Master fly fishing in no time with these beginner tips and 10 best items to have

Fly Fishing On A River

Fly fishing is a wonderful and rewarding activity that allows anglers to connect with nature and challenge themselves to catch elusive fish. For beginners, starting to fly fish for trout can seem daunting, but with a few basic techniques and some practice, it can quickly become a fun and addictive hobby. In this article, I will provide an overview of the essential gear, techniques, and tips for beginners looking to start fly fishing for trout.

Firstly, before starting to fly fish, it is essential to have the right gear. The basic equipment includes a fly rod, reel, fly line, leader, tippet, and flies. A beginner should choose a rod with a length between 8 and 9 feet and a weight of 4-6, as this is a versatile size that can handle a range of trout sizes and water conditions. The reel should match the rod’s weight, and the fly line should match the rod’s and reel’s weight. Leaders and tippets should be in the range of 7.5 to 9 feet, with a diameter of 3X to 6X, depending on the size of the flies being used. Finally, a beginner should have a fly selection that matches the local hatches and trout species they are targeting.

Silhouette of fisherman fly fishing for salmon and sea run cutthroat trout in Puget Sound near Olympia, Washington USA.

Once the gear is in place, it’s time to start practicing casting. A good cast is critical for successful fly fishing. The basic technique involves using the rod to create a loop in the fly line, which propels the fly forward. Beginners should start practicing their casting on a grassy area, using a piece of yarn tied to the end of the leader. It’s essential to keep the wrist firm and use the forearm and shoulder to make the cast. Additionally, a beginner should aim to keep the line straight and avoid slack, as this will result in poor presentation and fewer strikes.

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When it comes to choosing a fishing spot, beginners should look for areas with slow-moving water, such as pools and eddies. These areas tend to hold more trout, and the slow-moving water makes casting and presenting the fly easier. Additionally, beginners should pay attention to the wind direction and try to cast with the wind at their back. This will make casting easier and help to prevent the line from getting tangled.

Once a fishing spot has been chosen, it’s time to start fishing. The basic technique involves presenting the fly to the trout naturally and realistically. This is known as “matching the hatch,” and it involves using a fly that mimics the insects that the trout are feeding on. A beginner should start by using a dry fly, which sits on the surface of the water, and watch for any signs of a strike. If there is no activity on the surface, a beginner can try using a nymph, which sinks below the surface and imitates the larval stage of insects.

Finally, it’s essential to practice good fishing etiquette when fly fishing for trout. This involves respecting the environment, other anglers, and the fish. A beginner should always try to leave the fishing spot in better condition than they found it and avoid disturbing other anglers. Additionally, beginners should practice catch-and-release fishing, which helps to conserve the trout population and ensure that future generations can enjoy the sport.

In conclusion, starting to fly fish for trout can seem intimidating for beginners, but with the right gear, techniques, and tips, it can quickly become a fun and rewarding hobby. Beginners should focus on practicing their casting, choosing the right fishing spot, and presenting the fly in a natural and realistic manner. With some patience and practice, a beginner can soon be on their way to catching their first trout and enjoying the beauty of nature.

Here is a list of the 10 best items that a beginner should have to start fly fishing that can be found on Amazon.com . Please note that you should research and read reviews on each item before purchasing to ensure they meet your specific needs and requirements.

1.Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Rod


The Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Rod is an excellent option for beginners. It has a fast-action design that allows for long casts, and it’s made from high-quality graphite. Pros: Lightweight, responsive, and easy to cast. Cons: Some users report that the cork handle can be uncomfortable after extended use.

2.KastKing Emergence Fly Fishing Combo

The KastKing Emergence Fly Fishing Combo includes a fly rod, reel, fly line, backing, and leader, making it an excellent option for beginners who want a complete set. Pros: Affordable, lightweight, and easy to use. Cons: Some users report that the reel can feel flimsy.

3.Rio Gold WF Fly Line

The Rio Gold WF Fly Line is a versatile and high-performance option for beginners. It’s a weight-forward line that offers excellent casting distance and accuracy. Pros: High-quality, long-lasting, and easy to cast. Cons: Some users report that it can be challenging to mend.

4.Orvis Hydros SL Fly Reel

The Orvis Hydros SL Fly Reel is a high-quality option that offers excellent drag control and durability. It’s also lightweight and easy to handle. Pros: Durable, reliable, and smooth drag. Cons: It’s a bit on the pricey side.

5.Scientific Anglers Mastery Trout Taper Fly Line

The Scientific Anglers Mastery Trout Taper Fly Line is another excellent option for beginners. It’s designed specifically for trout fishing and offers excellent accuracy and distance. Pros: High-quality, long-lasting, and easy to cast. Cons: Some users report that it can be challenging to mend.

6.Umpqua Trout Taper Leader

The Umpqua Trout Taper Leader is a high-quality and versatile option for beginners. It’s designed specifically for trout fishing and offers excellent strength and durability. Pros: Durable, reliable, and versatile. Cons: Some users report that it can be a bit stiff.

7.Allen Company, Big Horn Fishing Chest Vest

Allen Company, Big Horn Fishing Chest Vest is a practical and affordable option for beginners. It features multiple pockets for storing gear, and it’s lightweight and breathable. Pros: Affordable, practical, and comfortable. Cons: Some users report that it can be a bit bulky.

8.Piscifun Fishing Line Nipper

The Piscifun Fishing Line Nipper is a handy tool that allows you to cut your fishing line with ease. It’s small and lightweight, making it easy to carry with you on the go. Pros: Lightweight, durable, and easy to use. Cons: Some users report that it can be challenging to grip.

9.SF Fly Fishing Landing Net

The SF Fly Fishing Landing Net is a must-have item for any beginner. It allows you to safely and gently land your catch without causing harm to the fish. Pros: Durable, reliable, and safe for the fish. Cons: Some users report that the handle can be a bit short.

M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch Fly Fishing Flies

The M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch Fly Fishing Flies are a great option for beginners who want to have a variety of flies to choose from. They come in a set of 24, and they’re designed specifically for trout fishing. Pros: Affordable, versatile, and high-quality. Cons: Some users report that the hooks can be a bit weak.

Turkey hunting with a bow

Top 6 Turkey Calls: Fooling Even the Wariest Gobbler

Group of 3 Wild Turkey

Turkey hunting is a popular pastime for many outdoor enthusiasts. One of the most important tools for a turkey hunter is a turkey call. A turkey call is an instrument used to mimic the sounds of a turkey in order to attract them towards the hunter. Turkey calls come in different types, each with its own unique sound and purpose.Fallow along as we will explore the different types of turkey calls and their pros and cons.

One of the most common turkey calls is the box call. A box call consists of a wooden box with a paddle that is moved back and forth to create a sound. Box calls are popular because they are easy to use and can produce a variety of turkey sounds. However, they are also bulky and can be difficult to carry in the field.

Another popular type of turkey call is the slate call. A slate call consists of a slate or glass surface and a striker that is used to create a sound. Slate calls are popular because they are lightweight and produce a realistic turkey sound. However, they can be difficult to use in wet conditions.

A mouth call, also known as a diaphragm call, is a call that is placed inside the mouth. Mouth calls are popular because they leave the hunter’s hands free and are easy to carry. However, they can be difficult to use and require some practice.

A push button call is a call that is operated by pressing a button. Push button calls are popular because they are easy to use and produce a variety of turkey sounds. However, they can be loud and may scare off turkeys.

A locator call is a call used to locate turkeys. Locator calls include owl hooters, crow calls, and coyote howlers. Locator calls are popular because they can help the hunter find the location of turkeys. However, they can also scare turkeys away if used too often.

A decoy call is a call used to attract turkeys to a decoy. Decoy calls include jake yelps and hen clucks. Decoy calls are popular because they can help the hunter bring turkeys into range. However, they may not be effective if the turkeys are not interested in the decoy.

Here are six different types of turkey calls found on Amazon.com:
  1. Primos Hunting Hook Hunter Turkey Mouth Call

Pros:

  • Produces realistic turkey sounds
  • Leaves the hunter’s hands free
  • Easy to carry

Cons:

  • May take some practice to master
  1. Woodhaven Custom Calls Wasp Nest Turkey Call

Pros:

  • Produces a variety of turkey sounds
  • Lightweight and easy to use

Cons:

  • May not be as durable as other box calls
  1. H.S. Strut Undertaker Slate Call

Pros:

  • Produces realistic turkey sounds
  • Lightweight and easy to carry

Cons:

  • May be difficult to use in wet conditions
  1. Primos Hunting Bombshell Turkey Call

Pros:

  • Produces a variety of turkey sounds
  • Easy to use
  • Loud and clear sounds

Cons:

  • May scare off turkeys if used too often
  1. Primos Hunting Ol’ Betsy Slate Call

Pros:

  • Produces realistic turkey sounds
  • Durable construction
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • May require practice to master the technique
  1. Flextone Thunder Series Half and Half Turkey Call

Pros:

  • Produces a variety of turkey sounds
  • Easy to use
  • Clear and realistic sounds

Cons:

  • May not be as durable as other mouth calls

5 Best Range Finders for Long Distance Shooting and Bow Hunting

Hunting is a challenging activity that requires precision, patience, and the right tools. One essential tool that has revolutionized the hunting game is a range finder. A range finder is a device used to estimate the distance between the hunter and their target, making it easier to take accurate shots. In this article, we will discuss the importance of range finders during hunting and introduce five of the best ones available on Amazon.com.

Why Are Range Finders Important in Hunting?

Hunter using range finder
  1. Accurate Shots: A range finder helps hunters take accurate shots by providing the exact distance between the hunter and the target. This information enables the hunter to adjust their aim and make the necessary corrections.
  2. Save Time: Without a range finder, hunters have to rely on guesswork or pacing out distances, which can be time-consuming. A range finder helps hunters save time by providing quick and accurate distance measurements.
  3. Ethical Hunting: Ethical hunting involves making clean kills that minimize the suffering of the animal. A range finder helps hunters take ethical shots by ensuring that they are within their effective shooting range and not taking shots that are beyond their capabilities.
  4. Safety: Hunting accidents often occur when hunters take shots that are beyond their range of ability. A range finder helps hunters identify safe shooting distances, minimizing the risk of accidents.
  5. Improved Success Rate: Using a range finder can significantly improve a hunter’s success rate by increasing their accuracy and precision.

Best Range Finders on Amazon.com

  1. Vortex Optics Ranger 1800 Laser Rangefinder – This range finder offers a range of up to 1800 yards and is suitable for both bow and rifle hunters. Its compact design and easy-to-use interface make it an excellent choice for hunters of all skill levels.

Pros:

  • High-quality optics with excellent clarity
  • Accurate distance measurements
  • Water and fog proof
  • Easy to use and compact design

Cons:

  • Battery life could be better
  • The display can be hard to read in low light conditions
  1. Sig Sauer Kilo 2200 BDX Laser Rangefinder – The Sig Sauer Kilo 2200 BDX Laser Rangefinder offers a range of up to 2200 yards and features advanced ballistic data exchange technology, making it an excellent choice for long-range hunting.

Pros:

  • Accurate distance measurements
  • Advanced ballistic data exchange technology
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Easy-to-use interface

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Battery life could be better
  1. Bushnell Prime 1300 Laser Rangefinder – The Bushnell Prime 1300 Laser Rangefinder offers a range of up to 1300 yards and features a lightweight, compact design, making it an excellent choice for hunters who value portability.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and compact design
  • Clear and accurate optics
  • Angle compensation technology
  • Water and fog proof

Cons:

  • Some users report difficulty ranging small targets
  • Battery life could be better
  1. Leupold RX-1600i TBR/W Laser Rangefinder – The Leupold RX-1600i TBR/W Laser Rangefinder offers a range of up to 1600 yards and features True Ballistic Range/Wind technology, making it an excellent choice for hunters who frequently hunt in windy conditions.

Pros:

  • Accurate distance measurements
  • True Ballistic Range/Wind technology
  • Lightweight and compact design
  • High-quality optics with excellent clarity

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Some users report difficulty ranging small targets
  1. Garmin Xero A1 Bow Sight – The Garmin Xero A1 Bow Sight is a revolutionary range finder that combines a bow sight and a laser rangefinder in one device. It offers a range of up to 100 yards and features Garmin’s Auto-ranging Digital Sight Technology, which instantly calculates and displays the precise aiming point.

Pros:

  • Combines a bow sight and a range finder in one device
  • Auto-ranging Digital Sight Technology for precise aiming
  • Clear and easy-to-read display
  • Durable and waterproof construction

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Some users may prefer a standalone range finder rather than a combination device
  • The display can be hard to read in low light conditions

The Garmin Xero A1 Bow Sight is an excellent choice for bow hunters looking to simplify their gear setup and improve their accuracy. Its innovative technology and reliable performance make it one of the best range finders on the market.

Overall, a range finder is a crucial tool for any hunting enthusiast. The above five range finders from Amazon.com all offer different features and capabilities, so hunters should consider their specific needs and preferences when choosing the best one for them. However, with the aid of a range finder, hunters can significantly improve their chances of success and ensure ethical and safe hunting practices.

Frozen Lake, Ice fishing in Maine

Ice Fishing – The Greatest Frozen Water Adventure in Maine

Ice fishing is a particularly unique way to spend time outdoors, that has many benefits and malays the joys of cold-weather leisure activities. It allows people to relax and breathe in fresh, cold air while waiting in anticipation for a nibble at the end of the line.

To begin fishing safely on a frozen lake, the first step is to locate a spot that looks promising. This requires scouting the lake with experienced eyes (or use an app) to look for ideal spots where fish might congregate and burrow. Piecing the clues together, the fisherman must then determine the ideal location for the ice to drill a hole.

This may involve looking for darker spots where the sunshine has yet to penetrate the ice. This can be an arduous task if one is not adequately prepared, but it can also be quite fulfilling. With the right equipment and patience, the angler can slowly push into the ice in search of potential bites.

Once a hole has been drilled, anglers can begin setting up the station. This can involve setting up a pop-up shelter, bait box, food, drink and other essential supplies. Additionally, the mechanism for hooking the line in the water should be carefully specified. This ensures that the end of the line is exactly where the angler wants it, in order to yield a higher chance of catching a bite.

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The best part of ice fishing is the beauty, tranquillity and peace that it offers. With all the initial work done, the angler can sit peacefully and enjoy the low-temperature environment and the sounds of nature. There is nothing quite like sitting back and watching the sun set over the frozen lake, and then watching the stars come out as the night progresses.

Ice fishing on frozen lake

Finally, there is something very satisfying about catching a fish on the frozen lake. This satisfaction comes from the knowledge that the angler has outwitted not only the environment and the elements, but also the fish that they are trying to catch. This can leave the angler with a sense of pride in their accomplishment, and will remain an enduring memory for many years to come.

In conclusion, ice fishing is an enjoyable and calming way to spend cold-weather leisure activities. From the scouting of the perfect spot to the rewarding feeling of catching a fish, the joys of ice fishing are undeniably immense.

Discovering Maine’s Winter Wonderland: A Snowmobiling Adventure

Maine is known for its rugged coastlines, picturesque lighthouses, and vibrant fall foliage. However, what many people do not know is that this state is also a winter wonderland, with its vast and beautiful snow-covered landscapes. For those seeking a new and exciting adventure, snowmobiling in Maine is the perfect way to experience this winter wonderland.

Snowmobiling has become a popular winter activity for many people, and for good reason. It offers a unique way to explore and experience the winter wilderness, as well as a fun and thrilling adventure. In this essay, we will take a look at what makes snowmobiling in Maine so special and why it is a must-do experience for those looking to discover the beauty of the state in the winter.

Maine is a winter wonderland

Maine is a winter wonderland, and this is especially true in the northern and central regions of the state. Here, the snow covers the landscape, transforming it into a magical and pristine winter wonderland. From the rolling hills to the tall pine trees, the snow-covered scenery is breathtaking and awe-inspiring.

One of the most unique aspects of Maine’s winter wonderland is the way the snow sparkles in the sun. The sun shining on the snow creates a brilliant and sparkling light show that is truly unforgettable. It is a sight that must be seen to be appreciated, and one that is best viewed on a snowmobile.

The peaceful stillness of the winter wilderness is another highlight of Maine’s winter wonderland. The only sounds that can be heard are the soft crunching of snow underfoot and the hum of the snowmobile’s engine. It is a peaceful and serene environment that allows you to truly escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life and immerse yourself in the beauty of the winter landscape.

Snowmobiling: a unique and thrilling adventure

Snowmobiling in Maine

Snowmobiling is a unique and thrilling adventure that offers a different perspective on the winter landscape. Instead of walking, snowmobiling allows you to cover vast distances and see more of the winter wonderland in a shorter amount of time. It also allows you to go places that would otherwise be inaccessible, such as frozen lakes, deep forests, and rolling hills.

The speed and excitement of snowmobiling are also part of what makes it such a thrilling adventure. As you ride through the snow-covered wilderness, you will feel the wind in your face and the rush of adrenaline as you maneuver through the twists and turns of the terrain. The thrill of snowmobiling is an experience that is truly unforgettable and one that will have you coming back for more.

Fishing and camping in the winter wonderland

Snowmobiling in Maine’s winter wonderland not only offers the chance to explore and experience the beauty of the winter landscape, but it also offers the opportunity to engage in other winter activities, such as fishing and camping.

Fishing in the winter wonderland is a unique experience that offers a chance to catch fish in a serene and peaceful setting. The frozen lakes of Maine are perfect for ice fishing, and with the stillness of the winter wilderness, you will be able to hear the occasional plop of a fish jumping out of the water.

Camping in the winter wonderland is also a unique and exciting experience. The quiet and peaceful surroundings provide the perfect setting for a cozy and warm camping trip. With the snow-covered landscape and the bright starry sky, camping in Maine’s winter wonderland is an experience that is truly unforgettable.

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Safety tips

Snowmobile

Snowmobiling is a popular winter activity in Maine, but it’s important to take safety precautions to ensure a fun and safe experience. Here are some safety tips for snowmobiling in Maine:

  1. Wear proper clothing: Dress in layers and wear warm, waterproof clothing. Make sure your hands and feet are protected from the cold and wind.
  2. Wear a helmet: A helmet is essential for protecting your head in case of an accident. Make sure your helmet fits properly and meets safety standards.
  3. Take a snowmobile safety course: A snowmobile safety course can teach you important skills and safety tips to make the most of your snowmobiling experience.
  4. Check the weather conditions: Before setting off, check the weather conditions to ensure that it is safe to go snowmobiling. Avoid snowmobiling in severe weather conditions, such as heavy snowfall or high winds.
  5. Know the trails: Always follow marked trails and avoid going off-trail. Stick to trails that are appropriate for your skill level.
  6. Be aware of other snowmobilers: Always be aware of other snowmobilers and give them plenty of space. Keep a safe distance from other snowmobiles, especially when passing.
  7. Stay sober: Never snowmobile while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Snowmobiling while impaired is dangerous and illegal.
  8. Have a safety plan: Make sure you have a safety plan in case of an emergency. Have a map, compass, and cell phone with you, and make sure someone knows your route and expected return time.

By following these safety tips, you can ensure a fun and safe snowmobiling experience in Maine’s winter wonderland.

Hunting is Good for the Environment- Here’s 10 Reasons Why

Grouse hunting with dog
Hunting has long been a controversial topic, with some people viewing it as a necessary tool for conservation and others viewing it as a cruel and unnecessary practice. However, there are numerous benefits to hunting that should not be overlooked.

First, hunting can help to control animal populations. In many areas, certain species can become overpopulated, which can lead to problems such as habitat destruction, disease outbreaks, and conflicts with humans. By carefully regulating hunting seasons and limits, wildlife management agencies can help to keep animal populations at sustainable levels, which can help to protect the overall health of the ecosystem.

Second, hunting can provide economic benefits to local communities. In many areas, hunting is an important part of the local economy, with hunters paying for licenses, equipment, and other expenses. This can provide a significant source of revenue for local businesses, which can help to support the local economy and encourage conservation efforts.

Third, hunting can help to fund conservation efforts. Many hunting organizations, such as the Boone and Crockett Club and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, work to promote conservation and protect wildlife habitat. These organizations often rely on funding from hunting licenses and other fees, which can help to support their efforts to preserve and protect natural areas.

Fourth, hunting can help to educate people about the natural world and the importance of conservation. By participating in hunting, people can learn about the habits and behaviors of different species, as well as the importance of preserving natural habitats. This knowledge can help to increase appreciation and understanding of the natural world, which can in turn promote conservation efforts.

Fifth, hunting can provide important food for local communities. In some areas, hunting is a traditional way of obtaining food, and can provide an important source of nutrition for people who may not have access to other forms of protein.

Sixth, hunting can help to reduce the risk of human-wildlife conflicts. In some cases, animals such as bears and wolves can pose a threat to human safety, particularly if they become accustomed to living in close proximity to humans. By carefully managing hunting seasons and limits, wildlife management agencies can help to reduce the risk of these conflicts occurring.

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Seventh, hunting can help to preserve traditional cultural practices. In many cultures, hunting is an important part of the traditional way of life, and helps to preserve cultural traditions and practices that may otherwise be lost.

Eighth, hunting can provide important recreational opportunities. For many people, hunting is an important form of outdoor recreation, and can provide an opportunity to experience the beauty of the natural world and connect with nature in a meaningful way.

Ninth, hunting can help to promote ethical and responsible behavior. By requiring hunters to follow strict guidelines and regulations, hunting can help to promote responsible and ethical behavior, including the importance of respecting wildlife and the environment.

Tenth, hunting can help to protect biodiversity. By carefully managing hunting seasons and limits, wildlife management agencies can help to protect the genetic diversity of different species, which is essential for the overall health and stability of ecosystems.

In conclusion, the benefits of hunting are numerous and diverse. From helping to control animal populations and providing economic benefits to local communities, to funding conservation efforts and promoting ethical behavior, hunting can play a valuable role in the conservation of our natural resources.

The 5 Basic Safety Rules of Ice Fishing

Ice fishing jig
Red bobber and fishing line in an ice fishing hole in a Minnesota lake

Ice fishing is an exciting sport and hobby that can yield great rewards in the form of a catch. Sadly, the cold, frozen conditions of ice fishing can be a dangerous affair if the proper safety rules are not followed. Experienced ice fishers follow a set of safety rules to ensure their safety and the safety of their companions. To help you get started, here are the five basic safety rules of ice fishing.

Always fish with a buddy. Ice fishing should never be done alone, as if an accident were to happen, a companion would be better able to help in an emergency situation. Not only will it help with safety, but having a companion will make the ice fishing outing that much more enjoyable.

Be prepared for the cold temperatures. Ice fishing is done in very cold temperatures, and thus it is very important that the right attire and protection is worn. Appropriate clothing includes warm clothes, boots with enough grip, a hat, and, of course, gloves. Additionally, prepare with a basic first aid kit and a cell phone in case of emergencies while you’re out on the ice.

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Avoid alcohol. Stay away from alcohol and drugs while ice fishing; this is not only dangerous but illegal. Alcohol and drugs can impede one’s ability to properly judge the situation and make rational decisions if an emergency were to arise.

Check the thickness of the ice. Ice fishing should not take place unless the thickness of the ice is at least four inches. Check for ridges, pressure cracks, and other signs that may indicate a change in the thickness of the ice.

Carry a spud bar. A spud bar is a long implement with a sharp tip, allowing the user to measure the thickness of the ice throughout a fishing body of water. Additionally, it can be used to chop away loose ice the clear the area around where you’ll be sitting, providing greater safety and easier access to the fish.

These five basic safety rules of ice fishing will help ensure you make the most of your time on the ice, while also helping keep you safe in the process. As long as you follow these rules, you will be sure to have an enjoyable and safe fishing experience.

5 Winter Survival Skills That Will Keep You Warm, Dry, And Alive

Every different climate delivers a unique set of challenges in a survival scenario, and winter is no exception. If you aren’t too careful, the frigid wind and cold can immobilize you with frostbite and then kill you off with hypothermia.

In this article, we are going to look at five specific skills that you absolutely must have in order to survive when you’re stuck outdoors during winter.

1. Getting a fire going … and keeping it going

Starting a fire

Knowing how to start a fire is an important skill to have in any survival scenario, but it’s extra important during winter. If you are ever wet and cold, a fire may be the only thing that gives you a chance of surviving. You also need a fire to dry out any damp clothing.

Unfortunately, it’s harder to build and maintain a fire during winter. The ground often is blanketed in snow or ice and the wood that is above the ground is saturated with moisture, too. On top of that, there could be high winds that put any spark you manage to create out in an instant. So how are you supposed to start a fire during winter?

Cotton Balls

The answer is to keep cotton balls that are coated in Vaseline with you at all times – especially during winter. These are highly flammable and will be a lifesaver in a winter survival situation. (They’re also inexpensive.) You’ll also need something to cause a spark, such as a ferro rod. But this is just the solution to getting a fire going. How can you keep that fire maintained?

Construct a pit into the snow that is approximately two feet deep. This is so that the walls of the pit will protect the flames from the wind. The bottom of this pit should then be covered with logs and sticks. Next, set some tinder and your Vaseline cotton balls on top of these logs.

If all of the wood that you find is already wet, then use a knife or a hatchet to cut into it and see if there’s any drier kindling that you can get from the inside. Then, set up your kindling in a pyramid. This will allow the wood to dry and then burn faster.

The technique above might save your life.

 

2. Building a warm-enough shelter

Winter camping
Green tent and tourist inside against the backdrop of snowy pine tree forest. Amazing winter landscape. Tourists camp in high mountains. Travel concept

This is another survival skill that is important in any situation — but arguably more so in a winter scenario. During winter – unlike other seasons — you have to keep yourself warm and dry. For these reasons, you would be wise to spend more time working on your winter shelter than, say, your summer shelter.

Your shelter should be constructed in a site that is flat and on higher ground, with plenty of trees for cover from falling snow and wind. The trees also provide the natural resources you’ll need to build your winter shelter.

One of the best winter shelters to make is one that has natural cover, such as the boughs of a tree. You can dig around the trunk of the tree underneath the lowest boughs, so that the branches spread above you protect you from the snow and wind. The snow walls would then provide additional protection, and you can even set up a little place for you to make a small fire.

 

3. Maintaining a proper body temperature

During winter, it’s easy to get too cold – but also too hot. Wear an outer shell layer that deflects the wind and the coldness, an insulation layer that keeps your body warm, and then a final layer that sticks right to your skin. When you’re traveling through the snow with all of this clothing on you, you can easily overexert yourself. The sweat will then freeze and make you at risk for both frostbite and hypothermia.

Keep close attention to your body temperature and add and remove layers as needed. If it is snowing or raining, wear all three layers so that your shell layer can keep your inner two layers dry. But when you’re traveling out in the sun or working on building a shelter, remove one or more layers so that your body can cool down and avoid perspiration.

4. Making snow goggles

While we most commonly use sunglasses during summer conditions, the ice and snow during winter can reflect the rays of the sun back to your eyes – essentially blinding you. If you don’t have snow goggles or sunglasses with you already, then you’ll need to know how to make them on your own, out of natural resources.

The easiest snow goggles to construct are made out of birch bark. Birch bark is best for snow goggles because it can be removed from the trunk of the tree in sheets. Cut out a sheet of bark and then cut small slits in it for your eyes.

Next, cut holes into the sides of it so that it can be tied around your face. These simple DIY goggles will provide your eyes with the protection they need when the sun is out.

19TH ANNUAL SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE PHOTO CONTEST People preventing snow blindness with birch bark goggles

5. Building a pair of snowshoes

Snowshoes distribute your weight over a larger area so that your foot will not completely sink into the snow. If you’ve ever tried to walk through a winter forest without snowshoes, you know how exhausting and time-consuming it is. Snowshoes will save you a lot of time and energy.

If you don’t already have a pair of snowshoes with you, you’ll need to make some on your own.  The simplest form of DIY snowshoes are groups of boughs that are tied together and then lashed onto the feet. More traditional snowshoes will require some time and energy to build. You’ll need to find a long, flexible stick that you can bend and then tie at the end, followed by crisscrossing the insides of the snow with more sticks, vines, and/or rope.

Should you successfully build a pair of snowshoes, it’s guaranteed you’ll be able to make it out alive much faster.

Closeup hiker in spring mountains snowshoeing

What winter survival skills would you add? Share your tips in the section below:

White tailed deer

HOW TO HAVE A SUCCESSFUL WHITE-TAILED DEER HUNT IN MAINE

While Maine may have a fairly low number of whitetail deer compared to other states like those in the Midwest, the seemingly never-ending forests give big bucks plenty of places to hide and grow to trophy sizes. This post will share tips and tricks to help you harvest a mature buck in Maine.

Whitetails and the State of Maine

White tailed deer

The state of Maine has an estimated whitetail herd population that number of around 300,000. Compared to other states like Wisconsin, which leads all states in the number of record whitetails booked and sports a population estimated at 1.5 million, you might be inclined to think that Maine doesn’t have the best whitetail hunting opportunities, but this is not the case.

Maine may have a smaller whitetail population than the agricultural breadbasket states. Still, the state of Maine is predominantly composed of forests, and the sheer number of forests allows deer to have countless safe havens to call home and hide from hunters.

The number of hunters actively pursuing whitetails in Maine is also lower than in the Midwest, with an average of 200,000 licenses issued yearly. The amount of deer harvested yearly is far less.

The deer population numbers in Maine took a pretty bad hit in the late 2000’s, but not to worry, as the numbers have been a slow and steady climb since that time, and the combination of mild winters and good mast crop growth from farmers has seen it continuing to improve.

The lower population of deer and hunters combined with the densely forested environment has given birth to a pretty good number of trophy bucks, and the number of bucks weighing in at 200 pounds might surprise you.

Where to Hunt in Maine

The best place to hunt in Maine is the northern counties, these counties provide the best chances at harvesting a trophy whitetail.

The counties of Hancock, Aroostook, Piscataquis, Waldo, Washington, and Penobscot all have a reputation for harboring giant bucks.

Maine is fairly unique compared to other states in that it has a unique tradition of open access to land, which leads to easy access for hunters, and accessing good private land has become increasingly difficult for hunters in other states.

Even with this open-access policy, you will still need to knock on someone’s door or make a phone call. It would still be a good idea to check in with the landowners from time to time, and in doing so, you might even get some golden nuggets of information on hunting spots, big buck sightings, and deer movement.

Know the Seasons and Regulations

The archery season in Maine runs from October 1st to the 28th with extended archery seasons running from September 10th to December 10th in designated areas.

Gun hunting runs from October 31st to November 26th, the Muzzleloader season from November 28th to December 3rd, and from December 5th to the 10th in designated areas only.

The Stand is King

Tree stand

Tree stands are nothing new to hunters and are used predominantly everywhere. Still, in places like the Midwest and the south, ground blind hunting has become increasingly popular as an option to harvest trophy bucks.

In Maine, the treestand is still your best bet, and due to the state being blanketed in forests, there aren’t any issues with finding a suitable tree to hang a stand within range of trails or food sources.

Due to the topography in many parts of the state, the wind can tend to swirl and become unpredictable, and getting high off of the ground in a tree stand can help mitigate the issue of your scent swirling through your hunting area by getting it up and above the noses of the deer.

Study Your Hunting Area

Studying aerial photos of the areas you intend to hunt can be key to finding the best locations to hang a stand, and it will give you a great idea of where a trophy buck might be bedding and feeding, along with likely travel corridors.

Studying your hunting area via a birds-eye view has never been easier with modern technology, and you might be surprised to see that you might be able to spot deer trails using something as simple as google maps.

Having a solid understanding of the area will help you in several ways, and is not studying topographic maps and satellite images are not something that a serious hunter should skip.

Hunters with hunting equipment going away through rural forest at sunrise during hunting season in countryside

Plan you Moves

Many hunters fail at correctly approaching their stands when hunting during the morning or afternoon.

How you approach your stand depends on a few factors, but the wind is the most important factor to consider. The wind might make a particular tree stand inaccessible on a given day, and while you can choose to ignore the wind, doing so risks spooking all the deer in the area.

Be sure when you are walking to or from your stand, that you do so in a direction where the wind is blowing away from crucial areas like bedding areas or food sources. How you enter the woods to sit might also need to be adjusted based on the time of day.

Avoid Tree Stand Burn Out

Hunting from the same stand too often will be detrimental to your trophy buck harvesting cause.

This is known as “burning out a stand” and happens when you hunt a tree stand several times a week. You can try as hard as you want to keep the evidence of your presence as low as possible, but deer have mind-boggling senses and will know if a human is repeatedly intruding into their backyard.

As hunters, we pattern deer, their behavior, and their daily movements as best we can, and if you constantly hunt from the same tree stand, the deer will be able to pattern you, and they will avoid the areas around your stand until they feel you are no longer visiting it regularly.

Put Your Time In

Hunting trophy whitetails is a serious challenge and takes due diligence and time no matter the location, but this is more so the case when hunting in the state of Maine.

It will take patience to harvest a trophy in the state due to the lower numbers and the vastness of the forests, but you know what they say, the harder you work for something, the sweeter the success is.

Be Safe

There’s a lot of nothing in Maine, particularly the northern half of the state, and if you are unfamiliar with the area that you will be hunting, you should have a game plan for safety reasons.

You could easily get lost on the many winding logging roads that appear as if they lead to nowhere, and before you leave to hunt, you should let someone know the exact areas you intend to hunt and when you are expected to be back.

Letting a family member or friend know where you will be is not only a good idea in the event you get lost but also if you were to injure yourself by twisting an ankle or having a mishap with your tree stand.

You should also have a minimal amount of survival gear with you, such as a first aid kit, thermal blanket, lighter, and other items that can help in the event that you get lost or injured.

In the modern age with smartphones and google maps, getting lost is less of an issue and something that we don’t worry about as much as we used to. Still, phone batteries have a tendency to run out, and they always seem to do so at the worst possible time, and this is why you shouldn’t rely solely on technology because it is prone to failure, and back up plans and gear is necessary.

More to Offer

Maine has more to offer than whitetails and is one of the best destinations in the United States to harvest a big moose.

Along with moose, black bear hunting can be very good do to the sheer amount of forested land that the bears have to roam around in.

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Due to being a far northern state, the ruffed grouse hunting is some of the best in the country and is right up there with other legendary grouse hunting states like those of the Great Lakes Region.

Final Thoughts

If you are moving to the state of Maine and want to know your options when it comes to whitetails, or if you are thinking of traveling to hunt in the state, be sure to do your research and due diligence on the regulations and on how to hunt in the state.

Deer

A Look at Maine’s White-tailed Deer Population for 2022

Maine is home to one of the largest subspecies of White-tailed deer. The whitetail deer (Odocoileus virginianus) may be found across the United States. They are the most easily identified deer species in the United States. This species of deer is famous for its whitetail. Bucks mature at age five and may grow to record live weights of about 400 lbs. They are also known for their tan and brown coats.

Maine is close to the northern limit of the white-tailed deer’s range. White-tailed deer in Maine mostly inhabit forest areas, marshes, reverting farms, and active farms as sources of food and cover. The greatest and most abundant feed is found in wetlands, reverting and active agriculture, and forest areas with little or no canopy closure. Presently, 94% of Maine—excluding the state’s city areas regarded as a deer habitat. In fact, deer are already present in some of Maine’s developed areas. Wintering habitat is very restricted, accounting for approximately 2 to 25% of the land in various segments of the state. In Maine, deer’s summer home ranges typically range from 500 to 600 acres, but they may even be as large as 2,000 acres. Depending on the accessibility and quality of the winter range, deer can travel anywhere from less than a mile to more than 25 miles between their summer and winter ranges.

Deer in the winter
A wild deer in a national park on a cold winter’s day

White Tail Deer Population

In mid-2022, the authorities estimated 300,000 to 320,000 deer, saying that the state’s environment could accommodate more of them. According to Nathan Bieber (a biologist working for The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife), the deer population in Maine now is probably comparable to what it was in the 1990s.

In 2021, around 290,000 were estimated to be present in Maine. There was a considerable increase in the deer hunting licenses during the doe hunting season 2021-22. Regulated hunting harvests provide for a significant portion of deer management. The year 2021 turned out to be a record year for deer hunting, with one of the largest harvests in more than 50 years. A warm winter and few doe harvests led to a buck-to-doe ratio of roughly 2.5 to 1, which resulted in a state estimate of 300,000 deer in the spring of 2020.

White-tailed deer
A close up shot of a white tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in the woods.

How population has changed over time?

The white-tailed deer population in Maine has experienced boom and bust cycles. According to anecdotes, the state’s deer population did not exist in significant numbers before the advent of European colonists in the early 16th century. Deer may only have been able to survive in isolated areas inland and along the southern coast due to hard winters, intact predator ecology, and probably a lack of sufficient early vegetative growth (Banasiak 1964). However, with European colonization, immigrants began to clean the area. Small-scale logging activities stimulated the growth of underbrush, providing white-tailed deer with an optimal balance of feed and cover. Deer ranges grew and became more widespread in central and northern Maine as a result of logging activities. Later, in the nineteenth century, the extinction of wolves and cougars in Maine allowed deer to grow and rise in population essentially unaffected by predation. Despite their greater presence, deer populations nonetheless fluctuated in response to harsh winters and widespread incidents  (like fires )that significantly altered their habitat.

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Let us have a look at the population changes in Maine in Figure 1. It shows the population of white-tailed deer population over several years. This is taken from the data provided by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) in the 2017 Big Game Management Plan. MDIFW started estimating the abundance of White-tailed deer in the 1950s which is why exact estimates for the period before the 1950s are not available.

Figure 1: Population estimate of White-tailed deer in Maine

We can see that population of White-tailed deer has fluctuated throughout history.

 The state saw its lowest levels of deer abundance during the 1960s. The population decreased to around 141,000 as a result of harsh winters, coyote colonization, the loss of wintering habitat, and intensified hunting pressure.

Beginning in the 1970s, a spruce budworm outbreak disrupted deer overwintering habitat by causing landscape-level die-offs of mature softwood stands, followed by salvage harvests. Deer summer habitat expanded as a result of the increasing loss of mature softwood. However, the number of deer wintering sites reduced, especially in the state’s northern portion, where they are most important.

J.W. Sewell Company predicted in their 1983 Spruce-Fir Wood Availability-Demand Analysis that the supply of mature softwood will continue to fall until 2010 owing to insect mortality, salvage logging, and satisfying the commercial needs for spruce-fir products. That prediction has come true. These causes collectively have reduced the amount and quality of deer wintering sites, increasing the likelihood that deer would perish during hard winters. Deer populations drastically decreased, especially in northern Maine, as a direct result of the sharp fall of mature spruce-fir forest acres and multiple harsh winters.

It was discovered through several modifications of its deer management system that restricting the harvest of does was the best strategy to limit the expansion of Maine’s deer population. Since it was established in 1986, the Any-deer permit (ADP) system has given MDIFW a way to control doe harvests while also increasing hunting opportunities for sportsmen in Maine. Since the implementation of the ADP system, doe harvests have routinely fallen between 5% and 10%, or less, of the Department’s antlerless harvest targets.

In order to keep the population from outpacing the capacity of Maine’s deer wintering areas (DWAs), the state created population targets that called for managing the deer to 50%–60% of that capacity. The quantity of winter habitat would need to be raised to around 8% to 10% of Maine’s terrain in order to achieve the public’s population targets.

The deer population in Maine had gradual growth after the die-off in the 1970s and continued to do so into the late 1980s. Demand for the resource increased despite a modest recovery in the deer population.  This resulted in a slew of new management measures and policies aimed at accelerating the expansion of Maine’s deer population. The regulatory regime that restricted doe hunting, together with a string of warm winters, served as the driving forces behind Maine’s deer population’s rapid rise through the late 1980s and early 1990s. The number of deer in Maine reached an approximately all-time high of 331,000 during this period. The majority of the increase took place in the state’s southern tier.

A study was conducted by Dumont et al. 2000, about the effect of harsh winters on two adjacent populations of the deer in northeastern range of its occurrence. The study was conducted from 1994 to 1996. They found a decline in population by harsh winters which was further declined due to coyote predation as well. They found that older deer and fawns were more severely harmed by starvation and predation, although deaths due to collisions seemed to be nonselective. The majority of cases of famine happened after the beginning of March when bodily stores were depleted. They concluded that in the studied area deer abundance was controlled by winter forage competition.

Population Management

For the deer population, harvest, or hunter success rates, MDIFW did not establish any concrete targets or goals before 1975. The majority of regulation acts were brought about by the Legislature as a response to harsh winters or alleged regional reductions in deer abundance. Between 1975 and 1985, MDIFW started planning for deer, which included establishing goals and objectives with broad public support. In some locations, this included attempting to regulate deer populations to certain deer densities.

Since a new Big Game Management Plan was recently put into effect, the Department has given up trying to regulate deer populations to predetermined levels. That strategy failed to fully take into consideration a number of other crucial factors in managing the deer population, such as preserving animal health, ensuring that there are enough deer in society, minimizing the negative effects of an overabundance of deer, and so forth. In Maine, deer management is to keep deer populations at levels that are both sustainable with available habitat and socially acceptable. The Department uses a range of small-scale management strategies in locations where deer numbers are too high or where deer are seriously harming the habitat to seek and solve the issues.

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Deer wintering habitat must be protected and expanded in order to boost deer populations in Maine’s northern and eastern forest areas. In the past, protecting deer wintering habitat required the cooperation of landowners, which wasn’t always available. To maintain manageable deer populations across Maine, authorities will have to enhance access to the property for hunting through effective landowner relations programs.

References

Dumont, A., Crête, M., Ouellet, J. P., Huot, J., & Lamoureux, J. (2000). Population dynamics of northern white-tailed deer during mild winters: evidence of regulation by food competition. Canadian Journal of Zoology78(5), 764-776.

Banasiak, C.F. (1964). Deer in Maine. Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Game, Game Division Bulletin 6, 163 pp

Irland, L. C. (1988). The spruce budworm outbreak in Maine in the 1970’s: assessments and directions for the future. Bulletin/Maine Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Maine: 1983 (USA).

Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. 2017. 2017 Big Game Management Plan. Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Augusta, ME. 97pp.