Outfitting Your Outdoor Lifestyle
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Archive for June, 2017

Come Fish the Northeast

Posted on: June 28th, 2017 by ChrisBates No Comments

When your looking for that awesome trout trip, the Southern Green Mountains of Vermont is for you! we have some great custom trips as well as some daily rates as well



My new favorite podcast!

Posted on: June 27th, 2017 by ZachKnowles No Comments

My new favorite podcast is not new at all it started almost 10 years ago on The Hunting Channel online…. Interviews with the Hunting Masters<https://interviewswiththemasters.podbean.com/> is a big game hunting podcast that was built to improve your hunting success… whether you are a seasoned hunter or a novice there is something to take away from each episode.

Host John Stallone Interviews professional hunters , and hunting industry leaders on deer hunting, elk hunting, whitetail, mule deer, antelope, moose, bear, ibex and everything in between. The podcast is both educational and entertaining. John does an excellent job of really getting into the hows, whys and wheres with his guests, and he never lets them off the hook with vague or generalized answers.

The thing I love about this podcast is it has none of the things I hate about other podcasts: 1) the podcast isn’t filled with a bunch of nonsense or ads 2) He is not just rambling on about hunting stories and interviewing just his friends 3) John is well spoken and easy to listen to 4) Most importantly, I can’t stand when hosts use their platform to boast about themselves. John is a master in his own right and never beats his chest about his accomplishments, matter of fact he shares his defeats more so then anything and this is what I love the most about it because every hunter can relate he’s not trying to portray himself as an elitist.

Some other cool things I like that Interviews with The Masters offers are John does some video podcasts on youtube<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5fyigdGd5A> and live podcasts on facebook<https://www.facebook.com/john.stallone.52>. The live podcast I find are excellent because I get to ask questions live to the guest during the interview. It’s like having my own person hunting expert.

On the flip side a couple of negatives are his sound quality needs to improve. More so on his guest side and I’d like to see more than once a week.

Listen if you want to improve your hunting success bottom line subscribe to this podcast you won’t be disappointed I promise you will take something away you can use from every episode!

A Very Special 2017 Spring Turkey Season

Posted on: June 19th, 2017 by HelenButt No Comments

Getting to go to the National Wild Turkey Federation Convention has so many benefits.   This year, I was blessed to be a part of the Country Girls Outdoors Booth with the McCrea family.  We had a wonderful time meeting and greeting so many friends, old and new!  I got to go with Miss Kylie to the ladies auction in hopes we would walk away with the New Mexico Gould’s Turkey hunt, but unfortunately, we were outbid.  All was not lost however, a newfound friendship with a very special young lady, Megan Vess and her family was waiting for us when we returned to the CGO booth downstairs.  Little did I know, someone had a plan for our paths to cross with the beautiful Vess family.

The busy NWTF weekend flew by and a friendship and a mission launched to get Miss Megan who had recently been diagnosed with Stage IV glioblastoma , her single season turkey Grand Slam.  For those of you that don’t know, the single season turkey Grand Slam is when you are able to tag out on all four of the major subspecies of wild turkey here in the United States in one season. The turkey species are: Eastern, Merriam’s, Rio Grande, and the Osceola which can only be taken in the state of Florida.

That is where I was lucky enough to help out! In conversation with Eric McCrea about getting a hunt in Florida for Megan and Kylie, I had recently spent time at SHOT show with my dear friend Michelle Geskey Jones, owner of Altair Training Solutions, Inc.,  who had invited me to go and hunt with her in Florida sometime. One phone call and our plans were about to become reality.

The Vess family, the McCrea family and myself were all welcomed with open arms by Michelle and her husband Brian. They not only let us utilize their property for hunting and fishing, but more than that, they put all 13 of us up at their phenomenal facility at no charge just to help out with our mission!!

As tough luck would have it, the turkeys around the property had moved on, but Michelle and her gator guide, Mark had a great back-up plan that included getting Megan on a neighboring property where there were no shortage of Osceola’s!! The first morning Megan went out, she was successful in tagging her first Osceola!  Kylie didn’t get her shot during this hunt, but was fortunate enough to go back to Florida the very next week and also was able to get hers.

The season was in full swing for both girls.  I almost got a chance to see them get their Texas Rio’s but an unfortunate accident and injury kept me from travels just hours before leaving to Texas.  Megan and Kylie were both successful at the end of their Texas Rio hunt, and as of May 2017, were able to complete a single-season Grand Slam together with the gracious help of so many caring individuals.

I am blessed I got to be a part of this and I love my friendships with the McCrea’s and The Vess family that came from it!  Megan is such an amazing young lady.  Her strength and determination inspires me daily and the same goes for Kylie, she too is something special and I love them both for letting me share their unique journey.  I am excited to say that Kylie and her Mom Tori will both be joining me this August for our NWTF Women in the Outdoors event and I can’t wait to see them both!!

My Spring turkey hunting in New Mexico started in April and opening day, my friend, hunting partner and fellow Outdoor Insiders contributor,  Chelsie Dugan and I headed to the Mimbres near Silver City, New Mexico with our State Chapter President of the NWTF, Don Fell.  We got to hear the gobbles and see a hen and a jake but when we heard shots fire that morning, some other hunters ended up being the lucky ones that weekend.   A week later, Chelsie and I along with our friend and new hunter, Melissa were heading to the Lincoln National Forest for 3 days of trying our luck at some New Mexico Merriam’s turkeys.  A tough hunt to say the least.  It was just like elk hunting, only for turkey.  Our terrain here in New Mexico doesn’t consist of sitting in blind overlooking a green meadow or food plot and calling until a turkey comes to a decoy.  Instead, we hike in rough, steep mountain terrain, mind you, we are at  8,000 feet in elevation, all  in hopes to land some possible roosting sights the night before. We send out a locator call (usually a crow call) and wait to hear back.  If we get a response, the next morning, that is were we end up. The first 2 days were tough and on our final morning, we hiked up our last steep hill and I was able to call in my first gobbler to what would have been an opportunity for Chelsie had he came closer than 70 yards but he just would not come closer for a shot.

We tried a couple more times, but just could not seal the deal. Not for lack of trying because trust me, we tried!!  I am proud of Melissa, this was not the first hunt experience I imagined for her, but at least now she knows what we as hunters go through in order to try for the lucky shot and that one opportunity to tag a bird or really any other animal we are hunting here in New Mexico. Chelsie was definitely the lucky shed hunter however,  scoring a nice elk shed and an old mule deer shed while we were out turkey hunting.  Even though none of us were able to take a turkey, we had a wonderful hunt.  The laughs and the memories will last a lifetime.  I can’t wait to hunt with them again!





How to Hunt Mule Deer with Gray Light, Chad Roberts and Travis Nowotny

Posted on: June 16th, 2017 by JohnStallone No Comments

You can watch it live in the video above or download the podcast

Special mule deer podcast live with Marlon Holden (aka gray light), Chad Roberts and Travis Nowotny: In this special Mule deer podcast we dive deep into the things that make these guys such successful mule deer hunters. The tips, tactics and what goes into hunting giant mule deer bucks. Catch My podcast Interviews with the hunting masters on https://interviewswiththemasters.podbean.com/



So you want to be a trout angler !

Posted on: June 12th, 2017 by ChrisBates No Comments


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So you want to be a small stream trout angler

Where do I start with this topic? So many people have said to me “How hard can catching a stream trout be?” I am here to tell you that its not as easy as one may think.

Being from the Midwest I really thought I knew how to fish, as there are so many species to choose from and the one constant in the Midwest was that you can get away with ten pound test line and a six and a half foot fishing rod.

So when I came to Vermont five years ago I wanted to catch stream trout , and of course I had my Midwestern fishing knowledge , my Midwestern fishing tackle and I was off to catch a trout ,you know the ones you always see in a painting of the Northeast.

I have to tell you that I sure was humbled while trying my luck with the equipment I was using, and most likely looking pretty foolish to local trout anglers.

The number one thing I can tell you about small stream trout fishing is “little fish little equipment”.

Small stream trout have a soft bite, and when using ten pound test line and your medium action bass rod, you can not feel the tap tap tap of a trout trying to gobble up a red worm, or the light strike on your Midwest spinner that you would be using for bass.

I happened to be one of the lucky ones to learn what you need to know about this type of fishing, a four foot six inch ultra light rod with four to six pound mono line will do the trick to feel the awesome tap tap tap.

When choosing your fishing line for small stream trout, you want to use something that will stretch I learned the hard way using ten pound fire line, I couldn’t feel the light bite of the trout so I would recommend a mono-filament line.

For a fishing pole, graphite is the best, as it is very sensitive to the light tap tap tap of the elusive stream trout, they can be pretty pricey but well worth it, there are also some very good medium priced fiberglass trout rods that are very good as well.

I was also fooled by the water its self. I was taught to wear polarized sunglasses which is fine and dandy in the Midwest as most fishing is some sort of lake or pond fishing, so my regular polarized lens worked just fine, until I wanted to fish Vermont’s streams and rivers.

Let just say I had the wrong lens type, because our streams and rivers have gravel bottoms and makes our water look brown you need the proper lens color which would be Amber, copper or rose, with these color lens you can see right to the bottom of the water out to twenty five feet away which makes for great sight fishing for those elusive trout ,

Also remember that stream and river fishing is a lot different than lake and pond fishing, with lakes and ponds you have a constant for water temperature, the top part of the lake will be warmer than the middle and bottom part, which causes the fish to seek warmer water or colder water depending on the day as well as approaching storms which do not apply to streams and rivers, which I again found out the hard way.

Streams and rivers have moving water at all times which keeps the water temperature at a constant here in Vermont, it will range between thirty eight degrees to fifty degrees depending on the time of year.

I also thought that trout were always in the strongest part or the water other wise known as rapids, but as I came to find out that is not true.

Trout will hide so they can ambush their prey, the trout will always be facing upstream which is not so for their counter part in a lake or pond setting, trout will hide in cut away banks, next to or under fallen trees, but as I have found they love to sit behind boulders in fast moving water or in an eddy which allows them to grab tasty a morsel with out doing much work.

Trout have another cool tactic when ready to ambush their prey, and that is to position themselves right on the edge of fast moving water.

The other ting that I have learned about small stream trout fishing is the multitude of different baits to use, in the Midwest was big fish big baits, I had no idea that stream trout were small in comparison to retention pond Large mouth bass or the northern Wisconsin northern pike so it became apparent to me that again my Midwest knowledge of fishing wasn’t really going to work on my trout fishing adventures.

So, to get started I decided to use a red worm on a number 6 octopus hook with a small split shot up 8 inches from the hook, throw it into the dark water and hope for the best, most times if there are trout in the area they will gladly gobble up a nice juicy red worm.

Stream trout are also attracted to small spinners, I like to use copper or gold blades and green or red bodies, trout are attracted to the flash as it mimics a bait fish in the streams which most seasoned trout anglers know that in Vermont we are loaded with green and black dace and red and black dace and the bigger trout love to snack on them.

When hunting for trout you almost have to be a ninja, quiet and in the water, a good pair of waders will do the trick which will allow you to get to the place in the water where trout love to hide out, I have learned that a good pair of breathable waders will do the trick, I see a lot of trout anglers in the water with out waders and shake my head on why they like to stand in cold water.

One last thing, and most likely the most important is safety, it is always a great idea to tell someone where you will be fishing just in case something happens, it will be a starting point for first responders, also its a good idea to have your phone charged in case there is an emergency,

always carry some water with you sun screen and a small first aid kit and never be with out a quality bug spray,

with these few tips you will be on your way to some fantastic small stream trout fishing here in the the Southern Green Mountains of Vermont.

Chris Bates and Stephanie Calabro host the popular outdoor TV show Outdoor Secrets Unwrapped In the Northeast on Comcast Cable channel 15 (CAT-TV) and you can find his tv show and articles at www.theoutdoorinsiders.com as well as Facebook, to contact Chris e-mail him at Chrisbates227@msn.com

Unconventional Mule Deer Hunting Tactics

Posted on: June 11th, 2017 by JohnStallone No Comments

8.25 John Stallone and Muley whisperer Billy “The Kid” Babiash of Let’er Rip Outfitters talk unconventional tactics for mule deer hunting.

Billy is a long time friend and hunting partner I’ve learned a lot from him over the years. One of the things he does it different than any other successful mule deer hunters out there is a tactic I like to call the lost hiker. Listen in to this episode to hear how Billy has managed to shoot a deer every season with for like the last 25 years.

Chukar hunting with Mufasa the wonder dog

Posted on: June 9th, 2017 by ChrisBates No Comments

Outdoor Secrets Unwrapped host Chris Bates is Pheasant hunting with Illinois Outdoors Host Don Dz at Lick skillet Hunt Club in a new series A Blast from the past when Chris was the host of the popular Radio show Hunting the Midwest

Backcountry Elk (story)

Posted on: June 8th, 2017 by zach kenner No Comments

 This story I wrote to compliment the Backcountry Elk video you can find in my video section… enjoy!

Backcountry Elk

The first half of September had already come and gone. The days are noticeably getting shorter. In those first few weeks I was lucky enough to have been apart of three successful bow hunts! The first two hunts my father and I were able to take nice mule deer bucks. However, the last hunt I was on was an archery Bull elk hunt where my buddy took a huge 350 Washington Bull! That elk hunt had elk bugles echoing in my ears and huge herd bulls chasing cows in my dreams. With Darrick’s elk hunt still vivid in my memory it was now time for me to head to Idaho with an elk tag in my pocket. I had been planning this Idaho hunt for a solid two months. The plan was to take a string of horses into Idaho’s unforgiving backcountry for ten days; my two buddies Chris Swanson and Jeff Bruce would be hunting with me.


As we arrived at the trailhead I was super excited. This spot Jeff had hunted in the past and even had some luck and shot a nice 6×6 bull. With it being his spot and his horses Jeff lead the way down the trail as Chris and I followed. Twelve miles later We Arrived at the same spot Jeff had camped before. With the last couple hours in the day we set up camp as I told stories about Darrick’s Washington hunt, Jeff told his stories about elk on all the different ridges that lay below our camp, and Chris told stories about all the close encounters he had had in Washington this season and just didn’t quite connect with an elk.

As any hunter knows sleep is nearly impossible the night before you go hunting, this night was no different as all three of us tossed and turned all night. But as the sun crept up over the horizon that morning we could hear elk bugling below us and we suddenly no longer cared about how tired we were. We could tell there were at least two different bulls bugling back and forth and we figured one was a good herd bull. Chris and I couldn’t take it any longer and we took off down the ridge and headed into the jungle of thick timber, trying to close the distance between us and that deep-raspy bugle below.


As we head down the ridge conditions were perfect. The wind was gently blowing in our face as the thermals brought the aroma of elk urine up the canyon. We could smell elk everywhere, and kept running into saplings torn to shreds from rutting bulls. The bugling battle below us continued and we just kept creeping closer and closer. Chris would let out an occasional cow call now and then to help cover any twigs we snapped making our way though the trees. After dropping about 400 feet in elevation we hear twigs snap in front of us. Chris was up first and he knocked an arrow and readied his bow. He Let out another cow call and within seconds we see a tan flash of hair moving in the trees, Chris draws and out steps a spike. Chris isn’t opposed to shooting a spike. Although after his tuff luck in WA earlier in the season he was sure temped! However, after a tuff mental battle Chris opted to pass on the bull and only because it was the first day and there was still bugles echoing in the canyon below us.  After he lets down his bow he turns back to me and says what we all say after we pass on an animal: “hope I don’t regret that later”.


The spike never did know what we were and he just moved off without spooking and alerting the other elk of our presence. So we pressed on and continued to drop elevation, and the bugles of the herd bull were getting a lot closer. Still using the same hunting tactic of just cow calling now and then to cover our noisy travel. All at once we were seeing fresh sign and smelling that unmistakable smell of elk, we knew we had to be getting really close! Chris and I had dropped quite a ways down at this point and were almost to the bottom of the canyon. At this point travel was difficult due to dead fallen trees, thick underbrush, and steep terrain dropping straight down to the creek below. With the smell of elk in the air we were much more cautious and alert expecting to see an elk around any tree. Then I stepped on a twig and it popped pretty loud. Next Chris followed my snapping noise with a cow call. Then all at once we hear movement not 40 yards in front of us. Chris was a couple steps in front of me and could see antlers coming through the brush and instantly draws his bow. The bull pauses for a good thirty seconds then took the last few steps that Chris needed for a clear shot. At no more than 12 yards Chris lets loose and the arrow disappears right behind the shoulder of a nice five point bull!! I was so happy for Chris especially after such hard luck that he had been having in WA.  What was crazy about the whole thing though is the other two bulls were still bugling and fighting over cows below us. There was still lots of elk in the canyon and 9 days left to hunt!!

Bad Luck

September has cold crisp mornings followed by hot burning afternoons; too hot to just hang meat in the tree. So Jeff and Chris loaded the horses and mules and hauled Chris’s bull back to the trail head, then all the way into town to keep at the meat locker until the end of the hunt. This gave me a day by myself to hunt which was fairly unproductive and frustrating because it seemed like everywhere I went the wind would switch and be blowing right at my back.

The next day wasn’t any better for me but Jeff came back to camp with some good stories about some satellite bulls he ran into but opted to pass on. Jeff passed on three bulls that day! That afternoon a stormed rolled in and it rained for two days completely changing the hunt. The bulls shut up and completely quit bugling. Because of the changed behavior we had to make a little different game plan and pretty much still-hunt these elk. What I mean by still-hunting is get into areas where the elk sign is fresh and sit until a bull walks by. Still-hunting is a good tactic and I know lots of people kill elk this way. However, its just not my favorite tactic for I am a spot and stock type of hunter. So Jeff told me to go sit where he had ran into those satellite bulls before. Well all three of us decided to go there and we picked one of the few openings that was in that area and sat at the top of it. The opening was probably 150 yards long and 200 yards wide, perfect area for the elk to come out and graze. I am not kidding you we were not sitting there for even an hour when Jeff looked up and a rag horn bull stepped out of the trees and began feeding. Well I started looking for shooting lanes and ranging different trees and bushes that I assumed the bull would walk out from behind. And wouldn’t you know it he did walk out from behind one of the bushes I ranged at 55 yards. 55 yards is well within my comfort zone and in my mind this was a dead elk standing. So I settled my pin and let fly. Whack!! The bull spins and takes off into the trees. From the sound of imapct Jeff and Chris though I drilled him. But I knew better for I had watched the arrow fall short and hit a log! I knew what happened right away, I had forgot to compensate for the bull stepping out from behind the bush putting him at approximately 65-70 yards. Frustration sets in and I knew better than that since I had done that exact same thing on a bull the year before! But Chris and Jeff reminded me that this is bow hunting and all you can ask for in bow hunting is a chance! Luckily it wasn’t a giant bull so I was able to bounce back rather quickly and continue on with the hunt. Jeff said he was going to go check out a different ridge and parted ways with Chris and I.

Textbook calling senquence

Chris and I went back to camp that afternoon to check my bow to make sure it was on and to get started on dinner. All of the sudden over the two way radio we hear Jeff say: “you guys have a copy?”. Chris answers “yeah man what’s up” Jeff: “well I am over here by the rock point and I got a bull that answered my call over on the other side down towards the bottom. I think he sounds like a good one. I am gonna go kill him”. Then the signal kind of cut out as Chris and I wished him luck. There was only an hour of daylight left, if that, and we were not sure he was going to get it done. So Chris and I made up some chili mac with some grouse that I had shot at camp that evening. Bed time rolls around and still no sign of Jeff, we assume that he connected with the bull and is probably hanging it up for the night. Sure enough! Jeff rolls in covered in blood and tells the story to us saying it was a Textbook calling sequence and the bull worked perfectly! Jeff said that he bugled off the rock point and a narly-deep sounding bugle answered from a tree patch below. Knowing that Jeff was running out of light he took off running at the bull through the trees trying to sound like another bull coming to a challenge. Once Jeff neared the bottom he let out a challenge bugle and the big bull screamed back. Jeff then counter bugled and cut the big bull off. This made the bull furious and he came charging in! Jeff made a few adjustments and got into position and came to full draw. The Bull stepped out and kept walking right towards Jeff. 30 yards, 20 yards, when the bull got to 15 yards he let out a long drawn out bugle with loud chuckles at the end. Jeff said it was a bugle he would never forget. As soon as he quit bugling WHACK! Jeff puts it right in the boiler room! It was a great bull, a nice 6X6!


As Jeff Packed his bull back to the truck Chris and I put in a solid last day effort. We hiked all over the countryside trying to locate a bull. Finally as we sat down to eat lunch I let out a cow all and we hear a soft chuckle not 300 yards below us. It was on! Well this was the herd bull and we worked him hard and tried every trick in the book but still couldn’t get him away from his cows. We did get a glimpse of him at about 150 yards through the trees and he was a nice 6×7, just a Stud of a bull! I am sure he didn’t get to be that big by being dumb either.

After chasing that bull around Chris and I went back to camp and began to pick up camp as we reminisced about the week. All three of us really got everything we came for. Yeah I didn’t get a bull, but 2/3 elk tags notched on an over-the-counter-tag archery hunt is still really good! And I even had a shot at a bull. So, overall there were no complaints from any of us. We had an amazing trip into untouched wilderness and came out with some amazing stories. As Jeff, Chris and I rode the horses out; we couldn’t help but talk about next year and if we would have the chance to return to the Idaho backcountry together.

Calling Strategies for Late Season Gobblers

Posted on: June 3rd, 2017 by EvanGrimm No Comments

All turkey hunters enjoy the first week of gobbler season when the long beards are quick to respond and not so easy to spook, their guard is down and they aren’t expecting to get shot at, but things get tricky when a few weeks go by and you are in the last few days of the season.

Lets be honest, if it gets to this point as a hunter, your starting to feel the pressure “is it going to happen this year?”  and the gobblers don’t mind rubbing it in either as you drive past your hunting property to work or on your way home and see them strutting and chasing hens.  There is a way to make these tricky birds let their guard down in the late season though.  Late season is time for new strategies.

While excited cackling and high pitched yelping may set a gobbler on fire during the early season, a more conservative approach is needed for these educated toms.  I am an early morning hunter, I try to find the birds still on the roost get within 300 yards and do some soft tree calls the same as I would in early season but instead of doing a fly-down cackle, I take my hat off and imitate a fly-down with no vocalization just flapping my hat against my thigh. This is where things really change. Instead of high pitched yelping I resort to clucks and purrs with an occasional short yelping sequence here and there. I do not call as often, only enough to make the gobbler interested and a little nervous. If he is on his own, his curiosity will get the best of him, if he is not, it will most likely get the hen with him defensive. If a hen starts talking, just imitate what sounds she is making this will drive her crazy. In my experience will make her close the gap fast…  This works out really well. You are now not only sounding like a hen but a real hen is coming your way pulling whatever gobbler she has near her to you also. Once the gobbler has committed I usually stop calling completely. The worst thing you can do at this time of the year is over talk. 1) It allows the gobbler to know exactly where you are making it hard to move. 2) It will make a late season bird less vocal because he doesn’t need to locate the “hen”. 3) If he’s been called in before by another hunter, he will probably get nervous at how much unnatural hen talking is going on.  If you’ve ever heard a hen in the woods you probably have noticed how little vocalizations they make, unless they are really excited, and this is what you want to copy. Scratching in the leaves with a stick can be your best call at this point also.

When the gobbler shows up its time to make the shot count and start telling your hunting stories!!! Have fun in the woods!