NWWC PRO-CAM: The Pacific NW's best duck caller, Shane Rossen, at work
SEATTLE - If you ever wondered what it takes to be the best duck caller in the Pacific Northwest, pay close attention to the strain on Shane Rossen's face in the video above. Duck calling is apparently a contact sport. KILLER calling here.
XCHECK OUT THE PODCAST AUDIO OF OUR IN-STUDIO VISIT from five-time Washington duck-calling champion Shane Rossen, who will sit in on the show again this Saturday, Dec. 8.
SEATTLE - The 2012 archery seasons have barely kicked off, and Tiffany Haugen is already porcessing the first venison of the year. That's because her husband, Scott, is well into a blacktail season that will take him from one end of the West to the other.
One hunt down, one blacktail buck in the freezer.
XLISTEN IN AS THE WILD COUNTRY CREW CHATS WITH SCOTT HAUGEN about early season conditions that will play into your blacktail hunts.
WALTERVILLE, Ore. - He's been hunting turkeys for three decades (and very successfully, I might add), so when Cabela's pro-staffer Scott Haugen declares an early season "a little weird", you might want to pay attention. The Haugenator joins us on the show tomorrow to explain how to defeat gobblers in conditions better suited to goose hunting.
8CHECK OUT HAUGEN'S KILLER NEW WEBSITE and tune in Saturday at 7 a.m. for some dirty turkey tricks courtesy of the host of "The Hunt".
SEATTLE - Working in the same office as Northwest Sportsman editor Andy Walgamott - who has become, in my opinion, the most comprehensive writer on the West Coast on all things Canis lupus - you just naturally absorb data on the hot-button issue of wolf management in the Pacific Northwest. And to be frank, there's no more divisive issue out there for Northwest hunters, landowners and game policy makers than the management of gray wolves in Washington and Idaho.
And we're about to go there. Over the next three weeks (April 7, 14, 21), the Wild Country crew will be joined by the Northwest's most authoritative voices on wolf management as we tackle the "Gray Area". Leading off on April 7 with Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife wolf policy coordinator Steve Pozzhangera, we'll examine the issues surrounding the region's expanding wolf packs, and what it all means to Wild Country hunters.
8GET IN ON THE DISCUSSION ON THE WILD COUNTRY FACEBOOK PAGE as listeners and viewers weigh in.
SEATTLE. - I'm not too proud to admit that blacktails confound me. They frustrate me, irritate me, and, frankly, piss me off. You grow up hunting the massive peaks and valleys of mule deer country, and the jungle-like overgrowth where blacktails roam in the Pacific Northwest feels like a coffin.
Enter Scott Haugen. For my money, the host of "The Hunt" is the best blacktail hunter in the Northwest, and possibly in the world. He'll "aw shucks" that label away, but I'm here to testify, if you want to kill a blacktail, follow Scott Haugen into the woods.
XTUNE INTO THE NWWC PODCAST, FEATURING 45 MINUTES OF INFO from the master blacktail hunter himself.
SEATTLE - As an Olympic shotgun medalist and avid waterfowl hunter, Corey Cogdell is the first to admit that effective shooting – and gun handling in general – is a helluva lot more difficult in the dead of winter than during the September dove season.
“Well, for one, you’re not freezing to death when you’re dove hunting,” Cogdell jokes. “Really, though, where a lot of people get into trouble during waterfowl season is they have to get so bundled up, a duck comes in and they have problems getting the gun up. It’s tough when you have about 15 layers on. It can really affect you.”
8CHECK OUT COREY'S ADVICE ON BETTER SHOTGUNNING during waterfowl season, and some tips to help you make the difficult shots more manageable.
WALTERVILLE, Ore. - Attention Fantasy Hunting players: You might think seriously about adding Scott Haugen to your roster next week. The kid from Walterville is about to rack up a body count.
I won't even try to explain Haugen's big-game hunting schedule over the next three months. Suffice it to say, if you're an elk, black bear, blacktail, whitetail or mule deer in Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, Oregon, Washington, etc., your time is a'tickin'. And heads up, Oregon and Washington locals, there are some last-minute items for you to take care of as well.
Tune into NW Wild Country tomorrow from 7:00 to 7:30 PST as Haugen offers his expert advice:
nCHANNEL 179: Puget Sound and the Seattle Metro area (from Bellingham to Olympia), Bremerton, Centralia, Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties, Spokane
WALTERVILLE, Ore. - Spring turkey season is off to a great start. Despite the rainy, cold weather, calling has been working for us. Here are some pointers that have helped me take early season toms in tough conditions over the years in the Pacific Northwest.
8SURF ON OVER TO SCOTT HAUGEN'S WEBSITE for tips on fooling a wily tom during this year's gnarly Pacific Northwest spring weather.
SEATTLE - If you haven't done it already, turkey hunters, head over to the lefthand side of the page under "NEW Wildcasts" and listen up: recent Wild Country guests Scott Haugen, Wil Askew and Bill Swann have been practicing what they preach.
8CHECK OUT HOW ASKEW, HAUGEN AND SWANNY DID on their first mornings in the turkey woods of Washington and Oregon.
SEATTLE - If you haven't done it already, turkey hunters, head over to the Wild Country On Demand Page and listen up: recent Wild Country guests Scott Haugen, Wil Askew and Bill Swann have been walkin' the talk.
Askew - who joined Duane and Bill in studio April 16 - started it off with a trio of toms (photo on the Home page) on the ground by 7:30 a.m. on opening morning, hunting in southern Oregon with Mike Jahnke and Jody Cyr.
Not long after that, March 26 guest Scott Haugen of Trijicon's Game ChasersX checked in with a gobbler taken on a late-morning hunt near Roseburg with Jody Smith (above).
To finish off the early-season string, a text arrived on my cel. phone Saturday afternoon from Bill "Swanny" Swann (right), who took a couple of days away from the spring Chinook run to take his son Gabe on a turkey hunt in eastern Washington.
If you tuned into the show on Saturday morning, you got to listen in as Swanny whispered with us live from the turkey woodsX while a flock of birds gobbled and spit just 60 yards over the hill from him and his son Gabe. The bird on the right was one of a pair of gobblers that Swanny and his hunting partners bagged on Saturday.
WALTERVILLE, Ore. - Scott Haugen killed his first Pacific Northwest turkey over 25 years ago.
When asked to tell us exactly HOW MANY toms he's downed in those 25 years ... well, let's just say that it'd take one heckuva memory and a lot more than 120 minutes of radio time to list 'em all.
We tapped into the spring-turkey database that lives inside Haugen's head last Saturday on NW Wild Country. Out flowed some killer information on bows, shotguns, calls and turkey biology.
XLISTEN TO :30 MINUTES WITH HAUGEN as he answers questions about the upcoming spring season.
JOHN DAY, Ore. - Buzz Ramsey's official advice for you rifle hunters preparing for the late buck and elk seasons: Study up on your ballistics, and don't necesarily take the manufacturer's charts as gospel.
Buzz filled a coveted Murder's Creek tag last week after nine years of applying, but only because he tested his Remington 770 in .338 and new Leuopold 6.5 x 20 scope before he hit the field. As many of you may have read in his October column in Northwest Sportsman, Buzz is a big believer in ballistics.
To be specific, he's an even bigger believer in the ballistics calculator at BigGameInfo.com.
"I went over in advance with buddy and we shot a 1,000-yard target to see if the ballistics in the book matched reality - it didn't," Ramsey says. "We had to adjust my velocity by 50 fps and had to adjust the ballistic co-efficient. Once we made the adjustment, I hit that 1,000-yard target every time. I then shot 500-, 400-, 300- and 200-yard shots, and once we recalculated with the ballistic calculator, I was hitting consistently every time."
The end result: a 6 x 7 bull that fell after a 550-yard wounding shot in a strong wind and a 445-yard kill shot that, in Buzz's words "Centerlined him right through the lungs."
nTUNE IN SATURDAY AS BUZZ CHECKS IN as part of our November HuntWire Hot Sheet on NW Wild Country (Channels 37, 179 and 337 on Comcast SportsNet and Sportsradio 950 KJR).
8CHECK OUT THE BIGGAMEINFO.COM BALLISTICS CALCULATOR and add it to your favorites.
KLICKITAT, Wash. - Now I think he's just showing off.
This dispatch (and the above photo) from Yakima Bait's Buzz Ramsey this afternoon as he continues a very successful fall big-game campaign:
"After passing up several bucks during our seven-day Oregon mule deer hunt, and no shot available on a dandy 5X5 we saw the very first day, I finally spotted this buck across a canyon at 259 range-finding yards. The outside width of the rack measured 21 inches.
Although we got the head out the same day, it wasn't until 2 days later that Wade and I went back to bone the deer and back pack it the 3 miles to the rig. Son Wade passed up a nice 3 X 3 later the same afternoon I got my deer but, likely due to it being even farther from the rig, ended up tagging a spike deer the next day that was much closer to the road.
We were hunting the Fossil Unit SE of Condon, Oregon."
An estimated 95 pounds of boned meat in the backpack later, and Buzz, buddy, I'll be shopping in your freezer next week.
MANITOBA, Canada - As if often the case with anything James Overstreet aims his lens at, the picture above is the perfect representation of an outdoorsman's fantasy. In this case -with longtime hunting buddy/author/web bossman Steve Bowman in the lower frame/foreground, laying in a blind somewhere in Manitoba, Canada - Overstreet captures the essense of hope for a duck season begun anew.
Could you possibly find another image that better describes what we're all fervently praying for on Oct. 16, when waterfowl season opens in the Evergreen State?
Overstreet and Bowman are the two powerhouses behind ESPN Outdoors "Duck Trek", a two-month-long, 6,000-mile waterfowler's vision quest from the plains of Canada to the marshes of Louisiana.
nTUNE IN THIS SATURDAY as Overstreet joins the Wild Country crew LIVE from the "Duck Trek" for a preview of the 2010-11 waterfowl season!
8CHECK OUT OVERSTREET'S AMAZING DUCK PHOTOS at his Outdoor Shooter website, and follow ESPN Outdoors' "Duck Trek" as it kicks off this weekend.
KLICKITAT - The Pacific Northwest outdoors world knows Buzz Ramsey as the Jedi Master of salmon and steelhead. Those of us who call Buzz "friend", though, know that he's equally as passionate about his hunting as his fishing. And, dare I say, this time of year, even MORE so.
Buzz filled his British Columbia moose tag this week with this 61-inch bull hunting the Dease Lake area of northern B.C. with Mike Danielson of Little Dease Ventures. Buzz's hunting partner, WDFW biologist John Weinheimer, also tagged out with a 55-incher.
"I got my bull the second day of a 10-day hunt, John got his on the fourth day," Buzz said. "You walk up on that thing, and, man, they're big. They're way bigger than an elk. It's unbelievable. I have four meat bags, every one of which is more meat than a deer. It was really cool"
Next up for Buzz: an Eastside deer with his son Blake, and then on to elk.
SEATTLE - One of the perks of working in the Media Index office - I mean, beside the fact that it's parked one floor up from the Pyramid Brew House - is that I get to frequently wander over to the editorial planning board where Andy Walgamott puts together the jigsaw puzzle that is Northwest Sportsman.
This month, I noticed a lot of antlers up on the board.
And, once you've laid your hands on the September issue of NWS, you'll notice a lot of antlers, too.
The main coverline says it all: "DEER SEASON'S HERE!"
Oh yes indeed, it very much is.
Walgamott and a herd of Pacific Northwest writers - Will Askew, Jason Brooks, Leroy Ledeboer Duane Dungannon and Buzz Ramsey - take a close look at deer and elk opportunities in Oregon and Washington in this issue, which should already be in subscribers' mailboxes as of today.
If you don't subscribe yet, pick up single copies at Outdoor Emporium, Sportco, 3 Rivers Marine, Auburn Sports & Marine.
8CLICK HERE FOR NW SPORTSMAN'S DETAILED RUNDOWN of deer and elk prospects throughout the Evergreen State, including a region-by-region analysis of buck-to-doe ratios and information on the best GMUs for mule deer, blacktail and whitetail.
SEATTLE - February might seem a bit early to be thinking about an April turkey opener, but, to tell you the truth, I've been up to my tail feathers in turkey talk for over a month now, courtesy of our gobbler-stalking brothers down south. Putting the finishing touches on the March issue of California Sportsman - if you have relatives in the Golden State, you HAVE to get this magazine in their hands - I've had the pleasure of chatting with some of the very best turkey hunters on the West Coast.
Oddly enough, my old slate and box calls have found their way onto my desk. I've been driving my new Lab puppy nuts.
If you have some time on Saturday, head down to Outdoor Emporium for their 2nd annual spring turkey seminar, featuring Len Brandt of the Lake Washington Chapter of the NWTF, and Green River chapter member Travis Arnott. If you're new to the turkey game, this seminar will cover it all: scouting tips, calling techniques, decoy setups, camouflage, locations, and some killer advanced tech. Of course, it's all free, and the friendly folks at OE will serve you lunch as well.
SELWAY-BITTERROOT MOUNTAINS, Mont. - There's big. And then there's bigger. And finally, as is the case of the above monster bull taken in the Selway-Bitterroot Mountains of Montana, there's biggest.
As in, the biggest Rocky Mountain elk ever killed with any weapon.
This beast green scored 575 inches and should net out at about 530 non-typical. He has and unbelievable outside spread of 79 inches, which is reportedly the biggest bull elk ever taken with any weapon.
HUNT WIRE: More details on the "Snow Tom" emerge
ELLENSBURG, Wash. - Whatever diet the big cougar at right is on, it's like magic. Call it "The Internet Rumor Mill Diet".
Last night, I posted a tongue-in-cheek report of a rumored 317-pound cat killed somewhere outside of Ellensburg. A quick call over to Moses Lake scribe Leroy Ledeboer set him off chasing a cougar by the tail.
Turns out that 317 was a week bit precocious, thanks to the W.T.F. (Web Truth Factor): a post on Washington-Hunting.com by the hunter who killed the big tom confirms that it weighed in around 140 pounds.
Even so, this is one HUGE kitty that could very well end up on the Boone & Crockett record watch.
The story: As told by the hunter who walked - or rather ran - the big cat down in mid-December, is that "Snow Tom" was one of three mature cougars involved in the hunt that day. And by "pursuing", I mean "running, crawling, jumping, leaping" through deep snow at high elevation before the final kill shot with a .35 Remington.
We'll certainly discuss this "cat of a lifetime" this Saturday as mega-hunters Scott Haugen and George Cook join us in the on NW Wild Country studios.
WILLOWS, Calif. - Gary Tudesko never thought an early-morning duck hunt before school could turn into a potentially explosive legal battle involving the Fourth Amendment, the California Code of Education and federal “Gun-Free School Zone” laws.
But when the 17-year-old junior at Willows High School in rural northern California stowed his and a friend’s unloaded shotguns on the back seat of his Chevy Silverado and went to class on the morning of Oct. 26, it set off a chain of events that led first to Tudesko’s suspension from school, and, at the end of November, his outright expulsion by the school district for violations of California Code of Education mandates against possession of firearms on school property.
Except that Tudesko's truck wasn't parked on school property that morning, and he never possessed a firearm on grounds belonging to the Willows Unified School District.
8CLICK HERE TO READ MY FEATURE ON ESPN OUTDOORS about high-schooler Gary Tudesko's expolsion from Willows High, and the ensuing debate about the legality of his expolsion.
SEATTLE - How many times have you been in the woods and it felt like something was watching you?
THE HUNT WIRE: Another big muley from Henry Mountains Unit in Utah
Love me some whitetails, but, the mule deer is the King of the Mountain as far as I'm concerned
This photo came to my inbox courtesy of my old high school basketball coach (thanks, Coach Mac!). Taken from the Henry Mountains Unit in southern Utah.
Don't even try to count the points: it's an 8 x 12 that measured out at 37 1/2 inches and scored 246.
If you're unfamiliar with the Henries, put it on your mule deer bucket list. This area holds some of the best muley genetics in the world.
They're at it again.
The first to chime in was Bruce Holt of G-Loomis, who hit us last year with his caribou photos. This year, it's an antelope, taken on a Wyoming hunt with his son. Next up: Buzz Ramsey and son Wade's Washington mule deer.
Keep the photos coming, boys.
HUNT WIRE: Turkey talk as April 15 Evergreen State opener looms
A Gobble & Strut 101, if you will
Longtime NWWC guest M.D. Johnson is easily one of the best turkey hunters in the country, and a handy guy at the keyboard to boot.
8 CLICK HERE to read M.D's excellent story on the Washington "mini-slam".
FLYWAY REPORT: Columbia Basin = Birdville, U.S.A.
TRI-CITIES, Wash. - Y'all Mississippi Flyway boys can keep your Bayou birds, thank you very much. If you're a honker or greenhead hunter, there's only one place to be for the next three weeks: the Columbia River Basin, between Moses Lake and Tri-Cities.
If someone tells you there's a better place on God's green earth to hunt Canada geese and mallards, they're flat-out lying to you.
The Basin is Birdville, U.S. A., and will continue to be Birdville, U.S.A. right up until the clock strikes midnight on the 2008-09 waterfowl season.
"We're hunting honks in the morning and greenheads in the afternoon ... should be a slam-dunk," Mark Evans of North Sound Waterfowl reported on Friday afternoon as he prepared for a weekend hunt around Tri-Cities. Evans usually guides on a pretty fair chunk of goose and duck property (you may have heard of Skagit Bay), but he's on the Eastside this weekend for a reason.
FLYWAY REPORT: Upper Columbia Basin waterfowl under icy lockdown
MOSES LAKE, Wash. - When Potholes Reservoir freezes up tight the third week in December, you know the duck hunters of the upper Columbia River Basin are enduring a frigid winter.
That's the case as we flip the calendar to 2009 and head into the final month of the 2008-09 waterfowl season. An extended December blast of icy Arctic air has locked up virtually every square inch of stillwater north of Othello, forcing the duck hunters of Moses Lake, Quincy, Royal City, Soap Lake and Ritzville to tough it out while they wait for a January thaw.
"We got down to -5 and didn't get up over 10 degrees for a week," says Ben Holten of North Flight Waterfowl. "There are some bird here, but they're really concentrated. I'd say that we're 99 percent locked up. Potholes has been frozen for a couple of weeks now, and that includes the Wasteways. Those almost never freeze. If I was the average guy, I'd wait until we get a little bit of a thaw."
Thaw coming: According to the National Weather Service, that thaw is coming: temperatures throughout the Columbia Basin are forecasted to reach the mid-40s by next Wednesday, which should not only free up some water, but kick-start a "reverse migration" of birds from the Columbia River and Tri-Cities area.
"Basin City is just loaded with birds right now, and they'll hop right back (north) when it thaws a little," Holten says. "The thaw is actually my favorite time to hunt. We'll see more and more of those birds migrating back up here from down south, and the hunting can be really good."
Holten on Wild Country: Tune in to Northwest Wild Country at 6:15 a.m. this Saturday, Dec. 3 as Ben Holten checks in with a LIVE report from the blinds of the upper Columbia Basin.
HUNT WIRE: Freshly planted pheasant await Thanksgiving hunters
ARLINGTON, Wash. - Borrowing from an old Shangle-family Thanksgiving tradition, I'm mixing the smell of gunpowder with the smell of roast turkey tomorrow.
Back when I was a kid, Thanksgiving afternoon always found me with a shotgun in hand and chukar on the ground. Now that I've been transplanted to the Westside, chukars are out and pheasant are in.
I won't be alone.
When western Washington pheasant hunters hit the field Thursday, Friday and Saturday, they'll be met by a fresh (final!) batch of sharptails, thanks to the final WDFW bird-plant of the season.
The long holiday weekend fortuitously falls in front of the Nov. 30 pheasant closure, and a full plant of birds await on the 26 Westside release sites.
Full-meal-deal plant numbers: Cope indicates that the state's 26 release site will be boosted by 3,450 birds, and with cloudy, 50-degree weather forecast for Thanksgiving and slightly rainy, 51-degree days expected on Friday and Saturday, the earlier you get out, the better.
Happy Turkey Day. And, if you hit the field, happy Pheasant Day, too!
HUNT WIRE: Flyway Report makes its debut in the Wild Country
ARLINGTON, Wash. - With the heart of the 2008-09 waterfowl season right around the corner, it's time to get serious about our coverage of all things that quack, honk and whistle.
Northwest Wild Country is proud to bring you the Flyway Report, a comprehensive collection of information about duck and goose hunting in the Pacific Northwest. This new page will include feature stories on public hunt areas, technique tips, flight counts and various other tidbits of info that we hope will help you put more birds in the bag.
Check this page often, because we'll update it whenever waterfowl news happens.
HUNT WIRE: Spotty success defines early-season Evergreen rifle hunts
SEATTLE, Wash. - Quick surveys of several of our best Wild Country hunt sources east of the Cascades indicate that the early rifle deer season was more "miss" than "hit" in several of the Evergreen State's favorite hunt zones.
"The only report I got out of the Okanogan was pretty dismal," says Leroy Ledeboer, a longtime outdoors writer based in Moses Lake. "One of the things that really broke against the rifle hunters was the weather: by and large it was a fairly dry, warm season. I think especially on opening weekend, all the animals were up higher than most of the hunters."
There were, of course, notable exceptions like Glen Wooldridge (left), the head man himself at Wooldridge Boats (sponsor of the Wooldridge First Water segment on Northwest Wild Country). Wooldridge managed to score on this purty 22 1/2-inch 3 x 4 muley a couple of hours into opening morning .
Wild Fire success: So far, the 2008 hunting season has been a productive one for the far-flung members of our Wild Country family. Check out the Around the Wild Fire page for a glimpse at how our buddies have done so far this season. With elk season about to kick off, you can expect more entries on that page soon.
HUNT WIRE: "Tuna Dog" drops tophy muley on first-ever archery deer hunt
And now this monster of a Montana mule deer on his first-ever archery deer hunt.
That's right, I said "FIRST ... EVER ... ARCHERY ... DEER ... HUNT". Gaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh! Somebody's livin' right.
Keep on eye on Outdoor Life's Big Buck Zone for the full story on the Tuna Dog's Montana score.
HUNT WIRE: "1-in-1,000 shot" saves Wyoming hunter from grizzly
CODY, Wyo. - You think the guy crouched over the 500-pound bear in the photo at left looks a little worse for wear?
It could've been a whole lot worse.
This photo of battered Wyoming elk hunter Ron Leming, Jr. is making the rounds on the internet lately, with a story straight out of Outdoor Life's "This Happened to Me". Leming's face-to-face encounter with the 500-pound grizz is recounted in this story in the Cody, Wyoming newspaper, but the content of a family friend's e-mail breaks the attack down to an even more visceral level.
As the e-mail describes the attack, Ron, Jr. was hunting with his dad, Ron, Sr., when the big grizz came after him. Ron, Jr. made a mad downhill dash for safety, only to have the big bear chase him down.
Before he did, though, Ron, Sr. managed to fire off one wild shot with his bow in a desperate attempt to save his son from being mauled to death.
The following is an excerpt from an e-mail forwarded from a family member of Ron Leming, Jr., who narrowly escaped being a 500-pound grizzly's afternoon snack on a recent Wyoming elk hunt:
Ron, who is an experienced hunter and used to be a guide, was calling an elk for his dad (pictured at right), who was down hill 40 yards. The elk suddenly spooked and then Ron heard a noise behind him. He turned around and a grizzly was 15 feet behind him.
He tried to shoo it away but it proceeded toward him. He went behind a tree and the bear kept coming, so he took off on his 'death run' downhill towards his dad.
With the grizzly just feet behind his son, and running full speed, Ron's dad shot one arrow. Ron saw the arrow fly by his leg, unsure of whether it hit the bear, and within a few more steps, Ron was on his back with the grizzly on top of him. With his arms shielding his head, Ron kicked and punched the bear with all he had. Ron said it all went to fast and he was so full of adrenaline, he could not feel any pain at the time of the attack.
When the bear continued to attack, Ron's dad, could see that the bear was bleeding badly from the arrow, and he went over and started beating on the bear with his bow (you can not carry guns during bow hunting, so he had nothing to shoot it). The bear continued to attack Ron, biting clear through his left hand and glove, and down to the bone of his right arm just below the elbow.
Then the bear, stopped, looking at Ron's dad, walked away several yards, and rolled over dead.
Following the path of the arrow, the autopsy showed that the arrow went in, hit a main artery, then bent, and hit the heart!
A 1-in-1,000 shot, they said.
Wild Country says ... : There's only one thing to say: nice shootin', Senior!
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