Protecting Our Herds

Proper Deer Management – Deer Hunting and HarvestsDeer Silhouette

Proper deer harvest plays a big role in an effective deer management program. Areas with higher deer densities have lower fawn crops, more major die-offs, smaller body weights, and poorer quality antlers. These symptoms are a result of abused rangeland, where white-tailed deer (and often exotic deer and domestic livestock) have eaten all available forbs and browse. Such areas have poor plant diversity and in some cases are dominated by nuisance plant species. If this is the case, the whole system, including your white-tailed deer herd, is suffering. But what if you are short on deer? And how many deer should you harvest?

Hunting season for whitetail is always in the fall, and it’s not an accident. Fall hunting allows the removal of excess animals from the landscape prior to winter. When it comes to the deer carrying capacity, winter is the biggest limiting factor. Because of the harsh time of year, proper deer harvest is essential for the deer herd on your property, their habitat, and your overall deer management program.Deer herd

In most situations, harvesting around 20 to 30 percent of the antlerless deer off a property each year will usually maintain good nutritional conditions, assuming the habitat is not overgrazed by cattle or some other form of domestic livestock. On well-managed habitat, a healthy white-tailed doe harvest should produce conditions for good fawn survival, good body size, and good antler development. To make sure you are harvesting at the proper rate, the best bet is to conduct a deer survey in late-summer of each year. Without deer survey data, you may as well just shoot into the dark.

With accurate information on deer herd size, the buck to doe ratio, and fawn survival and with considerations for rainfall, habitat conditions, and hunting on neighboring property, the deer manager could then prescribe the percentage of the herd that should be harvested to optimize management objectives. Situations such as this where all pertinent information is available are, of course, very rare in deer management. However, it is your job to collect as much data as possible so that you can manage the herd on your property as effectively as possible.

Let’s say your goal is to produce “quality” whitetail bucks. Well then, the total buck harvest should be restricted to 20% or less of the estimated buck population. This limited harvest lowers hunter success rates, but will allow a significant portion of the buck population to reach maturity and increase the proportion of bucks in the population. This strategy has only limited success on smaller tracts of land where hunting pressure on surrounding lands is moderate to heavy. If you have a smaller property, then it will probably be recommended that you harvest at a slightly higher harvest rate unless you can form a wildlife management cooperative with your surrounding neighbors.Fawn

For smaller properties, or those that simply want a healthy deer herd, a slightly higher buck harvest rate can be justified. In short, remove 27% to 33% of the estimated buck population annually. Not only will this harvest rate allow for a generally acceptable level of hunter success, but it will also restrict pressure on bucks–and allow the remainder of the buck population to reach an older age classes.

Getting Started

If you are interested in getting in the outdoors, you should check out the Bass Pro Shops website and the Bass Pro Shop Outdoor World in Oklahoma City. Ok.

We look forward to seeing you in our store and as always, thank you for shopping Bass Pro Shops. Good luck and have fun.

 

 

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Approaching a Century of Leadership

September is Boy Scout Month at Bass Pro Shops

September is Boy Scout Month at Bass Pro Shops. This promotion will run in all of the Bass Pro Shop stores for the entire month of September 2013.

What’s in It for the Boy Scouts and Your Local Council?

  1. Increase awareness of Scouting in the community to help grow membership
  2. Raise money through a customer donation program at each store
  3. Offer fulfillment of merit badge requirements through in-store workshops to your Scouts
  4. Invite Cub Scouts to come out and participate in workshops preparing them for Boy Scouting

 

How Can Your Council Help and Benefit?
Any time during the fall family promotion (but particularly on weekends, when traffic is highest), Scouts are encouraged to be in the store to talk to customers, solicit membership (youth and adults), and remind visitors of the donation program (explained below). Bass Pro Shops will provide a covered, skirted table and chairs for your council, and have in-store signage promoting the BSA.

Donation Program
During the month of September, Bass Pro Shops will offer customers an opportunity to donate $2 or $5 to the BSA at each cash register. This donation will also enter the customer into a drawing for a $500, $250, or $100 Bass Pro Shops gift card if the customer completes the information on the donation form. At the end of the promotion, 50 percent of the money collected will come to the National Council and the other 50 percent will be given to your local council. Scouts present in the stores are encouraged to talk about the donation with customers to increase results.

Merit Badge Classes
Bass Pro Shops in Oklahoma City is uniquely qualified to offer Fishing and Rifle Shooting Merit Badge Classes with merit badge requirements included. This year, Bass Pro Shops will help Scouts working toward the Fishing and Rifle Shooting merit badges. (Fishing does not include the final step of actually going fishing, and Rifle Shooting will use the air rifle option.)

Advertising Support
This promotion is being supported with national advertising and has been approved by the National Council. Bass Pro Shops’ national advertising includes television, direct mail, in-store signs, a website and email campaign to Bass Pro Shops customers, and a mention on Twitter to Bass Pro Shops followers.

Store Management Support
If your council has specific needs or ideas, please schedule a meeting with store management in advance; they’re glad to work with you. Bass Pro Shops’ corporate office has sent out a communication to its stores in advance of this event, so don’t hesitate to reach out ASAP to begin preparations.

National Council Support
The Corporate Alliances Team is working with Bass Pro Shops to provide a seamless experience for every participating council. In addition to communicating with the 51 councils in Bass Pro Shop store areas, we will be communicating to all councils across the country to inform them of this promotion in case they or their members choose to visit a Bass Pro Shops store during the month of September. Either way, Scouting benefits from more of our members being aware of this promotion. For questions or more information, contact the Corporate Alliances Team at corporate.alliances@scouting.org or call 972-580-2247.

Bass Pro Shops Online Toolkit
An online toolkit is available that includes sample emails, letters, and fliers you can use to help promote your participation for the entire month of September. Communication of this will go out in advance with instructions on how to access it at www.scouting.org/BassProShops.

Getting Started

If you are interested in getting with the Boy Scouts or the great outdoors, you should check out the Boy Scouts http://www.scouting.orgwebsite and the Bass Pro Shop Outdoor World in Oklahoma City. Ok.

We look forward to seeing you in our store and as always, thank you for shopping Bass Pro Shops. Good luck and have fun.

 

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Bows On The Little Delta

Thank you Glenn St. Charles

Pope and Young

There have been many archers through time who have helped promote the sport of archery and worked to help show bowhunting as a healthy, viable hunting method and management tool for wildlife. The previous chapters have specifically pointed out those individuals who have impacted bowhunting and its perception to the general public. Of course, there are many, many more lesser known, albeit no less important, archers and bowhunters, both men and women, who have devoted much of their lives doing the same. However, there is one man whose tireless, continuing efforts have brought bowhunting out of the back woods and into the main offices of fish and game departments all across the United States. Without a doubt, his ideas and life's work is why we have the privilege to enjoy the liberal bowhunting seasons we enjoy today. That man is Glenn St. Charles, the last of the true bowhunting pioneers in North America.

 

GlennGlenn St. Charles was born in Seattle, Washington, on December 15, 1911 to Phillip Joseph (PJ) St. Charles and Coral Barbara St. Charles, nee Rouse. Phillip St. Charles was a timber cruiser. He had moved his family from Alpena, Michigan, to Seattle believing the vast amount of untouched forest land in the Northwest would allow him enough work to best support his family. The Cascade range, just east of Seattle, provided unlimited work for such a profession, and the family settled in to their new home quite comfortably.

A decade later, in 1921, Phillip moved his family to Spokane, Washington, where ten-year-old Glenn was allowed to spend time with his father and his brother, Ray, while they worked in the Kanisku National Forest in northern Idaho. Time spent in timber cruising camps allowed Glenn to learn about the ways of nature, both flora and fauna. While he learned of logging, he also learned to hunt and fish. His job while the men were out working was to wash dishes, cut wood and keep "...a back burner crock of sourdough happy, bubbling, and burping by feeding it potato peelings."

In 1924 the family moved back to the Seattle area, making residence in the suburb of Fauntleroy where the elder St. Charles changed careers from timber cruising to real estate. It was here, in 1926, that Glenn had his first contact with the bow and arrow. Along the shore of Puget Sound, housewives would toss their garbage off the seawall, attracting local sand sharks. Glenn and his young cronies had bows made of hazelnut, strung taut with meat wrapping twine, and arrows of willow shoots upon which were fixed sharpened nails. With these crude weapons the boys spent hours stalking the sharks, occasionally scoring a hit.

 

At the same time Glenn was getting interested in the Boy Scouts. In his Boy Scout's manual he read about the yew tree and how its wood would make a good bow. Since the Seattle area is near some of the finest Pacific yew one could find, he promptly set out and harvested some branches from a tree near his home, made his first yew bow, and earned his merit badge in archery.

Through his association with the Boy Scouts Glenn was able to purchase a seasoned Tennessee cedar stave and proceeded to build a bow from it with nothing more than a spokeshave and rasp. Soon more of the scouts became interested in what Glenn was doing and more staves were ordered, bows built, and Glenn spent the next two years teaching archery at Camp Parsons, the Boy Scout summer camp on the Olympic Peninsula. These two years would cement the love of archery in young St. Charles, a love that has consumed his entire life.

After graduating from high school in 1930, Glenn and three of his buddies took a Model T Ford to Wyoming where they spent each of the next few summers working for the parents of one of his friends, Sandy Stewart, building the Kilbourne Dude Ranch. Glenn married Marjorie Ernestine Kneisel of Sheridan ,Wyoming, and the two of them moved back to Seattle where Glenn, along with his new bride, renewed his interest in archery.

Glenn's Elk1942 found Glenn working for Coates Electric Company in Seattle, a company that was building submarine parts for the U.S. Navy. He was still dabbling in his archery, but the war effort kept everyone busy. Then in 1948, his wife Marjorie passed away, leaving Glenn alone to raise their nine year old daughter, Linda.

After the war Glenn quit Coates Electric and went into the archery business full time. He opened his shop on Airport Way in Seattle where he met Margaret Lorraine Remick and married her. Together they worked in the shop, many nights staying up until 2:00 a.m. filling orders. Glenn had been talking with Fred Bear and soon became a Bear Archery dealer. Then in 1949, he and Margaret sold their place in Seattle and purchase five acres of wooded land south of the town where they built a two story building that would serve as their home and archery shop. It was remote, and quite crude. "We didn't even have a toilet here. We had to go out in the woods, you know. Margaret likes to tell the story about the time some fancifully dressed lady got out of a car out here on the highway and ran into here and wanted to use the bathroom. Margaret told her we didn't have one.

"Well, what do you use?' she said."

"Well, we use the woods."

"The lady asked, 'Could you tell me where the woods are?"

"You could sit out here on the highway for an hour before another car would come by. It was out in the country back then."

Glenn and Margaret continued to build Northwest Archery into one of the largest archery shops on the West coast. In the 1940s he learned a new process of laminating wood and fiberglass to make bows that worked much better than self wood yew bows. In 1952, he designed his finest shooting recurve, the Thunderbird, in both 63" and 67" lengths. The Thunderbird had working recurve limbs, as opposed to the static limbs on all the other bows on the market, and was an instant success. But Glenn became concerned about getting too deep into bow building, and eventually made the decision to stop production after 400 bows. He showed two of them to Fred Bear in 1953, but Fred wasn't too impressed since he was already producing two static recurve bows_the Grizzly and the Kodiak. Interestingly, in 1954 Bear Archery introduced their first working recurve bow, the Kodiak II.

Glenn and FredGlenn had been talking with Fred Bear for several years over the phone. They had a lot in common. Both of them were writing about bowhunting and bows and arrows. Fred was getting yew from Glenn and Glenn was getting Osage from Fred. It was a back and forth thing. But they never met until 1953 in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, at the NFAA Field Tournament. They discussed a lot of things, but the main gist was Bear's interests in the Northwest and the bowhunting possibilities Glenn could set up for him. Since Glenn was starting to expand his business as well, he was interested in being represented back east. The two men agreed to expand their business ties and Glenn became Bear Archery's West Coast Warehouse.

Glenn designed his own broadhead that he named the Mickey Finn. It was a 2-blade design with an 11/32" ferrule and weighed a hefty 175 grains. Released to the market in 1953, it gained a reputation of being a hard hitting and extremely strong broadhead. But, as Glenn had done with his earlier Thunderbird recurve, he stopped production and the head dropped from wide-spread use. Today, it is an extremely rare broadhead and can be found only in collections.

Ever since the era of Saxton Pope and Art Young, bowhunters had been struggling to gain national recognition in the outdoors community. They had prove that their method of hunting was, "...truly a manly, efficient way of hunting." The going had been slow and labored, and many individuals played important roles. Bowhunting became recognized as a legal hunting method in Wisconsin in 1931, thanks in large part to the efforts of Roy Case, Aldo Leopold and Carl Hubert. Then, in 1934, a Wisconsin bowhunting-only season was established. Within a few years other states followed: Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois, eventually leading to several western states establishing bowhunting seasons as well. But bowhunting was still not widely accepted.

In 1940 the National Field Archery Association established the Art Young Big Game Award System. It was at this time that Glenn became active in the NFAA and together with bowyer Kore Duryee of Seattle the two men went to the Washington State Game Commission to help preserve the young bowhunting seasons and expand new ones. The results of this meeting determined the direction of bowhunting across the entire nation. As Glenn recalls:

"I accompanied Duryee to a two day Washington State Game Commission meeting in the spring of 1941. The Commission was in the process of setting the season dates and we had gone to present our proposals on behalf of the bowhunters. Washington had enjoyed three previous bowhunting seasons and we believed an annual archery season would continue. However, for no apparent reason, the Commission suddenly decided to do away with bowhunting. Of course, we were shocked and went away disappointed. After talking it over, we decided to return the next day and try again. We were successful, but the humiliation of this second effort left me with a determination to commit myself to changing the bowhunter image."

The result was a push by Glenn and a few others to bring bowhunting into the spotlight of the game departments, and show them that bowhunting was indeed a viable tool for harvesting big game and aiding in wildlife management. Glenn was the Vice President of the NFAA in 1956. His role was that of Big Game Chairman. He had been upset for many years with the role bowhunters played and how they were being treated "...like trash...laughed at, called doe killers...[we] were ridiculed."

Glenn was aware of the Boone & Crockett Club and what they had accomplished for gun hunting. There was a fellow named Connors who was in the NFAA and was also a member of the Boone & Crockett Club. He mentioned to Glenn how the organization had helped the sport of hunting, and Glenn thought the same concepts could be used to help bowhunting. So he contacted the president of the Boone & Crockett Club and asked him how they started their Club. From that moment the seed was planted....

John Young, the NFAA secretary, gathered all the information for Glenn, and by 1957 they had the program outlined. They presented the idea of game scoring to the directors of the NFAA. In the meantime, Glenn went hunting on the Little Delta with Keith Clemmons and told him about his idea of a scoring system for bowhunters. When Glenn returned from the hunt, the NFAA still hadn't addressed the idea. "They were too involved with how far shooting stakes should be, how they should be marked, the size of the targets and so on. They weren't receptive to the idea."

Seven months after Glenn had presented the idea, the NFAA board finally approved it. So in January of 1958 they launched the program. All hell broke loose! Mail suddenly began to pour into Glenn's office. People finally felt they had a place to hang their hat, something to prove. It was so overwhelming Glenn started to charge .50 to enter an animal in the records. From this point on it was all on Glenn. He and his local committee ran the records program by themselves. "I had a hold of something I couldn't let go of...like an electric wire...so hot that I couldn't move, couldn't do anything...I didn't have any time without help."

As soon as the program was up and running Fred Bear wanted to have a trophy display in Michigan in 1958, that same year. So Glenn and his small committee figured out which animals were the new World Records and shipped all the information back to Michigan, contacted everyone who was involved, and put the show on.

When Glenn returned from Michigan the NFAA agreed that the records program should be a separate group, so for the next two years Glenn and his committee trained new measurers and entered animals into the records.

GroupIn 1960 another Awards Banquet was held in Grayling, Michigan, where about 35 bowhunters gathered to discuss the future of the awards program. It was agreed that this new program needed its own identity-it needed to be its own organization. The group decided to name this organization in honor of the late Saxton Pope and Arthur Young. Since all the existing records to date had been compiled under the NFAA, Glenn approached the Executive Committee and expressed the desires of the newly formed Pope & Young group. After much debate, the NFAA agreed to release all the records. Six months later, on January 27, 1961, the newly formed Pope & Young Club was born.

The Club continued to evolve under St. Charles' leadership and by 1963 there were thirty Regular members and eighty Associate members. The total number of animals entered into the records was 361. The Club was moving in the direction Glenn had foreseen, and on June 5, 1963, the Club incorporated.

In 1966, the Club's bylaws were approved and adopted allowing the first elections to take place. On November 20, 1967, Glenn St. Charles was elected as the Club's first president. His leadership had taken the Club from just an idea into a growing entity, one that would be used to prove to the nation's fish and game departments that bowhunters were not just doe killers, but were capable of harvesting mature big game ethically. It opened the doors for all bowhunters, and in a few years almost every state in the nation would follow suit and develop archery seasons.

The compound craze hit around the mid to late 1960s, but it never took hold until Tom Jennings got involved and honed the device into a real shooting machine. The compound bow had come of age and archers everywhere were making the change from their traditional bows to this new device that allowed the user the ability to add lots of accouterments. And even though most archers began to embrace this new device, many questioned its effect on the outdoor ethic and what was happening to the traditional aspect of bowhunting. By the late 1980s, there was a strong movement back toward the traditional ways, and Glenn and his family were once again harvesting yew from the coastal mountains to meet the demand for longbows of this sweet shooting wood. They also imported Osage orange from the Midwest to make selfbows. "We are going full circle back to the basics of the old reliable yew and [O]sage that relate to rawhide, sinew, glue, beeswax, and the smell of cedar and burnt feathers."

One of Glenn's most important contributions, in addition to his formation of the Pope & Young Club, is the Northwest Archery/Pope & Young Museum in Seattle, Washington. The museum was created more by accident than by any determined pursuit. Throughout his life, Glenn acquired everything he could that had to do with the history of archery. He eventually ran out of room and one day loaded up a truckload of old magazines and was headed to the dump. His son, Joe, saw the truckload of magazines and decided they should hold on to them a little bit longer. He was concerned about it, reflecting on all the information in those magazines. He persuaded his father that they should build an addition to the house and archery shop to hold and display all this archery history.

While contemplating the costs and feasibility of adding on the exiting building, Joe had been conversing with Dr. Grayson, who had some of Saxton Pope's bows that he had bought several years earlier. Dr. Grayson was getting up in years and was concerned about it. He drove up to Seattle one day to see what Joe was doing about all this archery history. Joe told him about his idea to build a museum where all the history could be on public display. Well, Dr. Grayson liked the idea and offered to sell all his Saxton Pope collection to St. Charles for the exact same price he had paid for it many years before. The problem was the St. Charles family couldn't afford the price tag of $2,500. Glenn told his hunting partner, Bill Jardine, about his dilemma and Bill whipped out his checkbook and wrote Glenn a check for the entire amount, then drove down and picked up the collection himself. When Bill returned with the collection, Glenn opened up a box of arrows that belonged to Saxton Pope and in there were several arrows made by Ishi. This was the start of the museum.

The museum has since been sold to the Pope & Young Club and has moved to their new office headquarters and museum in Chatfield, Minnesota. But for many, many years this wonderful museum has had tens of thousands of visitors, from all over the world, come thorough its doors in Seattle. This collection of bowhunting history is the most extensive to be found anywhere, and was made possible by the dreams of Glenn and his son Joe.

Over the course of his archery career - a span of some sixty plus years - Glenn managed to hunt all across America and Canada, taking several exceptional animals and sharing his love of the outdoors through his writings and lectures. His first book, Billets To Bows, is a masterpiece in the art of taking raw yew and turning it into a finely crafted bow. It is the written version of his excellent video of the same name, which shows the same process in a wonderfully choreographed film.

In 1997, Glenn released his much anticipated biography, Bows On The Little Delta. This book covers the entire story of Glenn's life, both personal and archery related, and is richly illustrated. His writings have moved many people over the years, and he has been a tireless promoter of bowhunting and of our traditional values of the chase.

Glenn ShootingGlenn had always been a tireless promoter of bowhunting, he was the last of what we term The Old Guard. He and his cronies, and all the men in the previous chapters, were the true pioneers of bowhunting in America. For the most part, everything we, as bowhunters today, experience has been done before by these great men.

 

Getting Started

If you are interested in getting in the outdoors, you should check out the Bass Pro Shops website and the Bass Pro Shop Outdoor World in Oklahoma City. Ok.

We look forward to seeing you in our store and as always, thank you for shopping Bass Pro Shops. Good luck and have fun.

 

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From Tippet to Stream

Experiencing the Blue River in OklahomaBlue River Photo 1

If you’ve never been there and you put on a blindfold and had someone drop you off at the Blue River, you would never guess you were in southern Oklahoma when you took it off. The Blue River looks like it belongs in Colorado, New Mexico, Arkansas or even eastern Oklahoma but not south-central Oklahoma.

The Blue River has swift, clear, braided stream that arises in Johnston County from the Arbuckle-Simpson aquifer, a giant underground water source. The headquarters of the spring-fed Blue River are southwest of Ada. The stream continues until it flows into the Red River in southeast Bryan County.

The most scenic part of the river is along the 6¼-mile stretch through the Blue River Public Hunting and Fishing Area. Here, the granite rocks of the Arbuckle outcrop come to surface and the river comes alive. Along these six miles, the river transforms from a lazy, meandering stream to cascading water that forks through granite and limestone formations. Over and around these rocks is the creation of horseshoe waterfalls and deep, slow-moving pools and fast-moving riffles.Blue River Paradise

The river channel often becomes braided, forming smaller streams with interspersed islands covered with unique seaside alders and native hardwoods. The seaside alders, which grow in clumps along the banks, waterfalls and islands, are typically found only along the Eastern Seaboard.

The Blue River is one of Oklahoma’s most beautiful places. It receives between 75,000 and 100,000 visitors each year. Most of them, an estimated 70 percent, travel to the Blue during the winter trout season which runs from November through March.Most are bait fishermen, but the Blue draws its share of spincasters and fly fishermen as well.

On the north end of Blue River Public Hunting and Fishing Area is a portion of the stream for the purists — a catch and release only area that requires the use of barbless hooks. Fly anglers gravitate to this stretch of the river where it’s usually easy to find some secluded water. The Blue River has more falls than any other river in Oklahoma.

Blue River Photo 4Beginning near Connerville in Johnston County, the Blue River flows southeast to the Red River.  This spring-fed river has a designated trout area in the Blue River Public Fishing and Hunting Area. Other fishing opportunities exist for black bass, crappie, as well as channel and blue catfish. Camping facilities are available only at the Blue River Campground. Float trip opportunities by kayak are available on this Class II-III river, offering several falls and ledges, dependent on seasonal waterfall. No commercial outfitters along the river are allowed and public access points are limited. Supplies and information can be found at Scotty's Blue River One Stop, located at the entrance to the public hunting and fishing area. A Blue River Conservation Passport is required of all persons who enter or use the Blue River area, unless exempt.  Check with the Oklahoma Wildlife Department for availability and criteria.

 

Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and Trout Flies - Blue River OklahomaWWS Fly Line

Fly Line:
We recommend a 5 weight, floating fly line for most all of the fly-fishing. We recommend a 6
weight, floating fly line for nymph fishing and streamers. There are some larger size trout that
are stocked in this stream.

Fly Rod
Fly Rod:
The five weight fly rod should be between eight and nine feet in length. A medium to moderate
action would be our choice. The 6 weight fly rod would be best in a nine foot length and a medium
fast action. A slightly stiffer tip would help with the nymphs and streamers.Fly Reel

Fly Reel:
The fly reel for either of these two rods should have a good drag.  Disc drags would be preferred.


TippetLeaders:
You should be using at least a 9 foot leader on the Blue River. A twelve foot length or even
longer length may be the right choice in some situations where the water is smooth. You
should have them in sizes ranging from 1X for streamers, up to 6X for small dry flies. I wouldn't
go any lighter on this stream.Tippet



Tippet:
Carry extra tippet material in sizes ranging from 1X to 6X.

LisaWaders:
We suggest you wear waders or hip boots anytime you fish the Blue River. We prefer the
breathable type but the neoprene ones can help keep you warm if you fish during the cold
season.

Wading Boots:
Felt sole wading boots  would be our first choice but are quickly being replaced by the new rubber soles that may also work well.
 

wooly bugger
Flies:
Many fly fishers will agree that the Wooly Bugger is one of the best patterns on Blue River.  Best colors are olive, brown, and black.  Other patterns that work well include the red midge larva, zebra midge, hare's ear nymph,  pheasant tail nymphs, hare's ear soft hackle, brassies, and copper johns.  When the midges are on fly fishers will want to concentrate on size 20 and 22 midge patterns.

 

 

Fortunately the fishing is only going to get better as the Oklahoma weather cools off.  November on the Blue means big and aggressive trout just ready to slurp down a Wooly Booger

Last year we had the pleasure of fishing with a few very skilled anglers and we were able to target some of the larger fish at a stream just on the other side of the low water crossing.  We landed several fish in the four to six pound range and had some great action mid-afternoon.  If you would like to experience the Blue River, log onto blueriverok.com.

 

Getting Started

If you are interested in getting involved with fly fishing, you should check out the Bass Pro Shops website and the Bass Pro Shop Outdoor World in Oklahoma City. Ok.

We look forward to seeing you in our store and as always, thank you for shopping Bass Pro Shops. Good luck on the water.

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Leaving A Lasting Legacy

Traditional Archery

A Lifestyle and Camaraderie.Fred Bear Hunting Photo

If you’re a traditionalist, like me, and like to do things “old school,” it doesn’t get any better than traditional archery. The bow and arrow have been around for thousands of years. This tool has served men as a way of providing food, protection, and recreation since its creation. Ishi, Saxon Pope, Art Young, Howard Hill and Fred Bear are just a sample of the great names associated with Traditional Archery. Since these legends have passed on to the happier hunting grounds, there have been many advances in the field of archery: compound bows, sights, rangefinders, etc. These may be more “efficient” ways of using the bow and arrow, but not everyone agrees they are better. Whether you’re at the 3D target range or stalking the woods for game, many prefer archery in its more traditional form. For many, the appeal of “Hunting The Hard Way,” as their ancestors did, is simply too much to resist.

I got my first longbow at age five and have been hooked ever since. I learned early on the “Howard Hill” style of shooting a bow and have passed this style on to many friends and family. My father and I have been making traditional archery equipment for over 20 years and prefer to bow hunt exclusively.

If you’ve ever felt drawn to embrace your inner archer and want to “become the arrow”, here are a few basics on traditional archery that you will need to follow.

 

Longbow RecurveThe Bow - There are two main types of bows in traditional archery: the longbow and the recurve bow. Both have variations among themselves, but the basics are pretty standard. The longbow is a straighter bow with one curve from end to end, looking like a “D” when strung. The longbow has more of a “cast” to it and is more forgiving than the recurve. The recurve bow has more than one curve, as the name suggests, and this causes added spring-like quality in the bow when it is pulled back, giving additional speed to the bow.

Arrows The Arrow – This is the most important piece of the setup. If you do not have a proper arrow, it matters little what bow it is shot from. If it is not capable of correct flight, the archer will never hit the bull’s eye or the vitals of his prey. The arrow consists of a straight shaft of wood (many archers today use carbon or aluminum shafts for cost and consistency considerations), a nock that allows the arrow to rest on the string of the bow, fletching to stabilize the flight of the arrow (most commonly primary wing feathers, usually from a turkey) and, foremost, the attached broached, blunt or target tip, depending on the intended use of the arrow.

QuiversThe Quiver – Holding extra arrows is the primary function of the quiver. However, if sharp hunting broadheads are being used, the quiver will also function as a guard against the archer injuring himself on an arrow not in use. Quivers come in the form of back quivers worn much like a single-strap backpack, side quivers that hang at the archer’s side, and bow quivers that attach to the bow itself, as well as several other formats.

Arm GaurdThe ArmguardArmguards protect the forearm of the archer from the string of the bow as it is released. Not all archers find this necessary, but may still use them for the purpose of restricting the clothing of the forearm from coming into contact with the string and throwing off the shot of the arrow.

Shooting Golve

 

 

 

The Shooting Glove or Tab – In traditional archery a mechanical release is not used. Instead, to relieve the pressure of the string on the archer’s fingers he will use a shooting glove or a tab. These also help in releasing the string smoothly so as to make the most accurate release of the arrow.

 

Those are the basic and most common components in traditional archery. There are many variations of each and they come in all levels of quality from basic, functioning items to works of art which leather and wood craftsmen have invested many hours into creating.

 

Traditional vs. Modern: Knowing and Understanding the Differences

CompoundTraditional Archery

Shooting traditional archery is not better or worse than modern compound shooting, it’s just different. There is nothing wrong with cams, releases, stabilizers, etc. Instead of using those aids in shooting, however, traditional archers prefer to shoot instinctively. The difference is this: When an archer shoots with modern bows he will most always be using sights. He must either have an incredible ability to judge distances accurately or use an electronic range-finder. This is because the sight pins on his modern bow represent different distances in yardage and the proper pin must be aligned with the target to be accurate, and the bow must be held at an angle perpendicular with the ground.

The traditional archer, on the other hand, shoots instinctively; the bow can be held at any angle (called canting), and his brain makes the calculations as to what angle to hold the bow in order for his arrow to reach its mark. This sounds more complicated than it is. The process is much akin to a quarterback throwing a football to a receiver; he doesn’t need to know the exact distance (though in football we know the yardage is in fact there for him to see) because his brain calculates how hard he must throw the ball at a particular angle to get it to his teammate.

Also, compound bows provide what is known as let-off. Once the bow has been drawn it requires very little effort to keep it at “full draw.” Traditional archery bows do not have let-off. The amount of pressure on the string needed to draw it back is the same needed to keep it at full draw. No prolonged period of holding at full draw for the traditional archer. For many this is a much more rewarding method.

Benefits

If an archer is not a hunter, but shoots solely for competition and recreation, there is plenty for him to participate in. There are many traditional archery clubs across the world that have regular competitions and events to get involved with, and contact information for these clubs can be found in the links provided below.

If an archer is a hunter he also has the opportunity to test his woodsmanship to the extreme. It’s comparatively easy to shoot an animal from tens, if not hundreds, of yards with a scoped rifle, than it is to step into the home of the wild creatures, get within a handful of yards without being detected by them, and release an arrow that will put them down in an ethical and efficient manner. Again, there’s nothing wrong (or inherently easy) with hunting with firearms, it is just different.

 

“If asked to sketch a mental picture of the typical archer I would be hard put. They seem to come in all shapes, sizes, color and backgrounds. Inwardly, they seem to have in common a love for the outdoors, a reverence for wildlife and a close tie with history. There is nothing they enjoy more than telling tall tales around a campfire and talking about archery to others. It would be difficult to find a more interesting group of people.” –Fred Bear

 

Traditional Archery – An Extensive CommunityBear Archery

The community that exists for traditional archery is astoundingly extensive. There are literally tens of thousands of traditional archers around the world. Many of them gather at 3D Shoots, rendezvous and club events throughout the year. Any type of folk you can imagine can be found at these gatherings. A budding archer may find himself in the company of the many older men that will share their knowledge and experience with him. Because of the nature of traditional archery many archers are enriched with the wisdom of primitive skills and a plethora of outdoor treats. One never knows what he will learn from a generous soul.

Getting Started

If you are interested in getting involved with traditional archery you should check out the Bass Pro Shops website and the Bass Pro Shop Outdoor World in Oklahoma City. Ok.

We look forward to seeing you in our store and as always, thank you for shopping Bass Pro Shops. Happy Hunting!

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Trail Cameras 101

What to look for when buying a trail CameraSunset

While so many of us are grabbing whatever little bit of summer that is left by hanging out at the beach or the local swimming pool, there are those that are quietly preparing for the upcoming hunting season. These folks are trying to gain every little edge they can, which means more than just checking your equipment and wondering where in the basement you put your hunting boots or walking through your local Bass Pro Shops to see what sales are going on to buy the newest equipment for this season. Here is a great tip to help you gain an edge over your quarry, and over the other guy who just doesn’t think about putting in a bit more effort.

Bushnell Trail CamOK, so you're an experienced hunter. You’ve done all the "right things". You’ve scouted, you’ve read sign, and you’ve checked all the scenarios. Now you’re ready to go.  At least you thought you were. You've set up in a spot that's perfect for that big black bear, or deer. All the tell-tale signs are there, everything looks good, but you get skunked! Why? It could be just the "roll of the dice" (which happens), or maybe it's because you never really knew or found out what, if anything, is coming through the area you set up in that's worth hunting. That's changed.  Welcome to hunting in the 21st century.

Bushnell Trail Cam PictureYears ago, hunters would rig a simple string that they'd run across a trail and attach a clock and/or timer in a small box to it. An animal tripping the "string" would register on the timer, and you'd know WHEN that animal was there. Of course, you wouldn't know its size, or maybe not even the type of animal it was (a squirrel could trip that string as well as a deer or bear). Also, you'd have to reset the trail camera after each time it was tripped. That’s a lot of work for not much information.

In today's market, there are lots of different electronic devices -- and that includes trail cameras. We strongly advise doing very detailed research, speaking to hunters you know who have experience with these devices, and go to a reputable seller, where you can actually "see and feel" the equipment and get demo lessons. These types of electronics are always present at hunting trade shows as well. Do your homework before spending a dime!

Cuddeback Trail Cam PictureAs time has progressed, these electronic devices have improved – and today's main "attractions" are trail cameras. These cameras can be absolutely amazing. The quality of the imaging is incredible. And infra-red laser beams are incorporated to "trip" the mechanism in real time. By the way, you should make sure that there is no delay when the photo or video begins. Finding out the reaction time on these cameras once they're tripped is essential. If there's a delay, as with some point-and-shoot digital cameras, you may end up missing the animal and just see empty space. Trail cameras will take a single photo. They will take streaming video. They have batteries that can last for days. They have that little, simple SD cards that you can pull out of a slot in the camera in a nanosecond and then "read" on your computer or TV at home; OR they can be read right in the field. You'll know exactly the type of animal, its size, time it was there, and maybe some "habits."

Moultrie Trail Cam PictureAnd now -- the cost. You can get a still-photo trail camera for as low as $60. Then you can get video, or a combo of both still and video. Particular retail outlets have trail cameras that run around $600. We suggest Keeping It Simple. Meaning, buy only what you really need. You can always upgrade. You can usually add on "bells and whistles." Remember, you're not doing work for National Geographic. You want it simple. You want it to work. You want accuracy. So be cautious and be slow before you buy.

As we usually do here at Bass Pro, we like to pass on "real world" moneysaving ideas for everything that we talk about: When not using these cameras for hunting (which is most of the time), set them up in or around your home or valued storage areas as "security cameras." They work beautifully, are rugged, and will prevent theft – or worse! Remember, these cameras can and will trigger an alarm on your computer or other simple electronic set-up.

Meet all of your Fishing, Hunting, Boating & Outdoor needs at the Bass Pro Shops in Oklahoma City, OK. Follow our link for all store information, upcoming events & more.

Good luck and good "shooting" -- and that includes the use of your camera!

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Fear the Frog

Few things in Bass fishing are more exciting than topwater frog fishing.  This type of fishing is not for the feint of heart, it’s visual, violent and just about as much fun as you can have bass fishing. 

                                                                                                                                      

Frog fishing can be effective on all types of water and most of the year; however, my experience is the hotter the better and the nastier and sloppier the water the better.  These baits are virtually wheedles and allow you the ability to fish spots that are unfishable with any other technique.  From a boat, a float tube, or from the bank you can make casts to water that any other fisherman will ignore.  While you can catch fish throughout the day, early and late are best, challenge yourself to make casts that normally you wouldn’t think about.  When the bait hits the water think like a frog, hop from grass patch to grass patch, and hold on.  If there are open patches in the slop run your bait through them pausing along the edges.  Don’t let a solid surface of vegetation stop you from fishing, often this is just a canopy that can provide shade and shelter for hungry bass, I can not count the times I have had a fish blow up through the moss to get a hold of whatever is hopping along the surface.

 

Catering your gear to this type of fishing can be very important.  A stout rod with plenty of backbone is important and without a doubt braided line will catch more fish and allow you to haul those fish out of the thick stuff once they are hooked.  Baitcasting reels are the way to go for frog fishing, look for a strong drag and a quick gear ratio (6:1 and up).

 

If you need anything to get setup for this exciting way to catch bass come in and talk with our crew at the fishing counter here at your Oklahoma City Bass Pro Shops.

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First Time Smoker

I have always wanted a Smoker but have been apprehensive to make the investment because I did not know just how much hassle and time it would take to get the results I wanted.  This year I finally made a purchase and have been very pleased with the results.  I decided on a Masterbuilt electric smoker because I did not want to have to babysit fuel and temperatures throughout the day.  There is little doubt in my mind that smokers made to burn wood or charcoal for fuel would have wonderful results; however, I was wanting as much of a “set it and forget it” type setup as I could get.

 

This type of Smoker is basically an outdoor oven with a thermostat that keep temps +-5 degrees of the set temperatures….easy.  The only maintenance that needs to be done during the smoking process is adding more wood chips to get the amount of smoke flavor you are after.  This is done by adding pre-soaked woodchips into a removable tray that is in the side of the smoker, you do not even need to open the door to add the chips.

 

Smoking Made Easy

 

The real trick for getting outstanding results without trial and error is to follow predetermined cook times and cook temps.  I was referred to a fantastic website that is ran by a local here in the OKC metro area, this site has detailed recipes for most types of smoked meat that people are interested in.  I follow the prep, cook times and temperatures listed and have ended up with results that have far exceeded my initial expectations.

 

Here at your Oklahoma City Bass Pro Shops we have everything that you need to get started, you will just have to stop and grab you some ribs on the way home

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A Record Year

Fishing in Oklahoma always heats up this time of year but the spring of 2012 will one to remember.  Arguably the two most sought after angling records in the State were broken within days of each other.  On March 23rd, a 14lb 12.3oz Largemouth was caught from Cedar Lake in Leflore County and on March 31st, a monster 8lb 7oz Smallmouth was caught from Lake Lawtonka near Lawton.

                           lagemouth             smallmouth

Besides State record size these fish have another thing in common that I can not help but find interesting, the size of impoundment they were caught from.  The former largemouth record was taken from Broken Bow Lake in southeastern Oklahoma, Broken Bow covers over 14,000 acres of surface area, the previous smallmouth record was from Oklahoma’s largest reservoir, Lake Eufaula, which has an astounding 105,500 acres of water.  In contrast Lake Lawtonka is just shy of 2,400 acres in size and Cedar Lake, home of the most prized record in the land….. 78 acres, wow. 

Moral of the story?  Don’t let the size of the water fool you.  Oklahoma is home to many municipal reservoirs and watersheds that may not be the biggest spots of water you have ever seen, but can more than make up for their lack of size with the quality fishing that can be found.  These same “lesser” lakes can be havens from the crowds of fisherman and armadas of jet ski’s that can overrun the more popular (and larger) reservoirs in the State.  Another benefit is access, smaller impoundments can seam more accommodating to the angler restricted to the bank, float-tube, or 2-man bass boat

So grab that float-tube and a bag of power worms, its time to explore some of the “secret spots” Oklahoma has to offer, you never know when (or where) that next record will come. 

 

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Spring Crappie

It’s time to break out the filet knife and warm up the grease, right now is Crappie time in Oklahoma.  Longer days, warming water and spring rains will trigger untold numbers of tasty Crappie to head shallow over the next several weeks.  Spring is certainly not the only time to catch Crappie but it can be some of the easiest fishing of the year if you hit it right.  At times fish can be found within easy reach of bank fisherman and if you put on a pair of waders or get into a float tube or boat you can have even more access to the schools of fish staging just out from their shallow water spawning areas.

 crappie

Where to Go, What to Look For

Oklahoma is blessed with some of the best Crappie fishing in the country, large reservoirs, small municipal lakes and farm ponds are all likely to hold catchable populations of Crappie.  There are several resources on-line that can get you headed to the right body of water if you take the time to surf around.  Some of the more popular lakes are Eufaula, Fort Cobb, Thunderbird, Canton, Chickasha, Sardis, to name a few.

When you get to your destination be sure look for the types of structure that can be magnets for spring time Crappie; natural or riprap rock, standing timber, lay downs, docks, boat ramps, even reeds and gravel beds can offer up the type of cover that these fish look for. 

What to Use

If you are not confident in the area you are fishing I would suggest keeping it simple and staying mobile until fish are located.  A couple of light or ultra light action spinning or spin-cast style rods with 4-8 pound test is a good start.  I usually have one rod set up for casting and another rod set up for vertical jigging or live bait.  If you don’t get bit in 30-45 minutes move to another likely looking area.  Small tubes or jigs in 1/32, 1/16 and 1/8 ounce are the norm.  As far a color goes the possibilities are endless, Crappie fisherman can be fanatical about color combinations.  Some local favorite combinations are black/pink, black/chartreuse, blue/white, and white/yellow.  You can fish these jigs single or tandem with one tied about 12-16 inches above the other.  Some guys will also use a float to keep their artificial offerings at a specific depth.  Artificial bait can be very effective; however, there are times when nothing can beat a minnow on a bobber, live bait should definitely not be over looked when you are Crappie fishing.  Regardless of what method you go with depth can be the deciding factor between catching fish or not, play around with your retrieve or cork depth until you find the right combination, Crappie are notorious for suspending midway through the water column and normally will not travel far to take your offerings. 

Most Important

Don’t forget the fish fry!!!

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The Next BIG Thing

Are you ready for the next big thing in bass fishing?  It seems that every year there is a new technique or bait that hits the bass fishing scene with a vengeance. This year is no exception, 2012 will be the year of the umbrella rig.  Late October 2011 Guntersville Alabama, Paul Ellias seals a FLW Tour win with a four day total of 102lbs 8oz. every fish was caught on the “Alabama Rig” from that point forward there has been a frenzy of activity from tackle vendors and fisherman alike trying to figure out what to do about this years “next big thing”.

arig

So, for Oklahoma Fisherman what does this new rig mean for us, will this method work here in the Sooner State?  Is it legal? What gear do I need?  What baits work best?

All questions that I think everybody had after first hearing about this technique.

First things first.  Does this method work in Oklahoma? The answer is a resounding YES, if you have any reservations about this method throw them out the window and get one of these rigs tied on now.  We have had more reports of big fish(and I mean truly BIG fish) being caught this year than any other year since Bass Pro Shops has been here in Oklahoma, and yes the 5 wire rig is legal in Oklahoma; however, please consult regulations if you are fishing out of state, several states limit the rig to 3 hooks.

Gear – This rig is not for the feint of heart, after loading up all five snaps you could very well have several ounces of weight tied to the end of your line and your gear needs to be selected accordingly.  7 to 8 foot rods in medium-heavy to heavy actions are the rule, paired with a reel that can handle braided line in the 50 to 65 pound range.  This line might seem like overkill at first but you will be thankful for it when you get snagged up and are able to straighten out your hooks or pop a snap free to save your rig.

As far as baits are concerned your only limit is your imagination.  Most people we are talking with are using hollow body type swimbaits with a weighted swimbait hook or similar baits with lead heads and exposed hooks.  Other people are using swim flukes, sassy shads, grubs, or pre-rigged type swimbaits.  The thing is when you consider these bait options, size options, color options and rigging options you have hundreds of potential fish catching possibilities depending on the type of water you are fishing and what kind of mood the fish are in on any given day.

arig2

The best advice I have heard so far is to treat this rig as if you are fishing a big spinner bait.  Vary your retrieve until you get a reaction from the fish.  Try slow rolling it in deeper water, try burning it across the top, if you are feeling lucky try banging it into structure and cross your fingers you don’t get hung up.  Most importantly hold on, because this rig seems to attract the big ones and when it happens you wan to be ready.

If you have any questions or want to hear the latest “Big Fish” story, drop by the fishing department here at your Oklahoma City bass Pro Shops.

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Summertime Topwater Fishing

Summertime in central Oklahoma can make it tough on a fisherman, triple digit heat by noon is no time to catch fish.  Don't get me wrong I am not suggesting that you just stay home and watch golf, I am saying the summer months can be a great time to do both, you just have to adjust your alarm clock a little.  

sunrise

Official sunrise on July 4th in Oklahoma City is 6:20am, the fact is, there is "fishable" light by 5:30 am on most days during the summer and if you are comfortable navigating in the dark you are only limited by the amount of sleep you need to function.  The time just before and after first light can be some of the best fishing of the day, often you can find gamefish pushing bait to the surface just as the sky is gaining color.  On calm days before there is any sunlight you can often hear these same fish breaking the surface.  This is the time to get out your favorite topwater baits and have some of the most exciting fishing of the year.

Any lake in the sate can be a good bet for an early morning topwater bite this time a year.  Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Striped Bass, Sand Bass, and Hybrid Striped Bass are all usual suspects for surface action.  It is not uncommon for my summertime trips to start with the alarm set for 3-3:30am, the goal is to be on the water and fishing a solid hour before the night sky gives way to daylight.  If the fish are actively feeding on the surface it will be obvious, but don't let lack of visible fish keep you from giving topwater a shot.  Often gamefish can be tempted to the surface during these early morning hours even when they do not seem to be actively feeding. 

Buzzbaits, prop baits, chuggers, poppers and sliders all have their time and place.  If you are looking to cover a lot of water quickly a buzzbait is always a good choice.  If the wind is up a little I find a prop bait or a popper tends to get a little more attention than the others, let the fish tell you what they want, vary your retrieves, try to not fall into a pattern.  If fish are actively feeding you can often get the best reaction by ripping these baits in as quick as possible with aggressive jerks.  In times when there is less activity try letting these baits sit for a while, and work them back more subtly.  Calm days and slick water are a great time to break out topwater slider style baits like a Zara Spook or a Sammy, these baits have a great "walk the dog" action that can be the difference on some days.  If you have never used a slider style bait before it might take a little practice to get the cadence of your retrieve down but eventually you will be walking that dog with the best of'em.  Some of these slider type baits will have a slight curve or sway back to them, this curve will make it easier for you to get the action you are looking for if you are just starting out.

So...On the water at 4:30am, topwater action for a few hours and off the lake when the fish stop biting or it gets too hot to think, which ever comes first.  I am usually back home and watching golf by noon, not a bad way to spend a summer day off.  If you have any questions on what you need to take advantage of Oklahoma's fantastic topwater fishing opportunities or you just want to add to your topwater arsenal come on down to Bass Pro Shops here in Oklahoma City and we will be more than happy to help out.  

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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year - Spring Spawn

Incessant wind, allergies, tornadoes and thunderstorms, spring time in central Oklahoma means different things to different people. Here at Bass Pro Shops it means the beginning of some of the best fishing of the year. Every fish in the State is feeling that annual biological itch that triggers the spawn. Lakes and ponds that seemed empty of fish just a few short weeks ago are now hosts to hungry fish in shallow water.

 

Pictured below with an example of just what can happen when everything works out is one of our customers.

 10's  8.5

 

These fish were caught within the same week on the same water.

 

What water?   

 

Well the best information I could get on this was somewhere south of Interstate 40 and north of the Red River. 

 

What I can tell you is what he caught these monsters on. A Bass Pro Shops Cabonlight Combo matched up with some XPS Fluorocarbon handled everything these fish had to offer.

 

Another thing that I can say is do not let the weather scare you off from a day of fishing this time of year. Often the days that seem the best for staying inside on the couch will deliver some of the best results. If you just cant bring yourself to battle the wind and cold for a shot at a the “Big One”, I invite you to make the drive to Bricktown and visit us at Bass Pro Shops. For most people the Fishing season is just getting started and there is not a better spot in the State to get you gear than Bass Pro Shops, Oklahoma City.

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