People

Patrick Durkin

Patrick Durkin

Outdoors writer/editor, weekly columnist for 17 Wisconsin newspapers, regular contributor to American Hunter magazine, and former editor of Deer & Deer Hunting magazine.

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    The Rapid and Radical Evolution of Deer Hunting

    Whitetail

    The Rapid and Radical Evolution of Deer Hunting

    When Greg Miller first hunted whitetails with his dad and fellow Millers in November 1964, they entered northern Wisconsin’s big woods each dawn with more hope than strategy and more motivation than planning. Wearing a red coat and carrying a Model 94 in .32 Special, Miller shared his clan’s intense...
    Why Deer Make People Stupid

    Whitetail

    Why Deer Make People Stupid

    Most hunters or their families know someone who loses their common sense or credibility over deer hunting or management. Deer. They make people stupid. Some deer hunters and wildlife professionals are immune to the disorder, though that’s rare. Far more yearn for a cure, but usually for a dear...
    American Deer Camps: A Dying Tradition

    Whitetail

    American Deer Camps: A Dying Tradition

    Tom Heberlein never missed a deer camp from 1973 through 2019, but COVID-19 concerns caused him to break that streak in November 2020. Heberlein, 75, stayed home rather than risk his health by confining himself with his buddies for five nights inside his northern Wisconsin shack along with a nine...
    Playgrounds to Ponds: When Deer Die in Strange Places

    Whitetail

    Playgrounds to Ponds: When Deer Die in Strange Places

    I’m still waiting for two sticks of summer sausage from a buck that died in my driveway in November 2015. Something tells me the guy down the street forgot all about his promise to bring my reward for finding his bow kill. Funny thing, gratitude: It’s abundant in the moment but fizzles faster than...
    When Hunters Find Dead People

    Whitetail

    When Hunters Find Dead People

    People who disappear in woods and marshes are often found by those not looking for them—like hunters. The hunters are seldom named in news reports. More often they’re identified by what they were hunting that day, be it deer, ducks, turkeys, shed antlers, mushrooms, or wild berries. The lead...
    What is Killing America’s Fawns?

    Whitetail

    What is Killing America’s Fawns?

    Many hunters picture coyotes scouring woodlots from May to June, snatching newborn fawns between sun-dappled trilliums, and heading home with a hindquarter clamped between their jaws. Why wouldn’t we envision such scenes? Trail cameras across the U.S. often snap grip-and-grins of coyotes, bobcats...
    Biblical Flood Causes Wildlife Apocalypse in South

    Whitetail

    Biblical Flood Causes Wildlife Apocalypse in South

    Turkeys starved in treetops. Ravenous raccoons killed nesting turtles and newborn fawns. Countless other wild animals perished during a record 219-day flood last year in Mississippi’s Yazoo Backwater Project. The Yazoo Backwater’s surrounding levees provided the only high ground for displaced...
    The Ride Home: Show Your Deer or Cover It Up?

    Whitetail

    The Ride Home: Show Your Deer or Cover It Up?

    Long before Tom Heberlein was old enough to hunt deer, he watched for his father’s blue, snow-encrusted 1952 Ford pickup to return home from northern Wisconsin each November. It would usually be loaded with dead whitetails tucked among the Christmas trees they’d sell at the family’s gas station...
    Shots Fired Per Deer Killed: An Evolving Trend

    Whitetail

    Shots Fired Per Deer Killed: An Evolving Trend

    Opening mornings of gun seasons in whitetail-rich states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania often sound like Civil War re-enactments. It makes me wonder how the woods can hold enough deer to trigger such fusillades. Some deer get shot at more than once, of course, given that hunters...