Curing Your End of Season Waterfowl Blues

If you are anything like me, this time of year is a very sad time, as this past weekend marked the close of almost all the duck seasons across the nation.  Some states still have dark goose seasons running until the first week of February, but as the season winds down you don't have to worry about hanging up your lanyard just yet!

Some of the best goose hunting of the year is quickly approaching, and it comes in the form of the Light Goose Conversation Order (LGCO) season, more commonly known as the Spring Snow Goose Season.  For those who are unfamiliar, the Spring Snow Goose season is a nuisance season for light geese (includes Snows, Blues and Ross' geese), and exists for the sole purpose of trying to curb the massive population of these geese, which are literally eating themselves out of their tundra nesting grounds.  The LGCO is a very liberal season, allowing for unplugged shotguns, electronic callers and no bag or possession limits, all in hopes that hunters will take as many of these birds as possible to keep the population in check.

There are many methods hunters will use in attempt to take snow geese; pass-shooting, jumping and even stalking using plywood cow decoys to name a few, but the best way to put big numbers down, like always, is to decoy them.

Decoying snow geese can be a tricky ordeal, as everything you do is multiplied and magnified.  Instead of flocks of 2-300 birds, it is not uncommon to have flocks of 2-3000 (and larger!), which is just that many more eyes to pick apart your spread.  The way to combat such a large number of birds, is with an equally large number of decoys.  If you can afford/store/haul enough full bodies to do the job, more power to you, but by far the most economical way to build a successful (and transportable) spread is with a sock-style decoy, such as the Tanglefree Slammer Socks.  Most sock-style decoys can be purchased in small or large quantities, in Tanglefree's case: dozen or 4 dozen.  The advantage of the sock-style decoys is that they are much cheaper than their full-body brethren (usually $50-75/dozen vs. $300 or more for full body) not to mention they are much easier to store, as you can usually fit about 10 dozen socks in a large storage tote.

 

 

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When purchasing your decoys, you should consider what area of the country you will be hunting.  The Midwest (Central and Mississippi Flyways) will see a much larger portion of Blue Geese than either of the Coasts.  If you plan on hunting the Midwest, a good rule of thumb is to have about a 50/50 mixture of Snows and Blues, perhaps leaning a little heavier on the snows.  Those who are hunting the coasts should have a spread of almost entirely Snows, with just a few Blues mixed in.

If you have ever watched a large flock of Snow Geese feeding, you will notice that they are almost never all sitting still, and quite frequently "jump" each other towards the head of the spread (where all the untouched food is).  This means that you should invest in some sort of flyer, such as the Edge Snow Goose Magnet, to simulate geese jumping and trading for new food.  There really is no such thing as too many flyers, as they give the illusion of a very active feed, and will help draw attention away from your hide.

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To fully appreciate all the benefits of the LGCO, one should also consider (although they are not necessary to be successful) a magazine extension (if your gun will accept one) and an electronic caller.  If you were already thinking about purchasing an electronic caller for your winter predator hunting, consider upgrading to one of the more high-output models such as the FoxPro Shockwave or Prairie Blaster, as Snow Geese are very loud birds and you will want to make as much noise as possible to simulate the real thing.  If you already have an electronic predator caller, it will likely work just fine, as most of them have downloadable sounds, you will just likely need more of them, as the lower-output 1 and 2 speaker models simply won't put off as much noise.

This spring and summer saw a record hatch of light geese, so juvenile geese will be plentiful and ripe for the picking. Spring Snow Goose hunting can be a lot of work, but when it pays off, it pays off big, and there really is nothing quite like a tornado of geese circling mere yards above your head.  So don't put your shotgun to the back of the safe just yet, some of the best hunting of the year is just weeks away!

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Can Cookers (Cream Can Cooker)

Many people have heard of the product "CanCooker" or "Cream Can Cooker" throughout the years but have yet to use one or know exactly how it works or uses for them. In this article I will hopefully clarify somethings from the history of them to modern day uses.

The History: Ranchers would get together and everyone, even their families would participate. Before they started their day of work, each family would bring food which all went into a cream can, this can was put onto a fire to cook while they worked. At lunch time, they would come back to a hot, hearty, homemade meal that easily fed the entire group and included something for everyone. In modern days it can be difficult to find a cream can and if you can it is pretty big holding about 50 lbs. of food. With the weight involved, while removing the can from the fire, the bottom can drop out. Advances in technology and research have brought us to today's modern can cooker.

CanCookers allow you to do what it is you need to do with your day instead of preparing and cooking food. Clean up is easy too due to the steam keeping the food from sticking to the sides. And, unlike the original cream can which took half a day to cook, CanCooker cooks a meal in about an hour. CanCooker also works on any heat source for use at home or outdoors.Since it cooks with steam so you get a healthier, better tasting meal as well!

How To Use It:

Like any new cooking device, you need to wash your CanCooker with soap and water before using.

• If your lid doesn’t quite fit – soak the lid in warm water. This will allow for a better fit. Then simply choose a recipe, load it up with the food you choose, attach the lid, fire up your heat source, look for steam, set a timer. When Done remove carefully using oven mitts. Let stand for 5-10 minutes. When you remove the lid be careful! Steam will burn. Serve and enjoy, then to clean just use soap and water.

CanCooker $99.99CanCooker BC - 002 Bone Collector

 
Cancooker Jr.CanCooker Jr. $59.99
These items along with some accessories are available at Bass Pro Shops. To views more products please go to http://basspro.com or see Product Spotlight - Elite 8.5 Quart Stainless Steel Slow Cooker for similar products if CanCooker is not for you.
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Safety and Turkey Frying

For many years people have been preparing their holiday bird in many ways trying to find the perfect recipe to please the whole family. One method that many have turned to is frying the turkey. It sears in the juices and leave a crunchy skin. This method, however, can be dangerous and causes many accidents each year.

According to a report released this month by the National Fire Protection Association, deep fryers as a group are involved in about 1,000 home fires each year, causing an average of 57 injuries, or nearly twice the injury rate of any other type of cooking fire.

Further, each deep-fryer fire causes an average of $14,500 in property damage, or nearly three times that of any other form of cooking fire.

This article will hopefully educate you on tips and methods to start or continue a tradition in a safe way.

10 Steps on how to prepare and cook:

Start first by removing neck and giblets from cavity. Also remove pop-up timer and wire or plastic truss that holds legs in place. Make sure the bird is completely thawed and pat dry inside and out.

 

1)Season the turkey. Begin by sprinkling your seasoning of choice over the top of the bird and around the legs, rubbing it in as you go. Then turn it on its side, sprinkle more seasoning and rub it in. Completely turn the turkey over upside down before sprinkling and rubbing the underside. Continue until the entire body has been well covered and rubbed.

2)Make the metal handle. This method is recommended if you do not have a deep frying basket. Place the turkey on its shoulders (where the head would be) and begin to spear the wire through it, just underneath the breast and by the wings. Carefully pull the wire through and loop the wire around about three times to make a metal handle. Twist the ends of the wire around your handle so there are no sharp ends. It is very important to do a little test to make sure that your handle is totally secure when lifting up the turkey. Only when you are convinced that the handle is strong enough should you move onto the next step.

3)Prepare the burner. The frying of the turkey must be done outside, in a dry and well ventilated area and not near anything flammable. Set the gas burner on a level surface because this is one of the safest options so that the fryer doesn't tip over. Keep the propane tank as far away from the fryer as possible and make sure it is not on, under or near any flammable materials. When not set up properly, a deep fryer can explode. Please read the instructions that came with your fryer.

4)Prepare the oil level. Fill the pot halfway with water. Then roughly half fill the bucket with water, which should represent the same weight as your turkey. Place the bucket into the pot to make sure the water does not go past the top of the bucket; it should be at least 5 or 6 inches below the rim. If it is too high, then discard some of the water. The water line will represent the quantity of oil you will need, so make a note of it. Remove the bucket and tip away the water from the pot.

5)Dry the pot. It is extremely important to thoroughly wipe the pot dry with some kitchen roll. You must not leave any water in the pot as hot oil and water can be a very dangerous combination.

6)Add the oil. Pour the oil into the pot to the level where the water was. You should have somewhere between 3-5 inches of oil in the pot. Light your gas burner to a high setting and place the pot carefully down onto the burner plate. Place the thermometer into the oil and allow the oil to heat to a temperature of 350 °F (175 °C). The time it takes to heat to cooking temperatures varies. The outside temperature and conditions can heat oil to dangerous levels quickly. Consider protective apron, gloves and goggles.

7)Check the temperature. Once the oil has reached 350 °F (175 °C), you're ready to fry. Make sure you have on your protective gloves and jacket when handling the turkey or working around the hot oil. With the metal hook attached to the wire loop handle of your turkey, lower the turkey with extreme care into the hot oil. Even with the bird patted dry, there will be a violent reaction when it hits the hot oil. Do this very slowly and be aware of any hot splashing oil. It is strongly recommended to turn off the burner while the turkey is being submerged, then to turn it back on once the turkey is in. Boiled over oil hitting the burner is the cause of most accidents.

8)Fry the turkey. Allow 3-4 minutes of cooking for every 500g grams (1lb). Monitor the temperature by leaving a candy thermometer in the oil (hung from a copper wire) as the turkey cooks. Never leave the hot oil unattended during the cooking process! When the bird is dropped and the fluids begin to cook out, the boiling off of these fluids tends to cool the oil, after which the oil temperature may tend to rise. Halfway through the cooking process, check to see how the turkey is doing by briefly lifting it out of the pot, again using the metal hook attached to the wire handle. Then lower it back into the pot for the rest of the cooking period. If oil begins to smoke at any time, or if it begins to rise adjust the burner and  lower the heat.
 

9)Finish the frying. Once the turkey begins to float to the top of the oil, allow it cook for an additional 15 minutes. Once cooked, carefully remove your turkey from the pot, give it a little shake to disperse the excess oil and transfer it back onto its platter. Check the internal temperature with the meat thermometer. The temperature should be at least 165 degrees F (75 degrees C), but preferably 170 degrees F (77 degrees C) in the breast and 180 degrees F (82 degrees C) in the thigh

10)Turn off the flame. Let the oil cool completely, making sure it's in a spot where nobody (especially kids and pets) will run into it. Remove the wire and serve.

How to Dispose of all that grease:

Store the oil in the original container for reuse. Strain out any particles and freeze. Oil can
be kept for up to six months and reused for up to six hours of fry time.

Freeze it and then throw the hardened oil away on trash day.
Mix it with unscented kitty litter, sawdust, or sand to solidify the oil. Dispose of it in the trash.
Avoid scented or disinfectant types of kitty litter as they can react with the oil and cause a
fire. Or another option is to recycle it at your community’s transfer or recycling center. A list
of centers is available at www.hrclean.org (click on
Household Hazardous Waste).

Where to buy tools needed:

Seasonings:Butterball Garlic and Savory Herb Turkey Seasoning Kit                                                                          $6.99

Oils:Turkey Gold Cotton Seed Oil                                                                                                     Starting at $12.99Cajun Injector® Peanut Blend Frying Oil                                                                                     Starting at $14.99

Fryer:Bass Pro Shops® 30-Quart Propane Turkey Fryer                                                                               Bass Pro 30 Qt. $49.97

These are just a few options to start you out. Please visit http://Basspro.com to view more products or stop by the store and ask one of our friendly associates for assistance. With these tips and a little precaution you are sure to have a wonderful meal to serve your loved ones with a little help from Bass Pro. Also see A Good Holiday Turkey is a Fried Holiday Turkey! 

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Commonly Asked Camping Related Questions

Walking into the camping department, you have an idea of what you're looking for and think it should be just a grab and go item, but when you think you've found what you're looking for you realize there's more to it than you thought. What are Lumens? Btu's? You begin to realize you need some assistance on the knowledge of these products. This blog will cover some of these common questions and try to clarify some things for you to make your next shopping trip a little easier.

What is a Lumen? Simply put it's a measure of total "amount" of visible (to the human eye) light emitted by a source. With LED becoming the primary source, some people still using watts are not sure how the conversion works. Watts (incandescent) to Lumen (LED) rule of thumb for replacement is: 100 watt = 1600 lumens, 75 watt = 1100 lumens, 60 watt = 800 lumens, and 40 watt = 450 lumens. Streamlight® Super Tac® X C4® LED Flashlight

What is a BTU? British Thermal Unit is a traditional unit of energy equivalent to about 1055 joules. It is the amount of energy needed to cool or heat one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. BTU describes heat value of fuels. There is no universal conversion factor for the number of BTU to volume. One standard cubic foot of natural gas yields 1030 BTU (depending on the quality when burned.)Mr. Heater® MH45T Triple Tank Top Propane Heater

What is Candlepower?  (candelas) is an absolute unit expressing luminous intensity in terms of light emitted by candle of specific size and constituents. It is sometimes used to describe the luminous intensity of high powered flashlights and spotlights. Most packages will show both lumens and candlepower. For instance a 2,000,000 candlepower spotlight is also referred to as a 250 lumen spotlight, a 3,500,000 candlepower is equal to 600 lumens. Bass Pro Shops® 2 Million Candlepower Camo Spotlight

What are the dimensions on an air mattress? Twin 39"X75", Full 54"X75", Queen 60"X80", King 76"X80". Now you'll know if it will fit in your tent!Coleman® Double High Air Mattress With 120V QuickPump™ Unit

What is the best pepper spray to get for my loved one? There are many varieties and manufacturers of pepper spray on the shelves today. In all reality all of them have the same amount of pepper (capsaicin) by law 10 %. Even bear sprays have just 10%. The only differences is the container style you choose and how far and with what force the product is dispensed. For instance bear spray can be sprayed from 35 feet away while most pepper sprays for humans spray only about 10 feet. There is also pepper gel. In my opinion i believe this to be a safer and more effective spray. Not only does it "stick" to the perpetrator better, but is safe to use in a closed environment such as an elevator, or around other people without the risk of blow-back onto yourself or  onto someone else nearby    Campus Safety Pepper Gel - Pink                                                                                                 $11.99

 

For other questions you may have on any subject that was not covered in this article or for more details about this content feel free to ask any of the friendly and knowledgeable staff at Bass Pro Shops. Or go tohttp://basspro.com. Also see Product Spotlight: Pink Pepper Spray  for more information on pepper sprays.

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Great Ice Fishing Gear

With the changing of the season comes the changing of the fishing conditions. In many of the central and northern states this means the transition of open water to fishing on a big slab of ice. This has long been a favorite winter tradition for many residents of the northern states; however, there is a new generation of anglers out there looking to get involved in the sport of "Ice Fishing". The following is a guideline to some of the current products on the market that make this past time easier and more enjoyable.

First thing you will want to think of before venturing out on early season ice is safety. Here are a few things that are good items to consider. The first is some sort of life preserver. I prefer to use something lightweight and non restrictive like the Bass Pro Shops auto/manual inflatable life vest. http://www.basspro.com/Bass-Pro-Shops-Auto/Manual-Inflatable-Life-Jacket/product/11090805012133/

life vest

The next safety item is a pair of ice picks. These will help you pull yourself back up onto the ice should you happen to fall through.http://www.basspro.com/HT-Enterprises-Deluxe-Retractable-Polar-Ice-Picks/product/10228938/

ice picks

The last and most used safety item is a good pair of ice cleats or traction aids. These will help you keep from slipping and falling almost constantly on clean ice.http://www.basspro.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Navigation?storeId=10151&catalogId=10051&langId=-1&searchTerm=ice+cleats

ice cleats

Good gloves and boots will make dealing with the cold and wet conditions bearable, make sure whatever you select are waterproof. The next thing you will want to think about for your ice fishing expedition is a way to access the fish under your feet. This can be achieved with a variety of tools the following are most common; a ice chisel, a hand auger, or a power auger. There is even an attachment to make your drill into an ice auger. http://www.basspro.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Navigation?storeId=10151&catalogId=10051&langId=-1&searchTerm=ice+auger

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The next few items are where the selections may become overwhelming for the new angler because of all of the options on the market. I will try to narrow down some top choices and give brief explanations why.

Next I would recommend  a sled of some kind to assist in transporting your gear onto the ice. Just about any sled will work but the deep sleds or the ice fishing sleds carry the gear much more efficiently. Combine that with a bucket and you should be able to easily carry everything you need onto the ice. The bucket will serve as your livewell and a seat for you.

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Another essential item would be an ice rod and reel combo. There are all kinds of options to choose from and all of them will work, but one I really like and recommend is a large spool reel that does not wrap the line around a fixed spool, instead the spool roles the line up onto it. The reason is so you have less coiling in you line making your jig more responsive and your jig will not spin upon retrieve.

ice reel

This inexpensive schooley reel works great for this application.http://www.basspro.com/Schooleys-Spring-Bobber-Pole-Package/product/12082905321612/

The next item you will need is some sort of jig or bait, there are many options but a good variety in your arsenal is recommended. http://www.basspro.com/Fishing-Ice-Fishing-Rods-Reels-Accessories-Ice-Fishing-Lures-Baits/_/N-1z0ux9f?cm_sp=IceFishEnchPgBaitsSep2013_CFM

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There are a few more products like heaters, shelters, and fishfinders that make long days out on the ice more enjoyable and cold days more bearable but they are not as essential for getting involved in the sport.

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Here is a list of all of the items that are in my ice fishing sled, hopefully this helps with your next adventure.

1. Sled

2. Ice fishing bucket

3. Heater

4. Rods and reels

5. Tackle Box with ice jigs

6. Wax worms/ Minnows (bait)

7. Pop-up shelter

8. Flasher (fish finder)

9. Ice cleats & picks

10. Ice Skimmer

 

For many more products used for ice fishing please visit us at www.basspro.com . There are many great ice fishing articles and blogs from our prostaff if you would like to view them please click on the links provided. http://blogs.basspro.com/blog/bass-pro-shops-altoona-ia/prepping-for-ice-season, http://blogs.basspro.com/blog/bass-pro-shops-council-bluffs-ia. Thank you for your business. Good luck and be safe!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Preparing a Hotspot for Ice fishing Season

Now is the perfect time of the year to start preparing for the ice fishing season. The days are getting shorter, colder and before too long the ice will start to form over some of your favorite fishing holes.

frozen lake

Here are a few preparations you can make to help ensure your long months of ice fishing are some of the best you may have all year.

The first thing I like to do is to get out on the boat and do a little research. The things I’m looking for are different types of underwater structure. Wether it is submerged trees, rock piles, or just rapid changes in water depth, these are all different types of structure that baitfish will congregate around once the underwater vegetation becomes scarce.  

In order to find different types of structure I will typically get in a boat and simply start searching with a fish finder. The reason you want to do this before there is several inches of ice on the water is simply to cover more water much faster.  There are many great products on the market that help with this process and Bass Pro Shops has a wide variety of these devices to choose from.   http://www.basspro.com/Boating-Marine-Electronics-Fish-Finders-Navigation/High-Price-200-399/_/N-1z0ux98Z8ir

The other vital tool I use for this process is a simple handheld gps devise like the Garmin eTrex 10.etrex gps

There is a wide variety of these type of GPS's available at http://www.basspro.com/_/N-0/Ntk-Search_All/Ntt-gps?Ntx=mode%2Bmatchallpartial&actualSearchTerm=gps. The reason for the handheld devise is that it is compact and accurate, making it very easy to find your marked waypoints once you have ice that is safe enough to fish on.

If you are planning on ice fishing a body of water with little or no subsurface stracture to it, and it is a body of water where it is legal, I strongly recommend creating your own structure to fish over. One of the most common ways to do this is to create a brush pile, if you want make structure that will last of years and won't breakdown overtime I reccomend artificial structures like the "Honey Hole Tree"

tree

http://www.basspro.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Navigation?storeId=10151&catalogId=10051&langId=-1&searchTerm=honey+hole

These are wonderful structures to fish over because they promote aquatic growth throughout the summer months, but they also attract baitfish which in turn attract predatory fish, and the best thing about this type of structure is that it is much harder to get snagged on while fishing.

Please check out more Ice Fishing related topics at http://blogs.basspro.com/blog/ice-fishing-gear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fall Jerkbait Fishing

Once the water starts dropping below the 60 degree mark, jerkbaits are a hot bait to throw.  The fish are stockin up for winter and you will probably have the entire lake to yourself.  There are many things to consider when throwing a jerkbait: water clarity, location, forage, line and rod are a few.  10 lb florocarbon is a good starting point, aiding in the suspending action of any given jerkbait. 

line

There are days where a tight wobble versus a wide wobble are preferred.  Running depth varies per brand of jerkbait.  A good medium action rod will not over work the jerkbait and allow the rod to load up on a strike.  Some jerkbaits will suspend evenly right out of the box, others may require a few suspend strips/dots. 

dots

Jerkbaits are meant to entice those suspended fish relating to cover or depth changes into biting.  A natural match the hatch approach is always a good start, but that is not to say a brighter reflective finish will not coax a cold water bass into biting.  

Once you find some good structure ie rockpiles, brushpiles, channel swings, creek channels let the fun begin.  Pick a jerkbait that will run/supsend according to the depth of structure you are fishing and tie one on. (Retailers like Bass Pro Shops have a wide variety of Jerkbaits to choose from.)http://www.basspro.com/Hard-Bait-Lures/_/N-1z0uxaq/Ntk-Search_All/Ntt-jerkbaits?Ntx=mode%2Bmatchallpartial

   Monofiliament or Florocarbon line may help your choice if you need to help keep the bait higher in the water column a mono line will be better, if you need to help keep the bait down in the water column, a florocarbon line will be better.  Confidence is the best bait in your tackle box, if you have had success with a given color of crankbait, match that in a jerkbait.  Throw your jerkbait out, reel it down 5-6 times to get it in the strike zone, a good 5-10 second pause is a good rule of thumb to start with, the colder the water, the longer you may have to let it set.  You may give the bait 2-3 quick jerks with your rod tip down or you may just turn your reel handle 2-3 times.  Experiment with the retirieve and length of pause until you get bit, letting the fish tell you how they want it and how long it set each time, duplicate the retrieve and you are in business.

You can read more about Jerkbaits and Jerkbait selection at the following link: Jerkbaits

Spro Mc StickStaysee 90

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The Traveling Bowhunter. Pack Smart and Light.

The other day a guy came into the archery department and showed me a very disturbing photograph.  He had been on a 10 day hunting trip to North Dakota and on his return flight the airline ran over his bow case with the bow in it.  The bow case was destroyed and his bow took a little damage.  Imagine if this would have been on the arriving flight and not the returning home flight?

We hear time and time again about misfortunes that hunter’s experience when traveling to hunt a new area or state.  These hunters sometimes have put in for tags for several years to get the chance for a “Once in a lifetime” hunt.  On their way to the hunting adventure, the airline looses their baggage or bow.  Sometimes the gear shows up destroyed and unusable.  What do you do now?

Plan ahead!  Plan for the worst.

Many of us have driven to hunting locations and load our pickup to the gills with everything we “Might” need.  This unfortunately doesn’t work well when dealing with the airlines or even more so, a fly in trip to Alaska or Canada where you are limited to maybe 50 or so pounds of gear plus yourself and what you are wearing.

Pack Smart!  Determine what you “Need” not what you “Want” on the trip.

Use a scale to weigh what you think you need.  Find out from the airline and the bush pilot what your max weights can be and how many bags you are allowed.  Pack and weigh.

Clothing:

Layering is by far the best way to achieve all of your goals here.  Comfort, and weight reducing.  Today there are many choices of high performance gear.  Start with moisture wicking under clothes.  The are very light, compact and effective in keeping you dry.

Next layer should be a Cold Gear type of clothing.  Clothing that allows moisture to pass from you out away from your body and yet retains heat during those chilly sits.

A wind proof jacket with plenty of pockets.

Full set of high performance pants and jacket, rain gear.  Many of these will fold and stow within their own pockets.  These pieces of gear are light, compact and very effective in keeping out the rain.  Tip… Cut a ¼ sheet of chamois and place in your rain jacket pocket.  This can be used to wipe off your lenses on your binoculars and rangefinders.

Socks are often a shortcut that many hunters take or don’t think much about.  Even if the rest of your body is dry and comfortable, if your feet are damp, you will be miserable.  Purchase yourself moisture wicking liners and wool socks.  Just like you layer your body to stay comfortable, layer your feet too.  They need to breathe and release moisture to be comfortable.  In the event your feet do get wet the wool will keep your feet warm so the rest of you warm too.  Wool also dries very quickly so will be ready the following day or twos days at the most.

Boots should be very comfortable and broke in before the trip.  If you hiking many miles a day, consider a lower gram weight of insulation like Thinsulate.  This will keep your feet from overheating.  I prefer a nice arch support or cork bed to keep my feet comfortable.  Boots with replaceable liners are a good choice as you can dry out one set one day and wear the other the same day.

Gloves and hats now come lightweight and with very effective wicking and warm materials.  Your head is the primary heat loss part of your body.  Keep it warm and dry and most likely the rest of your will be warm too.

Equipment:

Purchase a SKB bow case.  They are extremely tough and take much abuse.  These cases may cost a little more but they also come with a $1500 gear insurance policy, and worth the few extra dollars in the long run.

Pack a dozen arrows with broadheads removed and store in an arrow tube.  Broadheads will pack easier removed from arrows and are less susceptible of damaging your bowstrings or gear in transport.  An extra bowstring and cables are very light and might come in handy if you or your buddy dry fires your bow or you accidentally damage the strings.  With so many different bows on the market now and each having different sizes of strings and cables, you most likely won’t find the proper set at a bow shop in any part of the country.  Carry an extra set of “shot in” strings and you will be good.

With my bow I will mark my cams with a permanent marker so that I can make sure my cams are in time at all times and if I have to change strings and or cables I can get it back in time quickly not wasting valuable hunting time.  I also measure key parts of my bow such as Nock Height, Peep Height, Brace Height, Tiller, Draw Weight and Rest locations.  I write them on a tape on my limbs so not to loose or forget them.

Binoculars, rangefinders, GPS units, SPOT units and cameras should be packed in your carry on.  You will ensure they will make it there and safely.  GPS units are a place you can save a little weight.  Garmin produces units that have GPS and cameras built in one unit.  The Rhino unit even has radio capabilities, check local laws though to see if a radio is allowed when hunting.

Now to pack it all up:

Your carry-on you should use your backpack.  Place all of your heavy items like cameras, binoculars, GPS units and rangefinders.  Pack your rain gear, gloves and caps in the pack as well.

In your bow case pack your bow, arrows and extra set of strings and cables, broadheads, a change of clothes including some socks and a change of camo.  If your other luggage becomes lost at least you still have some clothes to wear for the first few days of the hunt until your bags arrive and it helps protect your gear in the bow case.  Print on- a piece of paper, your name, destination, flight number and your contact number, as well as the hunting location’s address.   Print one of these for both the outbound and return flight and lay it on top of everything before you close your bag. This makes it really easy for airlines to know where the bag needs to go should they get misplaced.

Once you have everything packed up label your bags.  Put hard labels on the outside of your bags identifying who you are and where you live.  Before you leave on your trip print out on full sheets of paper your name, flight numbers, contact numbers and final destination.  This is true for your trip home too.  Just before you leave place the sheets that have your destination info in the bag so that if it gets lost the airline can open it and see where it needs to go.  Then do the same thing on your flight home.

The best practice is to plan for the worse.  Once you find a system that works for you record it down so that the next trip will be easier to pack.

Good luck and Shoot Straight.
 

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Hunting preparedness

Being properly prepared for your hunting trip is important. It can be the difference between life and death, not to mention just simply the comfort of your trip and peace of mind that you didn't forget anything. Make a checklist! 

-Waterproof bag- for cell phone, I.D., keys, money, license, medication, maps, etc. *Coghlan's starting at $3.59

-Flashlight and batteries * Browning tactical hunter catalyst flashlight $69.99/ Extreme batteries $4.99-$9.99

-Compass *Silva Huntsman 423 $22.99compass

-Water bottle, thermos, lifestraw, or camelback (hygdration bag) *Redhead Camo Teck-Lok bottle/pouch $14.99, Lifestraw $19.99, Redhead thermos $24.99

-Survival Kit, First aid kit, whistle * Adventure Medical kits Ultra light and water tight $17.00

-Hand warmers, gloves *Coghlan's disposable Hand Warmers 4 pack $4.29

-Matches or Fire starter ( magnesium, flint, starter sticks, etc.) *Coghlan's water tight match box $2.39

-Food: Lunch, snacks, Dehydrated meals * Tactical Bacon in a can $17.99, or Dehydrated pouches $4.99-$8.99Food

-Canvas Quarter bags- for field meat breakdown to transport more easily *Hide away 30X50 $9.99

-Knife or axe * Kutmaster Crush High Performance folding field saw $17.99/ Coghlan's camp axe $11.99

-Space heater * Mr. Heater Hunting Buddy Propane  $129.99Heater

Keep in mind these are just some of the items to consider when making your checklist. Everyone has different needs. All the items above can be found in the camping, hunting, and camo section at Bass Pro Shops or online at http://www.basspro.com. Prices and products vary, there are several options, these were just some of them to look out for. Have a safe and fun camping trip!

ALSO SEE these other helpful links: Purify Your Drinking Water with LifeStraw!, Are You Ready for Hunting Season? , Deer Camp/Camping Necessities

 

 

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New Product Spotlight: Remington 2020

Too close for missiles, I'm switching to guns.

You may recognize that line from the 80's classic Top Gun, but the top gun on the market is the new Remington 2020, and the similarities do not end there.

Earlier this month, Remington announced the release of their new 2020 shooting platform, and it flew almost completely under the radar (pun intended).  The 2020 is offered in 3 configurations (pictured below): a 700 Long Range chambered in .30-06, a 700 SPS Tactical in .308 and an R-15 in .223/5.56.

Model 700 Long Range (LR)

Model 700 SPS Tactical AAC

Bushmaster Varminter

 

Set alone, these rifles are noteworthy, but not head turning.  No longer.  Remington has built these packages complete with a Digital Optic System from Tracking Point.  The Tracking Point optic system comes complete with a 3-21 variable power scope, laser rangefinder (capable of ranging up to 750 yards), an advanced ballistics calculator and audio/video recording.

The 2020 Digital Optic System features a Heads Up Display (HUD) which provides you with all the information needed to make that critical shot:  target speed, ammunition selection, inclination, rifle cant, compass heading and much, much more.

 

 

Each package comes complete with a hand-selected rifle mounted (and zeroed) with the Remington 2020 Digital Optic System, a wheeled SKB hard case with custom foam insert, 300 rounds of matched ammunition (and a pre-loaded ballistic solution for all three paired ammunition types), a sunshade, 4 rechargeable batteries and charging cradle/power supply.  With an MSRP of around $5000, the Remington 2020 isn't for everyone, but for those with a thirst for the most up-to-date technology, look no further, because the Remington 2020 has it in spades.

Visit Remington's site devoted to the 2020:  http://www.shoot2020.com

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Choosing the Perfect Sleeping Bag

There are many shapes colors and sizes of sleeping bags, different degree ratings and are made of many different materials to accommodate for different circumstances. Things to consider when choosing your bag:

Weather: Think about how cold it might get on your hunting or camping trip. It is harder to warm up and stay warm than it is to vent and cool.

Comfort: If the bag is too snug it can feel restrictive and can compress the filling, which actually makes the bag less affective.

Moisture: Try to find one that wicks moisture away from the body and dries fast, so in most cases one made of synthetic materials.

Weight: Consider how far or long you will be toting the bag along. Hiking, hunting, etc. The lighter the better. This is a feature usually listed in the description on the box.

Size: How compact does it become to fit in or on your pack?

Fleece Liner: Try a fleece sleeping bag liner for additional warmth ( around 10 degrees ) and also keeps your bag cleaner!

Mummy BagRectangular BagFleece Liner

Fillers: Down filling good for a lighter option and also compresses better for size. It is often warmer than synthetics but is bad in wet conditions. A very bad insulator when wet.

Synthetic filling is great for wet environments, cost less usually and a great option for those allergic to down. They are bad however when it comes to weight and don't compress down as well so they take up more room in your pack.

Hooded: Also keep in mind about 50% of your body heat escapes from your head, so a hooded bag such as a mummy might be a great option for cold trips.

For more specifics such as images, cost, and features please go to Bass Pro Sleeping Bags.

Also see these links More Bag for your Buck Outdoor Essentials - Winter Camping Basics Sleeping Bag Buyer's Guide

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Wild Game Recipe for the Masses!

So you had a great day in the field; you and your friends shot a limit of dove (or teal, or anything for that matter).  What now?  Obviously, you've got some cleaning to do but what follows next is very important:  the meal.  You have a decision to make, how do you prepare your bounty so that all will enjoy it?  The answer is simple:  BACON!  One of my all time favorite recipes, and a standby for the game-shy palate, is wild-game poppers. 

Once you have breasted and washed your birds, the first step is the marinade.  I like to use equal parts Worcestershire sauce and Italian dressing.  No real measurements required, just use enough to cover all the meat and refrigerate for a couple of hours. 

Once you have marinated for the desired amount of time, it's time to assemble the poppers.  When doing dove/teal sized breasts, I like to take a pair of kitchen shears and cut the bacon in half, as it does not take a full strip of bacon to wrap a dove breast.  Spread each piece of bacon out individually on a cookie sheet or piece of wax paper (for easy cleanup later).  Using a spoon or spatula, spread a layer of cream cheese on each strip of bacon (commence drooling).  Depending on preference, I will sometimes add a slice of pickled jalapeno on top of the cream cheese for an added kick.  Now place one breast on the end of a piece of bacon and wrap the bacon around the breast, doing your best to cover as much meat as possible.  Repeat until you run out of meat/bacon.

Now you have two options, you can either secure the bacon to the meat by running a toothpick through each individual popper or my preferred method is to treat the poppers like kabobs and run a few of them on a larger skewer.  The kabob method comes in handy for the next step (much easier to turn a few large skewers than several individual poppers).

All that is left is to cook these tasty morsels.  These are best prepared on a grill over medium heat, flipping one or two times as desired, and your basic gauge of when to pull them and eat them is the bacon.  When the bacon is done, the poppers are done (raw bacon-raw bird, crispy bacon-well done).  Like any red meat, such as beef, a little red/pink in the center of the breast is completely safe so no need to worry if some aren't brown all the way through.

Now Eat and Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

Worcestershire Sauce

Italian Dressing

Dove/Teal/Duck Breasts

Bacon

Spreadable Cream Cheese

Pickled Jalapenos (if desired)

 

 

 

 

 

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Dehydrated Foods

Dehydrated meals

Whether you are camping, hiking, hunting, or just preparing for weather or an emergency, dehydrated foods can be just the thing you need. They are light weight, compact and easily prepared. There are many companies that provide these items but here are a few of the top contenders.

MOUNTAIN HOUSE

Pouches

Mountain House, a division of Oregon Freeze Dry, Inc, has been a backpacking, camping favorite since the 1960's. The Mountain House product line consists of over 58 selections, including single-serve, double-serve and four-serve entrees. The most popular sellers are our double-serve entrees, which includes over 25 flavors to choose from including:Beef Stew $7.39, Chicken Alfredo $8.69, Scrambled Eggs with Bacon $5.39, Raspberry Crumble $7.19 and Garden Green Peas $3.49. Plus many more in pouches. They also offer varieties in #10 Cans and Buckets.

 

BACKPACKERS PANTRY

Backpacker's Pantry is another brand that manufactures gourmet backpacking food.The company was founded in 1951 by Ann Benedict to supply the Girl Scouts with lightweight, nutritious food for the trail.  The Smith family purchased the company in 1971, and still owns and operates the company to this day out of Boulder, CO. They offer: One, Two and Four person. One person organic, Emergency preparedness such as 3 day meal kits and #10 cans, Gluten free and low sodium options, vegan, and snacks, spreads and oils.

 

 

WISE

Wise Favorites

You can't prevent certain events in life, but you can prepare for them.

Real Food . . . Prepared in minutes by just adding water. Wise Company takes an innovative approach, providing dependable, simple and affordable ready-made freeze dried and dehydrated entrees for emergency preparedness and outdoor use. Whether you are preparing your family for the future or planning your next outdoor adventure, Wise Company provides great tasting, high quality foods that are quick and easy to prepare. Finally a dependable, simple, and affordable choice for both your emergency food supply and outdoor needs.Wise Makes it easy to prepare!

 

All products range from just a few dollars for sides and desserts to and average of $6-8 for entrees and other desserts for 2 serving pouches. The #10 cans have a 25 year shelf life and range in price of about $20-$30 and about 20+ servings per can. The buckets are 120 servings and range in price from about $120-$150 depending on content. So in general you calculate under $2.00 per serving in most cases.

 

The following products are available at Bass Pro Stores or on their website http://www.basspro.com/Wise-Company-Favorites-Gourmet-FreezeDried/Dehydrated-Meals-7-Pack/product/1303070556359/ also see links  such as:  Emergency Food Supply Options. and A Bucket of Food

 

 

 

 

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Late Summer Watersports Action- Starring YOU!!

My name is Eric Weber.  I am from the Tracker/Marine department at Bass Pro Shops.  I have at least 13 years experience on the lake. I am also good friends with Mike Warner, a fellow associate of the Tracker/Marine department.  We enjoy being on the lake for fishing and especially water sports.  I would like to share a short video clip of some enjoyable times on the lake this summer. 

I started riding wakeboards in 2001. I currently ride Ronix wakeboards but my first year riding I obtained a Hydroslide wakeboard and used it for a couple years.  I then moved to Hyperlite wakeboards after that.  Bass Pro Shops carries both of these brands of wakeboards perfect for beginners all the way to intermediate riders. Check out the selection at http://www.basspro.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Navigation?storeId=10151&catalogId=10051&langId=-1&searchTerm=wakeboards

The entire video was shot with Bass Pro Shop’s GoPro Hero 3 camera.  This camera is a relatively new camera on the market for action sports.  It is very unique due to its wide angle lens and 1080p HD video recording.  This lens captures you in the moment plus everything that goes on around you.  It is also very fun because it can be mounted virtually anywhere.  I decided to mount it on the wakeboard, the wakeboard rope, and a pole I used to extend the camera.  Come in to the Marine department to learn more about this camera, and check out our website to see the entire Go Pro Lineup: http://www.basspro.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Navigation?storeId=10151&catalogId=10051&langId=-1&searchTerm=GoPro

Lifejackets are a key piece of wakeboarding.  You need a Coast Guard Approved jacket that will float you in case of injury on a wakeboard.  I started out with recreational lifejackets and moved up to neoprene.  Neoprene jackets have a lot more comfort in the jacket which allows me to do more tricks.  Bass Pro Shops sells both styles available in the Marine department. http://www.basspro.com/Outdoor-Recreation-Water-Sports-Life-Vests/Type-Recreational-Ski-Vests/_/N-1z0usqaZ1z0x2q7

There are many different options for tow ropes in wakeboarding.  You can use the ski rope, wakeboard rope, or ultra spectra mainline rope.  The ski rope and wakeboard rope will work perfect for beginners.  If you are at all trying to do tricks, I recommend buying the ultra spectra mainline wakeboard rope.  This rope has no spring back in it, allowing the rider to have full control in the air.  Bass Pro Shops have these three ropes available in the Marine department for sale. http://www.basspro.com/Water-Sports-Accessories/_/S-12850004004

I put a short clip of tubing at the end to show you the awesome perspective the GoPro Hero3 camera records.  Bass Pro Shops sell all different kinds of tubes. There are tubes that have spots for the rider to sit in or lay in.  My favorite tubes are the flat tubes, which allow the rider to lay flat and jump the wake.

http://www.basspro.com/Towable-Tubes/_/S-12850004002

This is just a short video clip of my summer fun.  If you have any questions on the products or want to get tips on how to wakeboard come in and talk to Mike Warner or me.  We would love to share our knowledge with you!

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It's the Little Things: Fine Tuning Your Archery Equipment

Bowhunters already have many things going against them when getting within 40 yards of the buck of a lifetime: other animals, other hunters, the wind, the environment and simply the animal's will to survive.  When that shot does present itself, we must be prepared and confident.

We all spend many hours at the practice range making sure our form is true for when that shot of a lifetime is required.  But, releasing many hundreds of arrows in practice just isn’t enough.  There are many things that affect our accuracy that just can’t be fixed by shooting more arrows.  These are a few of the little things you can do to get the upper edge on that shot of a lifetime:

Proper Arrow Selection:
Arrows flex coming off of the bow when shot.  This is the way the arrow stores energy to get that pass-through we are looking for.  The flex of an arrow is more commonly known as SPINE.  SPINE is defined by the ATA (Archery Trade Association) as a 29" arrow supported over a 28” span and then a 1.94 pound weight suspended in the middle of the shaft.  The amount of deflection, or bend, measured in one hundredths of an inch is the spine.  For example.  A 500-spine arrow will bend .500 inches as compared to a 340 spine bending at .340 inches.  A few manufacturers, such as Carbon Express, label their shafts a little differently.  Their 150, 250, 350, 450 numbers are not the same as the spine or deflection numbers as Easton, Victory, Beman, Black Eagle and now Gold Tip are using.  Make sure you carefully follow the manufacturer’s charts to ensure you are using and purchasing the correct spine for your setup.  When in question a stiffer arrow is better than a weaker arrow.  Ask your Bass Pro Archery Expert to help you with the correct selection.

Arrow Building:
Think about what an arrow really is.  It is a missile launched from your bow.  You have fletchings (or feathers) on the rear of the arrow giving it guidance.  Then we, as hunters, put wings on the front of the arrow in the form of a broad head.  These wings are now part of the equation of the aerodynamics of the missile. If the broad head or wings are not in line or wobble this will cause an arrow to corkscrew towards the target.  Not the scenario we want.  Make sure that your inserts are square to the length of the shaft.  This can easily be achieved by using an ASD (Arrow Squaring Device) to mill the end of your shaft or insert to ensure the squareness.  Your broad heads need to spin perfect with NO WOBBLE.  This is important for both fixed and mechanical broad heads.

FOC (Front of Center) FOC is how much in front of center your arrow balances. Keep your FOC above 11% and if possible closer to 15%.  If your remember back to your Physics Class, a longer lever will give greater advantage.  So the farther forward the balance point is (the farther away from the fletchings) the greater advantage the fletchings can give.
Size of Fletchings The longer the fletchings, the faster your arrow will stabilize.  However, too much fletching creates more drag at longer ranges.  For most whitetail hunting a 3-5 inch vane or feather will do just fine.  Now out West, where the shots are typically longer, I would suggest a 2" vane to maintain downrange velocity.
Amount of Helical or Offset A rotating arrow will be much more accurate than an arrow that does not rotate.  Just think about a football spiraling through the air.  The more spin, the more stable it is.  Same is true with any projectile, including an arrow.  The more helical or offset an arrow has, the quicker it will stabilize and the tighter groups you will get down range.  But just like fletchings, the more helical or offset at longer ranges, the more loss of velocity.

Paper Tuning:  
The first step to tuning your hunting bow is to paper tune.  This is a simple process of placing a suspended piece of paper a few feet in front of the bow and shooting an arrow through the paper.  You are looking for a near perfect bullet hole, where the three fletching tears are equal around the shaft tear.  If high or low, adjust first to remove the high low tears and then start moving the rest side to side until you get a perfect hole.  If you cannot achieve a perfect hole by adjusting the rest, there are other things that may come in to play.  Ask your local Bass Pro Shops archery professional to help determine if any other factors may be involved. 

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Broadhead Tuning:
Make a 1” wide horizontal and vertical line, crossing in the center.  Shoot a few field tipped arrow at cross to ensure your sight is correct.  Pull the arrows and then shoot a few broad head tipped arrows at the cross.  Your broadhead tipped arrows should hit the same as your field tipped arrows. If not then move your rest.  Typically, if your broadheads hit right of the line you will want to move your rest to the left, and vice-verse. Re-sight in with your field tipped arrows and then shoot a few more broadheads.  Keep moving the rest, in very small increments, until your arrows hit the same place.

Sights:
Aim Small, Miss Small.  Small sight pins will allow you to see more of what you are aiming at versus large sight pins.  The same can be said about a sight pin that is too bright and has a halo around it.  You want to be focused on your target not your pin.  Many manufactures offer different sized pins.  From .029, .019 or even as small as .010.  Some manufactures even allow you to choose sights that have different sizes to fit your needs the best.

Peep sight hole should be just large enough for you to see the entire ring of your sight.  The surrounding light can make a difference in what peep you should use.  The amount of light entering your eye will change the size of your pupil and sometimes requires a different sized peep for that lighting situation.  I always setup my bow for the condition that I will most often be in or use an adjustable peep sight.  You can also move your sight towards and away from your bow to get the perfect scenario.  Some sight manufactures have long sight bars to allow more adjustability.  Keep in mind that the farther away from the bow your sight is the farther away your pins will be away from one another.

Stabilizers:
The more reflexed (as opposed to deflex) risers of today need to have longer stabilizers to help them aim.  Many manufactures have short rubbery or short heavy stabilizers.  These DO NOTHING to stabilize or help you aim better.  Choose a stabilizer long enough to be at least a few inches past your limb pockets.  Typically a 9” to 12” stabilizer will do fine.  Have your weight at the end of the stabilizer.  This will make it more effective to aim and take unwanted torque away from your shot.

Deflex Riser

http://cdn2.content.compendiumblog.com/uploads/user/a4e707ba-e52c-41ea-b5df-e22be41ea981/7edaecd9-83ed-4c35-98f4-9b71d37002f3/File/29be8a4acab61ce55a7b8bccc1fb1d73/1379523448816.jpg

Reflex Riser

http://cdn2.content.compendiumblog.com/uploads/user/a4e707ba-e52c-41ea-b5df-e22be41ea981/7edaecd9-83ed-4c35-98f4-9b71d37002f3/File/51764569563b4a949b17cf5aae4283e7/1379523470157.jpg


Release Aids:
There are many releases today to choose from. Wrist straps are the most common types of releases on the market.  They are easy to draw and are probably the easiest to learn how to shoot.  When setting up these make sure that the trigger rests in the proper place near the middle knuckle on your finger, NOT AT THE END OF YOUR FINGERTIP.  Find a release that has NO detectable trigger travel.  It should be crisp and you should not be able to anticipate the shot.  I find the drawback on these releases to be the “hookup”.  If you are like me, you sit in the stand for hours and have your bow hanging by your side.  Of course this is when the buck of a lifetime will show up.  You now have to keep your attention on him as you reach for your bow and put your release on the D-Loop.  Try and do this without taking your eyes off of that buck.  You can’t, and of course, this is when he will look at you.  To avoid this take a look at a T-Handle release.  These do take a little more time to learn to shoot but in the long run will allow you to be a better shot utilizing proper form and follow-through during the shot. I like them because I can attach my release to the D-Loop and leave it hang there.  Now the buck of a lifetime shows up and I can keep my eyes on him as I reach for my bow and grab my release already attached to the bow.

Take a little time to look at these little things and when that buck of a lifetime walks in front of you, you will have that extra edge.

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New Product Spotlight: Dakota Decoy X-Treme Pintails

Ever since the very first duck hunters set to the marsh with their paper mache decoys, waterfowlers have always been searching for the next great thing.  Well look no further, as the latest and greatest decoy on the market seems to be the Dakota Decoy X-Treme Pintail Floater.  Dakota Decoy Company started as a small, upstart company in Vermillion, South Dakota that found waterfowler's were in need of a more durable, realistic goose that hunters could still afford.  Dakota's motto is: "Premium Gunning Decoys for Demanding Hunters".  Their first decoy, the Dakota X-Treme Honker is still one of the highest benchmarks of a quality, realistic and affordable decoy.  Dakota didn't stop there, eventually adding a full line of floaters, shells, snows, specks and mallards.

This year, Dakota may have outdone themselves.  Early this year, Dakota announced that they would be offering an X-Treme Pintail Floater for their 2013 lineup.  As to be expected, the anticipation for these decoys was enormous.  Like the X-Treme Mallards, the Pintails would be slightly oversized, with a weighted keel and flocked heads (and sprigs) on the drakes.  As is standard for Dakota, the ultra-realistic paint job is a real head turner, and should be a game-changer for the wariest of late-season birds.  Currently offered in 12 packs (7 Drakes, 5 Hens) with a suggested retail of $179, these stack up very nicely against other pintail offerings on the market (competitor starting prices around $49 per 6).  These highly sought after decoys offer the right amount of versatility to the serious waterfowler's spread for an affordable price and unmatched quality.  Dakota Decoys - The Migration Stops Here...

 

http://www.dakotadecoy.com/pintails/1.jpg

http://www.dakotadecoy.com/index.htm

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Save Money, Meat Processing at Home

One of the easiest ways to save money on your grocery bill is to process your own meat at home. Bass Pro Shops has everything you need to get this done.

The first thing you'll need to get started is your choice of meat, whether it is bulk beef from the grocery store or that trophy deer you took this season, whatever you prefer. Once you've selected you choice meat the next step is preparing it for processing.

No matter if you want something as simple as ground meat for burgers, or if you're making meat snacks. The first you'll want to do is "trim" the meat. What this means is taking the excess fat and connective tissue or (gristle) off of the cut of meat.(note: if you are working wild game like deer, removal of as much fat and gristle as possible is recommended, for this is where a lot of the "gamey" flavor comes from.) The Mundial 4 Piece Hunter's Knife Set from Bass Pro Shops is a great tool for helping with this process.http://www.basspro.com/Mundial-4-Piece-Hunter&39;s-Knife-Set/product/36729/.

If you want to grind your choice of meat, the next step will be cutting your trimmed meat into cubes or strips so they easily fit into the grinder. Once the meat is cubed you're ready to start grinding. The tool you'll need for this is a meat grinder, if you are on a smaller budget you can find some very economical hand turned grinders.hand grinder

 

But if you don't want to wake up with a sore shoulder the next morning I highly recommend an electric grinder. I like the electric grinders by LEM that Bass Pro carries. http://www.basspro.com/Bass-Pro-Shops-Electric-Meat-Grinders-by-LEM-Products/product/40794/

grinder

The next step is feeding the pieces of meat into the grinder as it is running; you'll want to make sure this is done at a controlled rate. As the meat is pulled down into the auger (the cork screw looking mechanism inside the grinder) you'll want to add in the next piece of meat and so on. (note: NEVER push the meat down into the grinder with your fingers, use a stomper) If you are having problems with the grinder gumming up or clogging a helpful hint is to put the cut up pieces of meat in the freezer for a while until they are firm but not frozen solid. This will keep the auger and blade from becoming wrapped up with any remaining connective tissue.

Once all of the meat has been ground up you are ready to either vaccum seal it and freeze it, or you can continue to process it into other edible forms like breakfast sausage, jerky, snack sticks, or summer sausage. Bass Pro Shops has all the seasonings for whatever process you want to do next. http://www.basspro.com/Food-Processing-Seasonings/_/S-12325009007

If you want to stop with ground meat only, I highly recommend sealing your ground meat before freezing it with a vaccum sealer. By doing so you remove all of the air from the meat helping prevent freezer burn and spoiling. There are a wide variety of vaccum sealers on the market, one I have personally used and works very well is the Food Saver Game Saver Deluxe.

Game Saver Deluxe

This is just one of many very good vaccum sealers on the market. You can find a wide variety to choose from at http://www.basspro.com/Vacuum-Sealers/_/S-12325009002.

As I mentioned earlier there are other edible processes you can use your freshly ground meat for, and one of the most popular is turning it into jerky. There are many different ways to process meat into jerky, one easy method is to use ground meat and mix it with pre-packaged jerky cure and seasoning mix. There are many to choose from at, http://www.basspro.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Navigation?storeId=10151&catalogId=10051&langId=-1&searchTerm=jerky+seasoning. Simply pick out your favorite flavor and follow the directions on the package for the best results.

The next step after the meat is properly seasoned is to make it into jerky form and ready it for drying. If you plan on making a lot of jerky or other forms of meat snacks, such as snack sticks or sausages, an electric grinder really speeds things up. There is a wide variety of attachments available for the LEM grinders that make this next step fast and easy.http://www.basspro.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Navigation?storeId=10151&catalogId=10051&langId=-1&searchTerm=grinder+accessories

For the next step one tool I use is the jerky attachment for the LEM grinder.jerky attachment

After the jerky mixture is formed, the next step is drying it. There are a few different ways to do this, you can dry it in the oven on a very low tempurature setting (around 200 degrees for 4 hours), you can use a smoker (at the same time and temp), or you can use a food dehydrator. The dehydrator is probably one of the most popular and simplest methods. With some of the dehydrators like the RedHead six tray dehydrator for $69.99 at http://www.basspro.com/Redhead-Six-Tray-Food-Dehydrator/product/1206160421305/. You can set the required run time and temperature and let it do the rest.

dehydrator

 

 

Once the jerky is dried it is ready to enjoy.

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Poison Ivy: Identification, Prevention & Treatment

Camping trips can become quite unpleasurable, or even come to an abrupt halt, due to one little plant.

Toxicodendron Radicans. The dreaded Poison Ivy plant, is a member of the Sumac family and not a member of the Ivy family. The generic name derives from the Greek word Toxikos meaning poison,and Dendron meaning tree.

This plant and other members of the Sumac family produce a skin irritant called Urushiol pronounced (yoo-roo-she-all) and can cause  a severe allergic reaction.

Knowing and identifying this plant is the best defense against it, so when you see it, you can avoid it!

I'm focusing on mainly poison ivy here, and not poison oak or sumac because this plant is what is more prevalent in the midwest. Although poison oak and sumac will grow here, its not as widespread.

Poison ivy can grow as a shrub or a vine or as a single creeping plant. The pointed leaves grow in pairs of three on a stem (same as poison oak). We;ve all heard the rhyme "Leaves of three, Let it be!" Two opposite from each other and one on top. The leaves can have smooth edges or can have one to three lobes on each side. Smooth on the top of the leaf. Sometimes shiny (and ooooh watch out for these!) This usually means the plant was bent, broken or harmed in some way to excrete its urushiol. And thats what you don't want to get on your skin.

Poison ivy is light green with a little red around the edges in the spring, darker green in the summer, and red with orange in the fall.

 

poiso ivy poison ivy autumn

 

Urushiol can get on clothes or even animal fur, so when you get a chance, wash your clothes and your pet. It would be safe to use gloves while doing this.

If you get poison ivy on you, You might not know it right away. It could take hours for your skin to react. Then it will itch, and burn. Sever cases can enclude blistering, and swelling, and fever.

To treat this, wash the infected area immediatly. Do not scratch! Urushiol can get under your fingernails and can further spread the infection. Apply a cream, such as Tecnu http://www.basspro.com/Tecnu-Extreme-Medicated-Poison-Ivy-Scrub/product/1302130601388/  which contains Propylene Glycol, and deodorized mineral spirits. Tecnu spray http://www.basspro.com/Tecnu-Outdoor-Skin-Cleanser/product/1302130601387/ containing Glycerine, and Calomine loation can help extract the oil from your skin. You can apply a cold compress to help with the burning.  Sometimes a antihistamine will work. but take only as directed as this could may matters worse.

If it becomes severe, then see a doctor!

While in the woods, try to wear long pants and long thick socks. A long sleeved shirt too! If venturing off the trails, then gloves would be a good idea! Dont touch any plants unless you know what they are.

85% of adults get an allergec reaction to Urushiol. 15% are less likly to  have an allergec reaction. Although repeated exposures can make you more sensitive to it.

If you happen to stumble upon poison ivy, or poison oak,  while camping. Remember "Leaves of three. Let it be!"   Do not harvest it and burn it. Urushiol can be carried through the smoke and land on your skin, or get in your eyes, or you may even inhale the nasty stuff! 

So best to to leave it alone and avoid it altogether!

And as if these were'nt enough! Theres another obnoxcious plant that can wreak havok on campers.

Poisin Nettles can have the same itching and burning effect on the skin. The difference is that this plant has microscopic needles, that punchure the skin, injecting Serotonin, Acetylcholine, and Histamine. When you encounter this, you will know right away!  Ouch!

The genus Urticaceae has about thirtyfive different spieces. They grow 2 to 4 feet tall throughout the United States. The leaves are somewhat oval and come to a point. The edges of the leafs are serrated with the needles growing about the stem, and can be under the leafs.

Theres good news! (sort of). If you get "stung" the pain won't last as long as with poison ivy, oak,or sumac. The treatment, and releaf is usually much faster. If you can see the fine hairs of the nettles protruding from your skin, you can use tape to help pull them out. Then apply hydrogen peroxide. Mix baking soda and water to make a paste and apply to the infected area. This should give you a little comfort. You may also use a cream with antihistamine or hydrocortizone. Also you can use calomine loation. If you can find Jewelweed you can crush the stem and rub onto the infected area.Usually the relief is instant!

Jewelweed usually grows around the same area as poison nettles. It grows up to five feet tall. The leaves are entire and shiny, and most plants will have flowers that hang from them.This plant can give relief to poison ivy, and poison oak, and sumac as well. 

 

 

Remember to check out the area for these plants before setting up camp. You may save yourself from a lot of agony. And be prepared with an assortment of medications, just in case you encounter these dreaded poisonous plants!

 

 

 

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A Simple Guide to Float Tubes

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Float tubes are a great inexpensive way to fish and they can be very effective!  Popular with warmwater flyfishermen, yet easy enough for anyone to use, they give you the opportunity to propel and maneuver hands free. Easy to inflate and lightweight, float tubes are easy to carry to and from the water.

Float tubes consist of one, two, or three air cells, that that are held in by nylon covers. So when they are inflated, they give you the support to stay afloat comfortably. Air is pumped into the valve stems using an air pump. You move through the water by wearing fins, similar to the ones suba divers wear. By kicking your legs, they will move you in a backwards motion and you steer by the way you move either leg. They usually have storage compartments on the sides to pack whatever you might need on the water.The seats are made of nylon. Some are inflatable and some are foam, and some have only a nylon fabric. 

There are some things to concider though, before making your final decision on which float tube is best for you. Things to consider such as weight capacity, ease of use, storage compartments, Set up, ect. will help us in the long run to make float tubing more enjoyable!

Bass Pro Shops has some great selections when to comes to purchacing a float tube. The White River Lost Lake float tube,http://www.basspro.com/White-River-Fly-Shop-Lost-Lake-Round-Float-Tube/product/29815/ is a great tube for anyone on a budget. Its weight Capacity is 325 pounds. However since it is totally enclosed, its a bit tricky to get in and out of. While some folks say they feel more secure with the air cell in front of them.

The White River Lost Lake  Open Front float tube also has a weight capacity of 325 pounds It has a large back support so you can lean back and rest  if you need to. This is one of the most comfortable float to use!

The Fish Cat by Outcast http://www.basspro.com/Outcast-Fish-Cat-4LCS-Float-Tube-Green/product/1303271132/ has two large air cells made from pvc which can support a weight of 250 pounds.The back is slightly raised like the bow of a boat to help propel you through the water. Outcast also offers a very lightweight tube (The Trinity) that is perfect for backpackers weighing in at only 7 pounds! And the Prowler which is a heavy duty version of the fishcat. It also has a hydration bladder!

Remember!  Air cells can burst if inflated improperly. So inflate just enough to push in about 1 inch of give on the top of the tube. Try to keep them deflated inside your car or truck because higher temprature and higher elevation can effect the air inside the cells causing them to burst or rip at the seams. If they do burst , Its probably best to just replace the air cells. Order a couple of extra air cell just in case.

When it comes to fins, The bigger the better! Trust me! Longer means more propultion. Check out the Classic Accessories Turbo thrusters http://www.basspro.com/Classic-Accessories-Turbo-Thruster-Float-Tube-Fins/product/44943/  There nice and long and fit great around your heels! Omega Amphibian flip fins are great because they flip up so you can walk around with ease. When you get into twhe water you just flip them down, and off you go! However these can be pretty pricey but well worth it! Also get a pair of kicker keepers. Fins will sink if one happens to slip off your foot!

NOTE: Fins are NOT to be worn with wader boots! You will break the strap! Use neoprene socks or bootys anything that keep the straps from over stretching.

 Wind can be an issue! and thers a couple of ways you can deal with it. You can use an anchor and attach it to one of the D rings that come attached to the float tube. Or you can use two vehicles. 

Your time in a float tube will be enjoyable and relaxing.  Although be careful, it can be addictive!  

 

 

 

 

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Introducing Gunfire

Introducing your dog to gunfire is a very controversial topic. Opinions vary as to when and how to accomplish this. New dog owners who have never tried this tend to be very apprehensive when it comes to actually going forward and putting their dog under a gun. There are several ways to properly introduce a pup to gunfire, with that there are many more ways not to. Doing this wrong could potentially ruin a hunting dog; because once they become gun shy it is very hard to break them of it.

I usually wait until after 6 months of age, letting the ears develop and mature is wise as not to damage a growing and developing ear. Also waiting until at least 6 months gives the dog a solid foundation of obedience. This allows the trainer to work the dog while incorporating gunfire.

There are 2 keys to successfully getting a dog under a gun, pleasure and gradual increase. It is crucial for the dog to associate a fun or pleasurable activity with the sound of gunfire so the dog does not become spooked. Gradual increase in volume and proximity is also important so the dog can get used to the sound.

You can attain both of these key points by using the following training session:

  1. Stand with your dog at heel, position a shooter about 100yds behind you
  2. When you toss the bumper have the shooter shoot safely into the air.
  3. Send the dog on the retrieve.
  4. The shooter will now move closer (10-15yds)
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 until the shooter is standing next to you.
  • If the dog at anytime shows that the noise is bothersome, move back one station until the dog becomes comfortable.

              Those steps should get you on the right track to having a dog that is ready and eager to retrieve after gun shots.Dog

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