It's Tornado Season!

Living in the Midwest, tornadoes aren't usually something to be excited about.  That is, unless, you are speaking of snow geese, in which case, a tornado can be the most spectacular thing you will ever witness.  Every year, as temperatures rise and snow and ice melt away, millions of snow geese make their grand passage back to their breeding ground on the tundra.  Their migration takes them right through the heart of the Midwest, making several resting stops along the way and if done right, providing some of the most fast and furious wing-shooting a hunter can find in the Northern hemisphere.

Light geese, which includes snow, blue and Ross's geese, have grown to astronomic numbers and as such are quickly eating through and damaging their arctic and sub-arctic nesting grounds.  Current snow goose populations are estimated to be well over 5 million birds, and some estimates even say the population may be nearing 10 million.  In the late 90's, it was realized that these birds were not only literally eating themselves out of house and home, but were also a huge risk factor for outbreaks such as avian cholera given their population and contact with all other waterfowl.  So it was decided that the best course of action to combat the growing population was to relax the laws concerning hunting them.  The Light Goose Conservation Order was established, which allows hunters to hunt light geese during their spring migration with unplugged shotguns and electronic callers.  Hunters are also allowed to hunt until 1/2 hour after sunset and there are no bag or possession limits.

There are many tactics regarding hunting snow geese, but one thing that is usually never debated is hunting them requires you to go BIG!  Snow geese frequently travel in very large flocks, and as such, prefer to be with other very large flocks.  This means your spread needs to look natural/big.

Perhaps the easiest way to build a large spread is with the use of socks.  There are several companies that offer some sort of sock-style decoy, and the rule of thumb is snow goose spreads start with 10 dozen decoys. It is not uncommon to see spreads of 100 dozen or MORE!

A couple of the more popular sock decoys come from companies such as Deadly Decoys and Tanglefree.  Deadly Decoys is a company that specializes in sock-style decoys.  Tanglefree also offers other more standard decoys, but their Slammer Sock line is no slouch in realism or durability.

Deadly Decoys:

Tanglefree Slammer Socks:

As you can see, Deadly offers a headless option on their decoys, which is usually quite a bit cheaper as well as easier to store.  I like a good mix of both, but I don't worry about it enough to say there is a definite difference.  However, hunting in the Midwest, you will see a good mix of blues to snows, so you should have around 25-50% of your spread in blue goose decoys, but the proportion can be up to your preference.

Perhaps the most significant thing you will notice when watching snow geese feed in a field, is they are rarely all on the ground.  In an active feed, which is what you are trying to portray, there are always birds "hopping" each other to get to the untouched food.  Because of this, it is a good idea to invest in a couple (or several) flyers, which are just decoys that simulate birds in flight, whether they are landing or hopping.  I like the Deadly flyers, because they offer movement in sparse wind, but don't turn into windmills when wind gets nasty like it can in the early spring.

 

Snow goose hunting is possibly the perfect embodiment of one of my favorite quotes regarding waterfowl:  "To be successful, one must possess passion, dedication and a boatload of decoys".  Snow geese can be very fickle creatures, and can frustrate you beyond belief, but when it all comes together and you get that first tornado circling overhead, it will become painfully obvious how addicting it can become.

 

For information regarding seasons, consult your local wildlife agency.

Iowa

Nebraska

Missouri

 

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Special Paddelfishing Season For Iowans

Are you ready for the paddelfish snagging season?  We have you covered here at Bass Pro Shops, we have everything you will need to make your season a great one.  We have a nice display set up just for this specific season, with a paddelfish mounted as the cherry on top.

                                                                                                                                   

                                                        

The Iowa DNR has opened up a special paddelfish snagging season that will be running from March 1st through April 15th, 2015.  There is limited licenses available from the DNR for this special snagging season to prevent the overharvest of paddelfish.  A total of 1000 snagging permits will be issued (950 for residents and 50 for non-residents).  Anglers are allowed one license with a transport tag, the special license is $22 for residents and $42 for non-residents.  In addition to the snagging permit anglers must also have a valid Iowa fishing license.  The exception to this is youth anglers under the age of 16, however they must obtain a special ID card from the DNR and obtain the snagging license for paddelfish.

There are size requirements for the paddelfish to be taken into possession.  A fish measuring under 35 inches or over 45 inches maybe kept as a legal fish.                  

                                                                                                      

Fish falling into the 35-45 inch slot when measured from the eye of the fish to the fork in the tail must be released alive upon catch.  A flexible measuring tape (as pictured above) is the ideal device to use when measuring a paddelfish.  When you do catch a taggable fish you must adhere the tag to the fish's lower jaw.  Here is a link to the Iowa DNR to for all of the specific regulations for paddelfish.

For all of your gear needs look no further than our paddelfish snagging display to make sure you have the proper equipment.  Our Snagging Special rods paired with our snagging reels are a favorite for snagging and the upcoming catfishing season. When you do hook up with one of these beautiful fish make sure that line is going to hold up to the fight like our XPS 8 braid.  An important thing to remember when shopping for your terminal tackle is that your treble hooks may not exceed 5/0, when two of the hook points are placed on a ruler they must not exceed 1 1/4 inches in length.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

 So starting this March Iowa waters on the Missouri and Big Sioux Rivers (including all backwaters, sloughs and any tributary of the Missouri) will be the place to be for snagging a beautiful and very delicious paddelfish.

Thanks for reading and we look forward to seeing you at Bass Pro Shops!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Backyard Fire Fun

Having your own fire pit is all the rage these days and I am one of those people following this trend. There are a lot of different uses for fire pits. They are great for sitting outside with friends and family either keeping warm on chilly evenings while being able to stay outside visiting and getting fresh air, or having something to gather by on a warm summer evening. Some folks even use theirs for grilling if they come with the grill part that sits above the fire bowl. All this without the hassle of driving miles out of town to get to a park with a camp ground.

I truly appreciate my fire pit because I can store it in my garage when it is not in use and pull it out whenever the mood strikes me. I am a big outdoors person and I, personally, love the smell of a good campfire so being able to just set one up in my own backyard in the middle of the city warms my soul. I also use it for family gatherings as a centerpiece on my patio. The best part about having friends and family gather around them on nice summer nights is you can keep the kids outdoors and away from television and other electronics. Also watching the kids burn marshmallows and getting all gooey and messy when they do make the perfectly toasted s'more is a lot of fun during spring, summer and fall.

 

 

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Blade Steel 101

Most of us carry some sort of knife, especially those who find ourselves outdoors for our hobbies. Even if you don't consider yourself to be an outdoor enthusiast, some still carry a knife to take care of simple daily tasks such as opening boxes or mail. From hunting blades to pocket knives and even kitchen knives, not all blades are created equal.

There are many things to consider when buying a knife, but one of the most important is the blade. Of course, blades come in many shapes and sizes for different tasks but they also come in different materials to accomplish those tasks.  There are a lot of steels to choose from, especially considering almost every knife maker makes their own special steel, but today I will only be talking a little about the most common blade steels that you will find.

D-2 Steel

D-2 Steel, also known as tool steel, is not that common and is more of a higher end steel and is difficult to produce. It is also one of the only non-stainless steels frequently offered for pocket knives.  This steel is not the easiest to sharpen, so don't expect to easily put back on a factory fresh edge. What D-2 lacks in ease to make and sharpen it makes up for with being extremely durable and makes a good blade to pry and other tasks where softer knives might bend or chip. 

There aren't many companies producing blades with D-2 steel, but the ones that do are very high quality, such as the Benchmade Adamas shown below.

 

420HC

420HC steel is one of the most common stainless steels and has been around for a long time. On the toughness scale 420HC is on the lower side, so for holding an edge it is not the best. Being a softer steel however makes this steel fantastically easy to sharpen making it popular for hunting and filet knives because you can get it back to a razor sharp edge very easily, especially while in the field.

Almost all knife manufacturers use 420HC, and it can be found in many mid-range knives.  One of the most iconic knives of all time, the Buck 110, uses this steel.

 

 

154CM

154CM is one of the best all around stainless steels that you can find in pocket knives. It offers a fantastic ability to hold an edge and yet is not incredibly difficult to sharpen. It is also a very durable steel and isn't as easy to break or crack. The downside of this steel is that it is not easy to make and is a bit more on the pricey side, but for someone who needs a high quality tool that holds an edge very well this steel is more than worth the money.

This steel can be found in many mid to high end knives, such as the Benchmade Griptilian series.

 

 

 

S30V

S30V is considered to be a super steel because it utilizes newer technology to produce the steel. This makes it pricey and a little more rare. The durability and edge retention on this steel is some of the best available, but once again that makes it difficult to sharpen.

S30V is usually reserved for higher end knives, but there are a few budget friendly options, such as the Buck Paradigm Avid.

 

 

 

Again, these are just a few of the many knife steels available, but they are some of the most prevalent in your every day carry and hunting knives.  Obviously, there are going to be other features to consider when purchasing a knife such as a opening mechanisms and locking designs, but when it all comes down to it, the blade is still the business end.

There is a wealth of information available on the internet to guide you in your purchasing decisions, these are just a few of the great resources to consider:

Hunting Knife Buyer's Guide

Fillet Knife Buyer's Guide

Knife Buying 101 - A Numbers Game

 

 

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Illumination Demystified

As with many outdoor gear choices, a trip to the illumination aisle at your outdoor store can be confusing, even intimidating. There are many choices. Lanterns with all sorts of different fuel types, mantels, bulbs, and other variations. Flashlights with all sorts of strange batteries and numbers. Lumens? Candlepower? What's it all mean?

Understanding the what a lumen or a candlepower is is very important in your choice. Different lights are advertised with different units, but they are both different kinds of measurements of brightness.

Many spotlights such as the Bass Pro Shops 3.5 Million Candlepower 12V Corded Spotlight are expressed in candlepower. To put it simply, one candlepower is the amount of light emitted by one standard candle. That being said, candlepower is the intensity of light at the source of the light, be it the flame of a candle or the bulb of a spotlight or lantern. This does not take into account brightness resulting from concentrating the source (such as with reflectors) or other conditions.

However, most flashlights, like the Streamlight Polytac HP LED Polymer Flashlight are advertised in lumens. In order to understand how a lumen is measured, we need a bridge between candle power and lumens. Candle power and lumens are related by foot-candles. One foot candle is the amount of illumination received at the surface the spherical area around a light source one square foot in radius from a light source of one candle power. In other words, it is the amount of light one foot away from the light source of one candle power in any direction.

One lumen is equivalent to the amount of light emitted by a source of one foot candle landing on an area of one square foot. In essence, lumens express the amount of light in an area. When it comes to flashlights, headlamps, and other common devices, the lumen measurement tells you how much light will actually get to the object you are pointing your flashlight at. This difference is why you can have a 2 Million Candle Power spotlight, but only be seeing 250 lumens of light on the object at which you are pointing.

Regardless of whether your light is expressed in candle power, candelas, or lumens, the higher the measurement for all of these means a greater beam distance, which is often what people are looking for who need a higher lumen flashlight or a higher candle power spotlight. It is important to keep in mind the difference, however, between candlepower (candelas) and lumens so you are able to make the right choice. A 2 Million Candle Power spotlight sounds like it would provide you with more light than a 1000 lumen flashlight, but this is not the case.

 

 

 

 


 

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Winter Car Saftey

Snow falling, below freezing temperatures, other people not driving safely, black ice, animals dashing out in front of your car, I hate driving in this weather, but 'tis the season. Some people just do not slow down for icy weather, sometimes because they are in a hurry or some because they have not driven in this weather or are novice drivers and do not fully understand the danger. The worst part is if you are on rural roads or roads not well traveled and something happens. It may be hours that you are stranded either due to the car breaking down, icy roads or animals. 

Be prepared! There a few small items that you can keep in your car that will keep you safe and warm while waiting for help.

The first and most important thing I always keep in my car is an Emergency Blanket. I keep it in my glove box because the packaging makes it small and it's not in my way. I have had a few questions about how these work over the years and I want to impart what I have learned. They are that silvery color on purpose, this color actually reflects your own body heat back at you instead of absorbing it. This is very important in below freezing temperatures to keeping you alive when stranded. Wearing hats and gloves are important, they trap some of your body heat, but they don't contain it. When you are sitting in your car while you are driving you don't notice the heat loss since your body is generating its own heat and people usually have the heaters in their cars going to supplement this loss. These blankets do not have a rating because they do not absorb and hold heat, they just reflect your own heat back at you, if you know you are in a situation where you know you will be waiting a long time for help do not hesitate to use it. Also if you need to use this, keep all of your winter gear on, and cover as much of your body with the blanket as you can and your heat loss will be at a rate much slower than just hats coats and gloves by themselves. 

Secondly, I keep and extra fleece blanket or two in the car so if I know its going to be a short wait I can just use those and not have to open up the emergency blanket. I personally keep 2 in the car because I often have kids or other passengers in the car with me. 

Third, Water. I just keep them under the front seats you never know whats going to happen and how long you can be stranded. I always keep a nalgene bottle or a camelbak bottle full in the car only because they keep longer and are more durable than the thin plastic bottles that bottled water normally comes in and they are refillable. Also if they are under the front seats, especially on long drives, they tend to thaw while your heater is running so its not always completely frozen.

The fourth item I keep is a small emergency kit, gauze, snacks like granola bars and hard candy(in case of low blood sugar), and I am on heart medication so I keep two days worth of pills in a small container, all in a small back pack kept in the back seat for easy access.  

Last, but not least, is something I personally just throw in the glove box next to the emergency blanket because I dislike being cold....Hand Warmers! I keep them in there as soon as October rolls around I throw them in the car. You never know when your going to use them, and if you do end up needing the emergency blanket it creates more warmth to trap inside with you!

So this season be prepared, drive slow when the weather calls for it and I hope you never need to use your emergency kit! 

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New Look For an Old Favorite: CarbonLite Baitcasting Reel

CarbonLite Baitcasting Reel     

The wait is over, the brand new CarbonLite Baitcasting reels are here and with a new look!  First, you'll notice the white color change. It might change the way you fish at dawn or dusk as a lighter color could make it easier to see. What you probably won't notice is the .1 (oz) weight difference. Not only is it lighter; it's still one of the lightest reels out on the market. It has the same gear ratios as the previous CarbonLite. Left handed retrieve only in the 6.4. This may look like the new kid on the block but the CarbonLite still has the same drag stack, dual braking system, and 10 ball bearings that we all know and love.

The CarbonLite reel has always been in the top ten, so if you've never had the chance to try one out, you should, whether in-store or asking your fishing partner to let you borrow theirs.

The light weight on this reel makes a big difference when casting over a long period of time. This light weight quality is accomplished by using carbon fibers, aircraft grade aluminum  and stainless washers that help the reel from being too heavy, yet maintain the strength and durability to pull in the big ones.

 Try all three gear ratios to cover all types of fishing and fishing techniques especially before the Fall fishing, comes to a close. This nice thing about fishing is if you miss the Fall, Spring is soon to follow.

 

      

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Invasion of the Wiggle Warts!

Invasion of the Wiggle Warts

Brand-new Bass Pro Shops EXCLUSIVE Wiggle Warts have arrived!

The Wiggle Wart is a classic lure that is part of the Storm lineup that was purchased by Rapala in the 1990's and has been a favorite for early spring and a must for Ozark waters. Bass Pro Shops now has added 4 new colors that are exclusive to our lineup of Wiggle Warts.

The first new color is Phantom Green Blue Craw (top picture, far left), a translucent green with blue on the underbelly. The next color is Phantom PB & J Craw (top picture, middle),a translucent purple-brown craw with a distinct translucent darker purple underbelly. Then Phantom Brown Orange (top picture, far right), a translucent brown with a translucent belly. Lastly is Peanut Butter & Jelly Craw (bottom picture), featuring a light brown (ie: peanut butter) with a purple underbelly. 

No longer will you need to send in your Wiggle Warts for a custom PB & J paint job, Bass Pro Shops has you covered without paying extra. These colors will be perfect for matching the crayfish as they change colors with the seasons and their environment. Especially with the additional phantom colors for clear water applications.

For fishing with the Wiggle Wart make sure to use a rod with a parabolic bend in it to allow the bait some give when a fish sucks it into their mouth from a distance. One such rod would be the new Bass Pro Shops Crankin' Stick, with a mix of graphite and fiberglass to allow for some give. Also when using in the colder weather of early spring make sure to not over reel the bait. Not only are the baitfish slow but so are the bass. Use a slow speed reel such as a 5:2.1 Bass Pro Shops Pro Qualifier baitcasting reel to help slow down your retrieve. Match this with 10 - 12 lb Fluorocarbon to get the Wiggle Wart down to its running depth. If you need it to run a little shallower than its 7' - 18' running depth, use a wider diameter line such as a heavier pound test.

To match the crayfish, look for chunk rock banks and rip rap in which they usually hide in. Make sure to get it down to where it is ticking and grinding along the rocks like a crayfish. Also in the prespawn look for slopped banks that lead to spawning flats that the fish will be transitioning along as they move towards the spawn.

 

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Mmmmmm...Turkey

Its that time of the year folks, where the age old question comes up to slow smoke the turkey into tender deliciousness, or to fast cook it with a deep fryer into juicy fried heaven?

Well folks, honestly I think it all depends on the kind of person you are. Smoked or fried, they can both turn out  juicy and tender and flavorful. I think it is all about the preparation and thought that goes into it, and what methods you have at your disposal. The more you plan out your meal and allow for time, the better it turns out.

                             

Turkeys take a long time to prepare to bake, smoke or fry. You have to allow for them to thaw first off, and that depends on how big the bird is. Butterball says that if you are going to thaw it in the refrigerator to allow 1 day for every four pounds. Or if you prefer the quick thaw method, soak(still in the wrapper) in a bucket of cold water changing out the water every 30 minutes to keep the water temperature correct, and allow 30 minutes per pound.

Brining a turkey is a great way to ensure the turkey stays moist while cooking while adding a bit of flavor, kind of like marinating, but it is used more for keeping the meat moist. There are all sorts of recipes where you can use orange juice concentrate, soy sauce, brown sugar and many other ingredients, most importantly salt, which also tenderizes the meat. Many cookbooks for smoking and frying have great brine recipes as well as the internet. A lot of people also use injection as a way to flavor the turkey as well after brining. The extra attention lends a lot of flavor to the bird and in my family we do one flavor on one side and different flavor on the other side for some variety.

Smoking a turkey can be a long, intensive process that, depending on the size of the turkey, can take a day or so, depending on the directions. I found in many cookbooks that the easiest way is to prep the smoker to 250 degrees and for every 5 to 6 pounds let it cook for 4 hours, checking it to make sure the meat has reached 165 degrees internally in the middle of the biggest muscle area. The longest, most involved recipe called for the smoker to be at 200 to 220 degrees, wrapped in cheese cloth to moisten every half an hour for 6 hours, then to cut the cloth off and doing a total cooking time of 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 and a half hours for every one pound of turkey, basting every hour for the rest of the cooking time. The best wood I have found to use is a fruit type such as apple, peach or orange. It complements the meat quite well. There are many directions out there but it really depends on what recipe sounds the most appealing and tasty to you.

While smoking there can be a few safety issues. make sure if it is on a deck that the smoker is off the ground as the bottom of the smoker can become very hot and cause a fire. Some electric smoker brands sell stands just for that reason. Make sure all smoking is done outside, not only will all the smoke blacken your walls and ceiling, but a room full of smoke causes severe breathing problems and can be very dangerous. Make sure the smoker is not near any walls outside. Not only can your smoker blacken the walls but the heat coming off it can melt siding and can catch the wood on fire.

Frying a turkey can be a wonderfully fast way of cooking it after thawing, brining, and seasoning it. You just need to make sure you have enough oil and the right temperature. to make sure you have enough oil, before brining and seasoning it, place it in the empty fryer you will be using and pour in enough water to cover it. pull the turkey out and measure how much water you used. This is how you will know how much oil to use. make sure you dry out the pot before adding any oil to it later.

Most fryers have a timer on it so you usually need two people to watch it to make sure if someone needs to run inside to grab something the other can keep an eye on it and turn it before time runs out to keep the burner on. This is a safety feature that can keep a lot of accidents from happening. I always have a second person with me to help put the turkey in and pull it out to prevent splattering and accidental burns. Make sure the oil is up to 350 degrees for optimal frying. if the temperature is below 340 it will start to seep into the meat and make it taste and feel greasy. 

Fryers do need a lot of watching and require extra attention to prevent accidents. First off, make sure you have a bucket of sand and not water. Oil floats on water so this cannot put out a fire, sand will soak up and cover the oil so it can easily put out oil fires before they get out of hand. Make sure you have a large flat surface away from any buildings, decks, trees, shrubs, garages, kids, or pets. Otherwise keep it away from anything that can melt, catch on fire or anything that can cause chaos and accidentally knock over the fryer. Also, make sure the propane tank is upwind of the fryer, if it is positioned downwind the heat from the fryer can melt the hose or cause the thank to get too hot and either situation can be dangerous.

Well folks, no matter how you decide to cook your turkey this season, I hope it turns out perfect for you. Thank you for reading and have a safe and happy holiday season!

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Spooky Trails

Its October and its the last time most of us will be out camping and hiking here in the Midwest. I was just going on a late October camping trip, a few years ago, to do some fall leafing and hiking when I stumbled upon something fun to do at the end of October a few years back.

A group of us pulled up to Indian Cave State park on a Thursday and we were registering our cars and getting firewood. I was not driving so I was looking at the different things to do posted on their bulletin board and saw they had all sorts of things to do. Crafts for the kids, living history (blacksmiths, broom makers, soap makers and candle makers) on Saturday and Sunday. Movies and a hay rack ride on Friday and Saturday night. I asked about the tickets and they were $5 per adult and I spent the next 10 minutes talking everyone into going the next night. We all had a lot of fun and none of us realized that some state parks all over have Halloween activities.


Since I have my own family now, we have made a tradition of finding a new park to try to make the best of our last camping weekend of the year. Finding State Parks that celebrate Halloween with haunted hay rack rides, early trick or treating in the RV areas, crafts, living history displays, smores making, pumpkin carving contests and other fun things has been much easier now that I know these things are available to us. Each park has been different and they all have something for everyone, including the little ones so the whole family gets involved.

One of our family's favorite things to do after dinner or before they go to bed is going on a spooky "midnight hike." We usually have a few kids under 10 in the group and I call it that to make it sound more fun. Really we go out right after the sun has set because trails are creepy when they are dark and anything with the word midnight before it makes it spookier for the kids. I have put together a day hiking back pack emergency and survival kit that I grab to come with us every time we go. I usually pack the Day Hiker First Aid Kit which comes with supplies to treat cuts and scrapes, sprains, blisters, insect bites, headaches, muscle aches, and allergic reactions. Then I also bring extra band-aids because you can never have enough, snacks for every one, in case its a long hike or we find a cool spot to look out over water or down cliffs, glow sticks, extra water and extra batteries for the flash lights. Just make sure if you do have little ones that safety comes first. Make sure they have reflective material on their clothes or are wearing glow sticks so you can safely find them if you are doing any evening or night time walking. I make sure everyone in the group has a flash light or head lamp so no one trips and falls over any tree branches or steps into any holes. 

There is so many things to do out there that my husband and I have yet to run out of new parks to try out each year even within an hour of our house, and there are so many state parks out there Most of these events are posted on the parks websites and are easy to find. I found mine at the Nebraska game and parks commission website outdoornebraska.gov under their calendar. Missouri state parks had Halloween events listed right under their Things To Do on their front page. In some states you have to call the parks directly or be able to get a hold of the states Department of Natural Resources magazines.

My family's favorite is the Haunted hay rack ride at Indian Cave State park near Falls City, Ne. It runs on Fridays and Saturdays the two weeks before Halloween week. My brother's Family gets a kick out of going to Buffalo Bills Ranch State historical park in North Platte, Ne every year. This one runs for only one day on Saturday, October 25th.  My Friend Shanna and her family really enjoy the pumpkin carving contest at the Calamus Reservoir in Nebraska which is on the 18th of October.

Be safe as you and your families try out new things this year and have a great time outdoors!

 

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Fall Like a Pro this Autumn: Safety, Comfort and Fun

 Prepping for the Autumn season of fun Fall activities may have not crossed your mind until you are out in the moment and realize you were ill prepared. There are many things to think of from warmth to being noticed by others and keeping hydrated. Bass Pro shops is ready and waiting to help you make this season more comfortable for you.

Pumpkin patches and apple orchards are a popular destination this time of year. Keep the kiddo comfy and your arm muscles as well! Try our Mac Sports folding utility wagonMac Sports™ Fold-Up Utility Wagon                                                                                         ($79.99) to roll the young ones and pumpkins around while enjoying the views. 

Don't forget to have some cocoa or coffee nearby to keep you warm and satisfied in a thermos ($34.99). These will keep your favorite fall beverage warm for up to 24 hours so no need to rush through your day. 

After a day at the orchard you may be looking at a pile of apples and wondering how long it will take to peel them all before you can use them for pies and such. Cut your time down by getting an apple peeler by LEM ($19.99) Your hands will thank you.

Of course while out trick-or-treating you should make sure children are well hydrated and well lit (seen.) There are many options from Camelbak and Nalgene water bottles to hydration packs they can wear under their costume.These products range from $7.99(kids Nalgene)- $24.99  (1.5L XPS bag)  And don't forget the glow sticks! Besides the traditional crack and shake type, there are now LED glow sticks with over 200 hours run time. Making it not only a Halloween night favorite but for on the night stand on those "spooky" nights. These range from $1.19-$2.49 a piece. A fairly inexpensive source of not only safety but entertainment. Hand warmers are also a must.  You can view all the products we have available at http://Basspro.com  also see Product Spotlight - LEM Apple and Potato Peeler

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Who Wants to try a Delicious Venison Recipe?

The Complete Venison Cookbook has some of the most amazing recipes.  Here is one that is sure to please!

Salisbury Venison Steak with Mushrooms and Noodles

1 lb. ground venison                               1/4 tsp. salt

1 egg white, lightly beaten                      1/8 tsp. black pepper

1/3 cup onion, chopped                          1 (12-oz.) jar beef gravy

1/4 cup saltine cracker crumbs               1 1/2 cups fresh sliced/

2 Tbsp. whole milk                                  mushrooms

1 Tbsp. horseradish                                hot cooked noodles

In a bowl, combine venison, egg white, onion, cracker crumbs, milk, horseradish and pepper.  Shape into four oval patties. Fry in a skillet over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes or until cooked, turning once.  Remove patties and keep warm.  Add gravy, mushrooms and water to skillet; heat for 3 to 5 minutes.  Serve gravy over patties and noodles.  Serves 4.

 

This book has all sorts of tips from processing to freezing, canning, smoking and curing your deer.  It also has some very yummy side dish and dessert ideas.

The book is available for $24.95 online and in our store.

**The white-tailed deer has existed essentially unchanged for perhaps as much as 20 million years and is thought to be the ancestral form from which today's mule deer and black-tailed deer evolved.

**Check out this website and help feed the hungry "Hunters for the Hungry" http://hservices.nra.org/hunters-for-the-hungry-information.aspx

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Ice Holes!

With the changing of the seasons come long awaited outdoor opportunities. While many outdoor men and women are climbing into their tree stands to partake in the exhilarating sport of deer hunting, many die hard fishing folks have a hard time winterizing their boats with the thought of not climbing back into it until spring. Yet this is not the end for the fish loving folks, rather it is just the beginning to the ice fishing season and there are steps you can take right now to make this your best ice fishing season ever!

If your goal is to be the best there is on your favorite area lake, or to win one of the hundreds of ice fishing tournaments held across the country every year, now is a great time to start preparing. The following are proven techniques to increase your odds of being in the right spots long after the water is covered by a thick layer of ice. The first thing you want to do is get out on the water. With the hunting seasons upon us many of the waterways are seeing less and less boat traffic which makes the first and probably most important step much easier.

fish finder

Using some of today’s very advanced electronics, mapping out potential ice fishing hot spots becomes much easier. The first thing is to use is a fish finder with decent sensitivity and detail so you are able to tell the difference between schools of baitfish and underwater vegetation. I like the versatility of the Lowrance Elite-4 HDI.http://www.basspro.com/Lowrance-Elite4-HDI-Fishfinder/Chartplotter-with-Navionics-Gold/product/1311111453/

 

It can do everything you should need it to for locating the best potential ice fishing hot spots. If you don't want to invest into new electronics, you can obtain lake contour maps and using your current fish finder combined with a handheld GPS, you can still map out these potential spots on the water.

The first thing I look for when hunting for my winning locations is the vegetation edges, I'm looking at the depths where the underwater vegetation ends on my fish finder. Once I find my target depth I then refer to my lake contour map, I'm looking at the areas where my target depth has the widest areas, while paying attention to the underwater points and inside bends where my target depth is sustained. What this usually means is there is a good chance there will be larger areas of underwater vegetation once there is ice covering everything.

Why am I looking for the vegetation? Well it's pretty simple; the vegetation offers cover as well as releases oxygen into the water, which attracts plankton, which in turn attracts baitfish, which attracts larger predatory fish species. The larger, feeding fish will often patrol the outer edges of this vegetation looking for their next meal.

It is very important you scout out your areas before plotting them on your GPS as your hotspots. First without taking your sonar over those spots you don't know for certain what is actually down there for cover, it may be a spot void of vital cover. Next you always want to have many different spots mapped out to give you more options once the ice season hits. There are many factors that will affect your success on the ice. For example after a long period of snow covered ice the vegetation begins to die, which in turn causes the fish to find other areas. Other areas to focus on are rock piles, submerged trees, points, rapid depth changes or any other areas that might provide cover for the smaller baitfish.

Another thing to keep in mind is pressure from other people. If the best looking spot on the lake is getting the most pressure it is most likely not going to produce as many fish as some other decent spots that are not getting the heavy pressure. One thing I've noticed from years of ice fishing is many people don't do their homework and have a tendency to copy off of others when the fishing is slow. What I mean by this is that many people who are unfamiliar with the body of water or ice fishing in general have a tendency to start drilling where there are old holes or sign that others have been fishing in that location. Which isn't the worst of ideas if they are very limited on time, however if this is your favorite spot or a highly pressured spot you will be very thankful you have many others mapped out in advance.

lake map

 

Another piece of advice is don't rely on others for your fishing success, what I'm pointing out is something I've noticed on bodies of water that host tournaments. Some of the more seasoned fisher people have experienced their gem of a spot they'd been trying to keep a secret all season is flooded with people the day of a tournament. So in preparation of this they have gone out in advance and drilled mock hot spots, which were just a group of holes in the ice made to look like someone was on a pile of fish. (Pretty clever), unless one of those spots happens to be your gem. What I'm getting at is if you do find a great spot that is producing fish and you plan on fishing it during a tournament keep the pressure down, don't drill up the area, rather keep it to one or none and try your best to save it for the time you need it to produce for you and your odds of "being in the money" at the end of the tournament will increase greatly.

 

ice pic

Once you've done your scouting and have gotten a good idea of the best potential spots to hit during the ice season, the next thing you want to do is get your equipment ready.

A few steps to take is change out the old line on your ice reels, check over your equipment to make sure nothing has been damaged while getting shuffled around in the garage all summer, change batteries in your electronics, sharpen hooks, get rid of rusty hooks, and make sure you have both of your favorite gloves as it is almost inevitable you will only have one the morning you head out on the water!

Here is an article that lists many good items to have in your ice fishing sled as you head out onto the ice.http://blogs.basspro.com/blog/bass-pro-shops-council-bluffs-ia/great-ice-fishing-gear.

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Preparing Your Home For Disaster

Disaster can happen to you, not just to people you don't know in some far away town. It can come in many shapes and forms. Tornadoes, flooding, hurricanes, all carry potentially life-threatening circumstances, and in some cases, help may not come for days or even weeks. To best protect yourself and your loved ones, it would be wise to be prepared for the worst in any situation.

The first step is to know your area and be knowledgeable about what kind of disasters are most likely to happen. Is your area prone to hurricanes? Tornadoes? Is your home in a low-lying area where flooding is possible? Each circumstance carries its own unique set of challenges, and knowing what is likely will help you to prepare for the specific dangers of each event.

However, we humans have needs that must be met in any circumstance, and these needs are threatened by any disaster. Here are some suggestions to ensure you and your family's basic needs in a home survival situation, all of which can be found at your Bass Pro Shops Camping Department.

Drinkable water is probably our most urgent need. Our bodies need it to maintain an incredible array of functions, and without it we will expire within 3 to 5 days in the most ideal of conditions. In many disaster situations, infrastructure that brings clean running water to our homes may be damaged. It is always a good idea to have a stock of emergency bottled water in your home. However, considering water is so important, it is important to have alternative means of acquiring potable water. While boiling water will kill most bacteria and pathogens, a small, easy-to-use water filtration system such as the Sawyer Squeeze Filter will allow you to filter particles like dirt, protozoa, and bacteria from water using a hollow-fiber membrane system. Using such a system, you can drink directly from this source or fill containers for storage, and most Sawyer products are guaranteed to be effective in filtering up to 1,000,000 gallons of water.

Secondly, we must have food. While it is possible to survive a relatively long time without food, hunger will leave you weak and unable to deal with the many other challenges that may befall you in a disaster situation. Having a stock of non-perishable foods in your home is a good idea at any time, and freeze dried foods such as those by Mountain House or Backpacker's Pantry are an ideal option for emergency preparedness as well as camping. These products are very diverse, lightweight, easy to prepare meals that provide the comfort and morale boost of a hot, tasty meal. While canned foods may keep for a couple years, these foods can keep your emergency pantry stocked for 7 to 25 years!

In addition, we need shelter. We must keep warm, dry, and safe from the elements. An emergency tent may be a good thing to keep in the event that your home is damaged. But equally important may be an emergency bivouac sack, such as the Sol Emergency Bivvy, a compact, lightweight, weatherproof shelter that reflects 90% of body heat to keep you warm and dry in extreme conditions. These could also be used to make a tent in a pinch and, because of their bright orange color, could be used to signal for help in conditions where you may otherwise be difficult to spot.

Lastly, you will likely need fire. For warmth, to cook food or boil water, to see in the dark, or even to signal others, fire serves a great many purposes. It is important to keep waterproof tinder, such as UST's Wetfire Tinder or Coghlan's Fire Sticks and a means to start the fire, such as waterproof matches or a fire starting tool such as a Blastmatch.

There are many other things that could prove essential in surviving a disaster situation. A versatile first aid kit, a lantern, cookware, any item or any bit of knowledge may improve your chances in a survival situation. Bass Pro Shops carries a variety of survival manuals that go into much more detail specific to a wide variety of situations. Knowledge and organization may save your life in a situation such as this. Make a list, know what you have, where it is, and how to use it. Keep learning and keep preparing. Hope for the best, plan for the worst.

 

 

 

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Makin' Jerky

The technique of drying meats, fruits and vegetables is one of humans oldest way to preserve food. Drying meat doesn't just protect against decay and insects but is also lightweight and has a long "shelf life" making it aLEM™ Backwoods® Jerky Seasonings Variety Pack                                                                         perfect for on the go and transport. Being a dense form, it also provides a concentrated source of nutrients.

Ways to prepare the meat: One of the most simplistic methods is to slice muscle meat into strips. These strips can be dry mix cured or in a liquid marinade.  For instance This variety cure and seasoning pack by LEM is just $11.99 and has 4 packets containing enough to do 5 lbs of meat a piece. You can also use this on ground meats before dispensing through a jerky gun Jerky Gun®                                                                                                                  $29.99.

Other spices and cures are available such as Hi Mountain® Jerky Seasoning Variety Pack                                                                                   Hi-Mountain brand variety pack. For only $10.99 you get 5 flavors with enough material of each to make 4 lbs of meat a piece. The LEM backwoods and Hi-Mountain seasonings also come in single packs once you find your favorite flavor.

You can dry the meat product using a dehydrator RedHead® Six Tray Food Dehydrator                                                                                           Redhead 6-tray for $69.99 is a great choice for a person who may just want to make smaller batches. But for someone who who would like to make large batches Redhead makes a larger commercial size stainless steel 10 tray unit RedHead® Stainless Steel 10-Tray Food Dehydrator                                                                            for $299.99. Besides meat you can also dry fruits and vegetables by simply adding clean a screen $12.99 just cut to size and these screens keep your food from sticking to the actual racks.

Another method is in your oven by using the oven rack and pan by LEM $17.99 or just the rack  for $9.99.

Jerky Rack and Pan                                                                                                              Preheat oven to 165 degrees F. Any less could cause the meat to spoil and would not kill the bacteria. The process will take about 1-3 hours depending on the cuts of meat. Let it bake for about an hour and a half, then check every 30 minutes until you achieve the consistency you wish.
 
You can also use your smoker, which is a wonderful method because you can also add a touch or smoke to the jerky. Just use similar to the oven and don't add water to your water pan, though instinct tells you to when using a smoker. After all it's purpose is to pull the moisture from the meat, not add moisture.
 
All the tools you would need to make jerky is all available in the camping department at Bass Pro Shops or online at http://basspro.com also see Choosing the Right Dehydrator or Outdoor Cooking Primer - Making Your Own Jerky  for more options.

 

 
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Fall Catfishing Rigs & Baits

     As Fall time comes around the waters cool and the bite picks back up after the heat of summer.  With summer being one of the most common and often times most effective time to catch lots of catfish.  But the fall is also an amazing time to go fishing for these freshwater giants.  It can also be a opportune time to catch a personal record cat.  With winter getting closer and closer everyday, the water temps are starting to drop.  Catfish like most other fish often gorge themselves right before the freeze of winter.  

     The catfish itself is a very warm watered fish.  Usually preferring water with the temperatures in the range of 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.  They are a opportunistic omnivores - feeding on all kinds of baits, and a wide variety of animal and plant materials.  Often times you will find them on or next to the bottom of the lake.  They are predominately a bottom dwelling fish, but they will still feed and take baits near the surface.  They have numerous taste buds all over their body, the most being on the whiskers of the catfish.  Its almost like a giant tongue swimming through the water, that is why we often try to get the smelly stuff to fish with.  Often times the more it smells the better it works. 

    We offer a wide variety of different dip baits here at our store. The dip bait hooks themselves have a treble hook and a rubber plastic on it that hold the dip and its smell while its in the water, and it gives the fish something to put into its mouth and eat.  Dip baits work great, they almost work like a chum bait drawing the catfish into you.  Working more effectively in ponds or lakes.    Another easy yet very effective way to catch catfish is to use shrimp. They are similar in smell to crawdads as they are both crustaceans. The Shrimp will hold on the hook well and they do a good job at holding smells and scents that i can spray on, anywhere from garlic or a blood spray or dip.  Probably the best all around hook to be using on a cat fishing rig would be the circle hook, which is a hook that when is pulled on works its way into the corner of the fishes mouth and insures the same strong hook set every time. Its a strong hook that sets its self by the fisherman just reeling the line and keeping tight pressure on the fish.  NOT a quick jerk like most other common J-Hook type hooks.  The circle hooks come in a variety of sizes and make sure the ones you have for cat fishing, have the bait keepers on the shank of the circle hook.  Having them will help out a-lot for keeping the bait on the hook at all times.  No matter if you are in a boat or on the shore cat fishing a simple slip rig is probably the most effective way to catch them.  It allows the catfish not to feel any pressure on the line and give him any reason to drop the bait. The slip rigs looks like this.  I often find myself using this rig near 70% of the time when i catfish.  It works very well with the circle hooks.  You can find all the weights and terminal tackle on our Basspro website.  The different things that you will need will be leader line, swivels, glass bead(to protect your knots from your weight), and of course hooks you don't have to only use circle hooks on these rigs they would work great with the standard J-Hook. 

       When it comes to the right gear, as in the rod and reel. Personally i prefer to use a bait-caster reel it is must easier to cast those larger weights with some precision.  One of the best ones on the market are going to be the Abu-Garcia Ambassadeur C4,  then pair with a medium heavy to heavy action rod.  You want something that is going to be a bit longer, to help you out in handling and directing those bigger fish and help you get farther casts.  If you are not looking to spend that much money on a quality  fishing reel,  We always have our different combos that are specially designed for cat fishing, which would work well and get the job done.  You can look at a few of the ones that we carry a very popular one would our Bill Dance line of combos.  They have larger reels and rods to handle bigger line and ultimately bigger fish. Lastly would be the line, most popular would be the braided line you can get 80lb braid that had the same thickness as 20lb mono.  So you can get a line that is 4 times as strong and a fourth the thickness than a similar mono line.  Braid works great for your mainline.  The line Is amazingly strong and is almost impossible to break. The best leader material to use would 100% fluorocarbon line, for the fact it has great abrasion resistance.  Often times you will find yourself fishing around rocks, trees, brush you name it.  It can all rub and wear down mono and braided lines to the point were they get weak and break.  There is more information on different types of fishing lines and there properties on this link right here Choosing the Right Fishing Line.

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FALLing For Fish

With Fall rapidly approaching and cooler weather right around the corner many outdoorsmen are getting geared up for hunting season. Meanwhile, almost every dedicated fishermen could be caught daydreaming of fish becoming more active and lakes not being so crowded. In his/her eyes this is one of the most exciting times of the year. Thats right, the next few months can offer some of the best fishing of the year if you know what you're doing.

One of the main reasons that the Fall can be so great is because water temperatures are dropping and fish are becoming more active. The more active the fish the more they need to eat. One thing to keep in mind is that the water temperature in shallows and flats is going to drop significantly faster than deeper waters. The end of September and beginning of October is a good time to fish those shallower waters. Once you find those active fish you will probably be able to throw almost any artificial bait at them and be successful. Plastics and hardbaits are both extremely effective over the months of the Fall.

Deep diving crankbaits, almost all plastics, and lipless crankbaits are all good baits to throw during this time of year. The lipless crankbaits allow you to fish many different depths of water all while creating good sound and action. The most important thing to do is find a bait that is relevant to the body of water that you are fishing. By relevant I mean color and shape. Take a look at the color and size of baitfish, as well as the color of the natural foliage that the body of water produces. Try to match that as best as you can and you should have alot of success wherever you are fishing.

For a more personal experience relating to the benefits of Fall fishing click on this link and enjoy.

http://www.basspro.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/BPSIFrameView?catalogId=10051&tab=2&langId=-1&storeId=10151&targeturl=http://www.basspro1source.com/index.php/blogs&ddkey=http:BPSIFrame&tab=2

 

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Hangin' Around

It is that time of the year again where the kids are in school, the weather is cooling off enough that we actually want to be outdoors all day and the sun isn't beating down on you. Where that cat nap in the sun isn't going to burn your skin and you don't need a pool to cool down in. Ahh, the lazy days of fall. Where some people spend their evenings and weekends watching football, I prefer to spend it outside listening to the birds chirp, hearing the locust buzzing, watching the tree leaves swirl down around you and swaying in the gentle breeze with my legs kicked up and my favorite book in my hands.

Hammocks make spending time outdoors more enjoyable. Whether its used for camping, relaxation or spending time with a loved one. My mother used to take us outdoors and snuggle us kids in a hammock and read to us, the gentle swaying would ease us into naps. I would spend time by my self reading school books and napping as I got older. Dad napping after barbecuing for the family, snoring while we ate dessert. I had quite a few fond memories of spending time with family and friends in our back yard and the hammocks we owned so I got my own when I bought my first house. We only had one tree, but hammock stands are easy to set up and work with almost every type of hammock available. I really enjoy being able to relax while trying to take a quiet nap, smoking meat or watching the kids play.

I went camping with friends who had hammock tents. They had bug nets, rain flies and all! I was in awe. That was a great idea and fit so well into a backpack! That same night we had a huge storm. It stood up to it, while my tent tried to fly away. I was doubly impressed and decided to look into those my self. They were comfortable and could be used at home, for over night camping and were super easy to bring on day hikes and picnics. The straps to hang them were easy to use and you just needed to find two trees.

Hammocks run anywhere between $19.99 to $100. There are all kinds of different types you can find from the pocket hammock to home use for relaxation to the backpackers delight. They are comfortable and give us a chance to enjoy being outside.

 

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Drop the Tailgate and Fire up the Grill..Football season is here!

With football season in full swing it's not too late to still get what you need to have a great tailgating session and be comfortable during the big game. The camping department at Bass Pro Shops has some essentials you won't want to find yourself without.

Fire up the grill and your appetite with the Coleman NXT 200 portable grill for only $199.99 Coleman® NXT™ 200 Portable Grill                                                                                      .This 321 sq in cooking surface and 20,000 BTU grill if ideal for compact size with big grill results. Or try the Brinkmann Tailgate Grill for $249.99 Brinkmann® Tailgate Portable Propane Grill                                                                                  . This grill have 490 sq. in. cooking surface and 4 burners pushing 12,000 BTU's a piece so you can get all that grilling done fast and efficiently with side shelves to hold your spices and rubs. Plus there are many more grill oprtions you can view at http://basspro.com or by stopping by the camping department and asking one of our associates to help you find whats best for you.

Don't forget shelter from the sun and chairs to sit while cooking. A 10X10 canopy Bass Pro Shops® Slant Leg Instant Canopy                                                                                    from Bass Pro offers plenty of space and shade for only $99.99 and has the option of adding a screen Screen Room for Bass Pro Shops® Straight Leg Canopies                                                                       for $59.99 to keep those bugs at bay. there are also 12X12 models to chose from also. 

 

 

As far as chairs, there are MANY options from the basic camp chair Bass Pro Shops® Basic Camp Chair                                                                                            for $12.99 to the Big Outdoorsman Hard Arm Chair Bass Pro Shops® Big Outdoorsman XL Fold-Up Chair                                                                            for $69.99 and a lot of selection in between. All chairs have varying carry weight and weight capacities so come have a seat with us and decide what feels best for you!

 

You should be comfortable on those hard bleachers too! So don't forget to grab a stadium chair Bass Pro Shops® Canoe Stadium Seat                                                                                          for $44.99. This handy seat simply straps and clicks onto the bleacher and adjusts to each user to support as much or as little as it needs to. Great for all ages!

One last detail is making you vehicle show pride in your team. We carry window decals, keychains, and more for Husker and Hawkeye fans alike. (teams will vary regionally)

 

 

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When you wish upon a star...

....It makes no difference who you are. August is the best time of the year to go backpacking away from all the city lights and see the stars! There are many places out there that are great for amateurs to get the best pictures of the great celestial bodies above us.

August is my favorite time of the year to see so many sights in the sky, and yes many of them after dark. The Perseides will be visible from July 17th through August 27th, almost the entire month of August. The best days for viewing them, 60 or more per hour, is August 12th and 13th. It is going to be an amazing show. It is named the Perseides meteor shower because of where it seems to be coming from, where the Constellation Perseus is located in the sky. http://www.constellation-guide.com/constellation-list/perseus-constellation/ Since the best time to watch any meteor shower is after midnight, depending on where the campsite is located, there are many ways to enjoy this show. If there are little to no trees around to impede my vision, then I keep my rain fly off my backpacking tent, which is made mostly of mosquito netting,http://www.basspro.com/Ascend-H2-3V-ThreePerson-Tent/product/12082109213719/ settle back with my friends and just watch the sky till I fall asleep. If there are a lot of trees, I make sure I bring my Thermacell and hike to the nearest clearing bringing plenty of water and snacks. If I'm going to be near a lake or river, I just bring my camp chair or an inner-tube to sit and relax in to watch the free and spectacular show nature has put on.

This year, there will be a little bit of interference from the August Super moon. So named because this month it will be at its closest proximity to the earth in its yearly orbit which happens 3 to 4 times per year. This means it is going to make the night sky much brighter than usual, which in turn will block out the light from most of the regular stars and the  falling stars while it dominates the sky. This is kind of a good thing if you are out camping or hiking since you will not need a flashlight, headlamp or lantern to find your way around at night unless you are in very densely tree packed area. It will be especially helpful if you are out night fishing, less gear to carry with you.

Remember to keep safe out there when walking at night and do a lot of research on the wild life. I go to Lake MacConaughey in Ogalala, Nebraska every year and there are rattlesnakes everywhere. I bring my walking stick with me and keep a small flashlight with me in case I have to walk across an area off the trails and covered in plants. That way I poke at the brush first instead of just walking right through it and possibly put myself in danger. Other places may have bobcats, mountain lions and bears in more Northern State and National parks. Make sure you are prepared for the area with the right foot ware, clothing, gear and first-aid kits. Make sure someone knows where you are traveling to and have a fully charged cell phone, or a back up battery if you use your phone to take your pictures with, with you in a water tight bag. And most importantly, explore and have fun out there. There is too much you miss out on if you stay indoors!

 

 

 

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