Ticks are a common enemy almost all hunters face. Thankfully because of this there are numerous ways to fight them. On this episode I talk about five strategies to help you win the battle against ticks.

No one wants to encounter ticks in the woods, there isn’t a good thing to say about them. They are small sneaky blood sucking bugs that are hard to detect, and worst of all they can carry serious disease. First things first, if you get bit by a tick that has been attached for any length of time seek medical advice. If you have any symptoms of tick-borne illness, whether you have evidence of a bite or not, seek immediate medical attention. Often times tick-borne illnesses can be effectively treated if caught early. The more time that passes the harder it may be to help.

Fighting ticks happens on three major levels, chemically, materially, and visually. The first has become very popular. There are many sprays that can be used to repel ticks. Some strong tick sprays can only be sprayed onto clothing because of how harsh they are while others can be sprayed on clothing or skin. The harsher the chemicals the better things typically are at killing ticks, sometimes when they make contact with the garment. However, we are also alive and will be wearing these chemically treated garments, so I am a little bit weary of that.

The milder sprays can be used on skin and clothing work fairly well at repelling ticks, but they are not generally able to kill them on contact. However, they may be a little safer for the wearers. The main thing to consider is there are pros and cons for each approach and product. The most effective products smell strongly and are highly toxic. You need to balance this with how often you will use repellants and if you want to regularly engage with these kinds of chemicals. And there are all natural approaches and oils people use to combat ticks.

There is also tick repellant clothing. Garments that ticks cannot penetrate if they were to try and dig through them, and garments that have repellents built into the materials or are in some way treated with them. There is a lot to like about this approach but for every strong pro there is also a considerable con to be weighed as well, such as cost, longevity, and how comprehensive the protection really is. 

In this podcast episode I talk about five ways to combat ticks and stay safe while you hunt.


A squib is an underpowered bullet that is unable to make it out of the barrel of a gun and gets stuck partway through. Numerous things can cause it, but if its caught and dealt with promptly, a squib can be easily repaired. But if not dealt with, it can be devastating and terribly unsafe. Just like with firearms, in life there many things we can do to prevent hazardous situations and prevent them from becoming devastating when they do occur. 

Modern ammo has made squib loads very rare. But there is a growing trend of underloading rifle or handgun ammo far below its maximum potential in order to use it for hunting smaller game. This can be a reasonable practice but doing so reduces the margin of error available. If a load is under powered, it is much easier for any small things to further reduce its power and cause a squib. If something causes you to load too little powder, or you accidentally use the wrong powder, or a wrong primer is used, or perhaps a primer damaged by moisture, etc., you could more easily have a squib.

A full powered load may have enough margin to overcome some of these issues, but a lightly powered one may not. In life we have alot of people who are underpowered, not operating at their full ability and potential. They do just enough to get by, to make it through, and then when even something small happens to compromise their momentum they dip below the minimum threshold and can experience major issues like losing a job, relationship, or possession. 

They do just enough work to keep from getting fired, but then something in life throws them through a loop and their performance dips and they cross below the line and lose the job. Then they have to deal with the life issue, and the lost job, because they are operating with too little margin, with too little focus and foresight, too far below their full potential. 

Everyone will experience some challenges in life, but operating at your full ability level will provide you with momentum that enables to completely miss some challenges, while recovering faster from other. And if/when something major does come up, you can often avoid compounding it with other issues of things that were on the brink of exploding and just got pushed over the edge.

Listen to this entire podcast episode to learn about how to not be a squib in life, and how to better recover yourself when squib situations come to you.


Can you hunt with slingshots, air rifles, spears, primitive bows, and other alternative weapons? On this episode I dive into the efficacy of unconventional weapons to talk about what is viable, what is reasonable, and why certain things should never be used from an objective point of view. 

Slingshots are an entertaining idea when it comes to hunting weapons. They can certainly be powerful enough to kill small game. However, they have limited accuracy and there is often little margin of error when it comes to power. This weapon could be used to hunt small game in a survival situation, but I would not recommend it for hunting even if legal in your area.

The core reason is it provides limited ability to consistently and ethically kill game with minimal suffering. And that is a big deal. There is a reason we developed more advanced weapons. While possible for hunting, the slingshot is not ethical to use on game when better more ethical options are available.

Air rifles or pellet guns provide more efficacy and accuracy for hunting small game. While some of them are underpowered for anything but target practice, there are many air rifles that are capable weapons for hunting squirrels, rabbits and other small animals. These guns are both viable and reasonable for appropriately sized game at short range. They are not viable for mid-sized game with few exceptions.

There are some high end and large air rifles designed for deer hunting and throw a pellet with enough mass, speed, and expansion to kill a deer.  If you happen to have one of these and its legal in your area, then it may indeed be viable for hunting. But take no chances, it is not fair to our wildlife to use underpowered or inappropriate weapons that wound them and increase suffering needlessly. Do careful research and do not use novelties that may inflicting unnecessary suffering on animals.

Some people truly and honestly are interested in using spears for hunting deer or smaller game. The reality is, these weapons can be effective for this job, and were effective for hundreds of years.  But the other side of the equation is we invented better weaponry to replace spears because they are not effective enough to consistently and reliably kill game while minimizing suffering. Yes they are much more effective than a slingshot, but they should be avoided for all hunting except in a survival situation due to respect for the game, and the desire to get clean fast kills. 

There are many other unconventional weapons that people talk about for hunting, such as lances, knives, and yes even ninja stars. I talk about all of these in this podcast episode. 

There are many establishments that promise hunters great prospects if they pay to hunt on their “preserve” or ranch, but much of the time hunters are being lured into exotic animal farms made up to sound like natural open hunting land that is protected by something other than tall fences. In this episode I talk about these kinds of situations in depth and answer a lot of questions. 

Alot has been said against hunting preserves, and high fence areas, and not all without cause. But on this podcast episode I break down this type of hunting utilizing an objective framework and what I define as the three main elements of fair chase in an attempt to provide an unbiased overview. 

Is there something morally wrong about going to preserve or high fence areas? Of course not! But at the same time, is it still considered legitimate hunting? These are the kinds of questions I tackle in this episode. 

Some people leave the impression that if the enclosure is large enough then it is very similar to open land hunting, but usually this really couldn’t be further from the truth. Often times the animals are not living in their native habitat, sometimes they are thousands of miles from anywhere they would choose to live and are simply doing the best they can in the space they have, similar in some ways to the zoo.

But even native animals are not able to establish native patterns and tendencies due to space limitations or if nothing less, artificial population density. Most of time these animals do not have 6,000 acres on which to roam. And even then, 6,000 acres only equates to about 6 square miles. Which while it sounds like a lot, is very limiting for certain types of game. 

The bottom line is fair chase is voided in these types of scenarios. Which is part of the reason why the game commission usually considers them farms instead of game lands or even private hunting lands. Which is why you often do not need to buy tags to hunt there. It’s not that much different than going to a farmer and paying them to shoot their cattle. If they animals are owned and considered property, it’s not hunting. Even if you sit and wait in a tree for an hour for the deer or elk to wake up and go to get its breakfast. 

If you are paying for each antler point or select your deer in advance from a list of named animals, that should be a fairly big clue that this is not legitimate hunting.

Sometimes guides or outfitters will secretly take hunters to these kinds of areas if public land hunts fail. Unless the hunter is very keen and aware, they may not even know they were driven to a preserve on day 5 of their hunt. The guide may well lie or work to distract the hunter from picking out key details to realize where they are.

All of that said, there are still times and places where preserves do have a legitimate function. Listen to the entire podcast episode in order hear all of the details.  

I interview lifelong hunter and sporting clays champion Jimmy Muller about how to gain the most you can from casual sporting clays practice to improve your wing shooting. We cover everything from shooting strategy to ammo, equipment, and more so you can transfer the most possible learnings to become a more effective hunter. Jimmy Muller is also the founder and owner of Muller Choke Tubes.

In this podcast interview, we explore a number of important questions:

  1. Will target ammo used for sporting clays give you performance that translates to bird hunting?
  2. Do target loads need more or less lead than steel or bismuth waterfowl hunting ammo?
  3. Can you use the same choke tubes for sporting clays and hunting?
  4. How can you become a better shooter the fastest?
  5. How much money should you pay for a sporting clays course?
  6. Is sporting clays more effective than trap shooting for becoming a better hunter?
  7. How often do you need to shoot sporting clays to become a better hunter?
  8. Should you use your hunting shotgun on a sporting clays course?
  9. Should you learn how to shoot sporting clays on your own or is it worth hiring a coach?

Jimmy Muller has fired millions of shells training and competing in sporting clays. But he started as a hunter and only began shooting sporting clays because he was having a lot of trouble hitting ducks on the wing. Sporting clays completely revolutionized his hunting life. Soon he found himself practicing more and more. Eventually he began to compete in and win sporting clays events.

After years of competing, he began to make his own choke tubes to improve his pattern performance. Eventually the demand for his chokes began to grow and he decided to sell them and launched his own company. Today he makes some of the highest quality, most technical, and versatile chokes out there. With his set of three hunting chokes, you can use any metal, any shot size, and any velocity through any of the three choke tubes.

Some of the tips he shares in this podcast episode are game changing for new hunters and lifelong hunters alike. He discusses how to take your shooting to the next level so that you bring more birds home with fewer shots. He also shares a number of misconceptions that can distract hunters and lead them astray. Whether you are hunting ducks, geese, grouse, pheasants, doves, crows, or anything else that flies, this could be one of the most important episodes you ever listen to you to boost your shotgun hunting effectiveness.

Listen to the entire podcast episode to hear all of the details.


Sporting clays is a wonderful sport in and of itself. But for the hunter, it is more than that. This represents the most lifelike practice you can get for hunting without shooting at real birds. In this episode I talk through numerous things you can do in order to focus your sporting clays time and money on building hunting skills that you can take into the woods. 

If your goal is to win sporting clays competitions, then this episode and strategy is not for you. But if your goal with shooting sporting clays is to become the best possible hunter then you will want to do some things differently to make as much of your sporting clays practice transferable to the woods.

First, you will want to shoot whatever shotgun you plan to hunt with. Using a gun made especially for sporting clays may give you a few advantages or comforts for the clays course, but it will not help you get to know your hunting shotgun. You want to practice mounting, aiming, reloading, and doing everything with the gun you plan to hunt with. This is the most important thing you can do. Will using a hunting shotgun make sporting clays harder and possibly cost you a few points worth of your score? It could, but your goal should NOT be the best possible score, it’s to get the best possible hunting practice. And you need to use your hunting shotgun for that to happen.

Next, you want to wear as much of your hunting gear as makes sense. Prove it out on the sporting clays course. This is particularly applicable to shirts, jackets, coats, etc. You want to make sure you can manage, shoulder, and shoot your gun right while wearing all this gear if you can.

Gloves are also a big one. You want to make sure your can run the shotgun, reload, and work your action with the gloves you plan to hunt with. This is crucial. You will be reloading under pressure, and if your gloves cause you to bobble some reloads and cost you a few points on the course then good! Because you learned those gloves could cost you a few birds in the woods. Better to miss clay targets now than real birds later.

Also avoid the temptation to get ready for the shot before you see the clay bird in the air. Since you are the one calling pull, it’s easy to anticipate the shot and get your gun up and in the air. This may make some of your shots easier, but it is not realistic. In the woods, birds will not appear on command. You should stand unassuming and wait until you see the clays to raise your gun, get your footing, mount the gun and shoot. This may cost you a few points on the sporting clays range, but it will help you shoot faster and more effectively in the woods under real hunting conditions. 

Do not take any shortcuts on the sporting clays range. Do things harder, push yourself, try to think about how to make everything more realistic to hunting scenarios. This will give you the best practice possible for hunting ducks, pheasants, doves, and anything that flies.

Most importantly, listen to this entire podcast episode to get all of the details!

The single biggest thing you can do to take more birds when hunting is to practice shooting sporting clays in the off season. On this episode I give an overview of what sporting clays is, why it’s so helpful, what to expect your first time, the costs, and how you can find a course and get started. 

Here is the episode I mentioned in the show: How To Set A Realistic Annual Hunting Budget

Sporting clays is imperative for the wing shooter. Unless you can hunt birds constantly, sporting clays is the best way to develop and hone your shooting skills. Due to the variable shots, angles, speeds, and scenarios it provides significantly more realistic practice than trap shooting or skeet, though both are helpful. 

  1. Trap shooting involves shooting at clays as they are being launched away from you, like a bird flushing away. 
  2. Skeet shooting focuses on clays crossing in front of you, simulating passing shots, or birds being flushed from the side but flying into your field of fire.
  3. Sporting clays is kind of like those two crossed with golf. You typically have a 20-position course where clay targets are thrown from different angles, directions, and with different purposes to mimic a variety of realistic hunting scenarios. 

All three utilize clay targets often referred to as sporting clays, clay pigeons, clay targets, etc. 

To get started shooting sporting clays you first need to find a course. They tend to be much smaller than golf courses and are more easily hidden, sometimes close by and without much signage or fanfare. Search on Google and in the yellow pages or other local directory and ask around at local shops and local gunsmiths. There may be courses close by that you do not know about.

Once you find a course you may be easily able to schedule a day and time to come, else you may have to join a club. Weigh your options and do what is best for you. But I recommend trying to get access to a course at least twice a year in order to be regularly improving your skills. More is better of course, but it’s also more costly.

There is typically a fee to run the course plus the cost of ammo. Most courses are 100 targets, and some provide options for less or more. There may be other costs or options as well such as a golf cart, or hiring a guide/tutor to help you learn about the sport and how to shoot the course. I very much recommend paying the extra fee to get a seasoned shooter to go with you and train you. If you are shooting in a group, then you can often split the cost and it becomes more manageable.

This professional instruction is invaluable if you are new to sport and it’s something I think you should continue to pay for once every year or two in order to keep growing and improving.

Most courses require you to use target loads for safety reasons. Some enable you to bring your own ammo and some may require you to buy it there. Ask in advance so you can be well prepared.

Most importantly, you should listen to this entire podcast episode to get all of the details of how to start shooting sporting clays.