2015 Fall Hunting Classic

FALL HUNTING CLASSIC IS FINALLY HERE!!

AUGUST 21-30 

Doug Koenig Sweepstakes

Enter in store or online!

GRAND PRIZE:  1 Winner will receive a a hunting trip to Argentina with Doug Koenig

FIRST PLACE:  1 Winner per store location will  receive 1 Plano Pro-Max Pillar Lock, 1 Leupold 10x25 Rogue Binoculars & 2 Boxes Hornady American Whitetail .308 Rifle Ammo

 

2nd Amendment Instant Savings on guns and safes!

Save up to $100 when you purchase a gun or safe using our Bass Pro Shops Outdoor Rewards Credit Card!

 

Local Pro Seminars

August 21-23

Friday at 7pm

Saturday & Sunday from 1-4pm

Pro Staffer Charlie Faulk will be in-store as well as Keith Hickman and Mossy Oak Pro Staff.

Stop by and checkout the Mossy Oak truck while you're here!

Game Camera, Hunting Boot and Rifle Scope Trade-in

Parker Bows will be here August 29 & 30 to do product demos in their range!

 

Next Generation Weekend

Kids Events!

August 29-30, 11-4pm

Kid's Archery Challenge

Kid's Archery Workshop at 2pm & 4pm

BB Shooting Range

Free Giveaway (first 100 kids)

Craft

Photo Download

Women's Hunting Workshop at 3pm August 29

You're not gonna want to miss this!  Stop in and check out the great deals!

 

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PBR Nashville

PBR is returning to Nashville August 21 & 22!

Join us in-store for autograph signings with the PBR riders, kids activities and even a mechanical bull!

 

Exclusive Fan Club Autograph Signing

11:30am-Noon

 

Autographs from the PBR riders

Noon-1pm

 

Seminar with PBR Celebrity Clint Adkins

1-1:30pm

 

Mechanical Bull

10-3pm

 

Kid's Activites

Bull Roping & Stick Bull Riding

10-3pm

 

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Archery Days!!

Looking for some new archery equipment?  You're in luck!  Check out our amazing deals happening right now!

Ready for a new bow or crossbow?  Make sure you ask about our trade-in!

Are you an Outdoor Rewards MasterCard holder?  Take a look at these great offers!

We've got some great deal online, too! www.basspro.com/Hunting/_/T-12425000000

Sale ends August 16th, so hurry in!  Make sure you're ready to go when archery season starts!

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Waterfowl Decoys: In Action

Follow our waterfowl series.

Examples

You and a buddy are going to Arkansas on a flooded timber hunt. The first step is to check out of state regulations to see if motorized decoys are legal. Currently they are, so I would pack one or two spinning wing decoys. Next I would want some water motion, in the timber most likely a jerk cord will suffice. My main spread would be around two dozen Mallards with Pintails, Gadwalls, and Wood Ducks mixed in for realism and the potential to take a mixed bag limit. In timber, once the ducks are under the tree canopy and can see the decoys really well, they’re usually committed and within shooting range.

You are headed out to hunt a local public area here in middle Tennessee that has a planted food source in it.  For our purposes, lets say it’s unharvested corn. I would start with one spinning wing decoy and add or subtract depending on how the birds react to it that day. I would deploy several decoys to move water ideally ones that are mechanical as well as a jerk cord. For my main decoy spread I would start with Mallards for sure. Numbers on areas like this can be tricky as you want to leave room for ducks to land in the hole and you want to look different from the others hunting around you. I’ve used as few as six decoys and as many as six dozen, on average I like about three dozen Mallards. The majority of these would be in some kind of feeding posture, whether its surface skimmers, duck butts, or what have you. I always leave a few decoys with their heads up as there are always birds in the flock looking for any sign of danger. Earlier in the season I would add Gadwalls and Wood Ducks to the spread, As the water gets closer to the consistancy of a slushie I would swap them out for Pintails and Black Ducks. I'd add Bluebills or Ringnecks as well for the different factor as well as goose decoys if any are in the area.

Its mid-season and the birds have been around awhile and know where not to go. You and a couple buddies load into the boat to go try to hunt open water areas where birds are resting. First, have a boat large enough to handle the load you're taking.  A 12 ft Jon boat is a death sentence for this type of hunting. Also, make sure you have PFD’s for everyone on board and at least one throw-able model. This is the type of duck hunting where lives are lost in the wrong situations so be prepared with back up engine parts, snacks, ways to start a fire, etc. For your decoys you're going to want to start with about four dozen Mallards in lower head and sleeping positions. To that, add another four to six dozen various diver duck species. If you have geese or swans in the area as well they make great additions to your spread as they can be seen for some distance. In this situation a goose flag is usually all you need to get the birds attention from a distance.

You and several buddies are going to hunt the Prairie for the first time and are fired up about it. First thing is to check the regulations for the area your going to as there will be differences in bag limit and procedure. South Dakota, for example, has a drawing for nonresident waterfowl hunters and Canada is literally a whole other country so passports and inspections are required as well as vet records if you're taking your furry retrieving machine with you. Next, talk to the waterfowl biologists in the area as they are a great resource as to the species you can expect in the areas and timetable you plan to be there. Now, the reason I said several buddies is you’ll probably want two pickup beds worth of gear between layout blinds, extra guns, and of course the decoys. Field decoys really shine out here in a variety of situations. Any and all species could come into play but Mallards and Canada Geese usually get the job done in the fall, especially if you're near water and can mix your other species there. As water is limited here a more diverse adaptable spread is better than a massive one of all the same stuff. Take a little bit of everything you have including diver species, some of my best diver hunts have been on small ponds that were overlooked in favor of bigger and more famous water. Use the shallows and dry land to set your field decoys and trail the floaters into the water like new additions to the party.

 

This gives you some basic aspects and ideas of building your own decoy spread. The beauty of the process is that it’s as individual as the hunters in the field and an ever evolving thing. I reassess and alter my decoy spread every year in the hopes of getting a few more graceful wings to cup into by decoys, to hear someones shotgun bark and watching my aging yellow lab Daisy make one more, but hopefully not the last, retrieve of her career. Just thinking of it causes me to smile and think of what an accomplishment it is to fool nature and to see and experience things that most would deem misery but only a waterfowler can truly love.

 

Cory, Hunting Associate

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Waterfowl Decoys: Tips and Tricks

In Part Three we talked about Shallow vs Open water.

Dry Fields

Most hunters only hunt water sets and make a huge mistake in doing so. Shell and Full Body decoys are great in a variety of situations you may find waterfowl in including dry field feeding, ice conditions, shallow shorelines, riverbanks and islands or even on logs. Hardcore Full Body Mallards and Bigfoot Full Body Geese are just a couple examples of easy to use and adaptable full body decoys. While bulky they are fairly lightweight and give another dimension to fooling birds, feet down, into the decoys.

 

Motion Decoys

Motion Decoys are a subset of decoys all their own and there are many on the market from the tried and true Jerk Rig to the battery operated Mojo family of motion decoys. Regardless of what product or method you use, motion is essential in your decoy spread. Real ducks move and are active and a lack of motion on a calm day is a conspicuous giveaway to mature birds. Birds responses to the various methods will vary day to day but definitely have a couple methods in your bag of tricks.

 

Set Up

Once you have the necessary tools for the areas you hunt its all about setting them up in a way that makes sense. If you have scouted and seen birds in an area you can hunt its best to put them as close to the same as you saw them as you can. If not then try to set up with the sun at your back and the wind at your back or coming from the side. This will allow birds to land into the wind but not get a good look at the decoys because of sun in their face. Also leave a large opening for the birds to set down in since even the best spread won’t finish ducks if your decoys look like Nashville intertstates at rush hour. Spacing between decoys can come into play but it can also be highly variable from day to day and stage in the season.

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Waterfowl Decoy: Shallow Water vs Open Water

In Part One we discussed Duck decoys and in Part Two we talked about Geese.

Shallow Water

Most ducks and geese are in shallow water for one purpose;  feeding. An effective decoy spread should reflect that in the form of the poses the decoys are in. Decoys like Avian-X Backwater Mallards simulate the head down poses of surface feeding mallards perfectly. Combining these with a motion decoy such as the Higdon Pulsator 2 creates the first part of the feeding illusion. The next step is to work in secondary species after Mallards that are common to your area. Often these include Wood Ducks, Gadwalls, Pintails, or Black Ducks and in some instances even diver species like Ringnecks or Bluebills. These species can be rotated based on weather and stage in the migration to add a great amount of realism.

Open Water

Open water for the most part signals safety and relaxation to ducks, they face few (if any) threats here and can usually see any danger coming. Decoys that are sleeping, relaxed and otherwise look unmolested signal 'all is well' to birds looking for a safe quiet place to rest. Most of the standard puddle duck species will work, but adding diver decoys like Tanglefree Migration Edition Redheads and Bluebills with their high contrast colors as well as geese and even swans will increase your decoys visibility out in the void of water. Adjust the size of your decoy spread to the numbers of birds in the area to increase the realism of your blocks.

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Waterfowl Decoy: Geese

Thanks for continuing with our waterfowl decoy series!  In Part One, we discussed the duck.  Let's get crackin' on  Part Two!

The Geese

Most common in Tennessee is the Canada goose. These are the classic big black headed, white cheeked geese and “heronk” sound that is the stuff of legend. At home on land, flooded fields, marshes and open water, Canadian geese are familiar to everyone that has been to a park or golf course. Less familiar are the white fronted geese or specklebelly and the snow and blue geese. Specks tend to be earlier migrators than the hardier Canadian, but they are just as challenging.  They have a yodel type call and are more common as you get closer to and west of the Mississippi River. Snow and blue geese are the blessing and curse of the waterfowl world right now. Their abundance is the stuff of modern day legends, but they are so plentiful that the habitat destruction they have caused has led to liberal limits in fall as well as a nearly no holds barred approach to hunting them in the special spring conservation season in many parts of the country. While their numbers are high and juvenile birds can be fairly gullible, some of these adult birds have seen practically nonstop hunting pressure their whole lives and are true trophies in their own right. Canadian and Speck geese tend to get along quite nicely but due to massive flocks and how they feed, snows and blues tend to be by themselves in a field.

Cory Brown, Hunting Associate

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Waterfowl Decoy: Ducks

I love decoys. For me, decoys are one of the most enjoyable aspects of waterfowl hunting and as such I am a decoy junkie much to the chagrin of my better half. More than once have I heard the phrase “How many decoys do you need?!?” The answer typically is just a few more, which we both know is only true for that given year. In my travels, I have been fortunate to hunt waterfowl in several states, latitudes and flyways and am going to attempt to help you build an adaptable, multi-purpose waterfowl spread.  Follow us over the next few weeks while we discuss waterfowl decoys at further length.

Part One:  The Ducks

In most parts of North America the Mallard is King, and our area is no exception. They are the most widespread and universal of all ducks today, but there are others out there that are equally challenging and exciting to hunt. Puddle Ducks are the group of ducks that are most common and sought after by duck hunters.  In the marshes, crop fields and flooded timber of the Mid-South, wood ducks, gadwalls, pintails, widgeons, black ducks and green wing teal are the most common to join Mallards on the hunters strap. The second group is the diver ducks. These include bluebills, redheads, canvasbacks, and ring necks and are common to the bigger rivers and reservoirs of the area often in massive flocks. They live life finding both food and sanctuary in the deeper areas by diving under the water to find a meal. While not credited with an overabundance of brains, divers make for challenging shooting and contrary to the misconception of some, fine table fair among these four species in particular.

Stay tuned for Part Two:  The Geese!

Cory Brown,  Hunting Associate

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Family Summer Camp

Summer is in full swing here at BPS Nashville!  That means our annual Family Summer Camp is well underway. 

Every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday until July 26th, we have workshops from noon to 5pm on everything outdoors including Archery, Hunting, Water Safety and Backyard Adventures.  In addition, we have our Daisy BB gun range set up on our boat canopy along with a Bear archery range and a casting challenge where kids can practice their technique and cast from one of our boats.

We also have a weekly craft and each completed workshop earns kiddos a lanyard and pin so they can collect all 9!

Crafts:

Turkey Track Magnet   July 7, 9, 11 and 12

Turtle Sun Catcher   July 14, 16, 18 and 19

Lady Bug Clip Magnet   July 21, 23, 25 and 26

Workshops:

Tuesday

Noon   Bird Watching

1pm   Fishing

2pm   Archery

3pm   Kayaking

4pm   Backyard Adventure

 

Thursday

Noon   Archery

1pm   Shooting/Hunting

2pm   Travel Safety

3pm   Water Safety

4pm   Camping

 

Saturday

Noon   Fishing

1pm   Water Safety

2pm   Shooting/Hunting

3pm   Kayaking

4pm   Bird Watching

 

Sunday

Noon   Shooting/Hunting

1pm   Archery

2pm   Travel Safety

3pm  Camping

4pm   Backyard Adventure

 

Bring the family in for an afternoon of fun and educational outdoor activities!

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Ten Amazing Father's Day Gifts

In honor of Father's Day on June 21st, we've put together a list of awesome Father's Day gift ideas.  Take a look!

1)  Bass Pro Shops Aluminum Fish Fryer

2)  Hobb's Creek Polos and Poplins

3)  Masterbuilt Sportsman Elite Series Extra Wide Propane Smoker

4)  Ascend FS12T Sit-On-Top Angler Kayak

5)  Char-Broil 6-Burner Gas Grill with Side Burner

6)  Nikon ProStaff 3i Rangefinder

7)  RedHead Toxik XT Compound Bow Packages

8)  Portal 10 Person Cabin Tent

9)  Bass Pro Shops Big Outdoorsman Lounger Chair

10)  Bass Pro Shops Pro Qualifier Spinning Reel

You can also check out our first time gun buyers guide for additional gift ideas.  And as always, we have a great selection of Father's Day cards and gift cards to choose from.  It's the perfect way to make sure Dad gets exactly what he needs for his next outdoor adventure!

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Bass Pro Nashville's 15th Anniversary!!

Bass Pro Nashville celebrated it's 15th Anniversary this month!  To commemorate the occasion, we had a potluck/fish fry on our boat canopy.  We played corn hole, gave away some amazing prizes and talked about how far our store has come and all we've been through.  

One of the most memorable times in our store's history was the Cumberland River flood of 2010.  Opry Mills Mall, which our store is attached to, was closed for two years after the flood with water levels reported at 10 feet deep.  Bass Pro held our Grand Re-Opening in October of 2010, just 6 months after the initial damage took place.  Johnny Morris was of course in attendance along with Kevin Van Dam, Little Jimmy Dickens and the Nashville Predators Dancers.

We were also able to reflect on the fun we've had, from employee fishing and golf tournaments to helping with kids fishing rodeos and MS and Breast Cancer walks.  We honored those from our team who passed in the last 15 years and celebrated those who have worked for the company for as long as we've been open.  All in all, it was a great night for us to reflect on the past 15 years and look forward to the next 15 here in beautiful Nashville, Tennessee!

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First Time Gun Buyer's Guide

“What gun should I buy?” 

This question is repeated at gun retailers across the country constantly. Given the plethora of gun options out there, it’s understandably daunting to a first time gun buyer or even an experienced shooter who is new to a specific type of firearm. The following are some tips to help you make the right decision.

 

What Do You Want To Do With The Gun?

While the most basic answer is to shoot, certain guns do certain things better than others. For example, a lot of folks are getting concealed carry permits and want a gun they can carry. Obviously in that case the choice would be a handgun, but which one out of the huge number of models on the market? One thing to keep in mind is the size of the gun and by size I don’t mean the caliber, we’ll cover that in a bit. By size I mean the physical size of the gun. A small gun, like a Smith and Wesson Shield is more portable; however a larger sized gun like a Glock 19 in the same caliber shoots more comfortably. Therefore, the buyer has to decide the size gun that works for them including the thickness of that gun as that may come into play regarding comfort in holding, shooting, and carrying the gun on a day in and day out basis. These same considerations come into play when it comes to shotguns and rifles as well.

Shotguns are kind of like golf clubs in that all clubs will knock a ball along the course, but some do certain things better than others. Sporting clays, hunting, and home defense all find shotguns being a go to choice in firearm. Again the size of the gun is matched to the activity the owner intends to do, but luckily a bread and butter pump shotgun like a Benelli SuperNova will do anything and everything reasonably well.

Rifles are all about downrange accuracy so if you like reaching out and hitting a target you can barely see with your naked eye a bolt action rifle like the Browning X-Bolt is the way to go. Remember, in this application a quality optic is key. The other popular rifle right now is the AR style. This IS NOT short for “assault rifle”, it stands for Armalite Rifle. Armalite was the company that originally designed the platform and put it into production. AR style rifles are really fun to shoot and are great for dealing with predator control such as coyotes. An example of this kind of rifle is the Bushmaster M4-A3 and is ready to shoot right out of the box after a thorough cleaning.

Caliber is something everyone gets hung up on and new shooters worry about recoil a lot. Adding to the confusion is the fact that calibers are measured in both fractions of an inch as well as in metric measurements depending on where the caliber was developed. The simple rule is to shoot as large of a caliber as you can comfortably and more importantly, accurately. Extremely technical people will quote all kinds of ballistic and energy transfer data and confuse the heck out of even seasoned shooters but in short, bigger bullets hit harder and do more damage but a big bullet is no good if you can’t hit what you’re shooting at. The best way to judge the caliber you’re comfortable with is to consider your intended target and to go shoot some guns.

What Do You Want To Spend?

The term I like to use in this regard is that you tend to get what you pay for but the question is how much do you need? Someone that wants to shoot a lot needs a better, more durable firearm than the person that may never shoot the gun more than 100 times. This again is a double edged sword as while it may seem like you’re saving money by going the cheap route, you have to consider the cost of repairing the firearm or replacing it. My usual advice to a new shooter is to look for their given choice of gun somewhere in the middle of the price scale and then be prepared if they find they really get into it that they will want to buy a new gun. We all want more guns once we find we enjoy shooting so this isn’t exactly a problem and a good excuse to get at least one more gun. Also, consider any accessories you may need with the gun you’re buying as that may play a significant role in the overall price.

Can I Get Ammunition For My New Gun?

If you’re getting a popular caliber firearm you shouldn't have a problem getting ammunition for your firearm but the best way is to check the shelves before you settle on a caliber and anyone in our hunting department will be happy to tell you what your best bets are to find ammunition in.

So, Where Do I Start?

Reading this blog article and asking yourself these questions is a good place to start. Then come see us and look at some firearms.  We've got tons of knowledgeable associates in the store ready to help you out.  Or, if you have buddies, go shooting with them.  That’s another great option to get your feet wet in firearms. Ask shooters what they like and don’t like and why. Ironically, as you’re reading this on the internet, I would caution you to take what you read on the internet with caution. A lot of people pass their opinions, prejudices and personal experiences off as facts. There are a few cold and hard facts in firearms that I’ve attempted to cover here admittedly in a basic and simple fashion but there are a lot of things out there that are personal opinion and preference and the only person that can answer those things for you is indeed yourself. And remember with all the information you’re going to have coming at you, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Cory Brown, Hunting Department

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2015 Employee Fishing Tournament

We had our Annual Fishing Tournament yesterday morning!  Each year we swap back and forth between the two big lakes in the area, Percy Priest and Old Hickory.  This year's tournament was held on Old Hickory and turned out to be a really great day.  It started out a little on the cool side and speeding across the water on the boat didn't help.  But once the sun came out, it warmed up and we got to enjoy a beautiful day on the water.

We had about 18 boats registered for the tournament and 3 people in most boats.  On Old Hickory, all Large Mouth and Kentucky Spotted Bass must be 14 inches long and Small Mouth Bass must measure 18 inches long.  The team with the most fish ended with 10.65lbs and the biggest fish was a little over 4 lbs.  We had 3 teams tied for third place all with 4 fish and a total of 9.95lbs.

After the weigh in, we had a cookout with BBQ pork, chicken, potato salad and cheesecake thanks to our amazing Gifts and Hunting Team Leaders.  It's so nice to get to enjoy the outdoors (since we all work for Bass Pro!) and have the chance to hangout with the people we work with everyday.

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Earth Day Hiking Trip

A few weeks ago, our footwear Team Leader approached me about putting together a group hiking trip.  He had recently hiked in one of our Tennessee state parks and noticed that there was a lot of trash along the trail.  He thought it might be nice to take a day hike and also give back a little bit at the same time.  We set the date for April 22nd and got a group together.  We didn't even realize in advance that it was Earth Day!

We met at our store at 9 a.m. and drove to Long Hunter State Park in Hermitage,TN.  It was only maybe 25 minutes from our store at Opry Mills which is one of the most incredible things about being a lover of the outdoors in Nashville.  Even right in the middle of the city, we're spoiled with lakes, rivers and the Greenway just a short drive from Downtown or any neighborhood in the area.  We spent the first couple of hours hiking the 4 mile Day Loop Trail.  It had been a rainy week so it was a little muddy, but with the correct layers to stay warm and dry, it was an enjoyable hike.  The trail begins relatively close to the water which makes the area perfect for creek fishing.  As the trail gains a little elevation, there were spots with boulders where you could stop for a rest and look out over Percy Priest Lake.  We saw sailboats and a couple of groups that looked to be on a fishing trip.

After our trip around the Day Loop, we arrived back at the point where the two trails split/meet (depending on which way you're hiking).  Instead of heading back to our cars, we decided to hike some of the 5.5 mile Volunteer Trail.  There were a few creeks with small wooden bridges for easy crossing and a spot or two where I stepped my way across on the rocks.  I ended the day with dry feet despite hiking in Nikes, but I intend to get myself some better footwear for next time.  We made it all the way to the end of the trail marked by a group of campsites right near the edge of the lake and had lunch there, which we'd packed in with us.  On the way back (this trail was out and back, not a loop) we collected trash into the bags we'd brought with us.  It was a nice way to care for the environment that gives so much to us and about half way back when we realized it was Earth Day, we were even more excited.

In all, the 15 or so miles took us about 7 hours including stopping for a couple of breaks and lunch at the campsite.  I plan to do the hike again with some friends and camp overnight at the site and hike out the next day!

 

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My Quest: Can the AR platform effectively take a Whitetail?

Hunting is a passion I was raised on by my father. He started me as a very young boy and, as I got older, my passion for hunting the great American whitetail grew and grew.  I have hunted them from the southeast all the way up into to the midwest. As with hunting, so too did my love of firearms and even more recently, my love for the much debated AR platform rifles.  I have read many internet postings going back and forth about whether an AR could effectively take down a whitetail deer or not.  The more I research I did, the more it sparked my interest.  After much debating inside my head, I decided I wanted to give it a shot. I looked at many different AR platforms before purchasing a CMMG AR chambered in 300 Blackout from my local Bass Pro Shops. While there, I also bought one of the Redfield scopes, scope mount and a box of Hornady 110 V-Max ammo.  Once everything was all sighted in and ready to go, it was time for the hunt.

It was an unusually cold morning in Northern Alabama as we set out to Freedom Hills Management Area located in Cherokee, Alabama.  I remember reading the temperature gauge in the truck, a whopping 6 degrees.  I zipped up my Redhead jacket and headed out on my quest.  The morning was cold and quiet as the sun started to come up and nature started to come to life.  It was still early morning as I watched the squirrels chase each other through the trees.  "This is the life," I sat there, thinking to myself.  Right then I caught a shadow silently moving through the woods to my left.  As I turned to see what it was, I saw this nice mature doe emerge through the trees.  She moved quietly through the woods without the slightest hint that I was even there.  I got ready to take the shot when behind her, I could see another body moving in the brush.  There he was, a very nice six point moving right in behind her.  I waited for him to step out, put the cross arrows on and squeezed the trigger.  As I regained my composure, the deer jumped right back into the thick brush followed by a loud crash of leaves.  Had the much debated AR done it's job?  I gave it a little time and walked over to see what the results were.

There he was, not 45 yards from where I had first seen him.  In the end, I had answered my question:  Yes the AR platform can effectively take a whitetail.

I look forward to my next hunt as I have now chambered another AR in the mighty 450 Bushmaster.

 

Justin K., Apparel Associate

Bass Pro Shops, Nashville

 

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Duck Hunt: HIGH SCORE

The end of duck hunting season is almost upon us!  That usually means last minute deals and a great chance to stock up for next season.  At Bass Pro Shops, we've got the right tools and gear to get you ready at the start of the season or for that impromptu season closer.  Here's a couple of great ideas!

Calls are an awesome tool to utilize no matter what type of bird you're hunting.  Bass Pro carries a wide variety of calls and accessories.  This Buck Gardner Double Nasty II Duck Call is very popular and only $23.99.

In addition to calls, decoys can be really useful to lure hesitant birds, especially at the end of the season.  This Avian-X Floating Mallard Duck Decoy has great reviews and is only $79.99.   "Each decoy is oversized for extra attraction, measuring about 14.5'' breast-to-tail. Open Water pack includes 4 drakes (2 high-heads, 2 low-heads), and 2 hens (high-head and swimmer)."

Lastly, with the temperatures being cooler, warmth and comfort are a top priority.  Dressing in layers is always a great idea when spending time outdoors, but the proper waterproof protection can make the difference between an enjoyable morning spent on the water and calling it a day early because you're a dripping, shivering mess.  Waders are available in tons of sizes, colors and degrees of insulation.  If you're simply looking for good footwear, check out our boot selection and don't forget socks and warmers!

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Layer it on! Winter is here!

Winter has finally arrived in Nashville!

With that, we’re seeing temperatures drop into the teen’s and even a couple of single digit days.  Being from Arizona, I am not at all prepared for this surge of cold weather and my chilly drive to work this morning reminded me that I need to get myself some warmer clothing for these cold days.  Good thing I work for Bass Pro Shops!

We’ve got a great selection of fleece, jackets and hoodies to top off your winter look.  But my personal favorite thing about the cold is getting to layer all those comfy clothes for some extra warmth.  Here’s a look at some of our Top Sellers from the online shop.

For the guys, let’s start with the RedHead Thermal Henley Shirts.  They are currently on sale starting at $19.97 and are available in 8 colors.  The 3 button Henley look is popular and stylish and the waffle texture is soft and comfortable.

Sticking with the Henley look, we also have RedHead Layered Henleys in five colors for Men currently on sale for $14.97.  These shirts are 100% jersey cotton, have a chest pocket and feature a double collar for the layered look.

Both are perfect for an extra layer when spending time outdoors or just a weekend working around the house.

For the ladies, our Bob Timberlake Waffle Pintuck Henleys are pretty and comfortable.  They have a smaller waffle texture that’s easy to wear and front embellishments that make them a little more feminine.  These start at $26.97 and come in four colors.

I also love our Ladies’ Natural Reflections Flannel Shirts.  They currently start at $24.99 and also come in four colors.  They are 100% flannel for a soft, flattering fit.  Perfect with jeans and boots!

Hopefully this gives you an idea of our great cold weather clothing selection at Bass Pro Shops.  Stop in and get ‘em before it’s too cold!

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Flingin’ Flies from a Pick-Up: A Nashville Fly Fishing Blog

Leaders and Tippet

This topic is the one topic in fly fishing that creates the most confusion for fly fishers. We’re going to break down some of the terminology of these two fly fishing items and discuss how to choose the right one for the circumstances you may be fishing.

There are a few different types of leaders in fly fishing. Folks use steel leaders, braided leaders, compound leaders, furled leaders and the most common, knotless leaders. We’re going to talk about the most common type: knotless leaders. These leaders are usually made out of one of two types of materials: nylon monofilament or fluorocarbon monofilament (polyvinylidene fluouride). Fluorocarbon is a denser material which will not float as well as monofilament. This is ideal when fishing small nymphs or midges subsurface. Monofilament is the most common type of knotless leader because most fly fishers tend to fish dry flies during hatches. Monofilament is about the same density as water and will float or ride on the surface film easily, especially if it is greased. Fluorocarbon is denser, stronger, and more clear than mono. This is why many fishers prefer it over mono. The only disadvantage is that fluorocarbon costs more than mono.

float

A knotless leader is made up of three sections; the butt section, the tapered section and the tip, also known as the tippet. The butt section of the leader is the thickest part of the leader and is the part of the leader that is attached to your fly line, and usually comprises of about 20% of the overall length. The tapered section is the longest section of the leader. This comprises of approximately 60% of the overall length and tapers to the tippet section. The tippet section also comprises about 20% of the overall length and is the part of the leader that dictates the leader’s “size”. Here’s an example of a tapered leader: a nine foot 5X leader will have a butt section of about 25 or 30 lb. test and taper down to a 5 lb. test. When constructing leaders most fishers will discuss leader formulas with diameter in mind not test strength.

Leader length is usually decided based on the conditions such as “spookiness” of the fish you are chasing; the spookier the fish, the longer the leader. For example: fishing popping bugs on a pond might require a 7 to 8 ft leader, while fishing a river for trout might require a 9 to 12 foot leader. Some waters that hold easily spooked fish may call for a leader 14 to 16 feet in length.

 

leader

Sizing is the most confusing part of leader and tippet selection. Leaders were made from cat-gut many years ago and in order for a person to decrease the size (diameter) of their leader one would “draw” their leader through a board of grommet holes. Every time you’d draw your leader it would decrease its size. So if you were to run your leader through your draw board it would be a size 1X leader, if you were to draw it again it would be a 2X leader, and so on. When leaders were made from nylon during the first half of the last century, the sizing stuck. Today when you buy a 7X leader it has a smaller diameter (and weight class/pound test) than a 3X leader.

Leader and tippet size is dictated by the size of fly you are casting. There is a general rule of thumb when figuring out what size you may need. Divide the size of your fly by the number three and this will give you the right leader/tippet size. For example: a size twelve prince nymph is what you’d like to cast. You’d want to use a 4X tippet/leader, but an 18 midge would require a 6X leader/tippet. You’d like to keep this as close as possible for the best presentation and casting of your fly.

flouro

Tippet spools are bought for two main reasons; to lengthen a leader and to change the tippet size at the end of the leader. When fishing over the period of a day one may find that after changing flies several times that their leader had shortened. Let’s say a nine foot leader is now only six feet long. This would be about the time you’d change your leader for a longer one. Having several different sized spools of tippet you could easily just cut a 3 foot section of tippet from the spool and tie it to the end of your 6 foot leader. The overall length of your leader now would be about 9 feet. You’d be back in business efficiently and with minimal costs (changing leaders every time would cost you quite a bit more). Let’s say you’re fishing with size 14 flies most of your day and are using a size 5X leader, you decide you’d like to go smaller, maybe down to a size 18 fly. Rather than change your leader you could cut a length of 6X tippet and tie it to the end of your 5X leader. The taper will continue downward and you won’t have to tie on a new leader, again, this is more cost effective and efficient (efficiency is everything in fly fishing).

Hope this helps. If it doesn’t, stop in the fly shop and we’ll help you out one on one.

 

William Walter

White River Fly Shop/Bass Pro Nashville

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Memorial Day is fast approaching!

For the last several years I have wanted to purchase a smoker and try my hand with this method of cooking.  I never did because I was too aprehensive - was it difficult to operate? Did it take a lot of prep work? What seasonings should I use? A week before this last Christmas, I made a comment (and not with the intention of this being a hint for a gift) about this while in the grocery store shopping with my wife.  Unbeknownst to me, she made a phone call and with the assistance of several of my co-workers at Bass Pro Shops, she was educated on the many different types of smokers we carried, made a purchase of one and with the help of our three children, presented me with a new Masterbuilt 30" Electric Smoker complete with digital keypad (price $239.99) on Christmas Day.

Smoker

For the next several weeks, they continually asked me when I was going to use the smoker and what I planned on cooking.  I decided that even if I wasn't going to use it at the time, I would take some time and put it together.  Bad planning on my part - it took longer to remove the smoker from the box and take the components out of their wrapping, than it did to put it together.  The only tool needed was a Phillips-head screwdriver (for two screws) and within 10 minutes my smoker was assembled.  I read the owner's manual and learned that for best results I needed to "season" the smoker before first using it.  I bought a small bag of mesquite wood chips from Bass Pro Shops (price $4.99) and began the simple "seasoning" process - I plugged the smoker into an electrical outlet outside my garage, set the temperature (275 degrees) and time (3 hours) using the digital controller and went about completing some other tasks.  I added a small amount of chips at the specified time and after three hours, the process was complete.

For my first attempt at using the smoker, I decided to try something that I thought would be easy and inexpensive - chicken.  I bought two whole chickens from the grocery (price $11) and applied some dry-rub seasoning (purchased from the wide selection available at Bass Pro Shops - price $6.99) to them.  I completed a few other preparation steps - added wood chips, filled pan with water, lined the bottom pan with aluminum foil and set the temperature and time.  Three and a half hours later, I removed the chickens from the smoker, let them cool for 20 minutes and ate dinner - everyone raving about the taste and tenderness of the food.  The meat, literally, fell off the bone.

Prepping and cooking the food was easy.  Now came the hard part - the clean up.  Or so I thought. 

I removed and cleaned the racks, emptied and cleaned the water pan, removed the aluminum foil from the bottom pan, wiped it clean and wiped down the door seal.  I hand-dried all of the components, placed them back in the smoker and was done in just under 20 minutes.

The entire process was simple and easy.  The food tasted great and everyone gave suggestions on what to fix next. 

Thanks to all of my co-workers for their time, suggestions, guidance and advice.  All of it resulted in a great meal and turned a "smoking" novice into someone eager to use this cooking method again.

If you are interested and intrigued in this cooking method, don't wait to get started.  All of us want to be the talk of the family, friends, neighborhood, etc. when it comes to cooking.  Everything you need for cooking outdoors is available at Bass Pro Shops.  We have a great selection of products, excellent prices and a knowledge staff.  Remember ... Memorial Day is fast approaching.

 

Kirk Pickel

Group Sales Manager

Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World

 

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Flingin’ Flies from a Pick-Up: A Nashville Fly Fishing Blog

Beginner Fly Tying

 

Winter is usually the time of year most fly fishers sit inside, tie flies, and dream about the approaching fishing season. Fly tying can be a daunting hobby for a beginner, especially if you have no idea what kind of tools and materials you may need. This month’s blog is going to go over some of the basics of fly tying.

vise

There are three basic tools that you need to tie flies: scissors, bobbins, and a vise (buy for quality when it comes to these three tools). There are many other tools that you may want to purchase; whip finish tool, bodkin, and hackle pliers, and there are many options of quality with these tools.

bobbin

Tying materials like feathers, fur and flashing also come in different “Grades”. Most craft stores carry similar materials but they are usually not strong enough for fly tying. You should really stick to fly shops for the best feathers and fur for tying flies.

pliers

DVD’s can help and are much easier to understand than books. You can watch someone tie the actual fly and freeze frame, or go back and watch again anything you may not understand the first time. Books are really great for experienced tiers. I personally have a large collection of fly tying books that I have collected over the years – primarily for the patterns (recipes).

scissors

Classes are the best way to get started tying flies. Classes can offer one on one experience with an established tier. Many times we may think we “know” something or how to “do” something but not until we are actually confronted with the task do we realize that we may be out of our depth. I have taught hundreds of tying classes and have seen students exchange ideas or help one another in ways that even a teacher may not be able to. Classes give you an opportunity to ask questions and get feedback on any ideas you may have. Information on Nashville Bass Pro Shops tying classes can be found on the website.

 

Here are a few tips:

  1. When you tie a pattern – tie a dozen flies of that pattern. Many times people will believe they have “mastered” a fly after tying two, three or even one fly.  If you tie a dozen of that fly you will have perfected the techniques to tie that fly and will, in the long run, not forget how to tie that specific fly.
  2. Find the most comfortable chair and desk or table for you to tie. This may encourage you to tie more rather than less.
  3. A table top magnifying glass may not be a necessity for some, but it may be for others.
  4. Learn everything you can about the materials you are using. How are threads sized? Why are some dubbings easier to spin? Why this hook over that one? These questions can be learned from books but are always better understood through experience.
  5. A well lit tying station is a must.

 

William Walter

White River Fly Shop Nashville

class

 

 

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