“One of the many great things about fall, as you’ll see in the pages that follow, is that there’s no shortage of opportunities to enjoy and experience these early wake-ups in the wild—whether it’s from an aluminum boat on a sea duck hunt (p. 12), on the sloping plains of pronghorn country (p. 66), or in a treestand during the best days of the whitetail rut (p. 31). You watch the world wake up, knowing that the best is still ahead.” —Colin Kearns, Editor-in-Chief, Field & Stream

THE BEST DAYS OF THE RUT

It’s that time of year again: Scott Bestul’s Annual Best Days of the Rut. Bestul spoke to 11 experts from around the country to dissect each phase of the rut and gather all the best advice. From the 25 tactics you need to know, to the seven dates you need to be in the woods, this is your complete guide to the 2019 rut.

THE BLING LEADERS

A lanyard studded with waterfowl bands means you’ve had a little luck—but it also means you have a lot of experience in the field and you’ve had a lot of memorable hunts. Field & Stream caught up with Bill Saunders, Tony Vandemore, Rick Murphy, and Mike Anderson, four waterfowl experts with different specialties, who weigh in on their bling and best bird-band stories.

PLUS a primer on bird bands

SPOON FED

Pay attention to trends in fishing tackle, and you’ll notice that among the lure-makers there is a constant competition to come up with the next big thing. While these cutting-edge lures are great, an old classic bait, such as a spoon lure, can catch you a decade’s worth of fish. Put some extra shine on your fall season with one of the simplest, most versatile, and most effective lures ever created. Fishing Editor Joe Cermele brings readers six can’t-miss models and some top tips to make spoons work for them this fall.

THE TAG TEAM

Last fall, on their first joint Western big-game hunt, Editor-at-Large T. Edward Nickens and his son Jack worked side by side to sneak into the range of wary pronghorns. “Maybe I had led the charge for so long that I’d forgotten what it was like to share every aspect of the hunt,” Nickens says. Maybe teamwork means more when you’re working with your family, but either way, a heartwarming trip like this is meant to be treasured and experienced by anyone who can.

PLUS a Soulful Bowl of Bigos; the 2019 Shooters Gear Guide; Get Your Thanksgiving Turkey in October; a DIY Sea Duck Hunt; and More