Product Spotlight - University of Iowa Hawkeye Apparel from Columbia

Just a couple of weeks until college football season starts and we have new attire for University of Iowa Hawkeye fans!Columbia Hawkeye outerwear

Columbia has come out with some outerwear sure to keep you toasty on those fall football Saturdays when there's just a bit of crispness in the air.

There are jackets for ladies and men. There is rainwear for both and there are fleece jackets. The yellow vest for ladies features Omni-Heat technology to keep your body even warmer...perfect layered with a heavy turtleneck and some good base layer.

All of the pieces have Iowa or Hawkeyes written across the back, so everyone will know YOU are a Hawkeye fan!

Not available online...only available at Bass Pro Shops Altoona!

  Columbia Hawkeye apparel from Bass Pro Shops AltoonaColumbia Hawkeye apparel at Bass Pro Shops AltoonaHawkeye outerwear from ColumbiaColumbia Hawkeye apparel at Bass Pro Shops Altoona


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Outdoor Cooking Primer - Summertime Salsa

Had the first tomato from our garden the other night! We've had a couple of jalapenos, too. Of course, that means it's time to start making salsa...a cold salsa that's a quick fix and does NOT last long. Enjoy!

Summertime Salsa

Summertime Salsa

3 big hopped tomatoes (Celebrity work great, or five big Romas)   

Snipped fresh cilantro

1 small onion finely chopped (green onions are good, too!)

1 jalapeno seeded and cut up (be daring - use two or three!)

1 clove minced garlic

1/2 tsp sugar and 1/4 tsp salt

2 Tbsp lemon or lime juice

Smoked paprika (optional)


Combine everything together in a mixing bowl. You can store it up to two weeks covered and refrigerated.

But, it won’t last that long.






This Weekend at Bass Pro Shops Altoona - Hunting Classic Kicks Off!

Fall Hunting Classic Bass Pro Shops Altoona

Saturday, August 2! Fall Hunting Classic

We welcome these National Pros for our free Hunting University!

1 p.m. - Bric Steward, Drury Outdoors - "Hunting Mature Whitetails"
From Illinois and an avid whitetail and turkey hunter. Bric has been hunting since a young age and started filming his hunts in 1995.

2 p.m. - John Dudley, Host of Nock On® TV and UA® Arsenal Hunter - "Guaranteed Always Lethal"  His archery background has taken him around the world. Host of Nock On TV and the Nock On Podcast, an elite level archery coach, and an all-around ambassador for archery. His seminar last year was on target with great information for beginners and advanced.

3 p.m. - Jeremy Moore, Renowned Trainer and Developer of DogBone Training Products - "Developing Your Deer Dog." Jeremy returns to Bass Pro Shops Altoona! He'll be joined by Timber, the Headhunters dog and Tailer, the Whitetails Unlimited mascot, who will be put through a few paces as Jeremy talks about developing your deer dog for game recovery and shed hunting.

Hutning University Fall Hunting Classic BPS Altoona


August is Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation donation month at Bass Pro Shops Altoona! Members of the Central Iowa chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will be here to visit with you about how RMEF helps not only elk but habitat and wildlife in general.

August 1-6: Bow and Crossbow Trade-in!  Trade in your old crossbow or bow and save up to $100 on a new one. Savings are based on the purchase price. Limit one coupon per new item. All bows and crossbows will be inspected to make sure they are in good working order, so we can donate them to local youth organizations.

August 1 - 10 - Digs for Dogs Silent Auction! Digs for Dogs

Put your bid in for one of these two AWESOME donated, custom-built doghouses! Bidding open until 2 pm., August 10. We have a mini-Bass Pro Shops and a beautiful barn donated by Country Landscapes in Ames, Iowa. Digs for DogsDigs for Dogs - Bass Pro Shops Altoona








Sunday, August 3 - The Fall Hunting Classic continues with great sales, rebates, and special



August 9 & 10 -  Next Generation weekend, with kids activities taking place from Noon – 5pm (BB gun range, craft, workshops, free photo download and giveaways!).

August 9 - Women’s hunting workshop!


Bringing the Hunt to Life

On the Trail Tuesday - Bass Pro ShopsBy Dan Stephany, Receiving Manager

When I was a young boy, I couldn’t wait for the day that I would get to go hunting with my dad and older brother. We hunted on a large, family farm with my relatives in central Wisconsin, and deer were plentiful. I loved going to deer camp and hanging out with the "guys," especially when someone brought back a big buck to hang in the barn. I can remember being in deer camp the day my uncle shot the biggest buck any of us had ever seen, and I got to go with him to the taxidermy studio, where he was going to have it mounted.

Ever since that first encounter with my uncle’s deer, I have had a fascination with taxidermy. I love seeing how a taxidermist can seemingly bring the animal back to life. This was never more true than on a whitetail I harvested several years ago, while hunting with my dad and brother on my dad’s property in Wisconsin. At the time, it was the largest whitetail I had ever harvested and larger than anything my dad or brother had ever taken. I remember walking up on the animal with my brother and him asking me the question, “So, you gonna get it mounted?” Without much hesitation, an excited “YES!” came out.

I took it to a well-known taxidermist and picked out a pose. I was beyond excited to get it back, and when the phone call came telling me it was done, I raced over to the studio to pick it up. Seeing the detail in the eyes and face made it look alive -- it was captivating. At that moment, I began toying with the idea of taking a class and learning how to mount my own deer.

That opportunity became a reality when I was talking with one of the archery specialists here at Bass Pro Shops. It turned out that he was a taxidermist, and offered a class in his studio where I could learn how to mount a single species of my choice. After talking through the details, I signed up for his class and took the plunge. 

My first mount was going to be a deer I had harvested with a bow and was already done as a European mount. The rack could be used simply by cutting it off the skull, but I had to buy a new cape for the deer as I didn’t have the original one. The mount turned out pretty decent, with a great deal learned in the process and made a few mistakes along the way. All things considered, I was pleased with how my first attempt turned out. 

My second effort was a buck I harvested a year ago during late muzzleloader season here in Iowa. We nicknamed him "Goofy" simply because of all his missing hair, scars on his face, and the fact that only one of his tines measured more than Bass Pro Shops Altoona - Bringing the Hunt to Lifesix inches long! I knew it wouldn’t be the prettiest mount ever done, but it would be a great experience continuing to learn the art of taxidermy.

This time around was much smoother. It helps that my friend is an excellent teacher. He was patient with me as I decided on ear position, eye details and everything else that goes into making the deer come back to life the way I remembered him from the hunt. Only the finishing touches are left to make before he is ready to hang with the others on my wall.

I am by no means a professional taxidermist now. However, I can say that, with the help of my friend, I know the process of how to mount a whitetail deer. Since diving behind the scenes, and seeing what artistry goes into a mount, I am more fascinated than ever before and excited to share the knowledge with my young son Micah. I can’t wait to see what this season holds for us as we pursue some mature whitetails and hopefully add another mount to our wall.

Bass Pro Shops Altoona - Eyes set & antlers mountedGoofy right after setting the eyes and mounting the antlers to the form.


                                                             Test fitting the cape to make sure everything lines up - Bass Pro Shops Altoona




Test fitting his cape to make sure everything lines up.



                                        Cape sewn on and first eye set - Bass Pro Shops Altoona

Getting closer to the end! Here Goofy has the cape sewn on and the first eye set before getting tacked down and air-brushed. You can really see how beat up his cape is in this picture.






Ready to go home! Brining the Hunt to Life-Bass Pro Shops Altoona


Goofy is ready for the trip to my house. He turned out great and now hangs next to the other deer at my house.




Thank you to my friend Jackson Tennant, owner of Woods to Walls Taxidermy, for sharing his passion and expertise with me. This dream would not have become a reality without him.


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Product Spotlight - Save Phace Sport Utility Mask

Save Phace SUMLooking for a way to save face with some of your fall outdoor activities?

Tracker Sales Associate Scott Sickau is a firm believer in the Save Phace SUM (Sports Utility Mask). Here's his thoughts on why this is such a great product.


The Save Phace SUM is a very versatile mask that can be used for a wide range of outdoor activities, including boating and motorcycling, during many parts of the year. If anyone has ever been struck in the face by an insect while motorcycling, you know it can be quite painful, not to mention dangerous. Even a light rain can hurt your face when trying to get back to shore.

They come in a wide range of designs. I found the Save Phace SUM several years ago and purchased the camo version to use during the fall bow hunting season. It's especially nice to use here in the Midwest when the weather turns nasty, while in the deer stand. I have also used it while operating boats in rain storms and even while moving snows in bitterly cold temps.

  • The product is very well made and performs flawlessly time after time.
  • Lightweight
  • Rain and wind is diverted around your face.
  • The seal around the eyes is very tight and does not allow your breath to fog up the lenses, even in -30 windchills.


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Hunting University - Fall Hunting Classic

We are SO excited for this year's Hunting University as part of the 2014 Fall Hunting Classic at Bass Pro Shops Altoona! Talk about a great line-up!

Saturday, Aug. 2, join us to welcome, and learn from, these national pros!

Saturday, August 2

Bric Steward, Drury Outdoors1 p.m. - Bric Steward, Drury Outdoors - "Hunting Mature Whitetails"
From Illinois and an avid whitetail and turkey hunter. Bric has been hunting since a young age and started filming his hunts in 1995.








2 p.m. - John Dudley, Host of Nock On® TV and UA® Arsenal Hunter - "GuaranteedJohn Dudley, UA Arsenal Always Lethal"  His archery background has taken him around the world. Host of Nock On TV and the Nock On Podcast, an elite level archery coach, and an all-around ambassador for archery. His seminar last year was on target with great information for beginners and advanced.







Jeremy Moore and Timber3 p.m. - Jeremy Moore, Renowned Trainer and Developer of DogBone Training Products - "Developing Your Deer Dog." Jeremy returns to Bass Pro Shops Altoona! He'll be joined by Timber, the Headhunters dog and Tailer, the Whitetails Unlimited mascot, who will be put through a few paces as Jeremy talks about developing your deer dog for game recovery and shed hunting.

Tailer the Whitetails Unlimited mascot







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2014 Fall Hunting Classic

Fall Hunting Classic 2014 - Bass Pro Shops Altoona

It's the Fall Hunting Classic at Bass Pro Shops Altoona - 17 days of great sales and events to prepare you for the hunting season!  Here's the linup of Hunting Classic Events!

First Weekend - August 2 - Free Hunting Classic UniversityHunting University - Bass Pro Shops Altoona

Join us for these great, nationally-recognized speakers!
1 p.m. - Bric Steward, Drury Outdoors Team, Bow Madness - "Hunting Mature Whitetails"
2 p.m. - John Dudley from the Nock On TV Show and Under Armor Arsenal Hunter - "Guaranteed to Always be Lethal"
3. - Jeremy Moore, Renowned Dog Trainer and Developer of the DogBone Training Products - "Developing Your Deer Dog."

Second Weekend - August 9 & 10 - Next Generation Weekend for Kids!

As usual, we've included a weekend JUST FOR KIDS!

Noon- 5 on Saturday and Sunday:

  • Youth Seminars - "Fall in the Outdoors" - a special workshop for just youth
  • BB Shooting range
  • Free photo download- Like you're on the cover of Adventure Kids magazine!

Noon - 5 on Saturday and Sunday Crafts Noon - 4pm - Wood fox and squirrel craft!

Free giveaway to the first 100 kids who get their cards punched each day - a Bass Pro Shops Fox Drawstring bag!


NEW THIS YEAR! August 9 - 3 p.m. - Women's Hunting Workshop!

Seminar attendees can register to win a pair of Oculus Binoculars or a RedHead folding knife!


August 15-17 - Local Pros Weekend - Free Seminars with Local Hunting Experts
Friday, August 15

7:00pm – So You Think You Know How to Bow Hunt?

Saturday, August 16

1:00pm – Autumn Hunt: New Approaches to Fall Success

2:00pm – Tender Venison? It’s Easier Than You Think

3:00pm – Does Camo Pattern Really Matter?

4:00pm – Why You Should be Hunting Coyote

5:00pm – How to Integrate Your Game Camera with Mobile Devices

Sunday, August 17

1:00pm – Autumn Hunt: New Approaches to Fall Success

2:00pm – Tender Venison? It’s Easier Than You Think

3:00pm – Does Camo Pattern Really Matter?

4:00pm – Why You Should be Hunting Coyote

5:00pm – How to Integrate Your Game Camera with Mobile Devices


This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona - PBR Fun for Kids!

Saturday and Sunday, July 26 & 27

PBR Family Fun - Noon to 4 p.m.Best Cowboy or Cowgirl contest

  • Bull Roping & Stick Bull Riding
  • Face Painting
  • Free Cactus Cowboy craft for kids!


SUNDAY ONLY - Best Dressed Cowboy/Cowgirl contest, judged at 3:00pm - One winner receives a $50 gift card!


Also Around the Store This Weekend

Sunday, July 27 - Legal Heat Concealed Carry class from 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Try Before You Buy - Our Gifts Dept will be sampling Cherith Valley Roasted Red Pepper & Pineapple Chipotle Salsa on Saturday and Pickled Asparagus on Sunday, both from noon - 4 p.m.


WHAT’S COMING UP NEXT???Jeremy Moore and Timber

The Fall Hunting Classic kicks off on Friday, August 1! Our national pros are here on Saturday, August 2 for our Free Hunting University. Bric Steward from Drury Outdoors - "Hunting Mature Whitetails", John Dudley from Nock On TV -"Guaranteed to Always be Lethal", and Jeremy Moore, originator of the DogBone system, with his friends Tailer and Timber - Developing Your Deer Dog

Bric Steward and John Dudley










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Plan a Pollinator's Dream Yard!

For a variety of reasons, butterflies and bees are both on a decline. Harsh winters, loss of habitat and food supplies from increased development means fewer migration spots for butterflies. Bees have a similar problem.  The thing is, we NEED butterflies and bees to help pollinate our plants and create fun foods like honey!

According to Monarch Watch the upper Midwest (the eastern Dakotas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan and parts of Indiana) are crucial to the fall monarch hatch.

"Monarchs arriving in the southern area from Mexico (in March) lay eggs on milkweeds, and the adults that develop as a result of this reproduction move northward into the summer breeding range in May and early June. This northward moving first generation spreads out over the north from the Dakotas to the Maritime Provinces in Canada. However, it is the production of the monarchs in the center of the “corn belt” that is critical. Our tagging data over the last 20 years and an earlier study using isotopes (Hobson and Wassenaar 1998, Wassenaar, et al. 1999) have shown that most of the monarchs reaching the overwintering locations in Mexico originate from this region."

Monarch Watch figure

What can you do to help?  The Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, Iowa, has started the Plant. Grow. Fly. program to help rebuild the habitat and butterfly population. You can help by creating pollinator habitats at home, school or work...and there's plenty of summer left to do it!Painted Lady

Think about it, according to the Plant. Grow. Fly information, more than one-third of our global food supply depends on butterflies and bees...pollinators.

From zinnias in a flower pot to bigger backyard areas to large parks, we can all do our part to help keep the pollinator population thriving. Milkweed is a HUGE attractant to butterflies and one of the major reasons our area is so attractive to them. It is a host plant - a place for monarchs to lay their eggs and then serve as a food source for caterpillars. Native grasses also serve well, as do Hollyhocks, Black-Eyed Susans, and Sunflowers.

The adult pollinators need nourishment. Zinnias, Bee Balm, Coneflowers and Cosmos are pretty sure to attract not only butterflies, like the Monarch, Painted Lady, and Swallowtail, but also bees, and birds!Painted Lady - Bass Pro Shops Altoona

For more information on how to get started and on the Plant. Grow. Fly. program, visit our friends at the Blank Park Zoo!

Bee Balm - Bass Pro Shops Altoona(Bee Balm)


PBR Fun is Back at BPS Altoona!

Family PBR Activities at Bass Pro Shops Altoona

Saturday and Sunday

July 26 and 27

Noon - 4 p.m.

Free fun activities for the kids and family!

  • Stick bull riding
  • Bull roping
  • Free cactus cowboy craft!PBR Days at Bass Pro Shops Altoona!

Plus a free cowboy hat light up key chain to the first 100 customers each day!

You know you're NEVER too old to get your face painted, too! Take it from this family - last year they ALL did it!

Once again our BEST Cowboy or Cowgirl Contest will be held - Sunday, July 27 - one winner receives a $50 Bass Pro Shops Gift Card!


Behind the Scenes: A Buck and a Truck

Most of the photos on our store walls are on loan from the Iowa Historical Society or the Iowa State Historical Museum. The great thing is - they are ALL real people.

Recently, a customer told us the history of a large photo that hangs over the Archery counter. A special photo that he had been trying to get to the store to see. This was his first time to see it since we've been open (five years almost) and he was proud to say, "That's my dad."

 Behind the Scenes - Bass Pro Shops Altoona

Here's how the story goes:

Gaylend Hamann (right) and Don Gofier (left), were from around Anthon, Iowa. One morning they were enjoying coffee first thing  prior to going out for the opening day of the very first bow season for deer hunting in Iowa.

Before shooting hours, the two were heading to some hunting ground near Blencoe, Iowa. They stopped near a roadside ditch, waiting for the official shooting hour.

As soon as the hour to hunt arrived, they got out of the car. They walked down into a ditch, a buck stood up from the ditch, and Gaylend shot and killed the buck within just minutes of shooting hours. The doe was taken just a couple hours later. This picture was taken in the back alley outside of the meat locker in Anthon, just hours after the hunt.

It is a picture of what possibly could be the very first deer legally taken with a bow in Iowa.

Capture the moments.


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Product Spotlight - Wiley X

We have Wiley X sunglasses available once again at Bass Pro Shops Altoona...and many customers are happy! What's so great about Wiley X?

  • They've been a producer of standard issue military eye wear for years and their sunglasses are the first choice for many outdoor sportsmen and women - from pro anglers to race car drivers to shooters and motorcyclists.
  • All Wiley X shades are certified to ANSI Z87.1 2003 high impact and optical standards. Lens are made from one of the most impact resistant materials. They are virtually indestructible.
  • Filter 8TM Polarized Lens - Eight layers of technology create one fantastic way to cut glare that can hamper fishing, boating, and other outdoor activities, plus cause eye fatigue.
  • Wiley X technology:
    • Meets or exceeds the military's ballistic standards for eye wear.
    • Meets and exceeds ANSI z87.1 high velocity impact safety and optical standards. This means they qualify as OSHA Occupational Eye Protection.
  • The Climate Control Series of Wiley X sunglasses features:Wiley X Climate Control
    • The patented, removable Facial CavityTMSeal that forms to your face and blocks out peripheral light plus the wind and all those things that come with it, like dust and debris.
  • The Changeable Series of sunglasses feature multiple lens combinations. The swappable lenses are shatterproof, good for any kind of shooting conditions.Wiley X - Changeable
  • The Street Series has nearly indestructible shatterproof lenses and frames and are often sought out by motorcyclists.
  • The Active Series' non-slip nose pads and temple gloves make them a perfect glass for those who enjoy the outdoor activities that involve a lot of motion and, therefore, sweat!wiley X Active

WileyX is the choice of many anglers, shooting sportsmen, race car drivers, and outdoor enthusiasts. You can see and try some of the styles in person at Bass Pro Shops Altoona or, if you know what you're looking for, you can also get them online at


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Packing/Organizing Gear for a Group Trip

Going on a group hunt this fall? Whether deer, elk, or bird, it takes a group effort of coordination for supplies, vehicles/drivers, etc. If you'll be going on a group trip where you need to provide your own cots, or you just wish for better sleeping accommodations at a location you've been to before, check out these new items from Disc-o-Bed at Bass Pro Shops!  


The Disc-o-Bed Cam-o-Bunk - From two single cots to two double cots - make more room for more people! Modular, portable and durable - allows you to sleep that much more comfortably while at hunt camp. The anti-rust frame features a rounded edge bed frame for the bottom bunk, so it doesn't damage the tent floor or sink into the ground. It can also convert to a bench for more living space and seating during the day!  It also has these great functional side organizers with multiple pouches, both opened and zippered. 

Store those personal items you want close at hand!

The Disc-o-Bed Military Footlocker

Disc-o-Bed Footlocker

The footlocker is perfect for more storage under the Disc-o-Bed bunk. It won't affect the cots sleeping deck and features multiple inner and outer pockets for storage. Best feature? Durable and water resistant!

Disc-o-Bed Storage Cabinet

This handy storage piece has outside measurement of 30.25" L X 23.75" W X 13.5" H. There are three interior shelves with movable dividers - it's perfect for storing snacks, shoes, and other personal items you'd like close at hand. 


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This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shop Altoona - Tent Sale and Dog Tails

Saturday, July 19 - Sunday, July 27  - Tent Sale!Tent Sale

Storewide clearance event with 20-50% off items from all departments! Look for the giant red balloons and the tent in the parking lot!


Saturday, July 19 - ARL Adoption Day!

The Animal Rescue League of Iowa will hold an Adoption Event on our front lawn!
they're continuing their on-site adoption special of $25 - cats and dogs – all ages! Come find a new friend!


Coming Up

July 26 and 27 - PBR Family Fun Event!

Noon- 4 p.m. - Free fun activities for the kids!

Stick bull riding, bull roping, face painting, and free cactus cowboy craft.

Free cowboy hat light up key chain to the first 100 customers each day!

Best Cowboy or Best Cowgirl Contest on Sunday only -- judging begins at 2:30 p.m. $50 gift card to the winner!

August 1-10 - Digs for Dogs Event!Digs for Dogs - Bass Pro Shops Altoona

It's Bass Pro Shops Altoona's first annual "Digs for Dogs" Doghouse contest to benefit the Animal Rescue League of Iowa!
Two ways to help:

  • BUILD a doghouse for our silent auction to benefit the ARL
  • BID on a doghouse!

Enter as an individual, a non-profit team (for example, a scout troop), or as a business. One winning entry for creativity in each category receives a $150 gift card! Complete details, deadlines, and the registration form are right here!


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Product Spotlight - The CHILLRaft!

Have a boat or a dock and looking for some new summer fun? There's still plenty of time to enjoy the sun and water with a CHILLraft! At 6' x 14' and 1.25" thick, the Original CHILLraft only weighs 25 pounds, yet can support your "crew" of kids or adults or both...up to 1,000 pounds! They're NOT lifesaving devices and you should still wear a life jacket and kids should be other words, all proper safety precautions should be taken. This floating "dock" is all the rage down south....and it's making its way north!

So chill, man, and grab a CHILLraft!  Only at Bass Pro Shops Altoona and NOT online.

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The Value of a Fish - A Dad's "Reel"-ization

By Jason Truman, General Manager
Bass Pro Shops Altoona

I used to occasionally fish with my father and grandfather. We would sit on the shore and wait patiently...or not so patiently, in my case...for the bobber to bounce, all the time conversing about whatever random topic might present itself. Where we fished, the bites were few and far between, so I think the conversation was probably of the most interest. 

While I enjoyed the time, I never really took to fishing as something that I would choose over other activities. As a matter of fact, that lack of enthusiasm for fishing translated to my offending my wife-to-be later in life. I remember one day when we were dating and looking for something to do on a particular afternoon, she suggested we go fishing.

“What? Fishing is so boring!”

About a year later, I was visiting a friend’s home and he happened to live on a lake. He suggested we take his canoe out and do a spot of fishing and I agreed. He actually taught me quite a bit about fishing and I really enjoyed it. Well, my wife was none to happy with my new found enthusiasm for fishing after denying her previously.

That was almost twenty years ago and my wife still refuses to fish with me simply out of spite. Fortunately, for me, I have taken those years and fished quite a bit with friends and other family, fishing from Texas to Ontario, Canada, and many points in between. I've had a lot of great times and made many memories. I have to say, though, that the best memories are being made right now.

I used to think there was not much of anything better than getting on the water early and spending a few hours by myself, communing with nature and wetting a line. It was always such a quiet and peaceful time that it felt like nothingBass Pro Shops Altoona else in the world mattered right then. It was time with your thoughts and, hopefully, a few fish. Heck, even if there were no fish, nobody else needed to know!

My youngest daughter, Sidney, has taken quite a liking to fishing and is becoming a pretty good little angler. She really became enthusiastic about fishing with me last year when she was ten. Recently, she took a little trek up to Lake of the Woods with me and two of my longtime friends and their kids. Now, anyone who has been on a trip like this knows the new guy usually has some beginner's luck that kind of digs at the rest of the group. True to form, Sid outfished everyone...and was sure to let us all know about it. We've hit some of the local lakes around central Iowa this year, as well, and have had some good success at times. It doesn’t matter where we fish, it’s always fun!

I now realize I no longer think much about fishing alone. When Sid is fishing with me, I get to teach her everything I’ve learned about fishing. Twenty years of reading books, watching fishing shows, fishing with others, quizzing the pros…it’s all at her disposal. She is showing a passion for fishing and is hungry to learn!

I have taught my daughter how to do a lot of things in eleven years, but sharing fishing with her is one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. To her, I am Kevin VanDam, and Keith Kavajecz all in one! To her, the way I rig my plastics, or the color I choose, is an exact science that commands the level of respect normally bestowed on those who split atoms or win Nobel prizes. She asks questions, she watches what I do, and she tries to do the same! 

Last week we were out on the boat on a quiet weekday morning doing a little bass fishing. I had caught five or six fish in the first 45 minutes or so and was talking a little “smack” to Sidney because she had yet to have a bite. I was fishing a stick bait and she was fishing a fluke. I was going to switch her out to what I was using, so she might have a little better chance. She took the opportunity to learn how to Texas Rig the bait and then, after a few minutes of being caught in the weeds, how to rig it weightless.

A few more casts went by and I was feeding instructions and demonstrating the technique.

"Cast it into that pocket, count to three while it drops, tighten your line, give it a little pop, do it again.” 

She was listening and following instructions, when she realized she should hold her rod just a little Sidneybit tighter, as it was just about pulled out of her hand on a big strike. 

“Set the hook, Sidney, keep your line tight...keep reeling.” 

This lunker was stripping line and trying to run laps around the boat. Sid’s hand was clamped around the rod handle with everything she had and the other was slowly cranking the reel. 

“She’s going to jump, Sid…keep the line tight, don’t let the hook shake loose!” 

She followed every instruction with a focus I rarely see. The fish came out of the water twice before wearing down and when we got it into the boat Sid’s smile was nothing less than immense!  She thumbed the lip of this big bucket mouth and we digitally preserved the moment, the fish, and that big smile! 

It turned out to be Sid’s only fish of the morning, but that was okay.

"Geez, dad, one big fish CAN make your day!”

I agreed with her, but never told her that her one fish was worth more to me than it was to her. Finding a passion that you can share with someone is a great thing. Being able to foster that passion in somebody so close to you is the best thing in the world!


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Product Spotlight - Lodge Cast Iron

Fried Chicken with Cast Iron - Bass Pro Shops AltoonaDo you cook with cast iron? For some, it's the ONLY way to fry chicken because of the even heat disbursement. But cast iron can be used to cook anything! Whether on the stove, in the oven, over the fire, or Dutch Oven-style, Lodge cast iron is efficient, long-lasting, and made in the USA!

We recently bought the 15 1/4" diameter Lodge cast iron skillet to replace one we used to have and inadvertently left behind in a move. We used our Bass Pro Shops burner from our aluminum fish fryer and decided to fry chicken on the patio. Even heat and long-lasting heat retention makes cast iron the first choice of chefs all over the world. 

*  Ready to use right out of the box - A newly developed process seasons the skillet at the factory, so the Lodge cast iron is ready to go. You don't have to season it yourself and it doesn't take many, many batches of chicken before you have it just right.

*  A traditional handle, PLUS an assist handle makes it easier to lift and transport. 

*  A pour lip makes it easier to dump the oil for reuse. 

*  Last, but not least, it's Made in the U.S.A., by Lodge which has been making it for over 100 years...and is now the only U.S. company making cast iron cookware. 

Don't be afraid - grab some cast iron and start cooking!


For a great look at Lodge and the rebirth of cast iron, check out this NBC Nightly News video!


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Outdoor Cooking Primer - Brick Chicken

Brick Chicekn - Bass Pro Shops Altoona BlogFlattened, crispy, and seemingly less wasteful, the brick chicken or "Chicken Under a Brick" concept has been around for eons. For Italians, especially in the Tuscany area, and others in Europe, have been preparing chicken this way for hundreds of years.

My husband and I have seen this technique often and decided to try it. Unbelievably, the first key, and sadly most difficult for us, was coming up with two bricks. We just didn't have any laying around! But, a couple of small pieces of landscaping block did the trick. So, I guess you could call it Chicken under the Pavers.

The second key is properly cutting and partially boning the chicken in half so that each piece lays flat. If you do it right, this allows the chicken to cook evenly and gets the maximum surface coverage for the chicken, so it gets nice and crispy. We actually cut the chicken in half, and removed the back bone and some other smaller bones, but traditional mode is to leave it whole and simply flatten it by removing the backbone.

We seasoned with salt and pepper blends and tucked some fresh rosemary sprigs up under the skin.

We had the back burner off on on our gas grill, with the center burner on medium and the front on high. It took about 60 minutes over all, flipping the two halves at about 30 minutes.

We ended up with plenty of grilled chicken for two meals and what seemed to be much less mess and no chicken carcass carnage afterwards from which to pick the meat off.

We give the Chicken Under a Brick (or landscaping block) two thumbs up!

You can find many instructions and recipes online - the one that sparked us to give it a try was on Bon Appetit's web site.



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This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona - Final Days of Summer Camp!

Family Summer Camp - Bass Pro Shops Altoona

It's the final weekend for Family Summer Camp activities at Bass Pro Shops Altoona!
Our Family Summer Camp provides fun and educational activities for kids that they can use the rest of the summer!

Even better, it's a GREAT way to beat the heat on a weekday afternoon - kids can have fun and learn at the same time!

Schedule - July 12 & 13

Free outdoor activities from noon until 5 p.m. including the Daisy BB gun range, casting, and archery.


Free crafts - Noon - 2 p.m. - Crafts change each week! This week's craft is coloring a wolf track!Family Summer Camp Bass Pro Shops Altoona

Homemade ice cream sampling - 5-6 p.m. on Saturday evening only.

Last, but not least, our popular workshops - Each child receives a lanyard at their first workshop and a pin for each workshop they attend!

Workshops Schedule

Saturday, July 12
12 p.m. - Fishing
1 p.m.- Water Safety
2 p.m. - Shooting and Hunting
3 p.m. - Kayaking
4 p.m. - Birdwatching

Sunday, July 13
12 p.m. - Shooting and Hunting
1 p.m. - Archery
2 p.m. - Travel Safety
3 p.m. - Camping and Conservation
4 p.m. - Backyard Adventures


Also this weekend:

Sunday, July 13 - Preferred Rewards Night - 6-9 p.m.

Members-Only After Hours Event for all Preferred Rewards Card members. You will need your invitation to get in - triple points, plus a bonus "mystery" offer based on the coupon on your invitation. Drawings for four $25 gift cards, and a Brinkman 4-burner gas grill.

Coming up!

Tent Sale and Clearance Event - July 17-16
PBR Family and Kids Events Days - July 26-27 - Noon-4 p.m.


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Born Again

By: Todd Sanders and Rod Slings, Guest Bloggers

Introductory note by Rod Slings, hunting safety expert, retired Iowa DNR law enforcement supervisor, and member of the Central Iowa Longbeards Chapter.

Todd Sanders was a very active outdoorsman who was injured in October 2013, when he fell from his treestand. Todd spent three months in the hospital after his injuries. He is wheelchair bound…for now. Our National Wild Turkey Federation Chapter's Wheelin’ Sportsman hunt took place the Saturday of Easter weekend. Todd has recently faced some major challenges in his personal life, aside from the physical injuries he sustained from his fall. Todd has a strong faith in God; Todd’s story below brought him back from a place that would challenge anyone. We are honored to open the door to the great outdoors for Todd and others with the help of our sponsors, volunteers and the NWTF.

Born Again

By: Todd Sanders

April 19, 2014, was a very special hunt I was invited to by a good friend, Rod Slings, who is a retired law enforcement supervisor with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. The hunt was the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Wheelin’ Sportsmen Wild Turkey Hunt put on by the Central Iowa Longbeards Chapter. This was the 7th annual hunt intended for disabled veterans and people that face some disability challenges.

To say that I was excited was an understatement, as Rod and I texted back and forth the final week before this awesome day! After what seemed like a sleepless night, my alarm sounded off at 2:00 a.m. I gathered my gear and Rod met me at my house at 3:30 a.m. to pick me up. 

Butterflies and sweaty palms accompanied me as we drove to Jester Park, where our hunt would be based, smiling like two young kids. I was able to meet all the great people who made this event happen. We gathered for a wonderful breakfast and a prayer to give thanks and asked for safety for the hunt. I was loaded into a Kubota UTV and soon Rod and I, along with my new friend Zach, were dropped off at the site where our blind was set up and ready. Within ten minutes of the park rangers and event volunteers leaving our location, I suddenly heard my favorite sound in the world! There it was - “GOBBLE-GOBBLE-GOBBLE” - about 100 yards away in the timber behind us. 

We all looked at each other with smiles and big wide-open eyes like children in a candy store. As the morning sunrise broke through the timber, we all started calling, nice and easy. This big tom apparently liked what he was hearing.

Rod said, “Breathe, Todd, breathe!” 

I smiled and gripped my bow tighter. Well, as all you turkey hunters know, gobblers are incredibly unpredictable. We heard the gobbler fly down from his roost and then…he went AWAY from us! A sassy hen was answering our calls. As I used the diaphragm call, Zach did the box call, and Rod followed with calls on his slate.

Suddenly, another gobbler, not far away, got very fired up from our calls - we probably sounded like a Sunday choir. This gobbler started responding back, getting closer and closer. Then, the hen passed five yards behind the blind to my left.   Minutes later we heard a very loud "GOBBLE." As I looked over Rod’s left shoulder, the majestic gobbler appeared, all tail feathers fanned out, about 65 yards away in the hardwood timber. 

I whispered, “There he is, I see him over Rod’s left shoulder, he’s looking this way.” 

My heart was pounding as the gobbler disappeared. Now he was circling us, trying to get a visual of those sweetheart hen noises that fired him up.

Zach said, “don’t move there he is!” 

Well, naturally, I moved and looked through the window near Rod. I saw a big blue head weaving through the brRod Slings and Todd Sandersush and briars. 

Zack whispered, “Draw back, draw back!”

As I did, he slipped right past the hunting blind window, my first shooting lane, on a beeline to the Jake decoy. As I regained my composure, Rod and Zach coached me. I did two sharp cuts on my diaphragm call - the gobbler stopped and turned. He was at 22 yards, quartering away, bumping up against the Jake decoy. I steadied my 20-yard pin on my bow sight behind the back of his wing and touched the release to see feathers immediately fly as the big gobbler flipped upside down!

Within seconds, the big tom was up running directly toward our blind wobbling like a drunken old man. 

I yelled, “GET HIM, GET HIM,” as the big bird took off into the timber. Zach desperately tried to open the zipper on the back of the blind by my wheelchair.  Imagine this - I am on the edge of my seat in my wheelchair in the blind,and I am now watching Rod and Zach go running into the timber out of sight. All I could hear were branches breaking and wings beating the dry leaves, but couldn’t see anything!  

I yelled, “Did you get him?” 

"YES!" Zach yelled back.

I screamed and hollered like a crazy man! Rod and Zach came back off the ridge, Zach holding my gobbler by the leg. Zach said, “Man, could you have shot a smaller turkey?” 

I couldn’t believe the size of the big gobbler as it was dropped at my feet. We yelled, hugged, high-fived and thanked Jesus, like we had just won the World Series. Rod called the park rangers and said, “Gobbler down, head this way.”

When the rangers arrived, we took pictures, again slapped high fives and celebrated this awesome hunt. After arriving back to Jester Park, our base for the hunt, we found out that two of the other hunters had also harvested birds. We shared fellowship over lunch, took more pictures, and relived and shared the story of our hunt over and over. 

This hunt was a real blessing to me having just recovered from a bow hunting accident where I fell from my treestand and broke my back leaving me wheelchair bound. This hunt gave me strength, hope and faith that my best days are still ahead of me!  I look forward to next year and thank God daily for this wonderful hunt that will be engraved in our spirits forever!  A very special thanks to Rod Slings who invited me to this event allowing me to harvest my best turkey to date!  25 pounds, 14 ounces with a 10-¾ inch beard and one inch spurs! 


Zach, Todd, and Rod

(Zach, Todd, and Rod)