Outdoor Cooking Primer - Pheasant Legs and Thighs

Pheasant recipePheasant season starts this weekend in Iowa. 

Our numbers in Iowa may be low, but we know many hunters venture north to the Dakotas. We also have many pheasant hunting fans and blog followers, so we're going to share a couple of pheasant recipes. We wish all pheasant hunters "Good Luck" in the field!



Pheasant Legs and Thighs

1 can of cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup

1/2 cup of sour cream

1/2 cup of milk

Pheasant legs and thighs (skin removed)


Mix soup, sour cream and milk. Pour into large skillet with legs and thighs. Simmer on low for three hours or until tender. If sauce becomes too thick, add more milk.

This dish will surprise you on how tasty and tender pheasant legs and thighs can be!


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What? Protect Your Hearing!

With hunting season here, and the increased interest in shooting sports, it's time to review hearing protection.
Besides...it National Protect Your Hearing Month!

RedHead Foam Shooting Plugs

Did you know that people who don't wear hearing protection devices (HPD) while shooting can have hearing loss with as little as one shot? In the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Audiology Information Series, Michael Stewart, PhD, CCC-A, Professor of Audiology, Central Michigan University, says, "Audiologists see this often, especially during hunting season when hunters and bystanders may be exposed to rapid fire from big bore rifles, shotguns, or pistols."

RedHead® Electronic Sport 2-Microphone Earmuff

Sounds louder than 85 decibels can cause permanent hearing loss. The destructive noise can come from one loud blast or explosion or prolonged exposure to high noise levels. For example, according to the National Rifle Association (NRA) , at 140+ dBs, a firearm blast has a higher noise level than a jackhammer and even a jet engine!

150 dB = fireworks at 3 feet
140 dB = firearms, jet engine
130 dB = jackhammer
120 dB = jet plane takeoff, siren

Extremely Loud
110 dB = maximum output of some MP3 players, model airplane, chain saw
106 dB = gas lawn mower, snowblower
100 dB = hand drill, pneumatic drill
90 dB = subway, passing motorcycle

Hearing protection should be an automatic accessory for anyone using firearms. There are so many options that there's no excuse to not have some kind of hearing protection, depending on your budget and needs. There are options for youth and adults, and even pink ear muffs for the ladies! There are inexpensive malleable foam plugs up to hi-tech electronic protection.
The key measurement to note when purchasing hearing protection is the NRR (Noise Reduction Rating). This EPA rating is a measurement of a hearing protection device's potential noise reduction. The highest NRR rating for earplugs is 33, and the highest available NRR rating for ear muffs is 31.
As an example, Bass Pro Shops' foam ear plugs have an NRR rating of 31. The Howard Leight Leightning L3 High Attenuation Hearing Protection Earmuffs provides an NRR of 30.
Take a tip from the ASHA and take time to protect your ears in some way...you never know what you might miss many years from now!
Tips To Protect Your Hearing
  • Always use some type of hearing protection  any time you fire a gun.
  • Always have disposable HPDs handy - make them part of your gear.
  • Double-protect your ears, like putting muffs over plugs, when shooting big-bore firearms.
  • Choose smaller caliber firearms for target practice and hunting.
  • Choose single-shot firearms instead of lever action, pump, or semi-automatic guns.
  • Avoid shooting in groups or in reverberant environments.
  • Use electronic or nonlinear HPDs for hunting.


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It's the Great Pumpkin Halloween Event!

Halloween Bass Pro ShopsWhat better place than Bass Pro Shops Altoona to have a safe, climate-controlled, and fun Halloween?

Calling all ghosts, goblins, witches, princesses, fairy tale characters, clowns, super heroes, mummies, dressed up doggies, and walking pumpkins!

Your ability to make people smile is requested at one of our most popular events!

Bass Pro Shops Altoona Halloween Event


* Free 4 x 6 photo with the Peanuts characters in the pumpkin patch: Weeknights 5-8 p.m., Weekends Noon-5 p.m. 

   (All ages welcomed!)

* Free giveaway to the first 100 kids to get their photo taken WEEKNIGHTS ONLY.

* Trick or Treating - Every weeknight between Oct. 19-31, 6-7 p.m.

* Costume Parade - Saturdays, October 19 & 26 only, 4-5 p.m.- One winner at each parade receives a $10 gift card!

* Scavenger Hunt - Sundays, October 20 & 27 only, 2-3 p.m.

* Free crafts - Weeknights only 6-7 p.m., Weekends only 1-5 p.m., Halloween night only 6-8 p.m.

Halloween Bass Pro Shops Altoona

Halloween Bass Pro Shops AltoonaHalloween Bass Pro Shops Altoona


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National Cookbook Month - Southern Food Heritage Day

Dadgum That's Good, Too

Get in touch with your inner grits! October 11 is Southern Food Heritage Day - but there's more to southern food than grits!  In honor of National Cookbook Month AND Southern Food Heritage Day, here are some cookbooks you might want to explore for the hearty, home-cooked, just like mom's (grandma's ?) cooking!


"Dadgum, That's Good, Too!" - John McLemore is the owner and President/CEO of Masterbuilt AND he knows how to cook! Learn about his passion for southern cooking in this cookbook that features over 135 recipes for smoking, grilling, frying, steaming, and boiling!


Hall of Fame of Southern Recipes

"Hall of Fame of Southern Recipes" These authors hand-picked over 200 recipes out of 25,000 from the Best of the Best State Cookbook series. 

Best of the Best from the Deep South


"Best of the Best from the Deep South" - Get a little more specific with these recipes from Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama. The pecan pie on the cover is enough for me to want to invest in this cookbook!

500 Treasured Country Recipes


"500 Treasured Country Recipes" - Southern and Country often go hand in hand. Check out these mouthwatering down-home recipes for potlucks, holidays and just plain good eatin'!


Hometstyle Recipes

"Gooseberry Patch 101 Homestyle FavoritesEasy weeknight recipes to Sunday dinner meat and potatoes style! 

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This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona!

So much going on this weekend in the area, including the Youth Waterfowl Hunt at Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt sponsored by Polk County Conservation, and the first game ever for our new minor league hockey team the Iowa Wild!  

Stop and see us while you're in the area!

Our Ducks Unlimited Conservation month continues, as well as our Local Hero Discount Month!

Saturday, October 12

  • Santa's Wonderland 2013Santa's Wonderland Job Fair for Bass Pro Shops Altoona

Do you love the holidays and working with children? Looking for reliable, energetic, and personable candidates with great customer service skills. Must be available nights and weekends. Minimum 18 years of age to apply. Come to the store to apply and find out more!

October 12, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Can't make it to the job fair? Stop in at the Customer Service Desk and ask for an application!


  • Boy Scout Troop 99 will be selling popcorn at the store beginning around 10:30 a.m. 


Sunday, October 13

  • Mahaska County Ducks Unlimited will at the store from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. helping us promote our Ducks Unlimited Conservation month! Stop by and find out more about all that Duck's Unlimited does to help wetlands and waterfowl, especially in Iowa!
  • Boy Scout Pack 61 will be selling popcorn beginning around 10:30 a.m.


Next week we get spooky, creepy and kooky!  It's the Great Pumpkin Halloween Event - October 19-31!  Watch this blog and our Facebook page for details!

 Halloween Event - Bass Pro Shops Altoona


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Outdoor Cooking Primer - Slow Cooker Applesauce

Slow Cooker Applesauce

It's National Apple Month! Now that your buckets of apples from the orchard are peeled using your LEM Apple and Potato Peeler, it's time to make something super easy to eat! 

I found this recipe at http://southernfood.about.com. However, as usual, I changed it a bit. I doubled the batch and used apple cranberry juice (which was already in my fridge) instead of apple juice. Your slow cooker may be full with the fresh cut apples, but it will shrink considerably while cooking.  Throw some pecan chips on the top and it's a wonderful taste of fall camping, hiking, lunches,or even after-school! Put it warm over ice cream, too, for a REALLY special treat.


Slow-Cooker Applesauce


8 to 10 apples, peeled, cored, and cut in chunks
1/3 cup apple juice or water
1 scant teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup packed brown sugar


Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 7 to 9 hours. Stir to blend and mash lightly, if desired.


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On the Trail Tuesdays - First Buck

Dan Stephany - Bass Pro Shops AltoonaBy Dan Stephany, Bass Pro Shops Altoona Receiving Manager and Outdoorsman

We recognize that not everybody has private land to hunt and, like most of us, usually work with small budgets. This year, a couple of us at Bass Pro Shops Altoona have taken up the challenge of taking a mature buck on public land with archery equipment. Our goal is to scout, pattern, and then attempt to harvest a deer bringing you all the information we gather along the way. 

We set up a couple of trail cameras in September and placed a few stands in natural funnels, based on aerial maps and walking the property a few times. The cameras confirmed our suspicions regarding deer movement. While we didn’t capture any Iowa giants, we definitely were able to find several nice bucks to chase this season.

The first chance we had to hunt was this past weekend. With a great cold front pushing through on Friday and Saturday, I took my oldest son out for the youth season in an attempt to harvest his first buck. Micah has been successful each of the past two seasons harvesting does. This year he was willing to pass on several does for a shot at a buck. First Buck - Bass Pro Shops Altoona

We went out after work on Saturday and set up on the ground. We were on the downwind side of a nice draw that led out to a bean field. After about 15 minutes, we had a mature doe walk right past us at 20 yards - she never even looked in our direction. We felt pretty good about our chances after that experience.  Sure enough, about 45 minutes before sunset, we had a nice buck walk right out in front of us. Micah was able to settle the crosshairs as he stopped in an opening at 25 yards and let the muzzleloader smoke fly. His shot found the mark and the buck only made it 80 yards (most of which was falling down the ravine!) The heart-shot buck’s trail was easy to follow and Micah had his first buck on the ground. To say we were excited would be an understatement! Our scouting paid off, and Micah was the lucky hunter to capitalize on Iowa's public land.First Buck - Bass Pro Shops Altoona

Our next goal? Let the property rest a while before the November rut kicks in to full force. Then we’ll set up again on the travel routes between the bedding areas we found while scouting. We will keep you posted as our season continues. 

In the meantime, check back for regular updates about what we're finding on our cameras and what kind of movement we're noticing. We'll bring you photos and tips, too!

Until then, good luck and hunt safe!


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Conservation Connections - A Fox of a Different Color!

Silver color phase red fox @ Bass Pro Shops AltoonaMeet Kit the red fox...yes, RED!  The Pella Wildlife Company (PWC) was on hand recently to introduce us to this beautiful member of the wildlife community. 

Red foxes actually come in three color "phases." Red, silver (which is what Kit is) and a cross.  A "cross" is a cross between a red and a silver.

Seven to twelve percent of foxes are born into the silver color phase. PWC representatives say they know there are silver foxes in Iowa because there have been two cross color sightings near Pella. 

Red and gray fox are often misidentified by people.  A red fox has a white tip on the end of its tail, while the gray has a black tipped-tail. The gray fox is actually a little stouter than a red fox, with shorter legs, and just like it's name...it's gray! Red fox are seen more often than gray. The gray fox is a tree climber.

Cross phase fox photo from alaska-in-pictures.com

The most notable difference between a red fox and a cross color also has to do with coloring. The red fox has black "boots" and black under its tail and on its ears.  The cross will have a black face and black pretty much anywhere on its body. 

Ron DeArmond from the Pella Wildlife Company introduces a very squirmy Kit in this brief Conservation Connections video!


Pella Wildlife Company will be back at Bass Pro Shops Altoona on Saturday, October 26, with a gray wolf! 


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National Cookbook Month - Tasty Reads for the Grill/Smoker

Steve Raichlen

With smartphones, tablets, e-readers and such, actually sitting down and looking at a cookbook has become a lost art. On the other hand, if you like a particular cook's method, a specific style of cooking (like Dutch Oven), or want to read AND learn from a champion in a certain genre of cooking, then a cookbook comes in handy and gives you a one-stop shop for recipes.

Additionally, cookbooks typically give you an easily accessible way of looking at things. I still refer to my Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook from 1950, one of my mother's wedding presents...back when most mom's really cooked. 

Many people don't realize that Bass Pro Shops has cookbooks. In honor of National Cookbook Month, we're going to look at some of the various cookbooks we carry at Bass Pro Shops Altoona, and group them by subject.

Grilling/Smoking, and Barbecue Cookbooks

How to Grill

Steven Raichlen - Host of Primal Grill on public television, Raichlen provides step-by-step instructions and is easy to understand. The Altoona store has a few Raichlen cookbooks:

"The Barbecue! Bible" - Over 500 recipes and winner of a Julia Child Cookbook Award

"Barbecue Bible - Sauces, Rubs, and Marinades"  

"How to Grill" - The Complete Illustrated Book of Barbecue Techniques and Recipes


Paul Kirk and Ardie A. Davis Paul Kirk's Championship Sauces

"Paul Kirk's Championship Barbecue Sauces" - 175 recipes - I have this book and have made some of the recipes. Plus, I've used some of the basics for making my own "concoctions."

"Simple Smoking: Over 80 Recipes for the Home-Smoking Enthusiast'' - Over 80 home-smoking recipes and instruction on a variety of techniques for cooking and spicing.

"America's Best BBQ" - Paul Kirk and Ardie A. Davis - 100 recipes from two of the best!

"25 Essentials - Techniques for Smoking" - Ardie A. Davis - Love this one - own and have used it for basics and full recipes. 

Smoke & Spice


Cheryl and Bill Jamison - Four-time James Beard Award winning cookbook authors, they've helped bring barbecuing, grilling and smoking to the forefront in America's way of cooking!

"Smoke and Spice" - Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison offer up recipes for smoking main dishes, but ALSO side dishes and desserts!


Weber's Smoke



"Weber's Smoke" Cookbook by Jamie Purviance - Weber is the foremost name in grilling; this cookbook is a great source for delicious smoke cooking secrets! 


Myron Mixon


Myron Mixon -  You've watched him on TLC's "BBQ Pitmasters" - Three-time Barbecue World Champion!

"Everyday Barbecue"- You don't need fancy equipment - Mixon shows you how you can barbecue any day...even the busiest ones!

"Smokin' with Myron Mixon" -From essentials of the grill to essentials of the tools, Mixon even supplies readers with 75 of his own recipes. 






Outdoor Cooking Primer - Venison Ziti

Venison is the main source of red meat at our house...actually it's our ONLY source of red meat. We typically have ample supplies due to my husband's hunting prowess...so, it's a good thing bow season started this week because we're running low!

Not long ago, I was visiting with a customer whose husband was just starting deer hunting. I explained that venison was all we ate for red meat. She seemed surprised and asked what I made with it.

"Everything that you make using beef," I said. 

The easiest dish to start with is Baked Ziti. It's just a simple baked pasta dish and much of it can be done ahead of time. Like lasagna, it can be thrown together and refrigerated, or even frozen, and then cooked later.

I made ziti this past Saturday night for our dinner AND my husband was able to take the leftovers with him as he headed out for hunting season. What better way to get in the deer hunting frame of mind...eat venison!

Before the true pasta lovers and aficionados correct me, I'll warn you that we use "ziti" as a universal term, meaning any short tubular pasta. That's only because our grocery store doesn't always have ziti specifically, however carries every other type of short tubular pasta. So we often use rigatoni or penne, which I actually prefer because they have ridges and hold the sauce better.

You can make your baked ziti as basic or loaded as you desire.

Venison Ziti

Venison Ziti


1 pound venison burger
1 pound venison Italian sausage
1 box ziti or penne pasta
1 jar spaghetti sauce of choice (We sometimes make our own sauce using frozen tomatoes, mixed with one small can tomato paste and diced fresh onions, minced garlic, oregano, and fresh ground mixed peppercorns)
2 cups shredded Italian Cheese Blend
Smoked paprika

Preheat oven to 375. Brown and drain the burger and sausage. Add the jarred sauce to the meat and heat. Do not boil.

Boil the pasta according to directions. Drain the pasta; do not rinse.

Spray a 13 x 9 pan with cooking spray. Put cooked pasta in the pan and distribute evenly. Pour the sauce/meat mixture over the noodles, mixing together in the 13 x 9 pan. Add about 1/2 cup cheese and blend it through. 

Cover top of ziti with the remaining cheese...add more if you really love cheese!

Sprinkle smoked paprika, light garlic powder and oregano on top. 

Cover the dish with aluminum foil (tent the foil to prevent cheese from sticking or spray it with cooking spray). Place in oven and bake for about 30 minutes at 375. Remove cover and raise temp to 400 and bake for another 15 minutes or so until cheese is nicely browned. 


This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona - Thank You to Our Heroes!

Local Heroes


It's Local Hero Month

We thank those who risk their lives to protect us! October is our Local Hero Discount month! Members of law enforcement, fire, and emergency response receive a 10% discount on regular priced merchandise purchased in the store. Some exclusions apply. Must show ID to receive discount!




Ducks Unlimited

It's Ducks Unlimited Month at Bass Pro Shops, as we celebrate our partners in conservation. DU is the leader in wetlands and waterfowl conservation. According to their web site, DU actually started during the Dust Bowl when waterfowl numbers were depleted so drastically.

"Wetlands improve the overall health of our environment by recharging and purifying groundwater, moderating floods and reducing soil erosion. Wetlands are North America’s most productive ecosystems, providing critical habitat to more than 900 wildlife species and invaluable recreation opportunities for people to enjoy."

Iowa is included in DU's Living Lakes Initiative. This initiative works to preserve our waterfowl heritage and "establish stepping stones of perpetually protected and managed shallow lake complexes from southern Iowa through northern Minnesota to provide quality wetland food and habitat resources for waterfowl."

For more information on Iowa DU projects, visit www.ducks.org/related/iowa-projects.

You can donate $2 to Ducks Unlimited when you visit Bass Pro Shops Altoona this month. Your $2 donation will also enter you in a drawing for one of 10 $500 gift cards!  Donate at any cash register when you check out or at the Customer Service counter.

The Iowa State University Ducks Unlimited Chapter will be at the store Saturday, October 5, selling tickets for their 30th Annual Banquet! 


Jerky Madness - Try Before you Buy!

We're CRAZY about our Uncle Buck's Jerky! We will be handing out samples on Saturday, October 5.  Come give it a try!


Other Happenings

The Ankeny High School Trap Team will be here selling tickets to their annual banquet. Their trap shooting team is growing like crazy! Come show your support. 

Boy Scout Pack #85 will be at the store selling popcorn to help send scouts to camp next year.


Halloween EventCOMING UP

It's the Great Pumpkin Halloween Event - October 19-31...watch for details!


Product Spotlight - LEM Apple and Potato Peeler

LEM Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer

The orchards are bursting with apples! Apple trees are loaded with fruit around much of the country. Here in Iowa, Iowa orchards are reporting early bumper crops of apples and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey is encouraging everyone to head out to do some picking at our local orchards.

At our house, we were thrilled to be given two 5-gallon buckets of apples.

Oh, the pies!

Oh, the applesauce!

Oh, the peeling!

With hands that just aren't made for peeling and coring that many apples any more, we invested in an LEM Apple and Potato Peeler from Bass Pro Shops.

This product is slick! Peels, cores, and slices into rings...take the apple off and cut down the middle and you're done!

It attaches to any surface, too!

Important note:  There is one thing to "assemble" on the peeler...attaching the wooden handle knob to the handle. However, the screw has reverse threads. Instead of turning the screw to the right, turn it to the left. 

My husband did the peeling and graciously let me record how easy it is...check it out in this quick video:


Find the LEM Apple and Potato Peeler at Bass Pro Shops Altoona or online at www.basspro.com!


Are you Squirrel Smart? Squirrel Awareness Month!

OSquirrel on bird feederctober is National Squirrel Awareness Month. We see them in the tree, we see them stealing bird seed from the feeders, we see them tormenting our pets, we see them hiding and finding their treasured acorns in our lawns. But do we really KNOW them? Here's your chance to astonish and amaze your friends with your squirrel smarts!


So, become more squirrel-friendly with these fun facts from www.squirrels.org (yes, they have their own web page):

1. 365 species of squirrels or squirrel like mammals through out the world

2. These species are divided into seven families. The three most common squirrel families are the ground squirrel, the flying squirrel and the tree squirrel. The Gray squirrel is probably the most common of the tree squirrels, inhabiting most of the northern hemisphere. 

3. The name "squirrel" can be traced back to Aristotle. He "used the word "skiouros," skia meaning shade, while "oura" means tail. Thus the meaning "he who sits in the shadow of his tail" was recorded."  

4. The average gray squirrel is about 15 inches long and eats nuts, fruits, seeds and just about anything else you put in front of him (or her).

5. The red squirrel is a little shorter at about 8-10 inches long. 

6. Baby squirrels are born hairless, no teeth and essentially blind. But when they do get their eyes open and working, they are located high on each side of their head, creating a wide field of vision, without turning the head. Since they are always looking for predators, a squirrel rarely focuses on what it's eating. So if you attempt to hand feed a squirrel, your chances of being bitten are pretty good!

7.  A squirrel breaks the shell of a nut with its teeth, then cleans the nut by licking it or rubbing it on its face before burying. This applies a scent to the nut which helps the squirrel find it later, even under a foot of snow.

8. The male tree squirrel takes twice as long as the female to groom itself. They are the cleanest animal in the rodent family.

9. A squirrel's teeth grow continuously. Their incisor's will grow six inches per year, but stay short due to the constant wear they receive. 

10.  Squirrels range in size from the African pygmy squirrel at 2.8 to 3.9 inches and weighing just 0.35 ounces to the Indian giant squirrel that is 36 inches long and up to 4 pounds.

Last, but not least, squirrels can run up to 20 mph. Unfortunately, that's not quite fast enough to outrun a car, which is often the demise of urban squirrels.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) notes that this should be a good year for the squirrel hunting season, which runs now through January 31, 2014. The daily bag limit is six (fox and gray squirrels combined) and the possession limit is 12.  There are no restrictions on shooting hours.



Scholastic Shooting Sports Programs in Iowa

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

SWCC Shooting Spartans

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

Smoked chicken Potpie with Cheddar Crust

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of eating at Bobby Flay's Bar Americain in Manhattan. Being a smoked foods and sweet potato nut, I ordered his Smoked Chicken Pot Pie with Sweet Potato Crust.  Oh my, oh my...

So later, in Food Network Magazine I spotted this recipe for Chicken Potpie with Cheddar Crust. My only change to the recipe was to smoke a chicken first and use it instead of the rotisserie chicken. Oh, and I'm sure I threw in some Smoked Paprika, too. 

I made this while my husband was ice fishing one day...a great way to warm up after a cold day...and the cold days ARE coming!




Chicken Potpie with Cheddar CrustSmoked Chicken Potpie with Cheddar Crust


For the crust:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 5 ounces)
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
6 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening

For the filling:

1 3 1/2-to-4-pound roasted or rotisserie chicken
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, chopped
5 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
6 stalks celery, chopped
6 carrots, chopped
Kosher salt
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps sliced
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
7 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
2/3 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
Freshly ground pepper


Make the crust: Pulse the flour, fine salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a food processor. Add the cheese, butter and shortening; pulse until the butter is in pea-size bits. Add 1/2 cup ice water and pulse until the dough just starts to come together. Turn out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and pat into a disk. Wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling: Discard the chicken skin and shred the meat; set aside. Put the bones in a pot and add the chicken broth. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Strain the broth and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Melt the butter in a pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, thyme, celery, carrots and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt; cook, stirring, until soft, about 6 minutes. Add the mushrooms and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and cook until soft, about 6 more minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add the wine; cook until almost evaporated, about 1 minute. Add the broth, cream and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until thick, about 3 minutes. Add the parsley, shredded chicken, and salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a 3-to-4-quart baking dish.

Roll out the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper until slightly larger than the baking dish. Drape the dough over the filling, press it against the inside of the dish and trim. Brush with cream, then cut a few slits in the top. Put on a baking sheet; bake until golden, about 35 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.


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This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona - Celebrate Fishing!

National Hunting and Fishing Day
Saturday, September 28, is National Hunting and Fishing Day! A great time to teach the little ones about fishing and for adults to plan for fall fishing, remember the importance of conservation, and to "pass it on" to the next generation!

Saturday and Sunday, September 28 and 29

First - for the Kids!

 Noon - 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 their picture taken at our free "You at the Lake" photo download!

 Noon - 1 p.m. - Beginning Fishing for Kids Workshop
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 28 - National Hunting and Fishing Day!

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

Sunday, Sept. 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

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


Pella Wildlife Company joins us again this Saturday, September 28, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.! They'll be set up in the Hunting Department by the optics counter. Come find out more about fur-bearing animals and meet a silver color phase red fox! 


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A Root Awakening

I like to garden - veggies, perennial flowers, shrubs and trees, annuals, etc. Tropical plants stay outside in the summer and then move inside to escape winter's wrath, just like us. Hanging plants are nurtured inside throughout the long winter months, as I await the first sign of new growth. One day their roots awaken and begin the regrowth process once again.

However, plants aren't the only living things that can have a "root awakening."

I recently followed a group of middle-aged customers, as I left work one day, headed toward the Bass Pro Shops Altoona exit doors. Suddenly, just inside the automatic exit doors, I overheard one of them exclaim, "There it is...there's the picture!"

As I trailed them out the automatic exit door, they stopped in front of a large, aged photo in our exit area. 

Historical hunting picture

They huddled together. A woman in the group pointed and said, "There he is."

I had to stop. 

"Do you know these people?" I asked.

They explained that the gentleman on the right was their neighbor now and in his 80s. They guessed he was about 17 in the photo. We visited about how he had been a life-long hunter and how hunting and fishing have played such an important role in the lives of so many Iowans.

As I headed to my car, the reality of the photos hit me. Despite the many times I've looked at them, I had not listened to them. These are the people who created our state. Hunting and fishing were not simply a sport. It was a way of life and a means of survival. Living off the land was not the latest fad - it put food on the table, especially during harsh economic times. The rivers, lakes, ponds, timber, and fields were nature's grocery store. 

Later that night, my husband and I settled in to begin watching The National Parks: America's Best Idea, being rebroadcast on public television. We had watched part of it last year, and knew it was worth watching again.

Iowa HuntersOver the course of the week, during the series and in special programming in conjunction with it, we soaked up the history of the national parks and the passion of park pioneers like John Muir and Theodore Roosevelt. What did I learn? That important aspects of conservation and wildlife management came from fellow Iowans. Aldo Leopold, environmentalist and instrumental in land ethics, and John Lacey, a Republican Congressman, and author of the first federal conservation legislation (Lacey Act of 1900) and supporter of a national park service, were both from Iowa. These are the leaders who helped put giant trees, granite cliffs, winding canyons, and more, into the forefront of U.S. citizens' minds. They used artists, writings, newspapers, and photographs to show Americans that our country's natural treasures were far more important than any man-made castle in Europe, that we should be proud to have such wonders to enjoy, and that they needed to be managed with care. Then I thought about Iowan Ding Darling, long-time newspaper cartoonist and well-known conservationist (J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge), who continued that fight.

The folks in the photos on our store walls were affected by Leopold, Lacey, and others, even as we are today. Legal limits, wildlife refuges, hunting regulations, a deep love for the outdoors, and the determination that true harmony comes from a balance between man and nature, prey and predator, have allowed white-tailed deer, elk, antelope, wild turkey, and many other species to recover after decades of uncontrolled and exploited hunting.

So, thank you, guys cleaning your guns by the pot-bellied stove...

Thank you, women pheasant hunters having a good time...

Thank you, dashing looking young man with a giant cat...

Thank you, duck hunters out in the field, smiling and celebrating your successful hunt.

Because of you, I had my root awakening that week. A regrowth of pride in my natural heritage as an Iowan, combined with a revitalized passion for our country's land and natural treasures, and a reaffirmed disdain for those who abuse it through littering, vandalism, or total disregard for laws and etiquette. Knowledge that my roots are shared by the people who grace our store walls and with Iowans, like Leopold and Lacey and Darling, who led the charge to help protect our wilderness and natural beauty for years to come.

"We abuse land because we see it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” ― Aldo Leopold

"I do not believe that any man can adequately appreciate the world of today unless he has some knowledge of -- a little more than a slight knowledge, some feeling for and of -- the history of the world of the past."  - Teddy Roosevelt

Female Hunters

Lost Island LakeGuy with Fish





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Outdoor Cooking Primer - Individual Baked Oatmeal

Individual Baked OatmealHere's another recipe that's not made from what we've hunted or fished, but would be great to take along on outdoor activities! I've made them twice and we eat them like cookies!  They are perfect for road trips, camping trips, hikes, or a treat while fishing. Easy to make and you can just mix them by hand. They're healthy, too! 

Key notes:

I actually got 36 out of this recipe, as opposed to 24. 

I used sugar-free syrup the second time, to cut down on the sugars and the cost, as opposed to 100% pure maple syrup. 

Make sure to apply the cooking spray to the bottom and the sides of the paper cups. Otherwise, they will stick...I found this out the second time when I was in a hurry to make them. 

Thanks to Hy-Vee for providing this great recipe! Enjoy!

Individual Baked Oatmeal

2 Hy-Vee large eggs
1 tbsp Hy-Vee vanilla
1 c. Hy-Vee unsweetened applesauce
1 c. Hy-Vee Select pure maple syrup
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 c. blueberries
5 c. Hy-Vee old-fashioned oats
1 tsp Hy-Vee salt
3 tsp Hy-Vee baking powder
1/4 c. ground flax seed
1 tbsp Hy-Vee cinnamon
2 1/2 c. Hy-Vee skim milk
All you do

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffin cups with liners and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, mix eggs, vanilla, applesauce and maple syrup together. Add mashed banana and blueberries.
In a separate bowl, mix together oats, salt, baking powder, flax seed and cinnamon. Add milk to dry mixture. Combine oatmeal mixture with egg mixture. Fill muffin cups.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until set. B. Can also freeze in freezer-safe bag and reheat when needed.

Daily nutritional values: 2% vitamin A, 6% calcium, 2% vitamin C,   6% iron

Nutrition information per serving: Calories: 130 Protein: 4g, Carbohydrate: 25g, Saturated Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 15mg, Sodium: 190mg, Dietary Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 11g, Fat: 2g, Trans fats: 0g


Outdoor Cooking Primer - Rabbit Cacciatore

My husband and I love rabbit, wild or commercial. Lean, mild, and extremely healthy, rabbit is showing up on more and more restaurant menus around the country.  It's also very versatile and can be used just like you might use chicken, for example. Fry it up or, my favorite, throw it whole in the slow cooker for three hours or so, with your favorite seasonings. In researching recipes, I came across this recipe from the Missouri Department of Conservation...and it sounded very similar to what we do. 

Here's what we do - Slow cook the rabbit. In a sauce pan, mix up a tomato sauce using our homegrown frozen tomatoes, tomato paste, fresh parm, mushrooms, and onions.

From Missouri Department of Conservation

Remove the rabbit bones from the slow cooker.  Warning: It will be falling off the bones, and there are many little bones with rabbit, so you have to be very careful.  Add the sauce to the slow cooker rabbit, then serve over noodles of choice.

It makes a hearty and healthy belly-warming dish!  Leftovers? Well, we've made rabbit enchiladas, rabbit paninis, and rabbit salad (like chicken salad)!

So, try something new and use rabbit instead of chicken. You won't be disappointed!

Rabbit Cacciatore

  • 1 whole rabbit, cut into pieces
  • 1 package sliced button mushrooms
  • 14oz. can diced Italian-seasoned tomatoes (drained)
  • 12 oz cooked pasta (rotini or fettuccini)
  • 3 T. flour
  • 2 tsp. chopped garlic
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 T. tomato paste
  • 1 cup chopped onion

Dust rabbit with flour enough to coat, season with salt and pepper.

In skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.

Add rabbit and cook for approximately 3 minutes per side, remove rabbit and set aside.

Add onions, mushrooms, and garlic to the skillet reducing the heat to medium, cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally.

Add drained tomatoes, wine, and tomato paste, bring to a boil.

Add rabbit, and tuck into the sauce.

Cook mixture on medium-low heat partially covered for approximately 8 minutes, until the meat is tender.

Serve over cooked pasta of choice.


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Bear Hunting Tips Part 2

In Bear Hunting Tips (Part 1), bowhunter Don Mealey shared some tips including the importance of practicing in realistic scenarios before the hunt. Mealey also talked about the importance of bait, especially when hunting in heavy undergrowth, such as the area of Canada in which he was hunting. It's harder to "spot and stalk" in those dense areas.

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

You have to compete with Mother Nature's bait when bear hunting.  If there is a bountiful blueberry crop then you have some tough competition!

"The bears already know where the natural baits are...they can sit here and eat blueberries all day long and the berries are high in the nutrients they need this time of year. The better the blueberry crop, the harder the bait is," says Mealey.

In this video clip, Don shows you his bait and stand set-up and explains the importance of manipulating your bait site.

More very important advice - Know the rules and regulations for the state or country in which you are hunting. You don't want to have your trip ruined by lack of research,  planning or ignorance of the law.

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


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