stykbow in Forest Grove, MT. Dick has been designing and crafting some of the most beautiful and high-performance traditional bows for the last twenty-five years. We sent Joel Caldwell to spend a few days on the Robertson ranch to discover the passions of the man behind the bows.
Dick Robertson believes in manifestation, though he doesn’t use the term. “If you want something to happen, you have to think about it, talk about it,” he tells me firmly. Before a hunt in Alaska’s Brooks Range, he did just that and ultimately took a sheep with a bow he’d made himself from animal sinew and yew wood. No small feat with such a primitive weapon. What’...
Erin Kiley is a grazier and grassland manager. For years she has found her connection to land and food through her work with cattle. While that work is her passion, she wanted to deepen her connection with nature and wild places. She has chosen to become a hunter. Here, in her own words, she explains that decision and tells us of her first experiences along her path of learning to hunt.
I believe our connection to land is what defines us as humans. For most of us, the connection has been broken, or at least diluted, as we have become further removed from our hunter-gatherer heritage and surrendered the role we once played in growing our food. It leaves us seeking something, searching for a wa...
Hunter Rung is a hunting guide and traditional bowhunter from Montana. We caught up with him before he got into the mountains for fall hunting season to ask him about his beginnings with archery and what hunting means to him.
Who taught you to hunt? How long have you been hunting?
I started hunting at a very young age. It was my father that introduced me to big game hunting by hunting Whitetail deer in Pennsylvania. Shortly thereafter, my uncle introduced me to upland bird hunting and bird dogs, also in the hills of PA. My uncle was the one who saw my drive to hunt as a boy and bought me a compound bow when I was fifteen. I was mostly self taught when it came to archery in those early years.
Peter Hall and his father set out on a Yukon Moose hunt, by way of canoe, into the remote reaches of the Alaskan wilderness. The time they shared on the river reminded them both that the glory of adventure is found far beyond the kill.
At one in the morning the aurora fills the sky. The remaining hour drive to Eagle, Alaska, puts us so far north that the bands of aurora ripple on a sharp curve around the pole. The bathroom break takes twenty minutes as my dad and I gaze at the purple and green piano-key ribbons. The overland portion of our journey will end in Eagle, but it will not be tonight, or tomorrow night.
My dad and I prefer to do things on our own. I do not know if it is the freedo...
In Idaho, some things are still done the old way. Hunting in this state is a rite of passage, an important part of conservation and land management in the region, and a valued tradition to pass on to younger generations. The best means of finding land to hunt are through public access points or by gaining permission to private land in a hand-shake agreement with a property owner. These hand-shakes are based on a relationship of mutual respect made over the years, and often sweetened with gifts of chocolates.
On a clear and cold Saturday morning in November, we slowly loaded the F150, sleep still in our eyes. Into the rig went decoys, foul-weather gear, about six sleeves of chocolates for trad...
We hunt for exploration. We hunt for tradition and heritage. We hunt for the love of open fields and steep mountains. The actual act of killing an animal is really only a small part of the story. For most of the days of big-game-hunting season, you go out and you don’t kill an animal. You put miles on your boots and glass hillsides and slopes for days. So when a tag is filled, congratulations are in order. And if it’s an especially large creature, one who’s outsmarted hunters for years, then grins are a little bigger and pats on the back are a little heftier. The truth is once you pull the trigger, the real work begins. And if you’re hunting for
meat instead of trophies, then it’s a part of ...
As the first weeks of spring begin to awaken familiar landscapes, the days of crisp fall air and winter hunts are over. On the latest Filson Life, Nashville-based photographer Yve Assad and writer Will Fulford reflect on past seasons in anticipation for the next.
Hunting is a southern tradition, a rite of passage. Marksmanship and gun safety are taught through the irons sights of a BB gun on empty cans and the occasional house sparrow that lingers a bit too long. Yep, a boy and his BB gun are pretty much king of the world as he sees it. You progress through the various small game, squirrels and rabbits, until you graduate to big game. For most in the South, that means whitetail deer.
Spring brings about the liveliest changing of seasons, from the hibernation periods of winter into new growth for the summer ahead. This time of the year also serves as a reminder to waterfowl hunters that we must commit our own time to the stewardship of nature, which serves to produce those bounties we are so fortunate to chase in winter. For those opportunities to remain available to future generations, it is our duty to also serve as conservationists to the land. Even a task as small as the construction of wood duck boxes in your local grounds serves to play a role in continuing our fine traditions of hunting in the outdoors.
The woods around my property in Hankamer, TX play home to many...Read More
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