Crockpot Cuisine: Tipsy Little Birds

So I will be honest, this month’s recipe is going to focus on a meat that may know of but have never tasted. Cornish game hens are available at most food markets and I am sure you have passed by them. Besides being the perfect replica of the “Crochet’s Family Turkey” they are delicious! With all of the running-around right now, something tasty waiting at home after cooking for several hours might just be the greatest thing ever. Oh and I call them “Tipsy” because you use wine to cook them in. Be sure to save some or get another bottle though for dinner itself.


  • 2 Cornish Hens – thawed
  • 5 Sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 2 medium sweet onions
  • 9 cloves of fresh garlic
  • Butter (for rubbing)
  • Salt/Pepper (to taste)
  • 1 bottle white wine, any variety (my wife prefers moscato)
  • 1 ½  cups Chicken broth

Cooking Time: 4 hours on High or 8 hours on Low


  • Make sure inside cavity is free from ice and giblets, rinse clean and pat dry.
  • Slice onions and place in the bottom of the slow-cooker.  Add 4-6 cloves of garlic and several sprigs of rosemary.
  • Add: 1-2 slices of onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 sprig of rosemary, and a spoonful of butter or margarine to the cavity of each hen.
  • Liberally rub the skins of the birds with butter.  Add salt and pepper to the skin and pat down.  Do it all again on the other side.
  • Place both hens into the slow-cooker. (You will want them with the wings and drumsticks facing upward)
  •  Add wine and chicken broth.  Cover.
  • Cook on high for 4 hours, or on low for 8 hours, making sure the internal temperature of each hen reaches at least 165 degrees F.
  • Crack open the other bottle  of wine (or some good eggnog if you are like me) and feast!

Not only are Cornish Game Hens filled with flavor but also nutrition! Half a bird has only 336 calories and 29 grams of protein! And honestly, where else can you truly recreate the Crochet’s family bird from A Christmas Carol so perfectly?

Happy Holidays, Ya’ll!


Other Recipes








Chicken Chile Verde

Venison Stew

Hunter’s Delight

Chicken Fried Bacon


A Fine Nine: Springfield XD

Let me go ahead and say that I have never been a big fan of Springfield XDs. Just something about them never really got my gears going. But a while back they introduced a firearm that I was immediately interested in, their XDS model in 45ACP. I tested the firearm out and was impressed. Then when I was really searching for an EDC (every day carry) pistol in 45ACP, I tested out a number of others. I tried the M&P compact, Glock 30, Glock 36 and a couple small 1911s. With nothing really standing out, I tried the XDS again and was truly impressed and acquired one. I have yet to have an issue with mine and am now a proud supporter of the Springfield XDs.

Now I have said this before as many others will, gun manufacturers and personal preference are like trucks. You have Chevy people, Ford people and Dodge people. Same with firearms, you have Colt people, Glock guys and Ruger fans and so on. People either love the Springfield XDs or don’t. But having been out since 2001, they have created quite the following.

So XD stands for “Extreme Duty” as these are what they were designed for. There are actually three different series of the XD models. The models are XD, XDM and XDS and they can come in a slew of variants beyond just that. Most models will have full-size, compact or subcompact variants. That is except for the XDS which comes in either a 3.3” barrel or a 4” barrel. This model is the specific concealed carry line of XDs but is still loaded with great features (ambi-safety, loaded-chamber indicator, etc.) like its “bigger brothers”.

The XD line has a 3” barrel option and several different ones for 4” and 5” barrels. Like their site says “In 2001, Springfield Armory® redefined what a polymer pistol should be. The XD® series set the new industry standard for ergonomic comfort, ease of operation, features and performance.”

Six years after the introduction of the XD, Springfield gave us the XDM line. The M stands for match as it is a heavier-duty firearm than its predecessor. Just like with the XD line, there are several barrel lengths available, including a 5.25” competition model. And speaking of competitions, more and more Springfields are showing up at shooting events. Last year we had a couple professional shooters that were on the Springfield Team, and they swore by their handguns (and not just because of the sponsorship).

As I said about the XDS having features similar to the other models, lets go over some of those. Springfield is proud to state that “The features available on the XD(M)® will impress even the most demanding shooters. The XD(M)® includes a basic list of safety features shared with its predecessor the XD®. The striker status indicator and loaded chamber indicator give the shooter instant tactile and visual feedback to know if there is a chambered round and if the striker is cocked. Three separate safeties guard against accidental discharges and provide extra peace of mind. The Ultra Safety Assurance (USA) Action Trigger System™ prevents unintentional rearward movement of the trigger. The grip safety keeps the pistol from firing unless the shooter has a firm grasp on it. And an internal firing pin block goes the extra mile to bring you a pistol fully designed with safety in mind.”

What I really like is that their safety features are effective enough to work but not so cumbersome to be a nuisance if having to draw the firearm and fire in a self-defense situation. If there is an external safety that needs to be moved into a position to allow the firearm to shoot, one could easily forget to flip it in a stressful situation. The fact that the external safeties in the XDs are one on the rear grip and the trigger itself means that they help prevent accidents they won’t get in the way of a self-defense scenario. Your hand will naturally grab the rear grip to press in the safety there and your finer will control the trigger safety as well. (I would know, I own one.)

Now this blog is supposed to be about 9MM handguns, and just about every variation of any Springfield XD model comes in 9MM. Whether it is an XD-4” or XDM-3.8”, they tend to come in this quite popular caliber. Several years ago one would tell you that you should skip a 9MM and go to a larger caliber. With all the developments in defense ammunition over the past couple years; this caliber has increased its stopping power. It should not be considered “weak” by any means anymore. The improvements to both ammunition and the firearms have increased their effectiveness and quality all over.

Shortly after releasing the XDS in 45ACP came a version chambered in 9MM. To be honest, as will many other XDS45ACP owners admit, I wish I had picked up the 9MM version. Not only do you get a couple more rounds, but it is easier to control.

So just like any other purchase one might look to, do your research and ask around. People are always happy to give their opinions on anything from trucks to toasters and so on, and of course firearms. Just be sure to think about a Springfield XD model when looking for any kind of 9MM handgun.


Previous Nines:


Glock 19


Beretta 92



Cutlery Corner: Benchmade North Fork 15031

I am a big fan of Benchmade knives. So to start off the Cutlery Corner blogs I chose one of their products. Specifically the Benchmade North Fork 15031. I have been carrying a Benchmade knife on me for close to nine years now. I tend to have one on me every day. Anyone who carries a pocket knife knows of the practicality and versatility they provide. It is almost a ceremonious moment when a young man gets his first pocket knife. But let’s start slicin’ this blog up, shall we?

The North Fork is a folding knife that has a 2.97” blade. It is non-serrated, which makes it easier to sharpen. Not that sharpening a Benchmade is necessarily difficult. They tend to hold an edge very well. The blade utilizes stainless steel, making it quite resistant to corrosion. It has a drop-point tip, which for me is perfect. This lets itself to dozens of uses and situations and ended up being my primary knife for field-dressing.

The handle is extremely ergonomic and just fits and flows right. It has Dymondwood laminate hardwood grips that won't soak up moisture and swell. This is nice, considering all the circumstances one could find themselves in while dressing out game. It comes with a convenient clip, also made of stainless steel to prevent rusting.

If you have never handled a Benchmade, one of the first things you will notice is the locking mechanism. Benchmade’s Axis locking mechanism ensures the blade will never close, unless intended to. Once you master the mechanism, the action to open it just becomes second nature.

Now many may gasp at the price tag that comes with this knife, but it is worth it. You will get your money’s worth and then some, for a long time. Benchmade also takes care of its products. Just check out their page about service and warranty.

Let me go ahead and say this, when it comes to knife companies… Benchmade will always make the cut!



Africa’s Big Five: Elephant

Well since this will be the last Africa’s Big Five for the year of 2014, I figured we should go out big! And loud! So with those two things in mind I have chosen the elephant for this month’s animal. A few things always come to mind when you think of elephants, their size and their trumpeting noise. But beyond those two attributes there are many reasons why we are so fascinated by these animals.

Elephants are the largest land mammal in the world. There are different species of elephant, but since this after all about Africa’s Big Five animals we will be discussing the African elephant. There are two subspecies of the African elephant, the bush and the forest. The bush elephant is the larger of the two.

Just about everything with these animals is large and impressive. They have strong, stocky legs that support their large bodies. The massive ears play several vital roles with these animals, one of which is cooling the animal down. Their long trunk is like a fifth limb. It can amplify sound (helping with their loud trumpeting) and has a very acute sense of touch. They use the tips of their trunk to pick objects up and identify them. African elephants actually have two opposing lips, whereas the Asian species only has one.

Elephants are social creatures and tend to live in herds. This allows the animals to travel in relative safety as with that many sets of eyes, ears and nostrils danger can be sensed much easier. But along with that many animals looking out they also must feed the mouths that go with them. A herd of elephants can consume close to half a ton of vegetation a day.

Along with being social, these animals are extremely intelligent. They display characteristics and emotions similar to those of us humans. This leads many people to be either fascinated by these creatures or feared. The differences of opinions on these animals can range vastly, so always be sure to consider every side of discussion.

The Denver Zoo built a section just for these animals. It is one of the best elephant habitats I have ever seen. Not only does it provide premium viewing but stimulus for the animals. I was lucky enough to actually watch an elephant swimming and playing with a large stone ball in the water when I was there with my wife and best friend. The one thing that really stuck out to me though was a small display that covered the issues humans can encounter with elephants.

Elephants can destroy crops, water stations and homes of rural farmers and ranchers. They are also a dangerous animal under certain circumstances. Cases of rogue elephants are well documented, where certain individual animals are known for attacking homes and humans. There have also been cases of groups of rouge animals that will destroy farms and make their way back to preserves where they are protected. May sound farfetched at first, but considering the intelligence displayed by these animals, it is possible. These animals can actually consume so much food that they eat everything available in an area, leaving other animals to perish.

So hunting these animals is dangerous. Read any of the stories from African hunters and you will be amazed at what these animals are capable of. This is still the case, despite being into the 21st century where such things seem far removed from us. Just like with other animals that are considered endangered or vulnerable as a species, the fees paid out by hunters help manage and keep these animals around. In certain countries you can still legally hunt these animals. The meat goes to local villages and the money paid out for licenses and trophy tags sustains the local economy and herd management as a whole.

Unfortunately these animals are often hunted illegally. The ivory that makes up their tusks is a rare commodity. There is a huge desire for it on the black market. Game wardens, local governments and legal hunters do their best to help protect these animals and others from poachers. Some cultures believe in certain animal parts delivering almost supernatural abilities, which are usually the markets that poachers sell to. If you could inform these cultures about what is actually going on and hopefully get them to stop purchasing and using those products. But then again you are talking about trying to change a mindset of a society that has believed in something for centuries… so good luck.

These animals have received what many would call nothing less than political protection. Many have been coerced into thinking that these animals are so few that any hunter of one should be strung up. A few years back an area was having issues with elephants. A number of animals needed to be harvested as they were a danger to people and other animals. Instead of opening up these animals to be hunted by those interested they were taken care of by professional hunters. This country could have charged hunters (who would have paid good money that would have gone right back to the country) but instead they paid people to hunt them. They did this because they were afraid of the political repercussions of advertising for elephant hunting.

Back before this became a real issue, elephant were plenty along with other game animals. One could find themselves in a profitable business hunting for ivory. Tales of adventurers and hunters in Africa finding lost tribes and new creatures fascinated the world. Famous hunters like Kilimanjaro Bell were held as heroes.( Mostly because many of the ivory hunters wound up on the wrong end of an elephant.) There is a book about the end of this era by Peter Hathaway Capstick. The Last Ivory Hunter: The Saga of Wally Johnson tells the extraordinary story of a man who survived this lifestyle. It is a fascinating read, especially for anyone interested in hunting or Africa.

The elephant will always be a symbol of strength. Proper management of these animals will keep them on the planet for generations to come. Just always remember who actually pays for that.


Other Members of the Big Five


Cape Buffalo


Goin’ Rural: Mason Jars

There is a lot that can be appreciated from a rural lifestyle. Fresher air, the great outdoors, being more self-reliant and much more. People are always worried about where their food is coming from, and how processed it is. Living in rural areas, you may need to know how to grow, raise, hunt or catch your own food. With all of the reality TV shows that depict rural lifestyles, it has gained in popularity. And there is nothing wrong with that! But for many of us we can’t buy some acreage and live the farm-house dream. But we can learn skills or traits and do things more common in rural lifestyles to get the feel for that kind of life. This first blog will be about an object, once only common for canners or moon-shiners but is now found on just about every craft table or social-media outlet: Mason Jars.

Mason jars come in a wide variety of sizes and styles. Originally designed for canning and storing of foods, there seems to be no limit to their versatility. They were first designed and patented in 1858 by John Landis Mason (see below), for which they get their name. The two most common names of Mason jar manufacturers are Ball and Kerr, which are now owned by the same company.

Without that guy, Pintrest would be pretty much be just about Paleo-diets and inspirational quotes.

Along with variations of sizes and styles, they also come in a variety of colors. Clear, blue and green are the most common. There are tutorials on how to make your own specifically colored jars online. So maybe you cannot find an “antique blue” wide mouth tall size jar, but now you can make one!

Mason jars are now sometimes even bigger stars at weddings than anything else (except the bride). They are used as decorations, name holders, souvenirs and much more. Lord knows we had them at my wedding! Only mine had spent ammo casings and green army men glued to them with flower peddles that had beer-bottle centers. (You’re welcome, future husbands for the ideas.)

Mason jars are an economical way to get a dozen new drinking cups. You can also use them to store any number of items. For gifts, you can fill them with homemade hot chocolate mixes or baking goods. There are websites dedicated to these kinds of things!

You can even make homemade jams or jellies, like what they were originally made for! I like the wall-mount bathroom holder project. And the best part is all of the resources on how to do-it-yourself!

Like that cute little pet-fishing-lure thing below? Yeah, I came up with that! Follow this link to learn how to make them. (Holiday gift idea, I think so!)

Companies have been making specialty products for all of us Mason-jar lovers! Here at our store we have several different kinds of mason-jar drink ware. I love the Beer Mug but our home is not complete without the Wine Glasses we got!  

Mason jars were once a symbol of rural life and rustic flare, but are putting the lid on other mainstream drinking products. The almost limitless uses for them and the creativity that once can express with them is awesome.

Until next month! But keep an eye out for other mason-jar projects that may be coming along. If you’re thinking about sharing this blog with others just remember it can be like where “city people just don’t get it!”



Healthy Hunter: Track It

So this month’s Healthy Hunter blog goes right along with hunting. Anyone who has ever gone out into the wilderness knows that a very important aspect of the hunt is tracking. Being able to pay attention to the small things can pay off in a huge way in a hunt. Noticing a game path, following a wounded animal’s track and so on are all essential skills to have that many do not focus on anymore. With weight-loss or other fitness goals, tracking is also an essential skill to keep honed.

Tracking one’s diet or workout routine is a skill that many professionals in the health industry have mastered. And for those, not knowing where to begin it can be quite challenging. But like most things in life, just start simply. Think of it in the same respect to a new workout. If you have never touched a dumbbell it would be foolish to jump right into the “Crossfit Craze”. The more developed you become, the more developed your tracking can become. It is all just a natural progression.

So let us say we are starting from scratch. The goal: Lose twenty pounds and be able to do twenty pull-ups at one time. So here we have aspects of both diet tracking and exercise tracking. Many say that diet is 70% of a weight-loss goal, with the rest being exercise. You will also be eating everyday but possibly only working out three times a week. So start with the diet log.

I am a big fan of spreadsheets or at least tables, for tracking purposes. You know you are going to have four meals throughout the day, with two of them being shakes. The other two “food” meals are going to be a combo of lean protein and green veggies. You are not so specific as to put an exact food consumed, but have the general idea of how many calories and such.

Now at first, you may just want to track if you consume the meals or not. Simply checking off a box might be perfect. Later though, perhaps you write in the time you consumed them, or even what it was exactly.

In your diet log, you can also keep track of your body weight. Only check it a couple times a week, if not only once. Always be sure to weigh yourself consistently (i.e. clothing worn, time of day, after/before working out, etc.). Checking in daily on your weight can cause your brain to overwhelm your body and actually prevent weight loss.

For the second aspect of the goal, you need to track exercise. Have a section for each exercise you will be doing. Have spots to note how many sets, reps and the weight (if any) were involved. If you are going to include cardio, then have a spot for that as well. First perhaps just tracking how long you were doing the cardio for, and then how many miles, calories burned, etc.

Soon you will notice that it is quite fun to try and beat your personal records on exercises and such. And filling in this information while at the gym, helps break up the monotony and lets you have a more interesting rest period between sets.

Also notice that this blog does coincide with the ever approaching New Year’s Resolution season, so hopefully this helps out!


Proper Motivation

Personal Push



Simple Steps with Wes: Fire

“M.R.E’s roasting by an open fire, wool socks and tactical boots covering your toes…” that would be Wes’ version of The Christmas Song. And fitting as Wes decided to touch on a subject that goes with the holiday season again. Many will be snuggling up by a fireplace, some for warmth and others for aesthetics. And while right now those fires you make are part of the holiday spirit, just remember that it may mean the difference if caught outside overnight!

“What is one thing that separates man from all other living creatures? Fire. Animals have been known to create and use tools, simple tools, but tools nonetheless. Man is the only master of fire. Just like tools are designed for specific jobs..., fires also are built with different jobs in mind. The three basic fire types are a survival fire, a cooking fire, and a campfire.

A survival fire is at a minimum the length of your head to waist to ensure core body warmth and this fire should never be allowed to die down to just coals but should have at least 1' flames to ensure your warmth through even the coldest night. May add some greens for light smoke to help with insect control.

A multipurpose cooking fire in which I use the center of the fire to slow cook soups (great for venison chilli) and the exterior coal base to cook breads or anything that requires slow cooking. Firewood needed: softwoods to get the fire going and 4-6 arm sized logs to build a strong coal base and an additional two logs and a few smaller sticks (finger sized) to keep flame in the center if needed.

A campfire that you roast a marshmallow over or cook a hot dog on yet at the same time this fire can easily evolve into a long fire or into a cooking fire once a coal bed is established. This fire basically consists of softwood and hard wood mixed together (think tepee of softwood with a log cabin of hard woods around it or an upside down fire) and is usually a fire lay that is roughly knee height.

Using the right fire for the right situation can keep you at your best when things are at their worst. See More

Be sure to have a couple different forms of fire-starters and tinder in your survival kit. If you have a couple “preppers” you need holiday gifts for that might be something to do! Just pack a mason jar with some matches, lighter, dryer lint, tea light candles and some WetFire Tinder.


Previous Steps



Halloween Edition

Survival Kit

Daylight Estimation

Determining Direction

Eye Protection

Nature Calling

First Aid Kits



Edible Fruit

Search and Rescue



Celestial Navigation





Toasty Toes: Redhead Treestand Socks

I am sure I have mentioned it before, but I am a sissy about the cold. I hate it. Can’t stand it. No thank you. The fact that people in the Midwest can wear shorts when it is below 50 degrees is just plain insanity to me. Think about this, it can be so cold out that your skin can start bleeding if it is exposed. EXCUSE ME?! So needless to say, I do what I can to stay warm.

In survival situations, the key is to keep your core warm. You tend to always lose heat in your extremities first. Having gloves, a beanie and good socks can be a huge difference. So with that, I wanted to highlight a product that I have and absolutely love! The RedHead Treestand Socks.

A couple years back, as I was gearing up for a whitetail hunt I knew I was going to need to keep my toes toasty. I asked around and was pointed to a pair of these bad-boys. These things are awesome! They are comfortable, thick and especially warm. They also have enough stretch to fit over other pairs of socks and won’t stretch out.

Ever since I got them, I dread the cold but look forward to busting them out. If you look online, I am not the only one that loves these socks. Out of 20 reviews, the socks average a 4.8 (out of five) stars. And another great thing about these socks, look below.

Made in America! That’s right! A good old S O C K from the U S A. If I was musically inclined I might try to make a parody of the song “ROCK in the USA” by John Mellencamp but I gave up the tuba long ago.

We all know that socks can be a lame holiday gift, but I promise these would not upset me if they appeared under my tree! This would be ironic as they are Treestand socks. The possible puns are too many, I wouldn’t want to go too far out on a limb. Eh, I will just put a sock in it. Quickly, before I get the boot.



Fishy Facts: Smallmouth Bass

You all remember that one younger kid on the playground, that no matter how hard they tried they could not get out of the shadow of their “big brother”? Yeah. Sometimes I wonder if that is how smallmouth bass feel when compared to largemouth bass. Think about it, largemouth bass has made modern fishing tournaments what it is. Look at any associate’s polo at your local Bass Pro Shops and that is definitely not a smallmouth embroidered on their shirt. So what’s the deal? Are they not as good as the largemouth? Does everyone expect the smallmouth to go to community college while the largemouth gets in on a full ride scholarship? Nay says I! The smallmouth bass is one of the most fun fish to catch and should be respected just as much as the largemouth bass. So that’s why this month it is the star of our Fishy Facts blog.

The smallmouth bass is a freshwater fish, considered a member of the sunfish family. Its true home is with the other black basses (including the largemouth). They are a prized sport-fish due to their strength and intriguing patterns. They can grow up to 27 inches and weight close to 12 pounds.

Because many anglers enjoy these fish, they have been stocked in non-native areas for game. Anglers have many nicknames for these fish including: smallmouth, smallie, bareback bass, brown bass, bronzeback, brownie and bronze bass. These fish are usually brown with red eyes, an upper jaw that extends to the middle of the eye and has dark vertical bands.

These fish prefer clearer waters than the largemouth live in. The kinds of water they live in can actually have an effect on their coloring or shape. In rivers they tend to be darker and more narrow while in sandy water areas these fish can be more yellow in color. They can stand cooler waters than the largemouth, but are more sensitive to changes. These fish can be affected easily by pollution and are a standard species monitored when checking the health of an ecosystem.

These fish are carnivorous and like to eat smaller fish, crayfish and insects. Fishing for smallmouth bass has a range of techniques. Almost anything can serve as a good lure, just keep it moving. Smallmouth bass tend to chase their prey rather than ambush them. But don’t retrieve your bait too quickly as it can tire the fish and turn them off. Fly-fishing for these feisty fish is growing in popularity and is quite fun.

Now just to clarify a statement at the beginning, smallmouth bass are sometimes allowed in the creel for professional tournaments. But they do not nearly get as much publicity from these kinds of events that the largemouth bass will.

While they are edible, think about if you really want to keep one. It is not that they are vulnerable as a species but always consider catch and release. As long as you got a picture with your prize, it might not need to end up on your dinner plate.

“Catch” ya later! Speaking of catch, look at what our very own Cole caught himself a while back!


Former Finned-Friends:


Northern Pike

Rainbow Trout

Largemouth Bass

Peacock Bass






Bull Shark



Extended Hours for Santa’s Wonderland!

Things are getting into overdrive at our store, and Santa’s Wonderland is a big part of that! So soon we will be having extended hours to give more people a chance to make an awesome and FREE holiday memory!

Starting December 8th and going until December 20th:

Pictures with Santa: 10:00AM- 8:00PM

Carousel: Same as Pictures with Santa

Crafts Monday through Friday: 5:00PM-7:00PM

Crafts Saturdays and Sundays: Noon-5:00PM

All other activities and attractions will be going from Open to Close.

Our store's holiday hours will also be:

12/1 thru 12/23 – 9AM-10PM

12/24- Christmas Eve- 8AM-6PM

12/25- Christmas Day- CLOSED

12/26 thru 12/30- 9AM-9PM

12/31 & 1/1 – New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day – 9AM-6PM

1/2- Resume Normal Business Hours- 9AM-9PM

December 21st until December 23rd:

Pictures with Santa: 10:00AM-8:00PM

Carousel: Same as Pictures with Santa

Crafts- Sunday, Monday, Tuesday: Noon-5:00PM

December 24th:

Pictures with Santa: 10AM-5PM

Crafts- Wednesday: 3:00PM-5:00PM

All other activities and attractions will be going from Open to Close.

Remember to always call ahead and see how busy we are at: 602-606-5600! And keep to the plan!



Tie One On: The Adams

So far we have covered a few fly patterns that are infamous in fly boxes. Another pattern, that was straight out of a B Sci-Fi movie and a knot. For the final Tie One On blog of the year I decided it was time to let a little guy shine. But just like Yoda, judge him not by his size. This month’s pattern of choice is the Adams!

The Adams is a dry fly that some say would be the most famous fly in the world. This pattern is specific for trout, but can catch most other freshwater fish species. Of course like all other patterns, this fly comes in an assortment of sizes, colors and slight variations.

Universally though this patterns mimics a wide variety of items that could be on a trout’s menu. So it is not weather, location or any other way specific to fish with. Some estimate that this pattern has caught more trout than any other one.

This pattern will be celebrating its 93rd anniversary next year, as it was first tied in 1922. It came from Michigan via a man named Leonard Halladay. Like many in that area at that time, he worked in the lumber industry. Slowly though he transitioned away from that but always kept fishing. He and his wife ran boarding for lumber workers, but as that slowly dried up they found new tenants in fly-fishermen. Halladay was by all means an outdoorsman. Besides fly-fishing and fly-tying, he raised chickens and hunting dogs. This pattern got its name for the client (a Mr. Adams) who was the first to use the fly and saw immediate success out of it.

Fly-fishing had always been more of a European tradition, as that is where it was founded. Around this time though it was growing in popularity here in America. The fact that this pattern was created by an American during this “growth spurt” really helped established American fly-fishing. Like most other patterns, the Adams was tied to the strictest of measures but slowly gave away to evolution. Many now do not tie the original tail on this pattern anymore. What once were two specific golden pheasant tippets is now a bushier rendition and no longer made using the original material.

While it may have changed, its success rate has not. This pattern still catches fish and will for as long as imaginable. And while considering American history, this fly pattern may not be as well-known as apple pie or baseball it is a legend of its own.


Previous Patterns

Woolly Bugger

Royal Coachman

Pheasant Tail Nymph


Trilene Knot


Check it Out List: Upland Hunting

I love upland hunting. Being out in the field, walking the line, joking with a buddy but still focused for a possible flushing, watching the dogs work, being put in your place every time by your pa that is making shots you couldn’t even fathom (and only using a 28 gauge) and of course knocking down a bird or two. And the birds you are after are some of the best tasting in my mind. Don’t get me wrong, dove is fun but upland is just different.

Now with upland hunting you are usually out with at least one other hunter, if not several. You also might have dogs working so safety always needs to be your main concern. Keep close attention to where the others are, and hold off on that shot to make sure the dog isn’t jumping up after the bird. It is sad to say that these kinds of accidents happen.

You are moving around so the kind of clothing you will have on will also be different from when hunting dove or waterfowl. So for that we are going to make it the topic for this month’s Check it Out List.


Upland Hunting Clothing

Boots (Insulated/Non)

Long Socks

Brush Pants

Long Sleeve Shirt

Hunting Vest




Because of the kind of habitat you find upland game in, you will want to be well covered. I have never known someone to hunt in sandals, but I bet someone has somewhere. A good pair of boots and socks can make a huge difference in your hunt. Depending on the area and season will determine if you want insulated or non.

Brush pants have a tough material sewn onto them. This material can make its way past bushes or other plants you could get hung up on. It also lasts longer whereas using jeans means you will probably go through a few pairs before going through one set of brush pants. Likewise, long-sleeve shirts will help keep you from getting torn up. Many upland shirts are being made with wicking material to capture and remove sweat. Also many have a built in pad for where you shoulder your shotgun.

Hunting vests are a must for their storage. You will have room to store shells and birds. They have all different kinds and you will want to pick yours out specifically. I used to use the full vests, but now find myself quite happy with a strap vest. (It can still be a little toasty later in the year, here in Arizona.) You will want to consider how the vest might affect shouldering your shotgun and movement restriction.

Hats for sun protection are a must as well. Make it a blaze one to help keep you from being missed by another hunter. Jackets should always be packed, because you never know what can happen in the field. Better safe than sorry.

Now I only mentioned blaze for the hat, but let me emphasize that the more blaze the better. You do not need to look like a traffic cone but by having some on your hat, vest and shirt it will greatly increase the odds that an accident does not happen while shooting. Also be sure to look into your local laws as some states require a certain amount. They do sell doggy blaze vests, and considering everything that might not be a bad idea.

Oh and I will go ahead and say it, I think chukar tastes better than pheasant.





Gun Cleaning

Game Care

First Aid


Day Pack

Trip Prep

Range Time

Fishing Pack

Boating Day Trip

Camp Cooking


Dove Hunting


Rock This: Ascend FS10 Sit-In

So… I’d like to know where, you got the notion.

Said I’d like to know where, you got the notion… to rock the boat!  But seriously, where did this new fascination with kayaking start? Over the past couple of years it has grown tremendously in popularity. Many people are now hitting the water to enjoy not only the physical aspect but stress relieving capabilities kayaking can bring someone. And let me tell you… it is hard not to “rock” our Ascend FS10 Sit-In kayaks!

Now please note the “rock” is emphasis of looking awesome and not so much tipping and falling over definition.

These kayaks are roughly 10 feet long (hence the “10” in the name) and are geared for fishing (hence the “FS” in the name). There are two types of kayaks, sit-in and sit-on.  Usually the first thing one need to consider is if they want a sit-in or sit-on. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, so be sure to look at everything before making a purchase. These are sit-in kayaks.

They come set up for almost any fishing purpose. There are storage areas, rod holders and plenty of other extra little features to appreciate. One of the biggest things to appreciate is going to be the seat. All of these come with a comfortable, padded seat which is important considering you could be sitting for a few hours.

Currently there are three color options: camo, titanium and desert storm.

So besides the kayak, a paddle, your own fishing gear and of course a life jacket there is not much to get. But just like anything else, there are plenty of possible add-ons! In fact some fishing kayaks look like mini-naval destroyers. I have seen some with fish finders, trolling motors and so much more. If you ever want inspiration, just talk to any of our associates in Marine or Fishing.

Now you won’t need a full list of items to take like if you were going on a larger boating day trip but that hyperlink back there will still provide some important tips and tricks.



The Carol of Camo Claus


If you have ever been to our store, you know you could come in everyday for a year and still always see something new. Maybe you never noticed the animal tracks in the floor, or the flying-fish high up near the ceiling. Besides that, we are always changing up our displays. Half the fun of coming to visit us is seeing what is new!

But sometimes, it can be quite puzzling as to why things are where or even what they are! Like when we officially extended our Fall Flannel Fest to everyone this year! Many did not know about its origin, so I gave every the tall tale behind it!

This year, another such task came my way. We all remember waiting up trying to hear or see Santa Claus coming by our homes! But no matter what we tried, it was almost impossible to spot him. A new face has finally been officially spotted at our store. He has always been just as hard to spot, especially considering he is completely decked out in camouflage!

He is, Camo Claus and next time you visit see if you can spot him. And just like many did not know about the origins of Flannel Fest, many do not know the Carol of Camo Claus. So enjoy!

The Carol of Camo Claus

To the tune of “Up On the House Top” by Benjamin Hanby circa 1864.


Up in the morning, half past four

Milk and cookies and out the door.

Camo Claus and his white-tailed deer

Flyin’ around, spreading Christmas cheer!

Ho ho ho, take a quick pause. Ho ho ho, yup it’s Camo Claus!

Passin’ some trail cams, click-click-click

People are trying to get a pic!

Many people do not know

Of this jolly-camo fellow.

Some say that he doesn’t exist,

Just because he blends in with sticks.

Ho ho ho, where did he go? Ho ho ho, he’s got on Realtree Snow.

Passin’ some trail cams, click-click-click

People are trying to get a pic!

He uses white-tails instead of reindeer,

‘Cause in rural areas, they have no fear.

The deer pull his sleigh super-fast

Deliverin’ gifts that cast or blast!

Ho ho ho, take a quick pause. Ho ho ho, yup it’s Camo Claus!

Passin’ some trail cams, click-click-click

People are trying to get a pic!


-Giddy-Up (Jingle Horse, Pick Up Your Feet!)


Look at That! A New PETT!

Now combined with the title and that hilarious video above, you may think that this blog will be about puppies! But stop right there, mister! If you would just wait a minute and look at that title you would notice it is about a PETT and not a pet. And while having a camp dog at your site can be a nice addition to a trip, this PETT will become a must!

The PETT I am referring to is the Portable Environmental Toilet. It is a portable, lightweight toilet that can be taken with you on almost any outdoor excursion. It folds up and stores nicely in a size and shape similar to that of a briefcase (19”X14”X5”). It folds out to a standard size toilet and sits at that height as well. Which is nice because when you go into a lot of home that have been flipped, contractors will cut corners putting in those tiny toilets. Whenever I see that, I just stop and sadly look at it.

It only ways seven pounds and has three quality legs for solid stability. If you have ever used a similar product you may have had experiences with instability and really don’t want to talk about it.

The PETT utilizes the WAG system. (How cute with their abbreviation process!) WAG stands for Waste Alleviation and Gelling. WAG bags are used by the PETT for doing your business. These bags are designed to be degradable. It will gel waste which helps keep it sanitary and will even reduce odors. It is also spill proof and hygienic, which is important considering what we are talking about here.

Your PETT will come with one set of WAG bags, but you will want to grab a couple more. And for those of us who do not want other outdoors people stopping and pointing and of course making others look at that, there is a privacy policy. That is known as the PUP. The Portable Utility Pop-Up Tent can go up in no time and keep the “neighbors from pointing”. It stands 6’6” tall and requires no assembly. It even has storage pockets on the inside. Would ya look at that?!

Oh and PETT and WAG are made here in America!


Other Nifty Things to Look At!

Propane Fire Ring

Hand Towels

Rainproof Camo

She Outdoor


Healthy Hunter: Holidays

Well, the holidays are officially here. And there is almost no avoiding the weight-gain that accompanies them. But there are plenty of ways to decrease the significance of the weight-gain. Just like most things in life, the better informed you are the better prepared you can be. So below will be a breakdown of some of the most classic holiday fare and how to plan ahead for it!

Slice of Pumpkin Pie

323 Calories

13 grams Total Fat

46 grams Total Carbohydrates

5 grams Protien

Notice: Has a good amount of Vitamin A in it!

Prepare: If you know pie is coming, limit to one slice. Maybe cut back elsewhere in the meal as well. It is heavy in carbs so avoid eating before going to bed.

Cup of Eggnog

343 Calories

19 grams Total Fat

34 grams Total Carbohydrates

10 grams Protien

Notice: This is the “kid’s friendly version”. “Spicing” it up a little, will add more to everything.

Prepare: One and done. But absolutely no reason to avoid completely. In fact, mixing it with a scoop of whey protein will give your body extra protein to consume and be an effective/delicious post-workout mix as your body will process it slower.

Ounce of Turkey

48 Calories

1 grams Total Fat

0 grams Total Carbohydrates

8 grams Protien

Notice: This is for cooked meat (white or dark) without the skin.

Prepare: Load up the plate! Go ahead and have some with the skin, just none of that creepy “skin stealing” stuff which I am guilty of myself. Turkey will keep you full and provide you with delicious protein. Dark meat has been proven to have even more health benefits than white meat, so jump at the offer of a drumstick! No turkey? Ham is also a source of lean-protein, just watch out for the honey-glazing.

Cup of Mashed Potatoes

236 Calories

9 grams Total Fat

35 grams Total Carbohydrates

4 grams Protien

Notice: This information is for them made with whole milk and butter, because we all know we aren’t making it with any sissy-stuff.

Prepare: Enjoy a sensible serving of some. Yes, sweet potatoes may be healthier but not after melted marshmallows make their way to the top. Both kinds of potatoes have certain health benefits to them, that the other ones don’t. Just don’t overdo it.

There are a lot of ways to stay in shape and enjoy the holidays. These only come around once a year, but that is no reason to ruin a well-balanced diet for them. Enjoy but don’t over indulge.


Proper Motivation

Personal Push



Why it Matters: Hiking

Hiking is a subject I have noted upon over the past few months. First about etiquette and then how to take someone else out. But is it really something that important? I think so.

Hiking is good for you, not just physically but mentally. You can go over the health benefits from adding cardiovascular exercise to your health habits all day long, but many won’t even think about how good it is for your brain.

Typically one hears cardio and thinks: stationary bike, elliptical machine or treadmill. Lately there has been an increase in awareness of swimming, using kettle bells and other ways to get your cardio in. But those are all in a gym! Where you probably have your headphones in, dread the machine you are on and are truly noticing how one-sided a news station is because Fox is on the TV right next to the one that is playing MSNBC. It is no wonder people get into a rut at the gym.

But hiking takes you out of this kind of monotony. When you are hiking you could be strolling by a river, going up a mountain, following a wash or all of the above. There is so much beauty and wonder still out there in nature. No matter how many times you take a certain trail that each time it will be different in some way. Maybe the flowers are blooming or families of ducks are now at the pond, who knows?! And you won’t know until you get out there!

  Depending on what you are looking for there is probably a hike out there for you. Lazy Sunday? Grab a friend and go walk the local park. Up for a challenge? Look into an overnight or several day hike. There are others out there like you as well! Look for a club or organization to join. Were you aware of the American Hiking Society?

I think it is very important to get younger people out hiking. Not only can this help instill a healthy activity with some, but it can broaden their horizons and lead them to appreciate the outdoors. It is hard for the youth to see much farther than what is in front of them, and lately that has been technology. There may be a time where kids only know of mountain ranges or sunsets from photos online.  Sure some photos are truly amazing, but you would be surprised at what you can see not far from home!

While you are on that hike, you can even consider yourself an adventurer or detective! You may discover a new species of plant, witness a bird that has never been known in the area or catch someone illegally dumping trash. What you may happen to witness could be extremely important.

Hiking is not just something for one kind of outdoors-person, but for all. Everyone can benefit from having others out enjoying the day (and possibly picking up a piece of trash or two). Just be sure to be respectful of the land and other travelers.



Getting Outdoors

Picking Up




Fry This: Bacon

Notice how often you hear people say “anything tastes good fried”? Glad to see that people are finally get their facts straight. Frying is usually a delicious method, though not always the healthiest, way to cook something up. There has been a “fried” craze in this country for a number of years. From festivals devoted to it to having its own TV shows, fried food is everywhere!

Personally I love tossing something into my trusty old cast iron with some hot oil going. I may be from the Southwest but I can definitely get down on some Southern cooking. Now of course certain items always come to mind with being fried: chicken, fish, potatoes and cheesecake to name a few. But one thing I saw a number of years back, still has my mind and stomach captivated… fried bacon!

That’s right. And where did this godsend come from? Texas. Straight shootin’.

Now to make your own at home just follow the simple steps below:



Fry Oil (Vegetable works great)

Bacon (thick cut is preferred)

3 eggs

½ cup of milk



Mix eggs and milk. Drench bacon in this mixture for half an hour.

Fill a cast iron skillet with fry oil and heat.

Roll bacon into batter and drop into skillet. Thicker strips work better as they are easier to manage and won’t burn as easily as thinner ones.

Watch carefully and remove strips when done. Place on plate with paper towels to help with oil.


Some will transfer the bacon from the frying pan to an oven sheet to help crisp it up. If doing this, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and be sure to line the oven sheet with aluminum foil.


Personally I like to use a beer-batter mix to add a little something extra.  And let us face it, if you are eating fried bacon you are not too concerned with calories so enjoy it with some gravy!


Recipes of Olde








Chicken Chile Verde

Venison Stew

Hunter’s Delight


Super Duper Saturday and Sunday!

That is right ladies and gentlemen; get ready for some amazing opportunities coming up at our store! Like the year before, we will be having our Super Saturday and Super Sunday and our Toys for Tots promotions! We have changed things up a little bit from 2013, so see the details below.

First for our Super Saturday and Super Sunday Event:

It will be November 29th and November 30th. So literally right after Black Friday are we going to keep things rolling with some awesome opportunities for ya’ll. The store will be open for extended hours those two days, so we are open at 8AM and will close at 10PM.

The first 100 customers to visit the stores those days will receive a free giveaway! Saturday it is a sweet folding knife and Sunday it is a radical fishing lure. You must be 21 years or older to claim either door prize. Get here early because once they are gone, they are gone!

We start drawing for the prizes at 10:30AM and will actually pull for two different prizes at each time slot! We will pull every hour after the first one so 11:30AM is the next, then 12:30PM and so on. In total we will draw for 16 prizes each day! Entrants must be 21 years or older, but you do not need to be present to win. All items must be claimed in-store though.

If you didn’t get drawn on Saturday, come back Sunday to enter again for another 16 prizes! Entries used on Super Saturday will not be included in drawings for Super Sunday. Below will be the prizes and their time frames for drawings.

Good luck and we will see you there!

Second for our Toys for Tots Donation:

 Customers who bring a toy donation to our store will receive a coupon good for 1 free SW photo package!  Coupons are redeemable for 7 days only; November 29th -December 5th.  The photo package includes: (2) 6x8, (1) 5x7, (2) 4x6 prints and a digital download! It is one coupon per family to donate, not one coupon per donation. We had a great turnout last year and were able to get a lot of awesome toys to some awesome kids! Toy donations must be unopened and in packaging.



Tie One On: Trilene Knot

This month’s Tie On One blog is going to step away from fly patterns themselves, but look at just as an important of thing to consider when fly fishing: knots! Losing fish (and flies) can be a heartbreaking incident. Not only may that have been your favorite Wooly Bugger, but also your largest brown trout to date! Knowing some simple but strong knots can easily protect you from having “the worst fishing trip ever”.

Now I am a huge fan of the Palomar knot, and have written about it before. While this is a great knot, it will not always be your best bet or even an option. For this reason we are going to go over the Trilene Knot.

The Trilene Knot is excellent for tying your fly to the tippet. This knot is very strong and used in place from the outdated Clinch Knot. (Don’t get me wrong, the Clinch Knot is still a good knot but has been long passed in its effectiveness.) To tie the Trilene Knot:

  1. Pass the end of your tippet through the eye of the hook twice.
  2. Wrap the line around itself five or six times.
  3. Pass the end of the tippet through the eye of the loop next to hook eye and pull tight.
  4. Cut off any excess line.

There you have it. While there may be stronger knots, this one is quick and effective. When the fish are biting, every second counts. The littlest of changes can throw off a school of feeding fish, so getting your fly back into the water as quick as possible is essential. But not so quick as to tie a knot that is only going to break on the first fish or other snag. Learn other knots online at our online Knot Library.


Previous Patterns

Woolly Bugger

Royal Coachman

Pheasant Tail Nymph