Ten Hunting Tips from our Team

We asked some of our Bass Pro Shops Altoona team members for some hunting tips. No matter what, no matter where, here are some never-fail tips they'd like to share. Maybe it's something YOU'VE never thought of - here we go:

10.  I always take a spare bow release with me when bow hunting. Lose one going into the stand and you'll soon know why!

 9.   While getting ready for the season, try and practice shooting your bow/gun Deer in Woodsin the same gear in which you'll be hunting. The more realistic the practice the more confident you'll be in your shots.

 8.  Aim small, miss small. Aim big, miss big. In other words, pick a small aiming point. You may miss the small point, but more than likely still make a very accurate shot. If you aim at a big target, such as the entire deer, you may miss the entire deer!

 7.  Keep it in perspective. In the grand scheme of life, hunting is a great activity, but does not need to consume you.

 6.  Washing clothing in scent free detergents.

 5.  Store all clothing in air tight bags or totes to keep foreign odors off of them.

 4.  Dress in the field to ensure you don’t pick up any odors on the way to your spot. Sometimes hunters are tempted to stop at the gas station to get a coffee early in the morning. Likewise, remember this may mean that you are getting dressed in freezing temps!

(These next two are somewhat redundant, but that's simply how important they are!) HSS Patriot Reversible Safety Harness Vest

 3.  Safety first. Remember those whom you love who are expecting you to come home after the hunt!

 2.  Safety is #1 for me and anyone that hunts with us. We always wear our safety harness' (especially while hanging stands) and during gun season blaze orange is a must! Coming home safely to my family is my #1 priority.

 1.  HAVE FUN! Take someone with you and enjoy God’s great outdoors together!

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Outdoor Cooking Primer - Braised Chicken w/Butternut Squash

Braised Chicken w/Butternut SquashWe have butternut squash from our garden, so I was looking for different ways to use it besides soup. I jumped on this recipe from Martha Stewart because it had all my favorites: Chicken, squash, dried cranberries, and red onion. Strange sounding combination, but it works. It's pretty easy to make; the hardest part is peeling the squash, which you simply do with a vegetable peeler. Plus, it's National Chicken Month, so what a great way to celebrate!

Change-ups: I used a whole butternut squash instead of half. Next time, I'll follow instructions and just use half. (Or maybe I'll use acorn!) I think it did make a difference in the consistency. I also didn't split the leg quarters, which didn't matter, and, of course, I threw in a dash of my favorite smoked paprika.

Braised Chicken with Butternut Squash

    1/2 large butternut squash (1 1/2 pounds), peeled, halved, and seeded
    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    4 chicken leg quarters (2 1/2 pounds total), split into drumsticks and thighs
    Coarse salt and ground pepper
    1 red onion, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
    4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons ground coriander
    1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
    1/2 cup dried cranberries

Cut the squaButternut Squashsh into 1-inch pieces and set aside.

In a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Season chicken with salt and pepper and, in two batches, cook, skin side down, until skin is golden and crisp, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer chicken to a plate; pour off fat from pot.

Briased Chicken w/Butternut Squash

 

Add 1 tablespoon oil, reserved squash, and onion to pot and cook until vegetables are beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add sage, flour, coriander, and nutmeg and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add broth and cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon, 1 minute.

Nestle chicken, skin side up, in squash mixture, add cranberries, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer until chicken is cooked through and squash is tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

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Photos in the Field

When my husband harvested his first turkey, it was a big deal. Although he has hunted for MANY years for all types of game, he had never called in a turkey. The occasion merited a photograph and when he arrived home we posed him with the bird nicely displayed. However, this was only after I took a photo of his friend with his turkey and completely cut off the turkey's head and most of the body. Lesson learned.

We've all viewed photos of outdoorsmen and women with their wild game and fish. Maybe YOU'VE been the lucky person who got that buck or caught that big bass. It's a proud moment for any hunter or angler at any age and deserves to be remembered.

We're going to share some basics with you for taking good photos in the field. Our General Manager Jason Truman and I both enjoy photography, and have these tips to remember when you want to capture the moment.

1.  As the photographer, pay attention to your background. It’s always disappointing to have that tree “growing" out of your subject's head and getting more attention than the animal! Let your background set the scene. Having your blind or stand in the picture helps tell the story. Wooded backgrounds, fences, fields, and other natural formations make for great photo ambiance. Move away from the dirty pickup and bring nature into the photo. Remember, you can always move around to avoid something you don’t want in your picture. As far as photos go, anything outside the frame just doesn’t exist.

2. Use your light source correctly. If the sun is still up in your picture, try to get it behind the camera, not behind the subject. The sun behind the subject creates dark, and sometimes unrecognizable, faces and tough shadows. Avoid shooting into the sun. That being said, pay attention to the photographer casting a shadow on the subject or simply anywhere in the photo. This may mean stepping farther away.

3. Whether you are using your phone or a regular camera, turn your flash ON!  If it’s already sunny, it will take away some harsh shadows and, if it’s dark, well, this is called a “fill flash” and some cameras have a setting for it. If yours doesn’t, just turn it from auto to ON. Do this while you are setting up for the hunt, otherwise you may just forget in all the excitement.

4. Use a low angle. Squat or kneel down and get eye level with the subject. This makes a better photo, and also allows your flash to get under the brim of the hat that so many hunters wear, so you can better see the face. In fact, if they can take their hat off, without too much bad hair or if it's not too cold, then have them do so.

5.  Get some depth in your picture. Everyone knows that when you take a picture of a fish you caught, you hold it just a bit further toward the camera than maybe you should, because it makes it look bigger. The same goes with big game or birds.  Position the trophy so that the head, rack, fan, etc., is flowing toward the camera. Your whitetail doesn’t have to be at a 90 degree angle to the camera. Put a bit of an angle to it with the head forward. When you kneel down behind it, the rack will look that much larger because it’s closer to the camera. Be careful though. Don't make the angle so exaggerated that the beauty of the animal is lost in a glaring "that's photoshopped" look.

6. If you want to include your gun in the photo, make sure it’s properly placed and represented in a safe manner. In fact, UNLOAD YOUR GUN after you take your prize. All guns should always be treated like they’re loaded and that includes in pictures. Lay the gun across the front on the ground pointing away from the camera or across the body, pointing away from the subjects and camera.

We'll stay out of the whole "to smile or not to smile" debate. Do what YOU want to do, be proud, and relish the moment as you see fit.

Just don't cut off the turkey's head.

Night time shot

Night time shots can be tricky!  

    

 

 

 

 

Sidney fishingThat first big bass is a great photo opp, and on the water makes a great backdrop!

 

 

John adn turkeyGet on eye level and keep the game as the focus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona - Fall Fishing Event

The weather is changing and so is the fishing! Are you ready?  Join us for our Fall Fishing Event!

Fall Fishing Event

Plus celebrate National Hunting and Fishing Day all weekend with a Beginning Fishing for Kids workshop and crafts!

National Hunting and Fishing Day

 

Saturday and Sunday, September 27 and 28:

Beginning Fishing for Kids Workshop Noon – 1pm

Kids learn the basics to get started fishing, including hands-on casting instruction! Kids who complete the class will receive a fishing certificate along with a folding fishing hat!

Free Craft - Color Your Own Mini Tackle Box 1-3pm


Then we have these great seminars for the big fishermen and women!


Saturday, Sept. 27

1pm- Where did the Fish Go? Expert advice on following fall fish movements.

2pm- Which Fishing Rod and Reel? Our fishing experts help you select the rod and reel that work best for various fishing situations.

3pm- Local Fishing Areas  Learn the hot spots for area fishing opportunities.

 

Sunday, Sept. 28

1pm- Fall Fishing Tackle Box  Learn the key baits and presentations for fall fishing.

2pm- Fall Weather Transition & How it Affects Fishing  Learn how the fall weather changes affect water and fishing conditions.

3pm- Preparing Your Boat  Our experts show you ways to be more productive on the water by setting up your boat correctly.

A free collapsible water bottle for the first 25 customers to attend the 2 p.m. seminars each day!

 

Also, in the store this weekend:

These Boy Scouts will be at the store selling popcorn!

Saturday, Sept. 27 - Pack 62 from Johnston
Sunday, Sept. 28 - Troop 182 from Ankeny

Legal Heat Concealed Carry Classes - Sunday, Sept. 28, 1 - 5 p.m. This one class qualifies you to obtain the Iowa, Utah and Arizona concealed firearm permits.This powerful combo of permits will allow you to carry in 36 different states. The course will emphasize state and federal laws. Students can expect to learn more about firearm laws and self-defense laws during this short 3.5 hour class than most will learn in a lifetime. Register online at www.mylegalheat.com.

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Beginning Archery for Ladies, Part 3 - Shooting Accessories

Bass Pro Shops Altoona - Beginning Archery for Ladiesby Alicia Bricker
Gun Vault Specialist
Bass Pro Shops Altoona

 

 


You have the bow and you know the stance. Now, let's look at those accessories mentioned in Part 2, that will assist you in shooting your bow:

Arm Guards

An arm guard slips onto the forearm of the arm that is holding the bow. YoNeet Arm Guardu will have the straps on the top of your arm with the solid part on the inside. This helps protect you from the string slapping your arm. Believe me, it hurts and can leave a nice bruise or welt if it gets you just right! An arm guard can also be used to hold heavier weight clothing out of the way of your string. It is an item some shooters find useful, but not a necessary one. They are also available in different styles and sizes.

Finger Tabs

Finger tabs are a useful tool for an archer to use to pull their string back with their fingers instead of a release. After a while,Beginning Archery for Ladies, Part 3 - Accessories your fingers will start to hurt and may even blister or callous. Finger tabs can be used to protect them. This photo shows one type of finger tab that Bass Pro Shops has available; there are other styles and material available as well. This particular one straps around your wrist and over your three middle fingers that you use for shooting. For finger shooting, you can either hold one finger above the nock of your arrow on the string and two below or two fingers below the nock and none above. When you are shooting this way, you need to make sure to release all of your fingers at the same time to keep accurate.

Release

Most archers use releases for shooting. They help improve accuracy, since there is only one point holding the string. Scott Fox ReleaseIt releases when you pull the trigger, so there is no inconsistency from your fingers snagging or not all letting go at the same time. If you are hunting with your bow, I definitely recommend using a release for shooting. There are many different styles and colors. A release straps around your wrist and extends out to attach to the string or the D-loop that you may have added. There are some releases that you hold in your grip, instead of strapping around your wrist, but I prefer the type that strap around the wrist. Try several out before making a decision on which feels the most comfortable for you. Many of them are adjustable as well. You want the rod of it to extend out, so your index finger can easily press the trigger when you have your bow drawn. You don’t want to have to overextend to make it reach. Some things to look for, when selecting a release, are:

  • Does it fit your hand size - You don't want it too small or too long. Try attaching it to a string and pulling on it. Put some weight on it and see how your hand will sit, once you have drawn back your bow with it.
  • You will want it tight enough on your wrist, so that it doesn’t slip off when you draw your bow, but not so tight that it hurts.
  • If you get one with leather straps around your wrist, you will need to break it in to make it comfortable when you are shooting.
  • Check to make sure the trigger lands where you need it when you are shooting. Some archers only use the strap holding the release to their wrists to draw back their bows when using a release and keep their hands off of it completely. Others will grip the bar of the release when pulling it back. However you decide to do it, just make sure that your hand is nowhere near the trigger until you are ready to fire the arrow. I personally hold the bar to draw it back, while I am drawing, but once I am at full draw I release my grip completely until I am ready to fire. Make sure when you attach the release to the string that the trigger is facing away from your face, so that you can easily pull the trigger when you are ready to fire.

There's still plenty of time to get started with bow hunting! Hopefully, this three-part Beginning Archery for Ladies series has give you the encouragement and spark to get out and try it!

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Outdoor Cooking Primer - Slow Cooker Venison Bacon Cheeseburger Dip

It's fall! Cool weather, football, fall camping, fire pits...you need slow cooker dips for munching! Here is one to warm up your Elite Slow cooker at Bass Pro Shopstaste buds.

 

Venison Bacon Cheeseburger Dip - Party Size

2 lb ground venison

16 oz package of cream cheese, cubed

4 C shredded cheddar cheese

2 - 10 oz cans of diced tomatoes with green chiles - DO NOT DRAIN!

2- 6 oz packages of real bacon bits, divided...or fry up a package and use the REAL real thing!

 

Directions

Brown the venison. Place in a slow cooker. Add the cheese, tomatoes, and bacon bits (leave a few bacon bits for garnish when serving.) Stir together as best possible. Cover and cook for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally as it melts. Sprinkle with remaining bacon bits before serving with your favorite scoops and dippers!

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Product Spotlight - Celestron Elements FireCel

Celestron FireCelCooler weather is here and that means looking for ways to provide warmth, power, and light for those fall outdoor activities, like football games, fall fishing, hunting, hiking, or just walking the dog on those frosty mornings! Here is a new, three-in-one product that we are already selling quickly!

The Celestron FireCel is three tools in one - Power Pack/Flashlight/Hand Warmer.

1. Hand warmer - An aluminum heating element is compact and would be perfect in the front pocket of a hoodie during football games! The dual temperature warmer provides scent-free heat, so it's good for the field, too. Celestron FireCel USB port

2. Power Pack - The USB rechargeable Power Pack includes a USB port and cable for charging iPhones, iPads, Smartphones, and most other USB-charged devices.

3.  Flashlight - The high intensity red and white LEDs have five modes. They provide just the right amount of light for camp or for heading into your hunting spot without spooking the game.

So, if you're looking for something that's reusable, compact, and fits easily in your pocket or pack, stop in the Camo Department and check them out or find them online!

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Fall Fishing Event 2014

Are you ready for the changing fishing conditions? Join Bass Pro Shops Altoona for our 2014 Fall Fishing Event free seminars from our local experts, plus share the love of fishing with your kids as we celebrate National Fishing and Hunting Day!

Fall Fishing Event

Noon - 4 p.m.

Beginning Fishing for Kids Workshop   Noon – 1pm

Kids learn the basics to get started fishing. This class will include hands-on casting instructions.  Kids who complete the class will receive a fishing certificate along with a folding fishing hat!

Free Craft - Color Your Own Mini Tackle Box 1-3pm

 

Free Seminars

A free collapsible water bottle for the first 25 customers to attend the 2 p.m. seminars each day!

Saturday, Sept 27

1pm- Where did the fish go? Expert advice on following fall fish movements

2pm- Which fishing rod and reel? Experts will help you select the rod and reel that works best for various fishing situations.

3pm- Local Fishing Areas - Local fishing experts will explain area fishing opportunities

Sunday, Sept 28

1pm- Fall Fishing Tackle Box - Learn the key baits and presentations for fall fishing
2pm- Fall Weather Transition & How it Affects Fishing - Learn how the fall weather changes affect water and fishing conditions
3pm- Preparing Your Boat - Our experts will show you ways to be more productive on the water by setting up your boat correctly.

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Little Split

chris G. Bass Pro Shops AltoonaBy Chris Grocholski
Fishing Lead
Bass Pro Shops Altoona

 

With deer hunting season fast approaching, I thought I'd share a story about the one that got away.  Almost every deer hunter probably has a story of that one deer that they have either spent way too much time thinking about, preparing an entire hunting season/seasons around, spent countless hours in a stand or blind waiting for, and, most likely, lost a lot of sleep over. I am definitely not the exception to this situation and am, in fact, guilty of all of the above!

My story starts in Clayton County in northeast Iowa six years ago. I had recently been told about a farm of approximately 180 acres. It was a unique section of ground that presented a challenge to hunt that instantly drew me in Little Split - First Spottedwith the challenge - the challenge was, believe it or not, trying to find enough trees to put tree stands in!  The ground had been in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and when it was taken out of CRP the land owner began planting trees. After about three months of scouting for locations for treestands and blinds, a friend and I started laying down mineral stations and trail cameras to get some set our sights on a couple. One in particular we named "Little Split," because of the split G2s that he had. He seemed to be a younger deer, but he had all the characteristics and potential to become a stud. Late that summer and early fall, before bow season, I was only able to get two more pictures of  Little Split.

Fast forward not one season, but two. I had a successful season the year after I started hunting that particular piece of ground and harvested a deer, but still had my heart set on an opportunity with Little Split. I began to think he may have been harvested by another hunter on some neighboring property or maybe just died from natural causes, because I never saw him on any of my trail cameras, or on the hoof,Little Split - 2010 for almost two years.

Then August of 2010 came and I went out to change out all six of my trail camera SD cards. Looking through the photos - BAM there he was!  But, now the name Little Split didn't quite fit anymore!  He had done some serious growing and had also added a split to his other G2 as well. I was instantly obsessed with this deer and knew right away it was going to be almost impossible to let him walk, if given the opportunity at harvesting this animal. The rest of the summer and early fall I was able to get several pictures and a few short night videos, as well.

As the season went on, and I spent more and more time hunting this deer, I was starting to think that I wasn't going to get a chance at him, because I had not seen him again in any pictures or during any of my sits. I had set up a blind on a corn field edge before the corn had been picked, because there was a ton of deer moving in and out of this corn field.  Well, the farmer finally told me that the corn was out, so I instantly knew where I was going to set on my next hunt.  However, the morning did not go as well as I had planned, and I wasn't able to get out to the blind until almost 8 a.m. Considering it was that time of year when deer can be moving at any time of the day, I felt it was still worth an all day sit, so off I went.

I was about 60 yards from the blind, when I saw four does in the field picking up corn. I sat down and watched the does because I didn't want to spook them out of the field, just in case there were sLittle Split 210ome bucks around checking them out. As I sat there for about 10 minutes watching, guess who shows up? Little Split! 

I quickly came up with a game plan to see if I could get a stalk on him, an decided to use a small depression that could get me to about 50 yards away from where he stood. I started my stalk. Aided by a perfect wind, I was able to get where I wanted to be without being noticed. I nocked an arrow and got set up behind some brush, then gave two very light grunts on my grunt tube. He yanked his head up and stared right in my direction. After about 15 minutes of looking my way, he went back to eating corn in the field and milling around with the does. This time I gave him a snort wheeze and it was ON!  He gave me all the posturing of a full mature deer that was ready for a fight and I knew this was my chance.

Sitting behind the bush, I was thinking, "I can't believe this is going to happen!"

I closed my eyes and collected myself, as he walked straight towards me. I opened my eyes and drew my bow - here was the deer I had been hunting for almost three years and he was within 20 yards of me.  As he walked through the brush, I followed him with my bow. Then suddenly he stopped behind a bush, and I thought, "Oh no, something is wrong."

My fear was reality. He somehow picked me off, stopped dead in his tracks, turned around, and trotted away.  I guess deer don't become trophies by being dumb.

The most important thing I learned? Find a bigger bush to hide behind!

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This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona - More Meat Madness!

Our big Meat Snack Madness event continues through October 4!  All you Iowa State Cyclone fans have the weekend off, soUncle Buck's Jerky come on in and visit and pick up some Uncle Buck's Jerky for the next tailgating session. Hawkeye fans, unless you're traveling to Pennsylvania, you might as well stop in, too!

Here's what's happening at the store this weekend!

Saturday, September 20

Try Before You Buy

The Gifts Department is handing out samples of Uncle Buck's Jerky, noon- 4 p.m. at the Jerky Shack! Try the flavors and decide which is your favorite...then maybe make some Jerky Tomato Sauce or Jerky Potato Soup!

Sunday, September 21

Jay Green and his K-9/hospital therapy-trained dog Zeus will be doing a dog obedience demonstration at 1:00 p.m. in front of the main aquarium.

The Gifts Department is, once again, handing out samples of Uncle Buck's Jerky, noon- 4 p.m. at the Jerky Shack!

 

COMING UP

Fall Fishing Event - September 27 & 28. featuring a Beginning Fishing Workshop for kids, craft, and various fall fishing seminars.

Outdoor Rewards Night, Sunday, October 5, 6 – 9 p.m.

Halloween Event!  Friday, October 24 – Friday, October 31 - Free photos as well as other fun activities!

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Beginning Archery for Ladies, Part 2 - Proper Stance

Beginning Archery for Ladies - Bass Pro Shops AltoonaBy Alicia Bricker
Gun Vault Specialist
Bass Pro Shops Altoona

Now that you used my tips in Beginning Archery for Ladies, Part One, and have your bow picked out and set up, we need to work on the proper shooting form. Then watch for Part 3 next week, where we explore some of the accessories mentioned here in a little more detail.

StanceRight-handed archery stanceBeginning Archery for Ladies - Stance

First, you want to stand with your feet about shoulder width apart with the back leg a little more forward to give you a steady base. If you are shooting a right-handed bow, then your right foot will be in the back. Right-handed bows are held in the left hand and left-handed bows are held in the right. The front of your body will face out away from your target with your dominate hand on the opposite side of your body away from the target. The hand holding the bow will face the target. Everyone will stand a little different and you will develop your own stance over time. This is just a place to start when first learning.


(Right handed example)

When you are drawing back your bow to shoot, be sure to keep your arm just slightly under fully extended to keep it from extending into where the string will travel. I have noticed, especially with women, that our arms tend to extend past straight and this causes issues when shooting. Be sure to keep:

  1. Your arm straight or slightly bent,
  2. Your wrist straight, not bent,
  3. Your elbow rolled under.
     

< Incorrect - The elbow is Incorrect forearmextended into the path of the string.Correct Arm for Bow

 

 

 

Correct - Arm is straight, elbow slightly

bent to keep out of string’s path.>

 

 

Grip

Here is an example of how you can hold your bow when you are at full draw. The wrist sling, shown in the photo, keeps theUsing a wrist sling bow from falling to the ground, once the arrow has been released. When you grip the bow, you want to keep your fingers loose, so that you don’t jerk the bow with a tight grip. By keeping your fingers loose, you allow your bow to follow through with the shot. Allow the arrow to completely leave the bow before gripping it again. The wrist sling will allow the bow to roll forward, but it is around your wrist, so it won’t fall completely. Also, you don’t keep your hand loose for very long, after you have released the arrow, just long enough to follow through with your shot. You don’t want your bow to fall too far before gripping it again.

Anchor Point

The next thing to be conscious about when shooting is your anchor point. You want to draw your bow back to the exact same spot every time to keep your shots consistent. Do this by making a conscientious effort to place your hand at the same spot on your face every time you pull back your bow. If you are a finger shooter, it will be towards the front of your jaw and closer to your mouth. If you are a release shooter, it will be back closer to your ear. Every archer is different on this, and you will have to practice and find what works best for you to keep your shots accurate.

When you pull the stringAnchor Point back, you want to put the string up against the side of your nose and the edge of your mouth. For beginning archers, I recommend a kisser button like shown in the picture. This will help you feel where your string is when you are pulling it back, so you know it is the same every time. This photo shows where the string should land when you are pulling it back and where to anchor your string against your face using a release. All archers will be slightly different on this, so keep that in mind when you are starting to shoot. You will figure out your own anchor point, over time.

Consistency

The key to accuracy is to be as consistent as possible, doing it the same every time. When you pull the string back, you will learn by feel where your hand needs to be anchored in order to shoot the best. After a while, it will just become second nature and you won’t have to think about it. A good habit, when first starting out, is to make a mental check list. Go through and ask yourself:

  • Do you have a solid base, so your balance is steady?
  • Once you pull your string back:
    • Is your arm straight, but out of the path of the string?
    • Is your wrist straight?
    • Is your grip loose on the bow, so you don’t flinch the bow?
    • Is your string against your face in the same place, or the kisser button in the corner of your mouth?
    • Is your hand anchored in the right spot and the same place as before?

These questions will become unnecessary as you progress, but in the beginning it will help you increase your consistency and accuracy every time you shoot. Eventually,  you'll know what works and doesn’t work for you. Your stance and how you draw your bow will become second nature. Everyone develops their own style and knows what feels right for them. These are just a few tips that can get you started down the right path!

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The Legend of BLB

Shaun BequaithBy Shaun Bequeaith
Hunting Manager
Bass Pro Shops AltoonaBLB 2012

 

 

It was the summer of 2012. Mid-August and the summer's heat had been relentless. I was ready for cooler weather and hunting. I headed out to check my trail cameras in their usual locations. As I started sorting through the photos, I couldn't believe what I saw. A buck with a broken left front leg.

My first thought was, "This guy is coyote food." I went on to receive 20 different pictures of this deer in 2012. But, throughout my hunting that year, I never saw him. He was destined to not make it, so I wasn't surprised. BKB Shed

February 2013 I headed out to shed hunt. Lo and behold, I found a shed and I knew it was from the Broken Leg Buck (BLB, for short). One of his antlers grew straight up with only a couple of points.This was definitely his shed. A good sign...he must still be around.

BLB @013Midsummer 2013, I put the cameras back out in the usual place. Mid-August came and BLB was back in the photos, smiling away for the camera. Both of his antlers were now growing straight up with just a few points shooting off, giving credence to the research and theories regarding leg injuries in deer and the resulting antler deformities. Once again, pre-season brought several more pictures of BLB, and, once again, I never saw him.

Fast forward to summer 2014. While hanging my cameras this year, I wondered if BLB had made it another year. Would he still be around? How would he look?  It did not take long to find out.

My cameras are up and in the first week BLB made his appearance. His front left leg is still dangling like he's in the middle of a dance as he trots through the trees. His rack now shoots straight up and he does have several points shooting out of the top.

I'm looking forward to seeing this deer in person. With all the hours I have spent in the stand in a small acreage over the last two years, I thought our paths would have crossed by now. Will this be the year? I hope so. I'd like to meet this amazing whitetail buck that has such will power and determination to survive.

2014 BLB

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Outdoor Cooking Primer - Jerky Tomato Sauce

As part of our Meat Snack Madness event and our continuing quest to bring you new and interesting ways to incorporate Uncle Buck's Beef Jerkyjerky, here is one we found on Food Network from Alton Brown, and his show Good Eats. You can never have enough tomato sauce for pizza, spaghetti and other hearty dishes. This looks REALLY easy and sounds, actually, really good. Of course, we want you to try it using Uncle Buck's Beef Jerky! Pick your favorite flavor and kick it up a notch!

Jerky Tomato Sauce

3 - 4 oz. beef jerky (Uncle Buck's small bags of premium jerky are actually 3.25 oz. The steak cut bags are 3 oz., so either is a perfect size!)

1 C boiling water

1 T vegetable oil

1/2 C chopped onion

1/2 C chopped green bell pepper

Pinch kosher salt

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 (14.5 oz) can chopped tomatoes

1 tsp dried parsley

1/4 C heavy cream

 

Directions

Using kitchen shears, cut the jerk into small bite-size pieces. Place in the boiling water and set aside.

Place the vegetable oil, onion, and bell pepper, along with the pinch of kosher salt, in a large, 12-inch saute pan over medium heat. Sweat for 4-5 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and continue to cook for 2 -3 minutes. Add the jerky and its liquid, along with the tomatoes, parsley, and cream, and continue to cook for 8-10 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly. Serve over toast, biscuits, rice, or pasta.

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Outdoor Cooking Primer - Jerky Potato Soup

It's our annual Meat Snack Madness sale at Bass Pro Shops Altoona. Small bags of Uncle Buck's jerky, steak jerky and Uncle Buck's Jerkybacon jerky are just 2/$8, and large bags 2/$12. You have to buy two of the same size for the discount - no discount on one large bag and one small bag. We're having a little competition with some fellow stores, so we'd love for you to help us out by buying some.

Additionally, we went on a search for interesting ways to use this jerky! Here's one that you can infuse with your favorite flavor of Uncle Buck's Jerky - I'm thinking the Peppered, Hickory Smoked Steak Cut, or Jalapeno (my personal favorite) would be perfect!

Jerky Potato Soup

1 - 3.25 ounce bag of your favorite Uncle Buck's Jerky, finely chopped   (Be wild...use two if you want more meat!)

5 or 6 leeks - thinly sliced (or 3 medium yellow onions - halved and thinly sliced)

5 T butter - divided into 3 T and 2 T

3 cups diced potatoes

1 quarts chicken stock

1/4 tsp smoked paprika

2 T flour

 

Saute the leeks or onions in 3 T butter in a 4 Qt pan for about 4 minutes. Add the finely chopped jerky and stir. Continue to saute for a few minutes to soften the jerky and blend the spices. Add the potatoes and the broth and bring to a boil. Boil for two minutes, reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20-30 minutes. Strain out the vegetable jerky mix and put it into a food processor or ricer. Return to the broth. Melt 2 T butter in a saucepan over low heat and stir in the flour. Add 1 1/2 cups of the broth and blend well until the mixture thickens. Return this mixture to the kettle and stir until the soup comes to a boil.

Taste before adding any salt or other seasonings.

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Ascend Rainwear to Uganda

Bass Pro Shops Altoona once again recently had the opportunity to assist the Des Moines Blank Park Zoo with a special partnership.

The Zoo supports the Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust (CSWCT) and provides much needed everyday materials to its team of Ambassadors. These 27 people work tirelessly in the African rain forest, monitoring wild chimpanzee troops and other rare animals; protecting them from poaching and capture for the illegal pet trade. They also educate the local communities about preservation of the precious habitat and reforestation techniques.

Blank Park Zoo adopted this courageous team in 2012 and has provided donations of needed gear and equipment to ensure success of this program. things we often take for granted, everyday items like quality hiking boots, flashlights, rainwear, GPS units, and cameras are often unavailable and expensive in Uganda, so the Zoo collects them through donations and sends them to the team in Africa. 

Bass Pro Shop Altoona has been involved since the beginning, helping two years ago by assisting with a supply of waterproof RedHead boots for the workers. This year we contributed Ascend raingear at a discount. Each member of the team was outfitted with durable rain jackets and pants that will help them carry out their important work in the forest!

Bass Pro Shops Altoona

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Product Spotlight - RedHead Waterproof Aerosol Spray

When we enter September in Iowa, we are usually not looking back at a wet August. This year is different. We had the third wettest August on record...instead of scorched and brown, we are green and beautiful. Wetter weather, coupled with RedHead Waterproof Aerosol Spraysome new children's outerwear that has just arrived for fall, created a lesson on waterproofing spray at a recent morning meeting that we'd like to pass along.

Our Apparel Department was showcasing some new Bass Pro Shops children's jackets that are water resistant, but not waterproof. Bass Pro Shops Altoona General Manager Jason Truman says his family uses the RedHead Waterproof Aerosol Spray on just about anything they use outside...even an umbrella! 

"Having kids, it works to help keep them dry, but it also helps to keep stains from setting into their jackets.  Every time we buy a new jacket, coat, pair of shoes or boots, backpack, etc., we hit it with the waterproofing spray.  It probably sounds crazy, but I’ve even used it on an umbrella...now my wife doesn't have to leave an umbrella in my spot in the garage to dry out...it's a win-win for both of us!"

On items that don't have taped seams, which allows water to come in a bit, the spray still does a great job of repelling most of the water. 

Truman says one of his favorite features of the RedHead Waterproof Aerosol Spray is that it is NOT a silicone-based product. It can be used on Gortex® and Gortex®-like products, without losing the breathability that is so important to those products. Why put waterproofer on a Gortex® product, since it is already waterproof? 

"Good question - I do on things like boots, because it protects the leather on the outside of the boot and keeps it from absorbing water. The Gortex® in shoes and boots is usually not on the outside, but a liner contained in the construction of the product. That means the outside of the shoe or boot is not really waterproof, but your foot should not get wet because of the liner. To protect the materials on the outside of the boot, keep it from absorbing the water and adding extra weight to your feet, the waterproofer works wonders."

Truman says before covering an entire item, always spray a little on an inconspicuous part of the product, to make sure it doesn’t discolor it.

Made in the U.S.A.

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This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona

On your way to or from the football games this weekend? Stop by Bass Pro Shops Altoona and load up on tailgating supplies! Just inside the store, you'll find our tailgating display with everything you need for football fun - chairs, coozies,  outdoor games, and snacks, like JERKY!

Meat Snack Madness!It's our annual MEAT SNACK MADNESS sale!

Load up on Uncle Buck's jerky, steak jerky and bacon jerky just 2/$8, and large bags 2/$12. Have to buy two of the same size for discount - no discount on one large bag and one small bag. In store only!

While you're here, take a stroll through our Apparel Departments. The Clearance aisle - the diagonal between the Men's and Ladies' Apparel Departments - is loaded with items for ladies and men, we have TONS of new Under Armour items for women and men, and we have cute new kids' apparel in, too!

Try Before You Buy

Saturday, September 6 - We're serving up onion ring samples made with our Uncle Buck's Beer Batter!  Noon-4 p.m., while supplies last.

Sunday, September 7 - Try out Uncle Buck's Summer Sausage and Cherith Valley Jalapeno-Cilantro Mustard! Noon-4 p.m., while supplies last.

 

Boy Scouts of America

 

Reminder - September is Boy Scout Month at Bass Pro Shops Altoona and we're hosting classes to help Scouts work toward their Merit Badges in Rifle Shooting and Fishing, on Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning at 6 p.m. according to the schedule below. Scouts must be registered ahead of time by stopping at Customer Service or calling the store. Scout masters and parents are strongly encouraged to stay with their scouts attending the classes.

Thursday, September 4 - Rifle Shooting
Tuesday, September 9 - Rifle Shooting
Thursday, September 11 - Fishing
Tuesday, September 16 - Fishing
Thursday, September 18 - Rifle Shooting
Tuesday, September 23 - Rifle Shooting
Thursday, September 25 - Fishing

Coming Up? September 27 and 28 - Fall Fishing Event!

Beginning Fishing for Kids Workshop, crafts, and Fishing Seminars with our Local Pros and experts!  

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Outdoor Cooking Primer - Braised Rabbit with Onion, Garlic and Herbs

The Iowa Roadside Survey report is out and it shows, among an increased number of pheasants, there is also a big increase in cottontail in some parts of our state. Rabbit and squirrel season started this week in Iowa and we like rabbit, so time to start featuring and trying some new recipes for them. I picked up a cookbook from a GAMO vendor display at a store event a couple of years ago. Haven't made it, but it look good and easy! I think you could use a slow cooker just as easily as a Dutch oven or other oven-safe heavy duty pot. The recipe is from the Small Game Cookbook and is credited to Keith Sutton, CatfishSutton.com.

Braised Rabbit with Onion, Garlic and Herbs

4 servings

1 rabbit, cut in serving pieces

1/4 cup olive oil

1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 C chicken broth

1 1/2 tsps dried thme

1/4 tsp pepper

1 bay leaf

1/4 C all purpose flour

1/4 C lemon juice

5 Tbsp cold water

In a Dutch oven or other oven-safe, heavy duty pot over medium heat, cook the rabbit pieces in heated olicve oil until lightly browned. Remove rabbit and keep warm. In the same pot, saute the onion and garlic until tender. Stir in the broth, thyme, a pepper and bay leaf. Return rabbit to the pan. Bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and place in a preheated 325-degree oven. Cook 1 hour or until the meat is tender.

Arrange rabbit on a serving platter. Discard bay leaf. Whisk together the four, lemon juice and water until smooth. Stir into pan juices. Bring to a boil, while stirring, and continue to stir for two minutes more or until thickened. Sauce can be ladled over rabbit or served on the side.

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Ten Quotes to Ignore About Treestands

Rod SlingsRod Slings, is Founder/CEO of Hunting and Shooting Related Consultants LLC and retired Iowa Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Supervisor.

Over the years of investigating treestand falls and interviewing the victims, their families and evaluating the scenes, a number of quotes come to mind. These are quotes to remember, but never follow. Please learn from these with the “Note” of explanation:

 

  1. He always said, “Those safety harnesses are way too restrictive. I like my freedom to move around.”

Note: Over one million treestands are sold each year. Each stand includes a safety harness; look for only stands that are Treestand Manufacturer's Association approved, with the logo on it. Do not alter the harness. The harness provided or purchased separately is designed to save you from falling to the ground.  Read all manufacturer's instructions before use. Your goal is to get back on to your stand as quickly as possible if you fall.  See: Dr. Norman Woods’s study on suspension trauma:

http://www.fallsafety.com/wpcontent/uploads/2013/03/NormanWoodsSuspensionTraumaALethalCascadeOfEvents.pdf

  1. “I looked at the treestands in the store and I knew I could build one almost as good.”

Note:  Homemade stands come in all shapes and sizes, everything from old shipping pallets to untreated plywood that are nailed into the tree to hold it up. Your best safety investment is a manufactured stand that will provide you with a safe and secure platform when manufacturer's guidelines are followed. Don’t take a chance with your safety! Your life is worth more than a pile a lumber.Treestand safety

  1. “I don't know who put this stand here or when; I was just checking it out to see if it was still safe.”

Note:  Never trust a stand that you have not helped hang or made yourself familiar with each detail of how it has been secured. The longer a stand is exposed to the elements, the more risks you are taking. The worst thing you could do is climb into an unknown stand in the predawn hours and put yourself at risk, based on someone else’s carelessness.

  1. “I didn't unload my gun before I pulled it up to my treestand because the noise might have spooked a deer.”

Note: Never hoist or lower a loaded firearm from your treestand. Always check and double check your firearm to make sure it’s unloaded. When using a muzzleloader, make sure the cap or ignition system is removed. Use a haul line to raise and lower your hunting implement, including bows, crossbows and all firearms and equipment. Never allow the muzzle of a firearm to be lowered into the dirt, snow or mud.  Remember, attempting to raise or lower any type of equipment in hand or attached to your body may cause risk, which may result in injury or worse.

  1. “I was wearing my harness, but I guess I had a little too much slack in my tether.”

Note:  Make sure you always follow the manufacturer's recommendations when ascending, perched in your stand or descending. When you allow too much slack in your tether, you risk not being able to self-rescue yourself back into your treestand. Your primary focus must be to get back onto your stand as quickly as possible. Your anchor point that you attach your tether to must be above your head when sitting in your stand.

  1. “It just takes too much time to use all that safety stuff; I just wanted to get in my tree quick I as I can.”

Note: If you plan to hunt again, and return home safely after each and every hunt, you will follow all of the safety guidelines and utilize the equipment needed to stay safe in the woods. Planning your hunt means allowing enough time to not only get to your stand, but also secure yourself safely. Use three points of contact when using a ladder. Use a lineman’s belt, a line that you hook your harness into when ascending and descending. Always stay connected to a safety anchor. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones.  One slip and you will change not only your life, but put a great amount of stress and burden on those around you.

  1. “I can’t believe I fell asleep and fell out of my stand.”

Note: It has been said that a hunter in a stand becomes “one” with the woods when hunting from a treestand. There is an almost a hypnotic state of mind that takes place when surrounded by the natural beauty hovering above the forest floor. As this relaxed transition takes place, it is imperative that all safety equipment is in use. Don’t become a statistic!  

  1. “I laid on the ground all night after I fell out of my stand. My legs wouldn’t work, my phone was in my backpack up in the tree, so I couldn’t call for help.”

Note: Always carry a communications device on your person. Make sure you always have service from the location you are hunting. Carry it in a chest pocket, so you can get to it when you need it. File a “hunt plan” with your family or friends, so they know exactly where you are hunting and when you expect to get home.  That way, rescue and law enforcement have a much better chance to find you, if you need help.

  1. “I unhooked for just a second, lost my balance and fell.”

Note:  Always stay connected. Maintaining the same sequence of events each time creates a routine.
“I always do it this way” is a very good method to maintain good safety practices. That one second of disconnect could cost you a lifetime of suffering. Always staying connected to an anchor point protects and insures you and will help you defy a thing called gravity.       

  1.  “I heard there were two kinds of treestand hunters, those that have and those that will.”

Note: Falls from elevated devices result in significantly more injuries than hunting-related shootings. The safety equipment available to keep hunters that hunt from elevated devices safe has increased greatly over the past years. If you talk to those who “have” fallen, you will hear them say, “I didn’t think it would happen to me!”  Learn from the tragedies of others, don’t become a statistic!

Please hunt safe this fall. Remember to acquire the necessary equipment to keep your hunt safe.

You owe it to yourself and your family.

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Set the "Tablescape"

"Come set the table!'

How I dreaded those words when I was little...however, now I would much rather set the table than clean up the mess. Creating a nice "tablescape" is half of the fun.

We love hunting and fishing at Bass Pro Shops...and eating much of what we hunt and fish! Any true cook will tell you that food simply tastes better when served on a nicely set table. Lately, we've received new dinnerware in stock at Bass Pro Shops. Different colors of a current style and some additional patterns, some of which would appeal to that person who doesn't care for a buck staring at them while they eat or a giant bass leaping out of their food for every single their meals. Someone like me!

Dinnerware - Bass Pro Shops AltoonaLooking for something earthy, however, not flat-out cabin style? The Wilderness Collection Embossed Stoneware 16-piece set comes in a rustic antiques finish in three colors - the original cream, and now rust and green, which is a sage color. This style is my #1 choice. It's embossed design around the edges is of our four most majestic wildlife - the bull moose, the elk, the black bear, and the whitetail. There are four each of mug, dinner plate, salad plate, and bowl. It is dishwasher and microwave safe and makes a GREAT housewarming or wedding gift idea.

Here's another great one - the Bass Pro Shops Realtree Xtra Green Dinnerware set. Bass Pro Shops Realtree Xtra GreenCamo dinner plates?  But wait, it doesn't look like camo and if someone didn't have any idea what Realtree Xtra Green was, they would say, "My what beautiful woodland dinnerware you have!" A 100% stoneware full of warmth and beauty...can you see it on your winter dinner party or Christmas table? I can! Comes with four each: mug, dinner plate, salad plate, and bowl, and is dishwasher and microwave safe.

Now, if you ARE going for more of the total cabin or outdoors look, you might enjoy the Black and White Deer 16-Piece set. the beautiful artwork of renowned artist Al Agnew graces these plates. Stunning, yet simple and perfect for all-round or just those hearty, special harvest meals!

 

Last, but not least, the Bass Pro Shops exclusive Deep Forest 16-piece set is beautiful. It has debossed wildlife deBass Pro Shops Deep Woods dinnerware - Bass Pro Shops Altoonasigns that are accented with reactive glaze created by melting different colors together. What's also nice is, along with the four dinner plates and four slad plates, it also comes with oversized mugs and bowls...four 28 oz. bowls, and four 14 oz. mugs. Get the venison chili ready!

These can all be found online or check with your closest Bass Pro Shops. There are other dinnerware selections also online.

Don't forget! While you're working on those table settings, remember the coordinating flatware!

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