Author: TJ Schwanky

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T.J. Schwanky is one of Canada’s most prolific outdoor writers, penning nearly 1,500 articles since he began writing in 1986. He is also host and producer of Canada’s longest-running hunting television series, Outdoor Quest TV, now in its 24th season of broadcast on Sportsman Channel Canada. TJ has a passion for big game hunting and has hunted on six continents, but his real love is hunting sheep, elk, moose and deer in North America. He has taken a grand slam of North American sheep and has several animals in the record books with rifle and muzzleloader. TJ is recognized as an expert on mountain hunting and long-range shooting and lives in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta, Canada. He hunts extensively with his partner, Vanessa Harrop, who also shares his passion for wild places.

Hunting in the Canadian Arctic It conjures up images of snow-covered tundra, endless darkness and frigid temperatures; and during the winter months, this is relatively accurate. It is a desolate land, with few inhabitants. Only the hardiest call this land home. The arctic’s population is typically confined to small Inuit villages during the winter, but during the summer months, many go out to live off of the land and stock their larders for the long cold winter ahead, just as their ancestors have done for the past thousand years. These are some of the last, true subsistence hunters left in…

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Some of the best hunts I’ve done are ones that happened spontaneously, and as Brad Fenson and I jumped in my pickup truck to head for Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, I knew this was going to be one of those.  Pat Babcock, owner of Cree River Lodge, was just opening a new outpost camp and he’d invited Brad up to do an exploratory black bear hunt/fishing trip. As it turned out, Brad was already committed to a Saskatchewan bear hunt in the fall, so he called and asked me if I’d be interested in this spring hunt. Of course, I was.…

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Pick the Right Gear for Elk, Deer, Bear and Cougar Hunts   Vancouver Island, just off the west coat of Canada, is well known for surfing, vineyards, super-sized cedar and spruce trees and world-class salmon fishing. It does not, however, come to most people’s minds when discussing top big-game hunting destinations. And most Island hunters aren’t upset about this. They are happy to enjoy their passion in relative obscurity. But the truth is, this island paradise not only hosts good populations of big game, but it also offers hunting for some very unique species. The four main big game species found…

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There are only a handful of states and provinces in North America where as a resident or non resident, that you can get a tag for both whitetail and mule deer in the same season. There’s even less destinations where you can expect a better than average buck of each species on the same week-long hunt. But the Canadian province of Alberta is definitely one of those places. While most of the best mule deer units require resident hunters to draw a tag, non- residents can book a hunt through an outfitter without having to draw. When most people think…

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Spend much time on the internet and you’ll quickly realize that you have to pick sides on the long-range shooting debate. In most people’s minds, you are either a long-range hunter or you aren’t. There is no room in the middle. I wouldn’t call Vanessa and me long-range hunters, but we are capable of taking long-range shots if that’s all that is available. Despite the advice of people on social media, learning to become a better hunter is not always the answer in avoiding the long bombs. Sometimes the wind direction, terrain and where you have permission to hunt can…

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How to Be an Accurate Shooter for Big Game As I crawled over a small rise on the prairie landscape, the herd of antelope was casually grazing on the short, protein-rich grass. The rut was coming to an end, but a couple of bucks were still showing a bit of interest in one doe. We’d spent the better part of three hours duck-walking and crawling to get into position on these antelope. The rangefinder in my binoculars read 479 yards. It was a long shot at a small target, but it was also something for which I was well-practiced. I…

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When people think about the Canadian province of Alberta, they imagine the snow-capped Rocky Mountains, crystal clear streams and endless powder for downhill skiing. And they aren’t wrong. Alberta’s Rocky Mountains are one of the most beautiful places in North America. These mountains also abound with fish and wildlife. Alberta’s provincial mammal, the bighorn sheep, makes its home in the lush alpine basins protected by these rocky peaks. And if there were ever a fish that epitomized these mountains, it’s the cutthroat trout. The cutthroat is the only true native trout in the Canadian Rockies. The bull trout is also…

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Understanding the Difference Between First vs. Second Focal-Plane Scopes As long-range shooting and hunting become increasingly popular, many shooters are beginning to explore options for first focal-plane rifle scopes. Manufacturers are responding by offering new models each year. Zeiss just launched its LRP S5 line of scopes. The line was aimed squarely at those who are looking to shoot extreme distances with incredible accuracy. Nightforce has been the leader in this field for the past decade or so, but other manufacturers now want to get a piece of this lucrative pie, and many new options are popping up. Almost all…

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A recent study conducted in the United States certainly opened some eyes. Testing on more than 1,200 eagles from Alaska to Florida showed that 46 percent of bald eagles and 47 percent of golden eagles had chronic lead poisoning. Over time, ingested lead becomes stored in bones. Nearly half of 448 dead birds whose femurs were tested had chronic poisoning, the study said. Older birds had higher concentrations of lead in their bones, which suggests they had multiple, cumulative exposures. While the cause of the ingested lead has not been extensively studied, many researchers are pointing a finger at hunter-killed…

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