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Patrick Durkin

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Why Are Bucks Always Last in Line?

Big Game

Why Are Bucks Always Last in Line?

According to deer-hunting lore, wise bucks always stop and watch from secure cover before entering fields or large openings. These mature monarchs supposedly stay hidden to patiently monitor other deer in the field and let them feed into range of potential dangers. In human terms, those bucks act...
Are Mule Deer Going Extinct?

Big Game

Are Mule Deer Going Extinct?

Hunters have been watching or reading about the mule deer’s decline for so long that some worry they’ll witness its end. Writers and speakers often quote Professor Valerius Geist’s opening lines of Chapter 8 in his 1990 book “Mule Deer Country,” where he warned: “For all its current abundance, the...
‘Jeremiah Johnson:’ The Best Hunting Movie Ever?

Big Game

‘Jeremiah Johnson:’ The Best Hunting Movie Ever?

Ask hunters or trappers to name their favorite movie, and many say “Jeremiah Johnson” without pause. No other movie makes them fantasize quite as much about the Old West and mountain men, and wonder if they could have cut it in the early to mid-1800s. This 1972 classic stars Robert Redford as an ex...
Hunting Is Safer Than Ever

Big Game

Hunting Is Safer Than Ever

Hunting has grown safer in America since states sparked long-term improvements a half-century ago by making hunter education courses mandatory and blaze orange standard garb. Those safety advancements still continue. In Wisconsin, no hunters died from gunshots in seven of the past nine firearms deer...
Is Hunting Too White?

Big Game

Is Hunting Too White?

Whether you see a hunter sitting in a treestand, crouching in a duck blind or bugling bulls on a mountainside, you can predict something with 91% certainty: You’re looking at a white guy of European stock. You can also bet the guy has rural or small-town roots, and that he and his buddies are more...
Pricing the Priceless: What’s Wildlife Worth?

Big Game

Pricing the Priceless: What’s Wildlife Worth?

Aldo Leopold once pondered Canada geese calling from high above and asked what goose music was worth, and wondered where we’d be without it. As Leopold wrote in his Round River journals: “Some have attempted to justify wildlife conservation in terms of meat, others in terms of personal pleasure...
Wedding Rings: Symbols of Love that Can Mangle Fingers

Big Game

Wedding Rings: Symbols of Love that Can Mangle Fingers

Thirty years after hopping 18 inches to the ground from a treestand’s lowest step one morning, Brad Herndon still studies the left hands of passing strangers to silently inventory mangled ring fingers. That’s because Herndon can’t forget the searing pain caused by his wedding band that day in...