If lead hunting ammunition is banned how big of an issue will it be in the hunting world? Are there viable non-toxic ammo options available? How can you keep hunting turkeys, pheasants, doves, deer, and everything else without lead ammo? What do you need to do in order to weather the storm? On this episode I talk about what is likely to happen if the ban occurs and what you can do to prepare so you are able to keep hunting without disruption. 

Will lead ammo be banned? I think so, at some point. I do not know if that is a month away, a year, or 10 years off, but I think at some point it will happen. The subject of whether or not lead ammo should be banned and all the politics and environmental concerns behind it is not something I am addressing in this podcast episode. I am focused on the simple practical things hunters need to know and do to transition from lead to non-toxic shot options to keep hunting.  

The solutions are different for every game species. For waterfowl hunting, we have been lead free for over 30 years, and finally the market has innovated some good alternatives. All other game ammo will benefit from this innovation, and waterfowl ammo can easily be adapted to hunt all game birds. The obstacle here is cost, since nontoxic loads are more expensive than lead hunting ammo. But I think eventually we’ll get used to the additional cost. 

The biggest issue with a lead ban will be the transition period. Reasonable and even good options exist with steel shot, bismuth shot, tungsten super shot, and copper bullets, among others. But if every hunter in America, or even just a handful of states has to drop their lead and pick up non toxic ammo, it is going to be very difficult and expensive to find legal ammo, probably for a few years as supply, demand, and manufacturing capabilities struggle to keep up and adjust. If you want to avoid this difficult eventuality, you need to make preparations in advance. 

Performance decrease for alternative ammo is a lesser concern, and in time I think it will not be a concern at all. For shotguns, TSS ammo is superior to lead already, for just about everything, it just costs a lot more. Bismuth ammo is very similar to lead’s performance capabilities and costs more, but not as dramatically more as tungsten.

When it comes to rifles, the copper bullets of today offer comparable performance to lead at regular hunting ranges for a little more cost. Where they lack performance is at extended range but this will not impact most hunters at all. And chances are, before long, new long range non-toxic bullets will be developed that have no performance deficit. 

I do not think it is a matter of if lead ammo is going to be banned, it is just a matter of when, and how suddenly it will occur. Ideally there will be a large period of time, maybe a five-year window given to transition over to alternative materials. This will give manufactures and hunters time to get geared up. But more than likely it will be more abrupt and there will be great supply chain issues as everyone tries to make the shift all at once. 

This is why all hunters should secure some non-toxic ammo now. Not cases and cases of it, but enough to last a couple of hunting seasons so you can weather any storm or shortage and be able to hunt without hindrance no matter what occurs in the hunting ammunition marketplace.

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

No matter where you live, there are likely at least some species of upland birds available for you to hunt. Few areas have all of them in abundance but if you spend a little time to find them, you can locate some good game birds habitat near you! On this episode I talk about how to hunt pheasant, grouse, doves, and more. 

So how do you get started into bird hunting? First thing is you need to find some birds. You have to figure out what game birds live in your area that you can reasonably hunt. Then you need to find some hunting locations. Sometimes birds are stocked, in which case you should be able to find maps of where you can hunt them and even when they are stocked and how many birds are released.

You need to determine what kinds of tactics are ideal for hunting those birds. There are three main strategies for hunting pheasants, grouse, and other land birds. You can hunt with a dog, you can beat brush, or you can stalk the birds.

Hunting with a dog is the most common but it is also the hardest thing for a new hunter to do because you don’t likely have a trained bird dog. So beating brush the second options. This works best in groups but essentially you storm through an area trying to spook and flush the birds into the air. This does work, but it takes a lot of energy and time and you do not have the benefit of a dog’s expert nose to find the birds.

Hunting pheasants and other game birds by stalking is a less utilized approach but if you learn the trails, open areas, and corridors and perhaps learn a few calls, you can often find success sneaking up on birds. This takes less work than beating brush, but it requires more skill. And this rarely works in a heavily hunted area because if the birds are spooked, they will hunker down in heavy brush and you will not be able to see them to sneak up on them.

Doves require different strategies all together as they are a migratory game bird, but they can be the easiest of all of them to hunt if you live in the right area and can find an ideal location. This is all about finding an area where the doves want to land to eat or rest and setting up where you can locate good shooting lanes.

In terms of clothing, the two big things are orange and tough pants. You need to be safe, not all hunters are going to be as concientious as you, so wear lots of orange whether its required or not. If you are going to be breaking brush, you need pants that won’t break down and more importantly will keep you from getting beaten up. This is an area where having quality brush pants is worth the investment. That protection on your legs is key and so is the fact that these pants are engineered to not pick up burs and seeds. And DO NOT forget about hearing protection. I recommend the Tetra Alpha Shields.

Then lastly you need to determine the right guns and ammo to hunt with. A shotgun is primarily used. I cover gun and ammo options in depth in this podcast episode so go ahead and listen to the episode to hear more.



Hunting rabbits is a fun and challenging pursuit that is great for hunters of all ages, and it provides an opportunity to hone skills that you will use for other types of hunting. On this episode I talk about how to find rabbits along with the guns, ammo, tools, strategies, and info you need to get out there and be successful in the woods.

Like hunting anything else, rabbits require certain core fundamentals:

Finding Rabbits

Scouting is the first priority. To hunt rabbits you need to find them. A nuance with rabbits is not just finding them, but finding a location where they live and are huntable. Since they are small ground animals, you need low brush and good visibility to be able to take one.

So you need to identify rabbit habitat, food sources, cover sources, and open areas for hunting. Even large hairs can easily disappear in grass or brush that is just a foot tall. Realistically you want to be able to see the ground to hunt them effectively. 


Rabbits are primarily hunted with a few strategies like sniping, walking and spotting, walking and flushing, and with dogs.  There is no right or wrong way to do it. It depends both on your preferences and on the rabbit habitat available to you.

But contrary to popular belief, you absolutely can hunt rabbits successfully without a dog, A dog can help and make certain things easier, but unless they are well trained, they can also be a liability. 


The ideal weapons for rabbit hunting are a shotgun or rimfire rifle. People tend to debate if it should be a 12-gauge or 20-gauge shotgun. The truth is, you can load both shotguns to similar specifications for rabbit hunting, it makes little difference. Use whatever shotgun you have handy and focus on getting ideal loads for rabbit hunting.

Almost any rimfire rifle can also work. The 22 L.R. is the most common and works great, but you can use almost anything, just be mindful that you use loads that are not overpowered. Your average high velocity 22lr ammo is going be just fine. Ultra-high velocity is overkill, as are heavily loaded 22 magnum rounds. 


The main caution for rabbit hunting is to keep from using ammo that is overpowered. It can be easy to overly damage the meat at close to mid-range. It is also easy to spend way more money than you need. Light loads are often all you need. I recommend #7.5, #7, or #6 lead shot for rabbits. Often 1 to 1 1/8 ounce of shot traveling around 1100-1200 fps. That is all you need.

For 22 L.R. I think something similar to a 40-grain hollow point traveling at 1200 fps is plenty. There are rabbits after all, not coyotes. Higher power magnum loads are fine, but only necessary if you are taking long range shots. They can cause too much damage at 10 yards, but at 100 yards, they can be just fine. Knowing where you plan to hunt can help you make the best ammo decisions.  Even subsonic bullets can be enough, here is a video I did on the subject:

Cleaning & Cooking

How you clean and cook a rabbit is less important than having a plan to do so. Spend some time watching videos and reading articles on field dressing and cooking rabbits.  This way, when you bring home your first limit of rabbits, you will have an idea of what to do next.

This little step helps keep you from wasting game because you are not sure what to do and thus never get around to doing anything. Just having a plan can do a lot to help you take the next steps well.

Listen to the podcast episode to hear much more detail about how beginners can start rabbit hunting! 

Squirrel hunt is fun, the season is long, and there are many ways to go after these little critters. On this episode I talk about how you can get started hunting squirrels. This is a beginners guide to start squirrel hunting. 

Support the show on Patreon.

How can you start squirrel hunting?

The first thing you should do is figure out what you are going to do with the squirrels that you take. Read, study, and think first about how to dress, skin, store, and cook your game. You do not need to spend hours doing this but have a basic plan so nothing goes to waste when you do bring your first limit of squirrels home.

How do you find squirrels to hunt?

Sometimes it seems like squirrels are everywhere when you are hunting deer, turkey, and ducks. And that is for two main reasons. Those animals tend to be drawn to things that squirrels like, so there is overlap in habitat. Second, when you sit for half a day or a whole day motionless in one spot waiting for a deer, its common to see and notice a couple squirrels, but people rarely hunt that long and patiently for squirrels. So they go to the same spots hunting squirrels and it seems like there are none there, but the truth is, they are not just hunting as patiently.

To find squirrels you most typically are looking for large mast producing trees. Acorns, chestnuts, walnuts, almost any kind of mast or nut that falls from a tree will attract squirrels. The more trees and the older the trees the better. The squirrels will then spend their days looking for food, burying food, and digging food up.

How do you hunt squirrels?

There are two main strategies. First, go into an ideal location and sit down for an hour or two and wait for squirrels to move around. You hunt with your ears first and eyes second. The other strategy is essentially still hunting, walking slowly and quietly through the woods looking for movement in the trees.

What is the best time of day to hunt squirrels?

Typically the first two hours of the day are best, and the last two hours are second best. But squirrels move all day long and its possible to hunt them at all hours. But a sunrise hunt is most ideal. However, squirrels can move even more right after a big rain storm ends, it is also easier to move quietly at this time. But you also won’t hear the squirrels much because they will make less noise on the wet ground as well.

What is the best gun to hunt squirrels with?

People typically use rimfire rifles like a .22 LR or shotguns. Either work great but I much prefer shotguns due to safety. Firing a rifle into the air is very risky. Even a .22 Long Rifle bullet can travel a quarter of a mile or more. If you hunt with a rifle make sure you are able to shoot into a hillside or other safe area.

If using a shotgun, almost any shotgun will work. Squirrels are not hard animals to take. Light loads that are #7.5 shot or #6 shot are most typical, be it with a .410, a 12 gauge or anything in between. Cheap ammo is ideal to help keep the cost down. High velocity is not needed because you are not shooting birds in the air, these are relatively stationary targets. The best advice I can give is hunt with what you practice with. 

What is the most important element to hunting squirrels? Safety and stealth, hands down. 

Listen to the whole podcast episode to learn how to hunt squirrels!