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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Shade Please!

It's that time of the year again where it is nice enough outside to go swimming, hike trails, barbecue, go fishing, fly kites and many more activities that are all out in the sun. I know I personally spend a lot of time in the local pools and water parks. How do you protect yourself from dehydration and what happens if you start feeling sun burnt, but would like to stay outdoors and hang out with friends and family? There are a lot of products out there that can help you stay out there and still enjoy yourself. Most people start out with sunscreen and sunglasses, but after a few hours I still want to find a shady area and just get out of the sun.

I have found a few things that are easier to carry then those large beach/patio umbrellas. most are very light weight and pack in the car easily. This blue shade shelter is the size of an umbrella and fits easily in any car. It is easy to set up having only 2 poles and can fit 3 to four chairs underneath it. I keep extra stakes with it so if it is a windy day I can stake it down and not worry about it flying away.Not only is it a great portable shade maker it is waterproof as well so its great for when it might be a rainy day as well.

 

This canopy chair is one of my all time favorites. I can take it anywhere and not have to worry about the sun. They also help keep you dry if it starts raining, however it only has room for one.

When my friends and I get together for camping or for a picnic we always bring our 10 X 10 Canopy so we can all sit and enjoy each others company while getting out of the hot sun. It also helps to keep the coolers out of the sun so they last longer when we are on long trips. The Shade always refreshes us and helps when we forget out sun block. We just pull up a picnic table so we can all eat or just lounge around in our chairs in the nice cool shade. When it rains it may pour down all around us but our canopy keeps us dry. There are also some canopys that come with lighting already installed and others that have a mosquito screen attached already so you never have to worry about bugs and flies bothering you while enjoying time with friends and family.

These canopies are not too hard to put up either, I found a quick set up by Coleman to show how simple it can be!

So if you are thinking about investing in a nice shade shelter either for your self or for a large group there are lots of options and sizes out there so get out there and explore!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bottom Bouncing for Walleye

 Bottom Bouncing is one of the many ways to fish for Walleye. Bottom bouncers come in different colors and shapes. They can be used anytime during the spring thru fall months.  Using a bottom bouncer is a hands on fishing method, if you set the pole down you may miss the bite it is very sensitive, not only do you have the bottom bouncers weight you will also have a Walleye rig

To use a bottom bouncer you will attach a clip or clip and swivel on the end of your fishing line. In the middle of the bottom bouncer there's an area to attach your clip, you will  attach the Walleye rig to the end that does not have the weight on it.  There are a lot of choices of rigs some float and some don't, it is your choice or preference most like floating so the rig is not dragging off the bottom but floating so the Walleye will come up and HIT it!!  Some of the rigs have two hooks and some have three it will depend on what bait you are going to use as to how many hooks you use,  you can use worms, minnow or leech your choice.

Once you have it all attached and baited drop it over the side of the boat until you feel it hit the bottom.  You will fill it bouncing across the bottom them a tug when a Walleye hits it!!  Good luck and enjoy!!     

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Sighting In

Every year we have a slow period between hunting seasons and are stuck waiting for the next season. There is one thing we can do to fill our time to help prepare for the up coming hunting season, and have a little fun doing so: sighting in your optics.

With hunting in mind I will be going over some basic tips on how to get the best accuracy and precision out of your set up.

First will be a proper mounting: we want to make sure everything is tight and seated properly; any movement at all will cause a huge issue and prevent an accurate shot. Some people like to use  Loctite on their screws.  Be sure to use removable (Blue) Loctite, as Red Loctite will cause the screws to permanently set, which will cause a great deal of trouble if you decided to change optics. Once the bases and rings are properly set and your optic is mounted we will take the firearm to the range.

If you have the proper tools to bore sight, then that should be your next step. If not your local Bass Pro will bore sight it for you. When bore sighting you want to start at 25 yards and adjust your windage and elevation screws on your scope. A habit I got into was to tap the screws lightly to help set the cross hairs. Now that the optic is bore sighted at 25 yards it should be on paper at 100. With a few more adjustments you should be spot on and ready for the next season. There are tons of products to help with sighting in, like the Pursuit Boresighter Kit. This will make future jobs easier and you would be able to sight in many different firearms. So what ever your hunting make sure your on target with a proper sighting.


 

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Chug Chug Chug!....Water

 Water makes up more than half of your body weight, so keeping yourself well hydrated is essential for survival. You lose water by using the restroom, sweating and even breathing. Vomiting, diarrhea, hot weather and exercise increase your loss of water immensely. You can easily become dehydrated. 

Symptoms of dehydration include dry mouth, extreme thirstiness, headache, little or no urine, lack of tear production, fatigue (sleepiness), confusion, dizziness and yellow/dark urine. Try to not get to the point of these symptoms before acting. 

The average person needs about 48-64 ounces of water a day or 6-8 8 ounce glasses of water. Make sure to increase you water intake if you are pregnant, nursing, exercising, or ill (sick).

Hydration can come from other things besides water, such as fruit and vegetable juices, milk, and even caffeinated drinks like coffeee and tea. be sure to limit the intake of these caffeinated beverages however because they make you urinate more, hence dehydrating you. Foods can also be a great source of hydration, for instance watermelon, lettuce, tomatoes, and soup broths are all great options for their water content. Sports drinks are also wonderful because not only do they hydrate but also replace electrolytes you lose while sweating.

There are many tools to help you keep hydrated while out having fun in nature. Bass Pro Shops carries a wide variety from filters to bottles, to ensure not only you have water available but it is clean and safe to drink.

CamelBak® Eddy® .75L Bottle                                                                                             Camelbak Eddy .75 L $15.00

Nalgene Everyday Wide Mouth 1 Quart Water Bottle                                                                                Nalgene Bottle $10.99

Ascend® H1250 2L Hydration Pack                                                                                             Ascend 2 L Hydration Pack $54.99

CamelBak® Elixir™ Electrolyte Hydration Beverage - Tropical Punch with Caffeine                                       Elixer to add electrolytes $7.00

Sawyer® Mini Squeeze Water Filter                                                                                           Mini Squeeze Filter $29.99

And the list of products goes on. There are so many options in modern times to always have clean water on you. So drink up and enjoy the outdoors. You can find these products plus many more at Bass Pro Shops locations or by visiting http://basspro.com or see Summer Heat; Stay Hydrated and Keep Cool

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Fish Cooking You Can Be Proud OF

Do I have an awesome cookbook for you to try or what?

This book will teach you how to Grill & Smoke fish like a chef.  It contains 150 recipes and is loaded with very useful tips!  Here is one of my favorite recipes from the book.

Sunnies Dijon

1/4 cup mayonnaise--2 Tablespoons spicy yellow mustard--1 1/2 Tablespoons lemon--1/4 cup cornmeal--1 Teaspoon finely chopped tarragon--1 Tablespoon cracked black peppercorns--2-3 pounds crappie

Preheat grill--mix the mayo, mustard, lemon juice, cornmeal, tarragon, and peppercorns in a large bowl--dip the fillets in the mixture until they are thoroughly coated--place the fillets on the grill and lower the heat to medium--close the lid and cook for 6 to 8 minutes--turn and cook 4 to 5 minutes longer, until cornmeal is slightly charred--serve immediately. YUM!

You will love this book!  Remember to cook all fish to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F for at least 15 seconds.  If you don't have a thermometer, try this:  Slip a knife into the flesh and pull it aside.  The edges should be opaque and the center slightly translucent, with flakes beginning to separate.  After cooking, always let the fish stand for 3 to minutes.

**Keep fish hot, at least 140 degrees F to serve.  Do not leave cooked fish unrefrigerated for more than 2 hours.

http://www.basspro.com/Fish-Grilled-and-Smoked-by-John-Manikowski/product/1303191330/

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What the Deet?

What exactly is Deet? It is a colorless liquid, faint odor, and does not easily dissolve in water. Deet was developed by the U.S Army in 1946 to protect soldiers in insect infested areas. It has been registered in the United States for use by the general public in 1957, and has been commercially marketed as a personal insect repellent since 1965.

Is Deet harmful? If it makes contact with the eyes it can cause irritation or burning. Prolonged contact with skin can result in a rash or redness/swelling. If this product is swallowed it can cause nausea or in rare cases seizures. As far as material items it can  damage certain rubber, plastic, vinyl, or elastic
materials such as contact lenses, eyeglass frames and lenses, watch crystals,combs, painted and varnished surfaces, and certain synthetic or treated fabrics. But does not seem to have a bad effect on natural materials such as cotton, wool or hemp.

How does it work? Scientists have yet to know precisely how it works, but one theory is that insects detect their target by detecting chemicals in our body or through our breath. Through testing, Deet seems to screen these chemicals, making it harder for insects to detect us.

What percent do I use?  Rarely are high concentrations of Deet necessary . Products with 10% to 35% Deet will provide adequate protection under most conditions, although even lower concentrations may be warranted for children. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that repellents used on children contain no more than 10% deet.

Products:

Repel® Sportsmen Max Formula® Aerosol Insect Repellent                                                                  Sprays starting at $6.99

Repel® Sportsmen Max Formula® Lotion                                                                                    Lotions starting at $5.99

There are also many Deet-free options also such as the Bugpatch. At Foxworthy Outdoors The Bugpatch Insect Repellent                                                                                $4.99  it is a natural patch designed for children. Among many other products available. Simply stop by the camping department as Bass Pro Shops and have a friendly associate help you find whats best for your needs, or go to http://basspro.com to view products available. Also see Guide to Bug Repellents or It's Bug time......Again for more information on keeping you protected this season. Now get out there and enjoy The Great Outdoors!

 

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The Perfect Picnic Sites

Hiking is a great way to explore the areas around you and find out more about the history of our great nation and states. Most places that have hiking have great over looks of beautiful lakes, prairies, rivers and other neat geological formations. I find there is a lot of beauty to be seen and I always try to make a day of it with friends and family.

Finding a spot can be quite easy. I have a lot of friends that go hiking often, so I just ask them where a neat place is. State and National parks have websites you can visit to find new places as well if you do not have many people to ask. I recently visited http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/parks/guides/parksearch/findpark.asp to see what parks were near me. Some state  and national parks have facebook pages as well. Nebraska, for example, does and they keep you updated for any free days for families where you can learn archery, if they have fishing days where you can use equipment for free, group hikes, living history acts and other fun activities. 

After finding the place you want to go, you should always plan out your day. Tell someone who is not going with you where you are going and times you are going and coming back in case of inclement weather or in case other emergencies arise. Always check the weather before the days you are planning on going and on the day you are going to make sure you are going to have good weather or are prepared if there is a chance of rain.

I make sure all people in the group have water with them. I carry a few nalgene bottles, which hold one liter(32 Ounces) of water and are darn near indestructible.(http://www.basspro.com/Nalgene-Everyday-Tritan-Wide-Mouth-Bottle-32-oz-/product/10207661/) where my brother prefers to have his camelbak which already has a hydration system installed into a day pack. 

I make sure I have all the essentials in my personal day pack like a camera to keep my photo journal up to date, a rain poncho, compass and a first aid kit in case of an emergency. When I check into the park I make sure I get a map of the park so I know where the trails are. I usually drive around the park, with who ever is with me, till we find a trail that we both agree upon or one that looks good to both of us. You can also ask the ranger when you check in if there is an easy/medium/hard trail (depending on your level of comfort) that they would recommend for you. Make sure you read the map to see how many mile that particular trail is so that you are fully prepared with enough drinking water and food. Most of the time the trails on the map will have special look outs or features marked on the trail on the map to make it easy to find the best features of the park easily.

  I like it when places have benches to sit and enjoy a snack or lunch. Most scenic outlooks have benches or picnic tables so you can enjoy your view longer. They don't always have grills however, so make sure you have something simple to eat just in case. The maps usually have symbols to tell you if they do, I prefer not to carry too much while hiking though.

I bring along sandwiches that do not need refrigerating so they do not spoil. I also bring along granola bars, chips, jerky, fruit or something else to snack on while walking. You may have to walk several miles to get to some wonderful views. I also keep a cooler in my car with things I can cook over a grill when I get back from the trails. Hiking makes me hungry!

Some parks have grills readily available near parking for trails some do not. I pack a small grill and extra propane with me just in case. It always feels good to to have a full belly on the way home!

I hope you get a lot of good pictures out there!

 

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Last Minute Father's Day Gift Ideas!

Time is running out, and men can be really hard to buy for!  I know I rarely wait for someone to buy me a gift of something I really want, I simply go buy it and it drives my wife crazy!  Gift cards are easy, but they lack imagination.  This year, get your father something he would never think about, but he likely carries with him every day: a good knife.

If you asked every guy you ran across if he carries a knife, I'd bet that almost all of them do, and it's likely that almost all of them could REALLY use a new one!  Obviously, there are A LOT of knives to choose from, but some of my personal favorites come from Case Knives.  

Case makes about every style of pocket knife that a guy could dream of, but they also do a lot of commemorative and special edition knives.  My two favorite sets of knives they have done are the John Deere series and our newest edition, Harley Davidson!  

These are great Father's Day gifts because it is likely that yours hasn't thought to buy one for himself, not to mention that there is a $5 Rebate on all Case Knives through the end of the month!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Man Named Browning

In today's firearm market we have a lot of different choices in what we purchase, but what makes each manufacturer different from all the rest?  Is it machining?  Quality of metals?  Or perhaps simply how much love they put into their product?  Or is it all a matter of opinion?

With the research I have done one manufacturer caught my attention above the rest: Browning.  There is quite an interesting history behind Browning and how they became what they are today.  Not to mention, they are responsible for producing my favorite shotgun: the A-5. 

In 1855 a boy was born who would change the world of firearms. This boy would eventually design some of the most well known and arguably the best designed guns in modern firearms history.  We credit the design of firearms like the 1911 pistols and .50 caliber machine guns to the boy we all know as John Moses Browning.

Browning started making guns at a vary young age, the first gun he created was when he was 13. He contributed in furthering the design and quality of many different kinds of firearms including lever actions, single shots, and side by side shotguns.  What he is best known for, however, is his auto-loading firearms. He made many different kinds of auto-loading firearms like the .50 Caliber BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle) and the 1911 to name a few, and my all time favorite the Auto-5.    

The Auto-5 was created in 1895 and was put into production in 1900.  The Browning Auto-5 is a long-recoil operated semi-automatic shotgun.  Shells are stored in a tubular magazine under the barrel.  When a chambered shell is fired, the barrel and bolt recoil together (for a distance greater than the shell length) and re-cock the hammer.  As the barrel returns forward to its initial position the bolt remains behind and thus the spent shell is ejected through a port on the top of the receiver.  Then the bolt returns forward and feeds another shell from the magazine into the action.  So as Remington Model 11 Shotgunyou are firing the gun, the barrel slides into the receiver, (an action which is still seen in firearms such as the Barrett family of long-range weapons).  The A-5 has a system of friction rings that control the rate of recoil.  Setting these rings correctly is vital to optimal shotgun performance; and also to ensure a long life of the weapon by controlling excessive recoil.  The friction rings are set based on the type of load to be fired through the gun.  If you wanted to shoot a low brass round you can adjust the spring to fire without any hang ups or jams, and when you're ready to hunt with high brass you set the spring back and can have the same feeding reliability.

The Auto-5 came with lots of extras for its time as well.  One of these features is a magazine tube stop which stops any shells from loading in to the receiver when the action is cycled and the chambered round is removed.  This is a very useful feature, and adds safety when crossing fences, as you can safely de-chamber a round without completely unloading the firearm.  It also helps to change different loads with quickly and easily.  This feature is still in use today on the Browning Maxus.

The Auto-5 remained in production for nearly 100 years, stopping in 1998.  Browning has since re-released a very similar firearm, although it is now simply called the A5.  This shotgun has stood the test of time and has influenced the hunting world as we know it.  Although the design of this firearm is old and it may not win any beauty contests, its hump back design makes it very unique (and identifiable) and its reliability is still nearly unmatched.  If you're looking for a great gun with an even more impressive history the Auto-5 is a no-brainer.

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