Hunting Tips

A spectacular greater kudu, taken in Namibia by Jim Morey, left, with professional hunter Dirk de Bod, right.  This is a big bull with incredibly tall horns—but even this amazing kudu doesn’t reach the magical 60-inch mark.

AFRICAN GAME PROFILE: THE GREATER KUDU

The greater kudu is probably the second-most recognized of the hundred-plus African antelope. Thanks to Chevrolet the much more common impala is probably the most recognizable, but there’s a big difference. If you’re hunting in an area where impala occur you will probably take one, and he’ll give you a nice trophy—but the impala will be taken along the way, perhaps for camp meat, maybe for leopard bait. He will rarely be hunted specifically, and is almost never near the top of a hunter’s “wish list.” The greater kudu is almost always near the top!Read more
: Caroline and Craig Boddington set up to wait for a pig over a waterhole. This is a very good evening technique, but it assumes an undisturbed area with plenty of pig sign around the water.

LET'S GO PIG HUNTING!

My 15-year-old cheerleader daughter, Caroline, has been going to the range with me for several years, and she did her hunter safety course quite a while back…but she hasn’t really expressed much interest in actually going hunting. So I was pretty surprised when, just the other day, she announced that she’d like to give it a try. It was spring break, so we made a couple of trips to the range to make sure she really was ready—and I made a couple of phone calls. The next week, thanks to the long late spring daylight, we went after school with my old friend August Harden and she got her first big game animal, a California wild hog.Read more
Donna and Brittany Boddington with Brittany’s huge mountain zebra, taken in Namibia with the little 7mm-08.  Shot placement counts, of course, but this little cartridge performs much better than its mild recoil and paper ballistics seem to suggest.

BEST FOR BEGINNERS

The first big game I ever shot was taken in 1965 with a .243 Winchester. The rifle was a first-year production of what would quickly come to be known as the “post-‘64” Model 70, topped with a fixed 4X Unertl scope. I thought it was a pretty trick setup, and it worked just fine for me! Actually, it was a pretty darned good rifle. The much-reviled post-’64 Model 70 worked just fine and shot straight. Those fixed-power Unertl scopes weren’t anything like the quality of their famous target scopes, but it also worked just fine—and in those days a fixed 4X scope was pretty much standard for big game.Read more
British Columbia outfitter Mike Hawkridge and the author with Boddington’s most recent Rocky Mountain goat, taken at the tail end of a typically difficult goat hunt, requiring lots of climbing and just one opportunity.

GETTING YOUR GOAT

The Rocky Mountain goat ranks as one of North America’s most under-rated game animals. The wild sheep he shares much of his domain with—bighorns in the south, Dall and Stone sheep in the north—get most of the glory. I suppose this is because North America’s wild goat got cheated in the horn department, carrying short, thick, beautifully curved daggers rarely approaching a foot in length, while the wild sheep carry those gorgeous curling horns up to four times the length.Read more
: Size of wild hogs varies considerably depending primarily on local food sources. This Texas hog weighs 240 pounds, a very average weight for a mature boar in that region. Oddly, tusk size seems to depend much more on age than body size.

HOG NATION

American hunters have gotten piggish. Ain’t it great? Leupold has a “Pigman” riflescope. Winchester has their new “Razorback” ammunition…and I suspect this is just the tip of the iceberg. The wild hog is coming on fast as one of American hunters’ favorite pursuits.Read more
A beautiful 4x4 mule deer! This is not an old buck, so he may get heavier with longer points, but he’s unlikely to get wider. The reality is this is a good mule deer in most mule deer country today.

A REALLY BIG MULE DEER

By the 1930s virtually all big game species were at a low ebb in the United States, a long-term decline accelerated by meat hunting during the Depression and the disastrous drought of the Dust Bowl. During summers from school in the late Thirties my Dad wrangled horses in the Frazier Park area west of Denver, great elk and mule deer country today, and he doesn’t recall ever seeing a deer or elk track.Read more
Yep, here I am in a Kansas deer stand with a modern sporting rifle! This particular rifle is a Turnbull LR308 in .308 Winchester, and it accounted for a nice buck from this stand. Why not?

THE MODERN SPORTING RIFLE

Honestly, I’m not crazy about the term “modern sporting rifle.” On the other hand, it’s like fingernails on a blackboard when I hear semiautomatic sporting rifles described as “assault rifles.” Unless one has a Class III license for a fully automatic firearm there is no such thing as a legal civilian-owned “assault rifle.”Read more
I’ll never be a great whitetail hunter because I hate to sit still…but when the rut shuts down the best tactic is to continue hunting places you know are good, and just stick with it.

WHEN THE RUT SHUTS DOWN

Our American deer rut at different times in different places. Perhaps the earliest rut I know of is on California’s Central Coast, where I’ve hunted much of my adult life. The very weird deer season there opens in August, when it’s hot as blazes, and runs into the third week of September (which isn’t much cooler).Read more
Craig Boddington with Mozambique Swamp Buffalo

Swamp Buffalo

Are you up for the unique adventure of hunting Swamp Buffalo in Mozambique? The challenges of this hunt are shared in #TBT Swamp Buffalo, an article Craig wrote in January 2012.Read more
Turkey hunting varies quite a bit from place to place. This is an Osceola gobbler from Florida; for me this is most difficult turkey because, in the typical warm weather, these turkeys are often very quiet.

TURKEY SEASON

I am not a serious turkey hunter…but you wouldn’t know it the way I’ve spent the past few days in head to toe camouflage, making a wide variety of strange noises with some odd-looking devices. I thought I was going to pull it off, too. Yesterday morning (not the end of the season, but the last day I could hunt) Mike Hagen and I set up overlooking a perfect little meadow on the edge of my Kansas place. We must have chosen our spot well, because as dawn came we were surrounded by seven or eight different gobblers responding from all points of the compass.Read more

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