Best Broadheads for Hunting: Expandable & Mechanical Broadhead Reviews

There’s no doubt hunting is a gear intensive sport, especially bow hunting. You have an endless list of mission-critical gear that needs to be reliable, so you can punch your tag.

To make matters worse, the outdoor market is full of low-quality imported products. It doesn’t matter if you are hunting with a compound bow or a recurve bow, these manufacturers make them to imitate the top-shelf designs from the U.S. Many importers focus on broadheads, too. So, how do you choose a quality broadhead for your next deer hunt?

Hopefully, you’re reading this well before opening day. You’ll need to have time to get a good broadhead on the end of your arrow. Here’s four of the best expandable broadheads for deer and other game. Read on to get some helpful tips to make sure you never lose your hunt because of poor selection.

Find Your Best Recurve Bow with These Reviews

This article will show you the best recurve bow to buy, but first a little back story. In today’s hunting world, compound hunting bow and modern crossbow are to archery what the metallic cartridge with smokeless powder and Berdan primers is to firearms.

With that being said, it’s somewhat surprising that there would still be such a large group of archers today who choose to use a recurve bow instead since the level of technology it employs is equivalent to that of muzzle loaders, black powder, and percussion caps.

However, the fact of the matter is that the modern, recurve, hunting bow is still very much alive and very popular among archers.

Consequently, several of the major manufacturers of compound bows also produce modern recurve bows of superior quality that are not only fine examples of the bowyers art, they are excellent tools for the hunting archer to pursue his chosen game species.

In addition, there are also many individual, professional, bowyers in the market today who produce both specialty bows and custom bows for their customers.

Therefore, when it comes to choosing a recurve bow, modern, traditional, archers have a wide range of makes and models to choose from in a wide range of prices.

So, for those of you who are considering giving traditional archery a try, below you will find a list of what we feel are the top ten recurve hunting bows for 2019.

Recurve Bow Comparison Guide:

View on Amazon: Takedown: Our Rating:
Samick Sage Takedown Yes
Martin Jaguar Takedown Bow Yes
PSE Blackhawk Bow No
Martin Archery Hunter No
PSE Coyote Bow Yes
Spirit 66 Recurve Bow Yes
SAS Explorer Bow Yes
Hoyt Buffalo No
Hoyt Recurve Bow No
Bear Archery Super Kodiak No

In the table above, you will find the Recurve Bows sorted by the following categories:

1. Recurve Bow brand and name/model: Click to view more details or to purchase.2. Type of Bow: Takedown or not3. Rating: Our Rating of each model.4. Amazon: View the product directly on

Still haven’t decided on which model is right for you after looking at our detailed comparison guide?

We’ve got you covered.

Use the quick jump menu below to check out your favorite model and learn more about the nitty-gritty details before you buy.


When choosing a recurve hunting bow, the first thing you should be aware of is that they are divided into different classes depending on their construction. For instance, modern recurve bows are available with either wood risers or metal risers.

But, while wood risers are generally lighter in weight than metal risers and are often very aesthetically pleasing since they are commonly made from laminations of different colors of exotic hardwoods.

They are not as stiff as metal risers and thus, they are often slightly less accurate than recurve bows with metal risers.

However, in truth, the difference is often so minimal as to make no difference at all to the hunter who is commonly forced to shoot under less than optimal conditions while their heart is pounding from excitement, making super precise arrow placement less critical.

Also, the risers themselves can be either deflexed or reflexed which simply means that on a deflexed riser, the point where the bow’s limbs meet the riser is located behind the grip whereas, on a reflexed riser, the point where the limbs meet the riser is located in front of the grip.

Consequently, deflexed risers tend to be more forgiving of minor flaws in the archers form while reflexed risers tend to exaggerate them.

But, on the other hand, bows with deflexed risers also tend to have a greater Brace Height (the distance from the back of the bow to the string when the bow is undrawn) which in turn, results in a shorter Power Stroke and thus, generates less arrow speed.

Conversely, bows with reflexed rises tend to have a lesser Brace Height which results in a longer Power Stroke (the distance over which the bow’s limbs push the arrow forward after releasing the sting) and thus, they generate greater arrow speed.

Furthermore, modern recurve bows are available with either fixed limbs such that the bow’s limbs are permanently attached to the riser or with removable limbs which are commonly known as “take-down” models and, there again, some archers feel that recurve bows with fixed limbs are more aesthetically pleasing and more accurate than recurve bows with removable limbs.

But, take-down recurve bows are definitely easier to transport than those with fixed limbs and thus, they are often the model of choice for modern bow hunters. In addition, while the draw weight of a fixed limb bow cannot be changed, recurve bows with take-down limbs can be fitted with limbs of different draw weights so that the bow can be used for either target shooting or hunting.

Last, it should be noted that while all recurve bows have a draw weight that is measured at a draw length of 28 inches (designated as ?# @ 28″), any given recurve bow’s draw weight will change over time and thus, a break-in period of approximately 100 to 200 shots is required before bow settles down to its final draw weight.

In addition, a recurve bow’s draw weight will also change approximately ±2½ pounds for every inch shorter or longer than 28 inches.

Therefore, a bow rated 45# @ 28″ is roughly equivalent to 42½# @ 27″ or 48½# @ 29″. Therefore, when choosing a recurve bow with fixed limbs, it is imperative that you purchase one with the correct draw weight for your intended purpose but, when purchasing a recurve bow with take-down limbs, you may
want to consider purchasing an extra set of limbs of a different draw weight to properly tune your bow.


Although there are numerous individual manufacturers of modern, recurve, hunting bows on the market today, we have chosen both fixed limb and take-down bows from the five major manufacturers due to their extensive company history, their continued viability, and their long standing reputation for producing high quality recurve bows.

As always, it’s important to make sure your gear is well matched.  You’ll need to save some money to buy a quiver, some arrows and also make sure you have the right type of broadhead if you plan to hunt game, and not just target shoot.


Even though this bow is imported from China, it is nonetheless a beautiful and well crafted hunting bow that is the flagship model of the Samick take-down line and it features a beautiful, laminated, wood riser.

The riser is made from Walnut, Ironwood, Zebrawood, and Maple with removable limbs made from Zebrawood and Birdseye Maple faced and backed by clear fiberglass with phenolic reinforced limb tips to enable the use of Fast Flight bow strings.


Details: Specs:
Draw Weight: 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60 lbs.
Brace Height: 8 ? 8.5 in.
AMO Length: 62 in.
Mass Weight: Unlisted


The Martin Jaguar Takedown recurve bow features a reflexed, machined aluminum, center-shot, riser with integral harmonic dampeners to help eliminate vibration and a plastic, target-style, no-torque, grip.

It combines with removable, Hard Maple, recurve limbs backed with black fiberglass for a beautiful, modern, recurve hunting bow.

The Martin Jaguar has been one of the top selections for beginners due to cost, reliability and efficiency since it was created.


Details: Specs:
Draw Weight: 29, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55 lbs.
Brace Height: 13.5 in.
AMO Length: 60 in.
Mass Weight: 2.5 lbs


The Precision Shooting Equipment Heritage Series Blackhawk recurve bow is an entry level hunting bow that features a deflexed, laminated hardwood, center-shot, riser.

It also has fixed limbs made from Hard Maple backed and faced with white fiberglass and reinforced limb tips to enable the use of Fast Flight bow strings.

One of the better high end models, the PSE Blackhawk gets rave reviews from most that have the chance to purchase it.


Details: Specs:
Draw Weight: 35, 40, 45, 50 lbs.
Brace Height: 7 – 7.5 in.
AMO Length: 60 in.
Mass Weight: Not Listed


The Martin Hunter recurve bow was designed by master bowyer Damon Howatt and has long been a favorite model among avid traditional bow hunters.

Featuring a deflexed, center-shot, laminated, wood riser made from a core of African Bubinga wood outlined with American Hard Maple and backed by African Zebra wood combined with fixed limbs made from Eastern Hard Maple laminations and black fiberglass.

With reinforced limb tips made from Bubinga and black fiberglass so that it can be used with modern Fast Flight bow strings, the Martin Hunter combines distinctive beauty with power and deadly accuracy.


Details: Specs:
Draw Weight: 35-65 lbs.
Brace Height: 6.75 – 7.75 in.
AMO Length: 62 in.
Mass Weight: 2 lbs. 3 oz.


The Precision Shooting Equipment Heritage Series Coyote take-down recurve bow is an entry level hunting bow.

It features a deflexed, machined aluminum, center-shot, riser with take down limbs made from Hard Maple backed and faced with white fiberglass and reinforced limb tips to enable the use of Fast Flight bow strings.

PSE is notorious for producing quality bows in just about every category and the Coyote is no different.  It’s a fan favorite and very good for beginners to learn with.


Details: Specs:
Draw Weight: 40, 45, 50, 55 lbs.
Brace Height: 6 3/8 in.
AMO Length: 60 in.
Mass Weight: Not Listed


Great for beginners under the height of 5’7, The Spirit 66 is a cheap way to get into the world of recurve bow hunting for beginners.

It’s made of Maple laminations and has a fiberglass limb.  The quality of the Spirit 66 is solid, but not quite as good as some of some of the others we’ve mentioned on this list.

This model made our list  because of affordability combined with a large amount of positive user reviews about the bow.


Details: Specs:
Draw Weight: 26, 30, 32, 36 lbs.
Brace Height: 8 – 8.5 in.
AMO Length: 62 in.
Mass Weight: Not Listed


The SAS Explorer is another great beginner wooden recurve bow that has gotten great reviews by many archers across the board for it’s simplistic and reliable design.

It has a hard wooden riser with a fiberglass face.  It also has the advantage of being one of the few takedown models that you can score on a tight budget.

The SAS Courage is a great bow for those that are on a budget and can’t afford to spend a ton of money for a takedown model while still needing something with convenient portability.


Details: Specs:
Draw Weight: 35 – 40 lbs.
Brace Height: 7 in.
AMO Length: 60 in.
Mass Weight: Not Listed

8. Hoyt Buffalo Recurve Bow Review:

Designed by master bowyer Fred Eichler, the Hoyt Buffalo Signature Series recurve bow features a black, deflexed, machined aluminum, center-shot, riser with a laminated wood grip.

It also comes equipped with Hoyt’s exclusive Paralever Limb System for a smooth draw as well as the ability to adjust both draw weight and the tiller!

In addition, the limbs are removable and are made from a Hard Maple core surrounded by carbon and are available with your choice of either black, white, wood grain, or camouflage faces and backs for a custom finish and they also feature reinforced limb tips to enable the use of Fast Flight bow strings.


Details: Specs:
Draw Weight: 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65 lbs.
Brace Height: 7 – 8 in.
AMO Length: 58, 60, 62 in.
Mass Weight: 3.2 lbs.

This item is no longer available.


Hoyt is well known for their target bows and they employ the same care and construction when producing their line of recurve hunting bows.

Thus, the Hoyt Dorado recurve bow features a black, deflexed, machined aluminum, center-shot, riser with a laminated wood grip and removable, Hoyt Custom Wood Core take-down limbs.

It’s backed and faced with your choice of either black, white, wood grain, or camouflage finishes and reinforced limb tips to enable the use of Fast Flight bow strings.


Details: Specs:
Draw Weight: 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65 lbs.
Brace Height: 7 – 8 in.
AMO Length: 58, 60 in.
Mass Weight: 2.6 lbs.

This item is no longer available.


Fred Bear is often thought of as the father of modern traditional archery and, although this fine gentleman is no longer with us, the traditional bows that he designed are.

Consequently, the Bear Super Kodiak recurve bow is a long standing favorite of both Fred Bear and many other avid traditional bow hunters through the years.

Featuring either a deflexed, center-shot, 2-peice, FutureWood riser (resin impregnated natural wood) made from brown and black Hard-Rock Maple outlined with clear, hard Maple, accents or a deflexed, center-shot, 3-peice, FutureWood riser made from black, phenolic, plastic with a Bolivian Rosewood accent strip.

Combined with fixed limbs made from clear Hard Maple backed by black fiberglass and reinforced limb tips made from white or, black and white, fiberglass to enable the use of modern Fast Flight bow strings, the Bear Kodiak Magnum is one of the most popular recurve bows ever made.


Details: Specs:
Draw Weight: 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65 lbs.
Brace Height: Not Listed
AMO Length: 60 in.
Mass Weight: Not Listed


Finding the best recurve bow is top priority once you decide you want to use this tool for archery. But as a beloved sport, we want you to know even more about the health benefits that come from using a recurve bow, or any other bow you may choose to use. Archery is a favorite pastime for many, and it is a sport that has so many good things tied into it. Practicing regularly can heighten your total wellbeing and happiness in life.


archery in the woods on the target rear view, long photo

Improved focus is one of the main perks of becoming an archer. In this sport, there are three things to put your entire attention on. The first one is obviously the target. This plays into real life too, as it shows you that in life you need to have a target that your focus is on in order to be successful, no matter what you do or what your goals are. The second is form. Having a proper strategy for how to reach your goals as well as work ethic is similar to having proper form when shooting. You have to learn how to do it from the first time you shoot with bow and arrow, and you need to maintain good form every time you shoot if you wish to hit your target. Lastly is ignoring distractions. You will need to really center yourself and ignore everything going on around you. There is no need to focus on other people and their talking or on all the things going on in your day, or on anything else around you. It all needs to be about tuning into your senses to get the successful shot. The same can be said of life in general. Maintaining focus is a very important factor that will determine how well you reach your goals, or your target, if you will.


In the upper body regions such as the core, arms, chest, and shoulders, strength is increased when you are practicing archery on a consistent basis. It’s like getting a workout in! The most important part of seeing these muscles grow is in your FORM. If you have good form, you’re getting the best workout possible. Drawing properly depends on all the muscles named previously, as does lifting your bow and arrow to shoot, and holding the weapon for seconds at a time. The more you do it, the stronger you will get, and the longer you’ll find yourself able to hold heavy weight for long periods of time. On top of drawing arrows, other exercises are practiced like walking to and from the target to pick up your arrows. In tournaments especially, many archers walk long distances. The best thing about this is that no matter what age, gender, or built-in strength, you can learn how to become an archer. Finding your best recurve bow will make all this possible.


It is easy to assume you are not burning many calories by just standing in one place and shooting a weapon at a target. But nothing could be further from the truth! Archers burn so many calories every time they practice. According to experts at Prevention magazine, just half an hour of archery burns 140 calories on average. This has to do with all the walking as well as all the shooting in good form. Experts say that archers actually are runners up to marathon runners in terms of calorie burning. If you are looking to get fit or stay in shape, this is a great sport for you. It not only uses your mental muscles but your physical as well. Finding your best recurve bow will help you get incredible exercise!


Bow shooting hands only


When you put your fingers on the bowstring, do you ever focus on where you’re putting them? Or do you grasp the bowstring and begin drawing? Rushing to put your fingers on the string is one of the most common archery mistakes archers make. Taking a second look at the placement of your fingers can pay in the end.

Hooking the bowstring with too much tension of the fingers – or in the wrong place on the fingers – can cause issues for you. The problems start from missing the target entirely to ending up with painful blisters on your fingers. To avoid this issue, make sure you place your fingers on the string for each shot exactly as you were taught, and be sure your hand position relative to the bowstring is consistent. Hooking properly and consistently creates tighter groups!


One of the most important aspects of your stance is consistency.

Do your feet change position a little bit from shot to shot? Your stance, also known as where you place your feet when shooting, is the foundation of your shot. Your stance should be solid and consistent from an arrow to another arrow.

To make sure you have a consistent stance, apply painter’s tape on the floor wherever you practice. For example, if you use an open stance, place the tape so your foot alignment and toe position will be identical for each shot. Remember that your stance not only impacts foot placement but also your balance and gravity center. By making your foundation solid, you create a more stable platform for strong shots.


A frequent mistake common to archers is failing to finish the shot strong. Aiming too soon, in turn, often causes weak shots. Another cause is focusing so much on aiming that you forget to focus on the proper muscle movements of your arms.

Weak shots can create low shots depending on whether the archer is right- or left-handed. The good news? Weak shots can be fixed easily. You just need to switch your focus.

When you are at full draw and ready to aim, stay focused on the muscle movements you were taught. Aiming is important, but it’s also important to use your muscles to have a strong release and follow-through. By focusing on the correct technique, at the right time, your shots will be stronger and your groups will be tighter and even more consistent in the long run.


Archer draws his compound bow

So, as you can see, the ten recurve hunting bows listed above represent a wide range of price points in both traditional fixed limb design as well as take-down design from well known manufacturers with a reputation for producing high quality hunting bows.

In addition, we have listed bows with both traditional, laminated, wood risers as well as machined aluminum risers which each have their advantages and disadvantages. Last, you can also see that they are available in a wide range of draw weights.

However, it should be noted that most states require a minimum draw weight of 45 lbs. in order for the bow to be legal for hunting.

In summary, when purchasing a recurve bow for hunting, you should choose the maximum draw weight that you can pull even though it may seem a bit stout to begin with because your body will quickly adjust as you practice with your new bow and thus, a draw weight that seems stout to begin with will quickly become progressively easier to draw.

Best Hunting Jackets For Cold Weather: 2019 Reviews (Camo & More)

Hunting in the cold weather can be any hunter’s worst nightmate if you aren’t geared appropriately for the occasion. There’s nothing worse than sitting out in the cut, patiently observing your prey and realizing you are so cold that you aren’t likely to get a clean shot off if you have the chance.

Bottom line is if you go winter hunting, you know it’s cold out, and the cold is your enemy. You must stay warm and hidden, but also be able to move quickly. To keep warm and dry, you’ll want to be prepared with the right hunting jacket for your hunting expedition.

If you haven’t done your research, there’s plenty of different types on the market today, adding to the confusion of what you “need” versus what would be “nice to have.”  In this article, we take a look at some of our favorite options for hunters on a tight budget, as well as what you should be looking at if money doesn’t really matter.

We’ve got our two favorites below, followed by a little bit more detail on each model and a detailed buyer’s guide on five great options if you are the type of hunter that needs a little bit more in-depth research.  Good luck out there!

Best Overall Pick: Legendary Whitetails Men’s Canvas JacketBudget Pick: ArcticShield Men’s Classic Parka

Buyer’s Guide

Hunting jackets come in all shapes, forms and sizes. They all have features that come in handy when you’re out on a small game or big game hunting trip. But picking the right winter hunting jacket comes down to a handful of considerations.

Your winter hunting jacket should be light, making it easy to move around more. It should also be warm, but not bulky. The top winter hunting jackets use classic hook-and-loop fasteners, particularly around the wrist and neck closures.

They should also have multiple pockets for storage, both interior and exterior. These pockets should be deep enough for holding onto the gear you need to keep close. It should also allow for freedom of movement so you can keep optics that you’ll use close at hand.  Read on to learn what else makes up a great cold weather hunting jacket.

1. Construction & Durability

The right winter hunting jacket will always be durable, well-constructed, and made of materials that are right for the application. Here’s what to look for:

  • Noise: The last thing you need in any hunting jacket is noise. Put the jacket on to see if it creates a surprising amount of noise when the jacket arms brush against the sides. This could blow your cover.
  • Fabrics: The right material will not only be quiet, but tough and durable enough to handle the brush and moving around in the deep woods. Camo winter hunting jackets shells with poly-tricot are super-quiet and hold up extremely well under difficult conditions. Other shells to consider are ones constructed from micro-suede or microfiber.
Durability of Jacket
Durability and construction are extremely important jacket qualities.

Any hunting jacket worth its salt will be both waterproof and windproof. They should tape the seams of your hunting jacket to block the wind. Pockets for duck hunting or other waterfowl should also be self-draining. Make sure the zippers, collar and wrists all seal to prevent the cold, wet weather from entering. Such seals are often hook-and-loop.

Light is the watchword for camo winter hunting jackets. Err on the side of a lighter jacket and buy it up to a size larger if you want to accommodate under-layers. If you’re doing bow hunting, you’re going to need a thinner jacket than someone who doesn’t need the range of motion that drawing a bow requires.

The lining material must be both lightweight and capable of retaining your core body heat during periods of little to no movement. Fleece or 100 percent polyester with a polyester fill will keep you warm. Some camo winter hunting jackets have a removable liner to make it easier to wash. If you go for a removable liner, make sure they tape the seams.

2. Linings, Hoods & Seams

When you return the liner to the shell, make sure the seams seal properly. You don’t want to get a cold, wet surprise when it rains on your next hunting expedition.

Camo winter hunting jackets with hoods is a requirement. Many hunters know that one of the secrets to staying warm is keeping your head covered. Being able to draw the hood tightly around your face also provides a camouflage effect.

Hoods and Linings
Make sure you have a hood and decent jacket lining if the circumstance calls for it.

Having a detachable hood comes with its advantages. Hoods attach to the jacket with either a zipper or a button.

They come off easily when the weather doesn’t warrant a hood or if you need to clean it. Some hunters prefer to leave their hood off to hear what’s going on around them more clearly, too.

The collar on camo winter hunting jackets will keep your neck warm and shield you from heavy winds and rain. Collars should have a fleece lining, with hook-and-loop closures to ensure weather integrity. They should also rise up to fit snuggly under your chin.

Taped seams are an essential element of the top camo winter hunting jackets. If you expect your jacket to remain waterproof and windproof, make sure they tape the seams. Likewise, there should be similar closures around the zippers to lock the warmth in and keep the weather out.

Many camo winter hunting jackets are straight cuts. So if you have a little extra around the middle, you’ll need to order a size up to get a good fit. Also, if you intend to hunt in extremely cold weather, you’ll want to get a larger jacket size to accommodate layers.

Our Top Picks

 1. Legendary Whitetails Canvas


Legendary Whitetails Canvas Jacket

Top Overall pick

  • Heavy duty 10 oz. sanded canvas
  • Features a full 210 grams of insulation
  • Heavy duty zipper
  • Double interior pocket
  • Zip off hood

Our rating


  • Heavy duty 10 oz. sanded canvas
  • Features a full 210 grams of insulation
  • Heavy duty zipper
  • Double interior pocket
  • Zip off hood

The Legendary Whitetails Canvas is one of the top camo winter hunting jackets for hunting and regular outdoor use. It holds up extremely well when moving through heavy brush, yet it’s lightweight enough to make moving comfortable and easy. The jacket is a straight-cut, so the chest size is identical to the waist size. Take this into consideration when ordering to ensure a good fit, especially if you use layers when the weather gets deeply cold.

This is a tough hunting jacket with a shell of heavy-duty, 10-ounce sanded canvas. It features 210 grams of insulation as well. The shell is 100 percent cotton, and the lining is 100 percent polyester. The fill is also 100 percent polyester, making this a warm, durable jacket.

The zip-up hood is perfect for hunting, allowing you to keep the hood on for maximum warmth or remove it so that you can hear a rustle in the forest. Legendary Whitetails is a company known for making durable products, and this winter hunting jacket is no exception.

2. Coleman Men’s Waterfowl Fleece


Our rating


The Coleman is the second top camo winter hunting jacket on this list. Although it is great for duck hunting, it is also the choice for cold weather hunting. The most surprising thing about this jacket might be how inexpensive it is compared to some of the others. The outer shell features classic mossy oak duck blind camo. Also, it is extremely quiet when you’re moving around.

This is a surprisingly durable jacket that will serve you well for quite a few years. It will hold up under the toughest use. The fleece liner is both windproof and waterproof. The insulation is thin enough to allow freedom of movement, which is important if you’re a bow hunter.

They cut this jacket to accommodate layers, so when it gets below 30 degrees, you add a sweater. As a waterfowl jacket, it’s cut to the waist, allowing for waders. The neckline is high enough to keep the wind out, too.

3. Browning Pheasants Upland


Browning Pheasants Forever Jacket

Popular Pick

  • Products designed in the USA with quality materials
  • High tensile and durability with all Browning gear
  • Whether you’re an avid outdoors man or recreational, good for all…

Our rating


  • Products designed in the USA with quality materials
  • High tensile and durability with all Browning gear
  • Whether you’re an avid outdoors man or recreational, good for all…

Browning makes a wide variety of hunting gear, and the Pheasants Forever jacket is an excellent option for hunters. It is lightweight, yet warm. It has an orange/tan pattern to stand out when hunting in the woods or timber. The outer shell is cotton canvas. The canvas material is both durable and whisper-quiet. The jacket has lined interior, and zipper cuffs with slash pockets both inside and out.

One of the great things about the Natural Gear Waterfowl Jacket is that it has a bloodproof front load game bag for easy cleaning.  But whether you’re hunting waterfowl or deer, this jacket will keep you comfortable during the long stretches of sitting in a blind. This hunting jacket is easy to manipulate, even with gloves on, making it a great choice for cold wather.

Unfortunately it doesn’t have a hood, but you can pair it with a hoodie, making this the overcoat to keep you extra warm.  The heavy-duty zipper that closes it up makes it easy to get in and out of. The numerous pockets give you lots of places to store your gear. The jacket’s thick insulation keeps you warm yet it doesn’t inhibit you when the time comes to move.

4. Onyx-Arctic Shield-X-System


AcrticShield Men’s Classic

Budget Pick

  • Waterproof, windproof, relaxed fit
  • Adjustable drawcord hood
  • Zippered chest and side pockets
  • Adjustable wrist cuffs w/hook and loop tabs
  • Durable polyester tricot outer shell

Our rating


  • Waterproof, windproof, relaxed fit
  • Adjustable drawcord hood
  • Zippered chest and side pockets
  • Adjustable wrist cuffs w/hook and loop tabs
  • Durable polyester tricot outer shell

If you’re looking for the ultimate in warmth without the heavy bulkiness with many camo winter hunting jackets, the Onyx-Arctic Shield X System jacket is the way to go. This jacket is windproof and water-resistant. It also uses Arctic Shield technology to capture and return up to 90 percent of your body heat.

The jacket shell features the popular Realtree camo pattern. They made it of micro-suede, which ensures both durability and silence when you’re walking through the woods. The liner and the fill are polyester, too.

The wrist cuffs are neoprene and have adjustable hook-and-loop tabs, allowing you to seal them tightly and keep the wind out. The jacket also features a two-way front zipper and several pockets on the outside with an interior patch pocket. The waistband is elastic for additional comfort and fit, while the collar has a fleece-lining for the same effect.

You may need a breathable outer raincoat for wet weather, although the jacket is water-resistant. Its wind protection will perform well even under extreme conditions. If you’re looking for a lightweight, warm, quiet, and compact jacket, this is for you, especially if you plan on sitting for long periods of time.

5. Carhartt Men’s Quilted Flannel


Carhartt Men’s Quilted Jacket

Popular Pick

  • 12-ounce, 100 percent cotton duck with real tree camouflage…
  • Quilted-flannel lining in body, quilted-nylon lining in sleeves
  • Att ached quilted-flannel lined hood with draw-cord closure
  • Two large lower-front pockets
  • Two inside pockets

Our rating


  • 12-ounce, 100 percent cotton duck with real tree camouflage…
  • Quilted-flannel lining in body, quilted-nylon lining in sleeves
  • Att ached quilted-flannel lined hood with draw-cord closure
  • Two large lower-front pockets
  • Two inside pockets

This Carhartt Men’s Quilted Flannel hunting jacket is a great choice for any hunter. It is windproof, waterproof, and breathable, providing warmth and comfort. It features two snap-secured front pockets that are deep, along with several other pockets to store your stuff. There’s even a protected interior pocket for your cell phone or walkie-talkie.

The side entry pockets have a fleece lining for warmth, and it has a bi-directional zipper in the front, which is protected with a storm flap. There’s a detachable drawstring hood with hook-and-loop and snap closures for extra security. Also, this jacket has netted cuffs so they’re extra comfortable and retain heat. They also seal with the classic hook-and-loop strap.

They made this jacket for use with zippered bibs, which makes using the outdoor facilities much easier. This is a great option for hunters that are on a really strict budget. This is one of the camo winter hunting jackets that fits true to size. It keeps you exceptionally warm even under the coldest of conditions and long stands.

Parting Thoughts

Any of these five camo winter hunting jackets will help you stay warm when you’re out in the cold woods or sitting in a blind during a varmint hunting trip. The right camo winter hunting jacket will also give you the freedom of movement at the right time to make a big shot count. With any of these jackets, you’ll be ready to brave the cold and concentrate of the hunt.

You should always have the right gear at your side if you are planning on having any type of successful hunting trip.  There are so many things that go into planning how to track your prey, that worrying about the elements shouldn’t be on the top of your list.

How to Hunt Squirrel: 13 Hunting Tips (Best Times, Guns, & More)

It’s a question that drives you nuts. Should you hunt squirrel? Also, how do you hunt squirrel? Thankfully there are answers to both questions.

Finding squirrels like the red squirrel, western gray squirrel, round-tailed ground squirrel or tree squirrel in the woods is exhilarating. You can get quite a bit of squirrel meat off these small game mammals, too. Squirrel meat can be delicious when you beer batter and fry it. You can also use it in stews or barbecue it. Some people wrap the legs in bacon and toss them on the grill, too.

Squirrel hunting helps control overabundant squirrel populations. You can use a squirrel’s coat or hide for many purposes, too. Squirrel hunting requires planning and preparing, as well as having the right gear and equipment.

Always keep an eye on what you are doing when hunting squirrels. Safety is a crucial factor when you are out there on the hunt for these pesky little rodents. Take the time to find the best weapon to bring along, so you can be safer and more successful during your small game hunt.

1. Review the Legal Terms

Most importantly, you must have the legal right to go squirrel hunting. Before you head off to the woods, get a small game license (you need licenses for almost all types of game) for the place you are going to hunt. The terms for attaining a license vary by state or province. So, review the regulations for hunting squirrels in your specific area.

You might only be able to go hunting during specific times of the year when it is squirrel season. This season takes place in most regions during the fall and winter months. The dates vary by each place. There are also rules on where you can hunt.

You may be allowed to hunt on a certain state or provincial park grounds. Some places require you ask for direct permission from the property owner before you start hunting. Check the bag limits, too. There may be a limit to how many squirrels you can hunt in one day, as well as during an entire season.

2. Choose the Right Time

Look for squirrels during the early morning or late afternoon hours because squirrels are most active at these times. Morning is when squirrels go out to look for food. It is easy and necessary for them to find food early in the day when they are at their hungriest.  Avoid hunting squirrels in inclement weather, as like deer, they move around and can be harder to track.

Late afternoon to early evening is when squirrels bring food back to their habitats. This is when most squirrels are busy foraging, so you should be able to spot them moving around.

3. Look in the Right Places

Plan your hunts in areas where you are the most likely to find squirrels. Check areas where there are lots of trees. These include trees that produce nuts and other items squirrels commonly consume. An oak tree is one of the most popular places to see squirrels.

Any tree that produces the types of nuts or fruit that squirrels enjoy is the place to locate squirrels. Be aware of the type of trees in the area, so you can determine if they are places squirrels may be searching for food.

4. Find the Right Squirrel Hunting Weapon

Shop around to get the right squirrel hunting weapon before leaving on your trip. Do some target practice using a small game weapon that works best for squirrels. Here are a few for you to consider:

The Shotgun

Shotgun Squirrel Hunting

Use a shotgun to cover a larger amount of space during your hunt. The spread of a shotgun shell can cover much of a squirrel’s body at once, thus ensuring a better chance of a kill without damaging too much meat.

Be sure to aim the shotgun carefully so it targets the precise area you want to shoot. Look for a six-shot because it is large enough to target a squirrel without destroying the flesh. Also, choose a barrel 26 inches in length or greater so the shell will move precisely.

Remember, a shotgun will make a loud sound with each round. The noise will most likely scare the other squirrels away. Focus on being precise and cautious when shooting at squirrels or any other small game, for that matter. When you take aim, remember that the spread on the shotgun shell will move outward a few centimeters after you shoot.

The .22 Caliber Rifle

22 Rifle Hunting Squirrel

The second option for a weapon to use is a .22 caliber rifle. This weapon uses a smaller bullet that targets the squirrel  ans other smaller game with precision. The ammo will not damage much of the squirrel meat, either. A .22 caliber rifle produces a longer range than a shotgun. The rifle also lets you go after just one part of the squirrel’s body.

Aim to be accurate and hold your gun steady. Fortunately, most .22 caliber rifles come with an automatic reloading feature. This feature lets you add multiple bullets into the rifle before you start shooting. The gun will release one of these bullets every time you fire the trigger.

Be sure to regularly clean the muzzle and barrel to get a more accurate shot. This rifle works best when you attach a scope to it. A scope gives you a clearer view of your target. It is also important to take wind, elevation, and distance into account when using a scope.

Bow and Arrow

Bow Hunting Squirrel

Another option for hunting squirrels is with a bow and arrow. Take note that most squirrels are small and less than a foot in length. Because they are so small, it could be difficult to hunt squirrels with a large bow and arrow.  In other words, leave your deer hunting bows at home.

You should sharpen any arrow you use so it can pierce the squirrel’s body with ease. Even so, any arrow you aim incorrectly could cut through too much of the squirrel’s body, leaving little meat or fur to use.

5. Spotting Squirrels

Spotting Squirrels when Hunting

Once you have your gun primed and ready to go, it’s time to search for areas where you are more likely to find squirrels. Begin by looking at the types of trees and foliage where squirrels like to forage and live.

There are a few tips you can use for finding squirrels. Some tips don’t necessarily require visually spotting squirrels, but rather hearing them. Be sure to look or listen carefully, so you know exactly what you are shooting at:

  • Listen to squirrels as they move through the leaves. Squirrels often hide in foliage and other shady, protected areas.
  • Listen for the sounds of cutting, hulling and scrapping. This is when squirrels scrape and nibble at nuts and acorns, dropping pieces on the ground and leaves. It sounds similar to raindrops. Also, look for cuttings on the ground. This is a sign that a squirrel is up in a tree and eating something.
  • Squirrels often make noises as they climb trees. You should hear the sound of tree bark rustling or sections of bark falling.

Also, remember that squirrels have many colors to their coats. While most squirrels have brownish coats, you may also see some gray, red or white tones. Some squirrels in Canada have shiny black coats, too.

6. How Big Do Squirrels Get?

A typical squirrel can weigh from 0.75 to 1.5 pounds. This small size makes it all the more important to be precise when shooting at a squirrel. You must be as accurate as possible when shooting. You do not damage the meat that could happen when hunting these small mammals.

7. How Far Can You Shoot?

You should shoot a squirrel from approximately 20 to 30 yards away. This distance is far enough to allow your shotgun shell or arrow to target the proper spot. It also helps you avoid scattering the rest of the squirrel’s body far and wide.

Although you can shoot further away when you use a .22 caliber rifle, you will be more likely to get an accurate shot from a closer distance. Consider your weapon and the size of your target when hunting squirrel.

8. Moving While Hunting

Be cautious when moving around while hunting. You need to be as quiet as possible. Avoid stepping on anything wet or damp. Stay away from sticks and other items, too. Debris and wet surfaces make more noise than other things.

Avoid walking directly towards a squirrel to get a better shot. The squirrel will most likely notice you as you get closer and scurry away instantly.

9. Use Bait If You Can

One helpful tip for hunting squirrels is to add bait to the area. The right kind of bait can attract squirrels effectively. Peanuts, sunflower seeds and other common nuts are worth adding to your bait trap. After all, most squirrels cannot resist such treats.

Nuts, seeds and fruit can create an irresistible smell for squirrel – and from a decent distance. Add peanut butter to your bait to create an even stronger smell. Oranges or other fruit make a sweet-smelling bait. Make sure they are fresh, so the fruit will produce a strong smell and squirrels will spot them easily.

Always keep the bait in a contained area. Put the bait in a space that encourages the squirrel to stick around for a while. Observe how the mammal moves around and if it stays in the same spot while eating. By keeping the squirrel still, you get some extra time to aim and shoot the squirrel.

10. Where to Shoot

It is safer to shoot at a squirrel on the ground. You may have the opportunity to shoot at a squirrel in a tree, but that could be risky. If you happen to shoot a weak branch of a tree, it could come down on you.

Also, the squirrel could fall off the tree and hit the ground hard, causing damage to the meat. Even worse, you could shoot at a squirrel in a tree that may just stay there, especially if the tree branch or ledge is thick or large.

11. Targeting the Body

The best place to shoot a squirrel is in the head area. The brain is the best spot as it ensures the squirrel will die nearly instantly. This lessens suffering, and preserves the fur and meat.

If it is too challenging to aim for the head, aim for the heart. It is located near the upper body not too far from the neck. Shooting the body, like a deer – isn’t something you should consider if you are trying to retain any edible portions of meat.

Watch the squirrel carefully when aiming, and try to shoot at it while it is still. Shooting while a squirrel is moving around could hurt your chances of getting a clear shot while also ruining the fur and meat.

Try not to shoot a squirrel directly from the front or behind. Wait to get a perfect side shot of a squirrel. Shooting such a small mammal from the front or back could force the bullet or arrow to penetrate too much of the body. This will cause too much damage overall, so you’ll end up poor quality meat.

12. Safety Points

Before you go out hunting squirrel, make sure you know the top safety rules for hunters. Some are simple common sense, while others may be new to you. Be sure to take all the precautions you can to stay safe while out in the field, such as:

  • Check your firearms before you go out hunting. Keep the muzzle and chamber of your gun clean, so no debris is in the way.
  • Stay far from the squirrel if possible. Use binoculars to see from a far distance.
  • Avoid hunting near damaged or broken trees. Branches and other parts of the tree—if not the entire tree—could fall off and hurt someone.
  • Point your firearm down to the ground when you are not using it. Make this a habit every time you go hunting.
  • Do not place your finger on the trigger guard area until you are ready to shoot. All it takes is a slight movement to make a gun go off, so be aware of where your finger is at all times.
  • You and everyone else in your hunting party should wear bright clothes. Such outfits make everyone easier to spot.
  • Check how clear your line of fire is before shooting. Do not shoot until you can see the target perfectly.
  • Never go after a moving target. Always go after squirrels that are sitting still so you can aim better.
  • Avoid hunting when it is windy out. Wind can cause your ammo to shift and miss its target. The wind speed is especially important for a .22 caliber rifle, because the bullets are small and lightweight.

13. Patience is a Virtue

The most important aspect of squirrel hunting being patient. Squirrels are energetic, so they move around a lot. They are quick and hardly ever sit still at certain times of the day. Wait and be careful when you aim at one.

You might have to stay in the same spot for 10 to 30 minutes at a time. But, when you are patient, you will eventually get the shot you want. The perfect shot will give you the most out of your hunt. If you have never gone, squirrel hunting is a fun activity worth trying.

It’s a thrill to find and hunt squirrels because you get food and fur to use. It is also a outdoor pasttime more people are enjoying nowadays. Just make sure everything you take with you is safe to use and do it legally. Be safe and enjoy the squirrel hunt by preparing and packing the right gear.

Reviews to Help You Find Your Best Bow Sight

Your success when hunting game depends largely on your ability to use your bow.  Unlike hunting with a crossbow, every aspect – aiming, drawing and firing – requires a complete commitment from both your body and mind. Whether you are hunting deer with a recurve bow or a compound bow, you need a sight you can rely on.

Which sight is the best? That depends on how and where you like to bow hunt. We will jump into some of the aspects you should consider before purchasing, as well as Five of our favorites in more detail below.

Best Two Way Radios for Hunting in 2019: Walkie-Talkie Reviews

Two-way radios for hunting are not like the walkie talkies you used as a kid. These are sophisticated radios designed for range, clarity, and weather resistance. Two-way radios for hunting are also designed to be rugged, and most offer features such as a vibrate mode for incoming calls. Some even feature privacy codes and eavesdrop reducers to filter out broadcasts from other radio users.

We’ll tell you how to pick the right two-way radio for your hunting needs, provide you with a top 10 comparison chart and give you the lowdown on 5 models that we feel are the top selections on today’s market.

**Note: Deer hunting with radios is illegal in some states. Check your state’s hunting regulations to be sure.**

Want to Test and Review New Gear? Join our Gear Club!

Before we dive into details around the models we like the best, let’s take a look at 10 of the most popular models used by hunters today in our comparison chart below.

Our Top Three Picks

Motorola MS350R

Our rating

Motorola MS350R


Our rating

Midland GXT1050


Midland LXT630

Our rating

Midland LXT630


Now that you’ve seen the top choices on the market today, let’s dive in a little deeper.  Please use the table of contents below to jump quickly to whatever section you have the most interest in.

How to Choose a Two-Way Radio for Hunting:  A Buyer’s Guide

When you’re hunting with partners, you’re likely going to be miles apart when stalking your prey. The ability to scout proper ranges with a rangefinder, having the right sight enhancers and being able to communicate/call for help when you’re moving a deer or need help with field dressing is indispensable. You don’t want to rely on cell phones for two-way communication – coverage out in the wilderness is too unreliable, making two-way radios the best choice for hunting. Most manufacturers offer radio bundles, too, so you can buy them in pairs or in groups of as many as six.

Having two-way radios on hand when you’re out, often a mile or two apart, gives you an additional feeling of security knowing you can reach out for help with the press of a button. That they’re so lightweight these days eliminates any excuse for not having them, so long as they’re allowed by law in your state.

First and foremost: If you’re buying two-way radios for hunting with your buddies, you will want to select the same brands, since privacy codes don’t always work between different makes of radio. Other than that, operating in a group is pretty simple: Agree on a channel you all will use, set your radio to that channel, and you’re in business.

The most common two-way radios used for hunting operate on the Family Radio Service and General Mobile Radio Service bands (FRS/GMRS). The FRS/GMRS bands overlap, and so have been combined into one radio type, hence the FRS/GMRS designation. Most two-way radios for hunting are FRS/GMRS models.

An important note about the GMRS band: The GMRS band is what gives you the extensive range, but using it legally requires a license. To acquire a GMRS license, apply online through the FCC’s Universal Licensing System or manually file FCC Form 605. There is no test required to obtain a license.

Range is the most important consideration when it comes to selecting a radio. Modern radios have ranges of from 2 to as much as 35 miles depending on the model and power profile. The last thing you want when you’re out in the brush is to have radio that can’t blow through the interference.

The second consideration when purchasing two-way radios is battery life. You’re not always going to be in range of a charger, so opting for units that operate on AA or AAA batteries is a good choice. Radios that feature a signal booster will give you extended range but will definitely eat up your batteries faster when you’re using the boost.

Another useful feature in a two-way radio is the ability to use a headset. Whether wired or Bluetooth, you’re going to find a headset almost indispensable when hunting with your hands full.  This is especially true if you are hunting with a recurve bow or with a compound bow.

Many, if not most, radios used by hunters also give you NOAA weather alerts. Some lock into the closest weather channel automatically, and most units automatically scan for nearby weather channels.

You’re also going to want to select radios that are waterproof or water-resistant.

There are a few other features you may find handy when choosing a two-way radio for hunting.

Privacy Codes:  What are they and How Do They Work?

Privacy codes make it possible for you find a chatter-free frequency when you’re out on a busy day of hunting. Simply select a predetermined channel and a privacy code, and you’ll be able to communicate only with someone using the same channel and privacy code. Still, if someone is tuned into the channel you’ve selected and have their privacy code feature turned off, they’ll be able to hear you. And, of course, anyone who has selected the same channel and privacy code you’re using will be able to talk to you, too.

Voice-activated talking (VOX) is a useful feature to have so you don’t have to push to talk when you’re in the middle of something. On some radios there is also a level adjustment so you can set the VOX activation volume.

Call alerts are features that allow you to select specific tones to notify you of incoming calls from your group. The best call alert feature is probably vibrate – the last thing you need is a buzzing phone when you’re set for a shot.

All hazards alerts means your radio is capable of receiving emergency alerts such as fire and landslide warnings. Related to that is the ability to send out an emergency SOS siren or locator signal in an emergency situation – invaluable when you are out in the wilderness.

Direct/group calling modes are handing when you’re hunting in teams. Direct calling allows you to contact one member of your party without alerting the others. Group calling makes it possible for you to talk with two or more members of your group without alerting the others.

For a good demonstration on how to use privacy codes, check out the video below from some popular two way radio specialists:

The Five Best Two-Way Radios for Hunters and Preppers:

Here are five two-way radios for hunting that will keep you and your pals in direct communication at all times.

It doesn’t matter if you are a hunter or someone looking to prepare your family for any emergency situation, having the right set of walkie talkies can be the difference between losing touch with someone important.

1. Best Long Range Two-Way Radio For Hunters:

Midland GXT1050VP4 50 Channel GMRS Two-Way Radio - Up to 36...

Midland GXT1050VP4 36-Mile 50-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio

Midland’s GXT1050VP4 two-way, 22-channel radio is a step up for the hunter looking for maximum range operation in a rugged, weatherproof package.

While the reported range is listed as 36 miles, you’ll get excellent performance in typical hunting situations with about 2 to 4 miles in practice.

These are  designed for GMRS operation, so you’ll need to acquire the proper FCC license to use them in that mode. It provides a good array of features, particularly for the price.

Features include privacy codes, direct/group calling, NOAA weather radio/alert/scan, silent operation, whisper function, SOS siren, and more. As with other Midland products, this radio features five animal call alerts.

The best feature of this radio is the crispness of the sound. Even in whisper mode, you can speak quietly and still be heard as clear as a bell by others in your hunting party.

Takes AA batteries, and an optional drop-in charger is available. With the group call and direct call features, this is a good choice for any hunter.

2. Best Weatherproof Two Way Radio:

Motorola MS350R 35-Mile Talkabout Waterproof 2-Way Radio...

Motorola MT350R FRS Weatherproof Two-Way – 35 Mile Radio

The MT series has an IP-54 rating, making it nearly impervious not only to dust but from the wettest weather conditions you’re likely to face when you’re out in the field.

It’s NOAA channels make sure you’re always informed about emergency alerts like winter storms, severe thunderstorms, and flash flooding. The VibraCall feature, as with other Motorola models, is perfect when you’re setting up for that all-important kill shot.

The MT350 fits nicely in your pocket, which is much easier to deal with than the clip since that always seems to catch on something when you’re climbing into a tree stand.

The radio’s robust design makes it perfect for any outdoorsman. The audio clarity is amazingly clear, as you would expect in a Motorola product. It also comes with a mini-USB charger, which is a handy addition to the package.

3. Best Two Way Radio for Hunting in the Mountains:

Midland - GXT1000VP4, 50 Channel GMRS Two-Way Radio - Up to...

Midland GXT1000VP4 36 Mile 50 Channel NOAA Weather Alert

The Midland GXT1000VP4 is a 50-channel GMRS radio that can give you an amazing 36-mile range, though in practice and in the deep woods it’s more on the order of 2 to 3 miles with great clarity.

The radios are available in pairs. The GXT1000 offers 10 call alerts, and a vibrate alert for a silent function which is great if you are hunting in the wilderness and don’t want to scare off the nearby wildlife.

It provides a NOAA weather and all-hazards alert capability, making it a great radio for outdoor safety and communication.

Though the radios are listed as having a 36-mile range, bear in mind that’s over open plains with no obstructions. Under real operating conditions you’ll get around 1.5 miles in heavy forest.

The radios come with a base charging unit for the rechargeable batteries, but they also operate just fine on a set of AA batteries – something that’ll come in handy when you’re out for a few days.

4. Best Waterproof Two-Way Radio for Waterfowl & Fishing Trips:

(2) COBRA CXT1045R-FLT-CAMO 37 Mi Waterproof Floating 2Way...

Cobra CXT 1045R Camo 37 Mile Floating Waterproof Two-Way Radios

The CXT 1045R 37-milesubmersible 2-Way radio from Cobra is a good choice for hunting and also a great choice for fishing trips like kayak fishing where you just might get wet. It’s a palm-sized, lightweight radio and fully submersible.

Its listed range is 37 miles, though under practical conditions you’ll get 2 to 4 miles of clear reception.  Includes weather alerts from the NOAA, 22 radio channels, and a replay function that will record and replay 20 seconds of audio just in case there’s urgent information that you missed during a transmission.

The radio has 121 privacy codes, making it extremely flexible for reducing interference from other users.  It features a high-intensity LED flashlight that can be used as an emergency strobe light.

These radios work very well in areas of moderate brush and trees, and the headsets that come with the unit work very well. Battery life is very good, close to 12 hours under regular use.

The most important aspect for those that like to fish, is that these bad boys float on water if you happen to drop them in, making it easier than ever to avoid costly repairs.

5. Our Favorite Two Way Radio for Hiking:

Radioddity GA-2S Long Range Walkie Talkies UHF Two Way Radio...

Radioddity GA-2S

The GA-2S is another great choice when you’re seeking a reliable radio for any outdoor excursion. It’s incredibly rugged, with a listed range of 3 miles, though users have reported it extends much further.

As with all radios in this category, you’ll realistically get from one to four miles range out of them in practical use.

Each radio comes with its own belt clip, USB charger, charging adaptor, 1500Mah Li-ion battery, antenna, wrist strap, acoustic earpiece, user manual, and micro USB cable. With 16 channels, you’ll be on top of all situations at all times.

One of the nicest features of this radio is the customizable side button. It can be programmed for different functions (such as alarm or monitor), to fit different needs.

This radio has all the features you could one for outdoor or emergency activities, and it holds up well even in the most demanding environments.

Wrap Up & Decision Time

Now that we’ve broken down the top choices on the market for you, we hope that we’ve given you some detailed guidance that you can put to use on your next hunting excursion.

Picking the right radio is obviously important as it can help from a hunter’s perspective but it could also save your life if you are in a tough spot.

This isn’t something we would recommend skipping out on the expense over if you have to decide between this and a more luxury item to take on your next hunting trip.

We’d rank this right up there with making sure you have the right pocket knife to take with you on your next adventure.

Top 10 Best Bolt Action Rifles

Bolt action rifles are one of the oldest and most trusted types of long barrel guns available, giving over a hundred years of service and development.

These rifles are known to be accurate, stable, and easy to handle when out in the rough of nature. There are more manufacturers today than ever before, so the number of bolt action rifles available is staggering.

If you don’t know what to look for, or if you aren’t sure what features work best for your needs, then finding the right rifle can be difficult. Today we will take some fo the headache out of comparing these types of rifles and break down ten of the most popular models currently on the market.





Mossberg Patriot

mossberg patriot bolt action rifles

Lithgow LA102 CrossOver

crossover bolt action rifles

Winchester XPR Composite

xpr bolt action rifles

Savage 110 Storm

savage storm bolt action rifles

Ruger American Ranch Rifle

ranch rifle bolt action rifles

CZ 557 Left Hand

lefthand bolt action rifles

Savage Axis II XP

axis ii zp bolt action rifles

Mauser M-18

m 18 bolt action rifles

Remington 783 Synthetic

783 synthetic bolt action rifles

Franchi Momentum

momentum bolt action rifles


  • Mossberg Patriot
  • Lithgow LA102 CrossOver
  • Winchester XPR Composite
  • Savage 110 Storm
  • Ruger American Ranch Rifle
  • CZ 557 Left Hand
  • Savage Axis II XP
  • Mauser M-18
  • Remington 783 Synthetic
  • Franchi Momentum

    mossberg patriot bolt action rifles


    The Patriots are a series of entry-level type bolt action rifles from Mossberg. There are six basic models, starting with the standard Patriot with a walnut stock, an LBA adjustable trigger, a new streamlined bolt design, and a drop box magazine system. The button-rifled fluted barrels make long-shot targeting easy, with close grouping and great momentum. The rifling in the barrel delivers superior efficiency, giving full-velocity delivery from every caliber bullet you load.


    This series of bolt action rifles from Mossberg start at around $$ and go up to around $$$.


    The Mossberg Patriot comes with the standard manufacturer’s warranty coving all defective parts and associated labor for repairs.


    • Stylish walnut stocks

    • Barrel with recessed crown


    • Difficult mounting system for scopes


    crossover bolt action rifles


    The LA102 CrossOver is a superior gun, giving all the other bolt action rifles on this list a run for their money. The centerfire system allows for adjusting to several caliber barrels, making the customization easier and more manageable. This isn’t the lightest of the bolt action rifles, but the ergonomic stock and light steel construction make it handle like a much less dense stocked rifle.


    The LA102 is still in preorder status right now through Lithgow, so you can put your name on the waiting list to receive information on the pricing once the rifle is available to the public. The expected retail price is around $$.


    The LA102 CrossOver comes with the standard manufacturer’s warranty covering all defective factory parts and repair labor.


    • Handles like a lighter gun

    • Excellent value for hardware included


    • Weak stock material


    winchester xpr bolt action rifles


    The Winchester XPR is designed as the model workhorse for the working hunter. An updated version of their popular Model 70, the XPR introduces a new composite synthetic stock with a new bolt mount system for the hardware. This new construction makes for better recoil control and a lighter handle on the frame. This is an excellent hunting rifle for someone who needs reliable, tough, and light, coming In under seven pounds.


    The Winchester XPR retails for around $$.


    This rifle is covered under the manufacturer’s warranty for up to one year on all defective parts.


    • Rated as most accurate

    • Superior trigger system


    • Difficult to adjust the stock


    savage storm bolt action rifles


    The Savage 110 Storm is the most durable of the bolt actions rifles we compared for this review. The AccuFit system gives functional customization without sacrificing the rugged feel of an all-weather rifle. The Gray stock is a synthetic composite that’s strong, durable, and helps give you extra control with the ergonomic shoulder cut.


    This series of bolt action rifles retails for around $$$.


    This comes with the standard manufacturer’s warranty, which covers all defective parts and associated labor.


    • More caliber options than the others

    • All-weather design


    • Few available attachments


    ranch rifle bolt action rifles


    This is one of the more versatile bolt action rifles on this list, making it a great option for someone needing a utility player out in the woods. The lightweight, ergonomic stock gives it a classic look with a tactile, firm hold. The synthetic stock has a rubber butt pad and full-diameter bolt body, giving great recoil control.


    These bolt action rifles start at around $$ and top out at around $$$.


    These bolt action rifles come with the standard one-year manufacturer’s warranty, which covers all parts and labor.


    • Versatile sporting rifle

    • Great accessory options


    • Only standard stock and barrel options

    CZ 557 LEFT HAND

    lefthand bolt action rifles


    This is one of the best left-handed bolt action rifles on the market, making it an ideal choice for the southpaw shooter. This left-hand short action rifle has a slick and clean American-pattern style stock with a 24” barrel, with a 557 push-feed system design for tight groups.


    This rifle is available for around $$$.


    All bolt action rifles from CZ-USA come with a limited one-year warranty on all defective parts.


    • Reliable push-feed system for ammunition

    • Sturdy stock construction


    • Limited adjustment capability


    axis ii zp bolt action rifles


    The Savage Axis II XP is a rugged option for the experienced outdoorsman. The synthetic stock and the button-rifled barrel are designed for tight grouping and driving momentum. This model also comes with a floating head with an adjustable mount bolt that gives you greater control over the fine adjustments.


    This rifle retails for around $$.


    Savage offers a one-year limited warranty on all of their rifles and accessories, which covers parts and labor.


    • A great value for this feature set

    • Nine different caliber options


    • Limited magazine upgrades available

    MAUSER M-18

    m 18 bolt action rifles


    Mauser is one of the most famous makers of rifles worldwide. The Mauser M-16 was a favorite dating back to World War II, and that is the design that evolved into the modern M-18 bolt action rifle. Called “The People’s Rifle” by Mauser, this is a multi-caliber gun that gives you two standard options, .308 and .30-06. There is an expanded series of caliber options that have rolled out for an additional price, including .243 Win., Magnum: 7mm Rem., and .300 Win. The black burnished surface is smooth with an even carbon grain, making it light, functional, and easy on the eyes.


    The Mauser M-18 Bolt Action Rifle retails at around $$$. It is available from retailers worldwide, so be sure to check the local brick and mortar store for their own prices.


    Mauser offers a limited manufacturers warranty on all of their bolt action rifles. This covers any defective parts and the associated labor for repairs.


    • Beautiful stock and form

    • Based on a trusted design


    • Expensive for the features


    783 synthetic bolt action rifles


    The Remington 783 Synthetic Stock rifle is a workhorse designed for the utility hunter or heavy-duty sportsman. The black synthetic stock has exceptional rigidity and tensile strength, giving it extra balance and control when firing. The 783 also comes standard with the new Crossfire trigger system from Remington, a breakthrough system engineered to give you the ability to customize the pull like never before.


    This model of bolt action rifle starts for around $$.


    This rifle comes with the manufacturers defect covering warranty, which has varied coverage.


    • From a reliable gun maker

    • Adjustable trigger system


    • Few variations of stock


    momentum bilt action rifle


    The Franchi Momentum is a high-end series of bolt action rifles from one of the leading makers of precision hunting and sports firearms. There are six different caliber configurations for the Momentum: 30-60 Springfield, .300 Win. Mag, .308 Winchester, .270 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .243 Winchester. You can also get the rifle by itself in three different configurations: black synthetic, threaded and plain barrel. The trigger is a single stage designed to work with the streamlined stock, giving it a crisp pull with full body control, in any of the five standard shooting positions.


    This rifle can be purchased for around $$$. Franchi only sells through authorized dealers, so be sure to use the link below to search for a local shop for this gun and the final price.


    Franchi has a seven-year limited warranty on the Momentum series of bolt action rifles. This warranty covers any manufacturer defects, which includes complete coverage of replacement parts and all associated labor.


    • Six different types to choose

    • Lots of features


    • Accessories and scopes are expensive







    We looked at the different features of the rifles and compared them against one and other. Some things we looked for were stock construction, handling and weight, adjustability and customization, and the final performance. We have taken care to call out some strengths and weaknesses of each of these rifles so you can make an informed decision for the right rifle for you and your needs.


    carved wood rifle

    These types of bolt action rifles can be bought on a premium or a reasonable price. Also, the accessories and stock construction were the two biggest factors that determined the final price of the rifle. Since most of the rifle manufacturers sell through brick and mortar retailers, you can find different deals throughout the year for different regions. That makes checking the official sites we have included much more important when shopping for the right rifle.


    man is aiming the bolt action rifles

    These were all superior engineered bolt action rifles, with each one offering their own features and benefits. When comparing all of these models a clear favorite has come to the front of the pack.

    The Mauser M-18 is the industry standard for rifles, giving their hundred-year history a workhorse for every shooter. The price was reasonable for this quality rifle, so we recommend the Mauser M-18 as the choice for best of the bolt action rifles.

    Do Deer Move In The Rain and Wind? Whitetail & Red Deer Bad Weather Hunting Tips

    Regardless of whether or not we like to admit it, we humans are creatures of comfort. After all, we build nice, cozy, houses to keep us warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and dry when it rains.

    We like to sleep on nice, comfortable mattresses or sleeping bags. We also have pantries, refrigerators, ranges, and microwaves in our kitchens so that our favorite foods are readily available any time we want them.

    We bring sleeping bags, camping stoves and large family tents on our hunting or outdoor trips in order to keep ourselves in the highest levels of comfort.

    Whitetail deer have no such luxuries. Instead, they live outdoors where it’s hot in the summer, cold in the winter, and wet when it rains. Also, unlike we humans, deer have neither pantries nor refrigerators, so they have to eat what is available in their area at any given time of year. Deer are quite accustomed to a level of hardship that most humans avoid like a stranger that wants to borrow money!

    All of this translates to the fact that deer hunting is not only viable in bad weather conditions, but sometimes even preferable depending on the area.

    Whitetail deer are also far better adapted to a life outdoors than humans are. They not only have metabolisms that enable them to withstand cold temperatures that would freeze most humans to death, they also have their own fur coats whereas, we humans have to appropriate ours from other animals or make them from synthetic fibers.

    Because we humans tend to studiously avoid hunting in bad weather, we are amazingly adept at convincing ourselves that whitetail deer feel the same way that we do about it! But because deer live outdoors twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week and have warm, waterproof, fur coats, as well as a need to feed daily – the fact is that they have far less aversion to traveling and feeding in bad than we humans do.

    Many an experienced hunter has also observed that deer seem to have some innate sixth sense that warns them when a storm is approaching about as far ahead as our modern weather forecasters can predict and thus, they do tend to feed more actively during the couple of days prior to the storm’s arrival just in case the weather does turn out to be severe enough that it prevents them from moving beyond their bedding areas.

    When hunting deer, you have to keep in mind that adverse weather will impact your hunting tactics more if you are compound bow hunting versus if you are hunting with a 308 or a 30-06.  Hunting binoculars will come in handy as will rangefinders to ensure that you are measuring the most accurate distances while taking wind into calculation of your shooting trajectories.

    Let’s look at how deer move around during adverse weather conditions.

    Deer Movement During Windy Conditions:

    Deer seldom seem to mind a light breeze that simply rustles the tips of ground level foliage a bit, they do tend to avoid moving during periods of high winds because this type of wind makes it very difficult to detect and identify predators since it shreds their scent and makes it difficult for them to determine which direction it’s coming from.

    This makes it very difficult for them to hear a predator approaching over the rustling of the brush.  This makes spotting predators difficult because of all of the moving foliage also hides the predator’s movement.  On days when the wind is light and, especially when it’s steady from a single direction rather than swirling first from one direction and then another, they tend to move and feed very actively.

    They are not only able to use the steady breeze to approach their favored food sources from downwind while detecting any predators waiting in ambush, but the slight rustling of the bushes helps to cover the sound of their steps as they travel; thus increasing their level of stealth.

    Keep in mind that if you are bowhunting, you absolutely must make the right judgment call on accounting for the wind in your aiming trajectories.  Not doing so will likely cost you a clean kill.

    Deer Movement During Rainy Conditions:

    Deer moving around in the windThe same can be said for light rains versus torrential downpours. In fact, during periods of heavy rain, deer also have difficulty smelling, seeing, or hearing predators approach and thus, they also avoid moving during these periods until the rain either slackens or quits. The same can be said for light rains since a light rains tends to soften the leaf litter under hoof.  This silences their footsteps and it helps to prevent their scent from traveling and alerting predators to their movements as well.

    Rather than pass away the hours dreaming about deer hunting while remaining warm by the fire during periods of inclement weather, experienced hunters have instead learned to use bad weather to their advantage. In fact, simply by watching your local weather report, you can actually predict when the best time to go hunting for whitetail & red deer is!

    Deer have an incredible, innate, ability to sense approaching storms (probably by noting the smell of the air combined with subtle differences in barometric pressure) and thus, they are forewarned that the weather will soon turn. While deer don’t seem to be bothered much by light winds and/or light rains, they do tend to bed down in both heavy winds and heavy rains.  A good altimeter watch can help you notice differences in air pressure as well, so you can pickup on incoming storms in the same fashion as the deer you hunt.

    Because deer are forewarned of approaching storms, they tend to feed lightly both prior to and after minor storms and to feed heavily prior to and after major storms.  Deer are fully aware that minor storms are little hindrance to them but, major storms may very well force them into their beds for an undetermined period of time.

    Below is a great video HamBrosOutdoors put together of hunting out in the rain:

    Deer Movement During Snowy Conditions:

    White Tailed Deer in the snowSimilar to heavy rain and other hard weather conditions, deer act similarly in both light and heavy snowfall and most especially for blizzards.  This behavior has been seen and documented well on different trail and game cameras.  Deer will often feed lightly prior to and after the first few snows of early winter.

    Just as soon as they sense a major snowstorm arriving, they will drastically increase their feeding activities.  Deer can often be seen feeding throughout the day prior to a storm so that they can consume and store as much food as possible before the storm arrives and drives them to their deep woods havens.

    Deer have a high metabolic rate and use up energy at a much faster rate than humans.  They have no way to gather and store for food for convenient consumption at will like humans do.  So when deer are forced to stay in their beds for extended periods of time by extremely harsh weather, they are often ravenously hungry when the weather finally passes.  As a result, they also tend to feed heavily after the passing of a major storm.

    Both prior to and after the arrival of a major storm are both excellent times to go deer hunting because the deer will be not only be feeding actively, they will also be single-mindedly focused on their task making them less wary than usual.

    Deer Movement During Periods of Severe Cold:

     Red Deer in Freezing ColdWhile we have so far discussed how whitetail deer react to wind, rain, and snow, we have not yet discussed their reaction to extreme cold.  The fact is that human hunters use excessively cold temperatures as an excuse not to go hunting just as often as wind, rain, and snow!

    Deer live outdoors twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week and, because they have a thick fur coat made from course, hollow, hairs combined with relatively thick skin and a thick layer of subcutaneous fat.  They are not bothered by the extremes in weather that so discomfit humans with our thin skins and lack of fur. But, that is not to say that deer are altogether unaffected by cold weather.

    In fact, their reaction to cold is very similar to their reaction to both wind and rain in that as long the cold is relatively mild, they tend to be significantly more active.  They are more active in feeding than earlier in the year because their bodies require more calories to generate heat in cold weather.  Just like days when the wind is howling at gale force and/or the monsoon rains have arrived and the whole forest sounds like the Amazon Jungle in a downpour, during periods when the overnight lows dip down to single digits and below due to an arctic blast from the north,  deer then tend to stay in their beds until mid or late morning.

    They do this in order to conserve valuable body heat and then rise and move out to feed once the Sun has been up for a while and the ambient air temperature has risen a bit. They also tend to feed most heavily just prior to the arrival of such air masses so that they can store enough energy to allow them to be able to lounge in their beds until the air warms a bit.

    Wrapping Up:

    As you can see, while many whitetail & red deer hunters find inclement weather to be both inconvenient and uncomfortable with good reason, the fact of the matter is that the couple days just prior to the arrival of a major storm or cold air mass as well as the first couple of days after its passing can actually provide hunters with the best possible opportunity to fill their tags for the season.

    Rather than disparage bad weather, deer hunters should instead learn to embrace it since both its coming and going herald some of the best days of the year to go hunting!

    Where to Shoot A Deer: Aiming For The Best Kill Zone Shot Placement

    Any good hunter respects their prey, and a key part of that respect is to try and kill it humanely. Ideally you will take it with a single bullet or arrow. You should know where to shoot a deer regardless if you are hunting with a rifle or a bow.  If you can’t reliably achieve one-shot kills you should practice until perfect and it’s as simple as that.

    Careless shooting that lets wounded animals escape gives anti-hunting groups ammunition to use against responsible hunters.  Much worse, it leaves animals to suffer needlessly. To help you hit the mark in the most humane possible way, we’ve broken down all the details as well as put together a helpful infographic below.

    A Deer Kill Zone Infographic

    Where to Shoot a Deer - Kill Zone Infographic

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    Why You want the Single Shot Kill if it’s Possible

    The favorite quarry of American hunters is deer.  This can make clean kills a challenge both with a rifle or with a bow.  Deer is a good-sized animal.  It takes a careful shot to bring it down regardless of what rifle or bow you’re using.  One badly placed bullet will result in a wounded animal that will give you fits as you try to track it.  It’s also inhumane as it may vanish into the wilderness dying a lingering death. Look at the average deer from the viewpoint of a responsible hunter and a big animal will quickly shrink to a few small target areas.

    Where it gets tricky is that experts often give conflicting advice on which shots to go for. Some say a brain shot is the only guarantee of a clean kill.  Others insist on going for the heart. One thing you need to bear in mind is that many of the most experienced hunters are professionals.  They might harvest hundreds of deer in a year, often using specialized equipment and methods. What works for them might not work for you.

    We will dive into more details below. We’ve also put this information into a video for you to see where to shoot a deer & their recommended kill zones.

    Deer Hunting Basics: Rifles or Bow?

    Deer Kill Zone in the WinterOur walk through help you understand where to shoot a deer and kill it with one shot.  But the distances you need to be at for the hunt will vary greatly depending on your type of hunting.  If you are hunting with a recurve bowcompound bow or crossbow (crossbow hunting is legal in some states, check yours for the regulations), ideally you will never be outside of 30 yards.  If you are hunting with a rifle and a scope, you obviously have a lot more distance that you can plan for.  If you are hunting with a rifle, you’ll need to make sure that you have a proper caliber, like a .308.  Make sure you aren’t sticking with a small caliber like a .22 rifle.

    It’s also worth noting that there are other technological advances in hunting that can help you drop a deer cleanly.  Consider using a trail camera to track deer in specific areas, or a laser rangefinder that can help you accurately judge the right distance of your prey.  A pair of hunting binoculars can help as well if you are hunting from a tree stand.

    Let’s Jump in and look at the 5 primary targets that people use to take down deer.

    The Brain Shot:  Where to Shoot a Deer When There’s No Other Option

    Frontal Deer Head ShotWell executed, this will drop a deer instantly. A bullet through the brain disrupts all life functions – it won’t go anywhere, it will lose consciousness right away and it won’t experience any pain. A solid hit in the brain is conclusive; there’s no room for doubt. This is a favored shot among many professionals, who often use light, frangible bullets to achieve instant and total disruption. A brain shot has another advantage, too – there’s little to no wastage of meat.

    On the other hand a deer’s brain is a small target. A heavy bullet that just misses can punch right through and leave the deer capable of escaping – but probably not surviving.  Brain shots shouldn’t be attempted by bow hunters.

    The thickness of the bone in the head makes hitting it perfectly a very tricky measure, especially because the head is much smaller than the body.  With regards to rifle hunting, a poor shot with a might glance off the skull. Worst of all is a shot in the jaw.  That won’t kill the deer, but will leave it to starve to death.

    The Neck Shot: A Pretty Slim Chance of a Clean Kill

    Where to Shoot a Deer NeckIf you can cut the deer’s spinal cord with your first shot it will drop.  Almost every time it will also lose consciousness right away and die very quickly. You’ll also cause relatively little damage to the meat but the shot placement is tricky. If you’re shooting from above and behind the neck shot is particularly effective, especially if you hit just below the base of the skull.

    Neck shots are an acceptable choice for rifle hunters but still a poor choice for bow hunters.  If you are hunting with a bow you need to make sure you are well equipped with proper broadhead arrows and that you have a bow with enough draw weight.

    If you hit the deer in the upper portion of the neck, you will run the risk that the deer will run off and live.  The problem with the neck is that if you don’t get the spinal cord the deer will take off. If you manage to sever the big arteries it won’t get far and should leave a dramatic blood trail.  A hit lower in the neck will cause a wound that the animal is unlikely to recover from. Again that condemns it to a slow death.

    While it’s acceptable for rifle hunters, this is still a high risk shot and it not the preferable choice when hunting deer.

    The Heart Shot:  One of the Best Options for Hunting Deer with Bows & Rifles

    Bow Hunting Deer in the HeartHit a deer in the heart and you’re usually going to put your bullet through both lungs too.  This makes this a massively damaging and rapidly lethal shot. The downside is that it’s not as instantly lethal as the others.  There’s a good chance of having to follow up for a short distance.  Although the quarry will usually go down in a matter of seconds, and the profuse blood trail makes it easy to track even in thick brush.

    The up side is that the heart is a relatively large target compared to the brain or spine. This shot is a little more forgiving if your aim slightly off.  You might get more runners, but there’s much less risk of a wounded animal actually escaping to die in the woods later.  This goes for both bow hunting and rifle hunting.  Aiming at the chest cavity is the largest part of the deer.  This should be the number one spot you aim for regardless of if you are hunting with a bow or a rifle.

    The problem is that a shot that’s more than slightly off can clip a single lung.  The animal could cover a long distance like that and even evade you completely. Light bullets can be deflected by a rib or shoulder blade and cause a painful wound that’s not rapidly fatal. If you’re going for the heart a .308 firing a heavy bullet is a good starting point and should ensure clean kills. Obviously the larger and more destructive your bullet, the more meat you’ll lose at the entry and exit points.

    If you are hunting with a bow, the chest cavity and heart is a prime place to hit your prey.

    The Lung Shot:  Hit a Double Lung Shot for an Extremely Clean Kill

    Ten Point Whitetail Buck and Hunter Lung ShotThe lungs are a prime area to aim for if you are hunting with a bow.  While bullets can enter and exit the animal, a bow sticks in place making it incredibly hard for the deer to breathe, and will save you tracking headaches.

    A deer that cannot breathe isn’t going to run anywhere for long.  Lung shots with a bow are almost as effective as heart shots, and the lungs are the largest targeted area that you can aim to hit when you hunt deer.

    You should aim for the middle of the lungs, which is slightly higher than the 10 ring (you’ll hear the 10 ring as a 10 inch space that’s the best spot for taking down a deer in most hunting circles).  Hitting the deer with a double lung shot clear of the heart will cause the lungs to collapse and the deer will suffocate to death.  This is usually a much quicker death.

    The Shoulder Shot:  Recommended for High Powered Rifles Only

    Bow Hunting Deer in the HeartTricky, and reliant on a punchy rifle, the shoulder shot is also spectacularly effective but only if you do it right.  If you are a bow hunter, don’t try the shoulder – stick with the lungs.  The aim is to put your bullet through one shoulder blade.  It will then traverse the chest cavity then hit the inside of the other shoulder blade. Get it right and the effects are catastrophic. The shock of the strike will paralyze the nervous system and break the spine.  It will then disable the front legs, ensuring instant immobilization and a quick death. A deer shot neatly through both shoulders isn’t going anywhere.

    On the down side this shot needs a bullet that’s heavy enough to blow through a substantial bone before expanding.  This tends to damage a lot of prime meat around the shoulders and upper backstrap.  The shoulder is NOT the best place to shoot a deer if you are hunting with a bow.  The thicker parts of the shoulder blade make it almost impossible to penetrate unless you are hunting with a bow that has the right draw weight for legal hunting in your state.  Even then, there are no guarantees.  It’s also one of the top spots that hunters claim to hit and still have the deer run off, turning into a tracking nightmare.  It’s angle-dependent – a 90° flank shot is best.  At shallow angles there’s a risk of the bullet not making it through the shoulder blade. That can leave you with a crippled, but still mobile, deer and a difficult follow-up shot. It’s also easy to miss high.

    If you have the right rifle and ammunition, this is a very reliable way t
    o put a deer down with a single bullet.  If you are hunting with a bow, stick with a chest cavity shot and aim for the heart or the lungs to walk away cleanly.

    Wrapping Up & Parting Thoughts

    So there are a few options for achieving the clean kills you need, and they all have their plus and minus points. There will never be a completely true consensus on which one is best.  They all have their devotees – but all of them are capable of humanely dispatching a deer. Work out which one suits your own gear and techniques.  Then, put the bullet or an arrow in the right place and you’ll get the result you want.

    Coyote Hunting Tips: How to Hunt Coyotes with Electronic & Regular Calls

    Coyotes are an essential part of North America’s ecosystem  But they can also be a pest.  They’re notorious for eating pets and small livestock. They’re also numerous in many areas, so their numbers need to be controlled, and the most effective and humane way to do that is by shooting.

    Some places even allow coyote hunting year-round to thin the population.  The good news for hunters is that coyotes are a challenging and elusive quarry that makes for great sport.  The bad news is that it’s challenging enough that many find it hard to settle on the right techniques.

    As tricky as it is, coyote hunting is probably the fastest-growing genre in the USA. The main reason for this is the rise of coyote calling. Coyotes are solitary animals that cover a lot of ground and can be extremely stealthy.  Just staking out a likely spot will probably give you a lot of frustrating days and few or no coyotes. However, if you imitate the call of a coyote mating cry or the sound of a prey animal such as a raccoon or squirrel in distress, you can lure them towards your position.

    Picking the Right Weapon for Coyote Hunting

    The idea weapon for coyote depends on the terrain you’ll be hunting over. Most hunters use a rifle with a caliber between .220 and 6mm. If all you have is your deer rifle that will be more than enough to do the job. Semiautomatics in .223 are becoming very popular for this task.  Some people use high velocity ammunition in their .22LR rifles to do the task, but this is less humane as some coyotes are borderline larger animals.  The .223 is fast becoming the perfect choice because they’re accurate, flat-shooting, have enough punch and they allow a rapid follow-on shot if required.  Some people like to bow hunt coyote by using a crossbow or a large compound bow to practice their skills for larger game hunts like deer.

    Nine times out of ten a rifle is the ideal weapon if you aren’t into bow hunting, but there is an exception. If you’re going to be calling in dense terrain a shotgun is far better.  In woods or areas with thick brush, and at night, a coyote can get pretty close before you spot it. If one pops up thirty yards away a 12-gauge gives you a much better chance of bringing it down with a single conclusive shot. A pump gun with a tight choke is the ideal setup; for ammunition go with magnum loads and No. 4 buckshot. This combination will put a tight, hard-hitting pattern into a coyote up to around 35 yards away.

    Finding the Right Coyote Hunting Location

    The next priority is camouflage, and this area needs to be done up tight. Coyotes are among the wariest North American animals, and they’re easily spooked by anything that’s even slightly out of place. Camouflage is a must, and make sure any exposed skin is concealed too.  Military camouflage cream works, or you can go for gloves and a face veil.  Using compact hunting binoculars or a laser rangefinder will help scope out areas properly and help judge the appropriate distance without getting too close.

    Coyotes are very good at spotting movement, so once you’re in position stay as still as possible. If you’re in a sitting position a cushion can make you more comfortable and less likely to fidget. Keep sound to the minimum that starts as you move into position.  No slamming the car door, or talking on the walkie-talkie, and if you’re hunting with a friend don’t chit-chat as you wait for your prey to show up.  Don’t smoke or chew either.  Coyotes will pick up the smell a long way off, and they associate it with people.

    When you’re choosing your position come in from downwind, and try to set up with some kind of obstacle behind you. Given the chance coyotes will try to circle round anything that interests them and approach it from downwind, so they can scent it as early as possible. If you can place yourself with a road or open field behind you that should deter them and help you spot them right away.  If they do get downwind they’ll be on you before you know they’re there.  The surprise of finding a hunter rather than whatever animal they were expecting can trigger aggression.

    Once you’ve settled into your position allow anywhere between five and 15 minutes’ soak time before you start calling. That will let any disturbed wildlife settle back down, so an incoming coyote won’t sense anything unexpected. Then you can get down to business.

    Coyote Calling: Tips & Techniques

    Coyote Hunting TipsCalling coyotes still isn’t easy, of course. You need the right equipment and the right techniques, or you’re still likely to end up with an empty bag. You also need to take some care. Coyotes are predators, and while they’re much smaller than the closely related gray wolf they might still attack if cornered or threatened. A big coyote might weigh close to fifty pounds and can deliver a nasty bite.  They can also carry rabies like other wild mammels such as raccoons, foxes, and skunks.  It’s vital you plan your hunt so that you keep the advantage over the animal at all times. Part of that is picking a suitable weapon.

    Some coyote hunters have a single call they swear by.  It definitely doesn’t hurt to have a selection available. That lets you tailor your technique to the location and season. If you do decide to go with one, a rabbit squealer is very popular. In fact anyone who’s going after coyotes should have one in their arsenal.  The sound of an injured rabbit in distress should draw in any coyote in the area. Calls mimicking other small prey species can work well too.

    If you’re hunting in midwinter be aware that that’s the coyote mating season.  You can take advantage of it. Get a coyote howler and practice mimicking the invitation call of a female in estrus, then sit back and wait for any nearby males to head for you. There are a variety of other calls too, some of which work all year round. Coyotes are territorial and will respond to challenges from other males; they also react to the distinctive squeal of a coyote in distress. They’re very vocal animals, with quite a complex social life, so learn all the sounds they make and use the ones that fit the situation best.

    One example of coyote sociability is the way females without pups will often help another to raise hers. They’re protective of pups, so if you can mimic the distinctive rapid squeal of pups in distress you can get some very good results. Try this tactic in late winter or early spring, when the pups are usually in the den and the mother will probably be out searching for food.

    Whatever call you use, put some feeling into it. Work to make them as realistic as you can; that will make a huge difference to your results. Also give coyotes something visual to focus on if you’re in open ground – they’ll expect to see something, and it’s a big help if you can draw their attention away from you. An old stuffed toy will do, but a better option is a battery-powered decoy that moves realistically. Don’t spend a fortune on one that mimics an exact prey species; as long as it moves something fuzzy-looking, ideally with an intermittent motion like a wounded animal, it should grab the coyote’s attention. Place your decoy upwind of you and in a location where you can get a clear shot at the decoy and the approaches to it.

    Some patience is needed for successful calling, so don’t give up if coyotes don’t appear right away; keep calling for at least 20 minutes before relocating. When you do give up on that spot, back out of it as stealthily as you came in, then move across the wind at least half a mile and set up again. Settle in for a while then repeat the process. Eventually your calls will reach the ears of a curious coyote, and the hunt is on. Get your technique right and this is a really worthy form of hunting against a smart and resourceful prey, so it’s definitely worth the effort.

    Start Prepping for Your Next Coyote Hunting Trip

    If you’ve done what we have outlined by picking the right guns/gear, finding the right position and picking the right call/calling techniques, it shouldn’t take long for you to bag your first coyotes out in the wild.  Coyotes are some of the easiest game to get permits for as they run rampant in many areas.

    If you stick to our guide that just walked you through how to hunt coyotes, you should end up in great shape on your next outdoor coyote hunting excursion.

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