Geocaching: A Guide to the World-Wide Scavenger Hunt-Part 1

Part 1-
Provided By Kevin Ballantine



Geocaching (geo-cash-ing) is a scavenger hunt based game for outdoor enthusiasts, or anybody looking to find a hobby outside that is safe and fun for the entire family. Heck, you can even learn something about the environment. Geocaches (cache for short) can be a wide range of containers hidden in any spot a geocacher (someone who looks for geocaches) deems worthy. It can be fun, it can be creative, and yes, it is addicting.

What is a geocache?

Geocaches are containers that are hidden outside for anybody to find. They are not in the open, hence why this game has been around since 2000 and so little is known about it to non-geocachers. More on the history of geocaching can be found here. Why such a weird name? Geo means Earth-think geography, and a cache is a container that holds items. Geocache.

Most caches must contain a log for a person to sign it as proof of their finding it. Also, there are cool items called "swag" that cachers put inside. These can be calling cards or just something brought over from a different country. It's supposed to be something unique. For example, I live in Florida, and have found numerous trinkets brought over from Germany. One such item was a McDonald's toy taken out of a kids meal. Couldn't read a single word on the packaging, but the toy was cool. A few of the items I've also seen, but are definitely not limited to, are buttons, cards, pendants, and even a cell phone from the 90's. The best items a cacher can hope for, besides the log, are items known as a "trackable," which I will go over in a future article.

How big are they and where can they be found?

The great thing about geocaches is their uniqueness. They can be any size, any shape and can literally be hidden anywhere all over the world-it is all up to the person doing the hiding. However, they cannot be buried underground, hidden on private property (unless the cache hider got permission to do so), or interfere with any laws. I think it goes without saying that these are secured in their hiding spot so they don't wander off during bad weather. There are 5 official listings for the sizes and I'll go over each from my own experience, and I'll try to avoid spoilers:

  1. Micro: it can be anything from a pill bottle, a magnetized key holder, to a container the size of a bolt. Yes...a bolt that goes on the end of a screw. These cannot hold anything but the log.
  2. Small: these are usually small Tupperware containers, cookie containers or small keepsake boxes. They are large enough for a log and smaller items like coins, stamps, or even the McDonalds' toy I mentioned earlier.
  3. Regular: I've found ammo boxes, larger Tupperware containers, and even small buckets. These can handle most items and the log.
  4. Large: Usually larger-sized buckets or I've even found a polyester bag that held enormous amounts of swag in it and trackables-as well as the log.
  5. Other: The dreaded "other." This can be anything. You have to really pay attention to the cache page as well as its clues. If you're lucky you will get a hint from the hider to go along with the cache description. Usually, when it falls under this size, it is not a normal cache. By that, I mean that it could look like something that belongs to a structure right out in the open, that bystanders don't even know are there, like a power box. Geocachers can be tricky that way. One example would be a bolt screw on a stop sign, which many geocachers consider to be unlisted size six...:
  6. *Nano: This one doesn't technically exist and falls a lot of times under "other." A nano is smaller than a micro. A popular cache I'm seeing more and more of are bolt-like containers. The "bolts" look like the same thing that goes on the end of a screw, but doesn't necessarily have to be anywhere near a screw. It is magnetic, so it can be placed on any metal surface. It seems tough, but only if the cache hider doesn't nicely list it as "nano" in their description. If it is listed as "other," then I hope you like challenges.

How does someone even get started?
It's simple to become a geocacher:

  1. You need to register at for free or for a premium membership ($10 for three months or $30 for a year). I'll go over premium benefits in the next article. The name you select is a unique geocaching name. Much like a screen name, it protects your information., the nice people in charge of geocaching take great care in keeping your information private; never asking anything vital or making it even close to a social media website.
  2. After registering, it is vital that you type in your actual address on your profile (only viewable by you), that way when you click on the map, it shows every single cache in your area.
  3. Click on a cache, it will take you to a cache page with its description, coordinates of its location, and any possible clues to finding the cache. This page will give you the cache size, the difficulty of the terrain, and the difficulty of finding the cache once you reach the listed coordinates. For beginners, this is vital so you don't lose interest in the game right out of the gate. You can sift through caches until you find a beginners cache with lower difficulties. An example of a cache page can be found here.
  4. You need a GPS to put in the coordinates, a cell phone with GPS capabilities, or buy the very helpful, time saving geocaching app ($10). You will not find the cache without at least one of these items.
  5. In most cases, the posted coordinates will take you within 10 feet of the cache location. There are special circumstances, which I will post further down this page, when they are not. Once you find the cache, you must sign the physical log that's found inside the cache with your geocaching name. Personal information does not need to be floating around. If there is any swag or trackables inside the container and you want it, the rule is that if you take something, you leave something. The fun of the game is leaving something unique (like a McDonald's toy from Germany, in a cache found in the U.S.).
  6. Once you've successfully found the cache, sing-in to and go to the caches page. At the bottom, sign the online log to mark a cache as being found. Once found, it's counted toward your geocache finds that is associated with your geocaching profile. Bragging rights galore! The physical log inside the cache is to prove you actually found it. If your name is not found, the cache hider will delete your find.

    6.1. In this same area, if you are unable to find the cache, you are also supposed to log it as "did not find." This way, if numerous people cannot find the cache, the cache owner will know something is up and look for it to make sure it wasn't tampered with.


That's it! You've successfully learned how to geocache. In short: register online, buy a GPS or use your Smartphone, find the cache, sign the physical log, then sign the online log.


"A Daydream Come True"

A Daydream Come True

By: Jerry Costabile

Going back to when I was a young boy growing up on the shores of Lake Michigan, I was fascinated by the late season divers that would appear in late December and January.

Hunting in the southeastern Wisconsin, I saw and hunted mallards, teal and occasionally we would see a diver or two late in the duck season. But I couldn’t wait until those later months when the big water divers started showing up on the lakefront and in the harbors. Goldeneyes, Buffelheads, Redheads, and the duck that fascinated me the most, the oldsquaw.

When I saw a beautiful drake oldsquaw, I watched him dive and reappear 20, 30, 40 yards or better away from where he disappeared. I don’t know why, but I would watch him dive over and over, always hoping to one day to be able to hunt them.

By luck or fate, in early October, I met a gentleman while walking thru the fishing department who was looking at salmon lures. Being the salmon fisherman that I am, (and I love to talk fishing!) I approached him and we learned that we had a lot in common, including duck hunting. Within minutes of introductions, we were on the subject of hunting oldsquaw! Without a hesitation, my new friend, invited myself and my sons to hunt with him and his son in November. This was too much too believe, I wasn’t going to get my hopes up just yet. I have been here before and could only hope that this stranger was going to take us out on this duck hunters dream hunt.

Well, the first week of November I get a call and it is him with the invitation still alive, asking me when we could come up and hunt. I couldn’t believe it; I was going to get to hunt oldsquaw! When I got home that day, I told the boys that this hunt was on and we were going to go on the hunt in the next two weeks. I showed both of my boys what an oldsquaw looked like and how we were going to hunt them. You see this time of the year, these birds are miles off the shores of Lake Michigan and we would be hunting them in lay-out boats in the open water. This is something else that I have always dreamed of doing. Hunting divers from a boat that is about 10 feet long and is only about 6 to 8 inches above the waterline. Most of the boat is below the surface of the water, this allows the hunter to lay very low to the water and create a low profile helping to hide from the ducks. I was coming apart at the seams waiting for that day to come!

With a phone call the evening before we were leaving, I found out that we were going to have good weather and an ideal wind to hunt the big water. The Dodge Ram was packed and ready the night before and I got no sleep with anticipation of the hunt I have thought about every time I saw a drake oldsquaw swimming in the harbor during the winter for all of those years. We pulled out of the driveway at 2:30am and headed north to Two Rivers, Wisconsin. I had a cup of coffee and pure adrenaline to keep me awake for the 2 hour drive, this was it, I was going to be hunting oldsquaw and it looked like nothing was going to stop me!

Upon arriving at the boat launch, there was our crew setting up the boat and equipment for our hunt. To say I was excited was an understatement, I was beside myself! But I had to keep myself under control because I had two teenage boys who were also on a first time hunt. For my youngest son, this was his first real duck hunt, and what a way to be introduced to duck hunting!  After loading our gear into the boat, we were headed down the ramp and launching the tender boat, a 25 foot Duck Water Ocean. This boat is a beast! Loaded on the tender, is a 10 foot Waterfowl-Works UFO layout boat and a 14 foot Bankes Hercules layout boat.

The boat was in the water and we boarded with excitement! Decoy bags stacked everywhere, camouflaged bags and cased guns tucked under the shelves that line the inside of the boat. There were milk crates lined up filled with anchor line and buckets loaded with 100’ and 50’ decoy lines. This boat was well equipped and ready for work!

  With the sun just making a thin line to the east, we headed out for our spot already marked on the GPS. We were in a two to three foot waves and the boat was cutting thru them like a Naval U- Boat.  I must have looked like a dog with its head out of the truck window, I had my chin up and my eyes closed. At that moment, I was thinking how lucky I am to be there and with a prayer and thanks to the man upstairs, I was ready!

Once we determined what the morning flight pattern was going to be that the ducks would use, we started to set up. Layout boats in and anchored, and then the lines of decoys were stretched out to form a perfect pattern that would later pull in hundreds of ducks. When the man said that I would be one of the first in a layout boat, my heart started racing! This was it, I was about to live out a hunt that I have daydreamed about since I was kid. I was watching thousands of ducks flying all around us and knew that we were in the right location.  I want to confess that I studied Outdoor Life and Field & Stream while I was in school, like a valedictorian studied all of those other books! Even though I had never done this before, my long days and nights of cramming and memorizing was about to be put to a test. I knew I was going to pass this one!

I was given a quick rundown of how to enter the layout, and over the side I went. Once I got in and lay down comfortably, my gun and ammo was handed to me and that fast, the tender boat was gone. The other layout would be occupied by my youngest son Kyle. I was a bit nervous with him about thirty yards to my right and this being all new to him. I guess being a dad and not being there to guide him every step of the way, had me feeling a little uneasy. But within minutes, he showed me he was up for the challenge. He dropped his first ever duck, a drake oldsquaw at that, with a beautiful shot! Man was I pumped, now it was my turn, the first pair came in on my left and banked into the decoys perfectly. As they reached the decoy spread, I sat up, took aim, and missed. Not once, but twice! “OK Jerry, calm down and figure it out!” I said this out loud and reloaded. Then another pair came beautifully into the spread, and flying directly at me. When they got into about twenty yards, I sat up and followed the lead duck and fired. Bingo, first bird down! Just like Kyle had done, I radioed the tender boat that I had a bird down and they pushed the throttle of the 250 hp Mercury Optimax Pro X/S down and raced into scoop up my bird with a fish net and raced back out to about 400 yards to wait for the next downed bird.

This went on for about 45 minutes until we both had three birds. The last bird I shot was a gorgeous drake oldsquaw and when the tender crew picked up the bird, over the radio I heard “Jerry, you will want to have this one mounted, it’s a beauty!” If my day would have ended right then, I was happy. The one duck that I had wanted to harvest since I was a young boy was now waiting for me.

After the next two guys got in to the layout boats, and I was on board the tender boat, I held in my hand, this amazing bird that I had so much respect and admiration for. I bowed my head and thanked its creator for allowing me to fulfill a dream with this beautiful bird.

The morning finished with a limit of oldsquaw for everyone, and after the gear was stowed in the tender, we headed back to shore. Once pictures were done and everything loaded back in the Dodge, we headed north to hunt the next day in a new location and another species of duck. But that’s another story.

Thank you to my boys, Jake and Kyle, for living this lifelong adventure with me. As I get older, these times together mean a lot to me. I love you guys.

Mike and Greyson, you guys are true ambassadors to the waterfowl nation!

 JJ, of JJ’s Guide Service, nobody works harder to see that the job gets done.






Scholastic Shooting Sports Programs in Iowa

Youth shooting sports programs and teams are becoming more popular in Iowa. This past June over 1,000 students took part in the High School State Championships in Cedar Falls.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources Shooting Sports Program  encompasses Archery in the Schools and the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP). The SCTP allows youth from grade school up to high school to learn team-based clay target shooting in an organized manner. Of course, they also learn lifelong skills, such as firearm safety, leadership and focus. There were 89 high school and other program teams registered in 2013 and they're projecting 105 teams in 2014, with an estimated 2,640 participants expected.
Uriah Hansen has seen the increase in growth, too. Hansen is on the board of the North Polk Pheasants Forever Chapter, which works closely to support the Ankeny, Iowa, trap team. He says the Ankeny team is bursting at the seams with kids wanting to be a part of the team.
"I think we are seeing a huge growth in programs like this as people begin to get more curious about the shooting time goes on and more people begin to get involved, I think we are going to see this continued growth in scholastic teams and interest in them."
Iowa Scholastic Clay Target Program, Inc. is a non-profit organization that assists in providing financial support to the teams and their coaches. Hansen says that is also their Pheasant Forever Chapter's main support for the Ankeny team, which is where they feel it will benefit them the most. 
"Our main support is monetary support for the club and the kids. As you know, shooting is not a cheap sport, and it gets more expensive the better you get. It may cost a shooter $25 a week in just shells to get five rounds of trap in, plus an equal cost for clay targets. That doesn't take into account the cost of a gun, often times which may come close to $1,000 or more to shoot, the vests, and other safety protection required just to step on the range. You take those kind of numbers and spread them across 100+ kids and you're talking $2500 in just shells, if they practice one night a week."

SWCC Shooting Spartans

Shooting sports teams are popping up on the collegiate level, too. Southwestern Community College in Creston, Iowa, is new to the shooting sports program arena, and they actually have a school-supported team. The SWCC Spartans came in strong in their first competition on September 21, landing fourth in a field of nine teams, which included the University of Iowa and Iowa State University.  They  have 25 team members, including three female and travel with 15 members to away shoots. Head Coach Charlie Mundy says the idea of having a team picked up a little steam about a year ago.
"The college was looking for a niche to help keep our current students engaged or attract new students. We had done a little research and realized that there were not many places for a shooting athlete to continue after 4-H and high school. SWCC recognizes our shooting athletes the same as our other sport athletes, whether baseball, basketball, track, etc. Most of the college and university teams around here are considered club sports, which basically means that the athletes are funding their own way. SWCC is supporting our shooting team in the same manner as any other sport here at SWCC."
There are typically challenges in organizing any new student group. However, Mundy says the shooting sports team offers a unique set of challenges, including public perception.
"The political environment is one of the toughest things that we deal with. Most people try to say that we carry weapons. We consider our guns SWCCto be a piece of athletic equipment that is no different than a basketball or a baseball bat...we consider our athletes to be exactly that, athletes. A shooter has to be in good shape and extremely mentally able to focus. Shooting sports are very mental. We also had to find a gun club that was willing to partner with us. We are very lucky to have the High Lakes Outdoor Alliance in Afton (Iowa) as our partners. We have to have a place to store our ammo, guns, etc., and they have been very accommodating. None of these items are allowed on campus. They help to facilitate our practices and home shoots."
Mundy is positive about the future of shooting sports at the collegiate level, much like the high school level. 
"Iowa high school shooting sports have seen their numbers grow by the hundreds in the past couple of years and even since the beginning of our team I have heard some rumblings of other colleges following us in the pursuit of a shooting team."
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American Whitetail Ammunition

When it comes to Hornady ammunition, there are three words that stick out. Those being: accurate, deadly and dependable. This is their tagline, and they have earned it. Many shooters and hunters trust to make the shots they need to with Hornady rounds.

They do such a good job that many won’t use any but Hornady products. And their product line is quite extensive. One can pick up a box of ammunition to head out to the range with or get into reloading their own. Quality is never spared.

One of their newest lines of ammo (which is a year late if you ask me, this stuff would have been perfect for my hunt last November) is the American Whitetail Ammunition.

This ammo is purpose built for whitetail deer, which is the most common big game animal in North America. (Check out the first Big Game Basic blog for more info.)  They come in the most common hunting calibers and loads used for whitetail deer.

It uses their InterLock bullets which are a soft point. What separates these soft points from the rest is the engineered performance of how the bullet spreads once it makes contact. You should definitely watch the video they have on the webpage for it as it does a much better job that I can.

The calibers include: 243Win, 25-06Rem, 270Win, 7mm-08Rem, 7mmRemMag, 30-30Win, 308Win, 30-06Sprg and 300WinMag.

Back when I was getting ready for my hunt I put a box of Hornady through my Remington 700. I had the tightest grouping with that ammunition compared to other rounds. If you have never shot Hornady ammunition before, definitely give it a try.

The best part is the price point on this ammunition. It is competitively priced to other manufacturers’ similar lines.  Everyone’s rifles will handle differently ammunition differently, so you will want to try all brands out there to find which one is perfect for you. Chances are it might just be Hornady. Barn Raising Barrel Cactus! Giddy-Up!


Reloading your own Ammo

Reloading KitRCB Reloading Kit

 There are many single stage reloading kit for reloaders, the Explorer Reloading Kit from    RCBS is one of them. You will save and make your own custom loads at home for a friction of the cost of factory loads. This home reloading kit gives you everything you need to start loading your own rounds, you will pic the dies and shellholders for your specific caliber(s). The Explorer Kit combines RCBS' Reloader Special-5 press, Uniflow Powder Measure, 1,500-grain Digital Pocket Scale and Powder Trickler-2. It also gives you a RCBS Hand Priming Tool, Universal Case Loading Block, Debur Tool, Powder Funnel, Case Slick Spray Lube and Nosler 7th Edition Reloading Manual.   The Reloader Special-5 also offers a handle centered for left or right hand use, 3-3/4" hand clearance, 30 degree opening offset, primer catcher system, and a primer arm that allows the reloader to prime at the same time the case is being sized.


Master kitRcbs offers starter kits Rock Chucker Supreme Single Stage Press has been around for many years and the upgrade kit offers the following ,with ambidextrous handle, 505 Mechanical Scale, Uniflow Powder Measure, Hand Priming Tool, Universal Case Loading Block, .17-.60 DChamfer Debur Tool, Hex Wrench Set, Case Lube-2, Casse Lube Pad, Accy Handle 2, Sm & Md Case Neck Brushes, Powder Funnel and Speer Reloading Manual. This is a very good kit and is the one I started with in 1985. Yes RCBS has been around for long time , and when I talk to their customer service operators it is outstanding.



Partner Kit   .


 Here's a very good kit with the basic start up Partner Press Reloading Kit - It includes: Partner single stage press, RC-130 mechanical Scale, Case Lube-2, Case Lube pad, Accy Handle-2, sm & md case neck brushes, Universal Case Load Block, Powder Funnel and Speer manual. So even if your on a buget you can get started and add too it later as well.



vib case cleanerYou will need a case cleaner to keep your brass clean , Vibratory Case Cleaner is a fast, dry-media case cleaner that holds up to 400 .38 Special or 180 .30-06 cases. The removable lid lets you check cases during cleaning. Quiet, powerful motor is thermally protected and durable.

rcb dvd

Rcbs offer DVD  Runtime: 30 minutes.  This will give your best information and brake it down has to the steps ,along with reloading Manual .







Dennis Smith

Hunting department

store 49 Manteca



Bass Pro Shops - Your Dove Hunting Headquarters

doveYour local Bass Pro Shops has everything you need when hunting dove this season!

First, lure doves in with your own flock of decoys.  Redhead dove decoys are available in six-packs of hard plastic or rubber. Both decoys feature detailed painting with realistic details. They come with a spring clip, so you can easily mount them anywhere, such as trees or fences.

Next, make sure you have a sturdy dove bucket available. The Big Game Treestands Dove Bucket fits the bill. A five-gallon bucket with a 1" padded seat, it conveniently combines seating and storage. It provides plenty of storage for ammo and other essential hunting gear, as well as a swiveling hunting seat.

A good quality dove vest is also another sound investment.  Take a look at the Redhead Dove Vest. Mesh panels across the chest and back provide extra ventilation during hot weather hunting. Two large pockets on the front provide plenty of space for shells and other gear.  The bloodproof game bag on the back provides space to stash your birds.belt

If a vest isn't your style, then the GameGuard Bird Belt may be for you.  Made of woven nylon, the belt has two side pouches to hold shells and gear.  There is a large rear pouch that easily holds three to four dove or quail.

You can find these items and more in the Hunting Department at your local Bass Pro Shops. Check them out and gear up - dove season begins, in Georgia, on September 7.




Early Season Deer Hunting

11 years old, Duston Sandifer in Blackville, SC

      11 year Old, Duston Sandifer in Blackville, SC


  Well it's still summer and here in South Carolina it's also deer hunting season.
I'm sure that for some of you it is unimaginable that anyone would even consider
hunting in this type of weather. Well we do it every year, even in the height of
the season in mid to late October it could still have a easy 60-70 degree days.

For some August is the the beginning of bow season and for other parts of the
state it opens right up with gun season. And this mean one thing for sure, that if
you try real hard in the first couple of weeks you stand a good chance of  harvesting
a buck in full velvet. Of course you will have put up with the mosquitoes and the bugs,
to some it is all worth it and to others maybe not so. There are advantages to early season hunting. No hunting pressure on the game thus far, as few hunters are willing to do what it takes to hunt in this weather.  Plus, with daylight savings time you can get in a good evening hunt after getting off work.

  But for you the hunter there are precautions that you should take when hunting in
our Carolina bottom lands and swamps. Take care to using the proper repellents for
your protection from bug bites and such.  Not only do they itch but they can make you sick. Remember we also
have a variety of venous snakes in our state, so you need to have acquitted protection
in the form of snake boots or chaps. It may not kill you but it can make you so sick,
you may wish it did. Here is South Carolina we have rattlesnakes, cottonmouths,
copperheads and the rare banned coral snake. A bad bite from one of these guys can
upset more than just your hunting season.

The next big thing is the heat. Be aware of
your fluid intake and don't set yourself up for dehydration, this can also be dangerous.
Make sure that you are not getting overheated. It would not be good to have a
heat stroke in the mists of all these extremely hot day we have this time of year.

Safe guard yourself from all mentioned hazards, and you could get a big jump on
everyone else. Your season could be successful before some hunters even get started.
There is nothing so unique as a velvet mount, that's something you don't see lots of
and some hunter may go to great length to have that opportunity. This time of year you
get to watch the change as the bachelor buck groups began to scope out possible territory
before they get ready for the later rut time.

It's always interesting to see how your now
stand set works out for the upcoming mid to late season. Granted the most ideal time to
buck hunt is during the rut, but early season deer hunting in the south is defiantly a
breed of its own.

    If you are about to set out for your hand at this early season adventure stop by your
local Bass Pro Shops and gather all your needs. A Thermal-cell bug repellent system is a
must for every Carolina hunter and don't forget those snake boots. We also offer several
choices in hydro bottles and packs.
Speak to our associates about all your needs in camouflage clothing, guns and ammo as well.
Enjoy the season and be safe!


Bass Pro Shops is for the Birds!

The South Texas hunting season is fast approaching. Bass Pro Shops is now selling the 2013-2014 hunting and fishing license. Temporary and year round permits are available. It is important to note that the lines for license renewal grow longer as the season grows nearer. Our great customer service associates Elizabeth, Liza, Deana, Ryan and Arnold are ready to assist you in your choice of the available Texas licenses.

The south zone special white-wing season runs September 01, 02, 07, and 08 of 2013. The daily bag limit is 15 white-wing, morning, or white fronted doves in the aggregate to include no more than 2 morning dove and 2 white fronted dove. The regular dove season runs from September 20 – October 23, 2013 and December 20 – January 15, 2014.



 Due to our extended and prolonged drought, the population of birds has decreased. Limits will still be attainable with some great tips in our hunting department. Adrian, Stanley, and Jerry are just some of our hunting buddies to help you out. They can assist you in the right selection of ammo and firearms for the best hunt of your life. Currently Bass Pro Shops is running super pricing on shotgun shells and accessories. We have the largest selection of camouflage clothing, snake boots, hunting vests, and ice chests in the Rio Grande Valley. We even carry the complete line of Yeti coolers.

Our associates at the Bass Pro Shops Harlingen are friendly, knowledgeable, and always ready to assist you the minute you walk in. Make us your first and last stop for all your hunting needs.


Mike Frazier



Ammo too Expensive or not avaliable?

Hornady LNL Classic Kit

With recent times ammunition has become not only scarce, but prices are also starting to rise. This is where a reloader will have a "one-up" on the people who buy factory ammunition. Whenever a person who reloads wants to shoot all he or she has to do is sit down and load however many round they want. Be it 50 or 500 the quantity does not matter. If you are one who does not reload then you have to get in your car, drive to the store and buy your ammunition. That might be a 100 round box or in some cases all you might be able to find is a 20 round box. This is why it would be advantageous for someone who shoots a lot to get into reloading.

If you are wanting to get into this hobby Hornady has just the solution for you. This is their Lock-N-Load Classic reloading kit. With the exception of brass, powder, primers,projectiles and dies, this kit comes with everything you need to get started reloading. Here is a list of the included items:

  • Lock-N-Load Classic single stage press
  • Lock-N-Load powder measure
  • Electronic scale
  • 8th Edition Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading
  • Three Lock-N-Load die bushings
  • Primer catcher
  • Positive priming system
  • Hand-held priming tool
  • Universal reloading block
  • Chamfering and deburring tool
  • Primer turning plate
  • One Shot case lube

Series 2 pistol die setAnother piece of hardware you will need to start reloading is reloading dies. Unlike the Hornady Lock-N-Load reloading press, reloading dies are specific to every caliber. Pictured here is the Hornady Series 2 Pistol die set (9mm to be more specific). The far left die is the full length sizer die, middle is the case mouth expander die and the right is the bullet seating die. So not only is each die set for a specific caliber, but each die in that set has a specific use.

If you have never reloaded before I highly recommend reading as much information as possible. The Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading is an excellent source of information on not only cartridge specifications but also a beginners guide to reloading. Here is a YouTube video of Hornadys Lock-N-Load Classic kit.

Come out to the Hunting department in Bass Pro Shop and will we be more than happy to assist you with your reloading questions.


We look forward to seeing you,

Grayson Barnes


Hunting Season is Upon Us

Now that the long hot summer months are almost coming to an end, the beginning of the hunting season is upon us. And what better way to kick off your season than dove season.

It has been a long time coming, especially for us migratory bird hunters. With this year proving to be a wetter year, forecasts show a better than average migration in store.  More birds mean better odds of shooting your limit.  That bodes well for those of us who enjoy dove fresh off the grill.  I want to mention a few products and strategic moves that may allow for a more successful season. First and foremost we need hunting licenses, but don’t forget to buy your migratory bird stamp. Choosing a shotgun comes down to money and personal preference. Once you have decided on a shotgun we are going to need some shells. 7 ½ shot or 8 shot is what is usually used while hunting dove.  Thorough practice is highly recommended.  I encourage you to pick up some Winchester AA Tracker shotshells.  This new ammo has a black wad that tracks your shot.  If you miss high, low, left, or right you will know and this allows you to correct your aiming point and fix any mistakes you may have made.  These shells have proven to be great teachers and are just what some of us need to hone in our wing shooting skills before opening day. 

Finally let’s go hunting. Best times to hunt are going to be just after sunrise or late afternoon, that’s when doves are most active, eating, and looking for water.  Make sure you are not in plain view, because doves have amazing eyesight and will see you before you see them. Choose a tree next to a fence line or around water.  Enhance that area you have chosen with a few still dove decoys and one or two deco Mojo VooDoo Decoys.  The spinning wings of the mojo brings a more constant flight into your setup.  Before I used mojo dove decoys I would shoot my fair share of doves. However, once I began using these in my setup the groups of dove increased and the limit became more attainable each hunt.  Now that we are all well informed hope everyone has a very good season. And remember all your necessities you will need for a successful hunt can be found at your local Bass Pro Shops.


Quail and Chukar Hunting Seminars - hunting seasons opening soon!!

Hunting for quail and chukar can be a multi-faceted process...especially if you are just getting started or newer to the sport.  Let Bass Pro and outdoor enthusiast Jim Matthews break it down for you!!

Jim is an accomplished outdoorsman and you know his name from his regular publication Outdoor News Service or from his writings in Western Birds, the Wingshooter's Newsletters.  Jim knows a ton on the topic and is ready to share all at his upcoming seminars at Bass Pro Shops.

Sign up directly with Jim by contacting him via phone (see flyer).  You'll be glad you did...he gives a very comprehensive presentation and you will walk away feeling well informed!

Bass Pro Shops can help with all the gear you need...firearms, ammo, calls, camoflage apparel...with knowledgeable associates to assist that have real experience with bird hunting!!

Call Jim for more details at the same phone number!




Zombie Nation 2013

Zombie Nation MagazineOnce again, Guns and Ammo has brought to the news stands one of the most important publications of its kind in the world.  We all know what's coming and I for one want to be the first to get my hands on the state of the art weapons, ammunition, prepping information.  The first issue of Zombie Nation gave us just enough to wet our whistles so to speak and this issue takes it even further.

The second issue of Zombie Nation hit the street about a week ago and I snatched up two of the ten copies on the rack before anyone else could get the drop on them because I don't want to be the only one left standing around while my neighbors are bugging out.

There are a couple things that caught my attention with the first one being a gorgeous Modern Sporting Rifle from Spike's Tactical in Apopka.  Their SL 15 Zombie looks like it would lay down some precision lead while defending your homefront from the biters.  Magpul equipment and a plethora of Spike's custom touches, make this zombie slayer a welcome addition to the gun safe.  "Don't Forget To Double Tap" is milled into the upper unit rail system as a constant reminder of the need to put walkers down for the count.  Spike's custom ST-T2 heavy buffer is machined from solid billet then filled with High Density Tungsten Powder (HDTP) to tame recoil for repeated accuracy.  The features keep stacking up so my advice would be to get your hands on one before Z-Day arrives.

My second favorite new toy (if I could afford it) is the Standard Issue 1911A1 .45 cal rail gun from Iver Johnson.  This zombie-themed pistol is so beautifully appointed with you guessed it, "ZOMBIES" that you may not want to carry it.  Stunning is the only word I can find to describe the graphics on the slide and the zombie-green grips.  A fully adjustable rear sight and a pickatinny rail-equiped frame ensure that you can mount a light, lazer, or keep it naked while still putting rounds where they count.  Get yours before I get mine.....  Or should I say before my wife gets hers?

There's way more to this mag than just things that go boom, including knives, blunt instruments, comm gear, rations, and even navigation equipment so you can find the only safe haven for miles.  I especially appreciate the effort the writers went through to bring us some of the most up-to-date tactics with a zombie twist.  These practices might be necessary in the event of any national or local emergency including; hurricanes, floods, fires, mass power outages, or even a Sharknado......  Well maybe not Sharknado, that would just be silly.

Brian "Beastman" Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando


New at Bass Pro Shops, CMMG 300 AAC/Blackout AR-15!!!

CMMG 300 BlackoutNew here at Bass Pro Shops is an AR-15 rifle chambered in 300 Blackout. The rifle is manufactured by CMMG Incorporated. CMMG manufactured not only full AR-15 rifles but they also manufacture AR-15 parts and accessories. This company was founded in 1999 and has been growing exponentially ever since. They now offer everything from magazines to a fully built rifle like we have here.

The specs on the rifle are:

  • Caliber - 300 AAC BLACKOUT.
  • Barrel - 16" M300 Profile Barrel, WASP Treated 4140 Chrome-Moly Steel, 1:7" Twist, 5/8-24 Threaded.
  • Hand Guard - M4 Hand guard.
  • Sights/Gas Block - Flat top/railed gas block.
  • Trigger assembly - Factory Trigger.
  • Magazine - 30 Round  P-Mag.


300 AAC Blackout  The 300 AAC Blackout(7.62x35 MM) is fairly new to the industry, but since the 300's acceptance by SAAMI(Sporting Arms Ammunition Institute) the cartridge has been gaining popularity. If you are unfamiliar with the 300 Blackout it is basically a .223rem case cut down and re-necked to fit a .30 caliber projectile, but its actual parent case is a .221 Fireball. Having the same case as a .223rem this means that the 300 blackout will function in a magazine designed for a .223rem and hold the same capacity. Now you might be asking yourself "What is the 300 Blackout good for?" Here are some of the advantages to this cartridge:

  • Subsonic ammo that will cycle an AR
  • Uses standard .223rem Magazine and bolt
  • Better muzzle energy when compared to a .223rem
  • Wide projectile selection (.308")

300 Blackout assortment


The 300 Blackout is becoming very popular with hog hunters. The low recoil, light noise crack and excellent energy producing make it a perfect fit for hog/pig control. Combine this cartridge with a suppressor and you will have a quiet, reliable rifle that will suit your needs.(Please check local game laws. Not all states/game can be legally hunted with a suppressor. Look here on how to obtain a suppressor).

Here is a YouTube video of what this round sounds like subsonic/suppressed vs. supersonic.

Now every pro has its cons. The only cons I could think of were slightly more expensive to shoot, factory ammo is a little harder to find(but what ammo isn't right now) and bullet drop after two hundred yards is significant.  These cons should not steer you away from this rifle. It is an excellent choice. Shoot one and you will realize what I am talking about.

Stop by Bass Pro Shop and ask an associate behind the gun counter to see this rifle. I am sure you will be impressed.



This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona - Last Chance for Summer Camp!

This is it - the last weekend for your kids to experience free educational fun during our Family Summer Camp! Make sure your kids don't miss out on this terrific opportunity! 


Activities start at noon, unless otherwise noted.


Family Summer Camp

Saturday, July 13 and Sunday, July 14, Noon-5 p.m.

Daisy BB Gun inflatable shooting range - Outside
FREE wildlife carousel - just inside the front entrance turnstiles.
Casting BucketsDeer Track Craft

Soft Foam Shooting Arcade


12-2 Crafts (while supplies last) - Kids paint their own deer track! 


Saturday, July 13 - our last night for free Homemade Ice Cream samples  -  5-6 p.m. Stop by for some sweets treats up by the carousel!


Kids' Workshops - Designed for children 6-12 years of age. Each child will receive ONE free lanyard (while supplies last) and a FREE pin for each workshop they attend.


Workshops are:


Noon - Fishing
1:00 - Water Safety
2:00 - Hunting & Shooting
3:00 - Outdoor Discovery
4:00 - Bird Watching


Noon - Hunting & Shooting
1:00 - Archery
2:00 - Wildlife Adventure
3:00 - Camping
4:00 - Backyard Adventure


Other Happenings this Weekend!

2 p.m. - Join our Fishing experts at the Main Aquarium for a Deep Cranking demonstration.

Try Before you Buy!

The Gifts Department will be serving up samples of deep-fried catfish using Uncle Buck's Light 'n Krispy Fish Mix and Uncle Buck's Beer Batter - then liven it up with some Uncle Buck's Camo Ammo Hot Sauce!

Coming Up!  

Bass Pro Shops Tent Sale

  • July 20-28 - Storewide TENT SALE & Clearance Event!

20-50% off regular price on select items! 

  • July 27-28 - FREE PBR Family Event

Free games and activites - Noon - 4 p.m.

  • August 2-18 - The 2013 Fall Hunting Classic



Outdoor Cooking Primer - Seasoning Salt

It's always fun to try some of the interesting rubs, shakes, and seasonings we have on our shelves. But, many people also have a go-to general seasoning, like seasoning salt, at the ready. I like to have something I've thrown together always on hand and with all "natural" ingredients. This is going to have to be my next ammo in my cooking arsenal. 

Thanks, once again, to Chef Kevin from our friends at Hy-Vee in Altoona, Iowa, for another quick, easy recipe - his not-so-secret Seasoning Salt!

Chef Kevin’s Seasoning Salt

2 tablespoons salt

2 teaspoons white sugar

½ teaspoon paprika

¼ teaspoon dry mustard

¼ teaspoon onion powder

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon corn starch

¼ teaspoon black pepper

Combine all ingredients, mix well.

Chef Kevin says the corn starch is to help keep the rub from clumping together...and the seasoning will work great for any type of meat!

Make a batch up and store it in a sealed container in a cool location and season away!


Like us @  Bass Pro Shops Altoona or Tracker Marine Center

Tweet us @bassproaltoona

Pin us @

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What We Would Take

North America is seriously awesome. Not only does it have the United States of “Amurica” but Alaska as well! All this great land really gives people many chances to enjoy the outdoors. Along with some of the most dynamic landscapes there is also some of the most dynamic hunting available. The game is as diverse as the continent.  Kids can hunt rabbits in their backyard any day of the week and some people save up their whole life to hunt moose in Vancouver.

The wildlife ranges from squirrels to alligator to whitetail deer to bighorn sheep. There is a reason people travel from all over to hunt here. But what if you could only use one caliber to hunt all North American game for the rest of your life? Interesting question if you ask me. What would be a perfect varmint caliber might not be enough to take down an elk. So I decided to ask the Hunting Associates what they would take. Here is what I got back.

Single Votes:

.270Win – There has been a long debate between this and the .30-06Sprg for North American hunters. Both are solid calibers and come down to personal choice. Many people love the capability of this round and its’ softer push. Just note that some guides will not allow hunters to use this caliber on specific hunts.

.280Rem- Hunters can get higher velocities and shoot heavier bullets than the .270Win with this caliber. It is noted as being capable of taking any North American game with good shot placement. Guess what it is based off of? The .30-06Sprg.

Honorable Mention:

.30-06Sprg- I was honestly pretty sure this would have been the overall winner, (but as my fiancé likes to remind me) I was wrong. This caliber is extremely versatile and has proved itself it hunting and battle fields for decades. Ten bucks says this is what your Pappy used to take at least ten bucks* with. (*Deer, I would never claim your Pappy to be a thief.)

Winners (Tie):

.308Win- Introduced in 1952, the .308Win became widely used with the military. It did not take long for hunters to hop on that train. There is a great amount of statistical information about this caliber. It is not the most expensive round to practice with and bulk ammo can be found. It would seem though that this is the new generation’s favorite hunting round.

.300WinMag- After listening to what everyone had to say I may have changed my mind about the best overall round. Since the game in North America includes grizzly bear you are going to want something with some real stopping power. Put a muzzle break on a .300WinMag and most people (including ladies) can shoot it without needing a shoulder replacement.

Now with everything else, this is just our opinions. Feel free to argue for or against any of the calibers mentioned above. What really matters is appreciating the fine hunting heritage this continent has and being able to have good shot placement with whatever caliber one chooses.

Sharpshootin’ snowballs! Yee-haw!


The Off-Season Part 2

   Last month I talked about some of the chores you will have in the off season as preparations for hunting season. Today I will look at the firearm side of things as we look forward to a new season.

   Now is the time to do thorough cleaning and inspection of your firearms. So we shall start with cleaning. This last year some new items in gun cleaning have emerged that have helped change the way we clean firearms. The first name is Otis. They pioneered the cable type of gun cleaner. These are pulled from chamber opening to muzzle. Using a plastic coated cable we are safe in not harming the rifling of the barrel. One of the added bonuses of this system is its compact size. Coiled in the pouch this cleaning cable will travel most anywhere with you. So it can go along on the hunt or to the range if need be. If you have a scoped rifle you will want to clean the lens and inspect rings and mounts for being solid. If something should be out of place or need repair or replacement this is the best time to look at and do the needed repair. This is months ahead of the hunt and you will have the time to test any change.


   Ammo, if you have living in the Arctic Circle for the past 6 months you may not know there has been a severe run on all ammunition since the end of 2012. It would be best to check your supply and keep it stocked as if you would hunt tomorrow. Just as a quick update here, shotgun loads look good as far as supply is concerned. Rifle ammo is in short supply in many calibers; however more of this ammo is manufactured in the months of June and July and up to the end of the year, so just watch for it.


  Now it is the time to look at the camo and hunting clothes you use or will need. Again this is the best time to start looking at these items as it will allow you to give all your attention to the actual hunt. Most of these items will have the most selection early in the summer. So make your list and check it twice, huntin’ season is coming!


~Bill Mellentine (Hunting Team Lead)


D-I-Y “Pet Fishing Lure” Project

I am going to put out two situations and you can decide which one pertains to you more.

It is Friday afternoon and you have only two hours before your uncle’s birthday party starts. And it is not just any uncle either; it is your favorite uncle. It is the uncle that taught you how to bait a hook and where not to take your vehicle to get an oil change. (Way better than the uncle that almost set your hair on fire during a Fourth of July get-together gone wrong.) And you don’t have a gift…


You just realized company is coming over tonight and your dining table does not have enough rustic flare to it. Sure, the pinecones and random burlap do make a statement but it is not enough! (I know it is hard to pick just one, as these two situations are quite common where I come from.)

What these two situations have in common is the solution. A do-it-yourself “Pet Fishing Lure”!

With just basic household/tackle box items and a pair of scissors you can make your own in less than twenty minutes. Here is what you will need: a mason jar, rocks*, a “sticky” label*, a small washer, fishing line and a sinking fishing lure.

(* = Optional, but recommended.)

For the fishing lure we are using a Rattlin’ Rapala - Sinking. They come in multiple sizes and colors.  Of course, many other companies make similar lures. (This one just happened to be hanging out in my tackle box.) The lure needs to be a sinking one, as you do not want it to float and hit the lid.

First, puncture a small hole into the top of the mason jar’s lid.

Second, attach a small length of fishing line to the washer. Make sure you have enough line to work with, and that the washer will not fall through the hole in the lid.

Then, slip the line through the hole with the washer sitting on the top of the lid. Adjust the line so when you tie the knot onto the lure, the lure does not hit the bottom of the jar. (Do not rush this; it may take a couple tries to get it at the right height.)

Once you have the lure hanging high enough finish the knot and snip the excess line.  Wash the rocks clean. Fill the bottom of the jar with the rocks. Fill with water. Slip the lure in and screw the lid on tight. To hide the washer, use the “sticky” label. Write a cute phrase or put your pet fishing lure’s name here. (Personal favorite shown below.) Place label over washer and press down.

And there you have it, your very own “Pet Fishing Lure”! Other things can be used to decorate the bottom of the jar. Spent ammo casings and bottle caps work great as well. (Unfortunately, shotgun shells float.) Let your rustic-creativity flow and have fun!


The Perfect Pack

A few years ago I found myself at my local Bass Pro, with my buddy’s girlfriend. She wanted to surprise him with a new backpack for all the outdoor activities we enjoy. (That’s a lady to marry right there!) She settled on a Red Head backpack that had a lot of space and a built in hydration pack. Within two days I received the call from my buddy wanting to break it in. Who am I to deny such a request?  We met at the determined spot and time, strapped on our packs and began our desert trek. I quickly noticed how much more room the new backpack had than mine (a converted high school backpack) and how nice the hydration feature was, especially in the desert. After the hike, I decided it was time to upgrade my pack and headed back to the Bass Pro.


              As man-code goes I could not get the same pack as my friend’s so started going over my options. I settled on the Red Head Hybrid Pack . It had a lot more room than my previous pack, and was hydration-system compatible. It has the perfect amount and sizes of pockets for specific storage for most outdoor activities. Another little bonus is that the pack can come apart into two sections. This lets us have a full sized pack, good sized back pack, or a waist pack that can carry a decent load. (The term fanny will not be used, except for right there.)

                Over the past few years I can easily say I have gotten my money’s worth out of this product.  Whether I am hiking the local trails, fishing small creeks for trout or heading to the range, this backpack fulfills all carrying needs. I especially enjoy the use of the waist pack separate from the main part. Not every situation requires a full sized pack, which makes this quite convenient. Most of my activities really only require the use of the top half. For example, for fishing it will hold a standard sized trout net, my three piece rod (broken down), reel, all necessary tackle, bait, tools and more. When I hit the range, I easily fit my two full size pistols, eye protection, ear protection, ammo and targets. There is always plenty of room to stash my wallet, phone and keys in a pocket as well.

As far as the waist pack goes, I typically have it converted to a survival bag that carries what I have assembled for my kit. (I would like to add that I will be throwing in this comprehensive survival kit, just as extra precaution.) Keep in mind; this is just the waist portion, leaving the upper portion available for more use. I can also toss this pack in the back of my truck, just in case something was to ever happen. Also for those with kids, having them carry the waist pack would be a great way to include them and make them feel like an essential part to whatever activity is going on.

With my first big-game hunt coming up last November, I began wondering if I would need to upgrade my pack. I loaded the main pack with the basics for whitetail hunting, and attached the waist pack as well. I locked the buckles across my chest and slung my rifle over my shoulder. Then using the waist buckles, strapped in over the rifle. It secured the rifle firmly and comfortably, leaving me completely hands free. Between the waist straps and the most comfortable sling ever, hiking with my rifle was a breeze.

If you are looking for a new backpack for yourself or a gift, I am sure by now you know which one I would suggest.


Turkey Hunting and Shotguns

                                                             Strutting Toms

I do quite a few turkey hunting seminars every spring and it’s amazing at how many new turkey hunters of all ages that are hitting the field every year. If you’re thinking about going turkey hunting and your weapon of choice is a shotgun, there are a few things you need to know and do before your first morning out.


First off, what gauge of shotgun are you going to use, 10, 12, 16, or 20? I have only heard stories about the 10 and 16 gauge but I do not personally have any experience with them, but the 12 and 20 gauge, I do have firsthand experience and have seen both knock a turkey down like there was no tomorrow.  There’s a lot of veteran turkey hunters who feel that the 20 gauge is a little on the light side for turkeys, but I know that under the right circumstances a 20 gauge is very deadly. Using a 20 gauge full choke with a 3 inch mag and the right load at 35 yards is very deadly, but anything much further than 35 yards your pattern will be to spread out and you may end up with a wounded bird. But with some of the new turkey loads like Hevi-Shot that has a mix of 5, 6, and 7 shot your kill distance has just increased past the 35 yard mark. My oldest son killed his first turkey when he was 10 years old at 32 yards with my old 20 gauge Mossberg with a Winchester 3 inch mag 4 shot and that bird dropped as if he was hit with a 12 gauge. I know a few older aged hunters who use a 20 gauge because of the difference in weight and the kick being less than a 12 gauge. A 20 gauge is a great shotgun for women and kids just learning or unable to handle anything bigger without problems.  The 20 gauge is starting to become a favorite for a lot of veteran turkey hunters.

   Mossburg 20 Gauge                                      

My old Hunter’s Specialties camo taped Mossberg 20 gauge

I would say without a doubt that the 12 gauge is the most popular shotgun used by turkey hunters. The great part about a 12 gauge, especially the new ones made special for turkey hunting, is their shorter length.  Many also come already dressed in camo or matt black, and have the ability to shoot three different shells, 2 ¾”, 3”, or 3 ½”. If you wanted to shoot 2 ¾” shells it would be really close to the same challenge as if you were using a 20 gauge 3”mag, but, if you have the ability to use a larger shell for turkey I would highly recommend it. When I hunt with a shotgun I shoot a Mossberg 835 Ulta Mag 12 gauge loaded with a Winchester 3” 4 shot in the chamber and then backed up in the magazine with 2 Winchester 3 ½” 4 shot. The first season I used that Mossberg I called a very nice tom in from my left and 2 hens came in from my right. Those hens went straight to the tom and I couldn’t get them to come any closer than 55 yards. Little to say he walked away with the hens and I never got the shot. So since that morning I start off with a 3 ½” 4 shot backed by two more 3 ½” 4 shot. If I would have had a 3 ½” shell in the chamber that morning that tom would have went home with me, but that’s hunting. The one disadvantage of using a 3 ½” shell is that it kicks like a mule on steroids. Now I know you don’t feel the kick when shooting at an animal but when I had to pattern that gun every time I pulled the trigger I saw stars.

Mossburg 835 Ulti Mag

The Mossberg 835 Ulta Mag in both camo and matt black with the Undertaker Sighted Choke Tube


Choke Tubes


               Any time you choose a shotgun for turkey there are two things you must make sure of. First, you need to find out if your barrel is threaded at the end so you can use different choke tubes or like my Mossberg 20 gauge the barrel has no threads and came factory made as a full choke.  My Mossberg 835 Ulta Mag has a threaded barrel so I can use different choke tubes for other types of hunting. Since my 835 was made for turkey hunting I use a full choke Undertaker Sighted Choke Tube from Hunter’s Specialties with great results. Choke tubes are designed to give you tighter patterns out to certain yardages before they start to widen from the end of the barrel. Choke tubes are made for different patterns from skeet, improved cylinder, modified, full, and extra full. Depending on which choke tube you use will depend on how far down range your pattern will stay tight before it starts to open up and become ineffective. When choosing a choke tube be very careful because there are a lot of choke tubes out there made for water fowl, so make sure what you are looking at is for turkey. This brings up the second must, patterning your shotgun.


Shot Size             


There are three recommended shot sizes to use for turkeys, 4, 5, and 6 shot. Plus now the ammunition manufactures have come out with special turkey loads that are nickel plated, copper plated, and mixed shot size. Not all shotguns are created equal; some may shoot 5 shot better than 6 shot, or 4 shot gives you a better pattern than 5 shot. During my seminars I like to tell all the new hunters to get with a couple buddy’s, buy the 3 different shot sizes made by different manufactures and go out and pattern your guns together, make a day of it. Not onld does shot size affect your pattern, different manufacturers can also produce different results. Federal, Winchester, and Hornady all make great ammunition but when I patterned my 835 the Winchester Supreme 4 shot gave me the best pattern from ten yards out to forty with a 3” and with a 3 ½” ten yards out to sixty.




When you’re getting you ammo pick up a couple packs of turkey head targets. The two I prefer the most are Bass Pro Red Head and Hunter’s Specialties. The Red Head target has the duel-color flake-off technology. What happens is whenever your shot hits the head neck the top layer of color flakes off and turns green, but if you miss the head neck it shows up white. This is great so you know from a distance what was kill shots and what is not. Hunter’s Specialties turkey target is in color and has the vitals outlined so you know exactly where and how many pellets are actual kill shots. It also has on the right side a column for you to record seven different pieces of very important information. Those seven pieces are yardage, number of hits, gauge, shot size, and ounce of load, ammo brand, and shell length.

H.S Turkey Target

As you can see there is a lot of information you can record




               What I like to recommend when you pattern your gun is you start at 10 yards and aim right were the turkeys head and neck meet. Most turkey hunters start at 20 yards but I’ll tell you at the end of this why I say 10 and not 20. Shoot only one time and then check your target to see how many pellets are kill shots. This close you should have at least 10 to 15 pellets in the kill zone. Some hunters say 5 pellets is enough but I prefer 10 or more, I want that bird down and not going anywhere. One pellet to the brain will kill but the more the better. If your pattern looks good, put a new target up at 20 yards and repeat this same process out to 40 with a 3 inch. If you’re shooting a 3 ½ inch start at 10 yards and go out to 60. Use a new target every time. If your pattern was high or low or off right or left at 10 yards do it again with a new target to make sure you didn’t pull the shot. A friend of mine had a brand new shotgun right out of the box and it shot one foot to the right on every shot. He ended up taking it to a gunsmith and having the barrel replaced. If you’re dead on but didn’t have enough pellets in the kill zone this is when you try a different shot size or brand. This is why I said make a day of it.

               Now the reason I say 10 yards is a few years ago I called a boss tom in and I thought he was going to come out about 20 yards to my left and it would be a slam dunk, well that didn’t happen. When that bird came into view and the way I was set up he was 5 yards to my left and when I was able to shoot he was less than 10 feet from the end of my barrel. I knew what my 3 ½ would do at 10 yards but being this close I knew I had to be dead on. I put my bead right in the middle of his head and pulled the trigger. That 3 ½ inch 4 shot hit that bird so hard he did a back flip and it was over. I sat there in disbelief at what had happened. When I looked at that birds head I seen that if I would have been ½ inch to the right I would have missed completely, or ½ inch to the left I would have decapitated him. It was almost like hitting him with a slug.

               Knowing exactly where your shot is hitting at different yardages is an ethical responsibility all turkey hunters should know before they hit the fields. Just like big game hunters sight in their rifles every year, turkey hunters should pattern their shotguns every year.

Mark Campagnola

Hunt Hard and Shoot Straight