This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona

It's the first weekend of our Fall Fishing Event! Plan for fall fishing and learn the importance of keeping our lakes healthy and available for fishing, plus let your kids learn about the joy of fishing!

Saturday and Sunday, September 21 and 22

First - for the Kids!

 Kids' Catch and Release PondNoon - 4 p.m. The Catch and Release Pond is back! Our indoor bluegill pond gives kids the chance to catch a fish with one of our poles...then get Beginning Fishing for Kids Workshoptheir picture taken at our free "You at the Lake" photo download!

 Noon - 1 p.m. - Beginning Fishing for Kids Workshop
- with our Pro Staff Lance Baker and Kary Ray!
Learn the basics of fishing. Hands-on fun for kids - they'll receive a “Bass Pro Shops Kids Fishing Team" certificate and a free pair of sunglasses!



Plus - Seminars for Adults!

Saturday
, September 21

1 p.m. - Fish Hatcheries: From Hatcheries To Lakes - Learn about the importance of our fish hatcheries to how our lakes are stocked. Presented by Mike Mason, from the Iowa DNR, Iowa Fish Hatcheries Supervisor.
2 p.m. - What You Should Know About Fishing Using Electronics - Learn how to use your GPS to find the best catch! Free fishing towel for the first 50 customers at the 2 p.m. seminar each day!
3 p.m.- Best Baits: Baits That Work For Successful Fall Fishing - with Pro Staff Lance Baker and Kary Ray

Sunday, Sept. 22
1 p.m. - Area Fishing: What You Should Know
2 p.m. - Expert Tips: Best Fall Fishing Practices - Free fishing towel for the first 50 customers at the 2 p.m. seminar each day -
With Pro Staff Lance Baker and Kary Ray
3 p.m. - Changing Water Conditions: How It Affects Fishing

1 -3 p.m. Both Days - Free Craft for Kids!  Color your own tackle box! 1-3 p.m. both days

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Outdoor Cooking Primer - Wild Doves in Wine

Another dove recipe. This one is also from the Missouri Department of Conservation web site! 


Wild Doves in Wine

8 doves, cleaned and picked

3 T. olive oil or bacon drippings, heated

Brown doves on all sides in oil or drippings in heavy iron skillet.

1/2 cup sherry or dry red wine

1/2 cup olive oil

2 T. worcestershire sauce

1/2 tsp. salt

Add all ingredients to doves. Cover skillet with tight lid. Simmer over a low heat (liquid should never boil) for 1 1/2 hours or until tender.

Serve with brown and wild rice.

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Pheasant Season Forecast for Iowa

PheasantPheasant season starts October 19 in Iowa. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources' August 2013 Roadside Survey was just released and Iowa's pheasant population continues to struggle. Their nesting outlook in June was not very positive, predicting lower numbers because of last year's snowy winter following by an extremely wet nesting season. The roadside survey was just released and it doesn't bring any better news. 
 
The roadside survey takes data from just over 200, 30-mile routes. They try to do the count on a cool morning, when the sun is shining, no wind and heavy dew. According to the report, our wet spring once again made for another bad chick survival year.
 
 
"Rainfall during the 2013 nesting season was the highest in state history (141 yrs of record) dating back to 1872. Over 15 inches of rain fell in 
April and May, more than twice the normal rainfall of 7.1 inches. Temperatures were also significantly cooler than normal. According to the state climatologist, the spring of 2013 was the 5th coolest in state history. The only colder springs occurred in 1960, 1875, 1882, and 1888. Pheasants did not become established in Iowa until around 1920, so the spring of 2013 was the wettest and coldest ever experienced by the population.
 
"Statewide data on chicks (measure of nest success) showed a significant decline (-26%), while age ratios (chicks per adult 
hen – measure of overall hen success) showed -18% compared to 2012. Both are indicative of a poor nesting season, which was expected given the record rainfall and cold temperatures during the nesting season."
 
Weather and habitat are the two big factors that effect pheasant population. The DNR says that if our weather patterns continue, with late snows and heavy rains that break down nesting areas, it will be hard to recover the pheasant numbers.
 
The complete August 2013 Roadside Survey, for Iowa's upland wildlife population,  can be read at www.iowadnr.gov/Portals/idnr/Arsrpt13.pdf.
 
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Fall Fishing Event is Coming!

Fall Fishing

It's finally getting cooler, which means fall fishing will be that much more pleasurable! Here's your opportunity to:

  • Plan for fall fishing
  • Learn the importance of keeping our lakes healthy and available for fishing
  • Let your kids learn about the joy of fishing

 

Catch and Release PondBass Pro Shops Fall Fishing Event!

Weekends of September 21-22 and 28-29


First, for the kids!

  • The Catch and Release Pond is back! Noon-4 p.m.
    Our indoor bluegill pond gives kids the chance to catch a fish with one of our poles...then get their picture taken at our free "You at the Lake" photo download!Kids Fishing Workshop
  • Beginning Fishing for Kids Workshop Noon – 1 p.m.
    Kids will learn the basics of fishing from our experts! Hands-on fun, with a “Bass Pro Shops Kids Fishing Team" certificate and a free pair of sunglasses for all!

Free Craft - Color your own tackle box! 1-3 p.m. both days!


 

 

Next, for the Adults
(Our Pro Staff of Lance Baker and Kary Ray will be in the store the first weekend, Sept. 21 and 22, to help with seminars and answer questions!)

Saturdays, September 21 and 28:
1 p.m. - Fish Hatcheries: From Hatcheries To Lakes - Learn from the DNR's Iowa Fish Hatcheries Supervisor Mike Mason about the importance of our fish

hatcheries and how our lakes are stocked.

2 p.m. - What You Should Know About Fishing Using Electronics - Learn how to use your GPS to find the best catch!
Free fishing towel for the first 50 customers at the 2 p.m. seminar each day!

3 p.m.- Best Baits: Baits That Work For Successful Fall Fishing

Sundays, Sept. 22 & 29:
1 p.m. - Area Fishing: What You Should Know

2 p.m. - Expert Tips: Best Fall Fishing Practices - Free fishing towel for the first 50 customers at the 2 p.m. seminar each day!

3 p.m. - Changing Water Conditions: How It Affects Fishing

 

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Outdoor Cooking Primer - Dutch Oven Honey Dijon Chicken

Dutch Oven CookingYou can feel the cool air starting to finally arrive!  Time to fire up the cast iron and do some Dutch Oven outdoor cooking!  Use a fire pit, cement slab or gravel to place your coals on...or we use a small Weber Smokey Joe grill as our charcoal holder!

Here is a recipe we've borrowed from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Iowa State Fair Recipes brochure from this summer.

Honey Dijon Chicken

Honey Dijon Marinade
1 Cup Honey Dijon Mustard
1/2 Cup Honey
1/2 Cup Mayonnaise
Splash of Lime Juice

1 Pkg Chicken Tenders
2 Cups Sliced Mushrooms. Cooked
1 Small Onion
3-4 Slices of Cooked Bacon
1 Cup Monterrey Jack Cheese

Mix the marinade ingredients together and hold back about 1/2—1 Cup for dipping sauce later. Place the chicken tenders in the remaining marinade and let sit for two hours.
Spray the bottom of a Dutch Oven and place over 20-26 hot coals. Cook chicken tenders until browned on both sides. Then place the mushrooms, onion, bacon and cheese over the top of the tenders.

Place the lid on the oven.

Remove coals from below the oven so only 6 remain.
Place 12 coals on top of the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

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This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona

Collegiate CamoHeaded to Ames for the Iowa State-Iowa Football game? Stop by the store on your way to and from the festivities! We're got our jerky on sale and GREAT seasoning and sauces to use for your tailgating! 

 

Jerky sampling from Noon – 4 p.m. in front of the main aquarium on Saturday and Sunday!

 

Sunday, September 15 - Jay Green and Scout, the K9  therapy dog, will be here for a dog obedience demonstration in front of the aquarium at 1:00 p.m.

 

Locally, look for us at the SE Polk Homecoming Parade, Thursday night, September 19 - you won't be able to miss us - we'll be the ones with all of the COOL STUFF AND CANDY to throw out!  

Go Rams!

 

Coming next weekend - the Fall Fishing Event and the Catch and Release pond for kids is back!  Watch our blog and Facebook page for details!

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Bear Hunting Tips

Planning a bear hunt? If you have the opportunity to hunt bear, Don Mealey from the Iowa Bow Hunter's Association offers up some advice for your prep and the actual hunt. 

Don, who also has Don Mealey's Bowhunter Education Channel on YouTube, is a longtime avid bowhunter. He recently went to Nipigon, Ontario, about 700 miles north of Des Moines, Iowa, for some bear hunting. He was kind enough to shoot some video just for us and to share some tips.

Mealey says practice is crucial. Do it in low light and simulate the real situation as much as possible.

"Practice before you go. Make your practice as realistic as you can. Put pressure on yourself that it's the real deal, so when you do get into the real situation, you'll know what to do."

"Many times people take their shot too quickly, because they get excited when they have a bear over bait. It's not a whitetail deer. When they come to the bait, they've already committed to eating and they are focused on that."

Watch this video showing just how many times he had an opportunity with just one bear!

 

Mealey says he understands that some people may not want or like to hunt over bait. However, in the dense undergrowth of the location, Mealey notes it's hard to do a "spot and stalk."

"Hunting over bait is not a given situation and you still have to make the shot."

To see more of Don's bear hunt, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXa_RGAhDuQ.

 

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Product Spotlight: Hunt for a Cure

Join Bass Pro Shops in the Hunt for a Cure!

Hunt for a CureThe Hunt for a Cure hoodie and Ts for ladies are now in at Bass Pro Shops Altoona! Join the fight and sport Bass Pro Shops' Shield and Ribbon Rack T-shirts and sweatshirts!  

10% of the proceeds go to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.  The t-shirts are 100% cotton in light pink with the ribbon racks design. The hooded sweatshirt is a 50/50, heavy blend fuschia.

Selection may vary by store. For more Hunt for a Cure selections, visit basspro.com! 

 

Bass Pro Shops Hunt for a Cure

Hunt for a Cure T-shirt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Outdoor Cooking Primer - Dove d'Elegence

In my search for different tasty mourning dove recipes, other than grilling them, I found this recipe on the Missouri Department of Conservation web site. Enjoy!


Dove d'Elegence

12 doves
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/3 cup chives, chopped
1 T. salt
1 T. pepper
1/2 cup evaporated milk
3/4 cup water
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) cream of mushroom soup
3/4 cup brandy
1 can (17 oz.) English peas
3 beef bouillon cubes
3 tsp. margarine or butter

Place doves in casserole dish. Arrange onions, celery and chives around. Salt and pepper. Add milk, water, mushroom soup, brandy, peas, margarine and bouillon cubes. Bake at 375 F for 2 hours. Remove doves and place on platter. Thicken gravy. Pour over doves. Serve with wild rice. Serves 4.
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Conservation Connections - Turtles of Iowa

Pella Wildlife CompanyDo you know the difference between a turtle and a tortoise? The Pella Wildlife Company joined us again recently as part of our Conservation Connections partnership and this time they brought some of the many turtles that are native to Iowa.

 

The Ornate Box Turtle is a unique turtle in Iowa because it acts like a tortoise. One of the big differences Ornate Box turtlebetween tortoises and turtles is that tortoises live on land and turtles live in the water.  According to www.HerpNet.net the Ornate Box Turtle is the only turtle in Iowa that is "fully terrestrial." Additionally, while you can hunt some turtles in Iowa, the Ornate Box Turtle is NOT one of them. It is a threatened species and it is illegal to kill or collect them under Iowa law.

 

Snapping Turtle

On the opposite end of the scale is the snapping turtle, Iowa's LARGEST turtle. It's legal to take with a valid fishing license...trap them, grab them by hand (if you dare!), hook and line, turtle hook...the possession limit is 100 pounds for live and 50 pounds for dressed turtles. Among their many turtle, the Pella Wildlife Company brought along this 15-year-old snapper so kids, young and old, could see one up close.  But, not TOO close!  this one has a stretch of 6-8 inches when he snaps, so you can imagine what kind of reach an even bigger one would have!

Check out our latest video with Ron DeArmond from the Pella Wildlife Company on Turtles of Iowa.

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Outdoor Cooking Primer - Grilled Mourning Dove Breasts

It's dove season, so here's an EASY recipe for cooking up those great delicacies on the grill!

 

Kicked up Grilled Dove Breasts Grilled Mourning Dove Breasts

Mourning dove breasts

Small jalapeno

Strips of bacon

Rosemary

Salt and pepper

Olive Oil

Cut bacon strips

 

Cut bacon into smaller strips. Remove seeds and membrane from jalapeno and cut it into slivers. Place one sliver of jalapeno on each breast. Then wrap each breast with a strip of bacon, securing the bacon and jalapeno to the breast with a toothpick. Brush with olive oil. Sprinkle some rosemary on each breast, along with salt and pepper. 

Spray aluminum foil with cooking spray. Place wrapped breasts on the foil and put on grill. Cook until tender.

Do you have any other recipes for dove? Share them here or on our Facebook page!
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This Weekend at Bass Pro Shops Altoona

Try Before you Buy!

Uncle Buck's Syrup

Saturday, Noon - 4 p.m. - Try our new Uncle Buck's syrups over ice cream!

Sunday, Noon - 4 p.m.  - Try our Uncle Buck's Jerky! Samples will be handed out from the Jerky Shack!

Free Workshop - Selecting the Right Reel - Saturday, September 7, 2 p.m.

Join our fishing associates to learn how to determine the right reel for your fishing needs. 

Boy Scout Month at Bass Pro ShopsGrilling for Boy Scouts!

It's Boy Scout month at Bass Pro Shops! The Grill Shack will be open on Saturday, September 7, from 11:00 - 2 p.m. with all proceeds benefiting the Boy Scouts!

Bass Pro Shops is proud to continue the tradition of collecting donations in support of this youth organization that has developed the marks of true leadership in millions of youth all across our nation since 1910.

Join Bass Pro Shops in celebrating a century of Scouting by making a donation to the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). Together, let's continue the tradition into the next 100 years. The BSA are as vital and relevant today as when their journey began, and is one of the nation's largest and most prominent values-based youth development organizations.

You can donate to the Boy Scouts all month at Bass Pro Shops Altoona at the registers - half of the money raised during the month-long program will remain locally. 

Jay and Scout - Sunday, September 8 - 1 p.m. - by the Main Aquarium

Join Scout the K9 and therapy dog as he goes through his paces with owner Jay. 

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Outdoor Cooking Primer - Crappie Cakes

Crappie CakesIn our continuous quest to find new and exciting ways to eat the copious amounts of crappie my husband brings home, he came across a recipe for Crappie Cakes. He whipped them up last night and...WOW! It's our NEW favorite way to fix crappie!  The original recipe called for another brand of crab boil, but we had King Cooker in the cupboard (of course...we sell it at Bass Pro Shops!).  Another switch up is that we used Keebler Townhouse Light and Buttery crackers, instead of saltines, as is called for in the original recipe. Dijon Mustard is our choice of mustard, and we used Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce instead of just regular hot sauce. My husband got a little overzealous with the sriracha and probably added 2 Tbsp instead of 1/2 tsp, so they were nice and spicy!  Serve them up with homegrown tomatoes and green beans...yum! Food from the work of your hands!

One last note:
We doubled the recipe, so you might easily halve the recipe below, if you have a smaller amount of crappie. We ended up with about eight or nine patties. We did have some of the poached crappie left over...guess that's going to turn in to Crappie Salad...or Crappie-Salad Stuffed Tomatoes...or Crappie Wraps with Cole Slaw!  Hmmm......

 

Crappie Cakes

1 Cup King Cooker Crab, Shrimp, and Crawfish Boil
1 large red bell pepper
1 medium onion
1 1/2 cups Townhouse Original Buttery crackers finely crushed (about 1 1/2 sleeves)
2/3 cup mayonnaise
2 large egg beaten
4 tsp Old Bay seasoning
4 tsp Worcestershire
4 tsp mustard Dijon Mustard
1/2 tsp Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce
2 lb crappie fillets
Butter

Finely chop onion and red pepper and cook until soft in 1/2 Tbsp of butter. Set aside.

Bring 8 quarts water of water to boil with the 1 cup King Cooker Crab, Shrimp, and Crawfish Boil.

Poaching

When water is boiling, gently drop in the fillets.
Bring back to boil and poach for two minutes.
Take off heat and let stand for five minutes and then drain.
Put crushed crackers in a large bowl. Mix next six ingredients together in a bowl.
Combine pepper & onion mix, the wet ingredients and the saltines in a bowl. Mix them together half way then shred in the cooked crappie.

Crappie Cakes

Don't mix too much because crappie will be very flaky. 

Heat 2 Tbs butter in skillet. Cook the cakes over medium heat until they have a nice golden crust. Flip gently and cook other side.

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The Colorful Side of Women's Archery Products

Stroll through the Bass Pro Shops Altoona Hunting Department and you're likely to find loads of blaze orange, camo green, black, and...pink. Pink? Yes, pink...and red, blue, green. The archery aisles, in particular, are beginning to bloom with color.

From arrow parts to archery accessories, Gun Vault Specialist Alicia Bricker says the women's archery products are growing in leaps and bounds with variations of pink to appeal to the increasing number of women who are bow hunting.

"We have several different arrows to choose from and now even a few different ones in pink, such as the Mayhem Hot Pursuit arrow by Carbon Express. We also have pink fletchings that can be used to accent an arrow, as well."

Ladies' Archery Products from Bass Pro Shops

From pink lighted arrow nocks, to pink arrow wraps, fletchings, and pink broadheads, such as the Queen Wasp (100 grain, 3-blade fixed blade, 1" cutting diameter), there are plenty of ways for women to dress up their bow. Lighted nocks are also available in blue, red, green, and orange. Wraps and fletchings are available in a wide assortment of colors and styles, as well. Bricker uses the pink Montec G5 85 grain fixed broadheads because she uses a smaller bow, with a smaller draw length and draw weight.

"The 85 grain is lighter than a higher grain and the fixed broadhead gives better penetration than an expandable broadhead for shooting a lighter draw weight combined with my shorter draw length. My draw weight is 50 lbs and length is 22.5”. My draw weight is actually pretty good now, but when I started with the broadheads I was only pulling back 40 lbs. My draw length is really short compared to most people. With my draw weight and length being small the lighter grained broadhead allows me to make up some speed and then the fixed blade allows for an ensured penetration since I don’t have enough “UMPH,” let’s just say, behind mine."

Ladies' Archery Products
For accessories, Bricker points out the Cobra Bushwacker Sight  in pink camo, with light, four fiber optic pins, and a level for holding your bow steady and at the same angle each shot. She'll be using it this season. For wrist straps, she uses the Outdoor ProStaff black with pink deer prints. With the wrist straps, a hunter won't have to grip the bow after the shot to keep it from falling. It will still drop forward, but you won’t drop it to the ground. It allows your shot to follow through. The strap will catch and slow down some of the fall.  
 
Other pink bow and shooting accessories include:
  • G5 Meta peep - Multiple colors are available.
  • Pink String Chubs - helps with string vibration making one less sound to spook the deer! Multiple colors available.
  • Pink Ultramax and String Leech -  Limbsaver by SVL - Another noise/vibration energy dampening system. Multiple colors available.
  • Pink cable slides - Multiple colors also available
  • Releases - single caliper and dual caliper. Bricker prefers a spring-loaded release since it only needs one motion Ladies' Archery Products from Bass Pro Shops Altoonato open and close the release rather than having to push the trigger back up. She also prefers a stiff shaft on a release, instead of the cloth strap, so that the release stays up in her  hand and is easier to get into her hand when she's ready to shoot.  Some people prefer the cloth strap, so that they are more hands free when they are wearing the release. Fox brand also has a blue one and they all have camo or black, of course.
  • Treestand Harnesses - Gorilla G-Tac Air safety harness and the HSS (Hunter Safety System) Lady Pro Series. Specifically designed with women in mind, they are contoured for a women which provides a more comfortable fit than a regular harness.

Bass Pro Shops Altoona Ladies' Archery ProductsBows? Bricker shoots a Diamond Razor Edge, which is a youth bow instead of a women’s, mainly because her draw length is smaller than most people. The bow gives her the range she needs with weight and length, so she is able to go down to 30 lbs and up to 60 lbs. Since most bows don't have under a 24 inch draw length, this one fits her perfectly.


Come see for yourself what's pretty in pink...and other colors...at Bass Pro Shops Altoona or check out what's online at www.basspro.com.

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Elk Hunting Basics-Preparation is Key

Elk photo from RMEF

So, you're considering going elk hunting out west as a new adventure?

We asked Jeff Swan, Volunteer State Chair of the Iowa Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Chapters, to share some knowledge on the considerations hunters need to factor in when planning their first elk hunt. 

Allen says, "Hunting elk in the Rocky Mountain west is not your typical weekend outing to the woods to hang in a stand waiting on a whitetail." 

He says there are many factors to consider, however early planning is #1, starting in winter.

Do Your Homework

"The first factor to consider is where. Most western states, with elk hunting opportunities, distribute permits to non-resident hunters through a drawing system.  When planning a western hunt, you must think well ahead of time in order to get your application in on time. For example, in Wyoming, applications for the elk drawing are due by the end of January. If you fail to draw, most states have some form of preference point system so that in subsequent years you have better odds of drawing if you continue to apply and accrue points every year. You don't necessarily have to rely on drawing a tag in the states that use a lottery-like drawing system for the permits. There are still some over-the-counter states, such as areas of Colorado and Idaho.
 
"Once you have your tag in hand, the planning really begins. Most states issue permits for certain areas of the state, rather than the state as a whole; after obtaining the permit, it's time to begin your research. When going into uncharted water, the Internet is a valuable resource. There you can access aerial photos and topographical maps through websites such as Google Maps or the various state wildlife agency hunt planning website. Various hunting websites such as Bowhuntingnet.com can be used to find others who have hunted the same area and are willing to help out.  Wildlife biologists in the area you intend to hunt are a good source of information about elk numbers, locations, etc.  

With basic information obtained through these resources, you can access Google Maps or other such sites to take advantage of the aerial photos and topo maps.  With these maps you can look for timbered north facing bedding slopes, open meadows you might find elk feeding in, and other likely looking areas in which to find elk."

Prepare Yourself for the Hunt

Next, Allen says, after you've prepared the location of the hunt, and where the elk might be in that area, it's now time to prepare yourself.

"Elk country is tough, non-forgiving country. Not only are you at a higher elevation with lower oxygen concentration, but the terrain itself is difficult to negotiate. If you are to be an effective elk hunter you must prepare yourself physically and mentally. 

Physical preparation can't begin a few weeks before your hunt, it must begin months prior. Elk country is big country and there are not elk behind every tree. It may take several miles and several days of up and down hiking to find the elk in order to begin hunting them. It is also important to give yourself plenty of time on an elk hunt. On a do-it-yourself type hunt, I try for a minimum of 7-8 days because you want to give yourself ample time to locate and then hunt the elk."  

Allan says you also want to obtain the highest quality gear you can for hunting in the mountains.

"First, quality optics, in the form of a good pair of binoculars, is important. You'll spend a lot of time behind the glasses looking over lots of country to find the elk, and the better your binoculars the more success you'll have. You get what you pay for with high quality optics; it's in your best interest to spend as much as you can afford to get the best optics you can. They'll last a lifetime and you'll be able to spend more time glassing with them, without giving yourself a headache and eye fatigue. 

You also want to obtain high quality clothing for your hunt. In addition to the physical demands elk country provides, the weather can be a game changer for the unprepared. Weather in the mountains can range from sunny and 80 to snowing and below freezing in less than 24 hours. Obviously, the later in the season you choose to hunt, the greater the chance of running into severe cold and snow, so prepare accordingly.  Despite that, I have hunted in blizzard conditions in mid-September. You must be prepared for anything the weather can throw at you while in the mountains. Don't skimp on quality clothing or rain gear - it can make or break your hunt."  

Prepare for Wide Open Spaces - Get a Rangefinder

Allen reminds East Coast and Midwestern hunters that another thing they need to prepare for is a different hunting style for a different terrain. He says for those used to hunting and shooting in the East or Midwest in small wood lots or large expanses of timber, going out west with the wide open spaces can provide a challenge, especially for bowhunters. 

"First, the wide open spaces where you might find elk can make it difficult to judge distances. Add to that the overall size of an elk in comparison to a deer, and range estimation errors are common.  A laser range finder with angle compensation can be a lifesaver when hunting out west. Knowing the exact distance to your target will give you added confidence when the moment of truth rolls around."

Do-it-Yourself or Hire Out?

There are lots of advantages to using a quality outfitter, with the only drawback being the price tag. Outfitters generally have the gear and means of access to your hunt area. They know the game and their travel patterns, they often have leased up quality private grounds for your hunt, and they are in the area year round to scout. It's difficult to scout your hunt area in person from a thousand miles away. But, you want to be careful in choosing an outfitter. You want to make sure you choose a reputable outfitter who will do his or her best to put you on your quarry. 

"Remember, it's still a fair chase hunt and there are no such things as guarantees. Be wary of outfitters who offer you a guaranteed hunt opportunity. Again, do your research. Most outfitters will provide you with a list of previous clients. Call them!  Not just the successful ones, but those who failed to score as well. Call the local wildlife biologist or game warden and ask them questions. They will know about the outfitter and the land/wildlife in that area. Utilize the Internet and sites such as outfitterrating.com to gather information about an outfitter.  Make an educated decision based upon information from all these resources - it's your money you're spending."
 

Regardless of whether you hunt DIY or with an outfitter, Allen restates that the better prepared you are ahead of time, the more enjoyable and successful your trip will be.

  • Do your homework and research your hunt area
  • Prepare yourself physically and mentally
  • Obtain high quality optics, clothing, and a good laser rangefinder for your hunt.

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For more information, you may also visit Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation's web site at www.rmef.org/TheHunt.aspx.

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Tournament Talk - Trail's End

Kary Ray and Mike Parve

Lance Baker and Kary Ray head to the Mighty Mississippi for one more round of the Bass World Sports tournament. It's been a busy summer for the guys. They send a special thank you to their good buddy Mike Parve as he subbed during the last tournament while Lance was on "baby watch." He and Kary Ray landed with a solid 3rd place finish at BWS with 13.72.

From Lance:

"ONE MORE ROUND! Wish us luck....we need a good finish to secure our Top 3 for Angler of the Year again this year and to qualify for the Bass World Sports Classic. We are currently sitting in second place right now with some of the Mississippi's best right on our heels! It's been an awesome year all around so we hope to finish it with a bang!"

Once the tournament trail ends, the guys will be making appearances here at the store and in our BPS community events! They'll be with us at the Southeast Polk High School Homecoming parade showing off the new Nitro and, of course, they'll be at our Fall Fishing Event September 21-22 and 28-29!

 

Pro Staff

 

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Casting For Recovery - Healing the Body and Soul

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread,
places to play in and pray in, 
where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.  
~John Muir

 

Casting for RecoveryNature is a healer of the body and mind and one national organization is casting its lines to capture that power. Casting for Recovery (CFR) takes the serenity of fly fishing and turns it into a calming inspiration and therapy for breast cancer survivors.

Casting for Recovery was organized in 1996 in Vermont by a breast cancer reconstructive surgeon and a professional fly fisherman. It provides breast cancer survivors an opportunity to gather for one weekend designed solely for them to learn the art and therapy of fly fishing, but, more importantly, to relax and bond stress and fear-free, with other women who are fighting the brave fight.

CFR has grown to over 1500 volunteers and boasts sponsors such as as Under Armour and SmartWoolRetreats don't exist in every state, but any survivor can find one to attend. According to CFR, in 2012, 42 retreats in 33 states served over 600 survivors; many states hold multiple retreats. By 2012, 444 retreats had been conducted, serving more than 5,600 women across the country. There are now “Sister” organizations in Canada, U.K./Ireland, and New Zealand. Each two-and-a-half day retreat is offered at no cost to 14 women and incorporates both fly-fishing instruction and social support. It ends with a half day of guided catch-and-release fly fishing.

Casting for Recovery IowaIowans Annette and Kirk Norris combined their love of fly fishing and helping others to bring the first Casting for Recovery retreat to the state. 

"My husband Kirk and I love to fly fish and we were returning home from a trip in Alaska and read about Casting for Recovery in an airplane magazine. We have always wanted to give back in some way and CFR was perfect."

The Iowa retreat will be held at the Hotel Winneshiek in Decorah and will include fishing the scenic river valleys of beautiful northeast Iowa

Kirk contacted CFR and started the ball rolling. They were told they would need to raise the money and find the people and Annette and Kirk went to work doing just that. Annette attended a retreat in Indiana, so she could gain the full experience of the special weekend and bring it back to Iowa. She notes that the national organization offers specific guidelines on how to run the retreat. They selected the Decorah Driftless Area for the October 10-11 retreat, given its great fishing and wonderful fall beauty. 

Norris says they've been trained by Casting for Recovery and three women from the national organization will be on hand to help at this first retreat. She says their retreat team includes breast cancer nurses, psychosocial counselors and fly fishing instructors. 

"Sunday we invite 14 river helpers, most of them men, to work one on one. The weekend focus is on wellness and empowerment, as opposed to helplessness. Physically, the motion of fly casting is similar to the exercises that are prescribed after surgery or radiation, thus promoting soft tissue stretching. The rhythm of casting the line in a natural setting also relieves everyday stress and provides a sense of calm."

Casting for Recovery

Why go? Annette says the weekend is not all about fishing, it's about empowerment. 

"The focus is supportive and encouraging. We have women from all over Iowa that have applied and some have never met another women with breast cancer. Some have never been away from home since cancer. That's what it is about."

The Norris's biggest concern is future funding, since the retreat costs about $1,000-$1,300 per participant. Individuals or organizations who would like to contribute to Casting for Recovery should visit castingforrecovery.org. Donations may be earmarked for a specific retreat, such as Iowa, or to the organization as a whole. Additionally, flies may also be donated and they are distributed where needed. The CFR wish list is:

  • For fishing – Bead-head Nymphs (sizes 10, 12); Attractor Dry Flies (sizes 8-12); Terrestrials (sizes 10, 12); Wooly Buggers (lightly weighted, sizes 6, 8); Parachute Adams (sizes 10, 12)
  • For fundraising – Special Flies or Collections (by exceptional tiers)
  • For participants – Put together a box of flies for each participant, each with an assortment of 6-12 flies. There are 14 participants at each retreat.
  • For prize drawings at the retreats – put together a box of flies for one lucky participant. 

Donations may be sent to:

Casting for Recovery
P.O. Box 1123
3738 Main Street
Manchester, VT 05254

For more information on attending a Casting for Recovery retreat or volunteering, visit www.castingforrecovery.org.

Watch their powerful video Voice of Courage!

 

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It's Another Hometown Festival @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona!

Bass Pro Shops Hometown Festival

It's another fun weekend of free family and kids' activities!  

Saturday and Sunday, August 31-Sept. 1

Noon-5 p.m.!

Bass Pro Shops Daisy BB Gun RangeA fun family event to help us say good-bye to summer and hello to fall!

Complete all four of the these activities and spin the prize wheel!

  • Kids play the Pick a Duck game at our Pick a Duck pond! Scoop a duck with a number and win a flashing wrist band!
  • The Bass Pro Shops Daisy BB Gun Range
  • Casting Buckets
  • Metal detector treasure hunt

Plus these fun activities, too!

  • Face painting
  • Free craft - Color a wood duck
  • Free photo download like you're in the #14 show car!

Of course, we never forget the FOOD!

Dutch Oven CookingFree seminars and product demos on Saturday only

  • 1:30 p.m. Smokin’ – Tips for successful meat smoking 
  • 2:30 p.m. Outdoor Grilling – Choosing the right grill 
  • 3:30 p.m. Dutch Oven Cooking – Tips for outdoor cooking

Free Hot Dogs - 1-4 p.m.

Free Ice Cream Samples  - 4-5 p.m.

Free Food Product Sampling - Noon-5 p.m.
Our Gifts Department will be sampling some of our tasty products!

 

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Geocaching - The New Hide and Seek

The couple was wandering around in an area by our parking lot...kind of an unusual site. So, as our manager left for the day, he pulled up to visit with them and discovered they were geocaching (gee-oh-cashing, for those who don't know). 

So what is geocaching? It's a world-wide, real-time treasure hunt conducted by millions of people...right in our own backyards!Geocaching couple

Who does it?  Anyone!  Families, travelers...anyone with a GPS or GPS-enabled mobile phone can play the game.

The people, called geocachers, use GPS coordinates to locate "treasures," trinkets, and items hidden in containers, called geocaches or "cache" for short.

According to geocaching.com, there are 2,190,817 active geocaches and over six million geocachers worldwide.  

While it's called a "game," the rules are VERY simple. If you take something out of a geocache, replace it with something of equal or lesser value. Record your find in the log book included in the cache, and go online to record your experience at www.geocaching.com.

Geocache log

The size of the cache can vary...it could be the size of, for example, a small LED toy flashlight or smaller, or it could be as big as a bucket! It could be hidden in a box or it could be hanging from a tree. You just have to look high and low and find them. Small caches may simply hold a logbook for you to record your visit, while the bigger caches may hold items. Remember the rule, if you take an item, replace it with something of equal or lesser value. There are even trackable pieces inside some of the caches, some of which have traveled thousands of miles around the world because of geocachers taking and replacing. So, be prepared to replace what you take. 

How did this all get started? CliffsNotes version: 

May 2000 GPS coordinates become widely accessible. Guy hangs a bucket full of prizes in a tree, publishes the coordinates on an Internet forum. Within three days two people find the bucket, write about their find online, and BAM! Geocaching is born.

Let's go back to our friendly, geocaching couple earlier this week.  They were from Pennsylvania, had been at our neighboring Adventureland Park and were adding to their travels by geocaching in the area. There were at least four caches they found on our property...and what's really cool you can go to the geocaching.com log book and see photos of people who have been here on geocache hunts!

I'm already seeing that this is something my husband and I are going to HAVE to explore.  And what a great way for families with kids, in this electronic society, to "connect" with the outdoors. 

Okay, I have to go find something....but first, I think we need to go hide something!  Hmmmm....

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Caches are never buried and make it appropriate for the outdoors...no food items or scented items or things that might melt or freeze. For a full listing of guidelines and more helpful information, visit www.geocaching.com.

Before hiding something in an Iowa state park, visit the Iowa DNR web page www.iowadnr.gov/Recreation/CampingFacilityRentals/RulesRegulations/Geocaching.aspx

Geocaching Glossary of Terms - www.geocaching.com/about/glossary.aspx

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona - Support the Elk Foundation

We're taking a breather after the Fall Hunting Classic, - but we have our Labor Day sale going and some great food sampling going on.

Try Before you Buy!

Saturday, Noon - 4 p.m. Onion rings made with Uncle Buck's batter.

Sunday, Noon - 4 p.m. - It's Meyer’s lemonade!

 

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

Plus - The grill shack is open as we whip up some hamburgers and hot dogs to raise money for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, our conservation partner in the month of August.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation isn't just for states that have elk. RMEF works to ensure the future of elk, along with other wildlife, and their habitats, along with our hunting heritage. In 1907, only 41,000 elk remained in North America.  Today there are well over 1 million elk thanks to the money and hard work invested by hunters to restore and conserve habitat. Through donations to groups like RMEF, hunters add $300 million a year to conservation efforts.

So, stop by the grill shack outside the store and help show your support for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation!

 

 

Next weekend it's our Labor Day Hometown Festival weekend!  Celebrate the end of summer and say hello to fall with free activities and fun for the kids, free hot dogs, and ice cream samples, too!

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