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!

-Giddy-Up!!

Checked-Lists

Picnics

Gun Cleaning

Game Care

First Aid

Kayaking

Day Pack

Trip Prep

Range Time

Fishing Pack

Boating Day Trip

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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!

-Giddy-Up!!

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Tie One On: Pheasant Tail Nymph

Set up another round, because it is time to Tie One On! I like this one in particular because it combines fly-fishing with one of my favorite upland birds to hunt, pheasant. This month’s highlighted fly pattern is the Pheasant Tail Nymph.

Nymphs are a group of fly patterns that are made specifically for underwater fishing. There is a common practice of tying one on the back end of a dry fly. This lets one double their chances for catching a fish as their will be a hook on the nymph and on the dry fly. The dry fly will also work as an indicator should a fish take the nymph. I have fished this set up and found it very successful. See picture below. One should always check first though to make sure this is a legal setup in specific water. And when you catch two fish at the same time it can be quite exciting!

One thing that sets this nymph pattern apart from others is what it is tied with. Instead of using thread Frank Sawyer, the original creator of the pattern, used very thing copper wire. This accomplishes two distinct things. One, it adds weight to the fly and two, it adds glimmer to it. Most nymphs tend to be rather drab in color so the extra glimmer gives it an advantage.

It was actually originally called the Sawyer’s Pheasant Nymph but was later renamed the Pheasant Tail Nymph. The pheasant aspect comes from what the tail is usually tied out of. Pheasant tail is actually a popular product used for tying flies. It’s been a while since I’ve gone for upland birds, but next time I get one I intend to keep some feathers for tying.

Typically one fishes this pattern close to the water’s bottom. It can be fished higher up if desired, but primarily is fished low. One then raises the fly slightly to imitate insect’s natural movement. This then entices the fish to bite and the hook can be set.

The Pheasant Tail Nymph should be in most fly fishermen’s fly boxes. It is a solid pattern that takes up little precious space. I would also suggest if one wanted to be a “hipster” they could also refer to the pattern as Sawyer’s Pheasant Nymph but fly-fishing is a more “hipster” way to fish anyways… Maybe “cane-pole” status is a little more hipster…

Learn how to tie one by watching this video.

Until next time!

-Giddy-Up!!

Former Flies

Woolly Bugger

Royal Coachman

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Take Someone: Fishing

One of my absolute favorite ways to spend some time outdoors is fishing. Just like with taking someone shooting, I love to take people fishing. During high school the posse and I would spend countless hours out at the river in the morning or at an urban lake in the afternoon. Our parents loved it to, because it got us out of their houses and away from their pantries.

To take someone fishing you only need a few items:

Fishing Poles

Bait/ Lures

Licenses

Little bit of terminal tackle (extra hooks, sinkers, etc)

You can also read my checklist of a fishing pack for some other pointers/useful items.

-Fishing poles can be a tricky proposition when it comes to taking someone out. If it is their first time, be prepared to teach them how to use one and avoid bringing a bait-caster. Simpler the better, but that doesn’t mean you have to start them on a spin-caster.

-Bait/Lures will always depend on the kind of fish you are pursuing and the kind of water you are at. Teaching them to watch a bobber above some bait is an important task, but also boring. Be prepared to have them try a couple different styles of fishing to keep them engaged.

-Licenses are important. This can also be where some people may drop out because of the cost. Most states offer one-day licenses though. Also some states hold fishing days so one would not need a license, just be prepared for the rush of others. My suggestion is say that if they buy the license, you will take care of everything else… including lunch.

-Since you are a seasoned fisher, you know what else you need. And like I said above, my checklist for a fishing pack can offer some personal tips, tricks and suggestions.

There are a few keys things to also consider, like getting them to catch something. Fishing is awesome, in my mind. But it is fishing, not catching. New time fishers could lose interest if they don’t catch something in the first trip or two. So your best bet is to take them to your best spot. Now this can be intimidating as it is your best spot, but just explain the “fisherman’s code” and they should understand not to blab about the spot to just anyone.

The group, Take Me Fishing is an awesome organization that can help people out when it comes to getting into fishing. Their website is loaded with awesome features. Including a page on the Top 100 Family Friendly Fishing & Boating Spots.

Another tip is to take a camera of some kind with you. Most phones have a camera function, but just be sure to have one. If you are out and get someone onto their first fish, you are going to want to capture the moment.

-Giddy-Up!!

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Crockpot Cuisine: Chicken Chile Verde

Believe it or not, it actually rained here in Arizona. Once… A long time ago…

And on a cloudy day my tummy turns to a nice slow-cooked meal. One of my favorites, chicken chile verde, was in order! So without asking anyone else, or caring to, I went ahead and made up a nice big batch of it! Turns out the family loved it and it turned out that I had competition for my meal! So from my table to yours, enjoy!

 

Chicken Chile Verde

1.5 pounds of chicken breast, cut into small pieces

1 small can of diced green chiles

2 cans of green enchilada sauce

1 yellow onion, diced up

5 small potatoes (whatever kind you want), cut into small pieces

1 can of chicken broth

2 cans of garbanzo beans, drained

1 spoonful of diced garlic

Black Pepper, Onion Powder and Chili Powder to taste

 

Combine all ingredients into crock pot and cook on HIGH for 4-6 hours. That’s it.

 

Now to garnish, you have several options: salsa, sour cream, shredded cheese, guacamole, sliced avocados or any kind of desired hot sauce. My brother-in-law is a genuine Frank’s Hot Sauce lover and enjoyed his bowl thoroughly with some!

I personally like to make up a batch of salsa, sour cream and guacamole mixed all together. It doesn’t look the nicest but it sure does taste good! My wife will ask me to make up a batch of “that Salsa *Word that is unbecoming of a lady but starts with ‘s’ and is a synonym for poop*”.

What I love about this recipe is its simplicity and versatility. I’m pretty sure my recipe has a few variations from “normal” chicken chile verde. And one can easily deviate from my recipe as well. Like say… add bacon?!

-Giddy-Up!!

Venison Stew

Squirrel

Rabbit

Quail

Goose

Grouse

Crappie

Buffalo

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Why it Matters: Hunting

So this month we are running our huge Fall Hunting Classic event/sale at Bass Pro. It’s a great time to stock up on gear and information. It’s awesome having people come in to get outfitted for their big hunt this year. Out here in Arizona we have some of the best big game available and work on a lottery system for most tags. Getting drawn is a huge thing, and somehow a good number of our associates got tags. So now I get to watch my coworkers and customers get hooked up for their hunts.

There is always a certain sparkle to someone who is going on a hunt. Lord knows I had it a couple years back for my first big game hunt. Every lunch break was spent asking hundreds of questions to my buddies in the Hunting Department. And now I can even pass on my limited knowledge to people.

And you know what, that is something that matters. Hunting is an important tradition for many reasons. And for that I am making it the focus of this month’s Why It Matters blog.

Hunting has always been an important aspect of human life. Our ancestors needed to hunt in order to survive. Nowadays we have been able to ranch or raise livestock to fill dinner plates worldwide.  But still, every year people continue to go outside to harvest animals for food. Some would ask why? There are many ways to answer that.

One, because it’s in our nature. We would not have survived this world without hunting for previous generations. Just like they say there is a wolf inside all domestic dogs, there is a hunter in every human. No matter how far we are removed from the outdoors by cell phones or whatever, it is still instinctual. Just like we fear what is lurking in the dark.

 Two, because unlike buying meat in a grocery store that came from some commercial farm somewhere you are getting your meat from nature. Deer are not being pumped full of hormones to speed up their development. Elk are not on a conveyor belt never seeing the outdoors. Pheasants’ feet are allowed to touch the ground and roam freely. The health reasons for eating grass fed or cage free meats are even more indicators for why we should be eating game meats.

Three, it helps keep the balance of things. This is for nature itself and us humans. We can get back to our roots and take a break from the over-stimulation of everyday life when out in the field. We can actually focus on something that matters, like getting meat on the table for winter as opposed to “shooting off that really important email”! Humans have had a huge impact on nature, both good and bad, and our role in it is still being figured out. In areas where we have removed the natural apex predator we must hunt animals to prevent over population and diseases that are possible. In places where the predators outnumber the prey, we need to reestablish the healthy balance between the two. Arizona’s antelope population gets hit hard by coyotes and in these areas there is a concentration of predator hunting to help the antelope.

Four, it pays. Not only does a hunting trip pay off in a memory, a great time and hopefully food to consume but it helps fund outdoor conservation. It’s the money paid in fees, tags, licenses, firearms, ammunition and other hunting equipment that funds the federal and state agencies that handle our outdoors. If you think PETA is out there helping clean up the outdoors or watch over populations of animals, you are wrong. It is the kinds of people like volunteers of local hunting clubs that put forth the efforts that matter. And whether you are a meat hunter or are just looking for a trophy to hang, it’s the license they buy and the trips that they take that do the most for animal conservation. Without hunters, a huge income of the monetary needs that is required would be lost.

Now one could keep on going with this list, but that’s enough for one blog. I’ll let it all simmer for you, and maybe share it with someone. If you have a strong opinion on why it matters, comment below! We’d love to hear from ya. Remember, United We Stand!

-Giddy-Up!!

Previously:

Getting Outdoors

Picking Up
 

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Simple Steps with Wes: Basic Celestial Navigation

So last time Wes sent me a Simple Step like this, I thought his head was in the clouds… because it was about clouds. This time I figured he had stars in his eyes… as it is about basic celestial navigation.

Enough introduction, here’s the good stuff-

“To navigate using the stars, you need to understand how the stars move in the sky. Stars also rise from the east and set in the west like the moon and Sun do. By finding the current position of the star, and then measuring the position which it moves into, it can help you tell the right direction.

To do this, you need to place a stick on flat even ground. Place another longer stick two to three feet away from the first stick. Align the brightest stars on the top of the two sticks. You can do this as if you are sighting them using a rifle site. Wait for 15-30 minutes while looking at the sticks. After 30 minutes, check whether the stars have moved up or down.

If the stars move left, you’re facing north and if the stars move right, you’re facing south. If the stars move down, you’re facing west, and you’re facing east if they move up the line made by the two sticks. There are times that the stars will move horizontally or vertically, like moving up and right. If this happens, you’re facing south east.

You can also locate the North Star (Polaris) by following the line made by the cup of the big dippers. Then draw an imaginary line down to the horizon and that is north. Polaris never moves more than 1 degree from north.”

 

An important thing to remember as well with this is where you are located. If you are in the heart of a downtown metropolis, chances are you will not be able to see any stars. Due to the immense amounts of lights put off from developed area the night sky can suffer from what is known as light pollution. This is where manmade light sources over power natural starlight from being visible. Below is a map showing the light pollution impact of the United States.

 

Kind of makes one wish for a little more space.

Any-who, thanks Wes for another great and simple step for safety and survival!

Get more Wes at his site!

-Giddy-Up!!

 

Previous Simple Steps:

Floods

Dehydration

Halloween Edition

Survival Kit

Daylight Estimation

Determining Direction

Eye Protection

Nature Calling

First Aid Kits

Epi-Pens

Scorpions

Edible Fruit

Search and Rescue

Clouds

Traps

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Fall Fishing Classic- 2014

So right now, things are starting to cool down with the weather but elsewhere things are heating up! Dove season opened for most of this country on Labor Day and many hunters are back out in the field. But what about our fishermen and their waters? Well seasons change and so does the fishing.  Luckily for you fishermen, we will have our Fall Fishing Classic again this year!

It will be Saturday and Sunday, September 27th and 28th. It starts at Noon and runs until 5PM.

Of course we will have a section for our younger generation, but this event will also focus on us adults.

For the kids we will be having a Beginning Fishing Workshop from Noon until 2PM. We will be doing seminars near our White River Fly Shop to cover the basics of “getting hooked” on fishing. During that same time we will also be doing Casting Practice right outside at our Back Pond. We will have fishing poles there, but feel free to bring your own if you want! There’s only one way to get to know your fishing setup and that is practice! From 1PM-3PM we will also have Color Your Own Tackle Box Crafts near our Fudge Department.

For the adults we will have three seminars each day.

Saturday

1pm: Where did the fish go?

2pm: Which Rod and Reel?

3pm: Local Fishing Areas

Sunday

1pm: Fall Fishing Tackle Box

2pm: Fall Weather Transitions

3pm: Preparing your Boat

 Sometimes the best tool in a fisherman’s tackle box is knowledge, and we aim to give you some!  We will also be giving away Collapsible Water Bottles to the first 25 Customers to attend 2pm Seminars each day.                                                    

Our very own fishy friends at our store will also take in some of the Fall Fishing Classic splendor as they will be fed both days at 2PM! If you have never seen this, be sure to “catch” it at least once! We had a great time last year and hope you join us for this one!

-Giddy-Up!!

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Fishy Facts: Grayling

So last month for the Tie One On reoccurring blog about fly patterns, I mentioned a particular fish.  That fish would be the grayling. For fishermen who know the fish, they often have a soft spot for. Fishermen who are not familiar with them are missing out one of the greatest species to target. So what better way to bring awareness to this fish than making it this month’s Fishy Fact Star?!

Grayling are a freshwater species of fish and are a member of the salmon family. They are found near the Arctic areas of North America, Europe and Eurasia. They are well spread throughout Europe, where they are a common quarry for fishermen.

The easiest way to identify these fish is by their large sail-like dorsal fins. Like most other species in nature, the males are more vibrantly colored than the females. The colors on these fish include: darkish purple, bluish black, gray, white, dark blue and silver gray. These fish also have spots that can range in color from red, purple, green or orange.

  Certain kinds of grayling can live close to two decades. Despite this longevity these fish are quite sensitive. The smallest of differences in their habitat can have adverse effects on grayling. They need a cool, well-oxygenated body of water to live in. They also prefer to have a swifter current, which helps keep their water cooler and better oxygenated. Because of this they are considered an “indicator species”. This is a species that can directly show how a change in an ecosystem has an effect on life.

Unfortunately, like most animals, since human development has expanded their natural range has contracted. Once a member of the Great Basin Lakes ecosystem, they are almost completely gone. That means that these fish should be treasured when caught. In contradiction though, they should also be eaten after being caught. Their taste is considered one of the best in freshwater fish. If you do not want to eat a wild-grayling you can still sink your teeth in some that have been raised in an aquaculture system.

These fish are fished for in similar ways as to salmon and trout. Fly fishermen can take extra delight in catching one, as they tend to put on a good fight and show when hooked. This is why I stated earlier that fishermen who know the fish often have an appreciation for them.

Well that will do it for this month’s Fishy Fact. If you have a species of fish that you wish to know more about, comment below!

-Giddy-Up!!

Former Fishy Facts

Northern Pike

Rainbow Trout

Largemouth Bass

Peacock Bass

Walleye

Billfish

Dolphinfish

Crappie

Catfish

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Happy Trails to You: Etiquette

So one of the many awesome associates at our store, Pauly just took a little hike. On this hike he took his camera and snapped a few pictures. He then sent them to me to share on our store’s Facebook page. And as I posted them I couldn’t help but think how nice it would be to go for a nice hike. (Well right now it’s over 100 degrees outside, so maybe in a few months it would be even better, but still just getting out sounds nice!) Here are some of those pictures.

      

      

But if you’re like me, you have noticed ever increasing foot traffic out on trails. And not just foot traffic, but an increase of bike riding and dogs being taken out on hikes as well. Arizona has some of the most beautiful scenery to go for a hike in and has well maintained trails. Visitors and tourists are attracted to our trail system as it is a fun, fresh and free activity to partake in and gives the opportunity to see native plants and animals.

There are a number of things that set Arizona apart from the rest of the country, and that includes our trail system. A large form of recreation involves horseback riding which includes trail riding. It shocks me that some people do not know how to handle themselves around horses or have even seen one in person! And this can be where issues occur.

With so many people heading out to the trails, including: people new to hiking, people hiking new trails and the possibility for a meeting between day hiker, cyclist, dog-walker and horse ever increasing, let’s go over the basics of Trail Etiquette.

TRAIL ETIQUETTE

-STAY ON THE TRAIL. Leaving designated/marked trails damages plants and may disrupt animals’ homes. Hikers can also find tougher terrain, rattlesnakes and other potential/native Sonoran Desert hazards.

-FOLLOW TRAIL COURTESY. All trail users should yield right-of-way to horses. Cyclists should yield to all other types of users.

-CALMLY APPROACH HORSES. Speak in soft voices to alert any horses and their riders that you are near. Horses can react to sound quite intensely, so yelling like you would in bear countries can be a bad idea.

-NEVER REMOVE ANYTHING. Taking anything can disrupt the habitat of plants and animals. Most rocks and wood provides shelter and shade for tiny plants and animals. In Arizona it is against the law to take away natural and cultural objects from public or private land without permission of the owner. You should make yourself familiar with your state’s laws.  (Also, you can run the chance of lifting up something and finding a snake, spider or scorpion underneath and possibly upset.)

-INFORMATION IS VITAL. Tell someone where you will be hiking and when to expect you back. Also read up on the specific trail for more information. Knowing what the weather is going to be like is an easily accomplished task that can be a real life-saver.

-TAKE A FRIEND. It is extremely safer and more fun to hike with a friend or two. And take water. Water is extremely important and on a hot day in the Arizona desert, it can be your best friend!

If you ever see someone not following Trail Etiquette just simply pull them aside and explain it to them. They may have had no idea that they were doing something wrong and possibly dangerous. They can always then pass that information along to someone they meet down the trail.

So until next time…. Cue up the warbling…. “Happy Traaaaaaaaaaaailssss, to youuuuuuuuu!”

-Giddy-Up!!

PS- Don’t forget to pick up your trash!

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Hunting Story Told Right: Mike’s Safari

So what is cool about this story is that it combines a lot of things I have talked about before and rolls it into one big awesome adventure. This is the story of our very own Mike’s hunting trip to Africa. And he knows how to tell it right!

Mike has been with us for a while now and it seems like he has been talking about this trip ever since he joined us. I’ve had the pleasure to talk with him about where he is going, what he is taking and so on. Well he took that trip, not too long ago, and came back with some awesome trophies!

So let’s go over the basics of his gear. Mike only wanted to take one rifle with him, so the caliber he chose needed to be able to cover all of his bases. And his choices of animals ranged from kudu to warthog and a bunch in between! He went with the .300 Win Mag! (Hey didn’t I write a blog about that caliber? Or two?!) Mike picked out the Winchester Model 70 (a classic) and it served him well! It was the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation anniversary edition. On top of that bad boy, he threw on a Vortex scope. I have spoken before about how awesome these products are and Mike backed that up. His scope only needed three clicks to be dialed back in after all that travel. His Professional Hunter (PH) also said how impressed he is with their scopes are… and that he personally owns four.

Also, get the luck of this guy! He entered in for a chance to receive a case of ammo (your choice of caliber) and WON!!! Seriously!? My best friend and his dad took a trip to Africa and a huge expense was the rounds they needed to practice with before their hunt! Mike used Barnes Triple Shock in 180 grain and they worked like magic. They dropped every animal taken, except one, in one shot where they stood. This is great for the animals because it is humane and it is good for the PH so they don’t have to chase after a wounded animal.

It was a two week trip, four days of which were lost to travel. After landing in South Africa, they spent days at Kruger Park. Here they went over spotting and stalking basics. The PH wanted Mike to know what he was going to be looking for and how to get close to it. This is a simple concept but is something everyone should do! The things you learn at that time can make a huge difference later. Mike also insisted on doing all the hunting in a stalk. There was the option to shoot from the vehicle, but Mike abstained from this. Good for him! Mike also was able to see a lot of the wildlife he was not there to hunt and got a lot of awesome pictures. This is great so he can have something to show people who do not condone hunting. You always want to be mindful and respectful of people’s mindsets. Don’t go showing bloody pictures to anti-hunters because it only makes us more enemies!

From Kruger, Mike hunted in an area west of Kimberly. He took seven animals while there. Most of them were taken at least two hundred yards away. This speaks highly of Mike and his skill and the caliber, firearm and scope he had with him. Below will be pictures of Mike with his animals, the kind of animal, range it was taken (if he could remember) and what it would have scored. Over there, they have their own form of scoring. The Professional Hunters Association of South Africa  (PHASA) has guidelines for each different animal and what it would rank as. Hunting there is extremely different than here as Mike was able to take three animals in one day!

Mike noted that there was a lot of walking involved, and that they found a poacher. This individual was “looking for firewood” but just happened to be carrying around a bow and arrow… and didn’t have any wood… kind of illegal.

Anyways, enough words. Let’s bring on the pictures! Enjoy!

Red Hartebeest (200 yards) Bronze

Black Wildebeest (297 yards) Silver

Springbok (X) Silver

Warthog (500 yards, rested position) Not scored

Gemsbok (200 yards) Didn’t score

Blesbok (240 yards) Bronze

Kudu (200 yards) Didn’t score. It was missing three inches from one horn but would have been a Silver. This is Mike’s favorite trophy because just look how thick its horns are and how cool it looks.

Awesome job, Mike!

-Giddy-Up!!

Enjoy these other pictures too!

 

 

 

 

 

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Look at That! Hand Towels

Well would-ya look at that?! It’s time for another Look at That! And this one just cleans up, as it is some of the niftiest hand towels you ever did see! Just look at them!

People are going to have to use that guest/hall bathroom of yours eventually, so why not make sure there is some cute-rustic charm to greet their freshly washed hands?!

I’m personally a big fan of the “Old Bear and His Honey” one. I mean, just look at it!

And would ya look at that?

The key to doing rustic right, is to keep it simple but be different. There’s a million ways to use mason jars creatively. (Like my craft) Just pop on Pinstagram and you will see for yourself! And it’s kind of cool, because now mason jars are being showcased for their original food storage purpose. I think Cosmo just had something about packing a salad into one. Not that I read Cosmo….

Or eat salads…

Little items, like the towels above, do a great job giving you the flare but not going over the top. They also make great gifts… which is the department you will find them in. Look at that synergy right there. Just look at it!

-Giddy-Up!!

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If It Fits: Ariat Fatbaby- Gator Print

There may be nothing more American for footwear than a good boot! From work boots to cowboy boots, there is something about them that speaks directly to us. Point in fact the first thing my now-wife said to me was that she likes my boots. And you can tell a lot about someone by what kind of boots they wear (if any at all! But that’s a separate topic for another time).

One of my favorite brands of boots just released a new style. I’ve talked about the brand Ariat before and even this exact model of boot before. The Fatbaby has become a quintessential boot for any cowgirl to own. They are tough, comfy and hardworking. (Just like a man should be!) They are also an extremely good looking boot as well. Cleaned up or messed up, they have a style to them that is undeniable.

Now I have what is known as an eye for exotics. If you know boots, you know what I mean. If not, let me explain. Exotics are the kinds of leather used besides your standard kind. Exotics can include, but are not limited to: ostrich, snake, alligator, elephant, lizard and others. Ostrich boots are usually the most easy to identify from the holes where the feathers were. What kind of exotic you would wear can also tell a lot about someone. My buddy’s dad swears by ostrich as it tends to last longer for him.

This latest Ariat Fatbaby has the best of both worlds. It has suede leather but with a gator print. So it gives the eye-catching impression of being an exotic but the ease of care with standard leather.

Like all other Ariats, these boots are built to last! They have a four layered rebound system for comfort and stability. Along with a blown rubber outsole that will stand the test of time. The 1.5” heel is perfect for its original design, riding.

The only bad thing about them… its only for girls. Lame…

But guys, you can still get a pair for your lovely lady. You can take pride in all the compliments she will get from them and be weary should she need to give you a good kick in the rear!

-Giddy-Up!!

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Proper Motivation: Weight Loss

So let’s go ahead and talk about health. Living a healthy life is extremely important. And it is up to an individual to decide what “healthy” means to them. For some people it’s about being able to do 25 pull-ups in a minute. For others it’s simply about having good cholesterol and eating their fruits and veggies. I’m not going to go on a “eat this, not that” rant but let’s face it, weight is a serious health issue.

When I was 16 years old I was pretty much ten pounds away from having diabetes. It took me roughly eight months but I was able to lose 110 pounds. Thanks to watching what I was eating, exercising and that blessed teenage growth spurt there was a new me after freshman year at high school. So for me, this is something I take personally.

Now if you remember way back earlier in the year I did write about a certain eating style that can be very beneficial. I called it the pioneer-paleo path. It took much of the principles of the paleo diet and added some tweaks to it. Now let me go ahead and state that the principles of that eating style are solid but please do not buy “into the scheme”. It’s a great concept but companies have now ruined it by producing and merchandising things as “paleo”. Such items include coffee, protein powders and dog food… yes, dog food. Always remember that the “health and weight loss” industry is great at making one waste money. So for that reason I am not going to endorse any particular product or regimen in this blog.

This blog is about motivation to get to a healthy weight. I personally have packed on one too many pounds since the beginning of this year. I am sure other people are in my same shoes as well, so that is why I am writing this. To help. Everyone can always use some extra. So here you go.

The human mind is an extremely powerful thing. It is essential to get into the right mindset before starting any kind of goal. From running a mile in under five minutes to studying French, you know your mind has to be set on that task. One thing that always helps keep a mind focused is motivation. Why am I studying French? Oh to pass the class and move on!

Now the sad fact is that getting healthier should be good enough motivation, but we are humans and can always use extra motivation. So many people will put some extra incentive on top of any health related issues. This can be done in many ways including taking a vacation, buying new clothes or whatever.

For me personally I am looking to lose 40 pounds. Hmm… 40… I got it! If I lose 40 pounds than I get to buy myself a .40S&W! Cha-ching! The motivation-locomotive is on its way! I do not own one yet and have been thinking more about getting one. I also can go to my local gun club and rent one of many different .40s that I have had my eyes one. And that works great for motivation as well. So once a week I’ll go to the club, rent a new one to help keep my efforts up and help me make my decision.

Now of course, this is my personal motivation. If you are or know a recreational shooter that is looking to shed some weight, do the same! 45 pounds = .45ACP or .45 Long Colt. 35 pounds = .357 Magnum. And so on! Some people only want to lose “that last 10 pounds” (which can be the hardest to lose) so maybe a 9mm? And for you long gunners out there… 30 pounds could be any of the 30 calibers (.308 Win, .30-06 SPRG, etc).

Just think about it. Might not be a bad motivator. I actually shared this “scheme” of mine with one of my fellow associates who said “Now, that aint a bad idea!” While the health rewards for losing weight are endless, at the end of the day we could also use some extra incentive. So if you’re a fan of things that go “BANG” maybe try this method. And maybe I’ll go ahead and post what I am trying to do to get myself to that nice-new full sized .40S&W!

-Giddy-Up!!

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Why It Matters: Picking Up

Ever been walking down the street and seen a piece of trash lying on the ground? Typical. Am I right? Ever been walking down a trail and seen a piece of trash lying on the ground? Unacceptable! I am right.

People are in all sorts of rushes nowadays. You gotta get to this place at this certain time to do this certain thing but that’s before this needs to happen and after that is this and yada-yada-yada. This can be common thinking of people living a busy life. But even when people get out into the great outdoors where things can come into perspective and time slows down, carelessness can still occur.

Take a walk around a park or through a hiking trail or even head out to your “secret spot” and you will probably find some trash along the way. Who knows who left it there or why, but that really doesn’t matter. What matters is that it gets picked up.

Whenever I go out fishing I usually have one, if not two, trash bags with me. And those usually get used each trip. It only takes a second of time to bend over and pick something up and toss it in a bag. This is a point I’ve probably touched base upon several times in previous blogs but now I want to make it a focus.

It’s bad enough we have huge sections of land devoted to dumping garbage and trash into (landfills). But that doesn’t mean that the rest of our precious land needs to end up like it. And I’m not saying that you’re a hero for properly disposing of an empty water bottle, but it is a good thing to do so. And people will notice it too. Some might even do the same next time they are out.

All over the country, certain recreation areas have had to be closed due to the amount of trash people have left there. There was a lovely nature area down here in Arizona that is almost quarantined from the amount of trash left behind from illegal immigrants and drug running cartels. (Yes that is an extreme example, but its true! And yes, that's the example above.)

And I’m not saying that you should get your whole neighborhood to start a recycling project (if you want to that’s tight) but a little help here and there is exactly that- help. So whether you’re a hunter, fisher, bird-watcher, cross-country hiker or whatever take a trash bag or two next time you head out. You may get the most satisfaction of being in the great outdoors by helping keep it great!

Giddy-Up!

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Labor Day Event 2014

We may have just gotten done with our Next Generation Weekend for our Fall Hunting Classic, but that does not mean it is too early to look at our next free and family themed event: Hometown Festival!

We are going to close down the month of August with a bang! On August 30th and 31st we will be having our Hometown Festival here at our store in Mesa, Arizona!

We will have a variety of activities open to everyone this year! From Noon to 5PM, both days, we will have the following:

Pick a Duck Pond- Try your luck at picking a numbered duck! Winners will get a prize!*

Casting Buckets- Show us your casting skills! Participants who can get the casting plug into the target get a prize!*

Face Painting- Add some style to your face!

Craft- Color an Owl Backpack Clip!*

Metal Detector Treasure Hunt- Use a metal detector to search for hidden treasures!

Photo Download- Get your picture taken and see yourself sitting inside our Bass Pro Shops NASCAR race car!

The first 100 Kids to complete the Metal Detector, Casting Bucket and Photo Download activities and get their activity card punched each day, earn an awesome giveaway*!

 

We will also have these seminars on both Saturday and Sunday!

1:30PM- Stoked to Smoke: How to Smoke Meat Right

2:30PM- Backyard Chef- Picking the Right Grill

3:30PM- Going Dutch: Dutch Oven Cooking Made Easy

 

There will be Food Sampling going on both days from Noon-5PM*.

Saturday and Sunday:

Free Hot Dogs from 1PM-4PM*

Free Ice Cream Sampling from 4PM-5PM*

 

What is really cool is that on Saturday we will have some time and special things set aside for our Hometown Heroes. From 2PM-4PM we will be honoring them with Fish Fry Samples* and prize drawings.

 Our Hometown Heroes include:

Veterans

Soldiers

Military Personnel

Police

Fire Fighters

Paramedics

Teachers

Prizes to be drawn:

2PM- $50 Bass Pro Shops Gift Card

3PM- Maui Jim Sunglasses

4PM- YETI Cooler

Please have Valid ID present in order to participate!

So beat the heat and lets close this month down right! Grab the family and head on down for our Hometown Festival! Yee-Haww!!

*While Supplies Last

-Giddy-Up!!

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Check It Out List: Boating (Day Trip)

There are a lot of “happiest” days in one’s life. There was the time in second grade you won a spelling contest. Our in high school when your team made state. Your wedding day! When you hold your first born. And so on.

What are the two happiest days of any boat owner? The one where they buy their boat and the one when they sell it! Just kidding. Kind of.

Buying a boat is no simple or small matter. Think about everything that comes with it: maintenance, repairs, registration, towing, operation and persistent neighbors looking to borrow. But that freedom one gets being out on the water can be well worth it. It’s almost guaranteed to be a good time when out on the water. And a way to ensure that is to have everything in order for a day trip on the boat!

Now depending on the size of the boat, number of visitors and recreation one will partake in could greatly adjust the check-list below. But overall I believe it does a good job covering all the basics. And if you have any personal suggestions, leave them in the comments section below!

Boating Day Trip:

Sun Protection

Personal Floatation Devices

Drinking Water

Towels

First Aid Kit

Identification/Registration

Safety Measures (whistles, flares, etc.)

High Visibility Flags

Small Tool Box

Extra Paddle

Many of these items can be kept together in a water-proof bag of some kind. That will also make it convenient for loading/unloading and secure storage. I hate to say it, but not too long ago I was helping a customer check out and he was loading up on the boating items. I asked him if he just got a boat and he replied that he had gotten robbed. Despite that kind of happening, he knew better than to go out unprepared. And like he said, most of his stuff was older and could have used replacing anyways.

Speaking of that, remember to make sure proper floatation devices are on board. Especially if you have younger kids. Like everything else, they tend to outgrow things quickly so you will have to go through several different life jackets as they grow up. But always better safe than sorry!

Be sure to be up to date on your local boating laws as they may have changed since the last time you went out. States are cracking down more and more on reckless boaters, as they should be. Look to see if you can take an online safety course to learn the basics or get a refresher course.

-Giddy-Up!!

Checked-Lists

Picnics

Gun Cleaning

Game Care

First Aid

Kayaking

Day Pack

Trip Prep

Range Time

Fishing Pack

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Take Someone: Shooting

Everyone tends to have their own passions in life. Usually the best part of a passion, is sharing it with someone else. I mean that is usually how relationships are built. If you meet someone you intend to spend time with in any way, you usually see if your passions match up. And sometimes someone will have never taken part in what you love to do most at which point you offer to introduce them to it.

One of my passions is recreational shooting. I love it. I honestly consider it one of the best forms of stress management, ever. And I believe everyone (no matter how they feel about the subject) should know how to safely handle firearms. You can be the most anti-gun nut out there, but you should still know how to safely handle a firearm and if need be make sure the safety is on and it is unloaded.

One of my sisters was very anti-gun. She couldn’t stand the fact that I owned one. It was a sore subject between us, but I came to find out that she had never shot one before. So here was my chance to introduce one of my own family members to one of my passions. (If you have this similar situation, follow what I did and it should work for you too.) I reasoned with her that she can hate them all she wants, but should still know how to handle one safely. And I enticed with the reward of me taking her out for dinner if she were to come to the range with me and just shoot one bullet. Love it, hate it- didn’t matter- I would take her out to any restaurant she wanted.

So off we went to the club that I belonged to. There you must watch a safety video if it is your first time shooting (smart). This focus on safety above all else helps one get into a proper mindset. One of the most effective ways to teach firearm safety is called TAB+1. It stands for:

T-Treat every firearm as if it is loaded.

A-Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.

B-Be aware of your target, what is in front of it and behind it.

+1-Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.

Also always have eye and ear protection available.

I gave the run down to her and loaded my pistol. The target was probably 10 feet away, and that doesn’t matter. I made sure she was set in every way possible and even put my hand on her back to know I was right there for her. She raised the firearm and fired. She immediately put it down and stepped back. (Looks like this was going to be a short trip to the gun range… Oh well, hope she doesn’t choose anything too expensive…)

She turned around and said “THAT WAS AWESOME!”

From then on we made dozens of trips to the range together. It was a great time for us. And each time we always focused on safety. It got to be where she would notice people being unsafe and could call it out.

Here was a passion shared with someone that took a real hold. And you too can do the same. Shooting can be “one of those topics” but as long as you follow a few, easy steps it can be a shared passion.

SAFETY- Always keep safety in mind. This will help keep you, your companion and everyone else in a good mind frame. Teach the TAB+1 or go over it before you shoot each time. Discuss how safeties and releases and the reloading process works. Keep the amount of different firearms and calibers out to a minimum.

THINK- If you are going to take a smaller framed person shooting, don’t hand them a .44 Magnum. Think about the person(s) you are going to take and what would be a good match for them. Personally I wish I had introduced my sister to shooting with a smaller caliber then .45ACP but it was the only firearm I had at that time.

WATCH- Shooting can cause fatigue. You’ll notice it yourself if you have been at the range for a while. Always watch and see if they show any signs of shooting fatigue. And just watch to be safe!

TALK- Talking going with the whole safety part but beyond that as well. You don’t have to get too technical with new shooters but discuss what is going on. Knowledge is power. Encourage who you are taking shooting in simple ways. They don’t have to hit the bull’s-eye, like many new shooters think they must. They are there and that is the most important thing.

On my last trip to the range, the lane next to us had a younger man introducing (I believe) his mother to shooting. I watched over him as he went through everything that I discussed above. He emphasized safety above all else and kept it as stress free as possible. I waited until she had shot a few times and introduced myself. I asked if it was her first time (it was) and how awesome I thought she was for being there. I am not sure if she has been back since, but I am going to bet that the little encouragement I gave and the training her “instructor” was giving her has made her more prone to the idea of going shooting again.

-Giddy-Up!!

Check out my check list for going shooting for other helpful hints.

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Tie One On: Royal Coachman

This month’s Tie One On has a hint of royalty to it, so be prepared to bow before the pattern that rules the kingdom. This month’s highlighted fly pattern is The Royal Coachman!

Typically when it comes to fly patterns they are designed to be fished as either a dry fly or wet fly. The Royal Coachman is one kind that works well for both styles of fly fishing. The fly is especially effective on trout and grayling. Larger patterns have been adopted for salmon species and work quite well also.

Now usually when people think of royalty it immediately goes to our friends across the Atlantic, the English. I mean immediately the world royalty makes one thinks of fancy balls or knights in armor. The Royal Coachman however is an American classic.

Fly-fishing author, Paul Schullery wrote, “No fly better represents this freewheeling era [late 19th century] in fly tying than the Royal Coachman, which among the general public may be the world's best-known fly. Its name has the right combination of romance and class to appeal even to people who don't fish, and the fly has such a commanding appearance that few fly fisherman can resist having some permutation of the pattern in their fly boxes, even if they never use it. Most of them don't know it, but the Royal Coachman is the first great American fly pattern...”

I would completely agree with what Mr. Schullery stated, including having one in my fly box and never having used it…

The Royal Coachman is known as an attractor/searching pattern as its generalized form makes it possible prey for anything biting. So one may tie one on and use it to probe likely spots holding fish and it has a better chance of getting a strike.

Like most other fly patterns that have proven themselves, this one comes in an assortment of colors and variations. The standard pattern is well recognized for its white wing, portioned body with red in the middle and red-brown/brown hackle coming off the back.

So next time you’re out and need a little help catching something, go ahead and bow down and ask the Royal Coachman for its assistance in the matter.

-Giddy-Up!!

Former Flies

Woolly Bugger

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Simple Steps with Wes: Traps

It’s time once again with one of those ever-helpful Simple Steps with Wes! And for this month’s we can directly quote one of the finest members in the Rebel Alliance’s arsenal: Admiral Ackbar…

Growing up, I cannot tell you how many traps my siblings and I would set in our backyard. Anything from pit-traps to the jankiest Tupperware and string contraption found themselves ready and waiting for anything to come by.

Now that I am older and have a man like Wes ready to help with any possible survival or prepping scenarios, I decided it was time for my trapping knowledge to grow up as well.  Here is the next Simple Step for your arsenal, trapping.

“In a survival situation there is a fine balance of work and reward that must be balanced. Hunting game can cost you precious time and the yield of food may be less than the energy spent hunting it. One way to help with conserving time and energy is by using traps and snares to work for you while you focus efforts on other tasks. First, like business, it is all about location, location, location.  Look for signs of activity such as game trails, water sources, and tracks.  Some simple ideas are:

This reverse angle or bottle neck pit is a great way to catch small game. Mice and rabbits use cover and concealment for protection. As they scurry along and go under the braced cover they fall into the hole. The negative angle of the pit walls prevents them from climbing out. The low clearance between the cover and the top of the hole prevents the animal from jumping out. Another great advantage is you only need items from your environment to construct it. They also yield scorpions, lizards and snakes so use caution when checking your trap. Construct a few of these in areas you see signs of activity for great rewards.

When you have the option of preplanning take advantage of it. Adding a few small traps like these to your survival kit can save time and energy.  They are light weight, compact, and designed to catch small animals. They can help catch small game but don't forget to tie or stake them down when setting them.

A fish corral can isolate fish and make them easier to harvest.  It also keeps the fish alive so the food will last longer.

Putting Mother Nature to work for you instead of against you is key to survival. Remember to work smarter not harder and always try to improve your situation.”

 

Thanks, Wes! My trapping knowledge has come from a young boy that wouldn’t know what end of the screwdriver to use to now a full grown and facial haired man’s man.

Remember, the latest and greatest from Wes is available at his site!

-Giddy-Up!!

Previous Simple Steps:

Floods

Dehydration

Halloween Edition

Survival Kit

Daylight Estimation

Determining Direction

Eye Protection

Nature Calling

First Aid Kits

Epi-Pens

Scorpions

Edible Fruit

Search and Rescue

Clouds

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