Andrew Vavra

Andrew Vavra is the marketing specialist at Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s national headquarters. Born and bred in Minnesota, he's a passionate sportsman who appreciates the thrills (and chills) that come with hunting, fishing and camping in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Posts about Outdoors Women

Win Your Battle with Wild Winter Roosters

Posted by: Andrew Vavra Updated: December 9, 2009 - 3:02 PM
There comes a time every winter where outdoorsmen and women have to prioritize things. Does the cost of your sanity outweigh the benefits of harvesting a cold weather buck during muzzleloader? Do you really want to lay in a frozen corn field for 3 hours while praying for a few geese to land in your spread? Can you escape for the weekend to South Dakota without your spouse forcing you to fight with the dog over who gets to sleep on the couch Sunday night? Hopefully with a little negotiating and the right tactics, harvesting a few late season roosters will soon become your top priority.

Pheasants are out there. Thousands of them. You just have to know where and how to find them once December’s nasty temperament takes hold. So strap on your winter boots, throw some hand warmers in your pockets, take note of these time tested winter pheasant hunting tactics and have a blast, literally.

  • When it comes to late season roosters you have to think of one thing: Cover. And lots of it. Just like you’d rather be sitting on a La-Z-Boy in front of the TV when it’s 10 degrees outside, a rooster would rather be tucked away in cattails or horsetail where it can escape the elements. In fact, some of the best upland hunting can be had in Waterfowl Production Areas, and now that the ice is frozen you won’t have to worry about bringing along your hip boots.
  • It’s no secret that the late harvesting of crops dampened the early season success rate of upland hunters. On the flip-side, this is a good thing for those now willing to brave the elements since there are more birds waiting to be discovered. If cattail sloughs aren’t abundant in your area, check out the grassy areas next to recently harvested agricultural fields because birds will hold there after being disturbed by farming machinery.
  • Be ready to hunt the second you leave your vehicle. Often times, people aren’t ready for the sudden flushes that occur in the ditches of gravel roads. These roadside hot spots can be loaded with birds collecting gravel for their gizzards.
  • As Elmer Fudd would say, “Be very, very quiet.” These birds have survived for a reason; they flush wild and way out ahead of you. Therefore the less you slam your car doors or yell at your dog the better chance you’ll have at getting a close shot off.
  • Sometimes the closest chance you’ll have at a rooster will be a Hail Mary poke at 40+ yards. For this reason you should switch to a modified or full choke once late December arrives.

Hopefully the snow and cold will cause the birds to bunch up and hold tight for you. This could provide some of the most amazing flushes you’ll ever see. However, you won’t know for sure until you get your priorities straight. Good luck, stay warm and happy hunting.

Be Careful What You Wish For

Posted by: Andrew Vavra Updated: October 9, 2009 - 4:12 PM

I consider myself to be an extremely lucky person. Over the years, I’ve snuck in late homework assignments, talked my way out of parking tickets, and I’ve even been able to sit along the first baseline at the dome while only possessing a general admission ticket. However, what I consider to be my luckiest break is being born to a father who loved the outdoors and a mother who put up with her boys’ obsessions.

Growing up in an environment where the garage was more of a storage facility for gear than it was a parking space for a vehicle, I learned two things very quickly: 1. A muddy dog doesn’t belong in the house and 2. The outdoors is meant to be shared.

I recently met a special someone who was from a big city and who hadn’t spent much time (if any) in the woods or on the water. So naturally I wanted to introduce her to one of life’s simple pleasures: a fishing trip.

Having not touched a fishing pole since her old Snoopy rod (at the ripe old age of four), and having never camped, period, I thought it would be a good idea to take the girl who thought lake water could never be drank and introduce her to the BWCA. This is where my lucky streak officially ended, but not in the disaster you’re envisioning.

She out-fished me.

There, I said it. I got out-angled by someone who thought polarized sunglasses weren’t fashionable and Rapalas were pretty.

We had a great late season trip and tore into some smallmouth bass (with her pulling them in at a 6 to 1 ratio) but I don’t know if I can live with all the torment from my coworkers and friends about  the outdoor junkie getting handled by a novice from Chicago (at least she’s not a White Sox fan). To make things worse, she’s officially addicted to fishing and wants to give hunting a try. Just my luck.

You never know who will catch the outdoor bug and unlike H1N1, we should all be trying to introduce our state’s great fields, forests and lakes to anyone willing to give it a chance. However, just be careful what you wish for.



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