Healthy Hunter: Habits

With getting into the holiday season, many of us get to see long-lost friends and distant relatives. At the same time though, we can see something that does not bring us as much joy. An increase in bodyweight. Now genetically and culturally this happens because we are getting into winter and the temperature is starting to lower. Your body naturally wants to hold onto extra weight to help keep it warm. Culturally we see an increase of higher-calorie intake and seasonal sweets. Think about the big get-together meals or the multiple parties full of food. And like most of the advertising and marketing for the food industry, pumpkin and peppermint flavoring is everywhere!

Now by no means am I saying to stay away from these foods. This is usually the one time of the year when you can enjoy such delicious delights. I personally am an unashamed eggnog fanatic. But binging on these sweets and other fare can be quite dangerous. So the key is to start getting into healthy habits as soon as possible.

Now depending on who you talk to, what you watch or read there are thousands of different opinions on health. You need to always think about what it means to you, and not buy into the always evolving “fitness/health” gimmicks. Like I have said before, that industry are the best at alternating your mindset and getting you to “buy” (literally and figuratively) into whatever they are selling. The three key habits are what I call the Three Double-U’s (WWW).


Keep hydrated! So many health issues can be avoided if you drink enough water. Drinking enough water can help keep you fuller, preventing over-eating. Cold water has also been proven to increase your metabolism. H2O is way too LAME-O? Get an infuser-bottle so you can add different fruits to add flavor and keep out processed items from sodas. And not just water, make sure you intake electrolytes as those play a huge role in your body.



Make it a habit to walk places. Maybe take the stairs instead of the elevator. Got a loved one? I don’t care if it’s a spouse, offspring or canine take them on a walk. Morning, night or both. It is always more enjoyable to do so with someone else. Walking after dinner will help metabolize everything you took in


Just watching what you are in taking and how much of it is going to be the best way to control your eating habits. There are hundreds of different diets or systems (Atkins, Paleo, 40-30-30, etc.) and most of them run into issues with the holiday season. Sure enjoy that slice of pumpkin pie, but not the whole pie or every night. Make sure you are having protein with your meals as well.

The Three Double-U’s can ensure a healthy lifestyle without having to change much about your routine. As we all know, us humans are creatures of habit but when putting our mind to something can accomplish just about anything.


Proper Motivation

Personal Push


Why It Matters: Fishing

It was my first day back at this position and we had our VIP Rewards Night. It was nice coming back and seeing a lot of familiar and favorite faces. Catching up was a lot of fun especially being able to show off my wedding band. It’s not just for ladies! I mean look at it…

Deer Antler. Wood. Turquoise. Tight.

Anyways, I ended up spending a good amount of time talking to a lovely lady. She had some questions about fishing rod combos and I did my best to help out. We went over the basics and the differences between the basics of fishing rod set ups. She was purchasing a spin caster for a friend but was also curious about spinning and bait casting. And fishermen can argue facts and statistics all day long about what is better and why, just like recreational shooters can, but it really comes down to personal preference.

I learned how to fish on a spin caster. Then as I grew up I got into spinning reels. I haven’t fished with a spin caster since then, but will always have a soft spot for them. They are so simple and easy to use, it’s no wonder why many people start there. Zebco played a pivotal role in my life, just like it has for many others before and after me.

The lady I was talking to seemed worried that getting a spin caster may look childish. That is when I went ahead and said that it really doesn’t matter. You know that phrase “Different strokes for different folks”? Pretty much sums up life, don’t it? She then admitted that she didn’t even really care if she catches anything.

She just likes to get out onto the water and relax. There is this weird bond between us humans and water. Catching a fish is just icing on the cake. And that’s why fishing matters. It gets you outside. It lets you connect to the great outdoors. There is something truly amazing about the tugging on a line with a fish on the hook!

The bonds one can make when taking someone else out fishing goes way deeper than just catching a fish. People who fish, like many other outdoor enthusiasts, care for the outdoors. They are the ones you will see picking up trash left along a stream. They are also the ones that know what is really going on with fish populations and water levels. Fishermen can provide biologists and nature departments with extremely important information regarding the health of water ways.

So next time you’re out on the lake and about to toss your lure at a fishy spot, just remember it’s not about landing “the big one”, it’s about more than that. But it would be sweet to land a lunker too!



Getting Outdoors

Picking Up



Holiday or Training Day?

So I’ve been thinking about it. Halloween is like a mini-training day for the zombie apocalypse.


The streets are filled with thousands of people running amok, there is blood (fake) everywhere and you had to prepare yourself for this onslaught of hungry creatures. Sure, the prepping was really just stocking up on candy and maybe putting out a lawn ornament or two but that still is prepping!

So riddle me this scenario:

Its Halloween night. Kids running around. Sweet! That old lady down the street is handing out king-sized bars! Hey, don’t bother at that house because all they have are those weird orange peanuts. Aww! They even dressed up their little pug! How cute!!

BOOM. ZOMBIE OUTBREAK! It spreads quickly as the majority of the population is outside. Sure enough people get bit because they think that guy “in a zombie costume” is just really good at pretending to be one! All of the sudden those creatures at your door are now desiring brains and flesh over Twizzlers and Laffy Taffy! They don’t want Reese’s Pieces, they want Reese in pieces!!!

Keeps me up at night.

So what steps could you take to actually be prepared for a zombie outbreak? Here are my suggestions.

First you need to think about either staying or leaving.

 If you’re leaving, just git! You probably already have your bug-out bags ready and a plan in place. You know what vehicle you are taking to what location. Just go and good luck!

Staying? Time to hold down the fort! Make sure your place is secure and well prepped for such a circumstance.

Start collecting as much water as possible. Fill up sinks, tubs and anything that can hold water. Have yourself a water-filtration system to ensure you are getting good water. (A Life-Straw is a great addition to a bug-out bag or other kit.) Maybe even get some large containers that you can fill up as well.

You’re going to have to eat, so have canned goods or freeze-dried foods on hand. If you have to cook it to eat it, have something in mind and plenty of fuel for it. Be sure to have back-up systems just in case. Know how you are going to ration everything as well. There is incredible information out there to figure out what exactly your body will need to survive.

Protection/Defense. Know what you want to have for that. Every situation is different, but have something that is reliable and you can be comfortable with. Also be sure to practice with whatever you choose so you know what to do in certain circumstances. (Get yourself some Zombie ammo while ya can!)

But according to scientists this should not happen (this year) and the Cardinals look solid. (Just sayin’.)

So have fun this Halloween and remember, don’t be the house with those orange peanuts… or candy corn.



Simple Steps: Trick or Treating

Do you know what you are going to be for Halloween yet? A ghoul? Superman? A Butterfly-Unicorn Princess of the sea?! Well no matter what you dress up as, you should also be one more thing: safe. Halloween is a great time to run around, get free candy and pretend to be whatever or whoever you want for a night. But being safe should also be a priority. Thousands of kids this year will be out running around neighborhoods at night. So paying attention to these Simple Steps can ensure that you have an awesome and safe time out there.

A lot of the costumes that are popular (vampire, ninja, Darth Vader, etc) can be a little dark. This combined with it being nighttime can make it a little hard to see some trick-or-treaters. So besides having a container to store all their sweets, trick-or-treaters should have a flashlight or reflective material on them to help increase their visibility. Wearing a glow-stick can also help keep you safe. Parents and chaperones should also have a headlamp or flashlight to help keep an eye on the little ones.

Parents and chaperones should also have a backpack with them. Here you can hold water, a first-aid kit and have some room to help carry some of the candy for the kids. There is a fee of course for the last service provided which would be a piece of candy, so pick out something good!

Have a designated “house limit”. That means that the trick-or-treaters should know exactly how far ahead (or how many houses) they can be from the chaperones. Also if there are houses with the lights off, it usually means they do not wish to be disturbed and be mindful of that.

Sometimes people can make amazing home-treats to hand out, but these should be avoided. Always choose candy or treats that are individually wrapped. And if candy is found in damaged packaging or already opened, just discard it.

Besides being safe, also be sure to be polite. “Please” and “thank you” are always appreciated and might even get you an extra piece of candy!

 A few suggestions I might make for costumes, that would help one get to dress up and be safe:

Construction Worker- Reflective safety vest

Miner- Headlamp

Electronic Dance Enthusiast- Glow-sticks galore!

Hunter- Blaze Orange Accents

So have fun out there, but please be safe! And if you have an extra “Dots” let me know!


Previous Simple Steps with Wes:



Halloween Edition

Survival Kit

Daylight Estimation

Determining Direction

Eye Protection

Nature Calling

First Aid Kits



Edible Fruit

Search and Rescue



Celestial Navigation



Look at That! SHE Outdoor

So most of the time when a couple goes around Bass Pro Shops together, it’s usually the husband who will just stop and look at something. I mean, just look at it! Sometimes I feel bad for our ladies but then again I’ve done my time in Macy’s. But lately women have been getting into the outdoors in a big way, and there is a product line that can stop a women dead in her tracks and just look at it!

SHE Outdoor has brought an amazing number of products to the market just for ladies. Hunting has been a “man’s game” for a long time so women’s products have been slow to come about. Now however, it’s time for the ladies to shine!

As their page says

“SHE Outdoor offers a full line of hunting clothing specifically tailored for the female body. In times past all women had to choose from was square and bulky men's clothing in smaller sizes that greatly impeded their movement when shouldering firearms, drawing bows, stalking game, climbing treestands, or while doing what hunters do most—walking. Wearing proper fitting clothing allows women to now concentrate solely on the hunt.

SHE Outdoor offers a complete line of hunting clothing ranging from noninsulated shirts and pants for safaris and early season hunts in North America, to insulated and waterproof outerwear for hunting waterfowl, or going after big game in Alaska. No matter where your adventure takes you, SHE Outdoor has you covered. “

Part of the fun of hunting is picking up new gear. We men salivate over reviews from Field & Stream and Outdoor Life and now women can do the same. It really opens it up for husbands to share with their wives, fathers with their daughters and women hunters to their friends a chance to share a passion.

SHE Outdoor also has its own line of professional women hunters that help give insight and a face to connect to for other female hunters. Just like how young athletes have their superstar idols that they aspire to be like, women hunters now have the same. Some of the biggest inspirations for women getting into the outdoors, especially archery, were the female characters from Brave and The Hunger Games.

SHE Outdoor comes in all the standard patterns that any hunter would need. What is nice is that they also didn’t go extremely effeminate with it. I mean there is nothing wrong with some pink and camo, but SHE Outdoor did not go overboard on it. They make good quality gear.

I mean would ya just look at it!


Other Nifty Things to Look At!

Propane Fire Ring

Hand Towels

Rainproof Camo


Concealed in Camo: Carry Options

Camouflage is one of the greatest inventions in the world to me. It started off as a basic concept, use colors and fabrics to help hide a hunter and has evolved into a multi-million dollar industry. Companies have created a pattern for just about every circumstance one could find themselves in. One of my co-associates, Katie-Kins, wrote a great blog about a bunch of different patterns.

I found myself strolling my old stomping grounds, Gifts, and found some rather cool items that I have had a personal interest in. They were an assortment of concealed-carry bags, made by Emperia. These are purses, satchels or bags that are specifically designed for women who carry concealed firearms. They have a side pouch where the firearm is contained. All one must do is unzip the side pocket, reach in and are good to go.

Now one thing to understand about carry concealed purses is that you are intended to shoot straight through the bag. It takes precious seconds for one to remove the firearm and then utilize it. In dangerous situations, seconds are extremely important. There are incredible amounts of statistics that prove this but this one sticks out the most to me. It takes roughly an average of 3 seconds for someone to cover 21 feet while running. So if a threat is realized about 25 feet away, one only has a few seconds to be ready to respond with a firearm. The extra time one would spend removing the firearm from the bag could result in tragedy.

So you shoot through your purse and have to buy a new one? I am OK with that every and any day of the week as compared to what else could happen.

I have been working with my wife to get her to carry for a while now. A common question women have is “where am I going to put it?!” The carry-concealed bag is great because it allows one to carry something most do every day. Most of these bags have a built in holster, with Velcro attached inside the compartment, to hold the firearm. It is your basic holster so a wide variety of firearms can be utilized in it, or one can use their own.

Now as I mentioned way above, there is some camouflage involved. Many of these bags we sell come in a variety of patterns.

We also have a couple for the more Western-style inclined.

These options leave plenty of room in the main compartment for ladies to pack their usual daily necessities. There is also plenty of room for a spare magazine or speed-loader if needed/desired.

Now while we are talking about concealed-carry, let us discuss possible options as well. Please note, none of this is to be “sexist” or derogatory. These are generalizations and stuff I have personally experienced.

There is the phrase “the best caliber firearm to carry is the largest one you can comfortably shoot”. I agree mostly with this, but when it comes to concealed-carry one usually ends up with a smaller handgun. Typically the best firearms are those in the .380 Auto, .38 Special and 9mm Luger calibers. These work well enough in smaller frame handguns and can be quite effective. Now if one is comfortable shooting a .40S&W or .45ACP, then go for it. Just remember you may love shooting them in a full-size but not a compact or sub-compact.

I personally bought my wife the Smith & Wesson 642 in .38Special+P. It is a snub-nosed revolver that holds 5 rounds. The +P means it can hold more powder than regular, but she can still shoot the regular while practicing. And believe me; you can feel the difference between the two. It turns out that this handgun is a common choice for women. I chose it because it is something she could handle, easy to conceal and easy to operate.

Having to use a firearm can be a high-stress situation. And during it, one could forget a part of the process to getting the firearm to fire. This revolver is pretty much “point and pull”. There are no external safeties, and when my wife would pull the trigger it will go off. (Please don’t get on me about using the term “pull” when it comes to shooting etiquette.)

Now other good options are the compact or sub-compact semi-auto handguns. These firearms can hold more rounds than a snub-nosed revolver and reloading with a magazine can be easier than using a speed-loader for your revolver. They also tend to have external safeties which can help new carriers deal with having a firearm on their person. The personal protection handgun industry has flooded the market with all sorts of new options. Personally, the M&P Shield is not a bad option… If one wants to as well they could pick up the M&P Compact, which can utilize the full sized clips whereas the Shield cannot. (Can you tell I’m a fan of the M&P yet?)

Now if one is seriously looking at getting into carrying-concealed, do not take it lightly. Get a permit (especially where mandatory), do some research and take classes. Everything will help you in the long run. If possible, find a shooting range where one can hopefully rent and test possible choices first before buying. Or join a discussion board or group in your area. Others will usually be more than likely to help out when it comes to this.



Africa’s Big Five: Cape Buffalo

So I’ve done a lot of blogs about big game animals, especially the ones in North America or Arizona. One of our associates just got back from a hunting trip to Africa, which got me thinking about the game over there. Africa has inspired hunters and adventurers for centuries. It is almost always stated that Africa puts a spell on those who go there. It is truly a different world compared to here.

Africa is well noted for its animals. Most zoos have an African themed area because we are so intrigued by the creatures over there. Well just like North America has its “slams” for collecting certain species of animals, so does Africa. Probably its most noted group like this is the African Big Five. The Big Five is made up of the lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and Cape buffalo. And considering that my best friend and his dad both got a Cape buffalo a couple years back, I have decided to start with this animal.

Now real quick, the animals of the Big Five were chosen because of their difficulty and the danger of hunting them on foot. All of these animals are a prize trophy to take, and can be the last trophy one goes after if not careful. Not only are they capable of taking out a hunter, they are well known for it. That is why most guides suggest that hunters use the largest caliber that they are comfortable and capable of shooting well. Sometimes these animals must be taken on a charge.

The Cape buffalo is one of the most unpredictable animals in Africa. The fact that they travel in large herds can add to the danger of hunting one. They can stand at close to five and a half feet at the shoulder and can be almost twelve feet in length. These animals are built solid as well. Dainty is not a word to use when describing these animals in any way what so ever.

Not only are they dangerous, but they look it. They always seem to look angry or upset. My buddy’s dad had his buffalo done in a shoulder mount. It is positioned to be slightly turning to look at you. It can honestly send a shiver up your spine.

So what is pretty cool is that not only has my best friend and his dad both gotten a Cape buffalo, but so has our Hunting Manager here at our store. Actually, he has gotten three! And what is cool about that is that our Hunting Manager has been selling my best friend’s dad guns longer than my best friend and I have been on this planet. Funny how small this world is.

But back to the animal on the other side of the world. Cape buffalo are well known for their impressive horns. Both genders of the animal grow them, but the male’s are always more impressive. They are not afraid to use them either when fighting off an attacking predator or human hunter. In the middle of the an adult’s horns is a fused base. This base is called “boss”. The boss works almost like a shield and is so strong that it can deflect a bullet at times!

Now a great place to learn more about this animal and other African creatures is through the works of Peter Hathaway Capstick. He has an awesome story of his own and definitely knows how to tell an amazing one. His books have inspired countless hunters, including myself. He is definitely one of my favorite writers. In his book, Death in the Long Grass, Capstick gives vivid details on how deadly these animals (and others) are. I believe there is something about the tongue being able to lick human skin off the bone…

One cannot bring up anything dealing with Cape buffalo without mentioning the Battle at Kruger video. It was uploaded onto the internet about seven years ago and has over 74 million views. In it a young Cape buffalo gets snagged by a pride of lionesses. The lionesses fight for the meal and then some crocodiles get involved. Then a whole herd of Cape buffalo come back and it’s pretty awesome! Watch it here!

Well that will do it. Until next time!



Tie One On: Crawshrimp

Just like this month’s Fishy Fact, we are gonna get a little salty with this month’s Tie One On! Not only are we getting salty but we’re going slightly 1950’s B-Grade Horror Film with it. It is almost straight out of one of those cheesy monster movies, ladies and gentlemen I give you: The Crawshrimp!

No please note, every time you say Crawfish it needs to sound like how Lord Business from The Lego Movie would say “The Kragle!” Please note, if you have not seen The Lego Movie that you have permission to stay inside and watch it instead of being outside fishing or what-have-you.

Just like you use certain patterns for certain fish in freshwater, the same goes for saltwater fishing. Fly patterns are an attempt to create/mimic natural prey to initiate a strike from a fish. You wouldn’t toss a big ol’ bass plug at a dainty brown trout, and you’re not gonna use a salmon egg for snook or redfish!

So now we have to think about the kind of prey saltwater species go after and start making flies to match! The Crawshrimp combines two very common prey items for saltwater fish, especially inshore ones, a crustacean and shrimp.     

This is a sinking bait, as it is not common to find these kinds of prey floating on top of the water. Commonly, sinking saltwater flies are designed to bury themselves into the sand. This one does not. Because of this, it is easy to work off the bottom in a number of ways. This allows the fisherman to create a number of scenarios with the pattern including the bait being injured or fleeing in order to tempt a strike. If a fisherman were to retrieve in short successive strips it gives the illusion of being a shrimp scurrying away.

Commonly this pattern is used on sea trout, snook and redfish. All of these fish are a lot of fun to catch and put up a good fight. One thing to consider with getting any kind of saltwater gear for fly-fishing is how corrosive saltwater can be. Just like with regular fishing, you will want a good saltwater reel specially built for that purpose. Stop by the White River Fly Shop and get all the goodies you could possibly need. Our very own Ed just took a saltwater fly-fishing trip with his family. You can bet he took stock before heading out.


Previous Patterns

Woolly Bugger

Royal Coachman

Pheasant Tail Nymph



The Tall Tale of Flannel Fest

We are at a great time of year right now. Seasons are changing, animals are migrating and holidays are being celebrated! Families and friends gather to continue traditions and pass them on to the next generation. But this year a new time of celebration will be coming our way. It is a time of great importance to us here at the Bass Pro Shops family, and we will be sharing them with you all this year. It is called Flannel Fest and to know how it is going to go, you will need to know where it came from.

The Tall Tale of Flannel Fest

A long, long time ago in a happy land called Bassproville there was an amazing outdoors town center. This town center was full of wondrous things! There were tents, boats, hunting gear, footwear and of course a section full of fishing gear. There was everything from rods to reels to nets to bait. People traveled from all over the world to the land of Bassproville to get their gear.

Many of these people found great success in their adventures, because of their gear! Hunters were better at bringing home meat, campers got to stay out for longer and fishermen were even able to get those stubborn king-of-the-pond fish to bite! Pictures were taken, memories made and outdoor passions were spread to others.

All were happy because of the service that Bassproville provided, except for some. Deep in the darkest lakes and rivers, an evil plan was being hatched. Many of those trophy fish who were in charge of their home waters were upset at having been caught! They decided that never again would they let themselves be fooled by “those pesky anglers and their amazing lures”. They were going to destroy Bassproville!!

But they were just fish, and Bassproville was on land. Their plan of attack was almost foiled before it could begin! That’s when one of the “Big Bass” from the East let them know of a new fish in his home waters. He spoke of fish, from a faraway place, which could not only breathe air but could almost walk across land! They were mean and nasty to boot! He of course was talking about the Snakehead!

A few of the other head fish laughed, saying that those looked like the native Bowfin! With the snap of his fin, the Big Bass from the East released two of the Snakehead fish that quickly gobbled up the mockers. Realizing that using these Snakehead terrors they could take over and destroy Bassproville, all the fish agreed to unleash their evil plan the next day.

Early in the morning, Bassproville was busy with activity as usual. The citizens were helping the visitors get ready for their next adventure. A family was leaving when everything changed. As they walked out the exit doors they saw a hoard of Snakehead fish! A little boy ran to one, wondering what it was when they tried to bite him! The family ran inside and warned everyone of what was coming.

The citizens and visitors of Bassproville quickly barricaded the doors as best they could. Slowly as the Snakehead fish surrounded the town center hope was dwindling away. The fish began chewing their way through the flimsy exterior of the town center. Families cried out as they could see holes forming in the walls. When all of the sudden a loud rumbling was heard outside.

A citizen of Bassproville looked outside to see a large bus pulling up outside. One by one, the burliest of men emerged off the bus. Each one of them was equipped with a mighty axe and a beard that would be the envy of any Greek god! It was the local Lumberjack Games Team! They were coming by to grab gear for their upcoming event! They needed the best gear as they were looking to hold onto the number one title for the fifth year in a row.

The Snakehead fish were quite puzzled at the site of these men. The lumberjacks took a moment to take everything in. Their team leader stroked his beard which as we all know is how lumberjacks get their minds racing. Seeing the helpless people trapped inside, the lumberjacks did what they do best. They started swinging!

A THUMP here! A WHACK there! Each lumberjack swung with all their might at the closet Snakehead. With their axes hitting their mark so straight and true, the hoard of Snakehead fish was dwindling down quickly. Many of them tried to get back to water for safety, but one of the lumberjack chuckled at their cowardice. The might of his laughter and the aftertaste smell from a breakfast of two hundred pancakes and three hundred sausage links made those retreating fish simply explode!

In no time at all the fish menace was defeated and the people of Bassproville rushed out to thank the lumberjacks. They accepted the gratitude of all but politely refused the offers of monetary gratitude and daughters for wives that came from many. Seeing that their town center was ruined, the team needed a little more practice and chopped down trees from a nearby forest. They used the lumber to fix the holes and give the town center more of a log-cabin look.

One of the citizens of Bassproville looked around the field of battle and quickly knew how they could repay the lumberjacks. A feast! Oh yes, a mighty feast! The Snakehead fish were promptly fried up and all delighted in a joyous celebration. With their stomachs full, the lumberjacks returned to their bus to head off to their upcoming event.


Now from this amazing story like many other tall tales come many traditions. This all happened on a Friday, which is why many places have an All-You-Can-Eat Friday Fish Fry. From the rustic-cabin look of the first center of Bassproville after the lumberjacks helped them, comes the inspiration for the appearances of most Bass Pro Shops today.

 A common phrase “snake in the grass” comes from this event. This phrase of course describes “a treacherous person, especially one who feigns friendship or a concealed danger.” The fact that the Snakehead fish came across land in a dangerous demeanor created the term “Like a Snakehead in the grass”. Like many common vernaculars, overtime this phrase was shortened to become “snake in the grass” which is what many say today. Scholars and historians believe the phrase went through this transformation due to climate change and the increase of Babylonians to the area.

This year we are extending the celebration of the heroic deeds of those lumberjacks to you and your family by holding a Flannel Fest in all of your local Bass Pro Shops. From October 20th to November 9th Flannel Fest will be celebrated. The latest and greatest fashion styles of flannel will be proudly displayed and sold in honor of the outfits worn by those demi-god lumberjacks. Even we Associates at the stores will show our appreciation by wearing flannel ourselves! On Friday, October 24th the first 100 customers in the store will receive a free Fall Flannel Fest Car Coaster! That is of course one of the Flannel Fridays, celebrated during Flannel Fest. So grab yourself some awesome flannel and join us all in celebrating this year’s Flannel Fest.



Little Bass Pro Shops of Horrors!

Just kidding, it is nowhere near that spooky here at our store and I have yet to see a large deep-voiced plant anywhere. And believe me, I have looked. But we are still getting into the Halloween spirit and will once again be having our Halloween Event!

As always this event is completely free and geared for the whole family to come partake in! We will have our Picture Station, where you can take pictures with some of your favorite Peanuts characters (including a free photo print). There will be our awesome crafts and coloring pages, and don’t be shy to come a couple times as we switch up the crafts on certain days. Our store will have our Wildlife Carousel going as well.

On Saturday 10/25 and Sunday 10/26 we will have an in-store Scavenger Hunt. For those that can find all of the items and fill out the checklist there will be a free giveaway!

On Halloween 10/31 we will have Trick or Treating and a Costume Parade/Contest! Contestants for the Costume Parade/Contest will want to be at our Main Fish Tank at 6PM! Once we are all ready to go, the Parade begins with the judging to follow. The winner of our Costume Contest will get a $10 Bass Pro Shops Gift Card and all other participants will get an Owl Draw Bag.

Below will be a breakdown of dates, times, activities and other such useful things!

Friday- 10/24

5PM-8PM: Pictures, Crafts and Wildlife Carousel

Saturday and Sunday - 10/25 & 10/26

Noon-5PM: Pictures, Crafts, Wildlife Carousel and Scavenger Hunt (from 1PM-2PM and 3PM-4PM)

Monday thru Thursday - 10/27-10/30

5PM-8PM: Pictures, Crafts and Wildlife Carousel

Halloween- 10/31

4PM-8PM: Pictures, Crafts, Wildlife Carousel, Trick or Treating and Costume Parade/Contest (starting at 6PM)

We hope to see you here!



Take Someone: Hiking

Now a lot of my blogs seem to focus on fishing, hunting/shooting, cooking and other outdoor activities. One activity that has not nearly gotten enough of my attention has been hiking. In fact, besides the one about trail etiquette, I’ve been quite mum on the subject so let’s give hiking its due credit and make it the star on this month’s Take Someone blog!

Hiking is a great and healthy passion. One can argue that exercise is gained while fishing or hunting, but for pure simplicity hiking takes that title. Hiking is also an activity that can be done almost all the time and can be done almost anywhere. While a fisherman might have to go buy specific gear and buy a non-resident license when visiting a different state, all the hiker needs is their favorite shoes and a little direction. As far as costliness it is probably at the most affordable mark for most outdoor adventures.

So when taking someone hiking there are a few things to keep in mind. One, think about who you are going to take and where. If you are into intense hikes but are going with a novice, its best to go to something their skill level. What is nice is that physical limitations are becoming less of an issue for people because many paths and trails are being paved and made much more accessible. Of course you will want to take someone or even that “special someone” to your favorite lookout spot or what have you, just make sure it is the right time to. And that goes especially for the “special someone”.

Take plenty of water and shade. Shade can be as simple as sunglasses and a hat, but bring this up to your trail-mate. When I lived out on the ranch I always told people to wear close-toed shoes when visiting. There were plenty of things that could prick, stick, bite and otherwise ruin your day should you encounter one in flip-flops. So also reiterate this to whoever you are going out with. Footwear choice is important!

Maybe you are new to hiking yourself and are looking for a way to get started. There is a great website online simply called: . Check it out! In fact the first thing it will do is prompt you for your location to provide you with some trails in your area! It’s a great resource for anyone, no matter their skill level.

Now as far as the physical aspect goes, there are tons of apps on smart phones for plotting your course and calories burned. I like to unplug when outside so I’d skip this and rather plug in the information when I get home. This website has a fun calculator for figuring out the physicality of your hike. You can type in the info and figure out how many calories you burned on your trip or can plan to burn. And let’s face it, hiking outside is way better than being stuck in a gym on a treadmill next to some lady who thinks that the outfits in the music video “Physical” by Olivia Newton-John are still in fashion… Come on now!


Take Someone:




Simple Steps with Wes: Footwear

So for this month I decided that Wes and I should “step it up”. I am hoping that by now you all are not hoping that we “put a sock in it”. And that’s about it for shoe puns right now.

We are going over basic footwear concepts for the outdoors. Wes has quite the extensive history of hiking. Military, search and rescue, recreational and more has lead him to have a good knowledge of this kind of thing. And he was in charge of our Footwear department here for a while!

“We get a lot of questions about picking the proper footwear for hiking.  It is a topic that has a lot of variables to consider.  First everyone is different.  There is no standardization within the shoe industry.  A size 9 is not always a size 9.

Aside possible injuries or special needs by the wearer (arch support etc..) I look at a few basic factors.  First it has to have a Vibram sole.  Vibram is a solid cleat that will be more durable over time.

Secondly the geometry of the cleat pattern should be broken up.  This allows for better traction and less potential to slip on loose surfaces.

Lastly you have to select the stiffness of the sole.  In order to maintain balance your foot will flex, then the ankle, then knee, then the lower back.  The more pack weight or rougher terrain the stiffer the sole needed to relieve the stress to the body.

I have two hiking boots types I use regularly.  Lighter hikes (under 12 miles with pack under 25lbs.) I wear the Merrell Moab pictured below.  Heavy hikes I wear the Danner Expeditions.  But like Ford vs Dodge vs Chevy, everyone will have their own preference.”

So there you have it. Another Simple Step and proof that Wes has a great “sole”!

Get more Wes at his site!




Previous Simple Steps:



Halloween Edition

Survival Kit

Daylight Estimation

Determining Direction

Eye Protection

Nature Calling

First Aid Kits



Edible Fruit

Search and Rescue



Celestial Navigation


Rustic-Esque Recipes: Hunter’s Delight

Rustic-Esque Recipes: Hunter’s Delight

Well it’s time to whet that whistle and drool on your keyboard again! This month’s recipe is sure to delight. It will require some game meat, a Dutch oven and of course some bacon. (Now I’ve got your attention!) It will also require one of the most important ingredients for a great meal, friends and family to help eat it!

Hunter’s Delight

½ cup chopped bacon

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 stewed tomato, chopped

2 medium onions

1 teaspoon thyme

-½ cup flour

-Biscuit dough

-1 large rabbit or 2 large squirrels (a combo of the two is completely acceptable as well)


The first step is to fry all the ingredients (except flour, biscuit dough and game meat) with the bacon in a Dutch oven. Once browned, throw in the game meat and salt/pepper to taste. Continue to cook.

At this time you can also preheat the oven to 400°.

In an iron frying pan, brown the flour- stirring constantly! You do not want it to burn but browned well. Add this to the meat with water to make it soupy. Stew this all down until liquid is thick and the meat is falling off the bones.

Now take the biscuit dough and roll it into small-sized biscuits. Place these on top of everything else and place into oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until biscuits are done.


Now if you can’t get your hands on some rabbit or squirrel, other meats would work as well. But you don’t have to tell them it’s not actually squirrel! In fact, the first time I had a beef steak my buddy’s uncle said it was jackrabbit! It was actually on my first fishing trip ever, up north somewhere. Sure enough I got home and asked my dad if he would cook up some jackrabbit for dinner. What followed was a puzzled phone call to my friend’s family as to what they fed us for the weekend.


Other Recipes:








Chicken Chile Verde

Venison Stew


Check it Out List: Dove Hunting

I love bird hunting. Especially dove. Some of the best times I have had outdoors with a shotgun in hand, has been while dove hunting. Typically dove hunting is done in one spot. You know where the birds are going to be flying from and when. Some farmers even encourage hunters to come to their land to help reduce the number of birds affecting their operation.

Some areas though allow one to walk and hunt the birds. This method is quite enjoyable as well because its lets one be more active. But as always, safety should be the top concern so always be in eyesight and conscious of shooting areas.

Arizona has been doing a good job at improving dove hunting over the past couple of years. Our Game and Fish Department has opened up areas to dove hunting that have been closed for years now. They are trying to bring back dove hunting like it was in “the good old days”. This year they even opened up the bag limit to 15 birds a day! This means that Game and Fish is getting extra generous or we have a serious dove issue… or both. These steps along with the improved license structures are going to work wonders for Arizona’s outdoor enthusiasts.

But in order to have a successful hunt, one must have their trip planned out. And so here is this month’s check-list. Please note it will be for a stationary dove-hunter.

Dove Hunting

-Proper permission to hunt in a desired spot.


-Plenty of Shells

-Seat of some kind



-Proper Clothing

-Sun Protection

-Game Bag


-Bag for spent shells and trash


No matter where or what you are hunting, make sure it is OK to do so. If hunting on someone’s property, always be respectful of the land and anything on it. One farm we used to hunt had to close it off to hunters because they were being careless and leaving trash and spent shells.

The shotgun will depend on the hunter. Typically a semi-automatic is preferred as these birds fly fast and erratic. It’s usually not a question of if you will miss but how many times. Which is also why you want to bring plenty of shells.

Seats can be a variety of options and just depend on personal preference. 5 Gallon Buckets are a standard and great tool. This one in particular comes with a padded seat. You can throw in a few boxes of shells and your spent ones as well. This stool gives one a little extra back support, but is not too obstructive to stop one from rotating for a shot. It also has a small storage area below… to store stuff in.

But please always be safe when hunting or handling firearms for any reason. And don’t forget some Blaze Orange!!




Gun Cleaning

Game Care

First Aid


Day Pack

Trip Prep

Range Time

Fishing Pack

Boating Day Trip

Camp Cooking


Fishy Facts: Bull Shark

So I found myself in a conundrum if you will. I seem to focus on freshwater species when it comes to my Fishy Facts blogs. In fact, it would appear that I have only done two about saltwater species. So I feel bad for our saline-loving friends, but I’m from Arizona! I know about as much about the ocean as Fozzie Bear does in Muppet Treasure Island… “Oh! The big, blue wet-thing!!!” So why not cover a species that is mostly found in saltwater but is notorious for being in freshwater as well… the bull shark!

The bull shark is found throughout the world in warmer waters. They typically are also found in shallower waters. Like I stated above, they can make the transition into freshwater and brackish water. Brackish water is the level in between fresh and salt water when it comes to salinity. If you haven’t ever seen Shark Week on Discovery Channel… well one, go away and two, get on it! They always drive this fact home about the bull shark.

Another thing that sets bull sharks apart from other species is their general temperament. There is the stereotype that sharks are evil. People believe they are mindless-killing machines. This is mostly because of horror movies and the fact that you only hear about sharks in the news when there is an attack. Luckily, more and more information about the true nature of sharks is making its way to the general public and people are more understanding of them. So really sharks that bite onto something are seen as being curious, because that is how sharks investigate things. So the mindless-killing machine viewpoints are disappearing, but the bull shark can be one tough fish. They can produce massive amounts of testosterone which can lead them to being more aggressive.

So here we have a shark that not only swims in waters we think should be shark free, but also are more aggressive. Could be a recipe for disaster, and while bull sharks are the most common species of shark in shark attacks, but shark attacks are really uncommon occurrences.

Bull shark are strong fighters because of their size and temperament, which makes them an awesome fish to catch. The key is to hold on… and don’t fall in. There was an episode of River Monsters that covered the bull shark. The show’s host caught one, tagged and released it. The shark then swam off and was located several times under other fishing boats. This shows how intelligent and opportunistic they are. The shark was literally waiting for fishermen to do its work and would just eat the catch off the hook.

I have not been able to find any reviews on how the shark taste nor any recipes. But it would be safe to assume it tastes great fried!


Former Fishy Facts


Northern Pike

Rainbow Trout

Largemouth Bass

Peacock Bass








Urban Animal Awareness: Bobcat

So I decided this month’s animal-orientated blog should follow along the line of last month’s. For July I talked about an urban predator, the coyote. This month I decided to focus on another predator that may be spotted in your neighborhood, the bobcat.

The bobcat is a feline predator found native to North America. It is found in Mexico, Canada and most of the continental United States. They are extremely adaptive and can be found in various types of habitats.

They typically have a brown and gray coat with distinctive black bars on its forelegs. It gets its name for the distinctive short tail that has a black tip on it. It is larger than house cats but smaller than its larger cousin, the lynx. Because of its beautiful coat it is sought after by hunters. Hunters will also target this animal to control its population, which in Arizona devastates quail populations along with house cats.

Also because of its coat, people have been breeding them with domestic cats creating the bobtail. This way one can have a “mini-bobcat”. One should be hesitant though of purchasing/owning an animal that is mixed with a wild one.

Bobcats will eat rabbits, insects, birds (including barn fowl) and small mammals. There have been attacks on domestic animals and they have been noted to attack deer. Bobcats tend to be solitary animals and rather territorial. These animals are known as being crepuscular, which means they move most from three hours before sunset until midnight and then again before dawn until three hours after sunrise. This is the most common time to see them. There was a bobcat whose schedule of crossing the road tended to coincide when I would be driving to work. It soon began to be a “YOU AGAIN?!” situation between us.

Bobcats typically live under a decade. Their litters run from one to six babies. My buddy who lives in a nicer developed area has a resident bobcat.  Now this is northern Scottsdale and honestly an area with snowbirds and older people so it’s quite the occurrence. They even posted notices around the community.

The key when seeing one in an urban area is just to stay calm and be smart. Don’t leave water out and keep smaller animals inside. Bobcats have been around for a while and clearly show that they will still be around for awhile.



Forty Pounds for a Forty Caliber: My Plan

So last month I did a blog about proper motivation and weight loss. I hope it inspired some of you and got others into the right frame of mind to pursue a healthier lifestyle. If you didn’t read it, check out the hyperlink above. But long story short we as humans seem to need an extra incentive to make changes to our life choices. Being an avid recreational shooter I chose this passion to drive myself to get back into better shape. I have decided that if I lose 40 pounds I can buy myself a .40S&W!

When it comes to any weight loss or fitness goal, you have to be reasonable with it. Arnold Schwarzenegger didn’t start out with a 56” chest or 26” arms. He worked his way there. Hugh Jackman didn’t start doing leg presses at 1000 pounds right away, it took time. And even Jared from Subway knew he wouldn’t be dropping ten pounds a day. So whatever you are shooting for, give yourself a realistic timeframe to get there.

You should always consult with your physician about what you want to do, before you set about it. They know you and your body and will be able to give you extremely important advice. The plan I am doing below is something I have created specifically for me. It will have some points that anyone should be able to take from.

So my goal is to lose 40 pounds and I have given myself eight weeks to do so. This means that if I lose five pounds a week, I will get to my goal. Five pounds a week is a healthy goal for most people. Anymore than that and one usually gains weight rapidly after getting off whatever program they were doing.

As I said in my last blog about this subject, I lost 110 pounds in eight months when I was a teenager. I accomplished this by watching what I ate (calorie-counting), exercising most days (cardio), drinking just water (you will be amazed what cutting out soda of any kind can do for you) and taking ground cinnamon. OK. That last part. Extremely weird, but it worked. Ground cinnamon is a natural metabolism enhancer. I would fill up a spoon with it and take it down with a glass full of water. You may have seen the cinnamon challenge stuff on YouTube; it is similar to that but less stupid. I would take this spoonful in the morning when I woke up and at night before I went to bed. This kept my metabolism running all day and is safer than fat-burning pills and other things the health industry produce and market. Also a steady and healthy sleep routine is important for your health.

Now my body and lifestyle have definitely gone through changes since I was a teenager. I have been weightlifting for a number of years since dropping that weight back then. This throws a curveball into my goal as I want to maintain muscle mass but lose fat. So now I need to focus on not counting calories but watching my protein intake. A common thing among weightlifters or bodybuilders is to have a ratio of grams of protein taken in on a day compared to the amount of pounds they want to weigh. Typically when one is looking to “bulk up” it is twice as many grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. Anyone who can do some math real quick in their head realizes that this is rather expensive.

For my diet I am shooting for half of my desired body weight in grams of protein on days I don’t life, with an extra 50 grams on days that I do. There are plans that use a powder shake as two meals. This is a great way to track how much protein you are taking in, and it is easy to take with you. All one needs is a Blender Bottle or something similar to put the mix in, and the powder itself. Depending on one’s dietary needs will stipulate what one would buy. Also there are dozens of flavors, so everyone should be able to find something that they like. Your third meal is called a “lean and green”. The lean stands for a form of lean protein. Fish, chicken, beef, turkey or pork. The green can be any form of healthy veggies. I am a huge fan of green beans. You do not want to dump on the dressings or anything, but use spices to help keep yourself engaged. You may have to add in a fourth meal, just be conscious about what you are choosing to eat. Also try and think about when you are eating too. Eating late at night can be bad for digestion and your goal.

I am not going to post my weightlifting routine as that is something that one must understand on an individual basis. If you have been lifting weights for a while, you know what works for you. If you are just getting into it, get somebody who can invest time into helping you learn the basics. That’s why I am pretty anti-cross fit. They do some serious exercises that if you don’t have the form for can really mess you up. And many people go to these gyms not knowing much and get seriously injured.

And keep your motivation going! I’ve been able to get to the range a couple times now to try out different 40 caliber handguns. I will go ahead and say I liked the Smith and Wesson M&P over the FNH FX.



But now I’m thinking that I really want a 1911 style… add on another five pounds to my goal!


Look at That! Rainproof Camo

Well it’s time for you all to just stop what you are doing and look at that!

What’s that one thing that can always ruin an outdoor activity? Rain.

And what is an activity that you would hate being rained on while doing? Hunting.

So what do you need?! Rainproof Camo! And would you look at that! Those nice people at Browning have just the answer!

Browning has just released their NEW Hell’s Canyon Packable Rain Jacket and Pants! Like most other products from Browning you know you are getting something of quality with these.

The jacket  comes in both Realtree Xtra and Mossy Oak Break Up Infinity patterns. It is lightweight which gives you the peace of mind by tossing one into your hunting pack and not the burden of something heavy. Previously one could also take one of those emergency ponchos into the field, but let’s face it… when stealth and concealment are important you aint killin’ nuthin’ in one of them there ponchos that has the aesthetics of a Glad trash-bag!

And the bonuses don’t end just at the weight of these things. They are moisture wicking, waterproof and has wind protection as well. They took the time to think of areas where one could experience issues and enforced them, like the zippers and such. It also has an upper chest pocket, two hand-warmer pockets and a license tab. It even comes with its own compact stuff bag!

The pants share many of the same features listed above. They come in both Realtree Xtra and Mossy Oak Break Up Infinity patterns and also has its own compact bag. What I really like as well is that they are both machine washable. If you get rained out and come home soaking, the last thing you would want is to have to take “special care” with these. Nope! You can just toss them in with the rest of the dirty pile!

So would you just look at that?!


Other Nifty Things to Look At!

Propane Fire Ring

Hand Towels


Check it Out List: Camp Cooking

Ah yes, camp cooking. One of my absolute favorite things. Over a year ago I wrote a blog about all the different camp cooking choices. And now with the possibility of escaping out into the woods, it is time to start taking stock of my own camp cooking setup. So in order to be fully prepared let me go ahead and bust out another Check-it-Out-List!

Camp Cooking

Camp Grill / Stove / Combo / Cooking Surface

Cooking Fuel Source (usually those Coleman green propane bottles but maybe firewood or charcoal)

Pots/ Pans

Cooking Utensils

Lighter/ Matches

Aluminum Foil

Spices / Seasonings

Cleaning Supplies

Back-up Food

So depending on what kind of cooking you are into can really determine what you need to cook. If Dutch Ovens are your thing, you won’t really need one of those portable grills. Or if you prefer cooking over a direct flame, something like the Adjust-a-Grill would be perfect for you. I personally prefer having both a camp grill and stove with me. And plenty of fuel! That way I can almost certainly cook up some grub no matter what is going on. Also, I like to do it right when I’m outdoors so I usually have a couple sides on the stove and need the extra cook space.

Personally I would suggest picking up your camp pots and pans from a second-hand store or garage sale. You don’t really need anything too fancy, just something that will work and you won’t be too sad when nature takes its toll on them.

For cooking utensils, check out stores that supply restaurants. You can get some heavy duty utensils on the cheap there, not limited to cutting boards and knives.

Like with survival kits, it’s usually smart to have a couple forms of fire. So matches for when the lighter is out of fuel and vice versa with a lighter for when the matches are wet!

Aluminum foil is handy for many reasons. You can wrap all your ingredients together and toss it over some heat. And there is something extremely satisfying about opening up the foil with your trout that you caught earlier.

Seasonings and spices should be in plastic containers so it is less breakable than when in glass. Salt and pepper should always be included but don’t be afraid to pack some garlic powder, cumin and other seasonings to help “spice up” your camp grub.

Cleaning supplies are mandatory for health and safety reasons. You should always take care in cleaning up your cooking area so you do not attract unwanted visitors.

And last but not least, back up food. You should have some freeze dried food just to be safe. Other good back up items are canned goods. One thing that I love taking out into the woods is stove-top stuffing. All you really need is water to cook it and it’s a nice little touch on the side next to that steak you grabbed in town before heading out.

So there you have it. Something to think about before you head out! And maybe try out that nifty propane fire ring! Just look at it!




Gun Cleaning

Game Care

First Aid


Day Pack

Trip Prep

Range Time

Fishing Pack

Boating Day Trip


Outdoor Kids Night at Mesa, Arizona

So every week we do something really awesome here at our store. Every Tuesday night we have our Outdoor Kids Night! It is a totally free and awesome way to get your kids interested in the outdoors. And for here in Arizona, it is a great place to beat the heat and give your kids something to do!

We start it at 5:00PM and it runs until 8:00PM.

Our laser arcade upstairs in Camping is turned to free! Young shooters can blast away at our interactive and amusing shooting gallery. If you have never checked it out, be sure to! Hitting certain targets will get specific reactions which truly are a hoot and a holler!

Down by Fudge we have coloring pages and a craft or other kind of activity. Rocky the squirrel (of the world famous Rustic-Esque Recipe blogs) is always there hanging out on the cart. Sometimes we are coloring backpack clips or playing Wildlife Bingo! We always have a great time, no matter the theme or activity! And with plenty of free and delicious popcorn available, there is something for everyone!

One of the best parts is our Main Tank Fish Feeding. If you have never been in-store for one of these, make a point to come watch! We kick it off at 6:00PM. Our main tank is full of different pan-fish, bass and bottom feeding fish. We toss them a number of tasty treats (including gross night crawler worms… ewwww!) that is sure to delight any watcher! But be sure to be there on time as these fish are hungry and it doesn’t last long!

After the fish feeding, the Archery Range opens up for some target practice and basic archery lessons. It does not matter the age, any youngster is more than welcome to try it out. A waiver does need to be filled out though for anyone going on the range so be sure to have a parent or legal guardian present.

We have been having a lot of fun with specialty themed months for our Kids Nights. In July we had Christmas in July. Santa Claus was even able to come by the final Kids Night to help out! Then August was Animal Appreciation Month.

Please note all items are subject to change and availability. You can always call our store at 602-606-5600 for more details!