Blind Hunting With Youth

A hunt with youth is one of the most rewarding things a parent or friend can do with a child. The lessons taught while in the blind or stand help shape a child’s impression of the world and introduce them to the world of conservation and heritage of a good hunt. But blind hunting with a youth is often times more challenging because of their age and level of skill. So finding the right blind for these types of hunts is essential for a successful and rewarding experience. Here are some tips and tricks to finding the right blind for hunting with youth.

The first thing a hunter accompanying a youth needs to take into consideration is the attention span of the youth. If they are younger, then having a bigger blind to allow movement is a necessity. Something like the Primos Blind Luck Ground Blind, with nearly 36 square feet of floor space allows a young hunter the ability to move around in the blind while not compromising the concealment of both hunters. At the same time this blind allows a youth to look in nearly every direction without their view being blocked making the time pass by more easily as they can study the surroundings around the blind. Also having something extra like the Hunter's Specialties H.S. Camo Camo Blind Netting, will allow a hunter to brush in the blind a little more than usual ensuring that a little extra movement from an antsy youth will not compromise the entire hunt.

BlindNetting

Another thing to take into consideration when looking for a blind, for hunting with youth, is the need to have a lot of angles for possible shooting lanes for the youth. The more lanes that are open for the youth to sight a game animal, the better the chance that the youth will be able to harvest something during the hunt. A great way to do allow this is to have a lot of open windows for the youth to hunt from. A good blind with a plethora of sighting windows is the Big Game Treestands Charger Hub Style Ground Blind. This blind is large enough for the youth to comfortably stand while still having windows on each side and corner of the blind so there are ample firing positions in the blind. This is handy especially when a new shooter, be this archery or rifle, needs a little space to set up for a proper and steady shot.

Blind

One last blind type to consider with youth is a permanent blind that can be easily accessed throughout the year. Having access to this kind of blind can get a youth ready for a hunt by letting the youth explore the inside of the blind before opening day of the season. A good blind for this purpose is the Shadow Hunter Octagon Combo Blind, this blind is larger than normal allowing a new youth the ability to move around and get in position for a good shot out of the many windows with either a bow or a rifle. While at the same time this blind keeps the occupants away from the wind and cold that is generally thought of as part of blind hunting. For a youth who is just getting into the swing of hunting this can be a huge factor in whether they choose to come back and hunt next year. Many hunters disregard their comfort for a good hunt but for a new youth their comfort is sometimes the deciding factor in the hunt. If they can stay in the blind for a few more minutes perhaps an opportunity will present itself. For the youth having a sturdy wind resistant shelter for a blind can make all the difference in the hunt.

Combo Blind

Now that the right blind for the youth has been found it is time for the hunt. Remember that bringing the youth out to the blind before opening day to get them used to the area and the space they will be occupying for the hunt. Also bring along a camera for the hunt, a youth and their first harvested deer, turkey or other game is always worth a picture or two! As always happy hunting and good luck!

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Blind Hunting

When hunting being on the ground in the middle of the action is what many hunters are looking for from the hunt. The best way to do this is to be on the ground in the blind near where the deer will be out and about. But hunting from a blind and finding the right blind can be a challenge especially for those new hunters just getting in on the action. Here are some tips and tricks on how to pick the right blind for the area and get the blind ready for this hunting season.

The first step in blind hunting is finding the right blind for the type of hunting that is going to be taking place. For this a hunter needs to look at where the hunting is going to be taking place, what the brush around the blind will be and how many people will be in the blind come opening day. Since blinds come in all shapes and sizes knowing where the hunt will take place is the first step for finding the right blind. For blinds that will be on the periphery of a field a blind that is lightweight and easy to set up a while before the hunting season opens is a good idea. For this a good blind is the RedHead® Enigma™ 5 Ground Blind, this blind is lightweight with straps for brush to be directly attached to the blind without having to add extra weight with extra equipment to tie on brush.

Enigma 5

A different path that can be taken for this area on the tree line of a field would be a more permanent structure. A great blind for this would be the Shadow Hunter Octagon Archery Blind, since this blind has a door and windows that can be locked and sealed, this box blind is perfect for a permanent blind on the tree line. This blind is also great because the size makes it a good fit for not only archery hunters but rifle hunters also.

Shadow Hunter

While having a blind is all well and good, many times these blinds stick out on the ground like a sore thumb. So having a little netting or other camouflage to help break up the outline of the blind is never a bad thing. A great way to do this is to drape a piece of camouflage burlap over top of the blind, this being done bunch up pieces of the burlap randomly and attach them to the blind. These random bulges and flat places in the material will help break up the blind for the curious game that are looking for immediate threats. The next step is to cut the windows of the blind out of the material, since the material is easily movable it is preferred to cut three sides of the material and let the window be covered but still have the ability to be shot out of unhindered. Doing this gives the maximum concealment while still being usable. A good material for doing this is the Hunter's Specialties H.S. Camo Blind Material – Burlap, this material is easy to manipulate and cut while retaining the camouflage very well in all types of weather. For this type of extra concealment to work effectively the blind should be covered and brushed in a couple of weeks prior to the start of the hunting season in which it will be used.

Camo Burlap

Another type of blind hunting will take place in the middle of a field with stubble and hay bales. A new way to use a blind is to mimic a hay bale close to a game trail where an identified group has been seen. Since a hay bale is so innocuous to many animals, and are seen to move so often many times deer and other game species will not notice a new hay bale in a field. So using something like the Redneck Blinds Sportsman Bale Hunting Blind, keeps a hunter concealed and a game animal in the dark as to the fact that they are being hunted. This little extra advantage can be the difference in a successful hunt and a slow day in the blind.

Bale Blind

Finally there is one last thing to look at when hunting in a ground blind. That is gear storage while in the blind. While being on the ground and near the action is fun and exciting, it can be hard on gear if not done properly. This is where gear holders and blind shelves come in handy. Having something like the HME Products Ground Blind Accessory Shelf, hung in a blind helps keep things like game calls and binoculars off the ground and away from moisture in the mornings. Also having something like the HME Products Ground Blind Gun Holder or the HME Ground Blind Bow Holder, will keep everything else in the blind off the ground that could possibly be damaged by dew in the morning, while keeping the gear close at hand for a quick shot.

gunbowshelf

Now that the blind is picked and brushed in, the gear is stowed off the ground and the game is moving it is time for some blind hunting. Remember to brush in the blind before season so the game animals get used to the new object in their area. Then get to the blind very early before the animals start moving for the best concealment. As always happy hunting and good luck!

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Preparing the Right Venison Steak

Hunting for deer is all well and good but it is when the meat comes back and is ready for the cookout that the hunting really becomes fun. Getting all the friends out around the grill or just cooking inside on the stovetop, cooking venison is always a fun experience. But finding the right recipe for venison steaks is always hard. While cooking there is a better way to cook and offset the notoriously tough and stringy meat that is commonly associated with venison. While still bringing out that fresh meat flavor that appeals to many hunters.

The first way to break up the stringy meat that is the venison is to simply use a tenderizer before marinating the meat to cook. There are so many different types of tenderizers out there for meat but some of the best are made specifically for venison. The first is the LEM® Products Hand Meat Tenderizer, this handheld tenderizer is great for piercing a small cut of meat, like a round cut from the back-strap of the dear. The next tenderizer would have to be the LEM® Products Jaccard Super 3 Meat Tenderizer, this tenderizer is great for those larger cuts of meat off the hams or the flank where the meat is cooked in one big piece instead of smaller steaks. The points on the tenderizer penetrate deep into the venison helping the marinades seep into the meat and break up the tough fibers in the deer. One last tenderizer that is great for this job would be the LEM® Products Clamp-On Meat Tenderizer, this simple tenderizer allows the meat processor to run the steaks through the tenderizer before they are marinated for a cookout. Tenderizing the meat with these simple pieces will not only open the meat up to the marinades but will also break down any of the tough connective tissue that permeates many of the wild game meats, especially venison.

Orange TenderizerHand tenderizerTendererizer

Now if using a meat tenderizer takes too much time for a cook there is a much quicker way to get a good tender venison steak. A great way to do this is to put a pat of butter in the pan then turn the stovetop burner to high. When the butter starts to bubble and turn brown add a little two to three tablespoons of a favorite marinade to the pan then spread around with a spoon. A good marinade that works well and has a good flavor for venison is the Cajun Injector® Marinade - Roasted Garlic. The garlic taste helps bring out some of the fresh meat flavors that many hunters are looking for in their venison. Add the steak immediately after and let sit for two minutes, then flip and let sit for a minute or two more. Note this should cook a small quarter inch thick steak to well done, a larger half inch steak will be medium well and a very thick steak will be closer to a rare with this type of cooking. So in order to get the preferred temperature of the steak add a little time or take some time off for the cooking. For the bigger steaks to reach well done it is about 4 to 5 minutes per side of the meat. This type of cooking, hot and fast with a marinade in the pan allows the meat to absorb the marinade and to cook fast enough to break up the proteins and connective tissue in the venison.

Cajun Injector

Now that the steaks are ready to go and cooking it is time to get everyone together for a fall cookout with the fresh venison on the grill or in the kitchen. Getting a venison steak tenderized and ready for a group is the first step in making any party a success. As always happy hunting and good luck!

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Deer Hunting Rifles for Youth

Hunting with the kids is one of the most rewarding experiences in the outdoors. Not only do the kids get to appreciate the outdoors but passing down the craft of hunting is more important than ever. But if a child is scared of the rifle they are shooting it can turn a fun hunt into a scary outing for them. So finding the right rifle that fits the child is important. Here are some tips and tricks for finding the right deer hunting rifle for a youth hunter.

The first thing a hunter going out with youth needs to take into account is the recoil of a rifle will affect the shot taken by a youth hunter. So finding a rifle with lighter recoil is always better when taking out a youth hunter for the first or fifth trip. When looking for a rifle for hunting deer a good sized cartridge is required but choosing the right cartridge for the youth is key to a successful hunt. A good round to use for this is the .243 Winchester. Since this round is compatible with just about every youth hunting rifle, and is a lighter round, it is perfect for a youth hunter. A good rifle in the .243 Winchester is the Remington® Model 700™ SPS™ Youth Rifle. This rifle is lighter and easier to use than other rifles making it great for a youth hunter who is just starting out and needs a light but accurate rifle for the tree stand. Another good rifle for the youth hunter is the Savage 11 FYXP3.243 WIN Youth Rifle with Scope, this scoped rifle is rugged and good for the youth who likes to be out in the thick of the hunting action. The entire rifle was built with youth hunting in mind, from the Accu-Trigger to the scope, everything was meant for the size and use of a youth hunter. There is one last rifle that is good for those younger children that would like to be out hunting, but are on a budget, and that is the Remington® 243 Whitetail Pro® Model 770 Rifle/Scope Youth Combo. This rifle is one of the best for the money, while still being built for a youth hunter and retaining the accuracy of an adult rifle.

Black ScopeBlack Youth RifleCamo Combo

Now once the kids have grown a little there are other rifles that can be used, once they grow out of their youth models. Once the youth has grown a bit they can handle a larger cartridge so the options open up for what type of rifle can be used, and a lot of choosing the hunting rifle goes to preference. This being said here are some good first solo-hunting rifles. The top of the list is the Remington® Model 700™ CDL Rifle, since this rifle comes in the larger .270 and 30-06 it is great for those youth hunters who are a little older but wanting a good rifle that will not only last but is versatile enough for just about every large game hunt imaginable. Another good rifle for the older youth would have to be the Savage® Axis XP Rifle Combo, for a youth wanting to hunt both big and smaller game this rifle is perfect with a wide range of calibers while still being light enough for a youth deer hunter to get into a tree stand with ease.

XP Rifle ComboCDL Rifle

Now that the rifle has been chosen for the youth hunter it is time to get out to the range and sight in the rifle they will be using for deer season. It is important to allow the child that will be hunting to have some say in the sighting in of the rifle and even to shoot the rifle while at the range sighting it in. This will give the youth a feel for the rifle while also giving them a chance to get used to the scope and the recoil. Just letting the youth fire a complete grouping at the paper while at the range before a deer hunt will lead to higher confidence and increase the chances of a successful hunt! As always happy hunting and good luck!

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Choosing the Right Campsite

A campout in the fall can be relaxing and a great way to spend a weekend with the family or out enjoying nature. But not having the right campsite can turn a nice weekend into a nightmare rather quickly. There are a lot of factors that need to be considered when looking for the right campsite. Here are some tips and tricks on finding the right campsite and how to prepare the site for a short stay.

The first thing a weekend camper needs to do is look for the right spot to bed down for the weekend. This requires a camper to find the right area with all the necessary features. The first thing a camper needs to look out for is running water. If there is a lot of running water near the camp it is necessary to move the camp up a hill or embankment in order to keep the camp from flooding in the case of an overnight or daytime storm either on the camp or uphill from the campsite. Another site to stay away from would be a dip in a field or sinkhole. These seem like a good place to keep the camp because it keeps everything somewhat contained in a given area. The problem with these places is that it keeps people centered in an area and collects water even with a little rain, so flooding in these areas is a big problem. The best place for a camp is on a slight rise in the land where the water will readily roll off the rise without washing everything away. So staying on the side of a hill is not the best idea, the water tends to run off the side of the hill and move anything in its way. Also the site being chosen should be rock free or easily have some smaller rocks moved from the site for camping. Lastly the site needs to have an area that can readily be cleared with no overhanging branches so a fire can be built. If there are overhanging branches they can readily catch fire if heated too much so having no branches near the fire is necessary.

Now that the site is picked here are some handy tools that might be needed to clear and get the site ready for a stay. The perfect site would require no preparation for the campers to lay out their tents and start the weekend, but perfect sites are few and far between so here are a couple handy tools. The first is the Ultimate Survival Technologies SaberCut™ Saw, this saw is handy for when there are a few small saplings in the area of the campsite that need to be removed for the safety of the campout. On that note removing a tree that is larger than 4 inches in diameter is not appropriate for any campout. Another handy tool for site preparation is the Texsport® Folding Survival Shovel, this is a small shovel that is very light and is great for getting small rocks out of the ground around the campsite. Another tool that is needed for a campout in which the campsite will be under the canopy of the trees is the Gerber Camp Axe II. This camp ax is good for clearing dead branches near the ground where they could interfere with the tents and safety of the campers in the area. When chopping these dead branches it is necessary for the branch to be cut between 1 inch and 3 inches from the trunk of the tree, so the tree is not harmed when the branch is removed. Another great tool for this job is the Hooyman Ratchet Pruner, these are great for pruning those small annoying branches that tend to poke holes in tents and a rainfly.

AxeSawPrunerShovel

            Now that the campsite has been chosen and cleaned of any hazards to tents and people it is time for that weekend campout. Remember to look for the rises in the land and stay away uphill from running water if at all possible. As always happy hunting and good luck! 

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River Fishing Smallmouth Bass

Fishing on the river is a rewarding way to spend a day with never ending changes in the fishing. With these changes come the challenges of adapting to the new banks and obstacles in the river. This is why having a little bit of information on how the fish tend to move and where they tend to stay is a necessity. So here are some helpful hints on where to find the smallmouth bass in the river.

The first thing a fisherman needs to look for in the river when they are looking to catch smallmouth bass is a good downed tree with a lot of branches in the water. This could be a tree that is out of the water with the branches down in the water touching the bottom of the river. Or a tree totally submerged in the water with branches still attached to the trunk. A good technique for fishing this area is to toss a jig like the Bass Pro Shops® Tourney Best Bass Jig in brown and orange color with something like the Bass Pro Shops® Cajun Trailer on the hook for extra action in the water. Bouncing this jig over the top of the branches and then letting the jig drop over the trunk will often times elicit a big strike from the smallmouth hiding out in the branches.

Cajun Bass Jig

The next area to look for the smallmouth on the river is in the deep holes that pocket the local rivers. These will often times be up against small bluffs or are on the edge of the river with trees leaning over the water. A good way to fish the smallmouth in this area is to throw a spinner bait like the Strike King® Rattlin' Midnight Special® Spinnerbait. This bait gives a great action in the water and creates a good strike when being fished through a deep patch of water with some big rocks in the bottom. The best way to throw this is to throw it across the deep patch and retrieve the spinner bait just above the rocks on the bottom of the river. As the bait drops past the rocks it gets the attention of the smallmouth and getting a good bite is easier.

Spinner

 Now that the easy parts of river fishing have been discussed it is time for one of the harder ways to river fish. This is to fish the rapids and the water just under the rapids. This is done by casting out to the top of the rapids and allowing the bait to slowly make its way down the rapids to where the water runs a little more smoothly. The bait to use for this is the Bass Pro Shops River Bug rigged to be weed less, or to use something like the Bass Pro Shops® Flippin' Craw again rigged to be weed less. These baits are great for the rapids area because they are the habitat of the crawfish that are generally the biggest prey of the smallmouth bass. So when a craw with good action comes flowing down the rapids the smallmouth are very quick to bite on the bait. The problem with fishing in the rapids is that if the fish take the bait they are likely to swim with the current of the rapids, this presents a problem when a fisherman does not know to set the hook till the bait is out of the smallmouths mouth. So a good way to keep the bait in the mouth and land a big fish is to look for the feeling of the bait bouncing across the bottom of the river to disappear. When the minute weight of the bait disappears it is time to set the hook and fight the fish.

bpsbps

Now that the gear is packed and the spots on the river are picked to fish it is time to load up the kayak or the canoe and do some river fishing. Remember to match the bait to the area of the river being fished and to use trailers that have recognizable colors of the immediate food for the smallmouth bass. Doing this will increase the chances of bringing in a big one and make river fishing far more rewarding. As always happy hunting and good luck!

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Fishing With Youth

Fishing with kids

A day out fishing is one of the most relaxing and fun ways to spend a day off from work, but taking the kids out with you can quickly complicate the relaxing part if a fisherman is not careful. The trick for kids is to constantly keep them occupied with something while teaching them how to fish like a sportsman. Here are some tips and tricks on how to keep the kids busy and entertained while teaching them the ins and outs of fishing on the lakes and rivers.

The first step to getting the kids hooked on fishing is to have them experience the thrill of reeling in a fish. A quick way to do this is get them a rod that fits their size, for the really little between 2 and 7 years old a rod like the Shakespeare® Disney Princess® Lighted Fishing Rod and Reel Kit for the girls or the Shakespeare® Spiderman™ Lighted Fishing Rod and Reel Kit for the boys. These colorful rods and reels are small and built for a child’s grip while still being a functional combo for the kids.

SpidermanPrincess

For the kids a little older a great combo for them would be the Zebco® 202® Spincast Rod and Reel Combo, the bigger size lets older kids get the feel of the rod and reel, while still giving the simplicity of the spincast setup. Finally for the kids that have a little experience in fishing a good combo is Bass Pro Shop’s Brawler Spinning Rod and Reel Combo. This rig lets the kids get a feel for the action of a better rod and reel while still having the versatility that is needed for a learning kid.

spinning rodzebco

Now that the rod and reels are all set up and ready it is time for the bait and tackle for the kids. When it comes to fishing with kids a simple rig with bait is the easiest way to do it. For the kids between 2 and 7 a simple rig with a small hook like the Bass Pro Shops® Baitholder Hook, where the hook helps hold the kids bait on the hook so after every cast they don’t have to replace the bait. About 6 inches above the hook putting a float for the little kids is a good idea, a good float for this is the Bass Pro Shops® Round Plastic Float. These floats allow the kids to feel and see when they have a bite and get them actively engaged in the fishing. Now, how should a hook be baited for a kid is the big question for many people teaching kids how to fish. The simple answer is to bait the hook with a live night crawler. This rig will almost always get a strike from the fish around the lake and river, everything from bluegill to bass and everything in between.

floathook

Now that the bait and tackle is all figured out it is time to head out to the lake or river to find the fish. The places to look for fish on the river can be a little trickier than on the lake so finding the kids a good fishing spot is key. The best spots one a river for easy fishing would be in the deep pools in a bend on the river. Having the kids cast out to the far end of the deep hole, then every few seconds reel in the bait just a little till it is in the middle of the open and deep hole. If instead the family is heading to the lake then here are some spots to look for the kids to fish. An area where there are a lot of dead stumps sticking out of the water. Have the kids cast into the middle of the stumps and watch the bobber for a bite. Or if on a deeper lake have the kids instead stand on the dock and drop their bait just over the side. Finally if on a boat and fishing find an area inside a cove where a creek or stream enters the lake and have them cast over top of the entrance of the stream. These spots are great for the kids to get a quick bite and hook them for life on fishing.

The rods are packed, the bait is ready in the cooler and the spot is picked out for the family to go. It is finally time for the kids and the rest of the family to go fishing! As always happy hunting and good luck!
 

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Gear for Cave Exploring

Cave exploring is a guaranteed adventure for almost anyone. While exploring alone is attractive to some taking the whole family on a cave diving adventure is just as fun. Exploring a cathedral room or finding a hidden chamber deep underground is the kind of stuff stories are made of, and in the Ozarks caves are definitely not in short supply. But a cave exploring expedition can become treacherous if the right gear is not on hand to deal with situations that might arise along the way.

First thing any caver is going to need while underground is a good light source. This needs to be not only a steady source of directional light but also a solid design that can take a beating and will not need constant maintenance while in the cave. It is also a good idea to take a few forms of light for exploring underground. A headlamp is the first order of business. For the new caver a simple light that is rugged should be used. The Primos Top Gun LED Headlamp is a good starter headlamp because it has both high and low settings for while in the cave and an easily adjustable head strap to keep the light in place.

LED headlamp

After the headlamp a good idea would be to have a regular flashlight that can be stored in a pocket just in case the headlamp goes out. For this job the Bass Pro Shops® Mini LED Flashlight Combo - 6 Pack, because there are 6 lights in this pack it is easy to put one in a pocket, one in a backpack and hand one to each child in the cave exploring. Also these little lights are very bright and durable making them perfect for the cave!

BPS

Another light source that could be used in an absolute emergency would be a chemical light stick or glow stick. A good choice for glow stick would be the Texsport® Glo Lite Stix™, these glow sticks provide 6 hours of continual low light making them good for an emergency in a cave.

glo

The next stumbling block that many cavers will run into while exploring underground, will be dehydration. While the temperature in the cave might be cool and moist, the physical exertion of climbing over rocks and crawling through narrow passages does tend to cause sweating and dehydration. An easy way to avoid this would be to carry a hydration pack with at least a liter of water in it. This pack will need to be durable enough to make it through the cave without tearing a hole in it and keep the water drinkable for an extended period of time. A good pack for the job is the CamelBak® Rogue™ Hydration Pack, with a coated nylon outer casing this hydration pack is great for the scrapes and bumps a caver is going to run into while exploring. Another pack that is great for the job is the Bass Pro Shops® XPS® 1.5L Hydration Pack, this pack has a low profile and durable polyester coating making it perfect for climbing through tight spaces and over rough surfaces.

xpscamelbak

In a cave, regular clothing tends to be ripped to shreds on the limestone and gravel that is throughout. So finding the right clothes to cover softer underclothes is needed. Styles that tend to work well for the cave are the coveralls and bib overalls. What a caver should look for in coveralls and bib overalls is the durability and wear ability. If the coveralls are going to fall apart after crawling on knees for a few hundred yards then they are not going to be caving material. While at the same time if the overalls ride up or chafe when walking then they will definitely not be usable in the cramped spaces of a cave. Carhartt® Sandstone Bib Overalls are a great set that fits the bill for the rigors of crawling around a cave. The double ply knees make this pair great for being down and dirty while still remaining comfortable in tight situations.

carhartt

Now that the clothing is covered it is time for the boots that will be needed in the cave. These boots need to be tough and most certainly waterproof, while also having the traction needed for walking on the slick limestone and loose gravel of the local caves. A good pair of boots that fits the bill is the Columbia Woodburn Mid Waterproof Camo Hiking Boots. This pair of boots has a solid hard sole made for hiking over rough terrain, and is comfortable enough to wear on a long walk, making these boots great for being in a cave environment. Another good set of boots for this job is the RedHead® Osprey Hiking Boots. These waterproof boots have a good set of removable insoles that keep the feet comfortable while providing the support and stability needed for walking and crawling around in a cave environment.

Columbiaredhead

Now that the gear is gathered and clothing is ready to go it is time to head to the cave and go over a few tips and tricks for being in a cave. Before leaving for the cave, it is a good idea to let a friend or relative know the exact location of the cave that is going to be explored. Also tell them how long the trip will take and to contact the proper authorities if a certain amount of time has passes and they don’t get a confirmation that everyone is alright. Keeping a phone turned off in the car is a good idea, while taking a phone into the cave is also important, if more than one phone is available. Note that some phones are able to work well in certain caves so having a phone can come in handy. Keeping a small stock of chemical stick lights is a good way to assure that even if all electronic lights fail there will still be enough light to find a way out of the cave. Finally keeping a length of cord handy, so kids and adults have something to hold on to while walking and keep from getting split up from the group. Now that the gear and tips are dispensed it is finally time to go into the cave! As always happy hunting and good luck! 

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Fall Walleye Fishing

Fishing for small fish like crappie and sunfish might be fun for the kids but sometimes having a little adult fishing is just what is needed. This is where fishing for walleye comes into play. These fish grow large in the temperate waterways and lakes here locally, and are great fish to fight on a line. But the best thing about walleye is definitely their meat. This firm, white and mild tasting meat is perfect for everything from a fillet to a grilled medallion. Here are some tips and tricks for catching the walleye of the year.

The first thing many people who fish for walleye will notice is their mouth full of teeth, this is due to their place as one of the apex predators in the waters. On the other hand there is another feature of the walleye that fishermen need to look at in order to get a sense of how they hunt. This is the eyes, walleye have big and often times oversized looking eyes. Given this fact walleye are very susceptible to changes in light, particularly increases in light. So when fishing for walleye it is good to time the day around what fish you are looking for. If you are spending the entire day on the water fishing, try out walleye fishing in the early morning, in the evenings, on cloudy days, or days when wind puts chop in the water. During other times of day, or when the conditions are not right it is probably safe to try catching other fish in the area. When the light is right or the conditions are right for walleye fishing it is often a good idea to use a Strike King® Pro-Model® Walleye Crankbait, throwing this bait across an area with a lot of bait fish and cranking it steadily will give the action that the walleye can’t resist giving a rapid strike.

Strike King

Another solution to getting the walleye to bite is to simply go trolling with a specific rig set up for walleye. This is usually a crankbait or a bottom bouncer with a live night crawler or minnow strung through the hooks. A good crankbait for this is the Bass Pro Shops® XPS® Nitro Shad Dancer Crankbait, this lure has the shine of a shad while also having the action of an injured shad. This along with a wiggling minnow or night crawler in the hooks will be irresistible to the walleye in the direct area.

Nitro Shad

If trolling is not the best thing for a fisherman then using the wind to propel the boat through the water is another idea for the new walleye fisherman. While the wind is pushing the boat drop a jig along the bottom for the walleye to get a shot at. One of the jigs of choice would be the ERC Jig-A-Beast Swim Jig, accept remove the minnow attachment on the bottom and replace it by running the hook through a Bass Pro Shops Double-Dipped Tube. This combination is great for getting the action the walleye are looking for in the choppy water during the day.

ERCBPS

Being out on the lake during the fall is always a great experience no matter what the occasion is. Making this experience more fun by adding a fun fishing trip with big fish and a catch that might just bite you back is always a plus. Not to mention that once the walleye are caught they make one of the best meals where fish are concerned. We hope these tips and tricks have been helpful in catching these great fish! MMake sure to check out anothe blog post, "How Weather Patterns Affect Fishing here:http://blogs.basspro.com/blog/bass-pro-shops-springfield-mo/how-weather-patterns-affect-fishing As always happy hunting and good luck! 

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Preparing for the Best Campout Possible

Campouts are a great way to get outdoors and enjoy nature while letting off some of the stress of family and work. Whether the campout be in the backyard or in the middle of the woods, good preparation is key to a successful campout. Where should a tent be placed, what type of tent should be used, what foods are needed, and what to do about a fire can all be taken care of at home.

To start out finding the right campsite is needed when planning a great campout. Let us first look at what is wanted in a good campsite. The first thing any camper needs to figure out about their campsite is do they want to be in an established campsite or is building a campsite more of their speed. Established campsites are great for the beginning campers because they often times have bathroom facilities, running water close to the campsites, and every so often cooking facilities on the property. Whereas building your own campsite requires a camper to build their own facilities and pack in water or water filtering tools. When looking at building a campsite what is needed is often what is not readily seen. This area should be mostly flat with a little of an incline, no more than a few degrees, this allows water to run off of the campsite if there is precipitation. A good campsite should also be near a water source, but should be uphill of running water in case rain causes the river to flood while in camp our out of camp. Also a good campsite should have at least a little shade provided by either trees or an overhang of some kind. This is important in a scenario in which the temperature becomes dangerously high, having shade allows a camper to cool off and keep them from hyperthermia (overheating), and heat stroke.

Now that the campsite is found it is time to figure out what tent is going to be needed for the duration of the campout. The tent that is packed needs to reflect the weather, terrain, and duration that the campout is going to take place. If the weather is going to be sunny and warm, with open terrain on grass, a good tent for a family is the Coleman® Weathermaster™ 10 Ten Person Tent, this tent not only has the durability to stand up to a family going in and out but also has the room to sleep 10 people comfortably.

coleman

For a campout on the move where a heavy tent is just not an option and there are only one or two people hiking a rocky trail a good tent to keep in mind is the Ascend® H2.2V Two-Person Tent, this tent is both light weight and sturdy. This is especially important when hiking because equipment tends to be jostled and banged around inside the backpack so having a tent that can take a beating is a must.

ascend

For an extended stay during the winter where there is going to be large amounts of snow a different type of tent is needed. The best tent for this job would be the Alaska Tent & Tarp Arctic Oven™ 10, this tent is built to be outdoors for extended periods of time while having snow and ice precipitation while still keeping the occupants dry and warm.

extended stay

Once the tents are taken care of it is time to start looking for the right food for the campout. Since every campout is different the food needed for each campout is also different depending on the situation and the campers. If the campout is also a long hike there are some basics for the hike that are needed when it comes to food. These snacks and meals need to be high in calories while not being too rich to make a hiker sick. So finding a good balance is the key. A good way to start this is to look at beef jerky, a good jerky for the trail is the Bass Pro Shops® Uncle Buck's Premium Beef Jerky. This beef jerky is both nutritious and filing while still maintaining a light weight making it perfect for hikers. Another good food for hikers is homemade. Add about a cup and a half of a non-sweetened grain cereal like Cheerios to a gallon zip bag, then add a cup of a chocolate candy like M&Ms, finally add a cup of lightly-salted peanuts like Bass Pro Shops® Uncle Buck's Extra Large Virginia Peanuts. Then shake the bag and carry in the backpack, this mix is great for hiking because it has the sugars to keep energy up while having the salt to replenish sodium lost from sweating. Now if the campout calls for more of a filling sit down meal there are some easy solutions that all come pre-packaged. When camping a great solution for a meal is soup, and one of the best is the Bass Pro Shops® Uncle Buck's® Two Step Tortilla Soup. This soup takes very few steps and is great for a small group that doesn’t want to sit and cook for a couple hours.

soupjerkypeanuts

The last consideration that prospective campers need to consider is will a fire be needed at any time during the campout. Fires are great for not only warmth but cooking and having a gathering point for all the campers. When packing to build a fire the location of the campsite needs to be taken into account. If the campsite is a pre-built campsite there are often times designated fire circles for each campsite, and wood readily available on site, so bringing in wood is not a problem. However for a new campsite building a fire circle is a must, use local stones around where the fire will be and clear the immediate area of brush in order to keep the fire from jumping out of the ring. Also remember when lighting a fire a little kindling is needed to get the fire going. A good source of kindling is drier lint. Take this lint from the drier and place it in a zip bag to keep the lint dry. Now that the kindling is done it is time to find a good fire starter. One of the best fire starters on the market right now is the Ultimate Survival Technologies BlastMatch™, this fire starter is spring driven and allows a person to use one hand to apply sparks to the center of a kindling pile.

blast match

Now that the site is picked for the campout, the tent is in the car, the food is safely packed away, and the fire is as ready is it will ever be, it is time to head out to the great outdoors and camp! Remember while camping to respect the environment and the landowners by picking up all trash on the ground. Leave the campsite better when you leave than it was when you got there! As always happy hunting and good luck! 

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Hiking Trails for Beginners

trail

Hiking on local trails is a great way to see nature and learn about the surroundings while relaxing and having a good workout. For beginners finding the right gear that is suited for the trails and is comfortable is always a struggle. While at the same time finding the right trails for beginners is also a challenge simply because building the stamina that is required for good hikes takes time and a concerted effort on an easy trail.

trail

Gear is one of the most important parts of any outdoor expedition and hiking is no different. The gear a hiker uses has to be top notch or a hike can become a nightmare quickly after it starts with blisters and chaffing becoming a huge problem. When it comes to boots there is a big difference in the type of boot for the terrain that will be traversed. If the trail is a very well kept paved trail having a hiking shoe like the RedHead® Granite Peak Hiking Shoe or the Columbia Helvatia Waterproof Trail Shoe for ladies is good because there is very little ability for a hiker to roll an ankle so the comfort of a shoe is preferred to the support of a bigger boot. If the trail is well kept but still a dust trail then going with a hiking shoe like the Merrell® Yokota Waterproof Mid Hiking Shoe or the RedHead® Gaston 5'' Hiker Shoes for Ladies, is a good idea. This hiking shoe rises a little higher than the other hiking shoes so it is able to offer more ankle support for the trail that may have a little less stability than the paved trail. For a trail that is a little wilder with rocks and tree roots, a bigger more sturdy boot is a must. RedHead® Everest Hikers are a great boot for the job, these boots are built sturdy and are meant for everything from walking around the block to the heaviest of trails. For those heavy trails with many rocks and roots a good boot for the ladies would have to be the RedHead® McKinley Hiking Boot, the boot is lightweight and durable enough for a long hike making these boots great for a long trek through rough terrain.

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The next challenge for the new hiker would have to be the right socks for hiking on any trail. When looking for socks a good pair needs to be made from crew to quarter length so the ankle and at least the lowest part of the calf is covered. This keeps the boot from rubbing any exposed skin raw while walking or hiking. A good sock for this purpose is the Ascend™ Hiker Quarter Socks, these come fitted for both men and women, the socks are made from merino wool which keeps the feet comfortable and wicks away sweat very effectively.

ascend sock

Now that socks are taken care of it is time to address one of the most important components of hiking clothing, chaffing. Chaffing happens when skin is rubbed raw and can be painful for even the most advanced hikers. One of the worst spots for chaffing is the inner thigh. The only blessing is that this is also the one place where chaffing is the easiest to prevent. A good pair of compression or hiking underwear is purpose made to keep chaffing from happening and can make a hike easier for all involved. A good pair for the money is the Under Armour® The Original 9'' Boxerjock® Boxer Briefs, these boxers breathe very well and wick away sweat making them great for reducing or eliminating chaffing.

boxer briefs

Since the clothing is now left in the dust it is time for the fun part of hiking, finding the right trail for the hiker. Here locally there are great examples of all three kinds of trails covered earlier. For the paved hiking trail in Springfield would be the Sequiota Park Trail is a great example of this type of trail. When talking about a dust trail or cedar chip trail a good local example would have to be the Nature Center Trail. This trail is a cedar chip trail that is perfect for a new hiker who wants to break in hiking boots or get a feel for a short hike. For those new hikers that want a challenge there is always a good trail close here in Springfield! Busiek State Park offers several long trails that are perfect for getting used to hiking in the Ozarks!

Now that the hiking boots are bought, the socks fit, the chaffing is dealt with and the trail is picked it is officially time to hit the trail and have some fun out hiking! Don’t forget to enjoy the outdoors and the scenery all around while getting a good workout! For more information about socks, check out our blog, "The Right Sock for the Right Hike":http://blogs.basspro.com/blog/bass-pro-shops-springfield-mo/the-right-sock-for-the-right-hike. As always happy hunting and good luck! 

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Fall Shed Hunting

Fall is the time of year when everything is changing, the leaves are falling, the grass is becoming brittle and the temperature is on the way down. This is the time when deer hunting is at its best. Rifle season and bow hunting is well underway and the deer are on the move. But there is another great sport to engage in that doesn’t need tags or a rifle. Shed hunting, or hunting for a deer’s shed antlers, in the fall is a difficult but often times a rewarding undertaking. To help new shed hunters find sheds in the fall here are some helpful tips and tricks.

Even though deer lose their antlers in the mid-spring the sheds tend to stick around all year. Many times these sheds will be worn down by little critters like squirrels nibbling on the stumps and other animals tromping over them throughout the year. But even though there are some degraded antlers on the ground it is still possible to find great sheds in the fall. The first thing to know is where to look. At this point the sheds in the fields have been destroyed often times by tractors and replanting of crops over the summer so looking instead on the edges of the field at the fence lines and on the tree lines is a good idea. The easiest way to do this is to use a pair of binoculars. A good pair for this job would be the RedHead Rubber Armor Binoculars - Porro Prism, these binoculars are built to be carried around in rough terrain and still work great, so they are perfect for scanning the tree lines and the edges of fields for those elusive fall sheds. Another good set of binoculars for shed hunting is the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Binoculars, these binoculars are perfect for shed hunting because they have such a clear and crisp sight pattern it is easy to spot anomalies on the ground like a little white antler sticking out of the foliage. A great idea to consider in the fall when looking for sheds is that the shed is probably partly buried by debris so looking for an entire shed during the fall is not the way to proceed. Instead look for the tines or points of a shed poking through the brush or from under leaves. This entails looking for white and brown shaded points along the ground or suspended in light brush, this is where a lot of deer tend to lose their antlers as they get stuck in the foliage.

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Now that the human aspect of shed hunting is done it is time to get some help from man’s best friend. Having a dog on the hunt for sheds is a great way to increase the number of sheds found and have fun with the family pet. A good way to get a dog ready for the shed hunt is to get them used to the smell of the shed and the shape of the shed. One of the best ways to do this is to get an antler scent and a plastic antler to train with. A good antler scent to use is the DogBone Antler Scent, this scent helps the dog associate the scent of an antler with the sport of finding stuff in the back yard making it fun for both the owner and the dog while actually hunting sheds. Another shed kit to use for this same purpose would be the DogBone Shed Antler Retrieving System. This allows a shed hunter to hide the shed in the backyard with the scent of an actual shed on the plastic antler. The dog then gets to go find the shed in the yard training them to find sheds while having fun in the backyard. This is a great training tool but a potential shed hunter needs to make sure to teach the dog to hold the shed lightly or it might be damaged while the dog is retrieving an actual shed in the field.

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While shed hunting in the fall is fun and a good challenge shed hunting can be done all year long. The skills learned in the fall can be applied to all seasons especially the winter when looking under leaves can be substituted for looking for points in the snow. As always happy hunting and good luck!

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Trout Fishing Lures & Tactics

A day on the river trout fishing can turn any weekend into an adventure especially when the fish are biting from sun up to sun down. But with trout it is all about finding the right bait at the right time and making good use of the surroundings to make a god fishing trip into a great one. Asking questions like where are the fish located, when do they feed, and what are they feeding on can help an angler tremendously. Here are tips and tricks when fishing for trout.

Trout are a very aggressive species by nature and give a very good fight in good cold water lakes and streams. The problem with many trout populations is that they are highly pressured in that there is almost always a person fishing around them. This in turn makes the fish very line shy or wary of heavy lines in the water. A sneaky way of getting around this fear of line is to use a light 2 or 4 pound test line in either the monofilament or fluorocarbon line. For monofilament line a great brand is the Bass Pro Shops® Excel®, this line comes in the light 4 pound line that is needed for trout while at the same time being clear in the water making it harder to detect by the fish in clear spring fed lakes and streams. When talking about fluorocarbon the brand that is best suited for the job is the Bass Pro Shops® Excel® Ice, when in the water this line stays clear and nearly invisible to fish, and comes in the light 2,3, and 4 pound test needed for fishing trout in pressured waters.

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When fishing for trout there are many different difficulties that can be undertaken while fishing. The first level of this would be fishing with live or natural baits. This includes fishing with night crawlers, fishing with salmon eggs or fishing with things like meal worms and crickets. While thinking of meal worms and crickets it is good to look to the backyard or a shed. The crickets and worms tend to be there for the taking so stocking up in the backyard before an adventure to the river is often a good idea. But if instead a fisherman is looking for an edge using some salmon eggs is a good idea. One of the best is the Pautzke's® Premium Balls O' Fire® Salmon Eggs, these salmon eggs are soft like a natural egg while having the scent and taste of the real thing. Also these eggs are a little tougher than a natural egg making them easy to retrieve and cast back out.

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Next in the line of difficulty for fishing trout would be the soft plastic baits and spinner baits. Some of the soft plastics that tend to work well are smaller worms and grubs with a weight tied off around 3 to 4 inches above the bait. This allows the bait to float ever so slightly off the bottom of the stream or lake’s bottom and with a little movement from the tip of the fishing rod gives a lifelike movement to the bait. A great bait for doing this is the Bass Pro Shops® Triple Ripple™ Grub, with a few packages of different colors an angler is sure to find the right color and movement for the trout in any lake or stream. When it comes to spinner baits one of the best is the Bass Pro Shops® Tournament Series® Micro Spin Lures, matching the colors on this spinner bait to the hatching insects or the smaller bait fish in the area will make this lure irresistible to the trout in the lake or stream.

micro spingrub

Finally the hardest type of trout fishing is fly fishing. This requires a lot of patience and a good knowledge of the type of food that is available to the trout on a regular basis. It is important to remember one major thing, match the hatch. What this means is that whatever insect is hatching at that time in the lake or stream is the type of fly that an angler wants to be throwing. If there are a lot of grasshoppers around throwing a Montana Fly Company® Clipped Head Hopper is a good idea, as it looks remarkably like a grasshopper. If the midge flies are hatching throwing a Brassie Zebra Midge Fly is a good idea. So matching whatever an angler sees hatching or skimming the water is the best way to catch trout while fishing with flies.

brassie zebraclipped head

While fishing for trout is very fun and relaxing there are some different rules that need to be followed while fishing. These rules change from stream to stream and from location to location. So checking with a local guide book or with the conservation department before going out fishing is a good idea. Many times certain types of lures can only be used in certain areas of a body of water, or no fishing at all can be done in a certain area of the water. Keeping track of this is the responsibility of the angler, so double checking the fishing areas before that weekend trip is a must! As always happy hunting and good luck! 

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Setting Up A Food Plot

Food plots are a great way to attract a wide variety of animals to a plot of land while making the land look better and more usable. Finding the right area for a plot though is a large task that takes careful planning and a lot of work. The area used needs to fit the animals that are supposed to be drawn to the plot. This land must also be in an area that won’t flood readily, while having the shade for the target animals and the cover for the more shy animals to hide when they are threatened. Lastly the plot must be accessible for hunters if harvesting animals is the goal.

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The best food plots are positioned in a shallow valley with two to four shallow ditches running along the edge of the plot. This allows the target animals to feel as if they are hidden when they are entering and exiting the food plot. If the food plot is meant for taking pictures of the animals a great place for a game camera is at the entrance of the food plot facing the food plot and another facing into the ditch away from the food plot. If the food plot is for hunting purposes then a tree stand position for the best vantage point would be on the downhill side of the plot about fifteen to twenty yards from the entrance ditch where the trail cameras are located. A note on the stand, this tree stand should be well hidden and good camouflage should be used in the stand in order to keep the target animals from becoming spooked.

Next step to building a great food plot is to choose the right food for the area and the species that is being targeted. For deer it is often a good idea to use a large patch of clover surrounding the main body of the food plot. Inside the food plot using either turnips or radishes is a good way to raise healthy deer and keep them coming back over and over to the plot. A good mixed bag of clover to use on the food plot is the Evolved Harvest® ProVide Clover Game Seed. This seed is specifically made to promote healthy growth in deer throughout the year making it perfect for a food plot. While for the main body of the food plot a good bag for both radishes would be the Mossy Oak BioLogic Deer Radish. This bag is formulated to attract deer with a sweet root packed with nutrients to help promote an overall healthier deer. If the radishes are not for the land being used a good substituted is the turnip. A great blend for the money would be the Evolved Harvest ShotPlot Forage Attractant, this mix is great for the new food plot builder for the simple fact that it grows quickly and doesn’t need a disc plow for planting.

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Having the right plot and the right seeds to plant will help make any food plot great. But having the right location and the ability to find the right location whether it is accessible with heavy machinery or not is key. If there is an easily accessible spot just off a road but doesn’t have cover for the target animals in the right places then it is not worth seeding. While at the same time if there is a less accessible spot where maybe a truck cannot get through but has all the elements of a good food plot, seeding the area is a better choice, even though a tractor might not be able to get there.

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Now that the plot has been found and the seeds have been sown it is time to let nature take its course. Let the seeds sprout and the target animals come sniffing for the plants. A few days after the seeds have sprouted walking the food plot looking for bald spots is a good idea. Throwing a little more seed on these bald areas will fill in the field and give a little more food for the target animals. As always happy hunting and good luck! 

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Camo for Fall

The weather in the fall is all over the place. There could be 100 degree days followed by a freak snowstorm the next week. So finding the right camouflage for the season is a must in any area. The camo needs to not only be functional at hiding a person’s outline but must have the added ability to protect the wearer from the elements on any of the crazy days that often times happen in the fall. As the leaves start to turn it is a good idea to change to a more open pattern on the camo like the Realtree Xtra. This pattern specifically has a lot of twigs and branches in the pattern mimicking the openness of the surrounding woods very well.

Now that one of the patterns that is good to use is established it is time to look for the right camo for those warm days at the beginning of the fall. These shirts and pants should not only be comfortable and breathable but also have to have a little greenery in the print, as all the leaves on the trees have not completely turned. A good shirt for this is the RedHead® True Fit Camo T-Shirts Long Sleeve. This shirt comes in the Realtree Xtra Green, which hPants for the early fall are next on the list for the guys and a great pair would have to be the RedHead® Stalker Lite II Camo Pants. During the early fall this pair of pants is great at wicking away sweat and breathing while allowing for the full range of motion for hiking or hunting. Another great feature for these pants is that they are easy to get in smaller sizes for those outdoor kids!as a few green leaves thrown into the more open pattern making it perfect for the outdoorsman who wants to stay hidden in the early fall.

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For the ladies, a great shirt during this early fall period would be the SHE® Outdoor Tech Tee - Long Sleeve. This long sleeve shirt is great for hiking or hunting and is specially fitted for the ladies making it more comfortable and breathable during the warmer days in the early fall. In the beginning of fall a good pair of pants for the ladies would have to be the SHE® Outdoor Utility Pants. In the early fall these pants for ladies can’t be beat giving the rugged durability of hunting clothing while at the same time being light and breathable for a warm day in the outdoors.

SHESHE

Now for the kids. A great shirt for the early fall has to be the Carhartt® Work Realtree Xtra® Camo Pocket T-Shirt Long Sleeve. These shirts are great for the outdoors kid who enjoys any activity outside during the early fall. The shirt wicks away sweat from the body so warmer days are no problem in this shirt while at the same time this shirt is comfortable and durable making it perfect for the rough and tumble kids!

Carhartt

While early fall is all well and good being warm and all too often a very humid, late fall tends to be chilly and windy. The pattern for the camo that hunters and plain outdoorsmen will want to wear will also change. The green from the early fall is now completely gone and a more open pattern with twigs and branches that are bare, with a cedar branch mixed in is now far more appropriate. For the guys a good light jacket for those chilly days is the Scent-Lok Full Season Velocity Bowhunter Hunting Jackets. This jacket is great for the late fall season because it has both the warmth for the chilly mornings and the waterproofed with the durable water repellent. A good pair of camo pants for the late fall is the Badlands® Hybrid Hunting Pants.These are perfect pant given that they are not only warm and waterproof but breathe like a much lighter pair of pants.

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For the ladies a great camo top is most definitely the SHE® Outdoor C2 Hunting Jacket, the jacket is cut for a feminine form for better comfort in the field and warmth even on those chilly late fall days. Another great aspect of the Outdoor C2 is they come in a set. The SHE® Outdoor C2 Hunting Pants are great for mornings sitting in the chill of fall with a weatherproofed fleece that keeps an outdoors lady warm while still being flexible and breathable in all conditions.

SHESHE

For the kiddos a good late fall jacket that is both warm and comfortable is the Under Armour® ColdGear® Ayton Hoody. Even in the cold wind of late fall this great hoody is able to keep kids dry and warm so a hunt in the morning can be as long as needed without having to head back to the cabin. A good set of pants to go with this hoodie for the kids is the Under Armour® ColdGear® Ayton Camo Pants for Youth, these pants are able to bend and move like kids while staying dry even in the wettest conditions.

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The craziness of the fall season makes finding a good camouflage a pain. But knowing the different patterns and how effective they may be during different times of the season can help pick the best camo pattern for the event. While knowing the conditions that are almost always associated with fall can help pick out the proper gear for the dry season or the wetter part of the season. As always happy hunting and good luck! 

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How Weather Patterns Affect Fishing

Spending a day out on the water fishing is one of the most relaxing activities on the planet, but having a sudden storm front move through has a tendency to wreck any plans for fishing. The big question many fishermen ask regularly is how does this cold or warm front moving through effect the fishing? Do these fronts move the fish down deep or up towards the shore, or do the fish stay put during the storms. Or is it a better option to stay put during a storm and fish on because the fish are biting.

When a nice big cold front is moving through the fish in an area are affected, the change in pressure is enough to cause the fish to recognize the weather patterns moving. So the fish tend to start eating before the front. As the pressure changes the fish move closer to the top of the water in order to feed in front of the coming weather pattern. Typically during this time before the front has moved through there is a lot of wind over the water. When the wind is blowing hard before a front this is the perfect time to get out and start fishing top water. Find a bank where the wind is blowing the hardest and get in a position where there is an easy cast across the bank. In many cases while the wind is blowing the fish feel safe in feeding at the top while at the same time the small bait fish like shad are being forced close to the bank by the wind. This is a great time to throw a crankbait like the Rapala Scatter Rap Shad in the silver color. The combination of the shad color and the erratic action of the crankbait makes this perfect for a windy bank.

Shad

As the front moves through whether it is cold or warm, when it starts raining the fish tend to come to the surface to feed. This is because they feel safe in the top water because the rain obscures sight from the surface. The fish tend to feed throughout the rain on bait fish and insects in the top water. A good bait to use at this time would be the spinner bait. One of the best spinner baits for this time would have to be the Bass Pro Shops® Lazer Eye™ Spinnerbaits - Double Colorado in the white color. This color combo grabs the attention of the fish in the top water and tends to give a good strike on the surface during a light rain.

spinnerbait

When a warm front moves through during the spring and winter the fish tend to move into shallow water as the chilly water is warmed slightly as the front moves through. So during this time throwing a shallow swimming jig or crankbait is a must. A great option for this would be the Strike King® Pro-Model® Crankbaits - 3XD Series, in the gizzard shad color. In general when this is thrown in the shallows off a point when a warm front has just moved through the fish will be feeding very heavily. During a warm front moving through in the summer and fall the fish tend to move deeper as the water warms up. These fish tend to feed just before the front comes through, but will still tend to be in deeper water. So throwing a deep diving crankbait is very good idea. The bait for this job is the Rapala® Scatter Rap® Crank Deep, this deep diving bait is great just before the front and will elicit a strong reaction and strike from the fish.

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Cold fronts are very much the opposite from the warm fronts, during the hot summer and fall the fish move to the surface. While during the chilly winter and spring the fish tend to move to deeper water where they are protected from the cold weather. At this time throwing a deep diver like during warm fronts in the winter and spring is a good idea. So again throwing the Rapala® Scatter Rap® Crank Deep is the answer. During the warmer summer and fall the fish tend to come to the very top of the water when a cold front moves through. They will in general move to the top ahead of the front and ensuing storms to feed at the top of the water. So throwing a top water spinner bait works best. One of the best baits for this would be the War Eagle Spinnerbaits - Tandem Willow in the white silver color scheme. This bait stays on the top of the water and gets a strong bite from the fish before and during the front moving through.

war eagle

Where the fish are very active just before a front moves through, after the front the fish are generally lethargic and will often times not bite. This is because the fish have gorged before the front, and the pressure and temperature changes are affecting the fish’s behavior. So in general fish before the front and during the storms and after the front has moved through the fish will be still and not biting. As always happy hunting and good luck! 

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Get Into The Swing of Things

A summer campout is great, but the heat tends to be a pain especially when using a hot sleeping bag on the ground. A great solution to this problem of being too hot is to use a hammock. These great swinging beds keep a camper off of the ground which lets the air around the camper cool them off while they sleep or just hang out. Hammocks are also a great way to just relax and enjoy the day in the backyard, on the beach, or even by the pool. Here are some helpful hints on finding the right tent for the activity.

When hiking long distances it is imperative to keep a pack light so stress on the back and legs is reduced. A great way to do this is to use a hammock with a rain fly instead of having an entire tent, sleeping bag, and rainfly. A great hammock for this specific purpose would be the Lawson Hammock Blue Ridge Hammock, not only is this hammock light weight but it also is able to be used as a hammock or a bivy tent if there are no trees convenient in the area. This tent comes with both a rain fly and a screen to keep bugs away from any camper who is inside. Another great hammock for hiking is the Eagles Nest Outfitters SingleNest Hammock, this hammock weighs approximately 17 oz. making this one of the lightest weight sleeping options on the market right now and perfect for those hikers who want a comfortable sleep on those warm summer nights. The hammock is also great for those kids who want to have a campout in the back yard but do not want to deal with a lot of tents. These hammocks are perfect for any backyard adventure because of their easy set up and breakdown. Another great hammock for backyard or hiking with a buddy would be the Eagles Nest Outfitters DoubleNest Hammock, the hammock is made with a heavy duty stitching and has more material so two people can sleep comfortably. With the durable design this hammock is also great for those younger campers who might be a little harder on their gear, while at the same time being light enough, 20oz, for those campers to easily carry the hammock without problems.

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Camping and hiking with a hammock is fun but just relaxing in the backyard in a hammock is sometimes just what the doctor ordered. These hammocks for the backyard need to be sturdy and built to last. The perfect backyard hammock is also able to hold two or three people comfortably without being strained or breaking. A good hammock for the backyard is the Texsport® Lakeway™ Hammock, this hammock is great for the backyard simply because it is built durable from quilted cotton and has a capacity for 400 pounds. So for this hammock all that you need are two good trees and a relaxing summer is just around the corner. Another great hammock for the backyard would have to be the Texsport® Seaview™ Hammock, with heavy duty cotton cords this hammock is light weight and comfortable for a day lounging in the backyard. Lastly the Bass Pro Shops® Folding Hammock, is a sturdy hammock with a stable base that is great for a small backyard where a larger hammock is not an option hung on trees.

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Now that all the hammocks have been hung and the camping has happened it is time to just relax. Having that hammock in the backyard is perfect for just letting everything go and taking a nap. As always happy hunting and good luck! 

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Hiking Shoes vs. Hiking Boots

When on a hike the difference in a good day and a bad day can come down to something as simple as what type of footwear a hiker is wearing. The types of footwear for hiking are mostly broken down into two different categories. For a good majority of avid distance hikers a lighter more maneuverable shoe is the obvious answer. While for a cross country hiker a more rugged and supported hiking boot is a must. For the rest of us finding the right footwear is a pain. So here are some tips and tricks on finding the right footwear for a hike.

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When hiking long distances over fairly well maintained trails it is often in the interest of the hiker to keep their packs and everything else fairly light. This means cutting down one weight in the places where it is the most prevalent, and often times an easy target is the shoes. Finding a hiking shoe that has the support and has less weight is the key. Many hiking shoes are light and well-made but there are a few that stick out for their great support for the ankles and the foot while on a long hike. A great hiking shoe for distances is the RedHead® Gaston Hiker Shoes, these shoes are lightweight and can take a beating out on the trail making them perfect for the avid hiker on a budget. Another great pair of hiking shoes is the Vasque® Mantra 2.0 Hiking Shoes, these shoes are meant to be worn on long hikes where a heavy pack will be worn, and make the entire trail more comfortable for the hiker. A hiking shoe for the ladies that has good support and the comfort for a long hike would be the Teva® Sky Lake Waterproof Hiking Shoes, these shoes have proven themselves over the trail and are still comfortable enough for even the most sensitive feet.

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While hiking shoes are awesome over the very nice and groomed trails, for the more back country hiking that many campers and avid hikers like, a good hiking boot is a must. These boots need to be both sturdy and comfortable with enough support for a hiker’s ankles that they can easily navigate rough terrain without worrying about injury. One of the best hiking boots out there right now is the RedHead® Roark Waterproof Hiking Boots, these boots give the ankle support needed for a back country trek while at the same time keeping a hikers feet dry while walking through wet grass and puddles. Also these boots are built to be light weight making them great for those long hikes on and off the trail. A boot that has a good history of being both comfortable and functional on the trail would be the Danner® Roughhouse Mountain 7'' GORE-TEX® Waterproof Hiking Boots. These boots are heavy duty and can take the long treks over rough terrain while still staying waterproof and comfortable. While guys hiking boots are great there are some awesome hiking boots for the ladies as well. A good hiking boot for that remains comfortable while at the same time giving support to the ankle and cushioning every step is the RedHead® Caliber Waterproof Hiking Boots, the boots have a comfortable liner which makes wearing the boots during a long hike more comfortable while at the same time providing a waterproof platform for traction and stability. Another great boot for those off the trail hikes would have to be The North Face® Storm Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots. These boots are great for distance hikes where wet conditions are a possibility because of the well-insulated lining and waterproofing built into the boot. Now that the boots are taken care of and the hikes can proceed as planned as always happy hunting and good luck!

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Rain Gear to Keep You Dry

The worst thing that can happen during a hunt or a hike is to have an unexpected downpour that drenches everything including a hunter or hiker. A good set of rain gear can help keep any event from turning into a sloppy mess. The problem with this is that rain gear comes in so many shapes and sizes it is often times hard to decipher what works well for what event. Here are some helpful hints on what to look for in rain gear for specific activities.

The first activity many people think of that has the tendency to run into problems is hunting of any kind. With long periods of time either sitting down or sneaking through brush looking for the perfect shot, the ability for a little rain to ruin a good day hunting is always present. For this instance what a hunter needs for rain gear is something that is very durable in case the first shot doesn’t immediately drop a target and a little creative maneuvering through brush is needed. While at the same time the gear needs to be flexible so drawing a bow or lining up a shot is not impeded by the rain gear. A great set for this purpose is the RedHead® Squaltex® II BONE-DRY® Rain Jackets and the RedHead® Squaltex® II BONE-DRY® Rain Pants, this set is specifically made for an avid hunter and comes in the two of the best camouflage patterns available. For the ladies there is a better set the SHE® Outdoor Performance Rain Pants and the SHE® Outdoor Performance Rain Jacket, this set of rain gear was specifically made for a lady hunters while providing the best protection from wind and heavy rain.

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While hunting in the rain is often times a pain, one for the best times to fish is in the rain. So for those anglers that know the secrets to fishing in the rain there is of course a set of rain gear for them. This set of gear needs to be completely waterproof without restricting the ability for a fisherman to cast and retrieve effectively. So the sleeves need to be looser with an adjustable wrist and waist. The set that has done wonders for those anglers that love fishing whenever is the Bass Pro Shops® 100MPH GORE-TEX® Light Jacket and the Bass Pro Shops® HPR BONE-DRY® Waterproof Rain Pants, this set is great for those days where the wind is blowing and the rain just won’t stop. The set not only works as a wind suit but also keeps the wearer dry all day.

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Hunting and fishing in the rain can be soothing or even exciting but having a hike or camping trip in the rain can be a chore. So finding the right rain gear for the trip is always a must. This gear needs to be able to stand up to a couple days of moving without wearing out or developing a hole, while at the same time being able to allow free movement for those times where the campsite needs to be broken down in the rain or set up during a downpour. The best suit for this purpose is the Ascend™ Water Shield 2.0 Jacket and the Ascend® Watershield 2.0 Pants, the great thing is this set comes in both men and women styles as well as youth sizes. The set is great for walking in without getting a base layer wet while allowing the body to breathe naturally. This is perfect for anyone who has problems sweating on hikes, the outer layer allows air flow making chaffing a less likely occurrence. Now that the rain gear has been selected and the plans made, as always happy hunting and good luck!

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How To Break Down A Campsite

Camping is one of the most fun activities for everyone during the spring, summer and fall. The problems only seem to start when it is time to break down the campsite. How does a person properly store a tent, how does the canopy need to be stored, what needs to happen to the cast iron before it is stored, and what has to happen to the stoves?

fire pitThe first thing that needs to be done when breaking down a campsite is to check the fire pit. The fire should be completely extinguished and all coals should be cool and no longer able to start a new fire. The best way to do this is to bury any of the still hot coals in a shallow hole in order to keep the coals from reigniting a fire once all the campers have left.  A way to check is simply turn over the ash in the bottom of the fire pit and check the underside of the fire, or having an elevated fire pit can keep the process fairly simple by dumping the fire pit. A good elevated fire pit is the Landmann USA Northwoods Outdoor Fireplace, these elevated fire pits allow a person to simply turn the fire pit over and burying the ashes.

tentOnce the fire pit has been taken care of it is on to check out the tents. The tents need to be properly stored for the trip home. To do this break down the tent then when storing the tent instead of rolling the tent up tight with the poles inside the role simply fold the tent loosely. This is meant to keep any moisture that might be still clinging to the tent from permeating all of the fabric. This requires a tent that is made from a good material and is also able to take a little moisture for a few hours as it is driven home. A good tent for the job is definitely the Bass Pro Shops® 8 Person Speed Frame Tent, even though this tent has poles that are pre attached the durability of the tent makes it ideal for a campout where it might be rainy or just humid. Once the tent is finally back at the house it needs to be immediately set back up, this is why the speed frame tent is so handy, so the little moisture that is left in the tent can be evaporated. The tent can even be set up inside if need be so it can air out. By turning on an exhaust fan and drawing in new air to the house the tent will quickly dry, then the tent can be properly stored in a cool dry place.

canopyNow that the tent is all packed and taken care of it is time for the canopy. These canopies need to be stored in much the same way as the tents, the fabric top needs to be taken off and loosely folded away from the metal body structure. This again is to insure that the moisture from being outside in the rain or humidity doesn’t set in the fabric spurring the growth of mold or other nasty things. A good canopy that is currently on the market is the Bass Pro Shops® Deluxe Straight Leg Instant Canopies, these canopies are able to hold up to the rigors of being outside while at the same time having an easily collapsible design for quick packing and storage. After the canopy has made it home it to needs to be set up for a little while to let the fabric and the metal support structure air out. Once it is aired out the canopy can easily be stored next to the tents. Just as a note breaking down any cloth chairs should be handled similarly to the canopy accept the cloth material should stay on the chairs, but once home the chairs should be set up to dry.stove

Once the canopy, tents and chairs are taken care of it is finally time to deal with the cooking equipment. Before cleaning this equipment make sure to close any propane tanks and unhook all attached hoses to the equipment. Once this is done remove the grates from the cooking stoves or the cooking grate used over the top of the fire. It is a good idea to clean these regularly, preferably after each campout. To do this, use a sponge with an abrasive pad on the top. Add a little water to the sponge as well as a little dish soap, then vigorously scrub with the abrasive pad till the grime and char has been removed. Then simply rinse the cooking surface. If a stove is being used it is a good idea to use the sponge with a little more dish soap to clean around the burners, this keeps the burners from becoming clogged and a danger. A good stove that is very easy to clean is the Bass Pro Shops® High Output Propane Grill and Stove, the grill and stove portions are easily taken apart while the burners are easy to access and clean, making this a great stove for a campout. Now that the stove is clean packing it in a clean cloth bag is best for storage in a cool dark place. The campsite is clean, now the only thing left to do is police the site for any trash, remember that any trash left is a problem for any animals and people that might next call the campsite home! As always happy hunting and good luck! 

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