DRIVING THE LENGTH OF THE Hawkeye Wildlife Area’s south side, I can point to landmarks all along the way and recall successes and failures over the years. They track my growth as a turkey hunter like the pencil marks on the wall record the height of my children.
Hawkeye’s roughly 13,000 nondescript acres of sand, willows, and soft maples straddle a dozen miles of the Iowa River, in Johnson County, Iowa. I’m not afraid of hotspotting myself by giving its location because my spot, frankly, is not that hot. Neighboring what passes for a metro area out here, Hawkeye is no secret—not from other hunters nor birders nor a cast of more nefarious characters ranging from mere vagrants to meth dealers. But what it lacks in pristine beauty, it makes up for in location. Just 20 minutes from my house, it’s the place where I’ve hunted turkeys more than all other places combined.
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LIVING THE DREAM
After the author arrives in Maine’s fabled North Woods with a moose tag in his pocket, an adventure he’s been wanting to take his entire hunting life, reality sets in, and he learns a valuable lesson: Be careful what you wish for
Get the Drift
How to make an accurate windage call under pressure
An icebreaker outing in a pristine spot produces the rut hunt of a lifetime
A Local Haunt
The author finds a sense of place in an overlooked creek, close to home
A Hop and a Pump
Jump-shooting rabbits with classic upland guns is about as good a time as you can have in the outdoors
Welcome TO camp
Is there any place better than a good hunting camp? It has everything: great food, games and pranks, and of course, hunting. Shoot, we don’t even mind going to camp for grueling work days in the summer. Here, our contributors share their favorite stories, traditions, and lessons learned from camps they’ve shared. So come on in and join us. The door’s open.
Before you even claim a bunk, you need to eyeball the hardware your buddies have brought. In the process, you’ll see that the guns at deer camp are changing. What was walnut and blued steel may now be Kevlar and carbon fiber. The 10 rifles featured here aren’t your father’s deer guns. They’re today’s new camp classics
THE JOURNEY TO PIKE'S PEAK
Last summer, the author and three friends ventured off the grid to a remote fish camp in Canada. They hoped for great fishing, but what they experienced was truly something else
When early-season whitetails vanish from open feeding areas, follow this woods-edge ambush plan
A pup’s first year, from preseason training to fall’s big show