2016 Spring Fishing Classic!

The world's greatest fishing show and sale is back, and there's something for everyone! Awesome activities, and hot deals all 10 days! Check out complete details and specials at www.basspro.com/classic!

Rod and Reel Trade-In

The Rod and Reel Trade-In is back...and it's 10 days long! 
Trade in your old reel and save even more on a new one! Trade in your old rod and save on a new one of those, too! It lasts for the whole Classic and includes fly rods and reels!

Rods and reels must not be broken. Lat year our amazing Bass Pro Shops Altoona customers donated over 500 rods and reels, all of which were donated to Scouts, the DNR, Lake View Camp for kids, and a veteran's program.

Local Seminars - February 19-21!

Join us for these great seminars all weekend! the First 25 people to attend each seminar will receive a free SFC logo cooler bag!

Friday, Feb. 19

7 p.m. - Bladed Jigs: Learn How and Where to Fish Bladed Jigs for your Next Big Catch

Saturday & Sunday, February 20 & 21

11 a.m. - New To Fishing? Learn All You Need to Know to Get Started - Presented by Lance Baker, Bass Pro Shops Altoona Pro Staff

2 p.m. - Understanding Baitfish and Their Seasonal Movements - Presented by Kary Ray, Bass Pro Shops Altoona Pro Staff

4 p.m. - The Strategy of Successful Kayak Fishing - Presented by Associate Kent Petersen, avid kayak fisherman.

 

Next Generation Weekend - February 20 & 21!

Bring the kids out to celebrate the coming of warmer weather and learn more about fishing!

  • Noon-5 p.m.: Casting Challenge - Kids receive a fish-shaped water bottle when they complete the challenge!
  • Free 4x6 photo download
  • Free Craft - Decorate a fish magnet! (While supplies last)

Kids' Workshop - 4:30 both days  - "Think Like a Fish!" Kids receive a certificate and the first 25 at the seminar receive a blow-up bobber ball!

Saturday, Feb, 20, the kids' workshop is presented by Taylor Howard, Coordinator of the Mitchellville Elementary Fishing Club for kids!

Sunday, Feb. 21, the kids' workshop is presented by Joel VanRoekel from the Iowa DNR!

 

Women's Fishing Workshop - February 20 - 1:30

Fishing basics for women - fishing can be fun! First 25 women to attend receive a free tumbler!

 

Fried Fish Sampling - Feb. 20 - 2-4 p.m.

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Outdoor Cooking Primer - Slow Cooker Southwestern Wild Turkey Stew

In the middle of winter, nothing is better than stew. Of course, having it cook all day in the slow cooker is even better! This kicked-up, healthy wild turkey stew, created by my husband and I, will warm you up from tip to toes! You'll notice there's not many exact measurements...that's the way we cook! Plus, we were able to use up some things that were in the fridge - like the salsa, spicy vegetable juice, and some adobo sauce. Use your own measurements to your own liking - that's the fun of creating!

Southwestern Wild Turkey Stew

2 turkey thighs - cubed and boned
two stalks celery - diced
potatoes - chunked
baby carrots - halved
1 can black beans
2 cups of corn
1 red pepper, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
3/4 bottle spicy vegetable juice
1 1/2 C chicken stock
cumin
coriander
cilantro
garlic powder
salt and pepper
2 bay leaves
2 Tbsp adobo sauce
1 cup of salsa

Put the meat, celery, carrots, potatoes, corn, black beans, red pepper, and onion in the slow cooker. In a bowl, stir together the vegetable juice, chicken stock, seasonings, adobo sauce, and salsa until it's all well-mixed. Our over the ingredients in the slow cooker and stir all together. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until turkey is done and tender. We actually went more toward the six hours. Pull out the bay leaves before serving...serve it up with some Uncle Buck's Biscuits and you've got it made!

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Meet the Hunting Pro Staff - Chance Patrick

Our second new Hunting Pro Staff Team member is Chance Patrick!  Chance got interested in hunting as a boy and is now an avid hunter and outdoorsman, in general. He shares that love of the outdoors through his Iowa's Great Outdoors program, helping kids and adults experience Iowa's natural resources. 

How did you get started hunting?

I found an interest in hunting about 20 years ago, at the age of 12, and it quickly became a true passion. As a kid, I was taught all of the amazing things that the outdoors, and nature, have to offer. I’m not very singular when it comes to the type of game that I like to hunt, however, the hunting I enjoy most is for deer.  Not only do I love the hunt itself, but I'm very thankful for the food my hunting provides for my family all year.

What’s your favorite hunting method and why?

Archery is, by far, my favorite method of hunting.  As an adolescent, I competed in indoor and outdoor archery and, through that, met some amazing guys who got me into bow hunting. I do a bit of shotgun hunting from time to time, however, the up-close-and-personal experience of archery hunting, and the dedication it takes to prepare and hunt that way, makes it my favorite.

Three tips or techniques everyone should practice:

The number one tip for hunting is safety, safety and safety! Safety in learning about your equipment, and how it functions, and knowledge of the land/area you are hunting. Second, know the game you are hunting and regulations for that game (i.e., the legal regulations for harvesting that specific game, best legal times of the day to hunt that specific game, and the best places to find that game). Third, ALWAYS enjoy Iowa’s outdoors, but also respect all the great things it has to offer you.

Three items you never leave home without when you go hunting?

I always check, and double check, all of my safety equipment, like a working lighter for a safe fire should the need arise, all lifeline equipment, and a compass (especially if you are unfamiliar with the land/area you are hunting). Second, more clothing than I'll actually need. You should always prepare for the worst possible conditions for the season you are hunting. Third, communication and a plan with family or friends. I can't stress enough how important it is that someone be aware of where you will be and when you should be expected back.

Who has been the biggest influence on you when it comes to the outdoors?

Unfortunately, I lost my grandfather five years ago and he was the biggest influence in my life, in general, and definitely when it comes to my love of Iowa’s outdoors. Though he was mainly a fisherman of catfish and bullhead, (which I absolutely love as well!),  some of the best times I’ve had in Iowa’s outdoors were with him at a lake or good ole’ farm pond just spending time together.

 

Chance's passion and mission as a pro staff member for Bass Pro Shops Altoona is to educate people of all ages, especially the next generation, about what Iowa’s outdoors has to offer. Like hunting, fishing, camping, and more, and all of the places there are, and equipment available, to do these activities. Outdoor activities are being replaced by electronics and people get so wrapped up in all of the day-to-day things that need to be done, that they forget all of the beautiful and educational things nature and the outdoors have to offer.

One of my favorite quotes is, “Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.” If I even reach one family that decides to try something new outdoors and go down that "dirt path," then my job is being done.

_________________________

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Outdoor Cooking Primer - Tin Plate Special

I saw this recipe on the Food for Hunters Facebook page and had to try it! It makes a hearty meal and is perfect for the weekend. We eat a LOT of venison roasts in the slow cooker, however, this method cooks the roast low and slow in the oven surrounded by beans and other goodies.

The only change I made was using olive oil to sear the meat (instead of lard or shortening), spicy vegetable juice (instead of tomato juice, fresh chopped jalapenos (instead of canned), and, of course, a bit of smoked paprika!  I also did not tie the roasts together and they cooked just fine. Just writing this makes me realize I need to make this dish again!

Tin Plate Special

1 lb dry pinto beans
6 lbs of venison roast (we had about 5 lbs)
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or lard or shortening)
1/3 C chopped jalapeno (or 4 oz can)
1 medium onion, sliced
2 C spicy tomato juice (or regular tomato juice)
1- 8 oz can tomato sauce
1/2 C water
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste (we use kosher salt and pepper blend seasoning)
1 tsp dried mustard
1 tsp dried thyme

Wash and clean the beans in a colander. Put them in a large pot, cover with water about 3 " above the beans, bring to a boil, cover and simmer until soft, about 3 hours. Drain and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350. As always, when using roasts, trim as much fat and silver as possible.

Using a large Dutch oven or similar cookware (I use a large oval enameled French oven), heat the oil over medium-high heat. Salt and pepper the roast on both sides. Make sure the pan/oil is hot and then sear the roast on both sides. Once seared remove it and set it aside on a platter.

In that same pot, soften then onion, stirring. Add the drained beans and the jalapenos. (If using canned jalapenos, use the juice, too.). Add the tomato juice, sauce, water, brown sugar, cider vinegar, mustard, and thyme. Stir it all together and then add the roast, submerging the roast in the mixture. It should be pretty well covered.

Cover and put in the oven, roasting at 350 for about 2 to 3 hours or until the roast is tender. We did ours about 2 hours. Timing will depend on the size of your roasts.

Serve with some crusty bread to help soak up the gravy!

Enjoy!

________________________________

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A Rooster's Tale

"Seven years ago I thought I would be the one teaching this little kid how to hunt turkeys and he ended up teaching me about life."

Hunting Associate Andrew Tressel harvested a beautiful buck this past fall - a heavy-duty, 8-point.

It wasn't his first hunt and, like many hunters, it didn't happen overnight or without challenges. You see, 21-year-old Andrew is in a wheelchair, and the group he hunts with is the non-profit organization Serve Outdoors.

Andrew's first hunt was a spring turkey hunt, eight years ago, with Serve Outdoors. Andrew's outlook on life as a 13-year-old "little kid" had such a tremendous impact Gene "Corky" Battey, leader of the Des Moines River Valley Chapter of Serve Outdoors, that he wrote an article for the Iowa Sportsman Magazine about it. It was the beginning of Andrew's hunting and life-changing experiences through Serve Outdoors, and the start of a life-long friendship built around enjoying the great outdoors, no matter the challenges.
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The “Rooster” Tale

(May 2009, Iowa Sportsman magazine, with permission)


May 3, 2008, dawned rainy and windy. Our threesome headed to the turkey woods late, due to existing conditions. We were on a "special hunt" set up by Serve Outdoors, a group devoted to sharing God's creations with people with disabilities and the mentoring of today's youth.

Andrew and his dad, Rod Tressel of Ankeny, Iowa, were to be my charges this weekend. Rod's comment was, “I had reservations on how the people of Keosauqua would accept a kid in a wheelchair.”

His wonder was quickly diminished. Andrew, on the other hand, said, “It's not just getting one, it's the WHOLE experience.”

I was impressed with this youngster being wiser than his years.

Andrew has an infectious smile and an attitude to go with it. Little did I know what he would teach me this weekend.

As we sat in a midday pocket of timber, the wind howling overhead, conversation turned to turkey hunter habits. I mentioned to Andrew that turkey hunters will sometimes take a nap in the blind and it was okay if he wanted to. The mention of this "habit" was met with a stern, “That ain't gonna happen, Cork!”

Well, then, maybe the guide will get a little snoozin' in.

“If I drop off and a bird comes in, just touch my knee and I'll wake up quietly.”

As the afternoon rays warmed my Matrix, the turkey gods took me elsewhere. Soon, I felt a hand on my knee.

”Do you see one?” I asked quietly, slowly opening my eyes.

Again the response was firm, “No, Cork! You're snoring!”

So much for my new hunter's perception of naps.

The rest of the day passed with an occasional hen showing up and the sharing of tried and true turkey hunting tactics. Later, Andrew removed his head net and I noticed that the hair on top was at attention.

“You look like a little banty rooster. I think that should be your nickname - ”Rooster.” 

Rooster and Cork...what a pair.

I was given this match by Al Smith, Director of Serve Outdoors. I met Al some 10 years ago at a NWTF function. I sat down to share some hunting photos. He didn't know me from Adam, but we hit it off right away. I found Al to have a God-given heart for people with disabilities and today's youth. He has been a true friend and I love him like a brother.

This afternoon, Rooster and I would laugh and converse, while his Dad strained to hear our verbiage from the other blind.

”Ha Ha Ha—psssss...psssss...Dad, hand me a sandwich will ya'...”

Yes, our threesome and equipment took up two blinds—turkey hunting requires a lot of “stuff" these days. But now, we had a date in Keosauqua, Iowa, for the celebration dinner. At each event, the hunters, their families, the farmers we hunt on, and guides get together with the fine folks of Van Buren County to laugh, shed a few tears, break bread and relive the events of the day. Pictures are taken, stories retold, hugs exchanged and a feeling of “this is more like family” fills the inside of the volunteer fire station. It's a true celebration, but tomorrow is another day. The three of us lay a game plan...we'll change farms tomorrow.

3:30 AM comes early and there's prep work to be done. Two double-bulls to set on their ground covers, five decoys to place, chairs to position, a spot for the wheel chair to be decided on and various other sundry details are fixed as I unload the Bad Boy Buggy in the pre-dawn darkness. Did I mention all the decoys have names (idle hours in the blind you know)? Andrew knows each one by "Bob," "Jake," "Henryetta," "Mabel" and "Ileane" (..because she does...sometimes). The star-lit timber was calm and cool this a.m., a 180-degree change from yesterday. There will be gobblin' at dawn. I head back to the farm buildings to retrieve Rod, Rooster and the wheel chair. As we cross the creek, mud oozes from the tires, but the electric buggy carries us silently toward our hide and the rosy fingers of dawn. Rod and I wheel Rooster onto the ground cover and place the blind over top of him.

Rod's comment yesterday was, “Cork, when you dropped that blind over Andrew for the first time, I have never seen a smile like that on his face before...thank you!”

That put a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye to say the least. More of the whole experience, as Andrew would say.

Was there gobblin'? You bet!  But, as the morning glow enveloped us, it became less frequent. A return trip to Ankeny was set for 11 a.m. Time was getting short. I remember praying yesterday, “Lord, is there a turkey for this young man that you have allowed me to spend time with?”

The answer was quick and short, ”Yes! But, you'll have to wait.”

Well, we're down to the last hour of the last day..ever heard that before? I had just about exhausted my callin' bag 'o tricks, when Rooster says “I see one!”

”Where?”
”Over in the trees”
"I don't see him”
"Keep lookin', you'll see him.”

Finally, a hen, a tail fan, and then that beautiful snowball emerged from the timber. He sees the decoys. His demeanor changes 180 degrees again. He leaves the hen with fire in his eyes. He's gonna kick “Bob's” butt...or so he thinks.

The 60 yard fan-dance is quickly eclipsed and he's in “Bob's” face!

“Andrew, get your gun up...take the safety off!” 

His tail has covered our movements. His dance takes another 180. Now, he's looking right at us at seven steps. I quietly say, “Take him whenever you want.”

The silence of the morning is broken by an unnerving “click." Do we have a gun malfunction? Tom gets that look in his eye, like “Oh crap, what was that?" Had he heard our muffled conversation or that click?

Anytime Andrew....shoot him....Shoot Him.....SHOOT HIM!!!!! The little 20 finally barks and Ben Franklin's proposed national symbol flips over backwards...NO!

His head is up...do we shoot him again? A quick survey says no.

”Put the safety on Andrew!” A positive click.

I flip the blind off and head for a bird that is trying to get airborne again. Now comes what Andrew calls the Cork Flop. I've carried wounds from birds in the past. This day would be no exception. A limb-hanger spur enters my palm, but do you think I'll let go? No way! I carry a scar today that proves Rooster's gobbler hangs on his bedroom wall. As stillness arrives to his bird, Andrew arrives, wheeled down by his Dad, to my arm's length. As I look up from my dew-soaked, turkey covering position, there's that infectious smile and I lose it! My emotions are as mixed up as a batch of Keebler Elf cookies. I'm laughing, I'm crying, I'm proud, I'm humbled, and I'm thanking the Good Lord, all at once. I have to get up and head into the decoys to gather my emotions. My part of the whole experience. After a few moments of alone time, I return and place the regal bird on Andrew's lap and step back. It's picture takin' time!

I've heard “the Cuz” say there are four stages in the life of a hunter.
#1) First you have to get one 
#2) You have to get the most 
#3) You have to get the biggest one
#4) You want to enhance wildlife and share it with others.

How soon you advance thru these stages is up to the individual. Some never make it all the way through. But, this day, I witnessed a new hunter (disabled? I think not) enjoy the sunrise of stage #1 and this guide look back from a coming sunset of stage #4.
_____________________________      

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Meet the Hunting Pro Staff - Maria Young

Meet Maria Young - one of our two new Hunting Pro Staff members!

Maria is an avid hunter. From whitetail hunter, to turkey every spring, coyote hunting, and even raccoon. Personally, and as a member of the Dressed to Kill TV show, she has hunted in New York, North Carolina, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri and Iowa, as well as Canada for black bear and, of course, taking some time out for fishing! She's a busy mom to three young women, businesswoman, wife, and hunter, but she took some time out to talk to us about her passion of hunting!


How did you get started hunting?

My father, grandfather and uncles all hunted while I was a child, but I started out competition shooting at the age of 8 in New York state. It wasn't until I met my husband, Tim, that I started to hunt while we were dating in the late 90s. Tim is the one responsible for teaching me all of my hunting skills. His obsession turned into our passion not only as a couple, but now also as a family!
 

What is your favorite hunting method and why?

My favorite style is archery, by far! I think it's the most challenging and the most rewarding. You have to practice every day and make sure that you are precise with your shots, as you do not want to wound an animal.
 

Three tips or techniques that you think everyone should practice:

  1. Learn to judge yardage, since you never know when the time will come that you won't be able to grab that rangefinder. Even if you range a few spots from your stand each time you get in there, this will give you a better idea of how far your target is, just in case you can't grab the range finder.
  2.  Always wear, or bring, an additional layer along with you, no matter the temperature. You can always take a layer off, but if you get cold and didn't wear/bring an extra one, this might ruin your sit.
  3. As an archery hunter, have a back up release in your bag at all times! You never know when yours will break, or you might drop one out of the stand after you have been up there a bit!


What are three items you NEVER leave home without when you go hunting?

 My phone, my protein chews and my bow!


Who has been the biggest influence on you when it comes to the outdoors? Tell us about it.

My husband Tim has, by far, been the biggest influence on me when it come to the outdoors. He has taught me how the moon phases work, to watch not only the temperature, but the barometric pressure, the wind direction and its changes throughout the day, thermals, sunrise/sunset, as well as how to hang stands - where and why, how to plant food plots, and so much more! Without Tim, I would not be the huntress I am today!

Maria's passion is hunting and her mission, as a Pro Staff member, is to pass that passion along to others, especially those groups two demographics who may need some extra encouragement - women and children.

"I want to teach more women and children about the outdoors, give them the encouragement that anyone can hunt and enjoy time with friends/family/loved ones in nature and assist as many men, women and children, as possible, to become hunters everywhere, safely and ethically!"

Follow Maria on social media - she is always open to answering questions. Look for her to be at Bass Pro Shops Altoona for seminars, etc!

www.facebook.com/mariayoungdtk/-
Twitter/Instagram/Periscope/Pinterest @MariaYoungDTK

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Outdoor Cooking Primer - Slow Cooker Pulled Pork on Biscuit Buns

Here's a SUPER easy idea for those big games, especially if you can't, or don't, want to fire up the smoker.

Pulled Pork and Slaw on Biscuit Buns

Here's what all you will need:

One pork butt roast (ours was about 7 pounds)
Olive Oil (we used chili-flavored)
salt
pepper
Uncle Buck's Pork Rib Rub
1/2 large onion, cut into 1/4-1/2" slices
Canned buttery biscuits - "Grand" style!
One bag pre-chopped cole slaw mix  (or about 4 cups of shredded/chopped cabbage)
2/3 C sugar (or sugar substitute)
2/3 C mayo (we use salad dressing)
2 Tbsp + 1 tsp cider vinegar
2 Tbsp + 1 tsp vegetable oil
celery seed
celery salt
smoked paprika
garlic powder

For the meat:

Cover the bottom of your slow cooker with the onion slices.

Take the roast and season it with salt and pepper (amount to your liking). Heat olive oil (about two circles around the pan) in a large pan and sear the roast on all sides. Transfer the roast to the slow cooker. Season it on all sides with the Uncle Buck's Pork Rib Rub. Cook on high for one hour, then low for 8 hours.

For the slaw:

Put your cabbage in a large bowl. In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together 2/3 cup sugar substitute, 2/3 cup mayo/salad dressing, vinegar and oil to make your dressing. Add a pinch of celery seed, 1/4 tsp celery salt, a shake or two of smoked paprika, and a pinch of garlic powder. Pour it over the slaw, tossing with a fork until the cabbage is well-covered. Cover and refrigerate.

For the "buns:"

Take each biscuit and smash it out as much as you can into a big circle. Cook according to package instructions. When they are done, use two to make your "bun" OR cut each one in half if you'd like the bun halves to be a bit thinner.

Slider Alternative - DON'T mash out the biscuits, but use them regular sized to make sliders.
 

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DIY Bird Seed Wreaths

Looking for a fun outdoor-related project with the kids that will help feed the birds, too?

I received a new Bundt® pan for Christmas. I needed to replace the one I had, which at least 40 years old. Since it was my mom's, I wanted a way to repurpose it and the very next day I stumbled across a "recipe" for making bird seed wreaths.

The first instructions I read involved using lard, rendering and straining it through cheesecloth. However, the next site I found had simpler ingredients which I had in my cupboard. Don't have a Bundt® pan? Use an angel food cake pan, a Jell-o mold (do people still use those?), a cookie sheet, wax paper, or even just mold it with your hands. You could use a round casserole dish and put an aluminum foil "tower" in the middle to create the hole.

This took 10 minutes to throw together, if even that, and is a GREAT project to do with young kids in the winter, while at the same time making an attractive, garden treat. Simply put a ribbon on it and hang it from a bird feeder yard hanger, bracket, or shepherd's hook for the cardinals, juncos, black-capped chickadees, and the rest of the feathered gang. Also a GREAT gift idea!

Have fun!

Bird Seed Wreath

You will need:

    3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup warm water
    3 tablespoons light corn syrup
    1 package unflavored gelatin
    4 cups wild bird seed  (Bass Pro Shops Altoona carries bird seed in the store - check with your local Bass Pro on availability)
    Bundt pan or other mold
    Non-stick cooking spray
Optional - Cranberries, walnuts

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, dissolve one package of the unflavored gelatin in the warm water. (Stir or whisk it to help it dissolve.) Add in the flour and light corn syrup and stir it all together to create your gooey paste that is going to hold everything together. Pour in the bird seed and mix it all together with a spoon until everything is coated. Spray your pan or mold with the non-stick cooking spray. You can add the cranberries and walnuts to the Bundt® pan first, if you're using them, by placing them in the ridges in a decorative manner. You can also use them in whatever other mold you're using, however, they may move around some. Add the bird seed mixture and press into place, distributed evenly throughout the pan.

Set the pan aside overnight. It will harden on its own. You can press it with your finger to make sure, but I just left mine sitting out overnight and it was solid. Turn it out gently onto a plate or newspaper. Attach some ribbon and hang it for the birds!

______________________________

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Winter Car Kit

When it comes to severe winter storms with SNOW, we've been pretty lucky so far. However, we know the worst could be yet to come. It's easy to put together a winter survival kit for your car and let's hope the opportunity never arises for the need to use it. But, it's always better to BE PREPARED! As I drive Interstate 80 every day back and forth to work, I'm thankful my husband always reminds me to have these supplies in case I ever went in the ditch.

Snowbrush/ice scraper (common sense on this one - no one who lives in a state that has annual snowfall should be without one of these in their car. Absolutely no reason)

Small shovel - to dig yourself out or to clear the snow away from the tailpipe if you go in the ditch.

Boots
Tote with the following:

  • LED Flashlight
  • Stocking cap
  • Thick scarf
  • Face mask
  • Two pairs of gloves
  • Hot Hands
  • Toasti-Toes
  • Hot Hand Body Warmers
  • Two blankets
  • Food - Jerky, some sort of granola or protein bars, candy bars (DON'T sneak into the tote and eat them!)
  • Water
  • Candle/matches
  • Toilet Paper - and I have a Go Girl "feminine urination device."
     

I think I will a small power bank for my phone, like the Realtree Ultra Slim Power Bank. While I try to make sure my phone is fully charged before heading out, you never say never! Another good addition may be the Eton® Self-Powered Weather Alert Radio, which comes with an LED flashlight and USB charger. It would be handy to have for spring and summer severe weather, too!

Take time to throw together even some basic items before the next snow/ice storm hits. You may be thankful you had the one extra blanket and bag of jerky!

______________________________

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Outdoor Cooking Primer - Slow Cooker Venison Stroganoff

This is the second Venison Stroganoff recipe I've tried. The first was not slow cooker, so this is easier to prepare. The original recipe is the Best Beef Stroganoff recipe found in a Hy-Vee Seasons magazine. A couple of changes I made, besides venison instead of beef, were to use a pepper blend seasoning, no salt, SMOKED paprika, beef STOCK (opposed to broth), stone ground Dijon mustard, and to serve them over Tomato Basil noodles.

Colorful and tasty!

Slow Cooker Venison Stroganoff

2 lb. venison roast
1/4 tsp black pepper blend seasoning
2 T all-purpose flour
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 C beef stock
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T smoked paprika
2 T dry white wine (used Chardonnay)
2 C button mushrooms
1 medium onion, chopped
8 oz. sour cream
2 tsp stone ground Dijon mustard
Shredded Parmesan

 

Cut the roast into finger-like chunks and put them in a bowl. Season them with the salt and pepper blend seasoning, then add the flour and toss to coat the pieces.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet and brown the venison pieces on all sides. Put them in your slow cooker.

Add the broth to that same skillet. Bring it to a boil, stirring constantly to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom. Stir in garlic, paprika and, wine. Pour over the venison pieces in slow cooker.

Add the mushrooms and onions to slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours or until meat is tender. Using a slotted spoon, transfer meat mixture to a bowl; cover and keep warm.

Add sour cream and mustard to liquid in slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 5 minutes. Pour sauce over meat mixture. Serve over noodles and sprinkle with shredded Parmesan.

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Iowa Ice Fishing - Tread Carefully

Ice is forming, or has formed, on some Iowa waters. Unfortunately, we've  had some deaths in Iowa from anglers being on unsafe ice.

Clam Ice Team Pro Kevan Paul was here for our recent Ice Fishing Event and couldn't stress enough that even though ice is forming, don't let your enthusiasm outweigh your common safety sense.

 

 

For reports on ice and general fishing conditions around the state, visit the Iowa DNR's Fishing report, www.iowadnr.gov/Fishing/Fishing-Reports, updated weekly or as necessary.

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More Letters to Santa!

Dear Santa:

I would like lots of drawing supplies. Notebooks, pencils, pens, colored pencils, crayons, markers, etc. I also want Monster High Dolls and Lego and Friends Lego Sets. Also, Elves Lego Sets. Last, but certainly not least, I want lots and lots of SNOW!!!

Dear Santa:

What I want for Christmas is an Easy Bake Oven or Emma's Lego House!

Dear Santa:

I would like a Red Rider BB gun with the triple action rifle and a thing that tell times. Trust me, I will NOT shoot my eye out! I've been good for like a whole two weeks.

Ralphie

Dear Santa:

For Christmas, I want an American Girl doll and also I would like American Girl Doll furniture. And most important of all for every child to have a good Christmas!

Dear Santa:

I would like remote control cars, Hot Wheels, fishing poles and tackle box, 4-wheelers for Christmas and coloring books!

_______________________

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Letters to Santa - Puppies and More

Puppies and other assorted animals are always popular items requested for Christmas, as these letters will attest!

 

Dear Santa:

I want Monster High Dolls, Lego and friends, Elves' Legos, a puppy named Ginger, a boat, fishing poles, bobbers, color pencils, reindeer (a real one), a robot dog, and lots and lots of fudge!

Olivia

Dear Santa:

I would like to know if you can bring me a puppy. I would like Monster High Dolls, Ever After High Dolls, drum set, portable radio, games for kids...thank you and tell your elves thank you and great job.

Kaylee

PS: If you can't bring me a puppy, it will be okay.

Dear Santa:

I have been really good this year. Please bring me: pen that changes colors, pattern blocks, 3-person tube for my boat, bed canopy, and a fish.

Kinley

Dear Santa:

Four-wheeler, shot gun, a dog, for my parents to win the lottery. I want a horse, and a pig, I want a lot of candy and to see you.

Adam


Dear Santa:

I want new clothes and camo boots. I want a new kitten. I want a new 4-wheeler. I want a new bed spread.

Grandma

______________________

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Product Spotlight - Bug-A-Salt for Christmas!

Take back your patio!

Your "gotta have" present for this Christmas! The only bad thing is, if you live in the Midwest, you have to wait for the flies to show up to use it!

The Bug-A-Salt has provided an easy way to rid our patio of those pesky flies, while trying to enjoy an Iowa summer. No smashing or fly guts left behind. The Bug-A-Salt shoots regular table salt - a salt holder has a capacity good for 80 shots and each shots uses just a pinch of salt to stun and blast that fly without leaving a nasty mess.

It really does work! My husband has become quite an expert - a simple pump cocking handle, with a safety switch, no batteries, and a 3 ft. range. It's not a toy and is for 18 years of age or older.

You'll find it in our Camping Department at Bass Pro Shops Altoona!

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Letters to Santa 2015

Our annual tradition where we pick out some of the more unique and special letters written for Santa in Santa's Wonderland and deliver them over social media! Enjoy!

Dear Santa:

I have been very good this year. Mommy has to chase me a lot and I think it's funny. I'm not sure what I want for Christmas, so I'm okay with whatever. I'll try to smile for my picture next year!

Emelia

Dear Santa:

Thank you so much for having breakfast with me. I really liked decorating my stocking and taking a picture with you. I want a zippy sack for Christmas. Please use your magic key to come into my house. Fly safe!

Abriella

Dear Santa:

I hope you have a Merry Christmas! I have been a really good firl this year. I would like a Snow White Princess Dress for Christmas, please. Thank you for sending our elf Peppermint to our house.

Holly

Dear Santa:

I have been mostly good this year. I would like a tablet, a baby doll, bitty baby clothes, Legos, and Barbies. Thank you for delivering toys to all the girls and boys.

Lilly

________________________

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Outdoor Cooking Primer - Venison Porcupine Meatballs (Porky Pig Balls)

I went in search of a baked porcupine meatballs recipe to make with venison and ended up creating these Porky Pig Balls...because they have BACON MARMALADE in them! We purchased bacon marmalade can at our local grocery store or you can even make your own. Just look online for the recipes. I used the California brown rice, because that is what was in the cupboard, as opposed to the long-grain rice called for in the original recipe. The brown rice added a bit of texture, that we really liked.  I genuinely can't wait to make these again. Of course, you could use burger or maybe even ground turkey if you wanted.

Venison Porcupine Meatballs (a.k.a. Porky Pig Balls!)

1 1/2 pounds ground venison with jalapenos
2/3 C California brown rice, uncooked
1/2 C Water
1/4 C finely chopped onion
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp celery salt
1/2 Tbsp smoked paprika
1/2 cup bacon marmalade
1/2 Tbsp fresh ground multi-color peppercorns or Pepper Blend seasoning
1 - 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 C water
2 tsps Worcestershire sauce

Shredded Chipotle Cheddar Cheese
 

Mix venison with rice, 1/2 cup water, chopped onion, garlic powder, celery salt, smoked paprika, pepper, and bacon marmalade.
Shape the meat mixture into 1 1/2" balls. Place the meatballs in an ungreased 13x9 dish. Mix the remaining ingredients - tomato sauce, water and Worcestershire - and pour over the meatballs. Then I sprinkled the Chipotle Cheddar Cheese over them...because everything is better with cheese on it!

Cover and bake at 350 for an hour. Uncover and bake 15-20 minutes more.

Enjoy!
____________________________________

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This Weekend at Bass Pro Shops Altoona - Only Two Weeks Left!

Only TWO more weekends for Santa's Wonderland! However, Santa is also here during the week starting at 10:00 a.m.! 

Have special needs kids or pets you want to bring to see Santa? We encourage you to bring them during the week and during the day.

We will be handing out Bass Passes as soon as the store opens on weekends! If you are driving a distance to come see Santa on the weekend, please keep in mind that there may be a wait. HOWEVER, with the Bass Pass system, you do NOT have to wait in line like you do elsewhere. The Bass Pass holds a virtual spot in line for you, so can shop, play the games, grab a bite to eat, and then listen for your time to be called to get in line.

Did you know?

  • Along with the free 4x6 photo, you also now receive a personalized digital greeting card that you can share on social media and email to friends and family!
  • The first 100 kids to visit Santa each week night, between 5-7 p.m, receive a free Outdoor Plush Buddy! This week's buddy is Poe Polar Bear!

 

 

Santa’s Photo Hours through December 21

Monday-Friday:   10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Saturday:  10 a.m.-8 p.m.

Sunday: 10 a.m.-8 p.m.

Crafts: Monday-Friday:  5-7 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday:  Noon-5 p.m.

Hours through December 21

Crafts:

Dec. 7-13: Create a Pine Cone Ornament

December 14-20: Make a Bobber Snowman

 

Coming up?

Santa's Wonderland Photo and Craft Hours for Dec. 22-24

  Free Photo
with Santa
Free Crafts Free Games
& Activities
December 22-23 10am-8pm 3-7pm Open to Close
Thursday, Dec 24 10am-5pm 3-5pm Open to Close

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There is still time to donate to the 2nd Annual Warm Kids Campaign! Bring your new hats, mittens, gloves, scarves, socks and other cold weather items for kids ages 4-12 to our lobby! Buy them anywhere, just bring them here and help the elementary students of Southeast Polk School District stay warm!

 

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This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona - Santa's Wonderland Continues!

Santa's Wonderland is in full gear! If you donated a toy and have a Toys for Tots coupon, you will need to use it for your free photo package by the end of the day, Friday, Dec. 4.

Did you know?

  • NEW THIS YEAR! Along with the free 4x6 photo, you also now receive a personalized digital greeting card that you can share on social media and email to friends and family!
  • The first 100 kids to visit Santa each week night, between 5-7 p.m, receive a free Outdoor Plush Buddy! This week's buddy is Franklin Fox!
  • The first 100 kids to visit Santa on Saturday, Dec. 5, only, starting at noon, receive a free kids' Santa Drawstring Bag!

 

 

Santa’s Photo Hours through December 5

Monday-Friday:   5-8 p.m.
Saturday:  10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Crafts: Monday-Friday:  5-7 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday:  Noon-5 p.m.

Hours Starting Sunday, December 6

Crafts:

Nov. 30 - Dec. 6 - Decorate a Snowman Bag

Dec. 7-14 - Create a Pine Cone Ornament

 

 

 

Coming up?

Santa's Wonderland Photo and Craft Hours for Dec. 22-24

  Free Photo
with Santa
Free Crafts Free Games
& Activities
December 22-23 10am-8pm 3-7pm Open to Close
Thursday, Dec 24 10am-5pm 3-5pm Open to Close

 

________________________

 

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Building Memories & Passing on Traditions - Iowa Firearms Deer Season

By Rod Slings
Retired Iowa Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Supervisor
CEO/ Founder Hunting and Shooting Related Consultants, LLC
Co-Author Blood on the Leaves

A couple of thoughts cross my mind as “Opening Day” approaches for the upcoming firearms deer season

  • First of all, remember the people we choose to hunt with are our family and our friends. These are very important people in our daily lives and coming together for this annual tradition makes SAFETY everyone’s responsibility. 
  • The old “plan your hunt and hunt your plan,” is key to everyone’s safety. Make sure you take time for all the members of your hunting party to know and understand the rules of the hunt. It’s everyone’s responsibility to know when and where a SAFE shot can be made. Understand that shooting at running deer is the number one factor of deer hunting-related shooting incidents.
  • Keep this in mind - before you pull the trigger; know the capabilities of your firearm and your ability. Know what is beyond your target, don’t let “target-fixation” take over, being so focused on your target that all else becomes a blur.

A number of years ago, some of my fellow officers and myself were checking deer hunter compliance on opening day. As we rolled up to an open gate to a field, a line of trucks loaded with blaze orange-clad hunters and harvested deer were coming out to the road. We stepped out to begin checking licenses, and there was a very young hunter that lined up, along with the hunting party. I began checking each hunter and eventually got to this young man. As he removed his deer license from his pocket, his harvest tag had been removed.

I said, “It looks like you had some success. Congratulations!” 

He lowered his head and responded, “Umm, no I didn’t get”…and before he could answer a large older man standing next to him interrupted.

“I had to shoot his deer for him this year. We’re meat hunters and I wanted to make sure we filled his tag!” 

Even though party hunting is legal here, which allows someone else to harvest your deer as long as it is “tagged” within 15 minutes and before it is moved, I could tell, on this day, this young hunter was devastated. My further discussion with the young man indicted that he had just completed his Hunter Education Course and had been practicing his marksmanship skills. He lost the opportunity to become a successful hunter on that day. This was a chance to gain the confidence and gratification of preparing for the hunt and being thankful for the gift of his harvest. The attitude and actions by the older hunter are NOT the kind of memory you want to imprint on a young hunter. It’s your responsibility, as a mentor, to be the best role model you can be, along with providing direct supervision. 

I’m not sure if this young hunter every hunted again after this experience. It’s not always about filling tags and filling the freezer. It’s about building tradition, passing on ethical behaviors and rules of SAFETY, and leaving the peer pressure at home. These are moments of building a lifetime of memories that we, as hunters, can be proud of. Hunting can tell us a lot about who we are and who the people we hunt with are.  Passing on our tradition, our heritage and being a SAFE, ethical, and responsible hunter is what we all need to focus on.

Hunt SAFE!

__________________________

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Four Things You Don't Want to Forget

We brought your "Three Things I Wish I Would Have Had" with advice from our Gun Vault Specialist Alicia. She talked about the three things she includes in her hunting gear NOW, that she wishes she had known about back when she started hunting.

Now we bring you Four Things You Don't Want to Forget! General Manager Jason Truman share his thoughts on this subject!

"I can’t tell you how many times I forgot the camera. Now that they’re on everyone’s phones, it’s probably not as big of a deal. However, phone flash doesn’t substitute for regular flash.

"Next, a seat cushion. I use one for turkey, when I set up at the base of a tree. You can use one to make your tree stand more comfortable, too. I like the ones with the foam in them so my rear end doesn’t get cold but somehow, I forget it half the time.

"The next one is a little weird. I usually always have zip ties in my truck and I try to remember to grab a couple when I go out.  Zip ties will work in a million different scenarios.  You can make a temporary fix on about anything.  Dare I say, they could possibly be better than duct tape??!! Or even the Nite Ize Gear Ties...they work great, too.

"Meds!  I don’t take any scripts, but if I forget my ibuprofen and get a headache, I’m done! Please make sure you have medications with you and take them as required. A tree stand is the last place you want to have issues due to not taking your medication!"

There are items like these that can sound so simple and basic, but are often the easiest things to forget. Make sure your gear is complete before you head out!

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