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Game & Fish Top 10 Hunting Stories of 2022

From DIY to epic hunts to how-to tactics to great new gear, these stories were favorites among our users last year.

Game & Fish Top 10 Hunting Stories of 2022

All hunters scored bucks during an epic trip in Kansas. Read "13 for 13: Breakdown of a Dream Deer Season" below (Photo by Craig Boddington)

Here are the top 10 hunting stories posted on gameandfishmag.com in 2022, based on user visits.

1. Regional Rut Update

Region Rut Update
This Maryland 8-pointer was taken by Wayne Stevens during a muzzleloader hunt with his brothers on Oct. 21. (Photo courtesy of Wayne Stevens)

Throughout the whitetail rut season in October and November, Game & Fish provided exclusive updates on rut activity to help hunters increase their odds of success in the field. From pre-rut to post-rut, and all of the excitement in between, there's not a better time to harvest the buck of a lifetime, and our seven weekly updates from whitetail contributors Josh Honeycutt (South), Dustin Prievo (East), and Brandon Butler (Midwest) kept hunters up to date.

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2. 8 Hunting Rifles That Won't Weigh You Down

Lightweight hunting rifles
Carbon-fiber components have become prevalent on many lightweight rifles, such as the Christensen Arms Ridgeline FFT. (Photo courtesy of Christensen Arms)

It's a simple tactic but one that works: Get away from crowds by hunting areas that require long walks to access. Not many hunters are willing to put in the effort to go the distance, and pieces of public ground that are relatively undisturbed often become havens for game. A hike measured in miles instead of yards is more enjoyable, and typically takes less time, when your gear isn’t a burden. There are some extremely lightweight rifles available from manufacturers who specialize in cutting weight, but any well-balanced model that weighs less than 7 pounds will usually feel pretty good cradled in your arms. Rifle makers have made strides in producing easy-carrying bolt guns, and the following are among the best. From Bergara to Winchester, these lightweight rifles allows for easier hikes into trophy hideouts.

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3. Best New Air Guns for Hunting 2022

Best New Air Guns
The redesigned Umarex Gauntlet 2 is offered in two calibers.

Air rifles are legitimate weapons for big game such as deer and hogs, and a fun way to go after predators and varmints. These are not the BB guns or finger-pinching pump air guns of your youth. Powered by pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) air, these powerful air rifles propel pellets — which really are bullets — ranging in size from .22 to .72 caliber. Hunters have used these to kill a variety of game. It’s still fun to plink and have a traditional air rifle for pests, too, which is why the updated Gamo Swarm is included. Check your state regulations about use of these for hunting.

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4. 6 Classic Hunting Cartridges You Should Try Again

Classic Cartridges
The .257 Roberts is known for exceptional accuracy. This Dakota M76 responded immediately to a handload with IMR 4350 and Hornady SST bullets, producing a half-inch 100-yard group. (Photo by Craig Boddington)

Hey, it’s fun to hunt with the latest, greatest new whiz-bangs, and maybe they will give you extra confidence. On the other hand, there’s special satisfaction in using classic old-timer ammo. Especially if, like author Craig Boddington, you place value on history and tradition. These days, we have to think about feeding the beast. In developing this short list of classic cartridges worth trying, Boddington thought about utility, availability and history. There's special satisfaction in using a classic old-timer. Here's a half-dozen worth your attention.

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5. Trick Out a Cargo Trailer for Deer Camp

DIY Deer Camper
A cargo trailer can be converted into a stand-alone hunting camp, or used as a support vehicle for a small cabin or wall-tent camp. (Photo courtesy of Trevor Barclay)

When a backcountry adventure calls, hunters need a secure base camp. Traditionally, canvas wall tents or nylon outfitter tents, along with cots, sleeping bags and portable kitchens have served well in these situations. More recently, some creative adventurers have been turning to enclosed cargo trailers, which can be converted into a mobile deer camp with most of the comforts of home. These trailers are blank canvases with four walls and high ceilings, and they can be loaded with everything from bullets and beans to sleeping quarters in a self-contained unit that can be locked up and stored in the offseason.

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6. Best Shotguns for Waterfowl, Upland, Turkey: New for 2022

New Shotguns
The new-for-2022 Mossberg 940 Pro Turkey shotgun. (Photo by Adam Heggenstaller)

The confusing thing, sometimes, about new products introduced for hunting is wading through all the features, innovations, marketing fluff and media hype. This is true when you’re looking for the best new shotguns for hunting waterfowl, turkeys and upland birds. But the good thing about all the new products introduced each year is wading through all that as you pick out what you want to see before the hunting seasons begin.Whether you're thinking about duck blinds and goose fields, upland birds flushing or turkeys thundering in spring, here are some of the best scatterguns from SHOT Show 2022.

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7. Hunt the Kitchen to Tag a Late-Season Buck

Late Deer Tips
At the end of the season, whitetails are focused on recovering from the rut and preparing for winter. These are the foods they seek out to accomplish both. (Photo by Rich Waite/Shutterstock)

Winter in the Northeast can be brutal for a deer herd. Fresh off the heels of the rut, most bucks have lost 20 to 25 percent of their body weight and are left to replenish their fat reserves during the greatest nutritional bottleneck of the calendar year. Couple their dietary needs with the weather conditions they are facing—bitterly cold temperatures, howling winds and heavy snowfalls—and it's a wonder that deer don't succumb to winter kill more often. But how can we, as hunters, use this to our advantage to fill our late-season tags?

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8. It's Not 'October Lull;' It's a Transition

October deer hunting
Any number of variables affect the way deer behave in October. Food availability and hunter pressure top that list. (Shutterstock image)

Countless pages have been written by so-called "expert" whitetail hunters who twist themselves into literary pretzels in an effort to talk you into staying home in October. Granted, October in the South is a great time for house painting if you're so inclined. However, for the avid whitetail enthusiast, it's also a good time to ground a big deer. As far as I’m concerned, there is no such thing as the dreaded "October lull." Yes, you read that right. The October lull is fake news—it doesn’t happen. Now, you don’t have to take my word for it. You can do a quick bit of Google work and pull up the results of several recent studies done by wildlife researchers.

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9. 13 for 13: Breakdown of a Dream Deer Season

13-for-13 deer
The author and his friends all took bucks during a hunt in Kansas. They did some things right, but how much was luck? (Shutterstock image)

The 2021 rifle season spanned the traditional 12 days, and in two rotations of six, 12 hunters took 12 bucks. The author took an "ugly" cull buck to make it 13 for 13. It may never happen again, but this season was so exceptional—without ideal weather—that it’s worth examining. Whitetail rut movement being so random, was it blind luck or did we do some things right?

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10. Make Your Own Euro Mount at Home in 4 Steps

DIY Euro Mount
Illustration by Kevin Hand

When it comes to big-game animals, two prominent issues arise for any avid (and successful) hunter who has a taxidermy addiction: cost and space. Shoulder mounts or even full-body mounts are incredible, but one can quickly rack up several thousand dollars of investment in taxidermy, and real estate to park these beasts can quickly run out. This is where do-it-yourself European mounts become an ideal solution. The only thing they'll cost you is a little bit of time and effort.

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