Bonnier Corporation

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Outdoor LifeOutdoor Life

Outdoor Life Winter 2019

Our readers' hands-on spirit is reflected in the magazine's comprehensive gear tests and personal adventure stories. Whether shopping for a new rifle, searching for the hottest fishing holes this weekend or thirsting for exciting adventure tales, Outdoor Life is the ultimate resource.

United States
Bonnier Corporation
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9 Issues


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west cook, minnesota / 5:28 p.m.

WAYPOINTThere are camp cooks, and then there are camp chefs. Lukas Leaf qualifies as the latter, which means he will haul into the backcountry as much cast iron as necessary, along with packages of bacon, fragile eggs, and travel-size shampoo bottles filled with hot sauce. Leaf’s skill in the kitchen—he used to be the executive chef at an Italian restaurant in Minneapolis—and a knack for foraging helped him prepare outrageous meals on our ice-fishing trip. The menu included perfectly crusted backstrap with a purple center, a rich venison and chanterelle stew, and violet pancakes made from blueberry muffin mix that were nothing short of inspired. For the story behind this batch of fried lake trout, turn to p. 80. ■…

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the adventure is real

This issue is full of stories that by any definition qualify as adventures: Hunting mountain goats in the crags of Kodiak Island. A DIY road trip through North Dakota that demands flexibility to get into ducks. Ice fishing in the frigid wilderness of the Boundary Waters. Slogging through the Canadian bush to call in big moose. Chasing Coues deer in Mexico’s Sonoran desert.But “adventure” means different things to different people. For the truly hardcore outdoorsman, it’s not an adventure unless there is a high level of suffering and danger. For others, just chasing animals on their own turf is enough to get their blood pumping in a way other activities can’t, even if it’s just on the family farm.And that’s how it should be. Adventure is a very personal concept,…

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Tech TalkI enjoyed “Technology in the Field” [Editor’s Journal, Fall 2018]. I’m a bowhunter because I want to be close to take an animal. Though I use a compound, I feel like technology is encroaching on bowhunting. Battery sights that include rangefinders and lights are diluting the proficiency needed to gauge range and accuracy. We also see this in the push to use crossbows. I am aware of the importance of getting more folks into the field to keep the sport alive, but the article makes a valid point that we shouldn’t lose the predator-prey relationship, along with the rewards and disappointments it affords.David PettyWild Rose, WIFolks who don’t shoot at long ranges may naysay hunting at longer ranges partially because they don’t possess those skills, thereby creating a bias.…

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GERRY BETHGE, deputy editorBEST: It’s a tie between a Bear Grizzly recurve with a 55-pound pull that I had to train intensively to draw and a reversible Woolrich coat with red check on one side and blaze orange on the other. I still have the coat, and I still have the photo (below) of me opening the bow on Christmas morning.WORST: Reusable liquid hand warmers. To “recharge” the hand warmers, you put them in the microwave, which turned the hard substance inside them into a hot liquid. The first time I tried zapping them, they blew up inside the microwave and I had to throw them away.BEN ROMANS, online editorBEST: Half an Orvis Clearwater fly rod. One fall, the ferrule on my rod separated on a forward cast so forceful…

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if we use your story, you’ll get this book!

“This Happened to Me” has been a fixture of OL since 1940. Now we’ve compiled our readers’ most hair-raising misadventures in a single volume, so you can pore over its 183 action-packed pages knowing you’re in good company. Copies are also available for purchase at» We publish true adventures. Send yours to Only those used will be acknowledged. ■…

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cut ’em close

late-season drake goldeneye flies at top speed. (DEAN PEARSON)You’d be surprised what a problem it is, backing a pickup truck down an icy ramp to launch a boat that’s frozen to the trailer. The treachery of a 45-degree slab of concrete that’s skating-rink slick and ending in a flowing river aside, the ice makes the boat stick to the trailer bunks. The procedure goes: One man stays in the truck to keep the wheels straight, ready to feather the accelerator when (it’s definitely “when” and not “if”) the truck slides. Hitting the brakes basically creates a sled. Two other men, wearing chest waders, stand in hip-deep water and rock the bow of the boat until it busts loose and floats away from the trailer. That they’ll be the first thing…