Gearing Up for Spring Turkeys – Calls and Calling

As a beginning turkey hunter years ago, the one thing that worried me most when I entered the turkey woods was that I would make a mistake when it came time to call. Over the years, I’ve found that if I can simply become COMFORTABLE with the calls I carry with me into the woods, my CONFIDENCE in using them soars.


So as we turn the calendar to April and start counting down the days to the season opener, spend some time getting comfortable with your favorite calls.  If you use any type of friction call, you probably don’t need much practice to feel confident with it before the season begins.  But you do need to make sure that it still produces the sound you want it to make.  For box calls you may need to use some sand paper and a bit of chalk to get ‘em to sound like you want.  If you’re like me and prefer to have a friction call in your hands, don’t neglect to check out your striker tip.  A light sanding of the striker tip and pot surface may be needed.  Or, if you’re looking for a new tone or pitch, consider investing in a new set of strikers to go with your old standby friction call.


The calls that I have to spend the most time getting reacquainted with every pre-season are my mouth calls.  I prefer the Redhead Pro Pack of diaphragm calls.  They all provide good and unique sounds and they aren’t so pricey that they break my hunting budget. If I don’t start yelping, cutting and purring with them weeks before I head into the woods with my shotgun or bow, I know my confidence won’t be high enough to use them when I need to.


So make sure you spend some time getting comfortable and gaining confidence with your calls this spring. That way you’ll be ready to use them when you come across something like this!


Todd Pridemore, Local Hunting Pro


Gearing Up for Spring Turkeys – Preppin’ the Weapon

Now that the calendar has turned to March and the snow has melted, we can get serious about preparing for spring turkey season. Your first step should involve the weapon you’ll be chasing longbeards with.


If you’re a shotgunner, this is the time of year to make sure your shooting the turkey loads that are the best fit for you gun. For several seasons now, HEVI-Shot shells have never let me down. But if you just can’t justify spending that amount of money on ammunition, there are several other high-quality shells available at a more comfortable price. And if your gun simply isn’t reaching out as far as you wish it would, consider screwing in a new choke tube into the end of your weapon. Finally, Redhead Turkey Targets can be a great tool when you pattern your gun, and I recommend them.

If you prefer slinging arrows at Mr. Tom this spring, the most important piece of preparation is getting comfortable with the broadhead you’ll put on the end of your arrow. Both the Guillotine by Arrowdynamic Solutions and the Magnus Bullhead will drop a gobbler in his tracks. Just make sure you invest some time on the practice range before the season begins.


Once your weapon of choice is prepped, there are a few other items you’ll want to focus your attention on.  I’ll cover those in another post.


-Todd Pridemore, Local Hunting Pro


Good Broadheads Equal Short Blood Trails

During the first week of November I was thankful to tag a buck with my reliable BlackOut Bow. I was hunting in northern Missouri, and I chose to hang my stand in an area that the deer moved through like clockwork. As shooting light faded, a yearling doe appeared in the dried soybean plot in front of me. She spent many long minutes feeding in solitude, and shooting light was fading quickly. When I had just about decided to hang my bow up and call it a night, I heard the unmistakable sound of a deer approaching me from behind. I froze, and my eyes couldn’t begin tracking the eight-pointer until he was 10 yards to my right. He was headed straight to the soybeans.

When he passed behind some trees, I drew. Even in the low light, the site pins on my Redhead Kryptik Bow Sight glowed perfectly as I moved my 25-yard pin behind the animal’s shoulder. He was quickly putting distance between my arrow and his vitals, but he stopped for a moment before entering the edge of the food plot. I gently squeezed my release and sent my BlackOut X1 Pro Carbon Arrow toward my prey. I heard the satisfying “thwack” as the arrow entered and exited the deer. After an exaggerated donkey kick, the buck busted his way through the soybeans before coming to a stop only 20 yards from where the arrow met him. After pausing a few seconds, he tried to run again. But he ended up on the ground.

As I climbed down from the tree and moved toward the buck, I stopped and picked up my blood-stained arrow. It was tipped with a 100-grain BlackOut Fixed Blade Broadhead that had done its job, and done it well. After spending more than four hours in the tree that afternoon, the hunt ended suddenly and dramatically. It was an experience I’ll always be thankful for. As we move from the early archery season and into firearms season, I hope that you have the chance to harvest some venison as well. Good luck!

Todd Pridemore, Local Hunting Pro


Santa's Wonderland 2014

Preview night: Join the Bass Pro family for the kick-off of our Santa's Wonderland event! The event includes many opportunities for families to come enjoy the beginning of the holiday season with activities and giveaways.

Santa will be arriving in front of our store on a Tracker boat at 5 p.m. where we will have free cookies and hot chocolate. After he arrives we will have a magical tree lighting in our store for the unveiling of Santa's Wonderland.

In addition to having giveaways to the first 115 kids to visit Santa's Wonderland, from 6 to 8 p.m. we'll have free photos with Santa, a free craft, coloring sheets and letters to write to Santa.

Santa will also be giving away a $25 Bass Pro Shops gift card to one lucky winner every half-hour from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Full event:

Come get into the Holiday Spirit! Missourians drive from miles away to experience Santa and his Wonderland at Bass Pro Shops--Columbia, MO. Join us for FREE games, Letters to Santa, and Coloring Sheets, 7 days a week from Open-Close. Also, take advantage of FREE crafts during our Craft hours.
Plus! Get a FREE photo with Santa during our Photo hours.

Here is the schedule:

Nov. 15- Dec 5:
Free photo with santa/ Free crafts/ Free games & activities
Mon.-Fri: 3-8p.m./ 5-7p.m./ open-close
Saturday: 10a.m.-8p.m./ 12-5p.m./ open-close
Sunday: 12-5p.m./ 12-5p.m./ open-close

Thanksgiving: 10a.m.-5p.m./ 3-5p.m./ open-close...
Nov. 28: 10a.m.-8p.m./ 5-7p.m./ open-close

Mon.-Fri.: 10a.m.-8p.m./ 5-7p.m./ open-close
Saturday: 10a.m.-8p.m./ 12-5p.m./ open-close
Sunday: 10a.m.-5p.m./ 12-5p.m./ open-close

Dec. 24: 10a.m.-5p.m./ 3-5p.m./ open-close
Visit our Facebook page for more information:

Get ready for Trout fishing!

It’s one of the most beautiful times of the year to be out fishing right now with leaves changing on the trees and nature calling your name to get outdoors. Generally the weather can be very pleasant and you don’t have to deal with the heat or insects of summer.

The water is almost always very clear this time of year, and for that reason it’s a good idea to use fluorocarbon leaders and tippets. It’s the time when big browns are moving up stream for spawning which makes it probable someone could get into a large fish. When fishing for big browns, try a streamer pattern like leeches or woolly buggers swinging the fly down through the current and then stripping it back. Insect hatches are typically pretty small this time of year, so when matching the hatch you’ll need to use small flies. Tricos will continue to hatch until the weather turns colder, but are very small. This is the time for light rods in 3 weight and 4 weight and trico imitations will need to be sizes 28-30. Fine tippets of 7x or 8x are recommended. This is also a good time for blue wing olives in size 20 or 22. Caddis flies hatch all through the fall and into winter, especially on sunny days.

Trout will be stocked in Bethel Lake November 1 and it’s strictly catch and release until Feb. 1. Missouri trout permit is required in that lake, so make sure to check with MDC for rules and regulations. McKay Lake in Jefferson City, Kiwanis in Mexico and Spur Pond in Kirksville are also great local places to catch trout. Stop by our fishing department where we have all of your fly fishing needs as well as advice to help you reach your goals.


Rainy day hunting necessities


It’s been a soggy archery season so far in central Missouri. I’m thankful for the rain, but the precipitation can really make it challenging for bow hunters. The last time I headed to my tree stand, there was only a 20% chance of showers. Of course, it ended up raining most of the time I was in the woods that morning.

I immediately kicked myself for not having my Redhead Packable Camo Rain Jacket and Rain Pants in my hunting pack. That’s the last time I leave them at home when there’s a chance of rain in the forecast.

Thankfully, I had set up a BlackOut Ground Blind just a short distance from the tree stand where I was planning to sit. After getting myself situated in the dark, dry interior of the blind, I quietly unzipped three shooting windows and waited for dawn. (By the way, the BlackOut Fold-Up Tripod Stool is extremely comfortable when sitting in a blind). Between rain showers that morning, a lone coyote crossed 35 yards in front of me – barely surviving as my broadhead flew just high. Later, a hungry doe fattened up on acorns as the skies cleared.

I was reminded that I shouldn’t let a little thing like rain keep me from being on a stand. Don’t let all the showers this fall keep you at home either. Good luck out there!

- Todd Pridemore, Local Hunting Pro


10 reasons wearing Flannel is the best

  1. It’s like wearing a blanket, a socially acceptable blanket
  2. You’re automatically fashionable without the discomfort
  3. With so many pattern choices and colors, you could wear a flannel shirt everyday and never get bored
  4. It looks good on both men and women, let’s be honest
  5. Your beard grows twice as fast when you wear it (if you’re a man)
  6. It’s versatile, you can wear it to church, work and on a date
  7. If you put on a flannel, you can automatically cut down a tree
  8. It’s great if your car breaks down- keeps you warm
  9. It can double as a Halloween costume
  10. Bass Pro Shops sells the best flannel
Fall Flannel Fest Flannel is a staple of the Fall season—and you know the best place to get flannel is Bass Pro Shops! We’ve got a wide selection from all of your favorite brands; RedHead, Ascend, Natural Reflections, Bob Timberlake, Carhartt, Columbia, and more. Come experience Fall Flannel Fest only at Bass Pro Shops until Nov. 9! #FlannelFest

Goose hunting tips

The early season of Canada Geese and Brant is wrapping up and late season starts soon! Here are some tips and tricks from Jake, hunting associate, to get you in tip-top-shape.


Bountiful harvest means bountiful hunting

Finding the “hot” or most preferred food source has always been important for archery hunters in October. That’s even truer this season, when most areas of Missouri hold fewer deer than they did just a few years ago.

Deer seek and eat white oak acorns like candy, and those small nuts have been hitting the ground for nearly a month around my hunting property. But I’ve found another treat that my deer can’t resist: fresh fruit. This has been an exceptionally productive year for fruit trees, and many landowners I know with orchards have experienced an abundance of apples and pears on their trees this fall.

I have a pair of pear trees, and both the quantity and quality of this year’s fruit is off the charts. My family has enjoyed eating our share of fresh pears, but we’re not alone. The ground around those two trees is littered with deer tracks and droppings. It’s the hottest feeding spot I have on my property right now.

If you’ve been struggling to find deer in your neck of the woods this month, look for the most preferred food source. And then look for the trails leading to and from that spot. It’s almost a guarantee that you won’t kill a big buck at that smorgasbord, because he won’t be feeding there during daylight hours. But if you position a stand along the trail he will walk on his way to eat in the evening, you’ll have a great chance to put your tag on him. Good luck out there!

- Todd Pridemore, Local Hunting Pro


Teal Season Necessities

It's finally here, teal season! We asked hunting team lead Landon for some tips for this season.

-This is going to be a great teal season, the population is up compared to the long-term average. It'll be a 6 day season starting Sept. 6 running until Sept. 21st.

-Hopefully you've been doing this already, but make sure to scout before you go hunt so you know where the birds are going and where their food sources are. That'll help you when it's time to go out.

-A couple great places to go teal hunting around here include Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area or Grand Pass Conservation Area about 45 minutes away from Columbia near Marshall.

- Make sure to match your camo to the terrain you'll be in. You're probably going to want wear green camo because the leaves are still on the trees.

-Use a 12 or 20 gauge gun with steel shot ammo. Anywhere from 4 to 6 shot is sufficient.

-Make sure you have a teal call, which sounds a little different than a duck call. We have a variety of options, just stop by the hunting counter if you need assistance choosing a call.

-Because it's still so hot out and there are a lot of mosquitoes, get a ThermaCELL to repel the bugs while you hunt. It repels mosquitoes mosquitoes for up to 12 hours by creating an invisible, orderless protection by heating a chemically treated repellent mat that covers up to a 15' diameter. It's powered by a butane cartridge that's included, repelling more powerfully than mosquito coils. It's also cordless and portable.

-Best time to go teal hunting is first thing in the morning or in the evening (check with MDC and the landowner, some don't allow hunting in the evening.)

-Ducks land into the wind, so make sure to place your decoys accordingly.

If you have any other questions feel free to comment below or visit our hunting department. Good luck this season!


Missouri conservationist receives prestigious Hornaday Gold Medal Award

Glenn Chambers

Conservationist of the Year in 2001, Conservation Federation of Missouri in 2002, Who’s Who in America in 2002, Lifetime Achievement Award Conservation Federation of Missouri in 2002, Faculty-Alumni Award, University of Missouri-Columbia in 2004; it’s safe to say Glenn Chambers is well-accomplished.

Because of his work, “Boy Scouts of America approved Glenn Chambers for the Hornaday Gold Medal award which recognizes meritorious service to Scouting and conservation.” The award began in 1914 and became what it is today in 1937 when it was named after the founder of the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., Dr. William T. Hornaday. Chambers is the first recipient of the award from central and northeast Missouri.

"(receiving the award) was awesome is all I can say," Chambers said. "It was a real surprise. That award is given out very seriously and recipients have to be something special and I didn't realize I qualified for it."

Chambers found his love for the outdoors while growing up on a farm in rural Missouri and hunting with his father. From that his interest in photography sprouted and he ended up combining his two passions.

After attending a one-room school in his early elementary years, he chose to earn his Master’s degree in Wildlife Management at the University of Missouri, Columbia. About 30 years later in 2001 he received an Honorary Doctor of Science from Central Missouri State University.

He managed the August A. Busch Memorial Wildlife Area at Weldon Spring for the Missouri Department of Conservation and was promoted to Wildlife Research Biologist researching pheasant range extension in Missouri. Later he added cinematographer for MDC to his work and became Motion Picture Specialist producing feature-length award-winning motion pictures including “Return of the Wild Turkey.” A few years after, he served as Corporate Wildlife Photographer with Ducks Unlimited.

Once he “retired,” he began to present live River Otter programs to schools and other audiences throughout Missouri with MDC. He and his wife Jeannie travelled more than 800,000 miles reaching more than 1,000,000 people (mostly children). He also contracted with National Geographic Television to produce a feature-length film titled “Otter Chaos.”

Among his other great accomplishments, he had his photographic exhibits at the Department of Interior, Washington D.C. and a traveling exhibit with the prestigious Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C.

The Hornaday Gold Medal Award will be presented at a dinner Friday, Sept. 12 in the Rotunda of the Missouri State Capitol Building.


Win a Half-Dozen New Arrows!


Archery season is right around the corner, and you have a chance to win a half-dozen new BlackOut X1 Pro Carbon Arrows this month (a $59.99 value). Send us your favorite game picture via Twitter (@BassProComo) or Facebook, and you'll be entered into a chance to win. I've attached one of my favorite game camera shots, I can't wait to see yours.

-Todd Pridemore, Local Hunting Pro


Aim small, miss small

If you want to be an accurate archery hunter, follow this simple aiming tip when your practicing hunting from our local hunting pro Todd Pridemore.


Sunglass Spotlight


Here at Bass Pro Shops in Columbia we offer a wide selection of products you may need for your outdoor adventure from your head wear to your foot wear. An often overlooked but critical piece to help you enjoy the great outdoors are sunglasses, and here at Bass Pro Shops, we offer a wide variety of styles and brands like Strike King, Jimmy Houston and Bill Dance for fishing, and Smith Optics for shooting. Fish eyes, guidelines and all terrain are reader lenses, and XPS offers a wide variety of polar sensor lenses.

Haven and Cocoon will take care of your prescription glasses with clip ons, flip ups and fit over glasses. We continue our selection with NASCAR, Ironman and plenty of youth styles. In addition, we offer a high end selection including Maui Jim, Native and Costas sunglasses (We are one of two who sell Costas in Columbia). As always, we thank you for shopping at your local Bass Pro Shops, where you always receive more outdoors for your money.



Giggin' Season Tips

frogMany of our favorite childhood memories come from catching frogs at the nearby pond or lake with our friends and family. Recipes for frog legs are passed down from generation to generation and the thrill is just as strong as we get older. Whether you’re catching them with your hands or use giggin’ gear, we have some tips that might help you this season. Larry from our fishing department has some unique strategies you can try out.

-During the day, use a fly and dangle it in front of them. They’re likely to bite.

-Try using a fishing gig instead of a frog gig. Because it has 5 prongs, is larger and has larger barbs, the frog may stay on it better for you.

-Ever have the problem of having the frog get away in the mud when you try to stick it? Try using a longer pole. Larry uses an 8-10 foot pole and says he’s able to push down in the mud farther so they don’t get away.

-If you’re froggin’ at night, use a strong light that blinds them. We have a lot of lights to choose from in our camping department that range in size. Because it’ll be dark, use a white, fairly big fly so the frogs can see it.

-Larry sometimes likes to use a .22, but a bow or pellet gun works as well if you have a hunting permit.

-Use waders for an easy way to stay clean and dry. You can find them in our fishing department.

Check out the Missouri Department of Conservation regarding regulations. You must have fishing or small game permit. The season runs June 30- Oct. 31 with a daily limit of 8 and possession limit of 16. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask one of our associates.


Product Review: BlackOut Deer 3D Target


I’ve never been a big fan of 3D archery targets. My biggest complaint is that they generally are a real pain to pull arrows out of. But I recently tried out a new BlackOut Deer 3D Target and had great results. Check out this short video of this archery target in action:

-Todd Pridemore, Local Hunting Pro


Meet our accomplished Hunting Manager Marq



Marq has been our Hunting Manager for 8 years and has been in the outdoor business for 12. He went hunting for the first time when he was 4 years old and bagged his first buck, a 10-pointer, when he was just 10 years old. Marq loves to travel in pursuit of his favorite game- frequenting Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky and, of course, Missouri. His favorite destination is his childhood stomping grounds in the Appalachian Mountains. This Virginia mountain range is where Marq made some of his favorite memories hunting with his brother and kids. This year, his biggest accomplishment was taking a 170 inch deer with his son in Howard County. Stop on by to get some expert advice from Marq in our Hunting Department, he’d love to talk to you!


The Best Father's Day Gifts


Father’s Day is right around the corner. If you’re looking for a few gift ideas for your dad, keep reading.  These are three gifts that every outdoorsman would love to have.


Special Socks – This isn’t a very flashy gift, but if your dad is the kind of down-to-earth, practical man who appreciates a gift that he’ll use for years, this might be it. Bass Pro carries a wide variety of specialty socks for every season and occasion.  My favorites are the RedHead Pro Team 16” Socks with Scent Control – which are ideal for warm-weather hunting trips – and RedHead Extreme Cold Socks  – which are great for colder weather.


BlackOut Ground Blind  – I own two of these blinds. They work great for deer hunters, turkey chasers, and photographers.  And this is the perfect gift for a man who is looking forward to taking his child or grandchild on a hunt with him next season.


BONE-DRY Rain Jacket – Two years ago my wife bought me a Bass Pro Shops HPR BONE-DRY Waterproof Bone Jacket , and it’s the best gift I’ve ever received. The name of the jacket is true… it’ll keep you bone dry. I wear mine every chance I get.


If you would like to get some more ideas, don't hestitate to ask any associate, they'd be happy to help. We'd also love to see your outdoors photos with your dad, so post them on our Facebook wall or tweet them to us!


-Todd Pridemore, Local Hunting Pro


Family Summer Camp 2014

Mark your calendars! Our annual Family Summer Camp will be June 7-July 13 every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Free activities include a BB gun range, archery range, kids’ fishing, a free 4x6 photo, workshops, scavenger hunts, crafts and more!

-Free 4x6 photo from noon-5p.m. June 7-8 and 14-15 noon-5p.m.
-Crafts on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from noon-2p.m.
-Scavenger hunt noon-5p.m.
-Homemade ice cream sampling Saturdays only from 5-6p.m. and other food sampling on the weekends

Noon- bird watching
1p.m. fishing
2p.m. archery
3p.m. kayaking
4p.m. backyard adventure

Noon- archery
1p.m. shooting and hunting
2p.m. travel safety
3p.m. water safety
4p.m. camping and conservation

Noon: fishing
1p.m. water safety
2p.m. shooting and hunting
3p.m. kayaking
4p.m. bird watching

Noon- shooting and hunting
1p.m. archery
2p.m. travel safety
3p.m. camping and conservation
4p.m. backyard adventure

Family Summer Camp sweepstakes 7-15- enter online or in-store for your chance to win a VIP weekend camping trip for 4 in an RV at Richmond International Raceway complete with driver meet-n-greets, VIP access to pre-race and post-race activities, plus a photo with the 2014 NASCAR Spring Cup Series. Enter online here:


3 Lessons Learned from a Spring Gobbler

On the first Saturday in May, I proudly wrapped my tag around the scaly leg of a northern Missouri gobbler. His 1 ¼” spurs confirmed that he was no spring chicken, which explained why he was no pushover to harvest. He taught me a few lessons that all spring turkey hunters need to remember.

Lesson #1: It’s important to have a turkey call that you can use with confidence. As soon as I moved to within 140 yards of my roosted target that morning, I pulled out my Redhead RTX Deluxe Slate Call. Out of all the calls in my hunting vest, that slate call allows me to easily and confidently make any turkey sound that I want to produce. After I heard turkey wings gliding through trees in the gulley where the tom remained roosted, I used the wooden striker to send a series of soft tree yelps and clucks in the direction of the bird I was after.turkey

Lesson #2: When conventional tactics don’t work, make a bold move.  After the gobbler I was after left his roost, his gobbling told me he was still interested in the calls I was sending his way. But after several minutes of sweet talk, it became clear that the distance between us was growing, instead of shrinking. So I did what most hunters would do: I moved. After looping back about 120 yards to the head of the gobbler’s gulley, I was happy to discover that his path was almost parallel to mine. So I set up and called again. And my prey started closing the distance. He moved to within 40 yards, but then cautiously remained concealed behind a thick patch of buck brush. And then he stopped.

Our standoff lasted close to 30 minutes, and then my trophy – realizing that something wasn’t quite right with his potential blind date – started slinking back down the valley. So I moved again. This time I crawled on my hands and knees directly away from the gobbler I was hoping to tag. I only moved about 20 yards, but it served two purposes. First, moving to a new spot gave a more realistic illusion that the sweet talking hen (me) was a real bird worth following. Second, moving away from the gobbler was a last-ditch hope to play on his competitive and curious nature. As soon as I reset in my new position, I let loose with my most intense, passion-filled series of cuts and aggressive clucks that I could muster. Which leads to…

Lesson #3: Always be ready for the shot. When my oldest brother introduced me to turkey hunting decades ago, he taught me to always have my shotgun shouldered and propped up on my knees – so when a tom showed himself, I’d only have to move my barrel a few inches before taking a shot, instead of having to move it a couple of feet. Within seconds of setting my slate call down that morning, I heard footsteps moving through the dry leaves and heading my direction. I was only able to lay eyes on my wily old bird for a few seconds before I slapped my trigger and my 3” load of HEVI-Shot knocked him off his feet. It was the end to a challenging and rewarding hunt.

Did you learn any lessons after chasing gobblers this spring? Please share them in the comment section below. We’d all love to hear them.

Todd Pridemore, Local Hunting Pro