Take a Couple Hours: Quail Hunting

So months ago I wanted to start up a new blog series about getting in some good outdoor activities with only a few hours to do it in. I started it with an urban fishing trip but unfortunately have not been able to follow it up. Until now! Or should I say this past weekend? A group of buddies and I set some time aside to take part in one of my absolute favorite outdoor activities, quail hunting! We all needed a little break and a lot of fresh air, and this trip did just that! Let’s begin…

Well, first things first let us look at the gear. There were five of us going, and this was going to be the first trip for my buddy’s father’s bird-dog. He had to bring all sorts of other gear that, luckily, I didn’t need to hassle with. The rest of us needed: a hunting license, shotgun, ammo, appropriate clothing, snacks and water.

Don’t have an Arizona Hunting License yet? Pick one up at Game and Fish’s website. You do not need a Migratory Bird stamp to hunt quail, but of course read over the rules and regulations before you head out. (Limit is 15 birds a day this year… good luck filling that though!)

When I talk about appropriate gear, you need to consider where you will be hunting and when. What is the weather going to be like? Is it snake season? (It was cold out so we didn’t have to worry so much about those, but I was still looking where I was stepping.) Dress in layers so you can add on or take off clothes accordingly. Make sure to have some sort of blaze on you (hat, shirt, vest, etc.) so you are easier to spot by your own group and others. Bring a bird/shell vest! Only two of us had bird-vests, so we were doomed to be the pack-mules. I picked up the Browning Upland Strap Vest a year or two ago. Just like the new bird-dog, this was her maiden voyage as well. And I absolutely loved it! Fit nice and secure. Everything was able to be adjusted to me. Held plenty of shells and miscellaneous gear, including water bottles and snacks in the back pouch.

And wear good boots! The areas we hunted had a whole mix of landscapes and ground. Soft sand, hard rock and everything in between. And everything up and down! We went over too many hills to count. Having on my good boots made a world of difference that day… and the ones that followed.

We had a few 12 gauges and a couple 20’s between us. We made sure to keep the two kinds of shells separate, as everyone should! Don’t just rely on the concept that “yellow shells = 20 and red shells = 12”, always double-check! Most of us were shooting size 8, but I had a couple random 7.5s to shoot through as well. Good ol’ Dori the Citori will pretty much eat anything I toss down her!

We pulled off to our first location, and after squelching a minor political discussion we were engaged in, my buddy’s father started the hunt off with a safety meeting. Everyone should do this every time. We talked about watching line-of-fire, when to load/unload, who was going to be where and so on.

Also to not shoot his dog. (There is a special level downstairs for those who break this commandment. Somewhere between lawyers and people who leave shopping carts all caddy-wampus in cart corrals.) This meant no aiming at ground birds, no matter the circumstance, so the plot thickened.

And then to make sure we kept our line consistent. You should always be able to see the person to either side of you and them like-wise. This is where wearing blaze comes in handy. Only two of us were in blaze and with all the hills, washes and whatnot it was easy to lose sight of one another.

The hunt began literally with a BANG! Not more than fifteen yards from the truck, I flushed a couple quail and showed the rest of the group how good I am at shooting under flying birds! We kept moving. It is always a delight watching a bird dog work, and she was no different. This was her first time though, so she was rather timid and not used to the terrain. She had been trained by a professional and graduated top of her class, but the real world is different.

As we made our way, we bumped into something quite large that was just as startled by us. It was a small herd of wild horses! They wanted nothing to do with us and quickly scurried up a hill. One hung out long enough for me to get a picture. He probably knew that I worked for Bass Pro and would include him in a blog. We also bumped into an owl a little ways down the area.

We kept on the flurry-sound of a covey of quail that proved to everyone how hard those little guys are to hunt. They led us all the way to the border of state land, where all we could do is watch as they lounged about in the safety of their new home for the next short while.

We worked our way back towards the trucks and kicked up a few more birds, but no one was able to connect. One bird might have a sore rump though! At the trucks, we caught our breath, rested our feet, hydrated, snacked and started the next game plan. The bird-dog had had quite enough and was done for the day (ground birds are good-to-go!) but had well-earned her rest! She, and a few of us, would have some sore feet the next day.  She may not have gotten on point, but the experience from this trip and those to follow was important for her to gain.

Our next destination wasn’t that far up the way, but did give us plenty of time to talk guns and country music. We came to the revelation that the song Parking Lot Party is more or less the sequel to Redneck Yacht Club, because the people who were partying on the lake weren’t ready to go home yet and just moved it to some asphalt. This probably also gave ample time for my buddy and his dad to discuss such important topics like marriage and what arguments they let us think we win, because the one buddy has his wedding in a couple months.

At the new spot we hopped out and loaded up. We chose a hill in the distance and worked our way towards it. Those on the right side of the line took a few steps before bumping into a mule deer doe, which is pretty neat. I bumped into a rock.

Nothing was really moving until we had gotten over a few more hills and then it was a flurry of excitement. I noticed a nice sized covey moving along in front of us and something caught my peripheral. A couple mule deer does gave me the “See ya!” by bounding away, white rumps shown proudly. Watching the wonders of nature always makes me smile, but we were on a mission! With targets in sight, we closed in on them but came just about as close as the last place.

Clouds moved in and rain started trickling down. It was time to start heading back. In one area, I bumped a few and was able to put down a quail and recover. My buddy’s dad got one in the same area, but couldn’t recover it. One of the guys got himself a nice sized jackrabbit as well! He didn’t have a vest, so being the sport he is, the other of us two pack-mules hoofed it out for him. On the final leg of the trip back, my buddy got a bird and recovered it. And he found a nice little deer shed! Not a bad way to end the day.

We cleaned the animals and headed back towards town. After some grub I had to rush home. The missus wanted to take Christmas card photos, and I was definitely not going to be allowed to have bloody jeans in them! But before I took off, we all were able to take a second and breathe while appreciating what an awesome day we had. And make some verbal semi-contracts to get out next weekend!



Healthy Hunter: Get it Together

So how is the Turkey Day Trim Down plan going? I hope well! I went back and re-read it and realized I forgot a very important aspect of it. In fact, looking back at all the topics we have covered in the more than dozen Healthy Hunter articles I realized I left something very important out. And that is why for our very final Healthy Hunter I wanted to make sure I got it together for you all to get it together. What am I talking about? I’m talking about getting some support for your health and fitness goal! That’s right, getting it together!

Changing up your diet is no easy task. You have to buy all new foods, change up eating times, limit what you intake and all sorts of other tweaks. Since diet is probably 80% of all health-goals, this needs to be your priority. Not just yours, but anyone you live with as well. Whether you have a full house or just a roommate, everyone needs to get together when it comes to moving towards a healthier lifestyle. It will be hard for you to keep up with your black bean, brown rice and grilled chicken breast meals when there are tubs of ice cream and fun-shaped chicken nuggets in the freezer.

One of the biggest difficulties can also be what is there to drink in the house. Having soda around is a huge temptation (and waist wrecker) for many. Perhaps look into getting a second refrigerator to contain your food, so you are not always looking at unhealthy choices. One of those, out of sight out of mind kind of deals.

Also getting onto the same pattern of eating together can be a huge help. Plus just spending that time together each day can build bonds and make memories that last a lifetime. I personally know how hard it can be to keep up with a new eating-routine when there is temptation in the house.

The other part of changing your lifestyle, exercise, could also use some support. If you are new to lifting weights, do not go in their blind. Find someone who can teach you proper techniques. Maybe you have a friend, relative or co-worker that can show you. Nine times out of ten they will be more than happy to help you. Otherwise, look into getting a fitness trainer or joining a workout group. There are tons of ways to get connected. I know that Bodybuilding.com has a community space to join up for free in.

Even if you are an experienced weight-lifter or runner, having someone to work out with can make a huge difference. They can give you positive criticism and pointers. Most importantly they can spot you. Lifting heavy weights can be dangerous, so it always best to play it safe.

I was in the best shape of my life when I had a workout partner at my gym and a personal trainer. Both were older than me (probably double my age) and had a lot of experience that helped extremely. The guy I was lifting with also liked proving that he could “keep up with the young buck” which pushed me to work out even harder so I wasn’t “outdone by the old guy”. So we were both putting up good numbers and getting in great workouts in a friendly/competitive manner. Plus both of those guys liked that I was the youngest Republican that they knew.

 So no matter what kind of diet or workout plan or lifestyle change you are going for, reach out to others for support. After all, you are doing this for yourself and them!


APPs Proper Motivation Personal Push Habits Track It Limits Simple Sides Hunt Ready Everyday Switches Willpower Know Your Numbers Rest Daily Doses Turkey Day Trim Down


Holiday Time at Bass Pro Shops – Mesa, AZ

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… everywhere you go!” Why yes, Bing Crosby, yes it is! And we here at Bass Pro Shops in Mesa, AZ are no exception! Slowly but surely our store has been adding all of its holiday trimmings in anticipation for Santa’s Wonderland. With it kicking into gear, I figured a yuletide blog might help spread some holiday cheer!

(Check out last year’s blog for some helpful hints.)

Santa’s Wonderland is a completely FREE and FAMILY FRIENDLY event we hold each year at our store. Most of our Tracker Boats disappear and the North Pole pops up! We have all sorts of fun activities for everyone to enjoy during the event. Those activities include: Wildlife Carousel, Crafts, Coloring Pages, Letters to Santa, R/C Slot Car Racing, R/C Truck Romping, R/C Train, Shooting Gallery, Zing Toy Arcade and more! Some activities are subject to certain time frames and availability. You can always call us to check on specifics, so put this number down into your phone: 602-606-5600.

The biggest attraction though is the big man in the red suit! FREE pictures with Santa! Kids and families have a chance to see Santa, maybe add another gift to their wish list and get a FREE picture with Santa. You can also purchase photo-packages that can be printed off in-store as well! I strongly urge you to come in earlier than later and to always call ahead to see how busy it is. If it gets busy, we go to the Bass Pass system. What is a Bass Pass? The big guns at corporate do a great job at explaining it, so…

“If the photo line gets above a 30 minute wait, our convenient Bass Pass system will help reduce your wait time. A Bass Pass provides a designated time during the day to return to Santa's Wonderland® for your photo with Santa.

Once you have a Bass Pass, you have the freedom to explore the store while waiting in a virtual line until your designated Bass Pass return time arrives. When it's time to return, line up and get ready to share your Christmas wishes with good ole St. Nick. This is why you may not see long lines in Santa's Wonderland, because our Bass Pass system is in place with several people ahead of you in their own virtual line.

Bass Passes are available on a first come, first served basis each day. Once they're gone, they're gone! For your convenience, Mondays-Thursdays are typically days with shorter wait times to see Santa.”

The later you wait into the season to take your photos, the less likely your chances become. I have seen it where by 11AM we are already handing out Bass Passes for the 5PM slot! Check out the chart below for times for Pictures and Crafts.

Also remember that we will be having special holiday hours, as listed below:

Holiday Hours
Thanksgiving 8:00am - 6:00pm
Day After Thanksgiving 5:00am-10:00pm

We will be open until 10PM from 11/27 – 12/23

Christmas Eve 8:00am-6:00pm
Christmas Day Closed
Day After Christmas 9:00am-9:00pm
New Year’s Eve 9:00am-6:00pm

Be sure to check out our Facebook as well for helpful information!



My Pick: First Revolver

So far we have covered my choices about what I would choose when purchasing my first rifle and shotgun. Much like with me writing about the shotgun and having a long-time friend come to me with just such a request, I had the same situation happen with the rifle! Last month I went out to the new San Jose, CA store to help with the Grand Opening. (It was awesome!) And sure enough, one of the associates I was help train asked me what I thought about for a good rifle. I quickly sent him the link to my article and that was that! I also ended that last blog to write the next one about one of my favorite firearms, the revolver. So here we go!

A revolver is a kind of handgun that has its rounds chambered by a cylinder. The cylinder “revolves” around moving an empty chamber to the next one while working the action. There are two types of revolvers, single-action and double-action. When people think single-action, they can’t help but imagine the guns used during the Old West. The double-action revolver came out years later and for a long time was the standard issue for military and police forces.

Basically a single-action must be shot by working the hammer back, which engages the firing system. Without that, it won’t fire. A double-action can shoot without the hammer being worked back, and many models come without a hammer. The hammerless models are mostly for concealed carrying purposes. The thought process being that it is one less thing to get caught on when pulling the firearm out. The nice thing about a hammered double-action though is that you can work the hammer back and then when you squeeze the trigger it is a much shorter and easier action. A straight double-action pull can be much longer.

Generally single-actions must be loaded and emptied one at a time. A door will open to the side of the cylinder, which allows you to load or unload (this process usually engages a plunging rod to push the empty case out) the cylinder. A double-action more than likely has its cylinder swing completely out to the side making emptying and loading a much quicker process.

There are not as many calibers of revolvers when compared to pistols. You have basically: .38Special, .357 Magnum, .44 Special and .44 Magnum. Now, the magnum calibers can usually shoot the special calibers (i.e. .357 can shoot .38) but not vice-versa, but always ask whoever is helping you.

Part of the reasons why I love revolvers so much was my childhood. I grew up watching countless old John Wayne western films, which grew my fondness for them at an early age. (I am working on my wife to go for the name “George-Washington McClintock!” for our first born. Boy or girl.) I tend to be more accurate with them as well. And I even enjoy the longer process of loading and unloading these firearms as opposed to the “slap and rack” kind of mentality you may get with a pistol.

Now to be considered for the rank of a “first firearm” we need some criteria. Your first revolver needs to be easy to shoot, accurate, well-built, not break-the-bank expensive to own/shoot, able to be used for defense and safe. My honest first choice would be the: Ruger Blackhawk Convertible in .357Mag/9mm.

I personally own this firearm and absolutely love it. A number of years ago, my best friend and I had an “Arizonan Best Friend Day” where we both got similar firearms. (He snagged the Super Blackhawk in .44Mag.)

What I love about this gun is how it fits all my criteria. It is incredibly easy to shoot and accurate. I used this firearm for the shooting aspect of my concealed-carry-weapons permit class, and wouldn’t you know it, I had one of the best groupings of that group! Many people are turned away from single-actions “because they can go off when the hammer is pulled back” but thanks to the transfer bar with these Rugers, you have to pull the trigger to have a round go off (so it is safe). Also with some single-actions you have to work the hammer back a little in order to open the loading gate, but with this one you can open it up without having to work the hammer. It is extremely well built and has seen probably over a thousand rounds of all sorts of ammo put through it. With the capability to shoot .357Magnum this gun definitely fills the niche of “defense gun” and since it is a revolver you can shoot those “shot-shells” through it, giving you a micro-shotgun like capability (perfect for rattlesnakes out here). But because it is a convertible it means that you can shoot three different calibers through the same gun! With the .357 cylinder in place you can also shoot .38 Special, which is lighter in recoil and cheaper to shoot. Transfer over to the 9mm cylinder though, and the recoil is barely noticeable and the ammo is even cheaper! So there it fulfills the “not break-the-bank expensive to own/shoot” checkbox.

So overall, you could not go wrong choosing this gun for your first revolver. In fact, you wouldn’t go wrong if choosing it for your second, third or fourth! Whenever my wife and I hit the range, we always bring “Mary-Kate” with us. (She was named after Maureen O Hara’s character in the Quiet Man, a Wayne classic.)



Ascend Your Gear: H2000 Hydration Pack

So far in our Ascend Your Gear blog series, we have taken a look at a camp cooking-set and canoes. I will admit, that these aren’t everyday items but they are absolutely awesome pieces of equipment. But that got me wondering about what Ascend had in-store (get it, retail pun) for us for everyday use. I mean their clothing line for men and women is awesome. But there had to be some item that really stood out. And I found it, hanging on our backpack wall!

BOOM! The ASCEND H2000 Hydration Pack!

This thing is legit! This backpack comes with a built-in 2Liter hydration bladder that delivers its thirst quenching goodness to you via an insulated hose and easy-to-bite mouthpiece. It also has ample room for storing and carrying items.

To be honest, if there is one thing I can’t stand it’s those tiny hydration packs that only hold the water bladder and maybe an iPod Nano. I mean I get it, those are for like “serious runners” or whatnot, but no thanks. Not for me. I want the ability to carry some supplies with me or the room to pack out any random pirate treasure I find while outside. You never know when it could happen.

Any-who. This backpack has 2000 cubic inches of carrying capacity. It has numerous compartments and areas to keep your gear well organized as well. It also comes with both a waist strap and chest strap, for keeping it comfortable and secure while in motion. (Don’t get me started on not being able to buckle up while in a backpack.)

One of my favorite features are the zipper-pulls. Sure, the original zipper pulls that have proven themselves for what must be at least a century are great, but these things are nice! They are larger loops that make it easier to get access to inside the backpack.

If you are in the market for a new hydration pack, you need not look any further. Oh and if you are just in the market for a new water bladder, go with the Platypus brand. They make awesome stuff and allow you to mention the only poisonous, egg-laying, semi-aquatic marsupial in the world much more often. Brownie points if you name the other egg-laying mammal below!


Other Ascend-ings:

3 Piece Backpacking Cooking Set Canoes


RedHead Select Outfitters: Southeast Alaska Guiding

I remember reading an article a number of months back about the two adventure destinations for hunters. Those two places were Alaska and Africa. The writer did an awesome job talking about the destinations, their quarry, pros and cons, costs and more. More often than not a hunter usually only ends up going to one of these two adventures-of-a-lifetime. This got me thinking about what options one would have for taking just such a trip through the amazing services of a RedHead Select Outfitter. And while we currently don’t offer an options for an African safari, we do have the option of an Alaskan Adventure through Southeast Alaska Guiding.

Southeast Alaska Guiding is owned and operated by Hans Baertle, who has been guiding in Alaska since 1978 and opened his own outfit in 1988. You know how they say a hunter learns something new every trip? Well when you take into consideration how many trips this man must have been on in his time, he must be a honey-hole of information!

He operates out of Douglas and utilizes a boat to get hunters to and from their hunting spots in the area. It is a 50 foot boat with a ton on amenities. There are such luxuries as hot showers, electricity and comfortable places to sleep. There are also home cooked meals that his wife prepares!

Southeast Alaska Guiding offers hunts for brown bear, black bear and mountain goats. (I have no reason why I am so fascinated by mountain goats, but the opportunity to hunt one is definitely on my dream-trip list.) Each species offers their own unique and exciting challenges when it comes to the hunt. Many of the animals that his guiding service harvests are impressive and in record books.

For mountain goat, he suggests a rifle chambered in .300 Win Mag. For the bears he suggests something a little bit bigger, either .375H&H or .338 Mag. I would take his suggestions to heart as the man knows what he is doing, and I would never want to be “under-gunned” on a bear hunt. (My buddy’s dad took an Alaskan brown bear trip many years ago and utilized a Weatherby chambered in .375H&H. He said it was the perfect amount of gun for the hunt. He also had his firearm coated in a special product to help protect it from rusting. He made the note that while everyone is camp was busy scrubbing their guns trying to protect them, his showed no signs of issues.)

You can find the full list of gear on both his website and our own. I love it when these are included because there is so much that goes into a hunting trip, that having something to refer to is a life saver. (I also love that he included bringing extra glasses/contacts for those who need them.) His website is also up to date with the hunting seasons, trips and expenses.

So when it comes to considering which of the “two great hunting destinations” you want to go to, I cannot help you there. But, should you choose Alaska… I think it’s quite clear who to go with. Until next time!


Other Adventures:

The Basics Mellon Creek Ducks N Bucks Blue River Whitetails Hampton & Hampton  Timbers at Chama Quail Creek Plantation


Healthy Hunter: Turkey Day Trim Down

So looking back at our Healthy Hunter series blog, it has been quite some time since I provided a workout program. (Last one was in March.) And like so many millions of others during this holiday time, we are putting on a little extra weight. Now, historically weight gains in the winter time is normal and was part of a survival strategy. But nowadays it is usually because of the mega-increase in calories and sweet-treats that we normally do not consume at other times of the year. So for this month’s article, I give you my Turkey Day Trim Down plan!

The Goal: Lose some weight to help keep from gaining even more during the holiday season.

The Time Frame: 25 Days. November 1st to the 25th. (We start after Halloween, because it wouldn’t be right to not enjoy some of those candies.)

The Diet: Lean and green. I’m talking about lean proteins (chicken, turkey, fish, pork, etc.) and good-for-you greens (green beans, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, etc.) Shoot for one gram of protein per desired pound of weight. Drink equal ounces of water. No soda or other “beverage”. Pile on the greens but only season with salt and pepper or Parmesan cheese and olive oil. Fats are important for your body as well, so make sure to get healthy forms of that (oils, fish, nuts, avocados, cheese, etc.) Using whey or other protein shake to substitute meals is also an option. Keep your carbs to minimum and whole-wheat versions. Try to consume something every few hours and try adding hot sauces to help keep your metabolism going.

The Workout: You will exercise every other day on this plan, but having active rest days in between (like walking the dog or doing yard work) is OK. Your workouts will be part weightlifting and part cardio, one right after the other. You will do a set of the exercise and immediately do one minute of active cardio after it before going into the next set. (Active cardio could be running in place, jump roping, some form of body-weight exercise, etc.) There will be three different workouts (split-body) that will be done for a total of four times throughout this program. Shoot for four sets of 10 reps with each exercise. Do cardio for three minutes before working out to stretch and then seven minutes when done so you end up with 30 minutes of cardio total when finished each day.


Flat Bench – Dips – DB Fly – Crunch – Planks (for as long as you can each set)


Squats – Calf Raises – Shoulder Press - Deltoid Raises – Walking Lunges


Lat Pulldown – Barbell or Dumbbell Rows – Dumbbell Curls – Triceps Extension—Shrugs

Each of these exercises can be done at decent weight for women or men. You don’t want to over-train, but this setup would be beneficial to help add some lean muscle to your physique. (Go here for help with proper form.)

Side Notes: Steady sleep. Get at least 8 hours in each night. You might have to say goodnight earlier to your family for a little bit, but your health is worth it.

Good luck and keep trucking with this! After 25 days of steady commitment you and your family should notice a difference in the way you feel and look. And it will make it OK for a second slice of that pumpkin pie you have earned!


APPs Proper Motivation Personal Push Habits Track It Limits Simple Sides Hunt Ready Everyday Switches Willpower Know Your Numbers Rest Daily Doses


My Pick: First Rifle

Last month we took a look at my pick for someone’s very first shotgun. Wouldn’t you know it, a longtime friend and mentor actually came in a week or so later, looking for his very first shotgun. He has hit heart set on a nice over/under, but the price difference and practicality of a pump-action might just win out here. And as I said in last month’s blog, this go around we are going to look at my pick for one’s very first rifle. I will choose it based on the similar parameters I set with the shotgun (affordability, reliability, practicality, etc.). Let’s get started.

Rifles are long-gun firearms designed to be shot from the shoulder. Their barrels are “rifled” to give extra accuracy to your shot. They have been used for a couple centuries now for both survival and warfare. When firearms became more abundant, the whole landscape of warfare changed. Rifles have evolved from the ancient muzzle-loading style to our current automatic configurations. Fully-automatic rifles are limited to military and police use, unless one owns a special permit. Most commonly we civilians will use some form of a bolt-action, lever action or semi-automatic action. This latter one is commonly called an AR-15, which uneducated people will tell you stands for Assault Rifle. It actually stands for Armalite, which was the first company to start making civilian models of the M-16, which the gun is so heavily based on. Nowadays we refer to these firearms as MSRs, or Modern Sporting Rifles. Like any other tool we humans use, our rifles have evolved right along with us.

While a MSR is an excellent firearm, I would not suggest it for one’s first rifle. Likewise, I would refrain from picking up a lever-action model. Don’t get me wrong, the Arizonan inside me lusts for a lever-action but I do strongly believe a bolt-action is the way to go. Bolt actions are a simpler firearm and are much more accurate than either lever-actions or MSRs.


Before we get any further, let’s quickly talk about sights. Sights are what you utilize to acquire your target and then shoot at it. There are numerous kinds, but it generally breaks down to two forms. There are “iron sights” which are built in sights that usually contain no magnification. And then there is “glass” which applies to a whole diverse family of scopes. Common knowledge tells us that you will actually end up paying more for your optics than you will your rifle, because a good scope makes all the difference. But manufacturers have been able to make excellent optics options that will not break the bank.

Bolt action rifles have the capability to hold several rounds, depending on the firearm and the caliber, at a time. One would load their firearm, work the bolt back which feeds a round upwards and when the bolt is worked forward it chambers the round. Once the safety is off and the target is acquired, one would squeeze the trigger to fire the gun. Afterwards the same working of the bolt action is required, but the spend case will be extracted and a new round will be chambered.

Most people get a bolt-action .22 rifle for their first firearm. Unfortunately since .22 ammo has become harder to find, (check out this article) this would not be my choice for a first rifle. And while this caliber is great for dispatching smaller game, it is ineffective against larger game. My thought process is that if it is my first gun (and only rifle for the foreseeable future) I want it to be able to handle big game that I hope to hunt one day (antelope, deer and elk).

Affordability and the ability to acquire rounds of the caliber as well are a major concern. 300 Win Mag is an excellent caliber (and has grown in significant popularity since American Sniper) but the cost (and recoil) may keep people from practicing enough with it. So we take a look at two of the most commonly owned rifle calibers, .270 Win and .30-06 Sprg. These two calibers have been keeping meat in the freezers for almost a century and people who favor one caliber to the other swear by it. I personally own a .30-06Sprg but talk to one of leads at the store and he will proudly tote the ability of his .270 Win all day.

My honest pick for a first-rifle caliber would be .308Win. This is another extremely popular caliber, that makes a good sized hole on a target but not too big of one in your wallet. Go online and you will find dozens of sources that can provide you will ballistic information. This is a well-studied, documented and proven round. It has good knockdown power (would work well on deer, antelope and elk if all in reasonable and ethical shooting points) but not enough recoil to hurt most people after a full day of shooting. You can also pick up ammunition for this caliber in bulk packs, which helps with the affordability.

Now for the big reveal: my pick for one’s first rifle would be a Savage 11/111 Trophy Hunter XP Combo. This is a great firearm that checks all the boxes I am looking for. It is reliable, practical and affordable. Most people will tell you that when you buy a combo rifle, meaning it comes with a scope already on it, the first thing you do is toss the scope and buy a new one. This combo does come with a Nikon scope, which are a good piece of glass. It is a 3-9x40mm, which is one of the most common and utilitarian scope setups and is backed by an excellent warranty. In .308Win this rifle weighs 7.25lbs (unloaded) and can hold four rounds plus one in the chamber. It shares a couple similar characteristics with the Mossberg 500 as reasons why I think it is a perfect first-gun. The safety for it is on the tang of the grip, so switching it on and off is a breeze. It is also large enough that one can easily operate it when using thick gloves and the large red-colored indicator is a nice touch. This gun is also synthetic, which makes it a perfect first-gun.

Wood is beautiful. Wood is great. Wood is art. But… wood swells, wood shrinks, wood absorbs water, wood is affected by altitude and humidity whereas synthetic stocks do not have any of those issues. Like I said with the last blog, you can also buy a nice wood-stock firearm next but for first time go synthetic and last a long time.

Next time we will cover handguns, but first we will look at one of my favorite firearms: the revolver.



Best Outdoors Costumes for Kids

So around this time last year I wrote a blog all about safety for people trick-or-treating on Halloween. In it I included a small list of suggest costume ideas with “built in safety features”. And while I cannot stress enough how important it is to be safe on Halloween, it also needs to be fun! I mean it is the one time of the year when you can dress up to be anything you want! (Unless your high-school has a very informal Homecoming and it is the perfect chance to bust out a home-made Powerline, from A Goofy Movie, costume.) So live it up! And while you can go to a store and just pick out a costume-in-a-bag I give you my list for Best “Outdoors” Costumes for Kids with the hope you make it your own!


I like the idea of a hunter, because there are so many ways to do it. You could be a rifle hunter or bow hunter. You could be in full camo or add a flare of safety and throw on a blaze orange hat and vest. I think the best would be an upland hunter though and let the little one wear a bird vest and use that as their trick-or-treating bag.



Just like being a hunter, there are so many options here. I think the idea I like about this one is that you could set up a fishing net to be your trick-or-treating bag (properly lined so the treats don’t fall right out of course). Or better yet, get one of our huge fish pillows and empty it out to make the candy-bag!

Big Mouth Billy Bass

Remember those old, obnoxious singing fish? Yup! Take one of the largemouth bass pillows, empty it and form it so the child is inside that with a big round piece of cardboard on the back to make the plaque. A big red button would also be a nice touch.

Duck Dynasty

Now this costume idea has been around for a few years now, which is nice because the fake beards are easy to find. Let a whole group of kids pick who they want to be and dress up! Just make sure they have the whole smorgeous board of catch-phrases at the ready!

A Campfire

Note this one will take some creativity and handiwork, but pretty much use empty wrapping paper tubes to make the fake logs (think of it like a tutu for ballerinas). Color up a t-shirt to make it look like an open flame and bada-boom! Maybe even add a stick with some marshmallows on it for brownie… err… mallow points!

Got an idea of your own? Share it below! And please remember to be safe while trick-or-treating this year and don’t forget to come by and visit us  during our Halloween Event!



Spotlighting Small Game: Squirrel

For a couple years now, I have filled our blog section with articles about big game animals. I have had a few reoccurring series on them (Big Game Basics, Arizona Animals and Africa’s Big Five) and through them have covered dozens of species. And now I think it is time to give the little guys some of their overdue credit! Small game has been keeping hunters out in the woods and dinner tables full for centuries. Most first hunting experiences are for small game after all. So to start off our newest series, Spotlight Small Game we will focus on one of the most classic quarries… the squirrel!

Squirrels are part of the mammal family and include dozens of different small to medium sized rodents. Their members include: ground squirrels, marmots, flying squirrels, chipmunks, prairie dogs and tree squirrels. They are native to Eurasia, Africa and both Americas. For this reason alone, they are probably one of our oldest food sources.

More often than not, when people think about squirrels the bushy-tailed inhabitants of the trees come to mind. This is what we have grown accustomed to, probably from popular culture references and commercials. The most common tree squirrels in North America are the fox squirrel, western gray squirrel and the American red squirrel. While their native habitat has been developed for decades now, these species have adapted quite well to living near humans.

The fox squirrel is the largest native tree squirrel in North America. They are omnivores and will consume plants and meats for sustenance. They are non-territorial but are known to be more solitary than other species. Despite being a tree squirrel, they actually spend most of their time on the ground. We have several that live in our parking lot here and I usually spot one scampering by when leaving in the afternoon.

The western gray squirrel have several common  names (mostly based on what location they are in). They do visit the ground, mostly just to forage, but prefer moving in between the trees. They are known to have a much more plant and seed based diet as compared to the fox squirrel, but will consume insects. You may actually hear them before you see them as they will make an chirping alarm sound when a predator is in the area.

American red squirrels frequently live in conifer forests, as their diets consists heavily on conifer seeds. They are the most territorial of the three squirrel species listed. They are easier to identify due to their reddish coat with white underbelly and smaller size. These squirrels have one of the broadest distribution of range, mostly coinciding with conifer forests. They also have one of the highest mortality rates of any squirrel species.

As stated earlier, humans have been hunting squirrels for centuries. Hunting methods have ranged from traps to stalking these little guys. Nowadays the most common ways are through use of a rimfire rifle or smaller gauged shotgun. Because of their speed and agility they can be harder-to-hit targets and teach many shooters how to properly lead a shot. Some archers though take particular delight and pride in being able to hit one with a bow.

Now we have already taken a look at a couple recipes for squirrel (squirrelitos and fried squirrel) but these are only a couple ways to cook them. Talk to anyone who has eaten squirrel and they will tell you how delicious it is and what their favorite way to cook them is. You would be surprised how creative we have gotten with the culinary art of squirrel.

Got a cool story about your first squirrel hunt or delicious recipe to share? Post it below in the comments section. Until next time!



Tie One On: Hare’s Ear Nymph

Alright, everyone. Listen up. I only want to have to write about this pattern once. So take those ear buds out and give this classic pattern your full attention. This fly has been catching fisherman trout for decades and it is a must own in your fly-box! Good, now that I have your attention it is time to get a lesson on the Hare’s Ear Nymph!

The Hare’s Ear Nymph is a wet-fly that is used to imitate aquatic insect larvae. It is fished below the surface and the targeted species of fish is trout. This pattern has been around for years, but just like the golden oldies it is still one of the best. Because it is not so distinct as to what it is, it mimics a wide variety of possible prey for the fish.

Typical sizes for this pattern range from 10-18. It gets the name Hare’s Ear due to the fact that much of the fly is tied from that part of a rabbit.  The body of the fly is tied with dubbing from a hare’s ear. The thorax is tied the same, but usually with a darker hare’s ear. The tail itself comes from the guard hair of a hare’s ear.

Remember, when early fly-pioneers sought out to create new patterns they had limited materials to work from. They would try to utilize as much of a source as possible to handle their needs.

There are numerous different colors and variations on this pattern, each that fill a certain niche. But when it comes to an awesome cover-all the Hare’s Ear Nymph is the bee’s knees.

Hmm… I wonder if they ever tied a fly using bee’s knees…


Woolly Bugger Royal Coachman Pheasant Tail Nymph Crawshrimp Own Creation

Trilene Knot The Adams Dropper Loop Spinner San Juan Worm Elk Hair Caddis Royal Wulff

Blue Winged Olive Purple Haze Yellow Stimulator


Halloween Event at Mesa, AZ - 2015

Trick? Never. Treat? Always. That’s how we like to handle Halloween around here! For those of you who have never experienced this holiday event at our store, you are seriously in for a treat! This is by far, one of the most fun, engaging and creative holidays that we have here. For some, this frightful and delightful holiday is one night only but we like to go big and hold this event for a full week! Ready to learn more? Get out your spooky-spectacles and read below for more details!

This event will run from Saturday, October 24th all the way through to Halloween Day on October 31st!

Saturday and Sunday (10/24 and 10/25) it will be open from Noon-5:30PM.

Monday through Friday (10/26-10/30) it runs 6PM-8PM.

Halloween Day (10/31) will be going from 2PM-8PM.

As usual with this event it will include: crafts, trick-or-treating, free pictures and more. One really cool addition this year will be the Garden Smart and Whole Kids promotion on October 24th. These are great organizations that promote gardening and healthier living for the youth. For our part, we are going to have booklets containing information on gardening, recipes and more. We will also be doing a craft where kids color a carton that they can take home with a soil disc and seeds to start what may be their very first garden! (Please note that quantities will be limited, one craft per child and only while supplies last.)

The other crafts will run:

October 25th: Noon-5PM

October 26th through October 30th: 6PM-8PM

October 31st: 2PM-7PM

(While supplies last.)

The Free Photos will run the entirety of the times on all the days. The first 100 kids each day to get their picture taken will get a Flashing Jack-O-Lantern Necklace.

Store Wide Trick or Treating will be from 6PM-8PM on October 30th and 31st only.

We will have a Costume Contest Parade on 10/30 and 10/31. It will start at 6PM sharply, so be at the Main Tank at that time! Winner will receive a $10 Bass Pro Shops Gift Card and participants will get a Glow-in-the-Dark Bucket!

So come on down for some Fall-time fun with us!


Last Year’s Event Trick or Treating Safety Tips


Rural Recipes: Breakfast Casserole

Oh man, so this month’s Rural Recipe combines a couple of my favorite things. Bacon and slow cookers. It also applies to one of my favorite meals, breakfast. This underappreciated meal truly tends to be the most common one skipped by we humans these days. Which is sad, considering how much it can improve our day and health. It gets your metabolism going and provides you with key nutrients that one needs. Most people don’t think about using a slow cooker for a breakfast meal, but this recipe will change that! And might just be the tastiest gift you give your family this year!

Breakfast Casserole

One pound of bacon (Cook it, drain it, crumble it)

One pound of sausage links (Brown it, drain it, cut it up)

One dozen eggs

One medium onion (chop it)

One half cup green onions (dice it)

A quarter cup of Parmesan Cheese

Three-quarters a pound of Cheddar Cheese

One cup of milk

One 32oz package of breakfast potatoes

Salt and Pepper (to your liking)

Make layers inside your sprayed slow cooker of the bacon, potatoes, cheddar cheese and onions. As many as you can.

Mix the remaining ingredients together and pour over the top of everything.

Let it cook on low until the eggs are set. (Usually takes 11 hours, might want to do this the night before.)


Other Nibbles

Squirrel Rabbit Quail Goose Grouse Crappie Buffalo Chicken Chile Verde Venison Stew

Hunter’s Delight Chicken Fried Bacon Tipsy Little Birds Wait, What? Burgers Catfish

Mooseloaf Summer Sausages Deer Moose 2nd Helping of Squirrel Bacon Cornbread

Poultry Balls Skirt Steakabobs Iowa Pork Chop


Fishy Facts: Tuna

So it has been a while since I got really “salty” with one of the Fishy Facts blogs. In fact, I haven’t focused on a saltwater fish species since April! Shame, shame, shame. But I am looking to correct that this month, with a look at what may be the most well known and most consumed saltwater fish out there: the tuna! So sit back, take a Dramamine pill if necessary and we’re full steam ahead into the world of this amazing fish!

Tuna are a saltwater fish that are well known for their fast-speeds and delicious taste. There are several species of tuna including: Albacore, Blackfin, Bigeye, Longtail, Yellowfin and Bluefin (which has three different species – Atlantic, Pacific and Southern). There are other species of tuna, but the ones listed are the most common.

Most tuna are shaped the same, streamlined and sleek for impressive speeds and two closely spaced dorsal fins on their backs. They mostly vary physically by size and coloring. For example the bullet and frigate tuna average a little over a foot in length, whereas the Atlantic Bluefin tuna averages over six feet! There is a correlation between the larger the fish the longer they are known to live for, but unfortunately there is a similar trend of the larger the fish the more endangered it is. These fish also live in massive schools which can breathtaking to see in action.

For centuries, tuna have been a prized fish for consumption and catching. Their immense strength and impressive speeds make them an awesome sport fish. I had the chance to do an overnight tuna trip out of California many moons ago and my forearms have not burned as much as when catching some yellowfin. (And that includes comparing to reeling in a 175lb Mako shark on a fly rod.) Commercially, tuna are one of the heaviest fished stocks out there. Due to the increase of human consumption we are depleting these animals quickly.

Over the years, there have been several developments put into place to hopefully help tuna populations. There are size and amount limitations on these fish in certain areas. And fishermen have learned what kind of tuna repopulate quicker. For instance, the skipjack can bounce back much faster than harvesting Bluefin tuna. Some people are also trying to farm raise these fish from eggs, much like any other fish-farming process.

When sport fishing became so well documented and publicized, by the likes of Zane Grey and Ernest Hemmingway, there was almost an “arms” race to catch the biggest fish. Fishermen sought out the largest fish and went through grueling fights to land them. Some battles take over an hour’s time. The largest Atlantic Bluefin tuna caught in 1976 and weighed 1496 pounds. But these kinds of catches will probably never happen again as these giant fish probably no longer exist.

Whether a fisherman or not, we must all do our part to help protect tuna populations and their environment. Figure out what you can do on a local level to help impact the global scene. A very interesting read on this subject is a book called Tuna: A Love Story. It can be very scientific at times, so it might be a hard read but it is well worth it.

So here is to you, the might torpedo-like tuna! May you continue to swim in our oceans and be a staple on our dinner plates! Until next time!


Former Fishy Facts:

Grayling Northern Pike Rainbow Trout Largemouth Bass Peacock Bass Walleye

Billfish Dolphinfish Crappie Catfish Bull Shark Tilapia Smallmouth Bass

Brook Trout Bow Fishing Bowfin Common Snook World Fish Migration Day

Yellow Perch American Paddlefish Cutthroat Trout Striped Bass


Check It Out List: Lake Camping

So I have seriously started a trend with my group of friends. Since the greatest day of my life (my wedding of course) I have had one buddy get married and two more engaged with weddings around the corner. This has led to an increase of another favorite event, bachelor parties. And this next one coming up should be a weekend of fun and relaxation. Some people go to Vegas, others to a spa, but the gang and I are headed out for a weekend camping trip at a local lake. And while we are all scrambling to pick up all the clothing and gifts that we will need for the wedding, we needed to write down a list of everything for this trip. So this month’s Check it Out List will be for: Lake Camping!

Now depending on the location of the lake and the length of the stay, gear can differentiate quite drastically. But for our example we are going to be looking at what is needed for a weekend trip at a lake that’s not too far away but not too close either. (i.e. civilization can be reached within 45 minutes.) We do not need to take the boat to get to our camping spot either, this can play a huge difference in how the whole trip would play out. If you have to boat to the spot, you may have to make a few trips back and forth to get all your crew and gear.

Lake Camping

Canopies/Shade Structures

Plenty of Water


Tents/Sleeping Bags



Propane Stoves/Propane


Trash Bags

First Aid Kit



The canopies and shade structures, to me, are a must. It gets hot out near the water, and the sun reflecting off of it is no help. While you may find cover in a wooded area, it can be harder out on a lake so bring your own. That goes along with bringing plenty of water to keep hydrated. Yes you may be surrounded by water, but no you do not want to drink it. Many people like to consume “adult beverages” while out on the lake. Try and keep it to two bottles of water per bottle of “adult beverage”. Also, be liberal with that sunscreen! (Especially if you have a wedding to get to next weekend and you know that yourself and the groom get red like a lobster!) I’d go as far as to suggest bringing long-sleeve shirts, a face mask and wide-brimmed hat. (Check out this blog for the importance on all of that!)

You’ll need a place to sleep at night and a night in a tent is just what the doctor ordered! Having a table to set up your camp kitchen on is also a huge help! Make sure to bring plenty of propane and think before just bringing random food on the trip. Think about how many people and what meals you will need to prep for. This same gang and I used to go to the river and do cookouts all the time. Favorite thing was to grill up a nice piece of steak, have some instant mashed potatoes and an energy drink. We had one buddy that bought a five pound chub of burger meat, because it was cheaper and that didn’t smell so good the next morning.

Towels are also a big thing that can be easily forgotten. Along with rope, first aid kit and trash bags. You never know what you will need rope for, but just have it. First aid kits should be a part of any trip you prep for. And the last thing you want is to pollute and trash up the place you are enjoying, so bring trash bags and keep the place nice for the next group coming in!

Don’t forget your life jackets either!



Picnics Gun Cleaning Game Care First Aid Kayaking Day Pack Trip Prep Range Time

Fishing Pack Boating Day Trip Camp Cooking  Dove Hunting Upland Hunting Tactical Clothing

Winter Camping Reloading Bowfishing Minor Maintenance   Fly Fishing Pack Weekend Camping


My Pick: First Shotgun

One of my absolute favorite things to witness is someone’s introduction to firearms and shooting. There is so much to learn and experience, but luckily you have a lifetime to try and check it all out. With my blog series about Finding Your Guns Groove (Part One and Part Two), I have broken down some steps that I believe all firearm owners should go through. But part of the underlying concept of those series has been about choosing a handgun. So I decided to start another series to compliment the other, and we are going to look at what I would pick for certain firearms. And we will start things off with looking at shotguns.

Shotguns might be the most utilitarian firearm out there. They can be used for hunting, target practice and home defense. Many people who only own one firearm have a shotgun. They are pretty simple to operate and extremely fun. The inexpensiveness for the ammunition is also a big help. You have basically three kinds of actions for shotguns: semi-auto, break and pump.

Semi-autos feed one round after the other with no manipulation being required of the shooter. Once the first round is racked, you can start shooting. There is a tubular magazine that stores a certain allotted amount of shells for that firearm.

Break actions come in single-shot, side by side or over-under style shotguns. You break the shotgun open at a hinge where you may then load and fire it. As you open it after shooting, the empty cases will be extracted and you can place in new ones.

Pump-actions, work off the same tubular magazine principle that semi-autos do but require the shooter to “rack” the pump action forward and back each time to chamber a round. If you shoot and don’t rack in another round, nothing will happen.

My choice for a first shotgun would be the Mossberg 500 All-Purpose. This is a good gun at a great price point. I believe that your first shotgun should be a pump-action. It teaches shooters shot-control as they can just through shells downrange like with a semi-auto and the follow up shot takes longer with a pump than say an over-under. I like the Mossberg because they have a good reputation and just a good universal firearm.

One of the things I love most about this firearm is the tang-safety. This means the safety is on the grip on the gun, which makes it very easy to operate and visually check. Most shotguns have their safety on or near the trigger guard which makes one twist the gun to get a visual check on it.

I also make the argument for a pump-action as the first, because it is a great home defense gun. Many will tell you that simply the sound of racking a pump-action shotgun is enough to deter intruders.

My theory on purchasing a firearm, especially if it is your first is go with something that handles multiple tasks with the most room for uses. Like I wouldn’t go with a .410 for your first shotgun, as that gauge (caliber actually) is limited in its use. I would honestly suggest a 20 gauge for one’s first shotgun as it is an effective gauge that one can shoot comfortably all day. If you have shot a shotgun before and know how to handle a 12 gauge, then go with that but otherwise I believe a 20 would do someone just fine.

This shotgun is also synthetic, as opposed to wood. I love the look and feel of wood, but the practicality of synthetic is too much to ignore. (You can always pick up a nice, wood shotgun later in life.)

So congratulations to the Mossberg 500 All-Purpose for being my pick for one’s first shotgun. Next time we will take a look at rifles.



Tie One On: Yellow Stimulator

So this month will give us our fifteenth article in the Tie One On blog series. We have covered many of the classics fly patterns, a few knot options to try out and the off-hand fishing lure. This month we will take a look at a pattern that is a must for every trout fisherman’s fly-box, and I’d even put it out there for bass and some panfish as well. It’s big. It’s yellow. It aint Big Bird. It is… the Yellow Stimulator.

The Yellow Stimulator is a dry fly that rides high. It has ample amounts of hackle and hollow hair that keeps it afloat and easy to spot while being fished. The bright yellow coloration also helps a fisherman keep his eye on it. It simulates several prey species for trout, including grasshopper, stonefly or caddis.

It typically ranges between size 6 to 10, but as always there are numerous variations to this. I have seen sometimes where the pattern has rubber legs attached to it. You can tie this pattern in any vibrant color, usually orange as the substitution, but one of the prettiest flies I have seen in a while was one of these tied to replicate the Royal Coachman pattern.

Since this fly rides high and has a little extra heft to it, the yellow stimulator is quite popularly used with a wet fly dropped behind it. But this pattern really shines during golden stonefly hatches.

Until next time.


Woolly Bugger Royal Coachman Pheasant Tail Nymph Crawshrimp Own Creation

Trilene Knot The Adams Dropper Loop Spinner San Juan Worm Elk Hair Caddis Royal Wulff

Blue Winged Olive Purple Haze


RedHead Select Outfitters: Quail Creek Plantation

So when it comes to checking out our RedHead Select Outfitters, the big-game-boys have really been stealing the show. Which is sad, because small game have been keeping us out in the fields for decades! So this month we are going to take a look at an outfitter that focuses on the “little guys”. Let’s see what Quail Creek Plantation has to offer!

Quail Creek Plantation is situated down in Okeechobee, Florida and has a lot to offer. They specialize in bob-white quail, pheasant and Osceola turkey hunting. The quail and pheasant season usually runs from October 1st until mid-March. The turkey season lasts for six weeks after the third Sunday of March. Besides those two seasons, they do have a full clay-shooting center that would delight any shot gunning enthusiast.

The quail hunts are broken down into half days and full days. Half day hunts come with 12 birds and the full day hunts come with 24. They are completely guided as well. They provide drinks and snacks during the hunt, and if you wish to partake in a breakfast or Southern style quail lunch they can be added on for a little extra, but worth it, charge. All of your birds will also be cleaned and packaged. They also have the option to add on extra birds if desired. Please note that hunters must be at least 14 years of age to hunt and they must have completed the hunter safety course prior to the hunt, but a Florida Hunting License is not required.

Their pheasant hunts are a little different, but something that should be on every hunter’s bucket list. They hold what is known as a “continental pheasant tower shoot”, which is where 400 pheasants and 300 wild pigeons are released from an elevated tower. This tower is surrounded by twelve shooting stations, which can hold two shooters. This hunt is held on only a few select days, so if you are serious about this contact them as soon as possible. All of your birds will be cleaned and packaged as well and it includes a gourmet meal.

And for those big ol’ gobblers, a lot is included with their package. The turkey hunts are 100% fair chase. This hunt is set up for three nights which includes: lodging, meals and two and a half days of guided hunting. During the down time you are also allowed to partake in such activities as: fishing, quail hunting, hog hunting and sporting clays. This is an awesome opportunity for any hunter.


Besides the amazing hunting opportunities, the place itself is beautiful! It has all of the characteristics and charm that you would expect out of a world-class Southern hunting plantation. They also have a Décor store on the property that features one-of-a-kind rustic, lodge and western furnishings. Their website is full of a bunch of commonly asked questions and helpful hints to prepare you for an amazing time. Some of my favorite times outdoors have been with good friends watching dogs work the field, this would definitely be a trip of a lifetime.

Hey wait… aren’t the holidays coming up? Hey, hunny!


Other Adventures:

The Basics Mellon Creek Ducks N Bucks Blue River Whitetails Hampton & Hampton  Timbers at Chama


Healthy Hunter: Daily Doses

So interestingly enough, I thought I had covered this month’s Healthy Hunter topic but apparently I haven’t! This part of a healthy lifestyle is a part of your daily routine that only takes a few moments but can add a lifetime of benefits for you. And just like mama used to always say before you started your day, “Don’t forget to take your vitamins!” But with such a saturated market of supplements, vitamins and products it can be intimidating on knowing where to start. And different people need different things. And then depending on if you follow Western or Eastern practices, you get into a whole world of confusion. Which is why today I am going to list out my four essential every-day doses of vitamins and supplements.

Number One- Multivitamin

Now in a perfect world, we would all get the exact amount of vitamins that we need from what we consume. Of course this rarely happens. So adding a multivitamin to your daily regimen can be a big help! These pills cover many of your essential vitamin needs and then some. And many of them come formulated for women, men or children. Some also come formulated for certain age groups. And the greatest break-through in the multivitamin industry over the past couple years… gummy vitamins for adults!

Number Two- Fish/Krill Oil

Some people swear by it, others don’t believe in it. Some say clear research shows how much it helps and others say it hasn’t been studied long enough. The basic gist is that it helps with your skin, joints and heart health. My personal belief on taking this kind of supplement is this: Splurge for the good stuff. Most people don’t like taking fish oil anyways, but buying cheap stuff really isn’t worth it. You’ll want to go with a recommended brand that comes from good sources. That is why many people have switched to krill oil as well. Also a fun trick is to freeze your fish oil pills to help eliminate their “off-putting texture”.

Number Three- Vitamin C

My theory is that enough Vitamin C can cure anything. Some studies have almost proven that to be true. This essential vitamin helps boost your immune system, and considering all the different germs and things you come into contact with adding a few extra of these won’t hurt. I include these on top of what I get from my multivitamin already. You can take it either as a pill or get a dissolving mix for inside water. Just know that too much vitamin c can cause “stomach issues” so don’t overtake it.

Number Four- Probiotics

This may be the newest supplement of the ones to make this list, but it has grown in popularity immensely. A probiotic uses healthy bacteria to help regulate your stomach. (Yes, just like Activia always says.) Your body can use all the help it can get, considering what most of us consume and then where it comes from. Adding a probiotic to your vitamin line-up can be a big help. Just note that most of these need to be kept in a refrigerator. Just like with fish oil, splurge for the good stuff.

Got a certain vitamin or supplement you would add on or take off that list? Share it below and reasons why! Until next time!


APPs Proper Motivation Personal Push Habits Track It Limits Simple Sides Hunt Ready Everyday Switches Willpower Know Your Numbers Rest


Big Game Basics: Kudu

Well it is official, we have pretty much run out of North American big game animals for our Big Game Basics blog series. I’ve been racking my brain to think of another animal on this continent, so we look towards the next great hunting destination: Africa! Now we already did cover the Africa Big Five game animals in a previous blog series, but now we will work to some of the other amazing animals that continent has to offer. And for the first animal I could think of none greater… than the Greater Kudu!

The Greater Kudu represents half of the species of Kudu on the planet, the other being the Lesser Kudu. (From here out we will refer to the animal as simply Kudu, much like it is in its native range.) Kudu live in both Southern and Eastern Africa in mixed scrub woodlands. There are a few subspecies of the Kudu with mostly differences in color, horn length and striping.

These animals are well known for their “twisted” horns that have a distinctive look. They also have distinctive white-vertical stripes that can vary in number along their torso. Kudu also have a white chevron in between their eyes. They are one of the largest species of antelope in the world. Males weigh on average over 500 pounds and can be over 5 feet tall at the shoulder. Their ears are large and round, and remind me of our mule deer out here.

They are a herding animal and tend to stay in one area. They will go to extreme lengths to find water during the dry season, but otherwise they tend to feed/drink at morning and late afternoon. During the day, and heat that goes along with it, Kudu tend to find shade and sit tight. They can however be active for a full day depending on the season. Most of their days are spent foraging.

Most of the major African predators are known to feed on Kudu. This includes: Nile crocodiles, leopards, lions, hyenas, cheetahs and wild dogs. Kudu do have excellent hearing and will alert the rest of the herd if a predator is sensed. Humans have been hunting kudu for as long as the two have inhabited the same area. They are a common quarry for many hunters going on safari. Our very own Mike got one a while a back on his hunting trip using a .300 Win Mag. It is important to understand how hunters play a critical role in paying for the conservation of animals world-wide. The licenses, tags, equipment, personal donations, club memberships and more goes directly to helping wildlife agencies. A bumper sticker that says “Save the Whales” does little more than raise split-second awareness by people driving by you.

Other Big Game Blogs:

Mountain Goat White Tail Deer Moose Caribou Buffalo Bear Dall Sheep Walrus Blacktail Deer Cougar Muskox Red Deer Mule Deer Coues-Deer Pronghorn Antelope Turkey Elk Bighorn Sheep Javelina Roosevelt Elk Lion Cape Buffalo Elephant Rhino Leopard

Other Animals You Might Bump Into

Bobcat Coyote Rattlesnake