Cool Calibers: 204 Ruger

So far in our Cool Calibers blog series we have been able to cover a more obscure round in rifle, handgun and shotgun (respectively). And I am the kind of guy that does not stop a good thing from keeping on going. So we will flip back to the beginning and focus on a rifle cartridge that may not be the most common, but one that might find itself in your collection. Since the last rifle-caliber found itself useful for medium to larger game, this one will be specifically for the “little guys”. This month’s cool caliber is the 204 Ruger.

The 204 Ruger was developed by Hornady and Ruger, and introduced in 2004. When it was first introduced it had the highest velocity of commercially produced ammunition. As stated above the round was developed for the “little guys”. Not meaning shooters of smaller stature, but of the targets. It is a great varmint and silhouettes caliber. Varmint shooters need a bullet that can fly flat and fast. The 204 Ruger fits that bill perfectly. And the round is extremely accurate.

The 204 Ruger was not the first gathering of Ruger and Hornady on a project. Previously they had developed a revolver cartridge together. When consumers saw that these two were working their magic again, they picked up on it quick. The other group of people who picked up on it quick were hand loaders/reloaders. Since the caliber is a center-fire it can be reloaded. Many have achieved amazing results when hand-loading this caliber, but please always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Ammunition for this caliber can be purchased easily at many major retailers. Usually with these kinds of rounds one must hunt for ammo, but such is not the case here. What is interesting is how over the past number of years there have been growing trends in shooting sports. Reloading and hand loading have been growing in popularity. With large game being harder and less available to hunt, picking off some varmints has also become more common. Some ranchers and farmers will even encourage the hunting of certain species, just be sure to be legal and have permission when doing so. And using AR-15 platforms to hunt has also been an increasing trend.

Standard calibers for that platform, like .223 Rem and .308 Win, are now budding up to specialty calibers for AR hunting. Several specialty calibers have been developed. There are several reasons many are attracted to hunting with an AR. They are light, fun, pretty-dang accurate and can take a multitude of attachments/accessories. You can also remove the upper of one caliber and switch on a different caliber, where applicable. So instead of having several rifles for all your hunting and shooting needs, you can have one lower and several uppers instead! And guess what, AR-15s can use a 204 Ruger.

So the 204 Ruger was the right caliber at the right time. Should you check one out? Perhaps! I know I am.

-Giddy-Up!!

Other Caliber Related Blogs:

7mm-08 Remington - 357 Sig - 16 Gauge

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GLOCK 42: The Sleek Carry That Packs a Punch

If you are looking for a reliable, no-nonsense concealed carry pistol look no further than the GLOCK 42, currently in store at Bass Pro Shops in Hampton, Virginia.  The GLOCK 42 is sleek and compact, making it a great concealed carry choice for anyone looking for a no-frills carry.  It features GLOCK’s drop-safe trigger, which protects the carrier from a negligent discharge and it has stippling on the grip to help keep it firmly in hand.  This is truly a reliable, consistent, slim-line subcompact firearm that is perfect for “pocket carry” or for any shooter with smaller hands.  It has a moderate recoil, a reliable single-stack magazine and is made in the U.S.A.  While this is GLOCK’s smallest pistol to date, it uses .380 caliber ammo so it will pack a punch despite is small size.

Its length measures at 5.94 inches, with a width of .94 inches and a height of 4.13 inches.  The length between the sites is 4.92 inches, with a barrel length of 3.25 inches.  It weighs in at a mere 17.29 oz when loaded, and has a trigger pull of 5.5 lbs (with a trigger “travel” of .49 inches) which is fairly standard meaning that you don’t have to worry that this firearm might be too touchy on the trigger for somebody who may be newer to carrying concealed.  This firearm was designed for personal defense, and it does not have a safety.  Priced at $469.00, we encourage you to take a look if you are in the market for a solid concealed-carry pistol.

Once you’ve checked out the GLOCK 42, feel free to compare this pistol to similar products we carry, like the Kimber Micro Carry 380 priced at $779.00, boasting a miniature 1911 frame and a Crimson Trace Lasergrip) or the Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 380 (which has a safety and is priced at $379.00).  Good items to pair it with might include .380 ammo, a holster, and a cleaning kit.  And, remember, that GLOCK does come with a limited, lifetime warranty; so, while you cannot put a Bass Pro “Gear Guard” on this item, you can trust that the manufacturer will stand behind its product.  In our opinion, this is a solid contender for your concealed carry weapon that will hold up to the test of time and the elements while consistently offering you an accurate pistol that can pack a big punch despite its small size.

What are customers saying who have purchased the GLOCK 42?

" I got lucky and just purchased my G42...Its a great "little" gun...a good bit larger than my TCP, but, has less recoil...very easy to shoot and accurate, as well. The only reason I didn't give it a 5 star....I shot 100 rounds of "gun show" hardball reloads....40% of the rounds "stove piped" ....I'm sure it was the quality of rounds and not the fault of the gun..my TCP had no problems with the reloads....(Hornady Critical Defense) worked flawlessly.....The size of the gun allows me to carry in my pocket without any problems. If you get lucky and have the opportunity to buy one of these great guns.....go for it......"

" I've had mine since day after Vegas show, it has shot every ammo without fail, I believe once it failed to chamber a Russian round not a brass case, carries great even though I have a Alien holster custom, I prefer to just use front pocket with a glove holster."

Would you like to learn more from the Bass Pro website?
http://www.basspro.com/Glock-42-SemiAuto-Pistol/product/1409161749/
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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Capturers of the Outdoors: Peter Hathaway Capstick

If you had followed my Africa’s Big Five series, you probably could have seen this coming. In those blogs I wrote about the “five most dangerous game” of Africa, which included Lion, Cape Buffalo, Elephant, Rhino and Leopard. The articles were about the nature of these animals and the history/future of hunting them. Things have changed a lot since the original “African explorers” first traveled the “dark continent”. One man though was able to contain this essence of adventure and excitement in his writings, Peter Hathaway Capstick. His books would inspire a new generation of hunters and outdoor enthusiasts. So for the month of May he will be the focus of our Capturers of the Outdoors blog.

I should preface, after the first preface, with the fact that he is one of my favorite authors. So yes, there will be biased shown in this blog. Just the same if I was to write a blog on why A-Wings are cooler than X-Wings or why Jurassic Park is the best movie ever.

Peter Hathaway Capstick was born in New Jersey in 1940. He passed away in 1996 in South Africa. When you look at those two things you see that he didn’t reach the age of 60 and didn’t pass on American soil. At firs this could be considered confusing, but once you read his works and know his own story it makes perfect sense. Capstick was born and raised in the United States. He attended University of Virginia and had a career working on Wall Street.

While selling and buying stocks can be its own adventure in its own kind of jungle, Capstick yearned for more. So he left the urban jungle and went to the Latin American jungle. He pursued his lifelong passions of fishing, hunting and traveling at this time. He also learned Spanish, which would be one of the several languages he would speak in his lifetime. After a couple years he returned to New York began a business arranging professionally guided hunting trips which caught the attention of Winchester Adventures. He worked there as a director.

From this he took his first trip to Africa and from then on his life would be forever changed. Many who take a trip to Africa can tell you just how amazing it is. A few different associates at our store have spoken about his, even though they didn’t have the words to explain it. You quickly realize that it is something you have to experience. Capstick would eventually become a professional hunter (PH) and game ranger in three different African countries.

Close to a decade after his first trip to Africa, Capstick published his first book: Death in the Long Grass. This books covers the dangerous game in Africa in several chapters. He fills his chapters with stories of his own, taken from others, historically documented cases and more. Being both a PH and a game ranger he clearly would have constantly been in close proximity to dangerous situations or others who had been in them. Death in the Long Grass was a success and is considered one of the quintessential books of African hunting.

When you read his work you can tell Capstick was well-educated and extremely passionate about his topics. His words can clearly bring a mental picture to mind as you read them. He would eventually write thirteen books and even dabbled in film, where his story-telling mastery came to life in front of you. He published six hunting videos, which before the time of every hunter having a TV show or YouTube channel was quite impressive.

His subjects ranged from the animals of Africa to the men that hunted them. One of my favorite books of his though is Death in a Lonely Land. This book is a compilation of some of his favorite and forgotten writings, so it ranges from fishing to playing with BB Guns. Besides publishing books and videos, Capstick wrote for Outdoor Life, Guns & Ammo, Petersen’s Hunting and American Hunter.

The last thing he did to share his passion with the world, was one of the last things he ever did. He was a keynote speaker at a banquet for Safari Club International. He suffered exhaustion and eventually collapsed. They were able to get him back to his beloved and adopted home of South Africa for an operation that in the end did not work. He is still remembered through his writings and honored through a special award given out for the promotion of responsible hunting and wildlife conservation.

Before my hunting trip to Tennessee I would find myself reaching for anything by Capstick. I took a few of his books with me on my trip and in between times in a blind or handling tasks around the farm I was deep into my book. His writings continue to inspire the passion and imagination of hunters. He truly captured the outdoors in every aspect of his life.

-Giddy-Up!!

Previous Capturers

Zane Grey Disney Nature

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Choosing a Turkey Shotgun!

Turkey season is just around the corner.  Whether you already have a turkey shotgun or are currently looking for one, there are some important things to consider- how the shotgun shoots, how comfortable you are with it, and where you will be hunting.  Many hunters will debate on everything from the best choke, barrel size and ammo till the end of time. However, it is important that hunters realize that a specialty shotgun, like for Turkey, as just as much to do with the shooter as the gun itself and there is no right or wrong answer to the argument.  The argument about shotguns can relate to the argument about beer “taste great” or “less filling!”

The most important thing is to choose a shotgun that is best for you as an individual.  The more comfortable you are shooting a shotgun the more confident you will be- thus making you a better shooter.

                That being said, factory guns are fine out-of-the-box, but a few modifications based on your individual skill and type of firearm can make things easier for you.  It is important to base those modifications on your ability and the shotgun itself and not to compare it to you buddy’s situation. For example, your buddy might have a Winchester with an extra full choke that patterns Winchester long beard #4 very tight. This does not mean that your 870 with an extra full choke will do the same.  Moreover, barrel lengths and choke restrictions affect patterns.  It is important that you do some range time to determine which ammo shoots best in your shotgun.

                 This can be a time consuming as well as hard on your wallet. You can save time and money by doing some research first.  There is an abundance of resources on the internet to help you determine a narrow list of possibilities for ammo selection.  However, just like a said before about listening to your buddy, the same goes here. Look for repeated patterns in what people are saying. If 10 people are saying the same thing about how a size load patterns in the same type of shotgun you have than you can take that as quantitative evidence. If only one or two people say it, than you do not and would have to test it for yourself.   From my experience, if you research enough you will find that quantitative evidence you need.

 

                One of the biggest markets for Turkey hunting as well as all shooting sports is accessories. Accessories have more to do with the individual person than performance of the firearm.  If you feel more comfortable with a pistol grip stock then go with it-if you are not comfortable then don’t.  The same idea holds true with sights.  Remember you are shooting the shotgun and not the sight. The sight is there to aid you. Therefore, the site fits your ability and style of shooting.

                Camo patterns are the latest craze in firearms.  Regardless of what you see on your favorite hunting show or how camo patterns of guns are advertised, camo is determined by where you will be hunting- period.  You should not care what a professional hunter in Texas on television says about Brush camo by Mossy Oak if you live in Indiana.  Moreover, it is important on what season you are hunting.

If you have a Realtree Xtra camo which actually represents the Fall season, it might not be suitable for spring.  So if you are going to choose a shotgun that has been dipped or you are thinking about getting your current shotgun dipped, realize that you will be limiting that firearm to a season and a specific geographical are.

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Cool Calibers: 16 Gauge

With the third installment of our Cool Calibers blog I will be successful at focusing on a more-obscure and less appreciated caliber in rifle, handgun and now shotgun. I am hoping to continue this pattern for the following installments, but I might just run out of shotgun calibers to focus on. Which actually let me apologize for my incorrectness concerning this. Shotguns are measured in gauges, not calibers. Gauge refers to the diameter of the barrel. There is more to it but that is not our focus today, what is will be the 16 gauge shotgun!

The two most popular shotgun gauges are the 12Ga and 20Ga. The 16Ga sits right in between them. It was originally known as a “gentlemen’s gun” with the 12Ga being marketed and used more heavily by rural people. It is also considered a European firearm, as it originated there and has retained popularity. The gauge is perfect for upland bird which is the majority of its use.

Once conservation and wildlife agencies got their acts together in early America, bag limits and seasons were set to protect animals. This significantly reduced the number of birds hunted and protected many species from extinction. But what is a shot gunner supposed to shoot at if not birds?! That is where skeet came into play. Such shooting activities as skeet and trap provided shooters a recreational way to keep firing. Unfortunately the rules were written to not include 16Ga in them.

Because of this and the majority of shooting turning to sporting instead of sustenance, manufactures produced more of the 12Ga and 20Ga. And so slowly the 16Ga disappeared from American fields. Manufacturers of 16Ga products tried to step up their game with the quality and diversity of the gauges possibilities. Unfortunately all was too little too late and further pushed the 16Ga from American minds and gun cabinets.

I remember growing up and the 16Ga was mentioned as if it was a legend. When I learned that my best friend’s Belgian grandfather had a side-by-side 16Ga (still in Europe) I knew to look upon it would have been like finding the Holy Grail. For years I grew up listening to my friend’s father talk about the firearm, and I will tell you what: It was beautiful!

This adds to the majesty of the round. The “gentlemen’s gun” was given high praise and often handed down through generations. The nicer guns always survived adding to the “nobility” of the gauge.

A couple years back though I noticed something interesting on the shotgun ammo shelves. It was a box of 16Ga. And then I noticed some more. Yes, there has been new life breathed into this classic firearm. Manufacturers and shooters are bringing it back into the public’s conscious. The fact that you can shoot the 16Ga a hundred times and not be sore, and carry it all day and also not be fatigued makes it a great upland bird gauge.

-Giddy-Up!!

Other Caliber Related Blogs:

7mm-08 Remington - 357 Sig

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.22’s Catch .22

Think back to the first gun you ever shot. What was it? Dad’s first rifle? Or perhaps your great-uncle’s squirrel gun? Well more than likely it was a .22 of some kind. There are several variations of .22 which includes Short, Long, Long Rifle and Magnum. It is the most commonly owned caliber in the world. This is usually the first firearm one shoots as it is a step above from a BB gun but not nearly as powerful as a center fire rifle cartridge. They use this caliber in the Boy Scouts and for Hunter’s Education purposes.

That is not to say that .22’s are kids play. Far from it. I have heard from several retired officers that it is the most common cartridge used in crimes. There are also countless stories/rumors of it being the “assassin’s choice” for handgun. Which may or may not be true but let’s not put any faith into that. You can put faith though into the fact that .22’s are lethal out to far ranges and should be treated with all the seriousness as any other firearm. It may not kick as much but it can still cause serious damage.

A few years ago you could walk into almost any sporting goods store and pick up a box of .22. It was no harder to find .22 ammo at a sporting goods store than it was to find bread at a grocery store. Nowadays though, good luck. Finding .22 ammo on the shelf is like successfully hunting a unicorn. OK, maybe not that bad but it is a rare sight. At our store, the most common phone call from a customer is about the status of .22 ammo. I am sure this is the same for other Bass Pro Shops and other sporting goods stores nationwide.

It all started with the usual fear of gun-bans. There had been some prolific mass-shootings that took place and even some legislation proposed though our government. This caused a rush on the market and people began buying up everything. Handguns, long guns (especially AR-15 style platforms), high-capacity magazines, accessories and ammo were being bought up by the truckload. Certain calibers like 9mm, 45ACP, 223Rem, 308Win and of course .22’s of all kinds were the most sought after.

For months after the initial scare you could come to our store and see a line of people waiting to get in as soon as we opened to see what we had on our shelves. Talking to people at other stores, this was the same state-wide and more than likely nationwide.

But so what’s the deal? As people will say “it’s only .22” and you begin to wonder why you can’t find it. It’s not like they aren’t producing it anymore. On the contrary! Ammunition manufacturers saw what calibers consumers most wanted and started just focusing on those. More obscure rounds have stopped being produced commercially as those machines are now needed for your common calibers. So where are they all going?

I have heard some people say it’s the government, that they are buying it all up so the youth can’t get into shooting. Like we said earlier, it is the most common caliber for kids to learn to shoot. Really the next step up is .223Rem which honestly has enough kick to be reserved for kids ten years of age or older. Remember if kids don’t enjoy shooting when they are young and get bruised up by too large of calibers, they probably won’t be lifetime shooters or gun owners.

Others point towards the “preppers” as they are stockpiling food, water, supplies and ammo. These certain types of people are misunderstood by many who do not know what they do. It is understandable though. Most people who are preparing for some kind of catastrophe are considered “weird” or “crazy” by others. That is until a disaster strikes and your family doesn’t have any can-goods because you didn’t even think about what may happen in this crazy thing called life. TV shows that document preppers and their lifestyles point out how they store products like alcohol, ammo or medical supplies to be used as a bartering system after money has no value.

Then you also have the people who purposely buy it all up just to sell on the internet for a profit. Don’t think people would actually do that? Think again. People were paying for magazines and firearms at way above decent mark-up on products. An AR-15 magazine for $60? Yea and people paid it. So if you haven’t been able to buy any .22 in-stores for a year or two but find some online at a higher price, you know you probably would pay it.

And outside of government conspiracies, people profiting like pirates and those crazy preppers you had your normal gun enthusiasts who want to get their hands on .22 ammo. People who own several firearms in their home and more than likely a .22 or two. You yourself may be such a person, and until recently you never thought about stockpiling up thousands of rounds of ammo. But now with how scarce it is, you buy up as much as you can when you get the chance. You’re not trying to gouge people online or are concerned with zombie-tornadoes, but you don’t want to not have any .22 either.

Because of all of this, you have .22’s very own Catch 22. People who weren’t stockpiling it before are now. Preppers hear about these government buy-outs and are now more determined to acquire as much .22 as possible. And shoppers/shooters like me and you who now pick up an extra box or two of the ammo when we don’t need it are making it scarcer. No one wins. And to boot, unlike 9mm or 308Win that you can reload .22 is almost impossible to. There are ways to do it, but none of them are very practical or safe so it is best to avoid that altogether.

Will this Catch 22 ever end? I honestly don’t know. All I do know is that if you ever have the chance to teach a kid how to shoot that it is not the time to be stingy with your stockpile.

-Giddy-Up!!

Other Caliber Related Blogs:

7mm-08 Remington - 357 Sig 16 Gauge

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RangeMaxx Firearm Cleaning Seminars

What surprises me is how many times I have seen customers purchase a firearm and not also pick up a cleaning kit for it. And I know that many avid-shooters have a multi-caliber/gauge cleaning kit of some kind, but many don’t! Gun cleaning and care is an extremely important aspect of being a responsible firearm owner. Just like everything else, you have to take care of it for it to stay functional.

One of my first Check it Out List blogs was about firearm cleaning kits. And while it covered many aspects of what you need to clean your firearms, it did not cover how to. For me, this is one task that is better to be learned hands-on or visually. There are hundreds of YouTube videos on how to clean and maintain firearms. Google the firearm you own and how to clean, and there will probably be a video for that exact one! But alas, even the mighty internet is not the best source for learning this practice. So what is?

Well here at Bass Pro Shops-Mesa AZ we are going to have a day with a few seminars on Basic Firearm Cleaning and Care. This event is sponsored by RangeMaxx, who makes some excellent firearm products.

I picked up one of their range-bags a couple years back and absolutely love it! I have had no issues at all, with nothing breaking or tearing. And when I load up for the range it usually entails three to four handguns, eye and ear protection and several boxes of ammo… in other words it’s pretty loaded. (Side note, isn’t weird how much lighter a range bag is after an hour or so?!)

So here are the details:

Sunday, May 3rd

Stop by our store and come upstairs to the Conference Room where we will be holding three separate seminars on Basic Firearm Cleaning and Care. We will cover cleaning and care items for pistols, rifles and shotguns. Attendees do not need to bring anything. Please note, this is not a chance for a free gun-cleaning.

Seminars will be at 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30.

 1:30– Pistols/Revolvers

2:30– Shotguns

3:30– Rifles/MSRs

After each seminar a raffle will be held for those who attended. There will be a different prize for each seminar.

We hope to see you there!

-Giddy-Up!!

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Check it Out List: Bow Fishing

OK! I promise this will be the last bow fishing blog for a while! Sheesh! I know it was bad enough doing this month’s Fishy Fact blog about bowfin, but you can’t blame me. Bow fishing is really awesome. It is one of the few sports that combine two distinctly different outdoor passions into one (archery and fishing). It is also one of the few things that have gone from survival technique to big-league sport. I haven’t seen the International Fire Starters Championship, but there definitely is a U.S. Open Bowfishing Championship!

 

Bowfishing

Bow

Reel

Line

Arrows/Points

Accessories

 

Your bow can either be a recurve style or a compound style. (I believe Burt Reynolds had a recurve in Deliverance.) Both have their advantages. The recurve is very easy to learn and pretty simple. The compound has more features and gadgets. Crossbow options are available as well. It all depends on you. You won’t have to take 70 yard shots or anything like that, so really just figure out what works for you. Most people go with a compound though.

Hey, ever wonder what happens to all those bows we get from trade-in specials? Well we donate ours to a non-profit group that turns them into bowfishing rigs. So if you can get your hands onto an older bow for cheap, this might be a good option too!

The reel attaches to your bow and holds the line. The line is attached to your arrow. So hypothetically you would spot a fish, fire your arrow and (hopefully) hit the fish. You would then reel your line in, bringing the arrow and fish right back to you. This is nice, because if you miss you can simply reel it back in. Anybody who shoots archery will tell you what a pain it is losing arrows. Now the reel itself can be your standard set up, or one that closer resembles a spin-casting reel used for fishing.

Lines are pretty standard so it is whatever works best for you and your bow. Archery gear can be like anything else where it seems to prefer certain products. Just like your rifle might prefer certain manufacturer’s ammo.

The arrows don’t have any fletching, mostly because they don’t need them. The shots taken while bowfishing really are not that far. Once again, you’ll figure out what your bow likes as far as arrows go. Once you start looking at the different points, you’ll see a wide variety of options. It all kind of depends on what fish you will be going after and what you like shooting. But basically you will hit the fish and the blades will keep the fish from getting off as you reel in.

A big thing lately has been bowfishing for gators. Please note that you will need some heavy duty stuff for that, and it is best done with a guide. Seriously.

Accessories for bowfishing include gloves, scales, sunglasses, hats and all of your standard fishing accessories. Whether it be tools or apparel these are things you can pick up over time or use what you already have.

-Giddy-Up!!

Checked-Lists

Picnics Gun Cleaning Game Care First Aid Kayaking Day Pack Trip Prep Range Time

Fishing Pack Boating Day Trip Camp Cooking  Dove Hunting Upland Hunting Tactical Clothing

Winter Camping Reloading

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Let's Talk Turkey!

With temperatures quickly shooting into the 70's in much of the Midwest, it is time to start gearing up for the last (but not least) hunting season before Spring gives way to Summer:  Spring Turkey season!

The good news: the game hasn't changed that much.  All your needs are basically the same:  gun, ammo, camo, calls, decoys and lots of patience are all that is needed to finally bag that big gobbler that we all dream about this time of year.

The only thing that has really changed (for the better) in the past few years is the development of hyper-realistic decoys.  One of the leaders in this trend, Avian-X, has been a best-seller since their debut a few years ago with their LCD (Lifelike Collapsible Decoy) line of decoys.  Not one to rest on their laurels, Avian has upped the ante yet again with new Merriam and Rio combo packs aimed to add diversity to your arsenal.

 

Merriam:

Rio:

 

Most turkey decoy manufacturers tend to model their coloring after the Eastern subspecies of turkey, because they are by far the most numerous in population and distribution.  However, they are located almost exclusively East of the Missouri River.  

There are 3 other major subspecies of turkey found in the United States:  Merriam, Rio and Osceola.  Osceola turkeys are only found in the state of Florida, but the Merriam and Rio subspecies can be found scattered throughout the states West of the Missouri River.

 

 

Currently, the only way to get these new color options is to buy them in the combo pack, which comes standard with LCD Jake and Lookout Hen decoys.  Of course, you will still be able to buy the other poses individually in the Eastern configuration, but if diversity is what you seek, look no further than the new Avian-X lineup.

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Home Defense Without Breaking the Bank

 

There is a growing population of people in the gun world who believe that in order to have a solid home defense plan, one must own a purposefully built AR with a night vision sight, all of the lasers and lights that would fit on it, and any other bells and whistles for any remaining rail space. A setup like the one pictured above can easily run you thousands of dollars, possibly more, but it is by no means the only thing capable of protecting you from everything that goes bump in the night.  If you can afford the aforementioned AR system, don't let me be the one to stop you, but if you want that warm fuzzy feeling without having to take out a small loan or pawn off your first born then here are some suggestions for you.

 

Defense Shotguns

A good ol' 12 gauge buckshot round is my personal preference for home defense. This offers plenty of knockdown power with less threat of over penetration. There is a host of shotguns being produced with home defense in mind and some are just as costly as the AR, but for those that aren't worried about having defend our homes against the incursion a pump or even a double barrel shotgun would more than suffice.

My personal choice is going to be the pump and there are plenty of options well under the $500 mark.  My shotgun of choice is the Winchester SXP Defender, coming in right at $350 it is one of the smoothest actions of all pump shotguns and feeds any round you throw in the chamber.  Of course, there are other options available, the Mossberg 500 and Remington 870 offer great platforms that can be customized with all the accessories you could ever want.

If you aren't a fan of the pump action, there are also several double barrel options built specifically with defense in mind. The only downfall of going to a double barrel is that you are limited to two rounds, but if you foresee two rounds of 12 gauge not being enough firepower, I would begin to reconsider what kind of situations I plan on getting myself in.

 

 

Handguns

Handgun shooting is a different breed of sport altogether and employs new techniques and practices but for those who carry a handgun on them and are accustomed to doing so, a handgun is second to none for defense. Handguns were designed with defense in mind, as their smaller size makes them easier to conceal and are less unwieldy than a long gun when operating in narrow spaces found in households. One thing to keep in mind with handguns is to be sure to get the right ammo.  Drywall and wood are no contest for a fast moving pistol round; full metal jacket (FMJ) bullets can penetrate through several layers of drywall before coming to a halt. If you think a handgun might better suit your needs and are willing to train to become proficient in using it, they are definitely a viable option.

The options for handguns are endless, with prices ranging from just a couple hundred dollars and up in to the thousands depending on model.  Choosing a cartridge is another factor, with the most popular defense handgun calibers being .380 ACP, 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP and .38 Special, but that is a whole other topic unto itself.

As with any gun you plan on using, whether it be for defense, hunting or any other purpose, plan on putting in the time to train and become proficient with your weapon.  No one wants to have to use their weapon to defend themselves from danger, but if the time should come, you do not want to be the one who is unfamiliar or uncomfortable with their weapon.

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Check it Out List: Reloading

This month’s Check it Out List is about a topic that I find fascinating, as do many others. I am also interested in getting into it now more-than-ever, as are many others. With the ammo shortages, the slow but steadily rise in prices and ever-changing policies over the past few years one can never know if or when they might be able to acquire rounds. Now the ammo-craze that we were in a couple years ago definitely has calmed down, but it is harder to get certain calibers. 22 ammo will probably never be something you can just grab off the shelves “because it is always there” ever again, but other calibers are not always completely wiped out. But with the possibility of that craze coming back and people looking to be more self-sufficient, the amount of people reloading has definitely increased!

Basically reloading is the act of making your own ammunition. There are different levels of reloading and all sorts of ways to do it. Some people collect spent cases from their own/others use at a gun range and others purchase them factory new. Some people make their own bullets for fun and others to save money. Some calibers are so uncommon that you may have to learn to reload in order to actually shoot it. (Ever seen .280 Ackley commercially made?) Others try to figure out how to get the most performance out of their firearm by loading their ammo to certain specifications. Some people learn because to them it is an essential skill. No matter what though, you’ll need some supplies to get started. Shall we?

Reloading

Press

Dies

Shell Holder/Plate

Powder Measuring/Dispensing Device

Scale

Case Trimmer

Case Tumbler

Dial Caliper

Bullet Puller

Loading Block

Data/Information

 

Now to get started all you really need are the first three items and the last one. Probably more so than any other item you need to have Data/Information. This is something that you cannot start on just a whim. Safety needs to be your primary focus all the time with reloading. You’ll want to have a safe place to load and store your materials. You’ll definitely want to know how to load safely. And you’ll want to keep your loads to the data out there first. You can experiment with different loads later, stick to the basics at the beginning. Get yourself books on the subject and join an online club. Do everything at your disposal to have a safe and solid understanding of reloading before you start.

The press is going to be the main workhorse of your operation. You can start off with a simple single-press or go all the way to a multi-stage set. Both kinds have their own advantages, but I always suggest starting with the basics. (It is also cheaper.) Your dies will be specific to whatever caliber you are loading. You can’t use a .30 caliber die for reloading .45ACP and so on. The shell plate will be what holds the casing as you load. Also caliber specific. This would be where consolidating calibers that you own can be a big help.

Things like a tumbler, bullet puller, case trimmer, dial caliper or a scale are extras, which over time can prove to be extremely important.  A loading block is a device that holds numerous cases in to help with reloading. These can be purchased or made at home. Just as a heads up, you probably won’t find any cute ideas for them on Pintrest.

The little history I had with reloading was back in high school. My buddy’s grandfather owned an auto shop. He is also a vendor for the huge machine gun shoots we hold in Arizona every year. He has anything and everything, ranging from G36K’s to .50cals. With the amount they shoot up there, reloading is the only option to afford the ammo. I needed some brake work done, so we swapped labor for labor. I paid for the parts and built ammo belts for M249s for the work on my truck. Solid trade.

Now please note that this blog is more about what you will need to get into reloading as opposed to how to reload. For that, you need to do your research. Like I said earlier, having a safe and solid understanding of the process is extremely important.

-Giddy-Up!!

Checked-Lists

Picnics Gun Cleaning Game Care First Aid Kayaking Day Pack Trip Prep Range Time

Fishing Pack Boating Day Trip Camp Cooking  Dove Hunting Upland Hunting Tactical Clothing

Winter Camping

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Haveta, Gota, Must have it!!! Part II

Hunting-

YOU MUST HAVE! :)

1. Weaponry and accessories will make the hunt. You have options, oh so many options. You could go the archery route – you’ll need a bow and a set of arrows that are cut and tipped to your specifications. You’ll need a quiver to hold your arrows and possibly a sight and finger tabs, maybe a wrist or arm guard depending on your shooting technique. A silencer on your bow string might not be a bad idea either. Should you go the gun route though, you’ll need a gun, ammo, eye and ear protection, a scope, and you’ll need a cleaning set up for after you use it.

2. Storage you can carry, like a backpack! You’ll need to be able to easily transport your equipment on your back so a good backpack is a MUST HAVE! You’ll also need a case for your gun or bow depending on how you want to hunt.

3. Seating can be an issue. There are plenty of options. Blinds, tree stands, chairs, stools, take your pick and combine away as necessary.

4. Tools are an absolute addition that must be procured. Knives are crucial for finishing a kill and/or skinning and dressing a kill. Decoys and calls can distract and attract your prey helping you with your kill. Game cameras can let you know when something is nearby.

5. Dogs are not necessarily a requirement, but they sure do make things easier and come in handy.  They scent, track, and retrieve which makes things easier on the hunter. 

 

We'll keep working on this for you and let you know whenever we update it!!!

Keep on keepin' on!

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My Quest: Can the AR platform effectively take a Whitetail?

Hunting is a passion I was raised on by my father. He started me as a very young boy and, as I got older, my passion for hunting the great American whitetail grew and grew.  I have hunted them from the southeast all the way up into to the midwest. As with hunting, so too did my love of firearms and even more recently, my love for the much debated AR platform rifles.  I have read many internet postings going back and forth about whether an AR could effectively take down a whitetail deer or not.  The more I research I did, the more it sparked my interest.  After much debating inside my head, I decided I wanted to give it a shot. I looked at many different AR platforms before purchasing a CMMG AR chambered in 300 Blackout from my local Bass Pro Shops. While there, I also bought one of the Redfield scopes, scope mount and a box of Hornady 110 V-Max ammo.  Once everything was all sighted in and ready to go, it was time for the hunt.

It was an unusually cold morning in Northern Alabama as we set out to Freedom Hills Management Area located in Cherokee, Alabama.  I remember reading the temperature gauge in the truck, a whopping 6 degrees.  I zipped up my Redhead jacket and headed out on my quest.  The morning was cold and quiet as the sun started to come up and nature started to come to life.  It was still early morning as I watched the squirrels chase each other through the trees.  "This is the life," I sat there, thinking to myself.  Right then I caught a shadow silently moving through the woods to my left.  As I turned to see what it was, I saw this nice mature doe emerge through the trees.  She moved quietly through the woods without the slightest hint that I was even there.  I got ready to take the shot when behind her, I could see another body moving in the brush.  There he was, a very nice six point moving right in behind her.  I waited for him to step out, put the cross arrows on and squeezed the trigger.  As I regained my composure, the deer jumped right back into the thick brush followed by a loud crash of leaves.  Had the much debated AR done it's job?  I gave it a little time and walked over to see what the results were.

There he was, not 45 yards from where I had first seen him.  In the end, I had answered my question:  Yes the AR platform can effectively take a whitetail.

I look forward to my next hunt as I have now chambered another AR in the mighty 450 Bushmaster.

 

Justin K., Apparel Associate

Bass Pro Shops, Nashville

 

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Goin’ Rural: Mason Jars

There is a lot that can be appreciated from a rural lifestyle. Fresher air, the great outdoors, being more self-reliant and much more. People are always worried about where their food is coming from, and how processed it is. Living in rural areas, you may need to know how to grow, raise, hunt or catch your own food. With all of the reality TV shows that depict rural lifestyles, it has gained in popularity. And there is nothing wrong with that! But for many of us we can’t buy some acreage and live the farm-house dream. But we can learn skills or traits and do things more common in rural lifestyles to get the feel for that kind of life. This first blog will be about an object, once only common for canners or moon-shiners but is now found on just about every craft table or social-media outlet: Mason Jars.

Mason jars come in a wide variety of sizes and styles. Originally designed for canning and storing of foods, there seems to be no limit to their versatility. They were first designed and patented in 1858 by John Landis Mason (see below), for which they get their name. The two most common names of Mason jar manufacturers are Ball and Kerr, which are now owned by the same company.

Without that guy, Pintrest would be pretty much be just about Paleo-diets and inspirational quotes.

Along with variations of sizes and styles, they also come in a variety of colors. Clear, blue and green are the most common. There are tutorials on how to make your own specifically colored jars online. So maybe you cannot find an “antique blue” wide mouth tall size jar, but now you can make one!

Mason jars are now sometimes even bigger stars at weddings than anything else (except the bride). They are used as decorations, name holders, souvenirs and much more. Lord knows we had them at my wedding! Only mine had spent ammo casings and green army men glued to them with flower peddles that had beer-bottle centers. (You’re welcome, future husbands for the ideas.)

Mason jars are an economical way to get a dozen new drinking cups. You can also use them to store any number of items. For gifts, you can fill them with homemade hot chocolate mixes or baking goods. There are websites dedicated to these kinds of things!

You can even make homemade jams or jellies, like what they were originally made for! I like the wall-mount bathroom holder project. And the best part is all of the resources on how to do-it-yourself!

Like that cute little pet-fishing-lure thing below? Yeah, I came up with that! Follow this link to learn how to make them. (Holiday gift idea, I think so!)

Companies have been making specialty products for all of us Mason-jar lovers! Here at our store we have several different kinds of mason-jar drink ware. I love the Beer Mug but our home is not complete without the Wine Glasses we got!  

Mason jars were once a symbol of rural life and rustic flare, but are putting the lid on other mainstream drinking products. The almost limitless uses for them and the creativity that once can express with them is awesome.

Until next month! But keep an eye out for other mason-jar projects that may be coming along. If you’re thinking about sharing this blog with others just remember it can be like FarmersOnly.com where “city people just don’t get it!”

-Giddy-Up!!

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A Simple Guide to safe firearms class

Straight Shooters - So a few weeks ago I received an invite from Mike Duffy to try out an SGI - Defensive Pistol Craft I course. Mike is the founder and Chief Operations Officer of Solutions Group International (SGI).

Here's an excerpt taken from their website to help give an idea of who they are..."Solutions Group International (SGI) was created to provide Specialized Security Services, Law Enforcement & Military Tactical Training, Threat Matrix & Vulnerability Assessments, Leading-edge Anti-Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism Applications, and Investigations to the Law Enforcement, Military, Entertainment & Film Industry, Security, Government, and Corporate Sectors worldwide."

Their website also gives you a list of their instructors and their qualifications. Reading through their bios, it's quick to see that they are simply the best-of-the-best. I was personally sold knowing that they primarily train Military and Law Enforcement agencies. The eight hour course was held at Prado Shooting Park in Chino on a private portion of the range known as Condor 2. The day started with introductions from the three man training team and an overview of what we were in store for. The instructor cadre consisted of George Holt (SGI President), Grant Reynolds, and Marty Higuera. Being an introductory class into Defensive Pistol shooting, we started with the basics. Even after all the shooting I've done, there's still something to learn and get refreshed on after all my time on the range. We started by reviewing the 4 rules of firearms safety, core marksmanship skills and techniques, proper reloading, stance, and a few other topics to ensure even a true beginner was up to speed with the basic knowledge needed for the day.

Now you may be thinking that you are an above average pistol shooter and this introductory class is below you; well think again. The SGI crew did a great job of tailoring their instruction to each student as the day progressed. They moved down the line during live fire drills giving each student tips based on their individual needs and skills. At no point did I feel like I was being held back by the other students who may have had a slower learning curve. I was being pushed to draw quicker and shoot faster. Grant said something like, "Push yourself to the breaking point where you fail to produce the results you're looking for." He's basically saying that if you only do what you're comfortable with, you will never get any better. Because of this, we constantly tried to shoot quicker and faster.

The live-fire portion of the day had many different drills incorporated into it. This included shooting from 3 yards from the hip when you don't have time for proper sight alignment, drawing and placing two center mass, failure to stop drills consisting of two center mass and one to the head, target transition drills, shooting from farther distances, shooting on the move and proper foot placement while moving, and multiple engagement drills. There was always something to keep you on your toes. The intensity the instructors brought kept a high level of motivation to the line and a feeling of not wanting to let them down. I had a great time and am looking forward to their next class in the series of the 6 Defensive Crafts courses they offer.

Mike and his crew run a top-of-the-line company and offer some amazing courses. I will definitely be coming back for a future pistol course and probably take some of their others as well. I encourage you to pull up their website and take a look at their list of courses and instructors.

http://www.solutionsgroupinternational.com/

The $225 course includes 300 rounds of ammo and a $25 Bass Pro Shops gift card. This is a really good price for the 8-hour course that includes 300 rounds of whatever ammo you want to shoot.

 

 

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Product Spotlight - RangeMaxx Tactical Gear

Awesome Christmas gift alert!

Jarrod in our Hunting Department recommends this gear! Practical for tactical, Jarrod says they are essential for any AR owner. Here are his two favorites!

RangeMaxx R2G CCW Tactical Range Bag

Plenty of zippered compartments - the large zippered main compartment has room for ammo, shooting glasses, hearing protection, your cleaning kit and more. Two large zippered side pockets feature magazine pouches - one for AR-15 and the other for pistol mags. The pistol mag pocket even folds down to give you a safe surface for gun cleaning and work. There's two zippered end pockets for even more storage options.

RangeMaxx Tactical R2G CCW Tactical Range Pack

Someone on Jarrod's Christmas list is getting this! The tactical pack/range bag has pouches for SIX AR-15 mags and three handgun mags. Like the range bag, the large main compartment is suitable for ammo, gun cleaning kit, hearing and eye protection, electronics or general storage. The pack also features a dual-zipper rear access panel to a pocket for handgun storage - the universal holster keeps your handgun exactly where you need it for quick and smooth draw.

All of the RangeMaxx gear is made of 1000D polyester and has exterior MOLLE webbing so you can add the extras you need and have your gear organized and ready to go!

Jarrod says he's got the range bag thrown in his truck and always prepared.

Don't you want to be?

Check out the complete line of RangeMaxx gear at Bass Pro Shops Altoona or online.

_________________________

Visit us @ www.basspro.com/altoona
Tweet us @bassproaltoona
Pin us @ pinterest.com/bpsaltoona
View us @ 
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This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona - Santa Arrives!

Yes, we know Santa and he' arriving on Saturday! This is the weekend when the holiday celebration starts at Bass Pro Shops Altoona! Santa arrives and opens up Santa's Wonderland!

When you join us, why not bring along some new hats, gloves or boots for our Warm Kids Campaign to support the Southeast Polk School District?!

Saturday, November 15 - Santa Arrives

Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive promptly at 5 p.m. by Tracker Boat, escorted this year by the Altoona Police Department!

Join us starting at 4:30 p.m., or so, for photos with  Rudolph and Frosty, hot chocolate and cookies, and caroling from the Southeast Polk HS Choir! Dress warmly, it's going to be perfect Santa weather!

After Santa arrives, he chats briefly with the crowd and we give away a gift card, then it's into the lobby for one more carol and to light the lobby Christmas tree!

Last stop is Santa's Wonderland, where one lucky child gets to help Santa cut the ribbon and kick off Santa's Wonderland!

6- 8 p.m. - Free 4x6 photos with Santa. We will use the Bass Pass system and will start handing out Bass Passes around 3:30 for photos that are from 6-8 p.m. The first 125 kids to visit should receive a backpack clip

6-8 p.m. - Free craft! A Gingerbread Stocking/Bag craft

For a complete Santa's Wonderland schedule and details for the season, visit www.basspro.com/santa! Remember to share your photos with us on Facebook and Twitter with the tag #santaswonderland!

Also on Saturday, November 15

Free Hunting Seminars

Of course, it's also hunting season, so we have some free seminars on Saturday to help you hone your skills! Perfect for the beginner or the hunter who needs a review!

1. p.m - Become a Better Bowhunter - Want to improve your bow hunting? Learn how to select releases, arrows, and broadheads that work for you.

2 p.m. - How to Choose the Right Guns and Ammo - Whatever hunting you plan to do, our experts will answer your question and make it easy to pick the gun and ammo.

3 p.m. - What You Should Know Before Buying Optics - Take an inside look at the features you should consider when shopping for scopes, rangefinders, or binoculars.

Pella Wildlife Company

Pella Wildlife Company will be here on Saturday, Nov. 15, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Come check out what exciting creature they'll have with them this time!

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How to Hunt....

 

          

 

 

Do you want to start hunting? Or maybe you have questions on how to be more successful... come to your Bass Pro Shops for all your answers!

This weekend is for you!!!

On November 1, 2014 one of our own RedHead Field Staff, JR Adkins will be with us in the Hunting Department. JR is an outstanding hunter and fisherman. He is from the Rogersville area and knows the woods like the back of his hand.

 

  • 1 pm  Become a Better Bowhunter

Take the mystery out of gearing up for bowhunting. Learn how to select releases, arrows and broadheads that work for you.

  • 2 pm  How to Select the Right Guns and Ammo

Whatever hunting you plan to do, our experts will answer your questions and make it easy to pick the perfect rifle, shotgun or handgun.

  • 3 pm  What You Should Know Before Buying Optics

A Bass Pro Shops expert will give you an inside look at the features you should consider when shopping for scopes, rangefinders or binoculars.

 

 

Attend any of the seminars and register for a chance to win a FREE pair of NIKON Prostaff 7S 10x42 Binoculars!!

You must be 18 yrs or older to enter. Drawing held at the completion of the last seminar at 4 pm. You must be present to win.

 

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Holiday or Training Day?

So I’ve been thinking about it. Halloween is like a mini-training day for the zombie apocalypse.

Seriously!

The streets are filled with thousands of people running amok, there is blood (fake) everywhere and you had to prepare yourself for this onslaught of hungry creatures. Sure, the prepping was really just stocking up on candy and maybe putting out a lawn ornament or two but that still is prepping!

So riddle me this scenario:

Its Halloween night. Kids running around. Sweet! That old lady down the street is handing out king-sized bars! Hey, don’t bother at that house because all they have are those weird orange peanuts. Aww! They even dressed up their little pug! How cute!!

BOOM. ZOMBIE OUTBREAK! It spreads quickly as the majority of the population is outside. Sure enough people get bit because they think that guy “in a zombie costume” is just really good at pretending to be one! All of the sudden those creatures at your door are now desiring brains and flesh over Twizzlers and Laffy Taffy! They don’t want Reese’s Pieces, they want Reese in pieces!!!

Keeps me up at night.

So what steps could you take to actually be prepared for a zombie outbreak? Here are my suggestions.

First you need to think about either staying or leaving.

 If you’re leaving, just git! You probably already have your bug-out bags ready and a plan in place. You know what vehicle you are taking to what location. Just go and good luck!

Staying? Time to hold down the fort! Make sure your place is secure and well prepped for such a circumstance.

Start collecting as much water as possible. Fill up sinks, tubs and anything that can hold water. Have yourself a water-filtration system to ensure you are getting good water. (A Life-Straw is a great addition to a bug-out bag or other kit.) Maybe even get some large containers that you can fill up as well.

You’re going to have to eat, so have canned goods or freeze-dried foods on hand. If you have to cook it to eat it, have something in mind and plenty of fuel for it. Be sure to have back-up systems just in case. Know how you are going to ration everything as well. There is incredible information out there to figure out what exactly your body will need to survive.

Protection/Defense. Know what you want to have for that. Every situation is different, but have something that is reliable and you can be comfortable with. Also be sure to practice with whatever you choose so you know what to do in certain circumstances. (Get yourself some Zombie ammo while ya can!)

But according to scientists this should not happen (this year) and the Cardinals look solid. (Just sayin’.)

So have fun this Halloween and remember, don’t be the house with those orange peanuts… or candy corn.

-Giddy-Up!!

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Dream Hunter

“Boom!” The retort was sharp in my ear even through my muffs, the kickback jarred my shoulder. It was cold even though I had enough layers on to make me look like a small bear. I didn’t dare look down at my feet, but instead looked out across to see what I had just done. I’d shot a deer. This big beautiful buck lay dead.

The tree stand I was sitting in was high enough to turn my stomach if I looked down. Which I avoided doing. My tree stand was still securely attached to the tree I was in and the ladder below it felt like it was still well attached when I grasped it to climb to the ground. I could feel my harness pulling tension between where it was attached to my body and its attachment point on the tree; it was still secure as well. As I reminded myself to breathe, I slipped and my boot lost its grip on the ladder. For a moment I thought I was going to fall but then that tension jerked to a halt as the harness gripped me and I gripped its straps and the ladder rungs. Vertigo threatened but I put my boot back on the ladder and finished descending. 

With my boots firmly on the ground, I started towards my quarry. I was as quiet as I possibly could be, but as the tension eased animals started moving. Crows set flight turning the mid-morning sky to a midnight expanse in the flap of wings. A rabbit rustled around disappearing out of and back into the brush.  A skink slithered across a fallen tree thin with hunger but racing to avoid the flap of wings. 

For a moment or so the area had been quiet and still with death, but now it showed that life went on for everyone and everything other than the buck I’d killed. He lay on the ground, his belly still round enough to show he, at least, had been eating as well as he could while there was still some foliage. Bronze, copper, and gold flecked his pelt. As the sun revealed itself from behind its crow woven curtain his coat gleamed as the warm colors reflected the suns light. White collared his throat and muzzle giving him the appearance of wearing a halter made of new fallen snow. His antlers gleamed as the sun glinted across them making them shine as though polished.

As I reached for the buck I blinked – and the world shifted. I was back under my tree stand, but this time I held a bow. The warm “thwang” of the bow string reverberated up my arms as fast as the sound reached my ears. The scene replayed again – the only difference was my weapon of use. Again when I blinked upon reaching for the buck I was transported back to the tree and this time holding a crossbow.

The third time it happened I realized I was dreaming. I must need to go to Bass Pro Shops down the street in Katy for something. ‘Tis the season to go a hunting and I’d need ammo, a license, and fresh tips for my arrows and bolts depending on what I ended up using. “Time to get up and go,” I thought as I got up to get dressed and go to my favorite store in town - Bass Pro Shops.

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