Official Newspaper of Eddy County since 1883

Articles written by John Bradley


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  • Expectations Versus Reality

    John Bradley|Nov 28, 2022

    It was my third trip to eastern Montana in as many weeks. The week leading up to the gun opener I had high hopes of shooting a dandy mule deer buck. During the archery season, I had snuck in to 70 yards on him twice, but never was able get in closer for a shot. The night before the gun opener, I thought for sure I would glass him up the next morning, sneak in within 300 yards, and be packing him out by noon. It was a foolish idea to think it would be that easy, but I have always been guilty of...

  • What Story are You Telling?

    John Bradley|Oct 24, 2022

    Only five percent of the U.S. population hunts. That leaves 95 percent of the population as non-hunters. They are our neighbors, family, friends, or friends of friends, and so on. That population will ultimately decide if hunting is allowed to continue. If someone who hasn't been closely exposed to hunting from a friend or family member watches or sees a hunting show, a video on YouTube, or a "grip and grin" Instagram post, how will they view hunting? Now, suppose that same person asked you why...

  • The Gift of Gear

    John Bradley|Aug 22, 2022

    "How do you want to push these cattails," my uncle asked me on a bluebird day in Central Montana. My uncle already knew the answer as he had been hunting this section of state land for years. He knew where the pockets and bends were that always seemed to produce a flush. After checking the wind, I apparently gave the right answer, as he responded, "Let's get the dogs then." Wearing his extra pair of rubber boots and shooting the Benelli he had gifted me earlier that year, I pushed through the ca...

  • A November to Remember, Local Politics and Hunters

    John Bradley|Jun 20, 2022

    Hunters in North Dakota circle the first Friday in November on their calendars every year, while politicians circle the second Tuesday of November – election day. For hunters, excitement for the deer gun opener starts well before the season. When primary elections are occurring in June, hunters are eagerly awaiting their draw results. While candidates campaign all summer and fall, hunters scout their unit, hang trail cams, secure permission from landowners and fine tune their equipment. Just...

  • RAWA Headed to Finish Line

    John Bradley|May 23, 2022

    The Biggest Wildlife Bill in 50 Years is Bipartisan. North Dakota Would be Better Off if it Passes. The warning signs are there for America's wildlife and if you listen close, you can hear the alarm bells ringing. Across the nation, over a third of wildlife species are at a heightened risk of extinction. Here in North Dakota, the Game & Fish Department (NDG&F) has identified 115 species in need of conservation priority including our state bird the western meadowlark, sharp-tailed and sage...

  • Other Plans

    John Bradley|Apr 25, 2022

    I was going to write about a successful North Dakota spring turkey hunt. Hiking out into the badlands, the first camping trip of the year, and turkeys gobbling from their roost. I would have told you how I closed the distance, made a few notes on my call and that a tom came in on a line. Unfortunately, the weather had other plans and my turkey trip got scratched due to the spring blizzard that hit the state. And while it is bringing much needed moisture to our area, it has changed many of our...

  • Saving the Prairie, Saving Ourselves

    John Bradley|Mar 21, 2022

    As winter slowly starts to melt into spring, hunters will take to the fields for turkey, farmers will start planting their crops, and ranchers will turn out their cattle on fresh grass. It's a cycle that happens every year and one that plays a critical role in the economy and quality of life for North Dakotans. When the three work together, we see abundant wildlife and game, strong economies, and thriving communities where future generations want to continue their family traditions. Healthy...

  • A Conservation Legacy in the Making

    John Bradley|Feb 21, 2022

    2022 marks the 85th anniversary of the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, more commonly known as the Pittman-Robertson Act. For hunters and conservationists, this anniversary stands as a testament to the power of the sportsman-conservation community and should fuel within us a sense of pride. Given the current state of politics in our country, it is easy to forget the many successes that we as sportsmen have had; not only in the conservation of our fish and wildlife resources but also in...

  • Access is Needed for R3 to Succeed

    John Bradley|Jan 24, 2022

    My uncle and I go pheasant hunting a couple times each year. We usually hunt over our labs in Montana and during the holidays in Minnesota. He has a couple catch phrases that will undoubtedly be said during each hunt. The first is said upon seeing other hunters out in the field he wanted to work, "Do any of these SOB's work anymore?" His other saying happens at the end of the hunt. After the dogs are put up, he'll crack a beer at the tailgate and say, "It ain't easy being a sportsman." My...

  • CWD: A Threat to Tradition

    John Bradley|Dec 27, 2021

    It starts with countless hours of scouting, days sitting in the stand or miles of boot leather burned. It is late nights and cold early mornings with family and friends. It is moments when, if everything goes to plan, a shot rings out and the deer dies quickly. And it then is moments throughout the next year of healthy delicious meals. It's a great tradition that the deer hunter engages in. One that our parents, grandparents, and great grandparents participated in. One that supports our...

  • Collisions, crossings, and corridors - Protecting wildlife movement

    John Bradley|Dec 6, 2021

    During hunting season here in North Dakota, it is critical for drivers to stay alert to avoid collisions. Every year tens of thousands of cars hit deer on North Dakota roads, a tragedy that takes precious lives and sends many more to the emergency room. Deer aren’t the only wildlife you are likely to see lying dead on the shoulder of the road. Elk, pronghorn, pheasant, sharp-tailed grouse, and bighorn sheep are among countless species hit every year on our roads. Collisions with vehicles, and...

  • The Womb of Time

    John Bradley|Nov 22, 2021

    I decided to slip out of work early Friday and hunt the opener. I knew that there would be a fair number of hunters who had the same idea, but I thought the little tract of PLOTS where I had hunted last year would be unoccupied, boy was I wrong. When I arrived, I was met with three trucks at the entrance and another on the backside. I rolled down my window, told them I'd head elsewhere and wished them luck. I was disappointed that "my spot" was not the hidden gem I thought it was but I moved on...

  • Crossing safely

    John Bradley|Oct 25, 2021

    On a recent road trip back from Denver, after exhausting all my podcast downloads and Spotify playlists, boredom struck, and in desperation to stay awake, I decided to count roadkill. I've always called out game when driving, pointing out deer, antelope, or pheasants, while often annoying my passengers, but never roadkill. This impromptu "roadkill bingo" was triggered by a nice, and I mean a really nice pronghorn buck dead on the highway's shoulder. I know it's just one animal in a species, but...

  • Pick it Up to Earn Your Hunt

    John Bradley|Jun 21, 2021

    We have all seen it, the empty beer can in the ditch, the plastic bag that tangled in a branch - anywhere humans go we tend to leave trash behind, including sportsmen and women. While we should all strive to leave no trace when are in the woods and water, we can make a positive impact by cleaning up after each other, and summer is the perfect time to take care of the areas we flock to in the fall. Sure, you can (and should) pick up trash when you see it in the spring and fall, but summer, when t...

  • 2021 Legislative Recap: Bills affecting wildlife, habitat and access

    John Bradley|May 24, 2021

    The 2021 Legislature was a busy one for issues affecting wildlife, habitat and access for hunters, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts. As we have in years past, the North Dakota Wildlife Federation (NDWF) played a crucial role at the Capitol, monitoring key issues and speaking up for those issues and our outdoor heritage. NDWF worked closely with lawmakers of both parties to ensure that the North Dakota Game & Fish Department (NDG&F) budget saw an increase and that key conservation and access...

  • Habitat: The Key to Your Hunting Season

    John Bradley|Apr 19, 2021

    Each year sportsmen and sportswomen look forward with anticipation to hunting season. Even in spring we wait with hope for the email from Game and Fish notifying that we were drawn for one of the "big three:" once in a lifetime tags for moose, elk, and bighorn sheep. Later we hope that our number gets called for the deer tag in our favorite unit. For most, that excitement drops when they read "your application was not drawn." It's easy to gripe at Game and Fish when our name in the hat doesn't g...

  • North Dakota's Outdoor Heritage Fund: A Boon to ND Hunters & Anglers

    John Bradley|Mar 29, 2021

    North Dakota's Outdoor Heritage Fund (OHF) may be the best conservation tool in the state, yet if you stopped any hunter or angler at your favorite outdoor store, they would probably give you a blank stare if you asked them what the Outdoor Heritage Fund does. It's understandable as projects are not highlighted well on the landscape. When you drive down a gravel road you might see a brood of pheasants run into some quality habitat, but you likely won't see signs on that property like you do...

  • Give big game a chance this winter

    John Bradley|Feb 22, 2021

    Winter is a challenging season for North Dakota's wildlife, with below zero temperatures, snowfall, and limited forage. People can help animals by leaving them undisturbed, so they have a better chance to survive the season. During a normal winter without extremely frigid temperatures, or unusually deep snow, about 90 percent of adult deer and elk survive. But that number can be significantly lower for fawns and calves, which are smaller and less capable of withstanding winter conditions. One...

  • A Hunter's Guide to the Legislature

    John Bradley|Jan 25, 2021

    In every session of the North Dakota Legislature, numerous bills come forward that affect our public lands, waters, fish and wildlife resources. In addition, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department (NDG&F) needs to craft a budget that meets the needs of those resources, as well as the North Dakotans who enjoy wildlife, fish, and our lands and waters in numerous ways. It is critical that hunters and anglers pay attention to what is going on in Bismarck and lend their voice when it is needed....

  • Leaving Lead Behind

    John Bradley|Nov 23, 2020

    Hunters and anglers are the primary funders of wildlife conservation through license fees and excise taxes on equipment like fishing tackle, guns, and ammunition. These taxes, resulting from the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson Acts, were advocated by hunters and anglers to restore game and fish properties across the country. Take a moment to think about that, where else have you seen a group raise their hand and ask to be taxed more for the things they love to do? Thanks to the funding fro...

  • Successful Mentoring

    John Bradley|Oct 19, 2020

    My dad recently told me a story about his little brother who, on his first gun season in Southern Minnesota, was dropped off in a tree grove before sunrise, given a couple slugs for his shotgun, and was strictly told to sit here and wait until someone came to get him. When the rutting buck came running through, he raised his gun and "click." Unsurprisingly, my then 12-year-old uncle was ill-prepared, not having put a slug in the chamber. There was a good outcome, however, this event influenced...

  • The Ethical Hunter

    John Bradley|Sep 21, 2020

    Ethics refers to the study of how to determine the right or moral way to act when faced with everyday human predicaments. Hunting ethics are a set of moral standards that help us, as hunters, to make the right choice when we out on a hunt. I usually explain it as doing the right thing, even when no one is watching. Not everyone agrees on what doing the right thing means exactly, but for most situations adhering to the following set of general ethical hunting guidelines helps ensure that you are...

  • Meat in the Heat

    John Bradley, NDWF Executive Director|Aug 24, 2020

    Growing up hunting in Minnesota with my family, we’d avoid bowhunting for deer in September in fear of the occasional 80-degree day that could spoil meat quickly. It wasn’t until I moved out west that I started hunting the early season, when deer are often more predictable. During early season hunts like North Dakota’s archery season, it’s critical to be cautious with meat spoilage. After all, you’ve likely spent far more money on your hunting trip than a trip to the grocery store...

  • Elk Preparation

    John Bradley|Jun 22, 2020

    While most of us have been more tuned in to big game hunting applications this spring or hitting the water for walleye, the recent stay-at-home order gave me a chance to organize some gear, too. Picking my way through a year of fishing and hunting equipment, my thoughts swirled around one activity: elk hunting. Even as I write this, I am kicking myself for not organizing my elk gear after my last move. It's easy to understand why, as I have my North Dakota once-in-a-lifetime elk tag in my...

  • LWCF would bring post-COVID jobs & outdoor access

    John Bradley, oor Access By John Bradley,|May 18, 2020

    Numerous vulnerabilities in our economic and healthcare systems have come to light the last few months during the COVID-19 pandemic. But the crisis has also highlighted just how much Americans love-and need-to connect with nature on our public lands. Across the country, people have been flocking to local, state, and national parks – so much so that many parks had to be closed because social distancing could not be practiced. North Dakotans are lucky that we can responsibly find peace outdoors...

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